Entries by YMI

ODB: Welcome To All!

July 7, 2013 

READ: Isaiah 55:1-9 

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. —1 Samuel 16:7 

A beautifying project on the main road of my town prompted the demolition of a church built in the 1930s. Although the windows of the empty church had been removed, the doors remained in place for several days, even as bulldozers began knocking down walls. Each set of doors around the church building held a message written in giant, fluorescent-orange block letters: KEEP OUT!

Unfortunately, some churches whose doors are open convey that same message to visitors whose appearance doesn’t measure up to their standards. No fluorescent, giant-size letters needed. With a single disapproving glance, some people communicate: “You’re Not Welcome Here!”

How people look on the outside, of course, is not an indicator of what is in their hearts. God’s focus is on the inner life of people. He looks far below the surface of someone’s appearance (1 Sam. 16:7) and that’s what He desires for us to do as well. He also knows the hearts of those who appear to be “righteous” but are “full of hypocrisy” on the inside (Matt. 23:28).

God’s message of welcome, which we are to show to others, is clear. He says to all who seek Him: “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Isa. 55:1).

— Cindy Hess Kasper

Thank You, Lord, that You welcome all into
Your family, and You have welcomed me. Show me
how to be as accepting of others as You are.
May I reveal Your heart of love.

No one will know what you mean when you say,
“God is love”—unless you show it. 

ODJ: holy living

July 7, 2013 

READ: Matthew 6:7-13 

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy (v.9).

Our Father in heaven,” Jesus taught us to pray,“may Your name be kept holy” (Matthew 6:9). We affirm today that Your name, Yahweh, already is holy because it describes You—pure, perfect, far removed from evil, error and corruption.

And yet in praying, “May Your name be kept holy”, we acknowledge our part, as Your people, in revealing Your holiness to others. By our words and deeds we can either represent You well, or we can cause Your name to be blasphemed by the world (Romans 2:24).

God, we confess today that we have in many ways tainted Your holy name. We ask humbly, and urgently, that You right what we’ve wronged, and make Your name holy once more. We beg your forgiveness . . .

For church ministers who have betrayed the trust of

children. They have violated their innocence in Your name.

For televangelists whose ministries have collapsed in

scandal. They have ruined lives in Your name.

For crusades and wars fought for the “Prince of Peace”—for acts of brutality done in Your name.

For the coldness of some of our churches and the superficiality of others; for the ways we’ve clung to archaic tradition or run with the latest fad.

For clothing ourselves in riches while the poor starve; for cheapening the bonds of marriage by relaxing sexual ethics; for pursuing success at the expense of principle; for the self-centredness of our dreams; for the myriad ways we have refashioned You into a god who endorses whatever we want endorsed.

Holy God, we’re so sorry. We repent. Empower us to live lives like Yours. For You are pure, loving and good—and You call us to be like You. May your name be kept holy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.—Sheridan Voysey

MORE
Read 1 Peter 1:15 to hear the call to holiness, Romans 2:17-24 to see what happens when we neglect it, and Nehemiah 9:5-37 for another prayer of repentance.  
NEXT
Is there a specific sin God is calling you to repent of today? Is there anyone to whom you need to show God’s work in your life by apologising? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Avoid Dehydration

July 6, 2013 

READ: John 7:37-39 

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. —John 7:37 

A couple of times in the past few years I’ve experienced dehydration and, believe me, it is not something I want to repeat. It happened once after I suffered a torn hamstring while cross-country skiing, and another time in the 115-degree heat of an Israeli desert. Both times I experienced dizziness, disorientation, loss of clear vision, and a host of other symptoms. I learned the hard way that water is vital to maintaining my well-being.

My experience with dehydration gives me a new appreciation for Jesus’ invitation: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). His announcement was dramatic, particularly in terms of the timing. John notes that it was the last day of the “great feast”—the annual festival commemorating the wandering of the Jews in the wilderness—which climaxed with a ceremonial pouring of water down the temple steps to recall God’s provision of water for the thirsty wanderers. At that point, Jesus rose and proclaimed that He is the water we all desperately need.

Living like we really need Jesus—talking to Him and depending on His wisdom—is vital to our spiritual well-being. So, stay connected to Jesus, for He alone can satisfy your thirsty soul!

— Joe Stowell

Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking that I can do life
without the water of Your presence, advice, counsel,
comfort, and conviction. Thank You that You are
indeed the living water that I so desperately need.

Come to Jesus for the refreshing power of His living water. 

ODJ: the real boss

July 6, 2013 

READ: 2 Timothy 2:23-26 

The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm (Exodus 14:14).

Seven months later, American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke some words in response to attacks on American diplomatic missions in the Middle East that echoed my son’s convictions.

“When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence,” Clinton said. “The same goes for all faiths. . . . Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith; it is . . . a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.”

Whether from the mouths of babes or seasoned leaders, there’s wisdom in the exhortation to refrain from fighting.

As Scripture strongly states: “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honour; only fools insist on quarrelling” (Proverbs 20:3); “An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honour” (29:22-23); “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them” (15:18); “Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity. Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe” (28:25-26).

As followers of Jesus, let’s adhere to the apostle Paul’s advice, “Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone . . . and be patient with difficult people” (2 Timothy 2:23-24).

—Roxanne Robbins
› Matthew 11:1-30

MORE
In 2 Timothy 4:7, what does Paul mean whenhe says he has “fought the good fight”? How does this type offighting differ from violence and retaliation? 
NEXT
What has caused quarrels or fights in your life recently? How can you apply Scripture to help heal your relationship(s)? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)