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By God’s Help
September 19, 2010

Our Daily Bread is hosted by Les Lamborn

READ: 1 Samuel 7:2-12

Thus far the Lord has helped us. —1 Samuel 7:12

The word Ebenezer in the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” refers to a

time when the people of Israel were trying to regain the close relationship they

once had with God. Their spiritual leader, Samuel, told them that if they would

abandon their foreign gods and return to the Lord wholeheartedly, He would

deliver them from being oppressed by their enemy, the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:2-3).

When the people turned from their sin, God gave them victory. In response,

“Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name

Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’?” (v.12).

When we sing, “Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’ve come; and I

hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home,” we are reminded that in our

times of need we can always turn to God to find forgiveness and help. Whatever

we have done, wherever we have wandered, He will receive and restore us by His

grace.

A small stone on a desk or shelf can be our own Ebenezer—a powerful, visible

reminder that by God’s help we have come this far in life, and He will see us

through to the end. —David McCasland

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise. —Robinson

Because God is with us, we need not fear what is ahead of us.

What you see depends on what you're looking for. Source Unknown

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Dogged Devotion
September 20, 2010

Our Daily Bread is hosted by Les Lamborn

READ: John 15:9-17

In Your presence is fullness of joy. —Psalm 16:11

Maggie doesn’t care much for television. She would rather look out a window than stare at a small screen. Reading doesn’t thrill her either. She has been known to “chew” on books, but only in the strictly literal sense. Nevertheless, when Jay and I read or watch TV, Maggie participates. Even though she doesn’t enjoy what we’re doing, she enjoys being with us. Maggie is our very devoted dog. More than anything (well, just about anything) Maggie wants to be with us.

The word dogged means “determined and persistent.” These words describe Maggie. They should also describe us. When we are devoted to God, we want to be with Him even when He’s doing something that makes no sense to us. We may ask, “Why, Lord?” when He seems angry (Ps. 88:14) or when He seems to be napping (44:23), or when the wicked prosper (Jer. 12:1). But when we remain devoted to God despite our questions, we find fullness of joy in His presence (Ps. 16:11).

Jesus knew that we would have questions. To prepare us for them, He urged us to abide in His love (John 15:9-10). Even when God’s ways are inexplicable, His love is reliable. So we remain doggedly devoted to Him. —Julie Ackerman Link

Never should our love be just a word,
A passing phase, a brief emotion;
But love that honors Christ our Lord
Responds to Him with deep devotion. —Hess

We find joy when we learn to abide in Jesus’ love.

What you see depends on what you're looking for. Source Unknown

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Roughing The Pastor
September 18, 2010

READ: 1 Timothy 5:17-25

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine. —1 Timothy 5:17

I was at my grandson’s eighth-grade football game when the referee indicated there was a penalty and stopped play. Apparently, after the ball was thrown, the boy who passed it was tackled, prompting a penalty flag. The announcer from the press box said: “There is a flag on the field. The penalty is roughing the pastor . . . I mean, roughing the passer.” As soon as he said it, I thought to myself, God could give that penalty to some churches today!

It’s not that pastors are perfect. If that is what we are looking for, then pastorless churches would be the norm. It’s that God calls on us to honor those who lead us spiritually, particularly “those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17 ESV). In my opinion, pastoring is one of the hardest occupations on the planet. We live in a sophisticated, fast-paced, and complex world, and our expectations for “high-performance” pastors often set the bar at unattainable heights.

So, let’s switch the focus and become high-performance church members who honor our pastors with words of encouragement and prayer. A supportive note or a “thank you” in the foyer will go a long way to stimulate pastors to serve with joy and efficiency. —Joe Stowell

Lord, help us to appreciate
The work that others do,
The service given from their hearts,
Their sacrifice for You. —Sper

Don’t be rough on your pastor— pass along some encouragement today.

What you see depends on what you're looking for. Source Unknown

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.Ralph Waldo Emerson
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