Tag Archives: daily bread

Today’s Scripture – November 27, 2017

Luke 11:5-8 (NIV) Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’
“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

Since Jesus is teaching His followers about prayer, He goes on to teach them about persistence in prayer as well. Many people believe that only one petition is necessary to see an answer to prayer. Still others teach that to pray more than once for something shows a lack of faith. But that is not what Jesus taught.

In Jesus’ illustration, a man goes to a neighbor’s house to ask for bread to feed some unexpected guests. The need is real and, according to hospitality norms in the Middle East, urgent. It would be a strong insult to a visitor to not offer travelers something to eat after their journey. But the poor host has nothing to set before them; not a single loaf of bread.

So the desperate man goes to his neighbor, despite the lateness of the hour. The need is that urgent. He knocks at the door and calls out for help. But the answer that he receives is not encouraging: “Don’t bother me!” The hour is late, the house is dark, and everyone is packed together in the small sleeping area of the house. If the home owner was to get up, he would jostle everyone, possibly waking the children. If he were to light an oil lamp to try to locate the bread left over from the day before, that would rouse the whole household. It’s too much trouble; he is not willing to waken his whole family to get bread for this inconsiderate neighbor.

But the desperate man will not give up. He would rather be shamed before his friend, this sleepy irritable neighbor, by asking for what he desperately needs than to be shamed before his visitors by returning empty handed. So he knocks and calls out louder and more desperately, until his friend stirs himself and gives him what he needs.

The short lesson is not that God is irritated when His people ask for what they need each day, or that we must rouse Him from His slumber before He is willing to grudgingly accede to our requests. It is simply that if the friend is willing to get up and disturb his whole family in response to the persistence and shameless boldness of his friend in need, how much more will God respond to the persistent and shamelessly bold request of His own people when we are in need.

Father, I really appreciate this word, and the encouragement to not only ask persistently, but boldly for what I truly need each day, my “daily bread.” I don’t have to come to You ashamedly, because You Yourself have instructed me to come before You daily and ask. Thank You for the promise, and the encouragement. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – November 24, 2017

Luke 11:2b-3 (NIV) “your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.”

The first part of this form prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, sometimes with more detail (Matthew 6:9-15), and sometimes with less, as here,, focuses on worship and adoration of God. It then moves on to practical kingdom living.

The next petition is “your kingdom come.” This is not a petition for Jesus’ return, but for God’s kingdom to become a living reality in the lives of all of God’s people. Matthew’s version includes a brief addendum to this petition that explains it more fully: “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The kingdom of heaven existed on earth then, and still exists and operates today, in the hearts of all who are committed to doing God’s will on earth in the same way that it is done in heaven: instantly, joyfully, and completely.

Included in this petition is an implied commitment on the part of those praying it to their own obedience to God’s will, instantly, joyfully, and completely. In that way, the kingdom is not only present, but grows into the lives of those around who see the good works of Jesus’ followers, and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16).

The next petition is for daily provision. The imagery used is of the Israelites in the wilderness who had to depend on God to provide manna, daily bread. They relied on God, and every day when they went out to receive their daily bread, the sustenance that they needed for that day, it was there. On the day before the Sabbath God provided twice as much and miraculously preserved it from decay so that they didn’t have to go out to get their bread on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:23-26). For forty years, God provided the daily bread for the Israelites, and never let them go hungry a single day. In the same way, God’s people today can ask for and receive their own provision, the sustenance that they need to live, day by day.

Father, I can’t help but see the intimate connection between these two petitions. As we commit ourselves to living consciously in Your kingdom, manifesting Your glory and obeying Your will, we are given the great privilege of asking for what we need each day, and receiving it (Matthew 6:35). Thank You for this amazing promise contained in the petitions given to us by Jesus Himself. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – September 18, 2016

Matthew 6:11 (NIV) “Give us today our daily bread.”

