Our True Daily Bread

<strong>Our True Daily Bread</strong>

Bread is a symbol of many things.  In the Old Testament, the Lord provided bread from heaven when His people were wandering in the wilderness after escaping from Egypt.  (Ex 16:4, 14, 31)  In this context, bread was a forceful symbol of God’s provision for His people. 

For decades in America, the husband in a family was referred to, in informal terms, as the breadwinner.  Even now, bread is a synonym for money.

Let’s read what God’s Word says about bread.

Give us today our daily bread.  (Mt 6:11 NIV)

Give us day by day our daily bread.  (Lk 11:3 ASV)

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:  ‘No one can live only on food.  People need every word that God has spoken.’ ”  (Mt 4:4 CEV) 

In the above verse, Jesus reminds us that we need to know and love God’s Word as much as we do our daily food.

Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”  35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  (Joh 6:31-35 ESV)

In John, chapter 6, Jesus clearly declares Himself to be the true bread from heaven.  Through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we become partakers in eternal life.  It is vital to maintain an ongoing faith in Jesus and an ongoing relationship with Him because we need to depend upon Him continually for our every need. 

The Lord Jesus proved Himself to be forgiving, merciful and loving to those who followed Him.  He was a fount of wisdom and grace, and being in His presence provided a powerful blessing.  He was also the hand of God who healed the sick, maimed, deaf, blind, and hurting.  People received deliverance and miracles and wonders through the ministry of Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.  (1 Cor 10:16-17 NIV)

When we partake of the Communion elements, we are remembering the sacrifice and obedience of Jesus. Through the ceremony of remembrance—which is the observance of Communion—we declare our unfailing gratitude to God for the precious gift of salvation that we have received.  Praise the Lord!

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

What does merciful mean?  It means:  kindhearted, compassionate, sympathetic, and forgiving.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Lk 6:36 EHV)  As our Father forgives our sins repeatedly, we should also forgive and forget the sins of others against us.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  (Eph 5:1 NKJV)  In every way, as much as we have the grace to do so, we should imitate the mercy of God in our dealings with other people.  Let us be kindhearted and compassionate in imitation of our Father in heaven.

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  (Heb 2:17 NKJV)  Jesus was a merciful and faithful High Priest in that He became the sacrifice upon the altar to reconcile mankind to God the Father.

For I will be merciful in regard to their unrighteousness, and I will not remember their sins any longer.  (Heb 8:12 EHV)  Thanks to Jesus, our Father forgives our sins and does not remember them against us.  What a gift of love and mercy we have been given! 

In obedience to the Word, may each of us strive to be sympathetic to others and to be faithful representatives of Jesus and His love in a dark and hurting world.

Imparted Power

Imparted Power

Most of us who follow Jesus Christ don’t realize how much power the Lord has imparted to us, His people.  The word imparted means transferred, taught, or revealed. 

When we read the Bible, we need to think deeply about each and every passage that we read.  We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and to give us revelations into the Scriptures.

Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ . . .  (2 Cor 2:10 ESV) 

We have authority to forgive others on behalf of the kingdom of God!  Think about the significance of this, and don’t take it lightly. 

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.  (Joh 20:23 ESV) 

Jesus has given us the example, along with our Heavenly Father, of forgiving mankind of all sin through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  It is our responsibility to follow His good example and His teachings.  Let’s advance the kingdom of God by being just like Him by extending merciful, and generous forgiveness to others.

And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.  (Mt 18:18 TL B) 

We have power to bind on earth: 

  • to truss up or tie up;
  • to hinder or inhibit people, demons, or calamitous events; and
  • to deter or prevent situations—as God directs.  

We have authority to set free on earth:

  • to liberate (unshackle) people from bondage;
  • to emancipate human beings from every shame;
  • to release all those imprisoned by sickness, fear, pain, and the consequences of sin; and
  • to unshackle hurting ones from unhealthy situations and relationships.

The Lord Jesus has said clearly that He has given His followers power and authority.  This is an important truth upon which to meditate, and ask God to give us insight and wisdom into it.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19) 

Later, in the book of Luke, Jesus talks again about our being given power from heaven.

I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49 ISV) Recognize who you are and what you have been given.  Believers are children of the Kingdom, and we have been given the message of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.    It’s our job to bind or to set free the right things for the right reasons.  It’s time for us to listen to and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Praise God!

Be Tenderhearted

Be Tenderhearted

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph 4:32)

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous . . . (1 Pet 3:8)

. . . because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord.  (2 Chr 34:27)

Tenderhearted means kind, gentle, compassionate, or sympathetic.  We don’t often consider this, but tenderheartedness is an attribute of Jesus.  This is why He was reported to have wept over Jerusalem.  (Lk 19:41)  He saw into their future, and He had compassion for all of the people who lived there.

So, too, the Lord wants us to be tenderhearted toward others.  He wants our compassion and gentleness to move us to help others and to be merciful to them.  Someone who is tenderhearted would never rejoice over someone else’s calamity or misfortune.  Rather they would be moved to have sympathy for them, and to pray for them and consider how they might be able to help them.

