ODB: The Great Physician

February 20, 2018


When God is our home, our hope is in Him.

 

READ: Matthew 4:23–5:12 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. John 15:4

 

When Dr. Rishi Manchanda asks his patients, “Where do you live?” he’s looking for more than an address. He has seen a pattern. Those who come to him for help often live in conditions of environmental stress. Molds, pests, and toxins are making them sick. So Dr. Manchanda has become an advocate of what he calls Upstream Doctors. These are health care workers who, while providing urgent medical care, are working with patients and communities to get to the source of better health.

As Jesus healed those who came to Him (Matthew 4:23–24), He lifted their eyes beyond the need for urgent physical and material care. With His Sermon on the Mount He offered more than a medical miracle (5:1–12). Seven times Jesus described attitudes of mind and heart that reflect a well-being that begins with a new vision and promise of spiritual well-being (vv. 3–9). Two more times he called blessed those who experience relentless persecution and find their hope and home in Him (vv. 10–12).

Jesus’s words leave me wondering. Where am I living? How aware am I of my need for a well-being that is greater than my urgent need for physical and material relief? As I long for a miracle, do I embrace as enviable the poor, broken, hungry, merciful, peacemaking heart that Jesus calls blessed?

— Mart DeHaan

Father in heaven, it’s so hard to see beyond our pain. Please let us sense Your mercy in this moment. Lift our eyes beyond ourselves. Let us find a new vision and source of health in the care of Christ, who heals. 

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Not Enough?

February 19, 2018


When we believe that God is good, we can learn to open our hands to others.

 

READ: 2 Corinthians 9:10–15 

Do not forget to do good and to share with others. Hebrews 13:16

 

On the way home from church, my daughter sat in the backseat enjoying Goldfish crackers as my other children implored her to share. Trying to redirect the conversation, I asked the hoarder of snacks, “What did you do in class today?” She said they made a basket of bread and fish because a child gave Jesus five loaves and two fish that Jesus used to feed more than 5,000 people (John 6:1–13).

“That was very kind of the little boy to share. Do you think maybe God is asking you to share your fish?” I asked. “No, Momma,” she replied.

I tried to encourage her not to keep all the crackers to herself. She was unconvinced. “There is not enough for everyone!”

Sharing is hard. It is easier to hold onto what we see in front of us. Perhaps we do the calculation and reason there is simply not enough for everyone. And the assumption is that if I give, I will be left wanting.

Paul reminds us that all we have comes from God, who wants to enrich us “in every way so that [we] can be generous” (2 Corinthians 9:10–11). The math of heaven isn’t a calculation of scarcity but of abundance. We can share joyfully because God promises to care for us even as we are generous to others.

— Lisa Samra

Father, You take good care of me. Help me to think of others today and to share Your goodness with them.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Courage to Be Faithful

February 18, 2018


Let us be bold as we witness for God.

 

READ: 1 Peter 3:13–18 

Do not be frightened. 1 Peter 3:14

 

Fear is Hadassah’s constant companion. Hadassah, a young Jewish girl living in the first century, is a fictional character in Francine Rivers’ book A Voice in the Wind. After Hadassah becomes a slave in a Roman household, she fears persecution for her faith in Christ. She knows that Christians are despised, and many are sent to their execution or thrown to the lions in the arena. Will she have the courage to stand for the truth when she is tested?

When her worst fear becomes reality, her mistress and other Roman officials who hate Christianity confront her. She has two choices: recant her faith in Christ or be taken to the arena. Then, as she proclaims Jesus as the Christ, her fear falls away and she becomes bold even in the face of death.

The Bible reminds us that sometimes we will suffer for doing what is right—whether for sharing the gospel or for living godly lives that are against today’s values. We are told not to be frightened (1 Peter 3:14), but to “revere Christ as Lord” in our hearts (v. 15). Hadassah’s main battle took place in her heart. When she finally made up her mind to choose Jesus, she found the courage to be faithful.

When we make the decision to honor Christ, He will help us to be bold and to overcome our fears in the midst of opposition.

— Keila Ochoa

Father, give me boldness to stand firm in difficult times.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Fleeing to Strength

February 17, 2018


God alone can meet our deepest needs and give us soul-deep satisfaction.

 

READ: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 

You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:20

 

“Parry four!”

When I began fencing in high school, my coach would shout the correct defensive position (“parry”) against the move he was making. When he extended his weapon and lunged, to repel the attack I had to listen and respond immediately.

That active listening brings to mind the prompt obedience Scripture calls for in the area of sexual temptation. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul writes to believers tempted to solicit pagan temple prostitutes, telling them to “flee from sexual immorality.” Sometimes we are to “stand firm” in challenging circumstances (Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:11), but here the Bible practically shouts our best defense: “Run away!”

Immediate action guards against compromise. Small compromises can lead to devastating defeats. An unrestrained thought, a glance in the wrong place on the Internet, a flirting friendship when you’re already married—each are steps that take us where we shouldn’t go and put distance between us and God.

When we flee temptation, God also provides a place to run. Through Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins, He offers us hope, forgiveness, and a new beginning—no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done. When we run to Jesus in our weakness, He sets us free to live in His strength.

— James Banks

Lord Jesus, out of love You gave Yourself on the cross for us. I give myself to You in obedience to Your will.

Source: Our Daily Bread