In this part of Jesus’ model prayer, He focuses on the physical needs that people have, represented by bread.  As God’s people, the people of the kingdom have a right to expect that He will provide for our legitimate needs.  But even for those necessities, Jesus instructed His followers to ask.  That sets up two essential dynamics:  it keeps all of us mindful of where our provisions come from, so that we never take them for granted; and it reminds us to say thank You when He does provide for our needs.

The “daily” part is also important.  It looks back to Israel’s time in the wilderness, when God provided the manna for them every day.  (He did not provide it on the Sabbath, so that they wouldn’t need to go out and collect it on their day of rest.  Instead, He provided twice the amount needed on Friday, and caused it to keep all through the Sabbath, so that there was no interruption of the supply.  Cf. Exodus 16:13-26.)

The Israelites were not to try to store up manna, in case God forgot them, or was unable to provide for them someday.  Instead, they were to go out every day expectantly, in faith that His daily provision would be waiting for them exactly as promised.  And He never let them down – not once.  The manna was provided six days a week for 40 years, until the day the Israelites entered the Promised Land and were able to eat its produce (Joshua 5:10-12).

In the same way, the people of God’s kingdom are not to pray for a month’s worth of necessities, and then store them away in case He fails in His promise to provide.  Instead, they are to ask each day for each day’s provision as Jesus Himself not only instructed, but did.  And, except for intentional fasts, He never found that His Father failed to provide everything necessary, not just food, but the strength and power to do all that He instructed Him to do each day.

When God’s people pray for this particular provision, they should keep their focus on what is actually needed just for that day, ask for it specifically, and remember to thank God when, not if, it is provided.

Father, help me to have the faith of Jesus, faith that doesn’t have to have a full pantry to feel secure, but that simply looks to You in expectation each day for my daily bread, knowing that You will provide.  And thank You for all that You have provided in the past.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – July 31, 2016

Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV)
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Jesus fasted in the wilderness as many God called had done before.  And He fasted for 40 days and nights, as many had done:  for example, Moses on the mountain with God (Exodus 34:25), and Elijah on his trip to Sinai (1 Kings 19:8).

At the end of 40 days with no food, Jesus was understandably hungry.  That was when the tempter struck.

At first glance, the temptation seemed harmless enough, even logical.  Jesus was hungry; He should eat.  There was no house or store nearby where He could find food, so He should make some.  Both Jesus and satan knew the kind of power that Jesus had available to Him.  He could heal the sick, cast out demons, even raise the dead!  Surely making bread out of a rock or even out of thin air, would be no problem for Him.

But for Jesus this was not a question of ability, but of God’s will.  In the Garden, both Adam and Eve had decided, contrary to God’s expressed will, to eat the forbidden fruit, in part because it look to be “good for food” (Genesis 3:6 NIV).  And the consequences were horrendous.  In the desert on the way to Mount Sinai, the children of Israel had railed against Moses, claiming that God had led them away from Egypt to starve them to death in the wilderness (Exodus 16:2-3).  If they had had the power to turn rocks into loaves of bread, they would have done it in a heartbeat, and, by choosing to act in their own strength to provide a temporary fix, would have disqualified themselves from receiving God’s long-term solution of daily manna.

It was actually to this provision of manna that Jesus was referring in His response to the tempter, taken from Deuteronomy 8:3.  The whole context of the sentence He used is enlightening:  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NIV)

Jesus, like the Israelites, would emerge from the desert as God’s chosen one.  Unlike them, however, He would come forth with no baggage of rebellion or self-will, but only with such complete submission that He would be enabled to walk in the full power of the Godhead.

By refusing the tempter’s test to use His own power and means to meet His needs, Jesus was choosing instead to look to God; to ask the Father for His provision of daily bread (Matthew 6:11), and to eat what His Father would provide for Him, like the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26).  Jesus knew that God had the power to provide for every one of His legitimate needs, and that, by God’s claiming Him as His Son, He had promised to do so.  And, of course, He discovered that His Father in heaven was as good as His word.

