ODB: Breaking Free

The elephant is the largest land animal on earth—and one of the most powerful. Yet it takes only a strong rope to restrain one. Here’s how it works. When the elephant is young, he is tied to a large tree. For weeks, he will strain and pull, but the rope holds him fast. So eventually he gives up.Then, when the elephant reaches his full size and strength, he won’t struggle to get free, for onc

ODJ: sin-eaters

Many years ago, sin-eating was practised in parts of the UK and America. A sin-eater was normally a poor, hungry person who was brought to the home of a dead person, where he was given some bread to eat and a drink to consume. After having his fill, he would then ritually pray over the deceased. This curious custom supposedly absolved the dead person—and sometimes a whole family—of si

ODJ: imperfectly acceptable

When it is first read it seems like a love story. In truth it’s the record of what might have been one of David’s most heartless acts.

David had been at war with King Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). After Saul’s death, his field commander Abner decided to switch sides and support David’s claim to the throne (vv.8-10). “Make a solemn pact with me,” Abner said, “and I will help turn o

ODB: Way Out

While in London recently, I decided to take the underground train to my destination. So I paid my fare and descended into the depths of London to catch my train. But getting out of the station can be a scary experience for someone who is unfamiliar with the system. If you don’t find the exit, you can quickly get lost in the tunnels.Being alone in a sparsely populated underground tunnel is an uns

ODB: My Kind Of People

Years ago in a worship service, pastor Ray Stedman stepped to the pulpit and read the text for the day: “Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you w

ODJ: prevention and cure

A Christian dentist in America had an attractive assistant. Fearing that he might be tempted to have an affair with her, he fired her. Later, the Supreme Court ruled that he had the legal right to fire the pretty female hygienist to protect his marriage. All of us sympathise with the young woman’s plight. Public opinion for what the dentist had done, however, was divided. Many criticised him

ODB: Buyer's Remorse

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? I have. Just prior to making a purchase, I feel the surge of excitement that comes with getting something new. After buying the item, however, a wave of remorse sometimes crashes over me. Did I really need this? Should I have spent the money?In Genesis 3, we find the first record of a buyer’s remorse. The whole thing began with the crafty serpent and

ODJ: life or death

In early 2013 a man was arrested for stealing his father’s corpse. The man’s 93 year old beloved dad had died and his body had been laid in a casket and placed on cemetery grounds, being readied for burial. The son of the deceased, however, had other plans. He stole the casket and brought it home. The reason? He was hoping his father would be miraculously resurrected. Um, that didn’t h

ODB: Hero Over Sin

Not long ago, someone asked me a very tough question: “What is the longest you have gone without sinning? A week, a day, an hour?” How can we answer a question like that? If we’re truthful, we might say, “I can’t live a day without sinning.” Or if we look back over the past week, we might see that we haven’t confessed to God even one sin. But we would be fooling ourselves if we said