Our Daily Bread

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ODB: On The Fringe

When butterflies hatch at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they do so in an indoor tropical paradise perfectly suited to meet their every need. The temperature is perfect. The humidity is perfect. The food is a perfect balance of calories and nutrition to keep them healthy. No need to go elsewhere. Yet some butterflies see the bright blue sky outside the conservatory and spend th

ODB: Bumper Cars

Life is a lot like “bumper cars” at an amusement park. You get in your car, knowing that you will get hit . . . you just don’t know how hard. And when you get hit, you step on the gas pedal, chase the one who has hit you, and hope to bump that person harder than they have bumped you.That may be a fun strategy for bumper cars, but it’s a terrible strategy for life. When you get bumped in li

ODB: Forced Leisure

Just before Christmas one year, a friend was diagnosed with leukemia and was told she must begin chemotherapy immediately. Just a few weeks earlier, Kim had told friends how blessed and content she felt with a loving family, a comfortable home, and a new grandson. As she entered the hospital, Kim asked Jesus to make His presence known to her and to stay close.The next 7 months of treatments follow

ODB: They're Watching

It’s been several decades since a high school event devastated me. Playing sports was hugely important to me. I zeroed in on basketball and spent hundreds of hours practicing my game. So when I didn’t make the varsity team in my last year after being on the team since junior high, I was crushed.Disappointed and confused, I carried on. I became a stats guy for the team, going to games and keepi

ODB: Refreshing Candor

Of the many things I love about my mom, chief among them may be her candor. Many times I have called to ask her opinion on a matter and she has consistently responded, “Don’t ask my opinion unless you want to hear it. I’m not going to try to figure out what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what I really think.”In a world where words are carefully parsed, her straightforwardness is refresh

ODB: A Good Man

“Jerry was a good man,” the pastor said at Jerald Stevens’ memorial service. “He loved his family. He was faithful to his wife. He served his country in the armed services. He was an excellent dad and grandfather. He was a great friend.”But then the pastor went on to tell the friends and family gathered that Jerry’s good life and good deeds were not enough to assure him a place in

ODB: Expect Great Things

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William Carey was an ordinary man with an extraordinary faith. Born into a working-class family in the 18th century, Carey made his living as a shoemaker. While crafting shoes, Carey read theology and journals of explorers. God used His Word and the stories of the discovery of new people groups to burden him for global evangelism. He went to India as a missionary, and not only did he do the work o

ODB: Pack Up Your Sorrows

During the turbulent years of the 1960s, popular music in America was a strange mixture of protest and patriotism. Some songs lashed out against war, greed, and injustice in society, while others affirmed duty to country and traditional values. But “Pack Up Your Sorrows,” written by Richard Farina and Pauline Baez Marden, seemed to fit all of the categories with its focus on the quest for pers

ODB: Grandpa Snucked Out

My cousin Ken fought a courageous 4-year battle with cancer. In his final days, his wife, three children, and several grandchildren were in and out of his room, spending time with him and sharing special goodbyes. When everyone was out of the room for a moment, he slipped into eternity. After the family realized that he was gone, one young granddaughter sweetly remarked, “Grandpa snucked out.”