• Ministry > Our Daily Bread

    What’s Your Passion?

    One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high–performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)

    One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”

    I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t…

    I Just Can’t Do It

    “I just can’t do it!” lamented the dejected student. On the page he could see only small print, difficult ideas, and an unforgiving deadline. He needed the help of his teacher.

     We might experience similar despair when we read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). Anger is as bad as murder (v. 22). Lust equals adultery (v. 28). And if we dare think we can live up to these standards, we bump into this: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).

    “The Sermon on the Mount produces despair,” says Oswald Chambers. But he saw…

    No Co-Signer Required

    When a person without a long history of paying his or her bills on time wants to obtain a loan to purchase a home or car, lenders are often reluctant to take the financial risk. Without a track record, that person’s promise to repay what he borrows is insufficient for the bank. The would-be borrower usually resorts to finding someone who does have a history of making good on their debts, asking them to put their name on the loan too. The co-signer’s promise assures the lender the loan will be repaid.

    When someone makes a promise to us—whether for financial,…

    The Best Gift

    When I was packing up to go home to London, my mother approached me with a gift—one of her rings I had long admired. Surprised, I asked, “What’s this for?” She replied, “I think you should enjoy it now. Why wait until I die? It doesn’t fit me anyway.” With a smile I received her unexpected gift, an early inheritance that brings me joy.

    My mom gave me a material gift, but Jesus promises that His Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). When parents who are marred with sin can provide the necessities of life—fish…

    Hiding Our Hurts

    I was guest-speaking in a local church and my topic was an honest story about presenting our brokenness before God and receiving the healing He wants to give. Before closing in prayer, the pastor stood in the center aisle, looked deeply into the eyes of his gathered congregants, and said, “As your pastor I have the privilege of seeing you midweek and hearing your heart-breaking stories of brokenness. Then in our weekend worship services, I have the pain of watching you hide your hurt away.”

    My heart ached at the hidden hurts that God came to heal. The writer of Hebrews…

    He Knows Us

    Did God know about me as I drove at night on a 100-mile journey to my village? Given the condition I was in, the answer was not simple. My temperature ran high and my head ached. I prayed, “Lord, I know you are with me, but I’m in pain!”

    Tired and weak, I parked by the road near a small village. Ten minutes later, I heard a voice. “Hello! Do you need any help?” It was a man with his companions from the community. Their presence felt good. When they told me the name of their village: Naa mi n’yala (meaning, “The…

    An Anchor When We’re Afraid

    Are you a worrier? I am. I wrestle with anxiety almost daily. I worry about big things. I worry about small things. Sometimes, it seems like I worry about everything. Once in my teens, I called the police when my parents were four hours late getting home.

    Scripture repeatedly calls us not to be afraid. Because of God’s goodness and power, and because He sent Jesus to die for us and His Holy Spirit to guide us, our fears don’t have to rule our lives. We may well face hard things, but God has promised to be with us through it all.

    One…

    Strangers Welcome Strangers

    When my husband and I moved to Seattle to be near his sister, we didn’t know where we would live or work. A local church helped us find a place: a rental house with many bedrooms. We could live in one bedroom, and rent the others to international students. For the next three years, we were strangers welcoming strangers: sharing our home and meals with people from all over the world. We and our housemates welcomed dozens of international students in our home every Friday night for Bible study, too.

    God’s people know what it means to be far from home.…

    God of the Depths

    “When you go to the deep sea, every time you take a sample, you’ll find a new species,” says marine biologist Ward Appeltans. In one recent year, scientists identified 1,451 new types of undersea life. We simply don’t know the half of what’s down there.

    In Job 38, God reviewed His creation for Job’s benefit. In three poetic chapters, God highlighted the wonders of weather, the vastness of the cosmos, and the variety of creatures in their habitats. These are things we can observe. Then God spoke of the mysterious Leviathan—for an entire chapter. Leviathan is a creature like no other,…

    Be Still, My Soul!

    Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.

    The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you…

    Many Gifts, One Purpose

    Corn, also called maize, is the staple food in my home country of Mexico. There are so many different types. You can find yellow, brown, red, and black cobs, even mixed ones with a wonderful spotted pattern. But people in the cities usually won’t eat the spotted cobs. As restaurateur and researcher Amado Ramírez explains, they somehow believe uniformity is a synonym of quality. Yet the spotted cobs taste good, and they make excellent tortillas.

    The church of Christ is much more similar to a spotted ear of corn than to a cob of just one color. The apostle Paul used…

    Declaring Dependence

    Laura’s mom was battling cancer. One morning Laura prayed for her with a friend. Her friend, who had been disabled for years by cerebral palsy, prayed: “Lord, you do everything for me. Please do everything for Laura’s mother.”

    Laura was deeply moved by her friend’s “declaration of dependence” on God. Reflecting on the moment, she said: “How often do I acknowledge my need for God in everything? It’s something I should do every day!”

    During His days on earth Jesus demonstrated continual dependence on His heavenly Father. One might think that because Jesus is God in a human body, He would have…

    God’s Great Creation

    On a recent visit with some of our grandchildren, we enjoyed watching a web cam that focused on an eagle family in Florida. Every day we would check in on the mom, the dad, and the baby as they went about their daily routine in their nest high off the ground. Each day the parent birds would keep a constant, protective vigil over the eaglet, bringing him fish from a nearby river for nourishment.

    This little eagle family depicts for us one image the psalmist gave us of God’s magnificent creation in Psalm 104—an array of creation images, of scenes from…

    A Perfect World

    Katie was given a school assignment to write an essay entitled “My Perfect World.” She wrote: “In my perfect world  . . . ice cream is free, lollipops are everywhere, and the sky is blue all the time, with only a few clouds that have interesting shapes.” Then her essay took a more serious turn. In that world, she continued, “No one will come home to bad news. And no one will have to be the one to deliver it.”

    No one will come home to bad news. Isn’t that wonderful? Those words point powerfully to the confident hope we have…

    I See You

    When Xavier was two, he darted into one aisle after another in a small shoe store. Hiding behind stacks of shoeboxes, he giggled when my husband, Alan, said, “I see you.”

    Moments later, I saw Alan dash franticly from aisle to aisle, calling Xavier’s name. We raced to the front of the store. Our child, still laughing, ran toward the open door leading to the busy street outside.

    Within seconds, Alan scooped him up. He embraced us as I thanked God, sobbed, and kissed our toddler’s chubby cheeks.

    A year before I became pregnant with Xavier, I’d lost our first child during the…

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