Entries by YMI

ODJ: redeeming love

April 21, 2013 

READ: Hosea 3:1-5 

Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them (v.1).

Go and love the person who has disappointed you!”

“Huh? No way. I don’t want to be hurt again!”

Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s difficult to love someone with a proven track record of disappointing you. But that’s exactly what God instructed Hosea to do (Hosea 3:1). He was to go and be reconciled to Gomer, even though she didn’t deserve reconciliation. In fact her actions had negatively affected his reputation and almost ruined their relationship.

In taking the step of obedience, however, Hosea took a risk. In verse 2 we read that Hosea redeemed Gomer, revealing his love for her. But their relationship didn’t immediately reset back to good times. There was a period of abstaining that Hosea required of his wayward wife (v.3). The time was needed for Gomer to change and grow while new spiritual sensitivity replaced old carnality.

One preacher summed it up this way, “[Hosea] redeems her, but it is because he wants to serve her, not make his own life better by gratifying his own ego or needs. He wants to be part of God’s redemptive plan for her recovery spiritually, emotionally and relationally.”

Hosea’s love for Gomer reflects God’s love for His people. It illustrates “that the Lord still loves Israel” (v.1). That same redeeming love was seen when Jesus died on the cross for us (Romans 5:8). He didn’t wait for us to get better and then come looking for Him. He reached out to us. And, as believers, we experience His redeeming love time and time again.

Can we risk loving again? Yes, we can when we remember that a relationship is not just between two persons. There’s an important third Person in the mix—Jesus. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). —Poh Fang Chia

Read 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, Galatians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:13-15 for a deeper understanding of how to reflect Christ’s redeeming love.
Who is the Gomer in your life? How can you love that person in Jesus? How have you experienced the redeeming love of God?

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Wonderfully Made

April 20, 2013 

READ: Psalm 139:13-18 

Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. —Psalm 139:14 

While getting an eye exam recently, my doctor hauled out a piece of equipment that I hadn’t seen before. I asked him what the device was, and he responded, “I’m using it to take a picture of the inside of the back of your eye.”

I was impressed that someone had invented a camera that could do that. But I was even more impressed by what my doctor could learn from that picture. He said, “We can gather a lot of details about your current general health simply by looking at the back of your eye.”

My doctor’s comment amazed me. It is remarkable that a person’s overall health can be measured by the health of the eye. What care the Lord has taken to place these details in the bodies He has created! It immediately brings to my mind the words of David, the psalmist, who reveled in God’s creativity: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Ps. 139:14).

The enormous complexities of our bodies reflect the genius and wisdom of our great Creator. The wonder of His design is more than breathtaking—it gives us countless reasons to worship Him!

— Bill Crowder

Lord, we are in awe of You! Thank You that You
created us with such complexity and care
and that You know us with such intimacy.
We love You and trust You with our lives.

All life is created by God and bears His autograph. 

ODJ: losing ourselves

April 20, 2013 

READ: Genesis 3:1-15 

Then the Lord God 
called to the man, “Where are you?” (v.9).

James Hunter, a sociology professor at a large university, says, “Many people continue to think of their lives in moral terms; they want to live good lives, but they are more uncertain about what the nature of the good is.”

To me, this suggests that the more independent we become, the further we drift from the principles, attachments and communities that nurture us towards real life. Gaining so-called personal liberation may actually lead to losing what we hold most dear.

When God placed Adam and Eve in Eden, He gave them the entire garden to tend and cultivate. The world was open to them. The only restriction was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God was not selfish or stingy. Rather, He knew there was some knowledge they could not bear.

Tragically the serpent beguiled Eve. She ate. Then Adam ate. And this knowledge that they coveted rushed over them like a tidal wave. But it was not liberating. It was like a lead weight dropped on their soul. They were not free; they were afraid.

God approached the garden, gently asking where they were. Adam answered, “I hid. I was afraid” (v.10). They had never known fear. They had never hidden. This new knowledge did not open up new possibilities. Rather, they were cornered, cowering. Before, they had danced in the open. Now they ran, and they hid. Their world was not larger but smaller. By disobeying God, Adam and Eve did not become more themselves but less themselves.

We’re tempted to believe that following God limits our honest self-expression, but only life in Him sets us free to be ourselves. —Winn Collier

Read Proverbs 8:32-36. Note the descriptions of the life found by following God. Then note the descriptions (or inferences) found in a life that resists God. Which feels more true and free? 
How are you tempted to hide from God? How might this hiding result in your losing freedom or losing what God has made you to be?

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Strengthened Through Suffering

April 19, 2013 

READ: 1 Peter 5:1-11 

May the God of all grace, . . . after you have suffered a while, . . . strengthen, and settle you. —1 Peter 5:10 

Church services often end with a benediction. A common one is taken from Peter’s concluding remarks in his first epistle: “May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). Sometimes omitted in the benediction is the phrase “after you have suffered a while.” Why? Perhaps because it is not pleasant to speak of suffering.

It should not surprise us, however, when suffering comes our way. The apostle Paul, who knew well what it was to suffer, wrote: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

If we live a life of submission to God (1 Peter 5:6) and resisting the devil (v.9), we can expect to be maligned, misunderstood, and even taken advantage of. But the apostle Peter says that there is a purpose for such suffering. It is to “restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (v.10 niv).

God’s path for our Christian growth often leads us through difficulties, but they fortify us to withstand life’s future storms. May God help us to be faithful as we seek to boldly live a life that honors Him.

— C. P. Hia

Forbid it, Lord, that I should be
Afraid of persecution’s frown;
For Thou hast promised faithful ones
That they shall wear the victor’s crown. —Bosch

When God would make us strong
He schools us through hardships.