Entries by YMI

ODB: Narrow Door Cafe

May 28, 2022 

READ: Luke 13:22–30 

Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Luke 13:24

 

Croissants, dumplings, pork curry, and all sorts of scrumptious food await those who find and enter the Narrow Door Cafe. Located in the Taiwanese city of Tainan, this cafe is literally a hole in the wall. Its entrance is barely forty centimeters wide (less than sixteen inches)—just enough for the average person to squeeze his way through! Yet, despite the challenge, this unique cafe has attracted large crowds.

Will this be true of the narrow door described in Luke 13:22–30? Someone asked Jesus, “Are only a few people going to be saved?” (v. 23). In reply, Jesus challenged the person to “make every effort to enter through the narrow door” to God’s kingdom (v. 24). He was essentially asking, “Will the saved include you?” Jesus used this analogy to urge the Jews not to be presumptuous. Many of them believed they’d be included in God’s kingdom because they were Abraham’s descendants or because they kept the law. But Jesus challenged them to respond to Him before “the owner of the house . . . closes the door” (v. 25). 

Neither our family background nor our deeds can make us right with God. Only faith in Jesus can save us from sin and death (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–7). The door is narrow, but it’s wide open to all who will put their faith in Jesus. He’s inviting us today to seize the opportunity to enter through the narrow door to His kingdom.

— Poh Fang Chia

How can you have confidence you’ll enter through the narrow door and be assured of eternal life with Jesus? Why is this decision so important?

Jesus, thank You for inviting me into Your kingdom. I believe You came to die for me and You rose from the grave. Come into my life and be my Savior.  

ODB: The Forecaster’s Mistake

May 27, 2022 

READ: Jeremiah 23:16–22 

Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. Jeremiah 23:28

 

At noon on September 21, 1938, a young meteorologist warned the U.S. Weather Bureau of two fronts forcing a hurricane northward toward New England. But the chief of forecasting scoffed at Charles Pierce’s prediction. Surely a tropical storm wouldn’t strike so far north.

Two hours later, the 1938 New England Hurricane made landfall on Long Island. By 4:00 p.m. it had reached New England, tossing ships onto land as homes crumbled into the sea. More than six hundred people died. Had the victims received Pierce’s warning—based on solid data and his detailed maps—they likely would have survived.

The concept of knowing whose word to heed has precedent in Scripture. In Jeremiah’s day, God warned His people against false prophets. “Do not listen [to them],” He said. “They fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16). God said of them, “If they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people” (v. 22).

“False prophets” are still with us. “Experts” dispense advice while ignoring God altogether or twisting His words to suit their purposes. But through His Word and Spirit, God has given us what we need to begin to discern the false from the true. As we gauge everything by the truth of His Word, our own words and lives will increasingly reflect that truth to others.

— Tim Gustafson

What’s the standard you use when you decide whether something is true? What in your attitude needs to change toward those who disagree with you?

Loving God, so many claim to speak for You these days. Help me learn what You really have to say. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit, not the spirit of this world.  

ODB: Turn Up the Heat

May 26, 2022 

READ: Revelation 3:14–22 

Be earnest and repent. Revelation 3:19

 

Temperatures where we live in Colorado can change quickly—sometimes within a few minutes. So my husband, Dan, was curious about the temperature differences in and around our home. As a fan of gadgets, he was excited to unpack his latest “toy”—a thermometer showing temperature readings from four “zones” around our house. Joking that it was a “silly” gadget, I was surprised to find myself frequently checking the temperatures too. The differences inside and out fascinated me.

Jesus used temperature to describe the “lukewarm” church in Laodicea, one of the richest of the seven cities cited in the book of Revelation. A bustling banking, clothing, and medical hub, the city was hampered by a poor water supply, so it needed an aqueduct to carry water from a hot spring. By the time the water arrived in Laodicea, however, it was neither hot nor cold.

The church was tepid too. Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). As Christ explained, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (v. 19).

Our Savior’s plea remains urgent for us too. Are you spiritually neither hot nor cold? Accept His correction and ask Him to help you live an earnest, fired-up faith.

— Patricia Raybon

What’s the temperature of your faith? If your commitment to God is lukewarm, how will you pray to seek more loving heat and zeal?

If my commitment to You cools down, Father, send the loving heat of Your Holy Spirit to awaken and warm up my faith.  

ODB: Run Away

May 25, 2022 

READ: Matthew 26:47–56 

How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? Matthew 26:54

 

The introductory lesson on aikido, a traditional Japanese form of martial arts, was an eye-opener. The sensei, or teacher, told us that when faced with an attacker, our first response should be to “run away.” “Only if you can’t run away, then you fight,” he said seriously.

Run away? I was taken aback. Why was this highly skilled self-defense instructor telling us to run away from a fight? It seemed counterintuitive—until he explained that the best form of self-defense is to avoid fighting in the first place. Of course!

When several men came to arrest Jesus, Peter responded as some of us might have by drawing his sword to attack one of them (Matthew 26:51; see John 18:10). But Jesus told him to put it away, saying, “How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:54).

While a sense of justice is important, so is understanding God’s purpose and kingdom—an “upside-down” kingdom that calls us to love our enemies and return evil with kindness (5:44). It’s a stark contrast to how the world might react, yet it’s a response that God seeks to nurture in us.

Luke 22:51 even describes Jesus healing the ear of the man Peter had struck. May we learn to respond to difficult situations as He did, always seeking peace and restoration as God provides what we need.

— Leslie Koh

How did you respond to a difficult situation recently? How does this compare with how you think Jesus might have responded?

Father God, give me a new understanding of Your greater purposes in Your kingdom, and a godly, loving, and peace-seeking heart to respond to situations as Your Son did.