Entries by YMI

ODB: “Don’t Worry, Dad!”

May 9, 2013 

READ: Exodus 14:19-25 

The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. —Isaiah 58:8 

Last summer, my husband and I hosted a concert and fundraiser for childhood cancer research. We planned to have the event in our backyard, but weather forecasts were dismal. A few hours before the event, we began calling our 100+ guests to inform them of a change in venue. As our friends and family began feverishly toting food, decorations, and equipment from our house to our church gym, our daughter Rosie took a moment to give her dad a hug and remind him on behalf of the kids and grandkids that they were there for him: “Don’t worry, Dad! We’ve got your back.”

Hearing that expression is comforting because it reminds us that we’re not on our own. Someone is saying, “I’m here. I’ll take care of whatever you might miss. I’ll be a second set of eyes and hands for you.”

As the Israelites were escaping a life of slavery, Pharaoh sent his army of chariots and horsemen to give chase (Ex. 14:17). But “the Angel of God . . . and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them” (v.19). In this way, God hid and protected them throughout the night. The next day, He parted the Red Sea so they could safely cross over.

God tells us “Don’t worry” as well. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

— Cindy Hess Kasper

God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depths
Can hold my small affairs;
His hand that guides the universe
Can carry all my cares. —Anon.

Our work is to cast care; God’s work is to take care! 

ODJ: taken


May 9, 2013 

READ: Mark 16:19-20 

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand (v.19).


There are three major events in Jesus’ life that most Christian churches commemorate with special services: Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ incarnation and birth; Good Friday, commemorating His crucifixion and death; and Easter Sunday, celebrating His resurrection—His coming back from the dead. Some churches include Pentecost Sunday as the church’s birthday. There is, however, one important event that is forgotten by most Christians: Ascension Day—the day Jesus was taken into heaven. For some reason our Lord’s return to heaven is not given the prominence in the church that it deserves.


In a search and rescue mission, the mission is considered successful when the rescuers return safely to the home base with the person they set out to find. Similarly, there had to be an end to Jesus’ ‘in-person’ rescue mission. 


Jesus “came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). His work of redemption on earth began with His becoming a man (Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 2:17). His death by crucifixion provided salvation for all who believe in Him (Romans 3:23-26; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). God the Father accepted His sacrifice for our sins by raising Jesus from the dead (Rom. 4:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:14-18; 1 Peter 1:21). The resurrection confirms the sufficiency and efficacy of His death (Rom. 6:4-11; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 3:21-22). 


Jesus was taken to heaven because His work on earth was completed. “Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honour next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept His authority” (1 Peter 3:22). 


Exalted and glorified, Jesus continues His intercessory work for us as our High Priest (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:24-25) and Advocate (Heb. 9:24; 1 John 2:1). And now He’s preparing heaven for all true believers! (John 14:2-3). Are you ready?—K.T. Sim


MORE
Read Luke 24:47-53 and Acts 1:1-11 to find out more about Jesus’ return to heaven.
 
NEXT
Jesus’ ascension was His exaltation and His return to His eternal glory (John 17:4-5). What can you do today that will give the event the prominence it deserves? How should you help others remember this important event?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Golden Eagle

May 8, 2013 

READ: Psalm 145:1-7 

I will meditate . . . on Your wondrous works. —Psalm 145:5 

My son Mark and I were leaving the Clyde Peterson Ranch in Wyoming to head back to Michigan. In the distance we spotted a huge bird sitting in a solitary tree overlooking a steep canyon. As we approached, the golden eagle leaped from the tree and soared out over the canyon, the golden streaks in its feathers shimmering in the morning sun. Its immense size and beauty filled us with wonder. We felt privileged to witness this magnificent demonstration of God’s awesome creativity.

Creation displays God’s “wondrous works” (Ps. 145:5). And when we stop to meditate on those works, we can’t help but be awed as our minds and spirits are moved to reflect on the character of the God who created them.

That golden eagle told my son and me a story of the creative genius of our mighty God. So does the flitting songbird, the doe with her playful fawn, the pounding surf, and delicate little flowers such as bachelor’s-button and spring beauty. In the most unexpected moments and out-of-the-way places the Lord shines His glory in this world in order to reveal Himself to us. Those serendipitous moments are opportunities to “meditate . . . on [His] wondrous works” (v.5).

— David C. Egner

This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought. —Babcock

Always be on the lookout for wonder. —E. B. White 

ODJ: 65 gifts


May 8, 2013 

READ: Acts 20:17-35 

I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v.35).


Doug Eaton wanted to celebrate his 65th birthday in an uncommon fashion. When he asked hisfriends how he should celebrate the big day, one suggested that he perform 65 random acts of kindness. And that is exactly what he did. At a busy junction, he handed out cash notes for 65 minutes. According to Eaton, giving to others was the best gift he could have asked for. “It’s been fantastic,” Eaton said.


Mr. Eaton’s birthday present to himself—giving gifts to others—was actually a virtue of Christians in the early church. As Paul prepared to bid the elders of Ephesus farewell, he highlighted this virtue of generosity (Acts 20:35). Along with warning them about false teaching, persecution and the possibility of elders using their position for personal gain, he reminded them of his custom of working with his own hands, not only to support himself but also to meet the needs of others (vv.28-34). 


Then Paul quoted a saying of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v.35). This saying does not appear in any of the four gospels, but because not all of Jesus’ words were written down (John 21:25), this saying was probably known in the oral tradition of the apostles. Paul was intimating that generosity to people who could not survive without help from their brothers and sisters was a distinguishing characteristic of early followers of Jesus (Acts 2:45; 1 John 3:17). 


Giving to others should be a distinguishing mark of followers of Jesus today as well. God allows us to earn money not just to meet our own needs, but also to be a blessing to others (v.34). Let’s honour our Lord and celebrate our new life in Him by intentionally making our possessions available for God’s service and to help our brothers and sisters who are in need.—Marvin Williams


MORE
Read Luke 10:33-35 to see an example of how one person made his resources available to bless someone in need.
 
NEXT
What are some of the blessings we receive when we give to others? In what ways will you make your possessions available to God this week in order to bless someone in need?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)