DAILKY BREAD #34
THE SECRET GARDEN
Read: Proverbs 4:20-27
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it sring the
issues of life. - Proverbs 4:23
The Secret Garden, a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, tells
the story of Mary. A young girl who goes to live with her wealthy
uncle Archibald on his estate in England. Mary gets to know
Dickon, a working-class boy who loves nature. The two children
discover a fenced-in garden that Mary's uncle has locked up
because it reminds him of his deceased wife. The garden looks
dead because of neglect. But Dickon assures Mary that with
proper tending, it will recover with new life. With the
children's help, the secret garden eventually bursts forth with
colorful, fragrant blooms.
All of us have a secret garden of the heart. How we tend it
will determine what speech and behavior it produces. Proverbs
wisely admonishes us: "keep your heart with all diligence. for
out of it spring the issues of life" (Prov.4:23). The word keep
means "to watch or guard with fidelity." Guarding what we take
into our hearts and monitoring our response will determine what
takes root there. As we remove the thorns of resentment weeds of
lust, and roots of bitterness, we can replace them with the fruit
of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, lonsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal.5:22-23).
Are you tending the garden of your heart? - Dennis Fisher
Think not alone of outward form; Its beauty will depart; But
cultivate the Spirit's fruits That grow within the heart. -
GOD WANTS YOU TO WATER THE SEED HE'S PLANTED IN YOUR HEART.
DWELL WITH UNDERSTAND
Read: Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands ... dwell with [your wives] with understanding ... that
your prayers may not be hindered. - Peter 3:7
God wants you to water the seed He's planted in your heart.
my wife, Marlene and I, have been married for some 30 years, and
have learned to appreciate each other and enjoy each other's
unique qualities. But even after all these years she still
surprises me from time to time. Recently, she reacted to a news
report in a way that was opposite to what I expected. I told her,
"Wow, that shocks me. I never would have thought you would land
there on this issue." Her response? "Your job is to figure me
out, and my job is to keep you guessing!" The responsibility to
understand your spouse is what keeps married life interesting and
This is an ancient challenge. Peter wrote: "Husbands,
likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the
wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the
grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter
3:7). He saw it as a priority for the husband to become a student
of his wife - to know and understand her. Without that commitment
to understanding his spouse, a husband is not capable of doing
what comes next - honoring her.
As a husband, if I am to love my wife as Christ loves the
church(Eph.5:25), it will begin with the intentional effort to
grow in my understanding of her. - Bill Crowder
MARRAIGE THRIVES IN A CLIMATE OF LOVE AND RESPECT.
BETWEEN THE ENTERNITIES
Read: Hebrews 11:8-16
These all died in faith not having received the promise, but
having seen them afar off were assured of them. - Hebrews 11:13
In the television western "Broken Trail," cowboy Prentice
Ritter must provide words of comfort at the funeral of a friend.
Uncomfortable in the situation, he quietly says, "We are all
travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing
house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities."
In a sense, he was right. We are travelers - pilgrims - in a
world that offers no lasting peace or rest. And while there is
only one eternity, we travel between eternity past and eternity
future, waiting for promises of a home and a hope that will last
forever - promises yet to be fulfilled.
In those times of struggle and despair when our pilgrimage
of life is difficult, it is helpful to remember that though we
are pilgrims who travel between the eternities, we have a Savior
who is the Lord and Master of eternity. He has offered us the
promise of life with Him forever and has secured that promise
with His own sacrifice. This was the promise spoken of by the
writer of Hebrews 11:13.
We are locked into the moments and hours and days of life,
but we look ahead by faith in Christ. One day, we will experience
the promises of eternity when faith will become sight as we see
That hope is what lifts us beyond life between the
eternities to a joy that is eternal. - Bill Crowder
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty, Hold me with Thy powerful hand. -
FOR TIME AND ETERNITY, JESUS IS ALL WE NEED.
Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
We are to God the fragrance of Christ. - 2 Cor.2:15
One morning I was looking at a bouquet of flowers in a vase
on an old carpenter's bench in front of our "window on the
world." I realized the bouquet was spent; its leaves had wilted
and the blossoms were falling. The same morning I also read
George Herbert and quite by "accident" came across his poem
titled "Life." In it Herbert talks about a "posy" (a bouquet of
flowers) he gathered so that he could smell the fragrance. But,
as he put it, "Time did beckon to the flowers, and they by noon
most cunningly did steal away, and withered in my hand."
