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Our Daily Bread 14 March 2019 – Life Beyond Compare

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, Our Daily Bread 14 March 2019 – Life Beyond Compare

Our Daily Bread 14 March 2019 – Life Beyond Compare

Topic: Life Beyond Compare

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 23–25; Mark 14:1–26
Key Verse: She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” – Genesis 29:35

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 29:31–35 (NIV)

Insight: The story of Rachel and Leah is a sad one, but one we need to understand in its cultural context. Genesis 29:1–30 tells the story of Jacob coming to Laban’s family (who were his own extended family) and falling in love with and asking to marry Rachel. However, the custom of the time was that the eldest daughter married first; and since Rachel was the younger, she couldn’t marry before her sister Leah (v. 26).

When our text says “the Lord saw that Leah was not loved” (v. 31), it’s continuing the story of the elder sister who was given to a man who wanted her sister instead. Leah thought that children would earn her the love of her husband, but her children helped her realize that it was the Lord she should pursue (v. 35). By: J.R. Hudberg

Message: Our Daily Bread 14 March 2019 – Life Beyond Compare

In a TV program, young adults posed as high school students to better understand the lives of teenagers. They discovered that social media plays a central role in how teens measure their self-worth. One participant observed, “[The students’] self-value is attached to social media—it’s dependent on how many ‘likes’ they get on a photo.” This need for acceptance by others can drive young people to extreme behavior online.

The longing for being accepted by others has always been there. In Genesis 29, Leah understandably yearns for the love of her husband Jacob. It’s reflected in the names of her first three sons—all capturing her loneliness (vv. 31–34). But, sadly, there’s no indication that Jacob ever gave her the acceptance she craved.

Our Daily Bread 14 March 2019 – Life Beyond Compare

With the birth of her fourth child, Leah turned to God instead of her husband, naming her fourth son Judah, which means, “praise” (v. 35). Leah, it seems, finally chose to find her significance in God. She became part of God’s salvation story: Judah was the ancestor of King David and, later, Jesus.

We can try to find our significance in many ways and things, but only in Jesus do we find our identity as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and those who will dwell eternally with our heavenly Father. As Paul wrote, nothing in this world compares with the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8). By Peter Chin

Today’s Reflection: In what or whom have you been striving to gain your value and acceptance? How does faith in Jesus open the door to your true identity?

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Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread 20 June 2019 – Present In The Storm

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Our Daily Bread 20 June 2019 – Present In The Storm

TODAY’S TOPIC: PRESENT IN THE STORM

Bible in a Year: Esther 1–2; Acts 5:1–21
Key Verse: The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. – Psalm 46:7

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 46 (NIV)

Insight: In Psalm 46, the psalmist writes of the security and stability that God provides in troubled times. Natural disasters (vv. 2–3) and armed conflicts (vv. 6–7) will always be present in this world. Earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, and military conflicts have all caused untold devastation and destruction. But no matter how dire the situation, those who make God their “refuge and strength” (v. 1) “will not fear” (v. 2).

The basis for this confidence is declared in verse 7 and repeated in verse 11: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Based on this psalm, reformer Martin Luther wrote one of his best-known hymns: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Like the psalmist living in an uncertain and insecure world, we are invited to “be still, and know that [He is] God” (v. 10). In confident trust, we echo Luther’s words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

Today: Our Daily Bread 20 June 2019

Fire swept through the home of a family of six from our church. Although the father and son survived, the father was still hospitalized while his wife, mother, and two small children were laid to rest. Unfortunately, heartbreaking events like this continue to happen again and again. When they’re replayed, so is the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? And it doesn’t surprise us that this old question doesn’t have new answers.

Yet the truth that the psalmist puts forth in Psalm 46 has also been replayed and rehearsed and embraced repeatedly. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1). The conditions described in verses 2–3 are catastrophic—earth and mountains moving and sea waters raging. We shudder when we imagine being in the midst of the stormy conditions poetically pictured here. But sometimes we do find ourselves there—in the swirling throes of a terminal illness, tossed about by a devastating financial crisis, stung and stunned by the deaths of loved ones.

