Entries by YMI

ODB: Our True Selves

June 6, 2021 

READ: 1 John 3:1–3 

We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2

 

Inside my parents’ old photo album is a picture of a young boy. He has a round face, freckles, and straight, light-blond hair. He loves cartoons, hates avocados, and owns just one record, by Abba. Also inside that album are pictures of a teenager. His face is long, not round; his hair is wavy, not straight. He has no freckles, likes avocados, watches movies rather than cartoons, and would never admit to owning an Abba record! The boy and the teenager are little alike. According to science they have different skin, teeth, blood, and bones. And yet they are both me. This paradox has baffled philosophers. Since we change throughout our lives, who is the real us?

The Scriptures provide the answer. From the moment God began knitting us together in the womb (Psalm 139:13–14), we’ve been growing into our unique design. While we can’t yet imagine what we’ll finally become, we know that if we’re children of God we’ll ultimately be like Jesus (1 John 3:2)—our body with His nature, our personality but His character, all our gifts glistening, all our sins gone.

Until the day Jesus returns, we’re being drawn toward this future self. By His work, step by step, we can reflect His image ever more clearly (2 Corinthians 3:18). We aren’t yet who we’re meant to be, but as we become like Him, we become our true selves.

— Sheridan Voysey

When songs and films encourage us to find our “true selves,” what do you think they miss? In what area can you step toward Christlikeness today?

Jesus, make me more like You today and every day.  

ODB: Waiting in Hope

June 5, 2021 

READ: Romans 12:9–13 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

 

Rogelio served as our waiter during our weeklong vacation. In one conversation, he credited Jesus for blessing him with Kaly, a compassionate wife with strong faith. After they had their first baby, God gave them the opportunity to help care for their niece who had Down syndrome. Soon after, Rogelio’s mother-in-law needed live-in care.

Rogelio works with joy, often taking on double shifts to ensure his wife can stay home to care for the people God entrusted to them. When I shared how the couple inspired me to love better because of the way they opened their hearts and home to serve their family members, he said, “It is my pleasure to serve them . . . and you.”

Rogelio’s life affirms the power of living with generosity and trusting God to provide as we serve one another selflessly. The apostle Paul urged God’s people to be “devoted to one another in love . . . joyful in hope, patient in affliction, [and] faithful in prayer” as we “share with the Lord’s people who are in need [and] practice hospitality” (Romans 12:10–13).

Our life can change in an instant, leaving us or those we love in circumstances that feel impossible to bear. But when we’re willing to share all God has given us while we wait on Him, we can cling to His enduring love . . . together.

— Xochitl Dixon

How can you prayerfully and physically support someone in need today? How has God used someone to offer you tangible support while you waited for Him?

God, please help me love others while I wait for You to work in and through my circumstances.  

ODB: Perfect Justice

June 4, 2021 

READ: Deuteronomy 32:1–4 

All [God’s] ways are just. Deuteronomy 32:4

 

In 1983, three teens were arrested for the murder of a fourteen-year-old. According to news reports, the younger teen was “shot . . . because of his [athletic] jacket.” Sentenced to life in prison, the three spent thirty-six years behind bars before evidence surfaced that revealed their innocence. Another man had committed the crime. Before the judge released them as free men, he issued an apology.

No matter how hard we try (and no matter how much good is done by our officials), human justice is often flawed. We never have all the information. Sometimes dishonest people manipulate the facts. Sometimes we’re just wrong. And often, evils may take years to be righted, if they ever are in our lifetime. Thankfully, unlike fickle humans, God wields perfect justice. “His works are perfect,” says Moses, “and all his ways are just” (Deuteronomy 32:4). God sees things as they truly are. In time, after we’ve done our worst, God will bring about final, ultimate justice. Though uncertain of the timing, we have confidence because we serve a “faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (v. 4).

We may be dogged by uncertainty regarding what’s right or wrong. We may fear that the injustices done to us or those we love will never be made right. But we can trust the God of justice to one day—either in this life or the next—enact justice for us.

— Winn Collier

Where have you seen justice abused or misrepresented? Where does your heart cry out for God to bring justice?

God, I see injustice all around me: in the news, in my relationships, on social media. Thank You for the hope I can have in You and Your just ways.  

ODB: It’s Okay to Lament

June 3, 2021 

READ: Lamentations 3:19–26 

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. Lamentations 3:25

 

I dropped to my knees and let my tears fall to the floor. “God, why aren’t you taking care of me?” I cried. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I’d been laid-off for almost a month, and something had gone wrong with my unemployment application. I hadn’t received any money yet, and the stimulus check the US government had promised hadn’t arrived. Deep down, I trusted that God would work out everything. I believed He truly loved me and would take care of me, but in that moment, I felt abandoned.

The book of Lamentations reminds us it’s okay to lament. The book was likely written during or soon after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 bc. It describes the affliction (3:1, 19), oppression (1:18), and starvation (2:20; 4:10) the people faced. Yet, in the middle of the book the author remembers why he could hope: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22–23). Despite the devastation, the author remembered that God remains faithful.

Sometimes it feels impossible to believe that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (v. 25), especially when we don’t see an end to our suffering. But we can cry out to Him, trust that He hears us, and that He’ll be faithful to see us through.

— Julie Schwab

What’s making it difficult for you to trust God today? What will help you feel comfortable enough to cry out to Him?

Father, I need You right now. Please help me to trust You to come through for me in my difficult situation.
 
To learn more about suffering and the Christian faith, visit Christi 

ODB: A Remarkable Life

June 2, 2021 

READ: 1 Peter 2:9–12 

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. 1 Peter 2:12 nlt

 

I came to learn about Catherine Hamlin, a remarkable Australian surgeon, through reading her obituary. In Ethiopia, Catherine and her husband established the world’s only hospital dedicated to curing women from the devastating physical and emotional trauma of obstetric fistulas, a common injury in the developing world that can occur during childbirth. Catherine is credited with overseeing the treatment of more than 60,000 women.

Still operating at the hospital when she was ninety-two years old, and still beginning each day with a cup of tea and Bible study, Hamlin told curious questioners that she was an ordinary believer in Jesus who was simply doing the job God had given her to do.

I was grateful to learn about her remarkable life because she powerfully exemplified for me Scripture’s encouragement to believers to live our lives in such a way that even people who actively reject God “may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).

The power of God’s Spirit that called us out of spiritual darkness into a relationship with Him (v. 9) can also transform our work or areas of service into testimonies of our faith. In whatever passion or skill God has gifted us, we can embrace added meaning and purpose in doing all of it in a manner that has the power to point people to Him.

— Lisa M. Samra

What has God called you to do? How might you do it today in Jesus’ name?

Jesus, may Your love and grace be evident in my words and deeds today.