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Daily Bread

October 16th, 2015

“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” John 6:35 NIV.

External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

My thoughts and comments today are about “daily bread.”

Hunger is a powerful motivation, impossible to ignore completely. God crafted your body to recognize its need for replenishing, whether for nutrition, exercise, or rest. The body responds to its lack by sending a signal and demanding a response. When the body’s need is not replenished, the body redirects the diminishing supply of nutritional resources to its vital organs. To adequately supply the heart, lungs, and brain, the body grows weaker waiting for nourishment, as the process of starving begins.

The human spirit is similar, requiring nourishment and replenishing. Make no mistake; there is a hunger of the soul. People ignore the hunger of the inner man or misinterpret their inner longings, trying in vain to fill a growing emptiness with things that never satisfy – money, possessions, busyness, thrills, amusements, sex, drugs, alcohol – always to excess yet never enough. External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

Too many fail to recognize the origin of the soul’s hunger. Jesus spoke plainly and confidently, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV. Listen to your heart; feed your soul; nourish your spirit; discover full satisfaction. Satisfaction is found only in Christ.

The Bread of Life desires that you know He alone will satisfy your supreme longings. His provision is abounding. Jesus is life exalting and eternal life assuring. It’s simple really; you have to come to Him. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NIV. Jesus declared Himself to be that daily bread. “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” John 6:51 NIV.

Job got it right, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 KJV. Let’s be practical. You receive this life-giving, daily bread through the discipline of spiritual practices: worship (John 4:23-24), prayer and praise (Ephesians 6:18), personal Bible study (Psalm 119:11), meditation of Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3), and meaningful fellowship with others who seek the same Source and satisfaction. (Acts 2:42/46 NIV). Spiritual disciplines provide satisfaction that is much more full and lasting than any and everything else with which you might attempt to appease the spiritual hunger within. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . they shall be completely satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 NIV/AMP. In Jesus, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Today, I pray for you to have an appetite for things that satisfy.

EDL pix basket of bread

 

 

 

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A Thanksgiving Dinner

November 25th, 2014

“[God] prepares a banquet for me . . and fills my cup to the brim.” Psalm 23:5 TEV.

In no situation is God unwilling or unable to provide abundantly.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a thanksgiving dinner.”

I love this time of year. Autumn brings a change of season introducing Thanksgiving Day and leading to the joy-filled celebration of our Savior on Christmas Day. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with family traditions and traditional foods – roast turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, warm dinner rolls, and of course, pecan and pumpkin pie, all enjoyed at a seasonally decorated and well-appointed table. But first, each family expresses thankfulness to God for His provision and for one another.

David, the Psalmist, enjoyed “a thanksgiving dinner” of sorts, which he describes in the most familiar and beloved of his psalms, Psalm 23. Giving thanks to God, David wrote, “You prepare a banquet for me . .  You welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim.” Psalm 23:5 TEV. In unexpected times and places, God prepares and provides for him. David dines with a heart of thanksgiving for the ample provision of God in every situation and circumstance. In no situation is God unwilling or unable to provide abundantly. Our God “. . is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV.

From the life of Elijah, let me share three examples of “a thanksgiving dinner.” In a severe drought and resulting famine, God sent Elijah where He alone could provide for him. Read 1 Kings 17:1- 7 NKJV. “Hide by the Brook Cherith . . you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.” God provided “a banquet” by natural means delivered in unexplainable ways; scavenger birds brought bread and meat morning and evening. Unusual circumstances don’t matter, when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

In a worsening drought for three years, God redirects Elijah to a widow in Zarephath. Read 1 Kings 17:8-16. Her meager resources exhausted by the famine, she shared with Elijah what little remained, which was then miraculously replenished daily as long as the drought endured. I believe Elijah gave thanks. God provided “a banquet” by a miraculous multiplication of her meager resource. Insufficient resources are irrelevant, when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

And lastly, from an angry queen seeking his death, Elijah “arose and ran for his life.” Read 1 Kings 19:1-8. Running scared and disheartened, Elijah collapses in exhausted sleep until awakened by an angel with fresh bread and water prepared, and “Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and nights, as far as the mountain of God.” God provided “a banquet” by supernatural provision in desperate circumstances. Debilitating fear and despair disappear, when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

With the Psalmist, I have found this true, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:23-26 NIV. At this Thanksgiving season, I am grateful that Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” – a prayer He never fails to hear. Whatever the challenge or need of your present situation, you have ample reason to trust God and give Him thanks for His faithful and sufficient provision, today and always.

