Entries by YMI

ODJ: five words

June 2, 2013 

READ: Joshua 22:1-9 

Love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul (v.5).

A 2012 survey of people aged 18 to 24 uncovered an interesting trend. The study, led by the PublicReligion Research Institute, revealed that one in four young adults chose “unaffiliated” for their religious commitment. But 55 percent of that group had “identified with a religious group” when they were younger. They had simply walked away from the faith they once embraced.

Sadly, many believers in Jesus turn away from their “first love” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV). Knowing that the people of ancient Israel were prone to wander away from God, Joshua called together the “eastern tribes” to commend them and give them counsel. He commended them for faithfully following God’s commands as they helped to clear Canaan (Joshua 22:2-3). The Promised Land had been claimed and was now prepared for God’s people.

But as he sent the three tribes (Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh) back to their homes on the east side of the Jordan (v.4), Joshua also had some instructions for them (v.5):

• “Love”—To maintain their relationship with God, they needed to love Him deeply.

• “Walk”—To stay in step with God, they needed to follow His ways completely.

• “Obey”—To honour God, they needed to obey His commands unceasingly.

• “Hold”—To stay strong in their faith, they needed to hold firmly to God uniquely.

• “Serve”—To live out their faith, they needed to serve God sincerely.

To make sure you don’t begin moving away from God—slipping from unashamed believer (Romans 1:16) to unaffiliated non-believer—consider the five words Joshua spoke to the people. As we love, walk, obey, hold and serve in our relationship with God, our hearts will stay rooted in Him (Joshua 22:5).—Tom Felten

› Daniel 6:1-28

Read Joshua 1:6-9 and see what God told Joshua at the onset of Israel’s claiming of the Promised Land. 
How is your love for God being tested? Which of Joshua’s five words do you most need to consider today in your relationship with God? Why? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: I’m Bored

June 1, 2013 

READ: John 10:7-14 

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. —John 10:10 

When our kids were teens, we repeatedly had the following discussion after their church youth group meeting: I asked, “How was youth group tonight?” And they responded, “It was boring.” After several weeks of this, I decided to find out for myself. I slipped into the gym where their meeting was held, and I watched. I saw them participating, laughing, listening—having a great time. That night on the way home I asked about their evening and, once again, they said, “It was boring.” I responded, “I was there. I watched. You had a great time!” They responded, “Maybe it wasn’t as bad as usual.”

I recognized that behind their reluctance to admit they were enjoying youth group were things such as peer pressure and a fear of not appearing “cool.” But then I wondered, Am I similarly afraid to get too excited about spiritual things?

Indeed, there is nothing in this universe more worthy of our enthusiasm than who Christ is and what He did for us. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). That’s the opposite of boring! At any age, we have a gift from the Savior that is worth celebrating. Our salvation is something to get excited about!

— Bill Crowder

Father, please fill my heart with the joy of Christ.
I desire that the abundant life I have found
in Him might contagiously reach
out to others around me.

If you know Christ, you always have a reason to celebrate. 

ODJ: hiding the flame

June 1, 2013 

READ: John 3:19-21 

You light a lamp forme. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness (Psalm 18:28).

The London 2012 Olympic Cauldron was magnificent. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the spectacular sculpture was built out of 204 copper petals representing the number of competing countries. Despite its beauty, the cauldron elicited scorn from some visitors of the Games who couldn’t view it.

Heatherwick explained that he wanted to achieve the intimacy of the 1948 Games with the cauldron set within the stadium to one side near the spectators. He knew that only ticket holders to the opening ceremonies or athletics events in the Olympic Stadium could view it in person. But he also knew that spectators in the Olympic Park could see it on various video screens, and fans around the world could witness it via TV and the Internet.

I’m a bit surprised that the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) approved Heatherwick’s plan. It was definitely an innovative approach, but the cauldron couldn’t be easily seen by many people in London.

Fortunately, by God’s grace and mercy, no person, law or object can hide or dictate the light of Christ—“God’s light came into the world” (John 3:19). “I am the light of the world,” Jesus proclaimed. “If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (8:12).

Unconfined to a cauldron, the light of Jesus reveals God to the nations (Luke 2:32; John 3:21) and gives us the ability to see His face, His truth, His heart (Luke 1:79). “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, emphasis added).

Thank you, God, for making “the light by which we see” free and accessible to all (Psalm 36:9).—Roxanne Robbins

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7 and consider what it says about God’s light: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.” 
How do we sometimes hide God’s light in our lives? Why is it true that God’s light will never be extinguished? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Fickle Followers

May 31, 2013 

READ: John 12:12-19; 19:14-16 

Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt. —John 12:15 

How quickly public opinion can change! When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover feast, He was welcomed by crowds cheering to have Him made king (John 12:13). But by the end of the week, the crowds were demanding that He be crucified (19:15).

I recognize myself in those fickle crowds. I love cheering for a team that’s winning, but my interest wanes when they start losing. I love being part of a movement that is new and exciting, but when the energy moves to a new part of town, I’m ready to move on. I love following Jesus when He is doing the impossible, but I slink away when He expects me to do something difficult. It’s exciting to follow Jesus when I can do it as part of the “in” crowd. It’s easy to trust Him when He outsmarts the smart people and outmaneuvers the people in power (see Matt. 12:10; 22:15-46). But when He begins to talk about suffering and sacrifice and death, I hesitate.

I like to think that I would have followed Jesus all the way to the cross—but I have my doubts. After all, if I don’t speak up for Him in places where it’s safe, what makes me think I would do so in a crowd of His opponents?

How thankful I am that Jesus died for fickle followers so that we can become devoted followers.

— Julie Ackerman Link

For Further Thought
Read these Bible verses and ponder Jesus’ love for you
(Rom. 5:8; Rom. 8:37-39; Heb. 13:5-6,8; 1 John 3:1).
Allow your devotion to Him to grow.

Christ deserves full-time followers.