Entries by YMI

ODJ: United in Worship

June 19, 2018 

READ: Revelation 7:9-17 

I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb (v.9).

Getting a group of people to move in the same way and at the same time requires skill. But over 31,000 women in China made it look easy. Guinness World Records says that 31,697 Chinese women set the record for mass plaza dancing in multiple locations. The participants danced for more than five minutes in six different cities.

Although thousands of people united in dance is a sight to see, Scripture tells us there will be a day when believers too numerous to count will set a ‘record’ for a mass worship service in one location.

In an amazing vision, John saw a multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people and language worshipping God (Revelation 7:9). The diverse congregation was standing before God the Father and in front of the Lamb (Jesus), united in praise. This pictured the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham regarding his future family: “Then the Lord took [Abraham] outside and said to him, ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’ ” (Genesis 15:5).

The worshippers in the vision held palm branches in their hands, symbolic of royal and military processions (Revelation 7:9). Together with the angels, elders and four living creatures, this vast group of people was united in worshipping God. Who is this multitude? The group most probably represents all God’s faithful followers throughout the generations, all singing a hymn of praise to God and the Lamb for their great salvation. What a sight to behold!

One day God will gather together people from every nation, and we will be united in worship, singing and raising a loud and victorious shout to our God and King. It won’t be to set a record; it will be for the glory of His name (v.12).

—Marvin Williams

365-day plan: John 3:1-21

MORE
Read Revelation 5:9 and meditate on the reason for our songs of praise. 
NEXT
How does our salvation make it easier to be united in worship with other believers? What can you do to be more united with other brothers and sisters? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Impaired Judgment

June 19, 2018 

READ: Matthew 7:1–6 

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

 

I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing myself.

My hypocrisy is the kind of thinking that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). I had a huge “plank”—a blind spot through which I judged others with my own impaired judgment.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,” Jesus also said (7:2). Recalling the disgusted look on the driver’s face that day, after having to make an abrupt stop when I walked in front of the car, I’m reminded of the disgusted looks I gave others engrossed in their phones.

None of us is perfect. But sometimes I forget that in my haste to judge others. We’re all in need of God’s grace.

— Linda Washington

Heavenly Father, please help me be quicker to console or encourage, and slower to judge someone else.

Be slow to judge others.  

ODJ: Favouring Truth

June 18, 2018 

READ: James 2:1-10 

Doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgements are guided by evil motives? (v.4).

Talking with a colleague at a Christian school, I was reminded how easy it can be to judge others. Accustomed to the short hairstyles of most of our students, he was offended by the creative haircut of a visiting teen. Challenging his assumptions, I reminded him that our perception of others’ appearance isn’t an accurate way to gauge a mature, spiritual life in Christ.

Made in the image of a God who declared His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31), we have not only the ability to recognise but the desire to celebrate beauty. But we imitate the world when we trust our perception of appearances instead of seeking the truth (Proverbs 11:22). Whether we intend to or not, when we create our own standards of worth, the way we discern is faulty—leading to wrong views of others and wrong decisions.

James addressed the church’s cultural confusion, one which values worldly success but leaves the heart unchanged, in his letter to the “believers scattered abroad” (1:1). James 2:1 identifies the foundation of sure truth: “Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ”, a truth that separates the lifestyle of believers from the world’s favouritism. When Christ is at the centre of all we think and do, we begin to see reality, though in part, as He does.

When we’re no longer focused on others’ approval, we can be a part of creating a “kingdom culture” by valuing those who offer us nothing in return (vv.2-4). Discrimination, especially when based on another person’s appearance, is sin because it not only denies the diversity of all people made in God’s image but it is rooted in a humanistic desire for power and control (vv.9-10).

Godly discernment, on the other hand, displays both truth and love. And as history and Scripture bear out, we reveal God’s truth best through how we love others (1 John 3:18).

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: John 2:1-25

MORE
Read Ephesians 4:15 and reflect on how we can declare what’s true in genuine love. 
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What’s the difference between discrimination and discernment? How can love enable us to have a high value for truth without being judgemental? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Blessing in the Mess

June 18, 2018 

READ: Genesis 28:10–22 

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

 

I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking.  Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it.

God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is.

Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity.

So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the blessing intended for his brother (Genesis 27:19–29).

But the price was a divided family, as Jacob fled from his furious brother (vv. 41–43). As night descended (28:11), Jacob must have felt as far from a life of blessing as ever.

But it was there, leaving behind a trail of deception, that Jacob met God. God showed him he didn’t need desperate schemes to be blessed; he already was. His destiny—a purpose far greater than material prosperity (v. 14)—was held securely by the One who would never leave him (v. 15).

It was a lesson Jacob would spend his whole life learning.

And so will we. No matter how many regrets we carry or how distant God seems, He is still there—gently guiding us out of our mess into His blessing.

— Monica Brands

Lord, so often we feel trapped by our mistakes, thinking there’s no future left for us. Remind us that you are the God of Jacob, the God who will never give up on Your purposes for us.

God never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives.