Our Daily Bread — From Lament to Praise

Bible in a Year:

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk 3:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Habakkuk 3:17–19

Monica prayed feverishly for her son to return to God. She wept over his wayward ways and even tracked him down in the various cities where he chose to live. The situation seemed hopeless. Then one day it happened: her son had a radical encounter with God. He became one of the greatest theologians of the church. We know him as Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.

“How long, Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:2). The prophet Habakkuk lamented God’s inaction regarding the people in power who perverted justice (v. 4). Think of the times we’ve turned to God in desperation—expressing our laments due to injustice, a seemingly hopeless medical journey, ongoing financial struggles, or children who’ve walked away from God.

Each time Habakkuk lamented, God heard his cries. As we wait in faith, we can learn from the prophet to turn our lament into praise, for he said, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (3:18 italics added). He didn’t understand God’s ways, but he trusted Him. Both lament and praise are acts of faith, expressions of trust. We lament as an appeal to God based on His character. And our praise of Him is based on who He is—our amazing, almighty God. One day, by His grace, every lament will turn to praise.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What are your laments today? How can you turn them into praise?

Dear Jesus, remind me of who You are and of what You’ve done in my life.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Opposite of Covetousness

 “Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

If you are content with what God has given you, you will not be a person who is covetous or a lover of money.

I once had a man come into my church office and confess the sin of gluttony. When I told him he did not look overweight, he answered, “I know. It is not that I eat too much but that I want to. I continually crave food. It’s an obsession.”

Covetousness is very similar to that man’s gluttonous attitude. You do not have to acquire a lot of things, or even anything at all, to be covetous. If you long to acquire things and are focusing all your attention on how you might get them, you are guilty of covetousness.

It is not wrong to earn or possess wealth. In the Old Testament, Abraham and Job had tremendous wealth. A number of faithful New Testament believers were also fairly wealthy. The problem comes when we have a greedy attitude that craves money above everything else. Paul warns us, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:10). Loving money is perhaps the most common form of covetousness; it is akin to lusting after material riches in various forms.

No matter how it appears, this kind of covetousness breeds the same spiritual result—it displeases God and separates us from Him. More income, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a fancier car can tempt all of us.

But the Lord wants you to be free from the materialism that so easily controls your non-Christian neighbors. Your earthly possessions are only temporary anyway. You will lose them all one day soon enough. So God tells you and me to be “content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5), realizing that we have “a better possession and an abiding one” (10:34) in our salvation.

Suggestions for Prayer

Is there any covetousness or materialism in your life today? Confess it to the Lord, and pray that He would give you a renewed desire to trust Him rather than uncertain wealth.

For Further Study

Read Luke 12:13-34.

  • Make a list of the things that illustrate how God cares for our material needs.
  • How does the rich fool’s attitude contrast with what Jesus teaches in verse 31?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – True Love

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

— 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)

Human beings crave love. When a woman’s soul has been wounded, that craving for love often takes one of two forms. Some women develop hard or harsh personalities so other people will not want to get close to them. If the wounds in their souls are related to men, they may make firm decisions not to trust men or not to build relationships with men at all. Other women may be excessive in their desires to have a man in their life, to the point that they are willing to enter into a relationship with any man who pays attention to them. Perhaps you know women like this, women who seem to go from one unhealthy relationship to another. Maybe you have even done it yourself. You keep thinking the next man in your life will finally be the “right” one, only to find yourself disappointed.

When a woman has a string of relationships that never satisfy her, two things are usually true. One, she has not yet found her fulfillment in God alone; and two, she has not yet learned what real love is. In order to stop the cycle of craving love, seeking it from a man, and being disappointed, a woman’s soul needs to be healed. Part of that healing involves first receiving God’s unconditional love and then understanding what it really means to love and be loved by another person.

I want to share some things I hope will help you in your love relationships with other people. Only God can love us perfectly, but 1 Corinthians 13, which is called “the love chapter” of the Bible, helps us understand what real love is. If someone says, “I love you,” but isn’t demonstrating the attributes of love in this chapter, you might want to think twice before believing that person and going very far in a relationship.

Love is something that can be seen and felt. It is displayed in a variety of ways. When you are trying to decide whether someone loves you, and whether you love that person, you can use the qualities mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13 as a guide. It says that love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, and not arrogant or rude. It also does not demand its own way and is not irritable. It does not harbor resentment. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:6–7 ESV). Love helps others; it gives, and it is quick to forgive. This requires intentionality and saying no to self regularly.

The basic qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13 give us plenty to think about when we consider whether we love someone else and whether they love us. Remember, only God can love you perfectly. Other human beings will let us down, but when we know what true love looks like, we can be wise in our relationships.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I am so thankful that You love me and that You have given me an ability to love others. Let Your love flow through me today in ways that will be a blessing to others. Continue to show me what real love looks like and give me wisdom in all my relationships, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Our Resurrection Hope

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished … But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:17-18, 1 Corinthians 15:20

Questions surrounding death and dying have faced mankind ever since the fall: “What will happen when I die? Will I go somewhere when I die, or is this it? Is there any significance to my life? What does it all mean?”

All of Scripture is timelessly relevant, and it provides answers to these questions. Paul, for example, addresses the issues of resurrection and eternal life in 1 Corinthians 15. Without the resurrection, he says, our faith would be in vain. Our salvation would be false, for we would still be living in sin. Death would prove to be stronger than God. Jesus’ claims would be untrue: He would not be Lord, and He would not be returning. History would have no goal or purpose, and the human race would be going nowhere.

Since that’s the “reality” in which unbelievers live, it’s no wonder there is so much angst in our world! But the Christian can say, “Hey, not so fast! Don’t say that history is going nowhere and all is meaningless! Consider the resurrection.” We believe Christ rose from the dead and promises each of His followers full resurrection—not a resurrection only of soul but one of body and soul (1 Corinthians 15:42-49).

John Locke, the 18th-century British philosopher, wrote of Christ’s resurrection that it is “truly of great importance in Christianity; so great, that his being, or not being the Messiah, stands or falls with it.”[1] It is the resurrection that proves that Jesus is who Scripture claims He is, the resurrection that seals our salvation, and the resurrection that transforms our lives. You can visit the burial sites of Buddha’s ashes, Muhammad’s body, and Gandhi’s urn, but the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth is an empty one. Belief in the resurrection is the narrow gate through which we enter, and it’s the only one that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). All our hope hangs on this fact: Jesus is alive!

Because of this hope, we can say that this life is not all there is; it is simply the appetizer, the first course. Shadows fall on our greatest successes on this earth. We lose loved ones. We’re confronted by sin. Even our best days leave us longing for something more. But the fact is that we are only preparing for a day yet to come, when these former things will pass away and the new, resurrected kingdom will come. The resurrection of Jesus is what gives purpose to all you do today, and comfort in all your trials, and hope for all your tomorrows.

GOING DEEPER

Revelation 1:9-18

Topics: Hope Jesus Christ Resurrection

FOOTNOTES

1 “A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity” in The Works of John Locke, in Nine Volumes (Rivington, 1824), 6:341-42.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants You To Love Him Most

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 23:37-38)

What is an idol? You have probably heard about them in missionary stories, and you’ve read about them in the Bible. An idol is a piece of wood or stone shaped like a person or an animal, and people worship it. Right?

That is one kind of idol. But there are other kinds, too. An idol is anything that we love more than God. An idol could be a person, an object, a hobby, a goal, or a desire. God commands us to love Him first. And first means most. God wants to be our highest love.

If we really knew and understood our God, we would have no trouble loving Him most. He is so worthy of our love. He is mightier, wiser, kinder, and more beautiful than any being we can imagine. His love for us is deeper and stronger than we can even begin to understand. He is perfectly holy, and yet He is merciful and forgiving. No one else could ever come close to being like Him. He is, as His Word says, “altogether lovely.”

It is only when we take our eyes off our God that other things seem more important to us. What is taking first place in your heart?

God wants and deserves to be our highest love.

My Response:
» Who or what is in first place in my heart?
» Do I need to ask God to help me get rid of an idol so that I can love Him most?

DDNI Featured News Article – Bear Grylls says faith is ‘key part of survivor’s toolbox,’ laments ‘fluff’ permeating Western Church

Bear Grylls is the first to admit he’s something of an unconventional Christian. 

The survivalist and TV host is unabashedly open about his faith and how it serves as his foundation for living an empowered life. But he doesn’t want to sanitize his message to make it inoffensive to a religious audience, and frankly, he doesn’t have much time for Western church culture. 

“I think Jesus would really struggle with 99% of churches nowadays,” the 48-year-old British adventurer told The Christian Post. “Our job in life is to stay close to Christ and drop the religious, drop the fluff, drop the church if you need to because that means so many different things to different people anyway. Keep the bit of church which is about community and friends and honesty and faith and love. All the masks, performances, music and worship bands and all of that sort of stuff — I don’t think Christ would recognize a lot of that.”

He expressed his distaste for what he called “religious language,” sanitizing messages in such a way where people “can’t be honest, can’t express doubt and can’t fail.” The Church, he said, is “the place to have doubts and questions.”

“Look at the early Church. It was a roomful of people eating and drinking and doubting and struggling and arguing,” he said. 

But the Church today, he said, has gotten away from that. 

