Entries by YMI

ODJ: The Eternal Gift

October 23, 2018 

READ: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 

He has planted eternity in the human heart (v.11).

In the book Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight, some children discover an underground world where people can go to become immortal. They soon realise, however, that there’s a catch. The process is wildly unpredictable, transforming would-be immortals into random objects or creatures for years before their goal can be attained. After witnessing the harrowing ordeal of those trapped in “the strange in-between”, the children decide that immortality isn’t worth it.

This tale offers a vivid illustration of the unwise choices that some are willing to make while attempting to live forever. And it hints at a serious truth underscored by Solomon, who wrote that God “has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). With deep insight, Solomon pointed out that it can be easy to focus on one aspect of eternity (youth, or that which is immediately visible), while losing sight of the bigger, eternal picture.

In God’s scheme of things, there’s a time for everything—to be born, live out life on earth and ultimately to die (vv.1-2). Death is a sad part of human experience, and it can’t be denied or put off with schemes or anti-ageing techniques.

However, it doesn’t have to be the final word. Jesus gave His life so that “everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). For God “has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).

The human heart’s desire to live forever can’t be satisfied by the stuff of earth; rather, its fulfilment is found in God through the gift of His Son, Jesus. And there’s no catch—just the joy of being in His presence forever!

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Acts 10:1-23

MORE
Read Hebrews 7:24-25 and see what it reveals about Jesus and the eternal life He alone provides. 
NEXT
What do eternity and immortality mean to you? Who can you reveal God’s eternal gift to this week? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Choosing the Trail

October 23, 2018 

READ: Matthew 7:13–14 

Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14

 

I have a beautiful autumn photograph of a young man on horseback in the Colorado mountains as he contemplates which trail ahead to follow. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” In it, Frost ponders two pathways that lie before him. Both are equally inviting, but he doubts he will return to this place again, and he must choose one. Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  

In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), the Lord told His listeners, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (7:13–14).

On our journey through life, we face many choices about which road to travel. Many pathways seem promising and attractive but only one is the pathway of life. Jesus calls us to travel the road of discipleship and obedience to God’s Word—to follow Him instead of the crowd.  

As we ponder the road ahead, may God give us wisdom and courage to follow His way—the road of life. It will make all the difference for us and those we love!

— David C. McCasland

Lord, as we go through this day, give us eyes to see the narrow road that leads to life and the courage to follow it.

Choose to walk the road of life with Jesus.  

ODJ: Unchanged Goodness

October 22, 2018 

READ: Isaiah 52:1-12 

I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognise that I am the one who speaks to them (v.6).

Hanging up the phone, I gathered a few items and waited for my husband to arrive. He’d just called from the church where he and our son had been working on a few building repairs. From the brief exchange, I learned that our son had been in an accident but was stable enough for us to drive him to the hospital. Even with uncertainties pounding in my mind, I knew in that moment how important it was to make my worship stronger than my worries. The supremacy of God and His goodness had not changed.

Perhaps there’s no more strident awakening than crisis. Shaken by the unexpected, we reach past everyday routine and settled complacency for the sureness of God’s hand. Tempted to know God simply for what He can do, we discover in the unknown an invitation to become intimate with the God before whom nothing is hidden (Isaiah 45:3).

The people of Judah had been taken captive by sin through the illusion that it would secure human affection, security and success. But Isaiah called them to “wake up” to their inheritance: they were set apart for God (Isaiah 52:1). They’d doubted God’s goodness, but their pursuits had served only to leave them dominated by what they’d wanted to eliminate: the reality of being controlled by someone or something outside of themselves (vv.2-5).

God answered their distress as He answers ours—with the call to know Him. More than a means of identification, His name reveals His splendour (v.6). Even so, His sovereignty isn’t founded in domination but restoration (vv.9-11).

Jesus suffered so that we might connect directly with the Father (vv.14-15). Through knowing God, we can experience the strength of His unconditional love and sure covering, even in life’s uncertainties (v.12).

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: Acts 9:32-42

MORE
Read Exodus 33:12-19 and consider how our appreciation for being known by God can make us yearn to know Him more fully. 
NEXT
How can you become more intimate with God through challenging circumstances? How have such circumstances opened your eyes to God’s power and goodness? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Treasure in a Pumpkin

October 22, 2018 

READ: 2 Corinthians 4:7–18 

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

 

As a young mother, I was determined to document my daughter’s first year of life. Each month, I took photos of her to illustrate how she had changed and grown. In one of my favorite pictures, she is gleefully sitting in the belly of a hollowed-out pumpkin I purchased from a local farmer. There she sat, the delight of my heart, contained in an overgrown squash. The pumpkin withered in the ensuing weeks, but my daughter continued to grow and thrive.

The way Paul describes knowing the truth of who Jesus is reminds me of that photo. He likens the knowledge of Jesus in our heart to a treasure stored in a clay pot. Remembering what Jesus did for us gives us the courage and strength to persevere through struggles in spite of being “hard pressed on every side” (2 Corinthians 4:8). Because of God’s power in our lives, when we are “struck down, but not destroyed,” we reveal the life of Jesus (v. 9).

Like the pumpkin that withered, we may feel the wear and tear of our trials. But the joy of Jesus in us can continue to grow in spite of those challenges. Our knowledge of Him—His power at work in our lives—is the treasure stored in our frail clay bodies. We can flourish in the face of hardship because of His power at work within us.

— Kirsten Holmberg

Dear Father, thank You for putting Your truth into my heart and life. Help me to bear up under the challenges I face with Your power. May others see Your work in my life and come to know You too.

God’s power is at work within us.