Entries by YMI

ODB: So Beautiful

November 27, 2022 

READ: Ephesians 2:1–10 

We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Ephesians 2:10

 

I was very young when I peered through a hospital nursery window and saw a newborn for the first time. In my ignorance, I was dismayed to see a tiny, wrinkly child with a hairless, cone-shaped head. The baby’s mother standing near us, however, couldn’t stop asking everyone, “Isn’t he gorgeous?” I was reminded of that moment when I saw a video of a young dad tenderly singing the song, “You Are So Beautiful” to his baby girl. To her enraptured daddy, the little girl was the most beautiful thing ever created.

Is that how God looks at us? Ephesians 2:10 says that we’re His “handiwork”—His masterpiece. Aware of our own failings, it may be hard for us to accept how much He loves us or to believe that we could ever be of value to Him. But God doesn’t love us because we deserve love (vv. 3–4); He loves us because He is love (1 John 4:8). His love is one of grace, and He showed the depth of it when, through Jesus’ sacrifice, He made us alive in Him when we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:5, 8).

God’s love isn’t fickle. It’s constant. He loves the imperfect, the broken, those who are weak and those who mess up. When we fall, He’s there to lift us up. We’re His treasure, and we’re so beautiful to Him.

— Cindy Hess Kasper

What does it mean to know that “God is love”? How can you accept the truth of God’s endless love for you when you feel undeserving of it?

Precious Father, thank You for Your love for me.
For further study, read How God Loves Us.  

ODB: Blessed Repentance

November 26, 2022 

READ: Hosea 14:1–4 

Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously. Hosea 14:2

 

“BROKE” was the street name Grady answered to and those five letters were proudly emblazoned on his license plates. Though not intended in a spiritual sense, the moniker fit the middle-aged gambler, adulterer, and deceiver. He was broken, bankrupt, and far from God. However, all that changed one evening when he was convicted by God’s Spirit in a hotel room. He told his wife, “I think I’m getting saved!” That evening he confessed sins he thought he’d take with him to the grave and came to Jesus for forgiveness. For the next thirty years, the man who didn’t think he’d live to see forty lived and served God as a changed believer in Jesus. His license plates changed too—from “BROKE” to “REPENT.”

Repent. That’s what Grady did and that’s what God called Israel to do in Hosea 14:1–2. “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. . . . Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously.’ ” Big or small, few or many, our sins separate us from God. But the gap can be closed by turning from sin to God and receiving the forgiveness He’s graciously provided through the death of Jesus. Whether you’re a struggling believer in Christ or one whose life looks like Grady’s did, your forgiveness is only a prayer away.

— Arthur Jackson

What sins separate you from God? Are you ready to confess your need for Him and receive the forgiveness that He’s provided through His Son, Jesus?

Father, search my heart for anything that may contribute to my downfall and distance from you. Cleanse me, forgive me, and use me for Your honor.  

ODB: Enduring Hope

November 25, 2022 

READ: Revelation 21:1–8 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Revelation 21:4

 

Doctors diagnosed four-year-old Solomon with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle-degenerating disease. A year later, doctors discussed wheelchairs with the family. But Solomon protested that he didn’t want to have to use one. Family and friends prayed for him and raised funds for a professionally trained service dog to help keep him out of that wheelchair for as long as possible. Tails for Life, the organization that trained my service dog, Callie, is currently preparing Waffles to serve Solomon.

Though Solomon accepts his treatment, often bursting out in song to praise God, some days are harder. On one of those difficult days, Solomon hugged his mom and said, “I’m happy there’s no Duchenne’s in heaven.”

The degenerating effects of sickness affect all people on this side of eternity. Like Solomon, however, we have an enduring hope that can strengthen our resolve on those inevitable tough days. God gives us the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). Our Creator and Sustainer will “dwell” among us by making His home with us (v. 3). He will “wipe every tear” from our eyes. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (v. 4). When the wait feels “too hard” or “too long,” we can experience peace because God’s promise will be fulfilled.

— Xochitl Dixon

How has acknowledging God’s promise for a new heaven and a new earth comforted you? How can you encourage a hurting friend with the enduring hope of God’s promises?

Loving God, thank You for strengthening my resolve with the surety of my enduring hope.
For further study, read Prophetic Priorities: W 

ODB: Hopes and Longings

November 24, 2022 

READ: Proverbs 13:12–19 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

 

When I moved to England, the American holiday of Thanksgiving became just another Thursday in November. Although I created a feast the weekend after, I longed to be with family and friends on the day. Yet I understood that my longings weren’t unique to me. We all yearn to be with people dear to us on special occasions and holidays. And even when we’re celebrating, we may miss someone who’s not with us or we may pray for our fractured family to be at peace.

During these times, praying and pondering the wisdom of the Bible has helped me, including one of King Solomon’s proverbs: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). In this proverb, one of the pithy sayings through which Solomon shared his wisdom, he notes the effect that “hope deferred” can have: the delay of something much longed for can result in angst and pain. But when the desire is fulfilled, it’s like a tree of life—something that allows us to feel refreshed and renewed.

Some of our hopes and desires might not be fulfilled right away, and some might only be met through God after we die. Whatever our longing, we can trust in Him, knowing He loves us unceasingly. And, one day, we’ll be reunited with loved ones as we feast with Him and give thanks to Him (see Revelation 19:6–9).

— Amy Boucher Pye

When have you felt sick because of an unfulfilled longing? How did God meet you in your time of need?

God our Creator, You fulfill my deepest longings. I give You my hopes and my desires, asking You to grant them according to Your wisdom and love.  

ODB: Trusting Our Future to God

November 23, 2022 

READ: Ecclesiastes 10:12–14 

No one knows what is coming. Ecclesiastes 10:14

 

In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz made the first purchase with bitcoin (a digital currency then worth a fraction of a penny each), paying 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas ($25). In 2021, at its highest value during the year, those bitcoins would have been worth well more than $500 million. Back before the value skyrocketed, he kept paying for pizzas with coins, spending 100,000 bitcoins total. If he’d kept those bitcoins, their value would’ve made him a billionaire sixty-eight times over and placed him on the Forbes’ “richest people in the world” list. If only he’d known what was coming.

Of course, Hanyecz couldn’t possibly have known. None of us could have. Despite our attempts to comprehend and control the future, Ecclesiastes rings true: “No one knows what is coming” (10:14). Some of us delude ourselves into thinking we know more than we do, or worse, that we possess some special insight about another person’s life or future. But as Ecclesiastes pointedly asks: “who can tell someone else what will happen after them?” (v. 14). No one.

Scripture contrasts a wise and a foolish person, and one of the many distinctions between the two is humility about the future (Proverbs 27:1). A wise person recognizes that only God truly knows what’s over the horizon as they make decisions. But foolish people presume knowledge that isn’t theirs. May we have wisdom, trusting our future to the only One who actually knows it.

— Winn Collier

Where do you see temptation to control the future? How can you better trust God with your coming days?

Dear God, help me to simply trust You today.