ODB: Eyes in the Back of My Head

July 23, 2019

READ: Psalm 33:6–19 

From his dwelling place [God] watches all who live on earth. Psalm 33:14

I was as mischievous as any other child in my early years and tried to hide my bad behavior to avoid getting into trouble. Yet my mother usually found out what I had done. I recall being amazed at how quickly and accurately she knew about my antics. When I marveled and asked how she knew, she always replied, “I have eyes in the back of my head.” This, of course, led me to study her head whenever she’d turn her back—were the eyes invisible or merely cloaked by her red hair? As I grew, I gave up looking for evidence of her extra pair of eyes and realized I just wasn’t quite as sneaky as I had supposed. Her watchful gaze was evidence of her loving concern for her children.

As grateful as I am for my mother’s attentive care (despite being occasionally disappointed I hadn’t gotten away with something!), I’m even more grateful that God “sees all mankind” as He looks upon us from heaven (Psalm 33:13). He sees so much more than what we do; He sees our sadness, our delights, and our love for one another.

God sees our true character and always knows exactly what we need. With perfect vision, which even sees the inner workings of our hearts, He watches over those who love Him and put their hope in Him (v. 18). He’s our attentive, loving Father.

— Kirsten Holmberg

How does it comfort you to know that God sees everything and is watching over you? What has He been doing recently to sharpen your character?

Dear Father, thank You for watching over all people and for seeing what happens in our world and in my life.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Faithful in Captivity

July 22, 2019

READ: Genesis 39:6–12, 20–23 

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him. Genesis 39:20–21

Haralan Popov had no idea what turn his life would take when the doorbell rang early one morning in 1948. Without any warning, the Bulgarian police took Haralan away to prison because of his faith. He spent the next thirteen years behind bars, praying for strength and courage. Despite horrible treatment, he knew God was with him, and he shared the good news of Jesus with fellow prisoners—and many believed.

In the account from Genesis 37, Joseph had no idea what would happen to him after he was mercilessly sold by his angry brothers to merchants who took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian official. He found himself in a culture surrounded by people who believed in thousands of gods. To make things worse, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When Joseph refused repeatedly, she falsely accused him, leading to his being sent to prison (39:16–20). Yet God didn’t abandon him. Not only was He with Joseph, but He also “gave him success in everything he did” and even “showed him kindness and granted him favor” with those in authority (39:3, 21).

Imagine the fear Joseph must have felt. But he remained faithful and kept his integrity. God was with Joseph in his difficult journey and had a master plan for him. He has a plan in mind for you too. Take heart and walk in faith, trusting He sees and He knows.

— Estera Pirosca Escobar

What difficult situation have you experienced—perhaps one in which you were falsely accused? Why is it vital for you to maintain your integrity?

God, thank You for being with me always, even when life’s circumstances cause me to be uncomfortable. Help me to be faithful to You.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Never Too Late

July 21, 2019

READ: Mark 5:35–43 

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36

During the anxious moments that followed my mother-in-law’s heart attack, she was fortunate to receive immediate medical care. Later, her doctor told me that treatment within fifteen minutes of a heart attack results in a survival rate of 33 percent for critical patients. But just 5 percent survive if treated beyond that time frame.

On the way to heal Jairus’s desperately ill daughter (someone definitely needing immediate medical care), Jesus did the unthinkable: He paused (Mark 5:30). He stopped to identify who touched Him, and then spoke gently with the woman. You can imagine what Jairus was thinking: There’s no time for this, my daughter is dying! And then, his worst fears came true—Jesus appeared to have delayed too long and his daughter passed away (v. 35).

But Jesus turned to Jairus and offered a word of encouragement: “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (v. 36). Then, calmly ignoring the mockery of onlookers, Christ spoke to Jairus’s daughter and she came back to life! He revealed that He can never be too late. Time can’t limit what He’s able to do and when He chooses to do it.

How often do we feel like Jairus, thinking that God was simply too late to accomplish what we had hoped for. But with God, there’s no such thing. He’s never too late in fulfilling His good and merciful work in our lives.

— Peter Chin

How have you recently experienced the reality of God’s timing? Why is it vital for you to rest in God’s sovereignty—acknowledging that His plans are the best?

Jesus, help me to remember that You’re sovereign even over time itself, and that You’re never too late to accomplish Your perfect plans.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Hands-On Learning

July 20, 2019

READ: Titus 2:1–8 

Imitate me, as I imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

My six-year-old son, Owen, was thrilled to receive a new board game. But after a half hour reading the rules, he was frustrated. He couldn’t quite figure out how it worked. It wasn’t until later, when a friend came over who already knew how to play, that Owen finally got to enjoy his present.

Watching them play, I was reminded of how much easier it is to learn something new if you have an experienced teacher. When we’re learning, reading the instructions helps, but having a friend who can demonstrate makes a huge difference.

The apostle Paul understood this too. Writing to Titus about how he could help his church grow in faith, Paul emphasized the value of experienced believers who could model Christian faith. Of course teaching “sound doctrine” was important, but it didn’t just need to be talked about—it needed to be lived out. Paul wrote that older men and women ought to be self-controlled, kind, and loving (Titus 2:2–5). “In everything,” he said, “set them an example by doing what is good” (v. 7).

I’m thankful for solid teaching, but I’m also thankful for the many people who have been hands-on teachers. They’ve shown me by their lives what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ and have made it easier for me to see how I can walk that path too.

— Amy Peterson

What lessons have you learned from those who have taught you about living for Jesus by their words and actions? What are others seeing as they view your faith in action?

God, thank You for graciously giving us mentors who can show us by example how to live for You, and thank You for giving us Your Son, the only perfect model of faith. For further study, see c

Source: Our Daily Bread