Entries by YMI

ODB: Battling Ego

July 5, 2013 

READ: James 4:6-17 

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. —James 4:6 

When a general returned from a victorious battle, ancient Rome would stage a parade to welcome the conqueror home. The parade would include the general’s troops, as well as trophy captives who had been brought along as evidence of the victory. As the parade made its way through the city, the crowds would cheer their hero’s success.

To prevent the general’s ego from becoming unduly swollen, a slave rode along with him in his chariot. Why? So that as the Roman throngs heaped praise on the general, the slave could continually whisper in his ear, “You too are mortal.”

When successful, we too may lose sight of our own frailty and allow our hearts to fill with destructive pride. James pointed us away from the danger of pride by pointing us to humility and to God. He wrote, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). The key to that statement is grace. Nothing is more wonderful! The Lord alone deserves thanks and praise—especially for the grace He has lavished on us.

Our achievements, success, or greatness are not rooted in ourselves. They are the product of God’s matchless grace, upon which we are eternally dependent.

— Bill Crowder

New mercies every morning,
Grace for every day,
New hope for every trial,
And courage all the way. —Mc Veigh

God’s grace is infinite love
expressing itself through infinite goodness. 

ODJ: learning humility

July 5, 2013 

READ: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall (v.12).

Last month, as my wife was using our riding lawn mower, she accidentally hooked the bottom of the mower on one of the swings of our swing set. It dangerously lifted the front tyres off the ground! So as I was recently cutting the grass, her scare reminded me to slow down to first gear. I confidently manoeuvred around the swing on my left—but I failed to see the one on the right. Suddenly the mower reared up on its rear wheels and then tipped backwards. After hitting the ground and rolling clear of the blades, I realised that my mower now lay upside down on its crushed steering wheel.

My wife couldn’t believe what I’d done. After what had happened to her, she wondered how I could have been so careless. But that was the problem. It had happened to her, a rookie driver. I had mowed our lawn for 8 years without incident. In fact, I didn’t even know it was possible to flip a riding mower on level ground—and I didn’t think it could happen to me.

I had failed to fully learn from my wife’s example. In1 Corinthians 6 Paul tells us that we should learn from the Israelites. Their stories of disobedience “were written down to warn us” not to “crave evil things as they did, or worship idols” or “engage in sexual immorality” or “put Christ to the test” or “grumble as some of them did” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11). We are worse the moment we suppose we’re better, for we become sloppy when we think we’ll never fall.

If “pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), then we must live humbly and alertly before God. What sin are you sure you would never commit? Look out! You’ve just let down your guard.

—Mike Wittmer
Luke 7:1-17 ‹

MORE
Read Mark 14:27-31, 66-72 to learn the danger of overconfidence. 
NEXT
What sin are you inching towards because you’re sure you’d never actually do it? What do you think God wants you to do about it? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Eternal Eyesight

July 4, 2013 

READ: 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8 

We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. —2 Corinthians 4:18 

I received good news at my eye checkup last month—my faraway vision has improved. Well, I thought it was good news until a friend informed me: “Faraway vision can improve as we age; close-up vision may diminish.”

The report made me think of another kind of improved faraway vision that I have observed in some Christians. Those who have known the Lord for a long time or who have gone through great trials seem to have a better heavenly vision than the rest of us. Their eternal eyesight has gotten better and their close-up “earthly” vision is diminishing.

Because the apostle Paul had that type of eternal vision, he encouraged the church in Corinth: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory . . . . The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

For now we struggle with our “eyesight.” There’s a tension between enjoying all that God has given us in this life, yet still believing what theologian Jonathan Edwards said about our future: “To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.” Seeing Him will bring perfect vision.

— Anne Cetas

Lord, we know that our life on this earth is but
a moment compared to eternity. Help us to enjoy
the time we’ve been given, and use us to tell of Your
love and goodness until that day when we see You.

Keep your eyes fixed on the prize. 

ODJ: unwanted and unloved

July 4, 2013 

READ: Ruth 2:5-23 

[The Lord] is showingHis kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers (v.20).

A pastor and his congregation, serving in an area known for addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes, haveprayed an interesting prayer for many years: Lord, send us the people nobody else wants. That prayer has been answered, as more than 800 church attendees are now involved in recovery programmes designed to help them break free from destructive lifestyles. Recently the pastor added this phrase to the end of his prayer: . . . and nobody else sees. He says, “[These people] are often overlooked. . . . But after all, as Jesus put it, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do’ ” (Matthew 9:12).

There once lived two women who definitely could have been shunned and overlooked—Naomi and Ruth. Due to the twin challenges of living in a patriarchal society (Naomi was a widow) filled with ethnic prejudice (Ruth was a Moabitess), the two were in a “bitter” place (Ruth 1:3-4,20).

But by God’s grace one man didn’t see them in the negative way that many did. Boaz showed “kindness” to the two women—noting the kindness Ruth had shown to his relative Naomi (2:11,20). He even blessed Ruth, saying, “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done” (v.12).

Get this: Ruth was welcomed and helped even though she was a widow, had come from an undesirable nation and wasn’t one of Boaz’s workers (v.13). Although different and needy, she was redeemed by this “family redeemer” (v.20)—a man she would eventually marry! (4:13).

Who are the “people nobody else wants” in your world? How can you help them find redemption in Jesus and a healthier way of life? In Jesus’ eyes, all people are wanted.—Tom Felten

› Matthew 7:13-29

MORE
Read Isaiah 1:17 and note God’s compassionate instruction communicated through the prophet.  
NEXT
How did Jesus model genuine love and concern for unwanted people? What can you do to follow His example? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)