Entries by YMI

ODB: The Forecaster’s Mistake

May 27, 2022 

READ: Jeremiah 23:16–22 

Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. Jeremiah 23:28

 

At noon on September 21, 1938, a young meteorologist warned the U.S. Weather Bureau of two fronts forcing a hurricane northward toward New England. But the chief of forecasting scoffed at Charles Pierce’s prediction. Surely a tropical storm wouldn’t strike so far north.

Two hours later, the 1938 New England Hurricane made landfall on Long Island. By 4:00 p.m. it had reached New England, tossing ships onto land as homes crumbled into the sea. More than six hundred people died. Had the victims received Pierce’s warning—based on solid data and his detailed maps—they likely would have survived.

The concept of knowing whose word to heed has precedent in Scripture. In Jeremiah’s day, God warned His people against false prophets. “Do not listen [to them],” He said. “They fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16). God said of them, “If they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people” (v. 22).

“False prophets” are still with us. “Experts” dispense advice while ignoring God altogether or twisting His words to suit their purposes. But through His Word and Spirit, God has given us what we need to begin to discern the false from the true. As we gauge everything by the truth of His Word, our own words and lives will increasingly reflect that truth to others.

— Tim Gustafson

What’s the standard you use when you decide whether something is true? What in your attitude needs to change toward those who disagree with you?

Loving God, so many claim to speak for You these days. Help me learn what You really have to say. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit, not the spirit of this world.  

ODB: Turn Up the Heat

May 26, 2022 

READ: Revelation 3:14–22 

Be earnest and repent. Revelation 3:19

 

Temperatures where we live in Colorado can change quickly—sometimes within a few minutes. So my husband, Dan, was curious about the temperature differences in and around our home. As a fan of gadgets, he was excited to unpack his latest “toy”—a thermometer showing temperature readings from four “zones” around our house. Joking that it was a “silly” gadget, I was surprised to find myself frequently checking the temperatures too. The differences inside and out fascinated me.

Jesus used temperature to describe the “lukewarm” church in Laodicea, one of the richest of the seven cities cited in the book of Revelation. A bustling banking, clothing, and medical hub, the city was hampered by a poor water supply, so it needed an aqueduct to carry water from a hot spring. By the time the water arrived in Laodicea, however, it was neither hot nor cold.

The church was tepid too. Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). As Christ explained, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (v. 19).

Our Savior’s plea remains urgent for us too. Are you spiritually neither hot nor cold? Accept His correction and ask Him to help you live an earnest, fired-up faith.

— Patricia Raybon

What’s the temperature of your faith? If your commitment to God is lukewarm, how will you pray to seek more loving heat and zeal?

If my commitment to You cools down, Father, send the loving heat of Your Holy Spirit to awaken and warm up my faith.  

ODB: Run Away

May 25, 2022 

READ: Matthew 26:47–56 

How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? Matthew 26:54

 

The introductory lesson on aikido, a traditional Japanese form of martial arts, was an eye-opener. The sensei, or teacher, told us that when faced with an attacker, our first response should be to “run away.” “Only if you can’t run away, then you fight,” he said seriously.

Run away? I was taken aback. Why was this highly skilled self-defense instructor telling us to run away from a fight? It seemed counterintuitive—until he explained that the best form of self-defense is to avoid fighting in the first place. Of course!

When several men came to arrest Jesus, Peter responded as some of us might have by drawing his sword to attack one of them (Matthew 26:51; see John 18:10). But Jesus told him to put it away, saying, “How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:54).

While a sense of justice is important, so is understanding God’s purpose and kingdom—an “upside-down” kingdom that calls us to love our enemies and return evil with kindness (5:44). It’s a stark contrast to how the world might react, yet it’s a response that God seeks to nurture in us.

Luke 22:51 even describes Jesus healing the ear of the man Peter had struck. May we learn to respond to difficult situations as He did, always seeking peace and restoration as God provides what we need.

— Leslie Koh

How did you respond to a difficult situation recently? How does this compare with how you think Jesus might have responded?

Father God, give me a new understanding of Your greater purposes in Your kingdom, and a godly, loving, and peace-seeking heart to respond to situations as Your Son did.  

ODB: Generous Giving

May 24, 2022 

READ: Leviticus 19:9–10 

Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. Leviticus 19:10

 

General Charles Gordon (1833–1885) served Queen Victoria in China and elsewhere, but when living in England he’d give away 90 percent of his income. When he heard about a famine in Lancashire, he scratched off the inscription from a pure gold medal he’d received from a world leader and sent it up north, saying they should melt it down and use the money to buy bread for the poor. That day he wrote in his diary: “The last earthly thing I had in this world that I valued I have given to the Lord Jesus.”

General Gordon’s level of generosity might seem above and beyond what we’re able to extend, but God has always called His people to look out for those in need. In some of the laws He delivered through Moses, God instructed the people not to reap to the edges of their field nor gather the entire crop. Instead, when harvesting a vineyard, He said to leave the grapes that had fallen “for the poor and the foreigner” (Leviticus 19:10). God wanted His people to be aware of and provide for the vulnerable in their midst.

However generous we may feel, we can ask God to increase our desire to give to others and to seek His wisdom for creative ways to do so. He loves to help us show His love to others.

— Amy Boucher Pye

How might you extend generosity today, whether through practical help, a listening ear, or some other way? When have you been on the receiving end of someone’s generosity? How did that feel?

Giving Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live as one of us and to die for us. Fill my heart with love and thanks for this amazing gift.