ODB: Shelter from the Storm

July 21, 2018

READ: James 1:12–18 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter. Psalm 73:28 nlt

When I lived in Oklahoma I had a friend who “chased” tornados. John tracked the storms carefully through radio contact with other chasers and local radar, trying to keep a safe distance while observing their destructive paths so he could report sudden changes to people in harm’s way.
One day a funnel cloud changed course so abruptly John found himself in grave danger. Fortunately, he found shelter and was spared.

John’s experience that afternoon makes me think of another destructive path: sin in our lives. The Bible tells us, “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15).

There’s a progression here. What may at first seem harmless can soon spin out of control and wreak havoc. But when temptation threatens, God offers us shelter from the gathering storm.

God’s Word tells us He would never tempt us, and we can blame our choices only on ourselves. But when we “are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that [we] can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we turn to Him and call on Him for help in the moment of temptation, Jesus gives us the strength we need to overcome.

Jesus is our shelter forever.

— James Banks

Lord Jesus, You conquered sin and death forever through Your cross and empty tomb! Help me to live and thrive in the forgiveness only You can give.

Our Savior calms temptation’s storm.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Home Sweet Home

July 20, 2018

READ: John 14:1–14 

I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

“Why do we have to leave our home and move?” my son asked. It’s difficult to explain what a home is, especially to a five-year-old. We were leaving a house, but not our home, in the sense that home is where our loved ones are. It’s the place where we long to return after a long trip or after a full day’s work.

When Jesus was in the upper room just hours before He died, He told His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). The disciples were uncertain of their future because Jesus had predicted His death. But Jesus reassured them of His presence and reminded them they would see Him again. He told them, “My Father’s house has many rooms . . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you” (v. 2). He could have used other words to describe heaven. However, He chose words that describe not an uncomfortable or unfamiliar place but a place where Jesus, our loved One, would be.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” We can thank God for the “pleasant inns” in life, but let’s remember that our real home is in heaven where we “will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

— Keila Ochoa

Dear Lord, I thank You for heaven, my eternal home.

We look forward to being with the Lord forever.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Through the Cross

July 19, 2018

READ: 2 Corinthians 4:8–18 

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

My coworker Tom keeps an 8″ by 12″ glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).

To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”

Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows.

— Anne Cetas

Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

Look at everything through the cross.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: What’s Your Passion?

July 18, 2018

READ: Psalm 20:6–9 

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high-performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)

One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”

I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t worth living for. Those who trust in things apart from God “are brought to their knees and fall,” according to the psalmist (Psalm 20:8).

That’s because we were made for God and nothing else will do—a truth we validate in our experience every day: We buy this or that because we think these things will make us happy, but like a child receiving a dozen Christmas presents or more, we ask ourselves, “Is this all?” Something is always missing. 

Nothing this world has to offer us—even very good things—fully satisfies us. There is a measure of enjoyment in them, but our happiness soon fades away (1 John 2:17). Indeed, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself,” C. S. Lewis concluded. “There is no such thing.”

— David H. Roper

I have found Him whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings—through His blood I now am saved. Clara Williams

There is a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.

Source: Our Daily Bread