Entries by YMI

ODB: Unintentional

February 8, 2014 

READ: Leviticus 4:1-3; Romans 3:21-26 

If a person sins unintentionally . . . let him offer to the Lord . . . a young bull without blemish. —Leviticus 4:2-3 

When I was returning our grandson Alex to his family after a visit, the traffic seemed especially challenging. Fast-maneuvering cars blocked me from the correct toll lane, forcing me to go through a lane where only cars with a prepaid pass are permitted, which I didn’t have. Alex told me that my license plate would be photographed and a ticket might be mailed to me. I was frustrated because a penalty would have to be paid even though my infraction was unintentional.

For the ancient Jews, a violation of God’s laws committed even in ignorance was taken very seriously. The Old Testament recognized and provided for unintentional sins through appropriate sacrifices: “If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments . . . let him offer to the Lord . . . a young bull without blemish as a sin offering” (Lev. 4:2-3).

Old Testament sacrifices were more than a reminder that accidental wrongs have consequences. They were given in anticipation that God in His grace would provide atonement even for wrongs we didn’t realize we were doing. He did this through the death of Jesus in our place. God’s grace is far greater than we could ever imagine!

— Dennis Fisher

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin. —Johnston

Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. 

ODJ: hard conversations

February 8, 2014 

READ: Genesis 1:1-31 

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters (v.2). 

Barely a few inches long, the image on the sonogram looked like something from a science fiction film. With distinctive little nubs for hands and a clearly defined head, I could see the promise of the one who was to be our firstborn. Still unknown were the gender, personality traits and distinctive qualities to fill out the picture of the now-beating heart. Capturing the image of this little life in the womb, the sonogram pictures were treasures for my husband and me. They reminded us that what we couldn’t see with our naked eye was indeed real, though hidden.

The capacity to produce and bring forth something seen from the unseen is inherent in all living things (Genesis 1:12,24). Humans are unique, however, in our ability to hope. We live in hope because—though marred by sin—we carry the ‘DNA’ of our Creator (v.27).

For the believer, seeing something we hoped for come to fruition isn’t about raw human ability. We base our hopes on the hard foundation of this truth: God fulfils what He designs (Psalm 139:13,15-16; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 6:18). Like the formation of a child in its mother’s womb, however, the fulfilment of a hoped for outcome in life takes place in stages—many of them imperceptible with the natural eye.

Seasons of waiting can be difficult, for our emotions become especially heightened in times of protracted delay. When the questions—from ourselves and others—pile on top of one another, we must choose to settle ourselves on the “strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (v.19). For whether a hope is realised or not is based in God’s perfect plans. Our role? Stay focused, be patient and accept His loving will in hope. —Regina Franklin

MORE
Read Colossians 3:1-4, 17, 23-24 and consider how to build your hopes on the reality of heaven. 
NEXT
What’s the difference between making a risky decision and stepping out in faith? How can we know if what we’re hoping for is something that God has for us or if it’s something of our own making?  

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: God’s will and our hopes

February 8, 2014 

READ: Genesis 1:1-31 

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters (v.2). 

Barely a few inches long, the image on the sonogram looked like something from a science fiction film. With distinctive little nubs for hands and a clearly defined head, I could see the promise of the one who was to be our firstborn. Still unknown were the gender, personality traits and distinctive qualities to fill out the picture of the now-beating heart. Capturing the image of this little life in the womb, the sonogram pictures were treasures for my husband and me. They reminded us that what we couldn’t see with our naked eye was indeed real, though hidden.

The capacity to produce and bring forth something seen from the unseen is inherent in all living things (Genesis 1:12,24). Humans are unique, however, in our ability to hope. We live in hope because—though marred by sin—we carry the ‘DNA’ of our Creator (v.27).

For the believer, seeing something we hoped for come to fruition isn’t about raw human ability. We base our hopes on the hard foundation of this truth: God fulfils what He designs (Psalm 139:13,15-16; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 6:18). Like the formation of a child in its mother’s womb, however, the fulfilment of a hoped for outcome in life takes place in stages—many of them imperceptible with the natural eye.

Seasons of waiting can be difficult, for our emotions become especially heightened in times of protracted delay. When the questions—from ourselves and others—pile on top of one another, we must choose to settle ourselves on the “strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (v.19). For whether a hope is realised or not is based in God’s perfect plans. Our role? Stay focused, be patient and accept His loving will in hope. —Regina Franklin

MORE
Read Colossians 3:1-4, 17, 23-24 and consider how to build your hopes on the reality of heaven. 
NEXT
What’s the difference between making a risky decision and stepping out in faith? How can we know if what we’re hoping for is something that God has for us or if it’s something of our own making?  

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Who’s That Hero?

February 7, 2014 

READ: Judges 3:7-11 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16 

Reading the book of Judges, with its battles and mighty warriors, can sometimes feel like reading about comic book superheroes. We have Deborah, Barak, Gideon, and Samson. However, in the line of judges (or deliverers), we also find Othniel.

The account of his life is brief and straightforward (Judges 3:7-11). No drama. No display of prowess. But what we do see is what God did through Othniel: “The Lord raised up a deliverer” (v.9), “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him” (v.10), and “the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand” (v.10).

The Othniel account helps us focus on what is most important—the activity of God. Interesting stories and fascinating people can obscure that. We end up concentrating on those and fail to see what the Lord is doing.

When I was young, I wished I could be more talented so that I could point more people to Christ. But I was looking at the wrong thing. God often uses ordinary people for His extraordinary work. It is His light shining through our lives that glorifies God and draws others to Him (Matt. 5:16).

When others look at our life, it is more important that they see God—not us.

— poh fang chia

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power. Wilkinson

Our limited ability highlights God’s limitless power.