“Probably most of the people in the congregation have substance abuse, and probably most of their congregations struggle with porn and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “What a relief it is when a pastor can stand up and go, ‘Welcome to the hospital, folks. Here we go. I’m just standing alongside you on the road, failing our way through, but reaching out of desperation for life and love and redemption. Let’s look outwards, and love other people, and we’re in it together.’”

It’s this kind of honest, zero-fluff approach to life that has made Grylls a worldwide sensation and one of the most recognized faces of survival and outdoor adventure. A former British Special Forces soldier and Everest mountaineer, he starred in Discovery’s “Man vs. Wild” and hosted “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” on the National Geographic Channel Series.

He’s embarked on countless dangerous expeditions, scaled Mount Everest, eaten snakes and spiders and even survived a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa. His books, which range from survival skills handbooks to fiction, have also sold over 15 million copies worldwide. 

Grylls’ latest book, Mind Fuel: Simple Ways to Build Mental Resilience Every Day, offers honest and practical ways to practice better mental health, something he told CP is a crucial part of living a healthy, God-glorying life. He draws from his own struggles with confidence and self-doubt to challenge readers to prioritize their mental health and build resilience. 

“I think the world is tougher than it’s ever been; I think there are so many things hitting, especially young people from every angle,” he said. “I’ve written books on physical fitness, I’ve written books on nutrition and training and all that sort of things. I’ve written about spiritual stuff with Soul Fuel. But mental fuel is an important part of our arsenal; it can help us stay strong and build that resilience in a fast-changing world.”

Divided into short sections, Grylls’ book is easily digestible and full of practical tools for building mental resilience, from getting outside and prioritizing fitness and nutrition (Grylls said he mostly eats an animal-based diet: red meat, lots of dairy, fruit and honey) to surrounding oneself with community — all lessons the outdoorsman said he’s learned through failure. Grylls stresses the important role vulnerability plays in building mental resilience, highlighting the power of humility and sharing one’s struggles.

“We’re so conditioned to only talk about the good stuff when it’s working, but actually, it’s in the struggles and in the things that go wrong that we build connections,” he said. “When we have connections with people, we share their strengths. A problem shared is a problem halved.”

And faith, he said, is the most critical part of living a strong and empowered life. 

“I think we neglect our spirituality at our own peril,” he said. “If you’ve got that connection to the Almighty, everything else is window dressing. Spirituality is such a key part of a survivor’s toolbox. I say, arguably, it’s the number one thing. If you get that right, everything else is bearable and possible, and achievable.”

He pointed out that throughout the Old and New Testaments, biblical heroes from King David and Daniel to John the Baptist dealt with their mental battles through connection to God. 

“The solution is always found in connection with the Almighty,” he said. “There’s always struggle, there’s always hardship, but there’s always faith, and faith always wins. Faith conquers everything. In terms of preparing us for life and keeping us mentally strong, faith is always key.”

He added that very few biblical, heroic moments happened on their own; rather, they always happened in community and between friends.

“It’s always about togetherness,” he said. “Look at Jesus with His band of guys who He shared everything with, the good, the bad and the struggles. They were always brutally honest. They were unchurched; they weren’t smiley and nice. It was raw, it was real, it was painful, it was honest, it was angry, it was jealous, it was all of these things. But it was spoken and it was shared and there was an incredible community, and in a way, that is Church.”

Grylls, who shares three sons with his wife of over 20, Shara, said children learn mental resilience primarily through example. 

“We live it ourselves,” he said. “We embrace challenges. We get outside, we train, we give ourselves permission to fail. We keep going. We understand that resilience is a muscle and we develop it through struggles. We laugh together, we train together, get cold together. We try and eat healthy together.”

The Emmy winner also emphasized the power of encouragement, allowing children to “fail and to make their own mistakes and to know that loving arms are still there.” He challenged parents to “be free and be honest and share the struggles and know that faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin.”

“I think that speaks again to the church culture that can often be very judgy very harsh, very full of rules very unforgiving, ironically, very lacking in freedom,” he said. “And they wonder why so many kids have these epic spiritual journeys, and it can take them a lifetime if at all, to come back to the light because shedding off the heavy stuff is hard work. It’s especially hard in that church culture that has rules and regulations and performance and masks.”

Mental health, just like spiritual and physical health, is a key component to living an empowered life, Grylls said — and he wants people to be equipped in an increasingly anxious and depressed society.

“Don’t wait until you’re sick to see a doctor,” he said. “Mind Fuel is preventative mental health; I want to equip people to tackle life on the front foot, helping them learn some simple, daily and easily accessible tips that will help them. I wrote this book just as much for them as for the person that is going through the dark storms and struggles. I want to help people build mental resilience before they need it.”

Source:

https://www.christianpost.com/books/bear-grylls-says-faith-is-key-part-of-survivors-toolbox.html