Entries by YMI

Handling Transitions

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when our transitions threaten the peace that Jesus has freely given us. Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate life’s hurdles and to meet with God in the midst of them.

Running on Empty

My boss and I were driving back from a neighboring town late one night when our car rolled to a stop.

ODB: Turning from Conflict

November 20, 2020 

READ: Ephesians 4:26–32 

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26

 

In his graveside tribute to a famous Dutch scientist, Albert Einstein didn’t mention their scientific disputes. Instead, he recalled the “never-failing kindness” of Hendrik A. Lorentz, a beloved physicist known for his easy manner and fair treatment of others. “Everyone followed him gladly,” Einstein said, “for they felt he never set out to dominate but always simply to be of use.”

Lorentz inspired scientists to put aside political prejudice and work together, especially after World War I. “Even before the war was over,” Einstein said of his fellow Nobel Prize winner, “[Lorentz] devoted himself to the work of reconciliation.”

Working for reconciliation should be the goal of everyone in the church as well. True, some conflict is inevitable. Yet we must do our part to work for peaceful resolutions. Paul wrote, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). To grow together, the apostle advised, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (v. 29).

Finally, said Paul, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (vv. 31–32). Turning from conflict whenever we are able helps build God’s church. In this, indeed, we honor Him.

— Patricia Raybon

How can God help us deal with conflict? To honor Him and your church, what conflict should you let go?

Loving God, when I face conflict, remind my heart to turn my anger over to You.  

ODB: Valiant Actions

November 19, 2020 

READ: John 10:7–18 

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14–15

 

John Harper had no idea what was about to unfold as he and his six-year-old daughter embarked on the Titanic. But one thing he knew: he loved Jesus and he was passionate that others know Him too. As soon as the ship hit an iceberg and water started pouring in, Harper, a widower, put his little girl on a lifeboat and headed into the chaos to save as many people as possible. As he distributed life jackets he reportedly shouted, “Let the women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Until his last breath, Harper shared about Jesus with anyone who was around him. John willingly gave his life away so others could live.

There was One who laid down His life freely two thousand years ago so you and I can live not only in this life but for all eternity. Jesus didn’t just wake up one day and decide He would pay the penalty of death for humanity’s sin. This was His life’s mission. At one point when He was talking with the Jewish religious leaders He repeatedly acknowledged, “I lay down my life” (John 10:11, 15, 17, 18). He didn’t just say these words but lived them by actually dying a horrific death on the cross. He came so that the Pharisees, John Harper, and we “may have life, and have it to the full” (v. 10).

— Estera Pirosca Escobar

How do you reveal that you truly love those around you? How can you show Jesus’ love to someone through your actions today?

Jesus, there aren’t words grand enough to thank You for demonstrating the greatest act of love there is. Thank You for giving Your life away so I might live. Help me to show Your love to others no matter how much it costs me.
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Thirsty?

It seems to me that there are three primary things in life that make people feel good about themselves: wealth, good looks, and knowledge.

ODB: False Confidence

November 18, 2020 

READ: Philippians 3:2–8 

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. Philippians 3:8

 

A few years ago, my doctor gave me a stern talk about my health. I took his words to heart and began going to the gym and adjusting my diet. Over time, both my cholesterol and my weight went down, and my self-esteem went up. But then something not so good happened: I began noticing other people’s dietary choices and judging them. Isn’t it funny that often when we find a scoring system that grades us well, we use it to lift ourselves up and put others down. It seems to be an innate human tendency to cling to self-made standards in an attempt to justify ourselves—systems of self-justification and guilt-management.

Paul warned the Philippians about doing such things. Some were putting their confidence in religious performance or cultural conformity, and Paul told them he had more reason to boast of such things: “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more” (3:4). Yet Paul knew his pedigree and performance was “garbage” compared to “knowing Christ” (v. 8). Only Jesus loves us as we are, rescues us, and gives us the power to become more like Him. No earning required; no scorekeeping possible.

Boasting is bad in itself, but a boast based on false confidence is tragic. The gospel calls us away from misplaced confidence and into communion with a Savior who loves us and gave Himself for us.

— Glenn Packiam

What would it look like to trust in God’s grace today? How can you live and work from a place of rest and trust in His love for you?

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your love for me. I set aside the scorecards of self-justification. Those are misguided grounds of confidence.
To learn more about Jesus and His life, visit Christia 

ODB: If Only We Could . . .

November 17, 2020 

READ: Psalm 28 

The Lord is the strength of his people. Psalm 28:8

 

The weeping Alaskan cedar tree whipped from side to side in the storm’s strong winds. Regie loved the tree that had not only provided shelter from the summer sun but also given her family privacy. Now the fierce storm was tearing the roots from the ground. Quickly, Regie, with her fifteen-year-old son in tow, ran to try to rescue the tree. With her hands and ninety-pound frame firmly planted against it, she and her son tried to keep it from falling over. But they weren’t strong enough.

God was King David’s strength when he called out to Him in another kind of storm (Psalm 28:8). Some commentators say he wrote this during a time when his world was falling apart. His own son rose in rebellion against him and tried to take the throne (2 Samuel 15). He felt so vulnerable and weak that he feared God might remain silent, and he would die (Psalm 28:1). “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help,” he said to God (v. 2). God gave David strength to go on, even though his relationship with his son never mended.

How we long to prevent bad things from happening! If only we could. But in our weakness, God promises we can always call to Him to be our Rock (vv. 1–2). When we don’t have the strength, He’s our shepherd and will carry us forever (vv. 8–9).

— Anne Cetas

When have you felt vulnerable and unable to fix a situation? How did you see God come through for you?

It seems there’s always something for which I need extra strength from You, O God. Help me to remember that without You I can do nothing.