Entries by YMI

ODB: Needing His Leading

June 1, 2020 

READ: Psalm 61 

From the ends of the earth I call to you. Psalm 61:2

 

Uncle Zaki was more than a friend to scholar Kenneth Bailey; he was his trusted guide on challenging excursions into the vast Sahara. By following Uncle Zaki, Bailey says that he and his team were demonstrating their complete trust in him. In essence, they were affirming, “We don’t know the way to where we are going, and if you get us lost we will all die. We have placed our total trust in your leadership.” 

In a time of great weariness and heartache, David looked beyond any human guide, seeking direction from the God he served. In Psalm 61:2 we read, “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He longed for the safety and relief of being ushered afresh into God’s presence (vv. 3–4).

God’s guidance in life is desperately needed for people the Scriptures describe as sheep that have “gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). Left to ourselves, we would be hopelessly lost in the desert of a broken world.

But we are not left to ourselves! We have a Shepherd who leads us “beside quiet waters,” refreshes our souls, and guides us (Psalm 23:2–3).

Where do you need His leading today? Call on Him. He will never leave you. 

— Bill Crowder

What was it like when you felt lost? How can you begin to trust God’s desire to guide you like a shepherd in those times of seeking?

Loving Father, thank You for being my Shepherd and Guide. Help me to trust You and rest in Your wisdom, allowing Your Spirit to guide me through the challenging moments of life.
Listen to Psalm 23: A Psalm of a Good Shepherd at < 

ODB: Easy Does It

May 31, 2020 

READ: Philippians 2:12–18 

It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

 

My father and I used to fell trees and cut them to size with a two-man crosscut saw. Being young and energetic, I tried to force the saw into the cut. “Easy does it,” my father would say. “Let the saw do the work.”

I think of Paul’s words in Philippians: “It is God who works in you” (2:13). Easy does it. Let Him do the work of changing us.

C. S. Lewis said that growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. He explained, “A real Person, Christ, . . . is doing things to you . . . gradually turning you permanently into . . . a new little Christ, a being which . . . shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

God is at that process today. Sit at the feet of Jesus and take in what He has to say. Pray. “Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:21), reminding yourself all day long that you are His. Rest in the assurance that He’s gradually changing you.

“But shouldn’t we hunger and thirst for righteousness?” you ask. Picture a small child trying to get a gift high on a shelf, his eyes glittering with desire. His father, sensing that desire, brings the gift down to him.

The work is God’s; the joy is ours. Easy does it. We shall get there some day. 

— David H. Roper

What does it mean to you that “It is God who works in you”? What do you want Him to do in you?

God, I’m grateful that You’re changing my heart and actions to make me like Jesus. Please give me a humble attitude to learn from You.  

ODB: Do Whatever

May 30, 2020 

READ: Ecclesiastes 2:17–25 

For without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:25

 

In a recent film, a self-proclaimed “genius” rants to the camera about the world’s “horror, corruption, ignorance, and poverty,” declaring life to be godless and absurd. While such thinking isn’t unusual in many modern film scripts, what’s interesting is where it leads. In the end, the lead character turns to the audience and implores us to do whatever it takes to find a little happiness. For him, this includes leaving traditional morality behind.

But will “do whatever” work? Facing his own despair at life’s horrors, the Old Testament writer of Ecclesiastes gave it a try long ago, searching for happiness through pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 10), grand work projects (vv. 4–6), riches (vv. 7–9), and philosophical inquiry (vv. 12–16). And his assessment? “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (v. 17). None of these things is immune to death, disaster, or injustice (5:13–17).

Only one thing brings the writer of Ecclesiastes back from despair. Despite life’s trials, we can find fulfillment when God is part of our living and working: “for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2:25). Life will at times feel meaningless, but “remember your Creator” (12:1). Don’t exhaust yourself trying to figure life out, but “fear God and keep his commandments” (v. 13).

Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.

— Sheridan Voysey

How much do you seek happiness through things that won’t last? Since the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t know the hope of resurrection, how would you consider his search in light of Romans 8:11, 18–25?

God, today I place You anew at the center of my living, working, joys, and disappointments, for without You nothing will satisfy or make sense.