The loss of his flowers caused him at first to see "time's
gentle admonition." Herbert wrote that it "[made] my mind to
smell my fatal day: yet sugaring the suspicion." Yet even as the
wilted flowers reminded him of his own death, he found in the
metaphor something that sweetened the thought. Herbert concluded:
"Farewell dear flowers, sweetly your time ye spent, Fit, while ye
lived, for smell or ornament, And after death for cures.
I follow straight without complaints or grief, Since if my scent
be good, I care not, if It be as short as yours."
What wisdom in this poem! Our time, however short, may be
spent "sweetly" - a sweet fragrance of Christ to others (2 Cor.
2:14-16). Should not this be our prayer each day as we arise?
- David Roper
A GODLY LIFE IS A FRAGRANCE THAT DRAWS OTHERS TO CHRIST.
GOD IS GOOD
Read: Genesis 3:1-7
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the
way. - Psalm 25:8
The phrase "God is good, all the time; all the time, God is
good" is repeated by many Christians almost like a mantra. I
often wonder if they really believe it or even think about what
they're saying. I sometimes doubt God's goodness - especially
when it feels as though God isn't hearing or answering my
prayers. I assume that if others were more honest, they'd admit
they feel the same way.
The serpent planted a doubt in Eve's mind about whether God
had been good to her and had her best interest at heart. He said,
"God knows that in the day you eat of [the fruit] your eyes will
be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen.
3:5). Satan tried to convince her to believe that God was
holding out on her and not giving her something really good -
Do you feel as though God isn't answering your prayers? Are
you tempted to doubt His goodness? When I feel this way, I have
to remind myself that my circumstances aren't the barometer of
God's love and goodness - the cross is. He has shown how good He
is by giving His only Son Jesus to die for our sin. We can't rely
on our feelings. But day by day as we choose to trust Him more,
we learn to believe with confidence that God is good - all the
time. - Anne Cetas
When you are tempted to deny God's goodness, love, and grace,
Look to the cross of Calvary, Where Jesus took your place. - Spec
CIRCUMSTANCES AREN'T THE BAROMETER OF GOD'S LOVE AND GOODNESS -
THE CROSS IS.
Read: Luke 19:1-9
He shall make restitution for his trespass in full. - Numbers 5:7
During the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary,
managing editor James Murray received thousands of definitions
from Dr.William Chester Minor. They were always sent in by mail
and never brought in personally. Murray was curious about this
brilliant man, so he went to visit him. He was shocked to find
that Minor was incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally
Years earlier, while in a delusional state, Minor had shot
an innocent man whom he thought had been tormenting him. Later he
was filled with remorse and began sending money to support the
widow and her family. Minor was imprisoned for the rest of his
life but he found practical ways of easing the pain of his
victims and contributing to society through his work on the
When the dishonest tax collector Zacchaeus heard Jesus'
message of grace, he chose to return more than what he had
extorted from others. "Look, Lord.... if I have taken anything
from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold" (Luke 19:8).
The gospel of grace stirred Zacchaeus to help those he had
Have you wronged someone? What steps will you take to help
make things right? - Dennis Fisher
Forgive me, Lord, for all my sins, The many wrongs that I have
done; And show me how to make things right, Before the setting of
the sun. - Bosch
MAKING RESTITUTION REVEALS GENGUINE REPENTANCE.
Read: Matthew 5:21-26
Whosoever us angray with his brother without a cause shall be in
danger of the judgment. - Matthew 5:22
Several years ago while having lunch with a friend, a white
man called me "boy." Shock gave way to anger and hurt. My friend
even shed tears. Why? The term "boy" was an insulting label used
of black men in the US during slavery, an attempt to steal their
identity by demoting them to less than men. As that ugly word
recklessly barreled its way through my soul, I wanted to respond
with an equally unkind name. But some ancient words from our
Master about murder and anger changed my mind.
As Jesus was teaching His followers. He quoted the sixth
commandment - "You shall not murder" - and the penalty for
breaking it (Matt.5:21). Then He gave a fuller interpretation.
Taking someone's life was not limited to physical murder;
you could show contempt for someone through name-calling and be
just as guilty.
In Jewish culture, to call someone "Raca" or "Fool" (v.22)
the equivalent of calling someone empty-headed or an idiot. It
was used to demean and demote another. What makes name-calling so
damaging is that it insults the God who created that person in
Jesus taught His followers that the weight of our neighbor's
glory is a burden we carry daily. If we follow His teaching, we
won't be guilty of identity theft. - Marvin Williams
Teach me to love, this is my prayer, May the compassion of Thy
heart I share; Ready a cup of water to give, May I unselfishly
for others live. - Peterson
TO INSULT THE CREATURE IS TO INSULT THE CREATOR.