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Our Daily Bread 8 June 2019 – Knocking Down Pins

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Our Daily Bread 8 June, Our Daily Bread 8 June 2019 – Knocking Down Pins

Our Daily Bread 8 June 2019 – Knocking Down Pins

Topic: Knocking Down Pins

Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 30–31; John 18:1–18
Key Verse: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. – Ecclesiastes 1:9

Today’s Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:3–11 (NIV)

Insight: One of the key themes of Ecclesiastes is found in the phrase “under the sun.” It’s found in today’s reading in verses 3 and 9, as well as twenty-seven other times in the book. What does it mean? It refers to that which is done on earth according to the system, values, and mindset of this world.

It sets what happens “under the sun” in contrast to that which is rooted in and resonates with the heart of heaven. Since Ecclesiastes is a book of despair, the point is that we don’t find true meaning or purpose until we begin to live according to the heart of our Father in heaven, as opposed to the broken systems of this world. By: Bill Crowder

I was intrigued when I noticed a tattoo of a bowling ball knocking down pins on my friend Erin’s ankle. Erin was inspired to get this unique tattoo after listening to Sara Groves’s song, “Setting Up the Pins.” The clever lyrics encourage listeners to find joy in the repetitive, routine tasks that sometimes feel as pointless as manually setting up bowling pins over and over again, only to have someone knock them down.

Our Daily Bread 8 June 2019

Laundry. Cooking. Mowing the lawn. Life seems full of tasks that, once completed, have to be done again—and again. This isn’t a new struggle but an old frustration, one wrestled with in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. The book opens with the writer complaining about the endless cycles of daily human life as futile (1:2–3), even meaningless, because “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again” (v. 9).

Yet, like my friend, the writer was able to regain a sense of joy and meaning by remembering our ultimate fulfillment comes as we “fear [reverence] God and keep his commandments” (12:13). There’s comfort in knowing that God values even the ordinary, seemingly mundane aspects of life and will reward our faithfulness (v. 14).

What are the “pins” you’re continually setting up? In those times when repetitive tasks begin to feel tiring, may we take a moment to offer each task to God as an offering of love. By Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray
How might you do a task differently today knowing God values it? How does knowing this bring meaning to the mundane?

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving value to the ordinary activities of life. Help us to find joy in the tasks before us today.

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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

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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