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Dec
31

In His Grip

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Philippians 3:12

When we cross a busy street with small children in tow, we put out our hand and say, “Hold on tight,” and our little ones grasp our hand as tightly as they can. But we would never depend on their grasp. It is our grip on their hand that holds them and keeps them secure. So Paul insists, “Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Phil. 3:12). Or more exactly, “Christ has a grip on me!”

One thing is certain: It is not our grip on God that keeps us safe, but the power of Jesus’ grasp. No one can take us out of His grasp—not the devil, not even ourselves. Once we’re in His hands, He will not let go.

We have this assurance: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

Doubly safe: Our Father on one side and our Lord and Savior on the other, clasping us in a viselike grip. These are the hands that shaped the mountains and oceans and flung the stars into space. Nothing in this life or the next “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

Father, I thank You for the nail-pierced hands
that reached out in love and took me by my hand.
You have led me by Your right hand throughout life.
I trust You to hold me and keep me safe to the end.
The One who saved us is the One who keeps us.
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Dec
30

Mixed Emotions

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.
Proverbs 14:13

For Marlene and me, “mixed emotions” precisely describes our wedding. Don’t take that the wrong way. It was a wonderful event that we continue to celebrate more than 35 years later. The wedding celebration, however, was dampened because Marlene’s mom died of cancer just weeks before. Marlene’s aunt was a wonderful stand-in as the “mother of the bride,” but, in the midst of our happiness, something clearly wasn’t right. Mom was missing, and that affected everything.

That experience typifies life in a broken world. Our experiences here are a mixed bag of good and bad, joy and pain—a reality that Solomon expressed when he wrote, “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief” (Prov. 14:13). The merry heart often does grieve, for that is what this life sometimes demands.

Thankfully, however, this life is not all there is. And in the life that is to come, those who know Christ have a promise: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). In that great day, there will be no mixed emotions—only hearts filled with the presence of God!

Peace! peace! wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love. —Cornell
For the Christian, the dark sorrows of earth will one day be changed into the bright songs of heaven.
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Dec
29

Letter To A Child

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 4

Even at the end of his life, C. S. Lewis showed an interest in the spiritual nurture of younger believers. Although in ill health, he took time to respond to the letter of a child named Philip. Complimenting the boy’s fine written expression, Lewis said he was delighted that Philip understood that in the Narnia Chronicles the lion Aslan represented Jesus Christ. The next day, Lewis died at his home in the Kilns, Oxford, England, one week before his 65th birthday.

The apostle John, in his later years, sent a letter to his spiritual children. In it we see the joy of a mature believer encouraging his spiritually younger disciples to keep walking in the truth and following Christ.

John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). Short by New Testament standards, John’s letter demonstrates the joy that comes in nurturing and watching the next generation’s spiritual growth.

Encouraging spiritual understanding in the next generation should be the pursuit of mature believers. Sending a note of appreciation, giving a word of encouragement, praying, or offering sound advice can all be ways of helping others on their spiritual journey with God.

To help another in Christ to grow
You have to pay a price
It takes the giving of yourself
And that means sacrifice. —D. DeHaan
The journey is better with someone who knows the way.