Entries by YMI

ODJ: all things new


February 6, 2013 

READ: Revelation 21:1-8 

And the One sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” (v.5).

Russian scientists recently discovered plant matter in the burrow of an Ice Age squirrel—stuff that had been frozen for thousands of years. They took the material to their laboratory, where they successfully regenerated a thriving Silene stenophylla plant. The scientists will continue to dig through the Siberian permafrost in hopes of finding frozen matter from other plants and animals. They would love to uncover tissue from a wooly mammoth, which they think they could parlay into a living version of the real thing, à la Jurassic Park.
What these scientists did for one plant, however, Jesus will do for the entire planet. Peter declares that one day the Lord will return to “set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames” (2 Peter 3:12). But from this stricken world, shaken down to its foundation, Jesus will create “the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (v.13).

When Jesus returns, He will make “everything new” (Revelation 21:5). Notice that Jesus will not make “new everything.” He will not brush this world aside and replace it with something else. Rather he will take everything that is already here and make it new.
What Jesus will do for the world He will also do for you. You may bear the scars of having been a sinner living in a broken world—staggering beneath the burden of deep wounds (some self-inflicted and some dealt by others)—but you belong to the “everything” that Jesus will make new. You will rise again, much like a Silene stenophylla that had been buried for thousands of years, and then “He will wipe every tear from [your] eyes” (v.4).

If you put your trust in Jesus, this promise is for you. Lean on Him, and lean into the newness of your future. —Mike Wittmer


MORE
Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 to learn how your future should inspire you to live right now.
 
NEXT
What excites you most about being made new? How might you anticipate this coming change in your life today?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: The Lesson

February 5, 2013 

READ: Romans 12:14-21 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Romans 12:21 

One summer I was at a gathering of old high school acquaintances when someone behind me tapped me on my shoulder. As my eyes drifted over the woman’s name tag, my mind drifted back in time. I remembered a tightly folded note that had been shoved through the slot on my locker. It had contained cruel words of rejection that had shamed me and crushed my spirit. I remember thinking, Somebody needs to teach you a lesson on how to treat people! Although I felt as if I were reliving my adolescent pain, I mustered up my best fake smile; and insincere words began coming out of my mouth.

We began to converse. A sad story of a difficult upbringing and of an unhappy marriage began to pour out of her. As it did, the words “root of bitterness” from Hebrews 12:15 popped into my head. That’s what I’m feeling, I thought. After all these years, I still had a deep root of bitterness hidden within me, twisting around and strangling my heart.

Then these words came to my mind: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

We talked. We even shared some tears. Neither of us mentioned the long-ago incident. God taught someone a lesson that afternoon—a lesson of forgiveness and of letting go of bitterness. He taught it to me.

— Cindy Hess Kasper

Dear Lord, please help me not to harbor resentment
and bitterness in my heart. Through the power
of the Holy Spirit, enable me to let go of my
bitterness and forgive those who have hurt me.

Revenge imprisons us; forgiveness sets us free. 

ODJ: learning journey


February 5, 2013 

READ: Luke 9:10-17 

Jesus said, “You feed them” (v.13).


It had been an exhilarating mission trip. Jesus had sent the disciples to go to the villages to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal (Luke 9:1-6). Even though they brought neither bread nor money, God had provided. And He had worked through them.

Now Jesus was taking them away for a retreat. But a great crowd followed. The Lord welcomed them. He taught them about the kingdom of God and healed the sick. The disciples, though feeling a tad tired, may have enjoyed sitting among the crowd and listening to the Master Teacher as well.

But the sunlight started to wane, and stomachs began to growl. The disciples came to Jesus and gently reminded Him that they were in a remote place. Peter, Andrew and Philip knew the challenge they faced since they were from a town in that region (John 1:44). The disciples suggested that Jesus should send the crowd away so that they could find food and lodgings. But Jesus said, “You feed them” (Luke 9:13).

Clearly the disciples had done their maths. They reminded Jesus that they had only five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 men.

Surely, going to buy food for the crowd would be necessary. Instead Jesus instructed His men to get the people to sit in groups of about 50. Though the disciples may have thought this would take precious time away from going to get the food, they obeyed. Only when all the people sat down did Jesus perform His miracle. They all ate to their hearts’ content, and there was food to spare!
Like the disciples, we are on a journey with Jesus. He has much to show us about Himself and the things that He can do through us and with us. And what does He ask? That we simply trust and obey. —Poh Fang Chia

 | 365-day plan› Exodus 6:1-13

MORE
Read Proverbs 3:5-6 for what it means to trust and obey God.

 

NEXT
When do you find it hardest to trust and obey God? What is He showing you these days as you journey with Him?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Just Enough

February 4, 2013 

READ: Matthew 6:25-34 

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. —Matthew 6:33 

I love writing for Our Daily Bread. I confess, however, that sometimes I whine to my friends about how difficult it is to communicate everything I would like to say in a short devotional. If only I could use more than 220 words.

This year when I came to the book of Matthew in my Bible-reading schedule, I noticed something for the first time. As I was reading about the temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:1-11), I noticed how short it was. Matthew used fewer than 250 words to write his account of one of the most pivotal events in all of Scripture. Then I thought of other short yet powerful passages: the 23rd Psalm (117 words) and the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (66 words).

Clearly, I don’t need more words, I just need to use them well. This also applies to other areas of life—time, money, space. Scripture affirms that God meets the needs of those who seek His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The psalmist David encourages us, “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10).

If today you’re thinking, “I need just a little bit more” of something, consider instead the possibility that God has given you “just enough.”

— Julie Ackerman Link

I would be quiet, Lord, and rest content,
By grace I would not pine or fret;
With You to guide and care, my joy be this:
Not one small need of mine will You forget! —Bosch

He is rich who is satisfied with what he has.