Entries by YMI

ODB: An Open, Generous Heart

November 22, 2020 

READ: 1 Timothy 6:17–19 

Be generous and willing to share. 1 Timothy 6:18

 

After Vicki’s old car broke down with no option for repair, she started scraping together money for another vehicle. Chris, a frequent customer of the restaurant where Vicki works at the drive-thru window, one day heard her mention she needed a car. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Chris said. “I [had] to do something.” So he bought his son’s used car (his son had just put it up for sale), shined it up, and handed Vicki the keys. Vicki was shocked. “Who . . . does that?” she said in amazement and gratitude.

The Scriptures call us to live with open hands, giving freely as we can—providing what’s truly best for those in need. As Paul says: “Command [those who are rich] to do good, to be rich in good deeds” (1 Timothy 6:18). We don’t merely perform a benevolent act here or there, but rather live out a cheerful spirit of giving. Big-heartedness is our normal way of life. “Be generous and willing to share,” we’re told (v. 18).

As we live with an open, generous heart, we don’t need to fear running out of what we need. Rather, the Bible tells us that in our compassionate generosity, we’re taking “hold of [true] life” (v. 19). With God, genuine living means loosening our grip on what we have and giving to others freely.

— Winn Collier

When do you struggle the most with being generous? How does God’s generous heart encourage you to give more freely?

I want to hold what I have loosely, God. I want to be generous, like You. Transform my heart and help me to give freely.  

Dance Again

Amanda Varty was diagnosed with a chronic illness and lay confined to a bed in a darkened room for nine years.

ODB: Instruments of Peace

November 21, 2020 

READ: James 3:13–18 

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

 

When World War I erupted in 1914, British statesman Sir Edward Grey declared, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Grey was right. When the “war to end all wars” finally ended, some 20 million had been killed (10 million of them civilians) and another 21 million injured.

While not on the same scale or magnitude, devastation can also occur in our personal lives. Our home, workplace, church, or neighborhood can also be shrouded by the dark specter of conflict. This is one of the reasons God calls us to be difference-makers in the world. But to do so we must rely on His wisdom. The apostle James wrote, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17–18).

The role of peacemaker is significant because of its harvest. The word righteousness means “right standing” or “right relationship.” Peacemakers can help restore relationships. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). His children, relying on His wisdom, become instruments of His peace where it’s needed most.

— Bill Crowder

In what personal conflicts do you need the light of God’s wisdom? How can His peace enable you to be a peacemaker when people around you choose to fight?

Father, Your light penetrates the deepest darkness and Your peace calms the most troubled heart. Help me know Your wisdom and peace and carry it to others in their struggles as well.
Listen to Discover the Word, “Why Can&rs 

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.
 < 

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.