Today, my prayer for you is that you find reason every day for thanksgiving to God.

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Prayer and God’s Providence

March 5th, 2014

“Our Father . . give us our food for today.” Matthew 6:11 NLT.

With providence, God provides sufficiently for daily needs.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prayer and God’s providence.”

We are such worriers; having enough for today, we still prefer a little extra to be more sure we will have enough tomorrow. So how much is enough? Since you cannot know what tomorrow will bring, you really cannot know what tomorrow will require. There is wisdom in balancing spending with a little savings. My Dad’s advice to me about finances was both practical and to the point, “Trust God’s provision; give generously; spend sensibly; save wisely; never spend all that you earn.” I do not recall my Dad spending foolishly nor worrying needlessly. Our family never had much, but God provided all we needed and my Dad set aside a little extra as he could.

Jesus addressed needless worry about material things. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or . . what you will wear . . your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Read Matthew 6:25-33 NIV. Providence is a great word describing, “the foresight of the care and provision of God.” You cannot foresee tomorrow, but God does. With providence, God provides sufficiently for each day’s needs – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially. The way your God does so is by prayer, not presumption. Prayer is trusting each concern to God’s providence, without worry or doubt. Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father . . give us our food for today.’” Matthew 6:11 NLT. Jesus’ words may seem so simple but are profoundly significant. 

There is a spiritual progression in Jesus’ model prayer. First, prayer acknowledges God, elevates His Name, and submits to His authority and will. Only then does your prayer rightly turn to your needs, all well-known in God’s providence. Prayer celebrates the appropriate trust of an intimate relationship. Here are some observations about prayer. Prayer invites God’s provision, not informs Him of your need (Matthew 6:8 NKJV). Prayer asks, not assumes (1 John 5:14-15 NKJV). Prayer acknowledges God as source, not yourself (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Prayer asks for what sustains, not what is frivolous. (James 4:3 NKJV). Prayer asks for enough, not excess – “our food for today.”

The Psalmist remembered when God, “rained down manna for [Israel] to eat; He gave them the grain of Heaven . . He sent them all the food they could eat.” Psalm 78:23-25 NIV. According to Moses’ instruction, each family was to gather only enough for each day, “some gathered much, some little . . he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.” See Exodus 16:14-26 NIV. Whatever they gathered was enough; nothing extra they gathered lasted beyond that day. On the sixth day, their trust was further tested and proven. Only then were they to gather enough for that day and the Sabbath as well.

Maybe there is a lesson here for those who want to have more than enough for the day, needing no further faith. Your needs are new each day, as must your faith and prayer be. Here is why you pray, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed . .  Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask . .” 2 Corinthians 9:10/Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

My prayer for you is that you come confidently to your Father with your needs today.

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Thanksgiving Dinner

November 27th, 2013

“[God] prepares a banquet for me . . and fills my cup to the brim.” Psalm 23:5 TEV.

There is no situation in which God is unable or unwilling to provide for you abundantly.

My thoughts and comments today are about “thanksgiving dinner.”

I love this time of year. Autumn brings a change of season introducing Thanksgiving Day and leading to the joy-filled celebration of our Savior on Christmas Day. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with family traditions and traditional foods – roast turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, warm dinner rolls, and of course, pecan and pumpkin pie, all enjoyed at a seasonally decorated and well-appointed table. But first, each family expresses thankfulness to God for His provision and for one another.

