ODB: Who you are

I really enjoyed this message from our Daily Bread today. I thought I would share it…

Who you are

1 Timothy 4:12,14 NLT
[12] Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. [14] Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.

In 2011, after a decade of childlessness, my wife and I chose to start afresh in a new country. Exciting as the move was, it required my leaving a broadcast career, which I missed. Feeling lost, I asked my friend Liam for advice.

“I don’t know what my calling is anymore,” I told Liam dejectedly.

“You’re not broadcasting here?” he asked. I said I wasn’t.

“And how is your marriage?”

Surprised at his change of topic, I told Liam that Merryn and I were doing well. We’d faced heartbreak together but emerged closer through the ordeal.

“Commitment is the core of the gospel,” he said, smiling. “Oh, how the world needs to see committed marriages like yours! You may not realize the impact you’re having already, beyond what you do, simply by being who you are.”

When a difficult work situation left Timothy dejected, the apostle Paul didn’t give him career goals. Instead, he encouraged Timothy to live a godly life, setting an example through his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12–1315). He would best impact others by living faithfully.

It’s easy to value our lives based on our career success when what matters most is our character. I had forgotten that. But a word of truth, a gracious act, even a committed marriage can bring great change—because through them something of God’s own goodness touches the world.

By: Sheridan Voysey

A life of hope

I like this insight from today’s Our Daily Bread…

First Peter 3:15 is often presented as a challenge to be prepared for opportunities to share one’s faith: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” But sharing our faith might be the secondary aspect. First, we’re to live a life of hope in a world that is largely hopeless. Notice that Peter said that people will ask about the hope we have. As we live hope-filled lives in this broken world, those around us will see the difference. Then we’re to be ready to answer them about the hope that marks our lives. Our hope distinguishes believers in Jesus from those without Christ, whom Paul described as “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). He is our hope, and we’re challenged to live like it.

Serving one another

I really enjoyed this from today’s Our Daily Bread devotional…

Bible Reading: Acts 2:42-47

Marie, a single working mom, rarely missed church or Bible study. Each week, she rode the bus to and from church with her five children and helped with set up and clean up.

One Sunday, the pastor told Marie that some church members had donated gifts for the family. One couple provided the family a house with reduced rent. Another couple offered her a job with benefits at their coffee shop. A young man gave her an old car he’d rebuilt and promised to serve as her personal mechanic. Marie thanked God for the joy of living in a community devoted to serving God and each other.

Though we may not all be able to give as generously as Marie’s church family, God’s people are designed to help each other. The gospel writer Luke described believers in Jesus as “devoted” to the “apostles’ teaching and to fellowship” (Acts 2:42). When we combine our resources, we can work together to help those in need like the first believers in Jesus did (vv. 44–45). As we grow closer to God and each other, we can care for one another. Witnessing God’s love demonstrated through His people’s actions can lead others to a saving relationship with Jesus (vv. 46–47).

We can serve others with a smile or a kind deed. We can offer a financial gift or a prayer. As God works in and through us, we’re simply better together.

Prayer

Loving Father, please help me see those in need and serve You by serving others. Amen.

Why did Jesus wait before going to Lazarus?

One of the questions that has often puzzled me from the raising of Lazarus is why did Jesus wait two days until He left. In john 11:38-44 it gives us some clues. In verse 38 Jesus says that if we believe, we will see the glory of God. So Jesus delaying was about people hearing about the miracle and seeing God’s glory.

In today’s Our Daily Bread there is some extra insight that I thought I would share. It shows a couple of extra things that are not obvious from the text…

After Jesus learned Lazarus was gravely ill, He waited two days to go to the home of his sisters, Mary and Martha (John 11:1–6). When Jesus and His disciples arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days (v. 17). This allowed a day for the news to reach Jesus and a day for Him to reach Bethany. So, Lazarus may have already been dead when the news reached Jesus that he was ill. That it had been four days was significant because in that warm climate, Lazarus’ body would have been severely decomposed (v. 39). If Jesus had left immediately and resurrected Lazarus, naysayers could’ve easily denied his resurrection, suggesting he’d only been in a deep sleep or coma. It was also significant because in that day some Jews believed the soul hovered over the body for three days, hoping to reenter. But by four days, even that hope would have expired.

If you want to read the full devotion you can find it at https://odb.org