It’s tempting to rationalize that the presence of trouble means the absence of God. But the truth of Scripture counters such notions. “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (vv. 7, 11). He is present when our circumstances are unbearable, and we find comfort in His character: He is good, loving, and trustworthy. – By Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray
When did a challenge in life cause you to question if God was present? What helped to turn the situation around for you?

Father, help me to trust the truth of Your Word when it’s hard for me to sense Your care or presence.

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Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread 19 June 2019 – In Our Weakness

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Our Daily Bread 19 June 2019 – In Our Weakness

TODAY’S TOPIC: IN OUR WEAKNESS

Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37
Key Verse: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. – Romans 8:26

Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:1–2, 10–17 (NIV)

Insight: In the first-century Roman empire, Paul’s letter to the Romans was a bold and dangerous manifesto. He wrote to followers of Jesus living in the capital of the empire, confessing allegiance to Christ over Caesar (1:7). Announcing better news than the military victories of Rome, Paul explained how the resurrected Son of God had conquered death (chs. 1–5). For life that will never end, he offered access to a new identity in Christ (ch. 6); freedom from the failures of rule-based living (ch. 7), and a way of living forever in the Spirit and love of God (ch. 8). By: Mart DeHaan

Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug, Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.

Today: Our Daily Bread 19 June 2019 – In Our Weakness

Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to be healed (8:1–2).

The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (vv. 3–10). “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11).

When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out of you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of His Spirit (vv. 11–17). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (vv. 26–27). By Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Reflect & Pray
In what area do you need to experience the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit? How can you be more aware of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit who enables me to enjoy real life in You.

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Our Daily Bread 18 June 2019 – Rescuing Villains

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Our Daily Bread 18 June 2019 – Rescuing Villains

TODAY’S TOPIC: RESCUING VILLAINS

Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 10–11; Acts 4:1–22

Key Verse: Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! – Daniel 3:28

Today’s Scripture: Daniel 3:26–30 (NIV)

Insight: In Daniel 3, it’s interesting to note the contrasting proclamations about God’s power. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t believe their God could save them and said, “What god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (v. 15).

But the three men boldly declared the power of God and their commitment to Him, responding that “the God we serve is able to deliver us” (v. 17). Then when they exited the furnace and stood before the king and his officials unharmed—without “a hair of their heads singed” (v. 27)—it was Nebuchadnezzar who made the bold declaration about the power and glory of God: “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!” (v. 28).

The comic book hero is as popular as ever. In 2017 alone, six superhero movies accounted for more than $4 billion (US) in box office sales. But why are people so drawn to big action flicks?

Maybe it’s because, in part, such stories resemble God’s Big Story. There’s a hero, a villain, a people in need of rescue, and plenty of riveting action.

Today: Our Daily Bread 18 June 2019 – Rescuing Villains

In this story, the biggest villain is Satan, the enemy of our souls. But there are lots of “little” villains as well. In the book of Daniel, for example, one is Nebuchadnezzar, the king of much of the known world, who decided to kill anyone who didn’t worship his giant statue (Daniel 3:1–6). When three courageous Jewish officials refused (vv. 12–18), God dramatically rescued them from a blazing furnace (vv. 24–27).

But in a surprising twist, we see this villain’s heart begin to change. In response to this spectacular event, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego” (v. 28).

But then he threatened to kill anyone who defied God (v. 29), not yet understanding that God didn’t need his help. Nebuchadnezzar would learn more about God in chapter 4—but that’s another story.

What we see in Nebuchadnezzar isn’t just a villain, but someone on a spiritual journey. In God’s story of redemption, our hero, Jesus, reaches out to everyone needing rescue—including the villains among us. By Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray
Who do you know in need of God’s rescue? What can you do to help?

Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him. We can do the same.

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