The audio version of Our Daily Bread is an effective resource for those who desire constant awareness of God's Word and its significance in the life of the believer.
Discerning Right Paths
One writer referred to Brazilian skateboarder Felipe Gustavo as “one of the most legendary skateboarders on the planet.” No one would have believed this would be Gustavo’s future when he was sixteen. Gustavo’s dad believed his son needed to pursue his dream of skating professionally, but they didn’t have the money. So his dad sold their car, and took his son to the renowned Tampa Am skating competition in Florida. No one had heard of Gustavo . . . until he won. And the victory catapulted him into an amazing career.
Gustavo’s dad had the capacity to see his son’s heart and passion. “When I become a father,” Gustavo said, “I just want to be like five percent of what my dad was for me.”
Proverbs describes the opportunity parents have to help their children discern the unique way God has crafted their heart, energy, and personality—and then to direct and encourage them toward the path that reflects who God made them to be. “Start children off on the way they should go,” the writer says, “and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (22:6).
We may not possess vast resources or profound knowledge. With God’s wisdom (vv. 17–21) and our attentive love, however, we can offer our kids and other children within our sphere of influence an immense gift. We can help them trust in God and discern the paths they can follow for a lifetime (3:5–6).
Strength to Let Go
Once known as the World’s Strongest Man, American weightlifter Paul Anderson set a world record in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, despite a severe inner-ear infection and a 103-degree fever. Falling behind frontrunners, his only chance for a gold medal was to set a new Olympic record in his last event. His first two attempts failed badly.
So the burly athlete did what even the weakest among us can do. He called on God for extra strength, letting go of his own. As he later said, “It wasn’t making a bargain. I needed help.” With his final lift, he hoisted 413.5 pounds (187.5 kg) over his head.
Another Paul, the apostle of Christ, wrote, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul was speaking of spiritual strength, but he knew that God’s power was “made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).
As the prophet Isaiah declared, “[The Lord] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).
The path to such strength? Abiding in Jesus. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” He said (John 15:5). As weightlifter Anderson often said, “If the strongest man in the world can’t get through one day without the power of Jesus Christ—where does that leave you?” To find out, we can release our dependence on our own illusive strength, asking God for His strong and prevailing help.
Relinquishing Control to God
Picture a mighty oak tree that’s small enough to fit on a kitchen table. That’s what a bonsai looks like—a beautiful ornamental tree that’s a miniature version of what you find wild in nature. There’s no genetic difference between a bonsai and its full-size counterpart. It’s simply that a shallow pot, pruning, and root trimming restrict growth, so the plant remains small.
While bonsai trees make for wonderful decorative plants, they also illustrate the power of control. It’s true that we can manipulate their growth as the tree responds to its environment. But God is ultimately the One who makes things grow.
God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel this way: “I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall” (Ezekiel 17:19). God was foreshadowing future events when he would “uproot” the nation of Israel by allowing the Babylonians to invade. In the future, however, God would plant a new tree in Israel that would bear fruit, with “birds of every kind” finding shelter in the shade of its branches (v. 23). God said that no matter how much upcoming events seemed out of control, He was still in charge.
The world tells us to try to control our circumstances by manipulation and through our own hard work. But true peace and thriving are found by relinquishing control to the only One who can make the trees grow.
We Need Jesus' Help
The day finally came—the day I realized my father wasn’t indestructible. As a boy, I knew his strength and determination. But in my early adult years, he injured his back, and I realized that my father was mortal after all. I stayed with my parents to help my dad to the bathroom, assisting him in dressing, even guiding a glass of water to his mouth—it was humbling to him. He made some initial attempts to accomplish small tasks, but admitted, “I can’t do anything without your help.” He eventually recovered to his strong self, but that experience taught both of us an important lesson. We need each other.
And while we need each other, we need Jesus even more. In John 15, the imagery of the vine and the branches continues to be one we cling to. Yet one of the other phrases, while comforting, can also strike at our self-reliance, the thought that easily creeps into our minds: I don’t need help. Jesus is clear—“apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5). Jesus is talking about bearing fruit, like “love, joy, peace” (Galatians 5), those core features of a disciple. To bear fruit is the life Christ calls us to, and our total reliance on Him yields a fruitful life, a life lived to the Father’s glory (v. 8).
The Privilege of Stewardship
While on vacation, my husband and I walked along the beach. We noticed a large square patch of sand blocked off by a makeshift fence. A young man explained that he worked around the clock with a team of volunteers committed to guarding the eggs in each sea turtle’s nest. Once the hatchlings emerged from their nest, the presence of both animals and humans threaten and decrease their chance of survival. “Even with all our efforts,” he said, “scientists estimate that only one out of every five thousand hatchlings reach adulthood.” These bleak numbers didn’t discourage this young man, however. His passion for selflessly serving the hatchlings deepened my desire for respecting and protecting sea turtles. Now I wear a sea turtle pendant that reminds me of my God-given responsibility to care for the creatures He’s made.
When God created the world, He provided a habitat for each creature to thrive and live in interdependently (Genesis 1:20–25). When He created His image-bearers, God intended for us to “rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (v. 26). He helps us serve Him as responsible stewards who use our God-given authority to care for His vast creation.
When Prayer Shakes the Earth
Dr. Gary Greenberg has magnified and photographed sand from beaches around the world, often revealing surprising, vibrant splashes of color from the minerals, shell, and coral fragments contained within.
He’s discovered there’s more to sand than meets the eye. In arenology (the study of sand), the microscopic analysis of sand’s mineral content can reveal much about erosion, shore currents, and their potential effects on coastlines. Even a little sand can yield information of great worth!
A single prayer, like a grain of sand, can be a weighty thing. Scripture indicates prayer’s powerful role in the coming of God’s kingdom. In Revelation 8, John sees an angel standing at the altar before His throne holding a golden censer containing “the prayers of all God’s people.” “Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (vv. 3, 5).
Immediately after the angel hurled the censer filled with fire and prayer, seven angels with seven trumpets “prepared to sound them” (v. 6), heralding the old earth’s last days and Christ’s return.
Sometimes we may not feel like our prayers add up to much, but God doesn’t miss one. He so values them that they somehow even play a role in the consummation of His kingdom. What may seem like the smallest prayer to us can have earth-shaking weight with Him!
Where is the story text?
Love the daily inspiration but also enjoyed reading along with the narration. The last episode with the story text was April 14.
Thank you for saving me
Our daily bread literally gives me courage and hope to continue living in this world.
The first listen of every day
For quite a few years now, this is the very first thing I do every day! I don’t think I could recommend any program any higher.