November 15, 2018
Read: John 13:31–35
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 1–2; Hebrews 11:1–19
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35 nlt
Artist Sigismund Goetze shocked Victorian-era England with a painting entitled “Despised and Rejected of Men.” In it, he portrayed the suffering, condemned Jesus surrounded by people of Goetze’s own generation. They were so consumed by their own interests—business, romance, politics—that they were shockingly oblivious to the Savior’s sacrifice. Indifferent to Christ, the surrounding crowd, like the mob at the foot of Jesus’s cross, had no idea what—or who—they had missed.
In our day as well, believers and unbelievers alike can easily become distracted from the eternal. How can followers of Jesus cut through this fog of distraction with the truth of God’s great love? We can begin by loving one another as fellow children of God. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 nlt).
But real love doesn’t stop there. We extend that love by sharing the gospel in hopes of drawing people to the Savior. As Paul wrote, “We are . . . Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
In this way, the body of Christ can both reflect and project God’s love, the love we so desperately need, to both each other and to our world. May both efforts, empowered by His Spirit, be a part of cutting through the distractions that hinder us from seeing the wonder of God’s love in Jesus.
To a world living in the fog of distraction, we bring the light of the good news of Jesus.
Topic:Still the King
November 4, 2018
Read: Psalm 74:4–8, 12–23
Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1
Rise up, O God, and defend your cause. Psalm 74:22
One news report called it “the single deadliest day for Christians in decades.” The pair of attacks on Sunday worshipers in April 2017 defies our understanding. We simply don’t have a category to describe bloodshed in a house of worship. But we can find some help from others who know this kind of pain well.
Most of the people of Jerusalem were in exile or had been slain when Asaph wrote Psalm 74. Pouring out his heart’s anguish, he described the destruction of the temple at the hands of ruthless invaders. “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us,” Asaph said (v. 4). “They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name” (v. 7).
Yet the psalmist found a place to stand despite the awful reality—providing encouragement that we can do so too. “But God is my King from long ago,” Asaph resolved. “He brings salvation on the earth” (v. 12). This truth enabled Asaph to praise God’s mighty power even though His salvation seemed absent in the moment. “Have regard for your covenant,” Asaph prayed. “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name” (vv. 20–21).
When justice and mercy seem absent, God’s love and power are in no way diminished. With Asaph, we can confidently say, “But God is my King.”
Lord, with the psalmist we pray for the honor of Your Name. Show Yourself strong and compassionate. Rise up and defend Your cause.
Read: 1 Kings 12:1–7, 12–17 | Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 5–7; Mark 11:1–18
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12
Our Daily Bread Today, March 8, 2018
In 2010, a newspaper in Singapore published a special report that contained life lessons gleaned from eight senior citizens. It opened with these words: “While aging brings challenges to mind and body, it can also lead to an expansion in other realms. There is an abundance of emotional and social knowledge; qualities which scientists are beginning to define as wisdom . . . the wisdom of elders.”
Indeed, wise older people have much to teach us about life. But in the Bible, we meet a newly crowned king who failed to recognize this.
God’s love is meant to be shared.
King Solomon had just died, and in 1 Kings 12:3, we read that “the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam” with a petition. They asked the new king to lighten the harsh labor and heavy taxes his father Solomon had demanded of them. In return, they would loyally serve Rehoboam. Our Daily Bread Today, March 8, 2018
At first the young king consulted the elders (v. 6). But he rejected their advice and accepted the foolish counsel of the young men who had grown up with him (v. 8). He made the burden on the people even greater! His rashness cost him most of his kingdom.
All of us need the counsel that comes with years of experience, especially from those who have walked with God and listened well to His counsel. Think of the accumulated wisdom God has given them! They have much to share with us about the Lord. Let’s seek them out and give a listening ear to their wisdom.
To avoid the mistakes of youth, draw from the wisdom of age.
INSIGHT – Our Daily Bread Today, March 8, 2018
Rehoboam was free to listen to whichever advice he chose, but his decision not to listen to the wisdom of his elders resulted in the division of the nation of Israel into two different kingdoms.
You do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
My granddaughter Allyssa and I have a regular routine we go through when we say goodbye. We wrap our arms around each other and begin to loudly wail with dramatic sobs for about twenty seconds. Then we step back and casually say, “See ya,” and turn away. Despite our silly practice, we always expect that we will see each other again—soon.
Our Daily Bread Daily Devotions
But sometimes the pain of separation from those we care about can be difficult. When the apostle Paul said farewell to the elders from Ephesus, “They all wept as they embraced him . . . . What grieved them most was [Paul’s] statement that they would never see his face again” (Acts 20:37–38).
Jesus offers eternal hope.
The deepest sorrow, however, comes when we are parted by death and say goodbye for the last time in this life. That separation seems unthinkable. We mourn. We weep. How can we face the heartbreak of never again embracing the ones we have loved? Our Daily Bread Daily Devotions
Still . . . we do not grieve like those who have no hope. Paul writes of a future reunion for those who “believe that Jesus died and rose again” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). He declares: “The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel,” and those who have died, along with those who are still alive, will be united with our Lord. What a reunion!
And—best of all—we will be forever with Jesus. That’s an eternal hope.
Thank You, Lord, for the assurance that this world is not all we have but that a blessed eternity awaits all who trust in You.
At death, God’s people don’t say “goodbye,” but “we’ll see you later.”
INSIGHT Our Daily Bread Daily Devotions
The Bible speaks of hope as a robust confidence in the purposes and power of God. First Peter 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Our hope is rooted in Christ’s conquering of death on our behalf. Romans 15:4 adds, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
The encouragement of the Scriptures gives us hope as we see how God faithfully deals with His children. He is “the God of hope” (v. 13), who encourages us to trust Him with whatever we might face. And He is our hope as we look forward to our future reunion with loved ones who have gone before us.