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He [Jesus] said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  (Mk 3:5 – parenthesized word added)

Jesus did this miracle deliberately even though He knew that the scribes who were in the crowd were silently critical of His actions.  Their hardness of heart angered the Lord, but He determined to continue to minister His love and mercy in spite of their doubt and criticism.  He demonstrated His tenderheartedness to the man with the withered hand.

Let us always have a tender heart towards ALL who need salvation, healing, and mercy.  Jesus gave us His example to follow by ministering to those who were hurting, in pain, or impoverished due to a sickness or disease with which they had been afflicted.  Jesus came to bring salvation to mankind, and He tenderheartedly fulfilled His assignment.  Hallelujah!

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  (Pro 19:21)

This article is a meditation upon the concept that our God and Savior is in control of life’s events.  Even in those cases where something that is negative or harmful occurs, the Lord can ultimately bring glory to Himself by delivering us.  He can also cause something that was intended to harm us turn into an opportunity for us to receive a blessing!  (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) – God is not with us in trouble merely to comfort or strengthen us, but to protect and help us.  Hallelujah!

The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.  (Pro 16:4) – The Lord has created everything for His own purposes, and He gave human beings a free will even though He knew that a percentage of us would rebel against Him and reject Him.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  (Pro 16:9) – We make our own, fleshly plans; but the Lord in His mercy and goodness directs the circumstances of our lives according to His good plan for us. 

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.  (Pro 16:33) – Even the most seemingly accidental, chance, unexpected, or unplanned events are under God’s control. Trust Him and rely upon His love for you.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.  (Ps 115:3) – Our God is a merciful and loving God, so He will show mercy whenever and wherever He chooses to do so.  Because He can see the end from the beginning, He knows what events need to take place in our lives in order to accomplish His good plans for us.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand . . . (Isa 14:24) – God’s good purposes and plans for us shall stand for He will bring them to pass.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”  (Jer 32:27) – Whatever our difficulty or challenge or heartache, NOTHING is too difficult for God to turn it around.  Praise the Lord!

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  (Mt 10:29) – We know that God cares for us vastly more than the sparrows, so this verse opens our eyes to the truth that He diligently watches over us in all of the details of our lives.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (Rom 13:1) – We must recognize that God even determines who will have authority at every level of a nation’s hierarchy.  He determines when and for how long a person will be in authority, even our employers, overseers, or business partners. 

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11) – All power comes from God because it all belongs to Him.  Therefore, whatever position of power, authority or influence that you may have, be conscientious, kind, respectful and merciful to others.  You will one day give an account of yourself.

. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  (1 Pet 3:9)

We are called to bless others and to be a blessing.  Living in obedience to God’s will always causes us to inherit blessings.  Recognizing that God is not only in control of all things, but that He watches over us in order to be able to bless and help us will make it quite easy for us to want to help others.

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  (Lk 6:35-36)

But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.  (Ps 41:10)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  (Ps 103:8)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.  (Heb 8:12)

These passages of Scripture talk of God being merciful.  The verse from Hebrews reminds us that we have received the mercy of God ourselves, and without it, would not be saved. 

God wants us to be merciful, even as Jesus (our example) is merciful.  In what ways is mercy expressed?  In these passages, we are shown some ideas on this topic.

  • Love your enemies;
  • Do good;
  • Lend to the needy, expecting no repayment;
  • Show kindness to the unthankful and evil; (Wow! Really, Lord?)
  • Be slow to anger;
  • Forget the sins of other people against you and against your loved ones;
  • Raise others up.

These are all very challenging things to accomplish, and they are difficult, if not to say impossible, without God’s grace working in us to energize us.

How may we “raise others up”?  We can help others by being encouraging, understanding, humble, and positive with our words.  We can share information with them that was helpful to us or to someone that we love.  We will receive grace to empower us to show them respect and the love of God, and never be judgmental.   

In short, we see them as Jesus sees them:  beloved,  victorious and blessed—and treat them accordingly.

The Work of God

The Work of God

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe on the One He has sent.”  (John 6:29)  This is the “work” to which each believer is called.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  (John 17:4)  Here, Jesus refers to His own work on earth:  that of redeeming mankind back to His Father.  Jesus had work to DO

We, believers, on the other hand, have something to believe—that is our work.  There is nothing for us to DO except to obey John 6:29.  What we need to DO is to rest upon the finished work of Jesus Christ, our Savior, as we live our lives daily. 

As we rest in His finished work, we will have a desire to perform good works and to obey the Holy Bible.  We will want to represent Christ accurately upon this earth.  (see 2 Cor 5:20)  He is loving, merciful, and welcoming.  He is a wonder-working, miracle-working God.

As we abide in Christ, we will perform signs and wondersAnd as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.  (Mat 10:7-8)

Let’s perform our work cheerfully each day, friend!