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ODB: Can You Help?

November 20, 2014 

READ: James 2:14-20 

Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. —James 2:17 

The administrators of the high school in Barrow, Alaska, were tired of seeing students get into trouble and drop out at a rate of 50 percent. To keep students interested, they started a football team, which offered them a chance to develop personal skills, teamwork, and learn life lessons. The problem with football in Barrow, which is farther north than Iceland, is that it’s hard to plant a grass field. So they competed on a gravel and dirt field.

Four thousand miles away in Florida, a woman named Cathy Parker heard about the football team and their dangerous field. Feeling that God was prompting her to help, and impressed by the positive changes she saw in the students, she went to work. About a year later, they dedicated their new field, complete with a beautiful artificial-turf playing surface. She had raised thousands of dollars to help some kids she didn’t even know.

This is not about football—or money. It is about remembering “to do good and to share” (Heb. 13:16). The apostle James reminds us that we demonstrate our faith by our actions (2:18). The needs in our world are varied and overwhelming but when we love our neighbor as ourselves, as Jesus said (Mark 12:31), we reach people with God’s love.

— Dave Branon

Open our eyes, dear Father, to those in need. Allow
us to find ways—monetarily and otherwise—to
help meet those needs. Help us to take the focus off
ourselves and place it on those who can use our assistance.

Open your heart to God to learn compassion and open your hand to give help. 

ODB: Rooted Love

November 18, 2014 

READ: Hebrews 13:15-25 

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

When I think of all the wonders of God’s magnificent creation, I am especially awed by the giant sequoia tree. These amazing behemoths of the forest can grow to around 300 feet tall with a diameter that exceeds 20 feet. They can live over 3,000 years and are even fire resistant. In fact, forest fires pop the sequoia cones open, distributing their seeds on the forest floor that has been fertilized by the ashes. Perhaps the most amazing fact is that these trees can grow in just 3 feet of soil and withstand high winds. Their strength lies in the fact that their roots intertwine with other sequoias, providing mutual strength and shared resources.

God’s plan for us is like that. Our ability to stand tall in spite of the buffeting winds of life is directly related to the love and support we receive from God and one another. And then, as the writer of Hebrews says, we are to “do good and to share” (13:16). Think of how tough it would be to withstand adversity if someone were not sharing the roots of their strength with us.

There is great power in the entwining gifts of words of encouragement, prayers of intercession, weeping together, holding each other, and sometimes just sitting with one another sharing the presence of our love.

— Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for entwining Your strength
into my life. Lead me today to someone
who needs the love of shared strength from
resources that You have given to me.

Let the roots of God’s love in your life be entwined with others who need your support.