Entries by YMI

ODB: The Joy Of Disappointment

August 14, 2013 

READ: Proverbs 3:1-12 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. —Proverbs 3:5 

While in Bible college, I auditioned for one of the school’s traveling musical teams. I was excited about the thought of being able to be involved in that ministry, but was crushed when I failed to make the team. In my disappointment, I could only trust that God’s purposes were greater than mine.

Months later, I had the opportunity to join a different musical team, but as the Bible teacher. The results were more than I could have imagined. Not only was my future wife a part of that team, allowing us to serve Christ together, but it also gave me many opportunities to preach over the next 3 years—priceless preparation for a life of ministry in the Word.

Many times we struggle with the reality that our Father knows what is best. We assume our way is right. But, as we rest in Him, His purposes always prove to be for our good and His praise. To be honest, that’s easy to see when the outcome is better than we had hoped, but difficult when we can’t see the good right now or maybe won’t till heaven.

As wise King Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

— Bill Crowder

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand. —Williams

God’s purpose for today’s events
may not be seen until tomorrow. 

ODJ: made new

August 14, 2013 

READ: Song of Songs 8:6-7 

Love is as strong as death (v.6).

She embodies beauty, both inside and out. But she also carries the burden of deep shame due to the actions of a selfish man. Far from harmless, his hands not only touched her, but they robbed her of security and honour. Perhaps he saw it as a game—simply sacrificing her innocence on the altar of a sex-saturated culture. But to her, it resulted in a painful, lifelong wound of the heart and mind.
As much as God delights in giving gifts to His people, the powers of darkness thrill in depleting hope, destroying peace and devastating hearts (John 10:10). Few weapons are as pervasive as the chaos they create in the perversion of sexual intimacy. Single or married, young or old, male or female, the fallout from those affected has been extensive.

A restorative picture of God’s design for sexual intimacy, the Song of Songs strips away our pretenses about love as we discover the power of God’s passion for us. He became for us the very Love that was as strong as death (Song of Songs 8:6), a Love willing to be crucified (John 3:16).

Caring little about our shame, and encouraging us to live without sexual restraint, the powers of darkness want us to live in sexual brokenness. Few, if any of us, will escape this world unscathed in some way or another God, however, was not unaware.

Like the lover who reminds his beloved that the barren winter has passed, He calls us from our place of shame and desolation. He makes all things new (Isaiah 43:19). No sin is too great, no shame too weighty, no lie from the enemy too powerful. Only one question remains: will we love Him in return? (Song of Songs 6:3; 1 John 4:10). —Regina Franklin

Luke 15:1-10 ‹

Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and consider why sexual sin is devastating to our love relationship with God.  
How have your experiences in life shaped your understanding of sex? What is God’s view of it, and how will you live it out? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Looking Down

August 13, 2013 

READ: Luke 18:9-14 

I say . . . to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly. —Romans 12:3 

After I had minor eye surgery, the nurse told me, “Don’t look down for the next 2 weeks. No cooking or cleaning.” The last part of those instructions was a little easier to take than the first part! The incisions needed to heal, and she didn’t want me to put any unnecessary pressure on them by looking down.

C. S. Lewis wrote about another kind of looking down that we may have a problem with: “In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. . . . As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (Mere Christianity).

Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee who felt superior to others. In a prideful prayer, he thanked God that he was not like other men (Luke 18:11). He looked down on extortioners, the unjust, adulterers, and the tax collector who was also praying in the temple. By contrast, the tax collector knew he was a sinner before God and asked for His mercy (v.13).

Pride can be an issue for all of us. May we not look down on others but instead see the God who is far above us all.

— Anne Cetas

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride. —Watts

Spiritual pride is the most arrogant of all kinds of pride. 

ODJ: amen

August 13, 2013 

READ: 2 Chronicles 7:1-10 

When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple (v.1).

Amen! We typically say it at the end of our prayers, but Amen has more significance than simply being the last word in a prayer. Of the 30 times it’s used in the Old Testament, Amen is nearly always a response of approval to something that has been stated.
God seemed to respond to Solomon’s dedicatory prayer for the temple with, Amen, let it be so! Upon the completion of the temple, Solomon and the people gathered together to dedicate it. While reigning in heaven, God had chosen to reveal His presence on earth from the newly built edifice. After blessing the people, Solomon offered a prayer of dedication to the Lord. This prayer was one of humility (2 Chronicles 6:12-13), recognition of the faithfulness of God (vv.14-15), desire for justice (vv.22-23), forgiveness and repentance (vv.24-27), desire to see the foreigner experience God’s presence (vv.32-33) and a prayer for the Lord’s enduring presence in the temple (vv.41-42).

God answered Solomon’s prayer in dramatic fashion. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple (7:1). God was approving the dedication and use of the temple as He had intended—for encounters between Himself and His people through sacrifices and prayer. Yes, it’s as if God said “Amen” to Solomon’s prayer.

As believers in Jesus, our body is the new temple where God dwells. He dwells there by the presence of the Holy Spirit. As we submit to Him, He helps us to build and orient our lives for transforming encounters with Him—the living God.

Let’s dedicate, offer and sacrifice our lives so we too can experience God’s enduring presence and His Amen. —Marvin Williams

› Luke 14:15-35

Read 2 Chronicles 5 and note the similarities and differences of the two accounts of God’s glory filling the temple.  
What in your life do you need to rededicate to God? How have you experienced the enduring and overwhelming presence of God recently? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)