Entries by YMI

ODJ: Views of Creation

December 10, 2018 

READ: Romans 1:18-32 

Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature (v.20).

One of my favourite views is from atop the arch of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Since the BridgeClimb officially opened in 1998, more than three million people have ascended to the apex of the iconic structure to view the stunning city.

I still remember gazing at the Sydney Harbour with a friend who described the sun’s brilliant reflection on the water as “glittering diamonds”. Indeed, the waterfront did sparkle, giving us a beautiful display of God’s beauty in creation.

Through His handiwork, God is made obvious to us, and we learn truth about Him (Romans 1:19). As the late English theologian Charles Ellicott wrote, through creation, evidence of God was revealed “or imprinted upon [our] consciences”.

Similarly, Paul wrote in Romans 1:20 that “ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.”

Creation reveals God’s power, His goodness, His wisdom and His existence so profoundly that those who witness His design “have no excuse for not knowing God” (v.20).

Sadly, although we’re able to recognise evidence of God’s reality through all He’s made, many choose to worship what He’s made instead of Him. When we worship the created instead of the Creator and fail to thank Him for all He’s made, Romans 1:21 says our minds become “dark and confused”. And when we serve things rather than “the glorious, ever-living God” (v.23), we end up trying to satisfy our desires in destructive ways (v.24).

But our loving God wants so much more for us. He invites us to live wisely by acknowledging and drawing close to Him.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

MORE
Read Psalm 19:1 and consider what it says about how God is revealed in what He’s created. 
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How have you experienced God’s reality in the natural world? What’s the difference between worshipping Him and worshipping what He’s made? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: “The Lord’s”

December 10, 2018 

READ: Isaiah 44:1–5 

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16

 

It doesn’t take much to notice that getting “inked” is very popular these days. Some tattoos are so small that one barely notices them. Others—from athletes to actors to everyday people—have opted to cover much of their bodies with multicolored inks, words, and designs. The trend seems like it’s here to stay, a trend that netted $3 billion in revenue in 2014—and an additional $66 million for tattoo removal. 

Regardless of how you may feel about tattoos, Isaiah 44 speaks metaphorically about people writing something on their hands: “The Lord’s” (v. 5). This “self-tattoo” is the climax of an entire paragraph that speaks of the Lord’s care for those He had chosen (v. 1). They could count on His help (v. 2); and their land and descendants were marked for blessing (v. 3). Two simple, powerful words, “The Lord’s,” affirmed that God’s people knew they were His possession and that He would take care of them.

Those who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ can confidently say of themselves, “The Lord’s!” We are His people, His sheep, His offspring, His inheritance, His dwelling. These are the things we cling to in the varied seasons of life. While we may have no external mark or tattoo, we can take heart that we have the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts that we belong to Him (see Romans 8:16–17).

— Arthur Jackson

Father, the expressions of Your love and care are all around me and Your Spirit lives within me. Thank You!

How can the truth that you belong to God impact how you live?  

ODJ: Can, Can’t

December 9, 2018 

READ: Exodus 3:19-4:5 

It was by faith that Moses . . . chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-25).

I can’t do this maths,” the bright little boy declared.

“Yes, I think you can,” his teacher gently countered.

“No, I can’t!” he said, biting hard on the last syllable.

The teacher thought for a moment. She wanted to use an example of something too difficult for him—something that could teach him how to approach a task step-by-step. So she asked, “Liam, do you think you can climb Mount Everest?”

The eight year old looked thoughtfully up to the ceiling, then said with confidence, “Yeah, probably.”

With just a little instruction, that eight year old boy is fully capable of doing fractions. But at this point in his life he can’t even climb Mount Fuji (12,388 feet), let alone Everest! (29,029 feet).

Scaling Mount Sinai is among Moses’ most amazing feats. Sinai’s elevation isn’t remarkable, but its history is unparalleled. That’s where Moses met face-to-face with God and received the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 19:1-20:26).

But consider the backstory. Before the exodus, Moses had coincidentally been watching sheep at Sinai. God showed up in a burning bush and told Moses to lead God’s people out of Egypt (3:1-6). Five times Moses protested against God’s direct command (3:11,13, 4:1,10,13). And five times God basically said, “You’re the one I’ve chosen!”

Now consider the backstory to that. Much earlier, Moses had tried to defend his people. But he did it his way—he murdered an Egyptian and was forced to flee (2:11-15). Eventually Moses—backed by Aaron but led by God—did challenge Pharaoh. And God used Moses to change the world.

Left to our own strength, we’ll make a mess of things. But when God calls us, He’ll provide what’s needed to complete the mission. Moses is proof of that.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

MORE
Read more of the story of Moses’ call in Exodus 2:11-3:18. 
NEXT
What do you do when you encounter something difficult? How does it encourage you to know that God will supply what’s needed to do the task He’s laid before you? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Steadfast Love

December 9, 2018 

READ: Psalm 136:1–9 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

 

“I love you!” my dad called out as I slammed the car door and headed into school. I was in sixth grade, and for months we had played out basically the same scenario every morning. We arrived at school, Dad said, “Have a great day! I love you!” and all I said was “Bye.” I wasn’t angry with him or ignoring him. I was simply so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice his words. Nevertheless, my dad’s love remained steadfast.

God’s love is like that—and more. It endures forever. The Hebrew word that expresses this steadfast kind of love is hesed. It’s used over and over again in the Old Testament, and twenty-six times in Psalm 136 alone! No modern word can fully capture the meaning; we translate it “kindness,” “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” or “loyalty.” Hesed is a love that is based on covenant commitment; love that is loyal and faithful. Even when God’s people sinned, He was faithful in loving them. Steadfast love is an integral part of the character of God (Exodus 34:6).

When I was a child, I sometimes took my dad’s love for granted. Sometimes now I do the same thing with my heavenly Father’s love. I forget to listen to God and respond. I forget to be grateful. Yet I know that God’s love for me remains steadfast—a reality that provides a sure foundation for all of my life.

— Amy Peterson

God, we praise You for Your steadfast love to us! Even when we’re faithless, You’re faithful.

Take time to show the love of God to someone today.