David, the Psalmist, enjoyed “a thanksgiving dinner” of sorts, which he describes in the most familiar and beloved of his psalms, Psalm 23. Giving thanks to God, David wrote, “You prepare a banquet for me . .  You welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim.” Psalm 23:5 TEV. In unexpected times and places, God prepares and provides for him. David dines with a heart of thanksgiving for the ample provision of God in every situation and circumstance. There is no situation in which God is unable or unwilling to provide for you abundantly. Our God“. . is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 NKJV.

From the life of Elijah, let me share three examples of “a thanksgiving dinner.” In a severe drought and resulting famine, God sent Elijah where He alone could provide for him. Read 1 Kings 17:1- 7 NKJV. “Hide by the Brook Cherith . . you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.” God provided “a banquet” by natural means delivered in unexplainable ways; scavenger birds brought bread and meat morning and evening. Unusual circumstances don’t matter – when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

In a worsening drought for three years, God redirects Elijah to a widow in Zarephath. Read 1 Kings 17:8-16. Her meager resources exhausted by the famine, she shared with Elijah what little remained, which was then miraculously replenished daily as long as the drought endured. I believe Elijah gave thanks. God provided “a banquet” by a miraculous multiplication of her meager resource. Insufficient resources are irrelevant – when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

And lastly, from an angry queen seeking his death, Elijah “arose and ran for his life.” Read 1 Kings 19:1-8. Running scared and disheartened, Elijah collapses in exhausted sleep until awakened by an angel with fresh bread and water prepared, and “Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and nights, as far as the mountain of God.” God provided “a banquet” by supernatural provision in desperate circumstances. Debilitating fear and despair disappear – when God “prepares a banquet . . and welcomes you as an honored guest.”

With the Psalmist, I have found this true, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:23-26 NIV. At this Thanksgiving season, I am grateful that Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” a prayer He never fails to hear. Whatever the challenge or pressing need of your present situation, you have ample reason to trust God and give Him thanks for His faithful and sufficient provision – today, and every day.

My prayer for you today is that you find reason every day for thanksgiving to God.

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Sufficiency

October 7th, 2013

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”  Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV.

God’s sufficiency is proportional to your daily necessity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “sufficiency.”

Some days can feel overwhelming, too tough and too long. Problems can seem unrelenting, clouding perspective and challenging perseverance. Burdens are exhausting and worry is fatiguing. There are times when you are unsure if any strength remains. In 2000, when my Mom was in hospice care for seven weeks, I felt absolutely drained. My heart was heavy; my soul was weary. There was a tiredness I had not known before. Day by day, I felt more and more emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually depleted.

Then into my growing darkness, God spoke. No, it was not audible; at that moment, I was too fragile for that. Into my weariness, God spoke this life-giving truth, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. In those seven weeks, I was strengthened and sustained daily by God’s words to me. Later, I found those words in Moses’ final blessings to the tribes of Israel, just before his death. In blessing Asher, Moses said, “As your days, so shall your strength be . . the eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:25/27 NKJV. Reliable commentary on this verse explains God’s promise as two-fold.

(1) In God, your strength is sufficient for the extent of your days. David’s personal testimony is this: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:25 NIV. Whatever the length of your years, God’s strength and supply neither diminishes nor is exhaustible, and is provided life-long.

(2) In God, your strength will be appropriate to the content of your day. God’s strength and sufficiency is proportioned in its graces and comforts to your daily necessity. “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV/1:8-10 NKJV.Whatever your trials or difficulties, God always gives ample grace to support you in them and bring you through them.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread . .” Matthew 6:11 NKJV. Bread is representative of the all basic requirements of daily life – all that provides, nourishes, enriches, and sustains life and well-being each and every day. Supernaturally,God provided manna to Israel with instructions. Read Exodus 16:16-23 NIV. Daily, God provided enough. Notice particularly, “. . Everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.” Vs. 18 NLT.

God’s supply is always sufficient. The lesson to be drawn is that God’s provision is always ample, yet your efforts without His blessing and provision will lack. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work . . that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV/Ephesians 3:19-20 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find God’s grace, love, and power sufficient.

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