Father, every day seems to bring multiple opportunities to meet my own needs in my own strength.  And doing so has become pretty much second nature.  Even when I pray the words asking You to provide what I need for today, my “daily bread,” I still tend to try to figure out how to do it with my own resources.  Lord, I want to be like Jesus!  I want to look to You in faith each day, knowing that You will provide for me better than I ever could provide for myself – not in laziness on my part, but guiding and directing me in Your ways of providing, and even providing miraculously when the need arises.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – March 27, 2014

Mark 1:16-20 (NIV):  As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Like all of God’s promises, Jesus’ promise to make Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John into fishers of men was conditional; it had a condition that had to be met in order to receive the promise.  In this case, that condition was that they had to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus meant way more than simply believing in Him, believing His teachings, or reading about what He did.  To follow Jesus meant to actually leave your old life behind, and to take up a brand new “with Jesus” life.  It meant going wherever Jesus went; being actively engaged in what He was doing; and staying focused, even on the way between activities as He taught.  (Plus, you never knew when a new opportunity or challenge would suddenly present itself on the way!)  It meant watching Him closely as He worked, as He prayed, and as He taught, so that you could become just like Him in all of those areas.  And it meant putting aside self-sufficiency, and becoming completely dependent on God to provide what was necessary for each day.

These men knew all of this.  So when Jesus called them, they immediately walked away from their boats and nets, and began the process of following Jesus.  And the commitment that they were making to follow Him was not for a year, or two, or three.  It turned out to be a commitment to follow Him every day, all the rest of their lives.  Even after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, they continued to follow Jesus’ lead, continued to minister where Jesus was working, and continuing to be molded and shaped by His presence and His teaching.  And as they followed Him, they really did become fishers of men.

Today the call to follow Jesus is the same.  It is not merely a call to believe in Him, learn His teachings, or read about what He did.  It is a call to leave our old lives behind, and be made into new creations, taking up a whole new “with Jesus” life.  It means going wherever Jesus leads, being actively engaged in what He is doing, and staying focused, even between activities.  It means staying sensitive to His leading, and consciously submitting ourselves to the molding, shaping, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, so that we can become just like Jesus in how we live, work, pray, and teach.  And it means putting aside all self-sufficiency, and becoming completely dependent on God for our daily bread, and for all that we need to fulfill His calling on our lives.

And, for all of us who are willing to follow Jesus, we find not only salvation, but joy, peace, power, and an effectiveness in prayer and ministry that most can only dream about.  We too will become bold and effective fishers of men.

Father, these are great promises, and the conditions are clear.  Help us, Lord, to really follow Jesus every day, in every area of our lives, so that we really can bring You glory by becoming effective fishers of men.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – September 19, 2013

Matthew 6:11 (NIV):  “Give us today our daily bread.”

Every day God provided manna to the Israelites in the wilderness.  And every new day He provided anew (except for the Sabbath – instead He provided twice as much the day before, so there was no lack).  And every morning the Israelites had to trust God to provide for them, to actually go outside and collect what they would need for the day.

Many of them would have preferred for God to give them a week’s worth of manna all at once, or a month’s worth.  That would allow them to not have to “worry” about their provisions until they started to run low.  But God was not merely providing food for them; He was helping them to recognize and embrace their complete dependence on Him.  He was teaching them that trust in Him and His provision was not supposed to be done only when supplies were running low, or in the hard times; it was to be an every-day attitude.  The people were to trust Him to provide for them anew every single day.

Today people do not feel the need to trust in God as much.  With paychecks coming weekly, twice a month, or monthly instead of every day, and large enough to last for a while, God’s people have grown away from their sense of dependence on His provision.  (Unless, of course, the check is late or the job goes away!)  With pantries and refrigerators and freezers, people are able to store up food for weeks, or even months.  All of this has lessened God’s people’s sense of dependence on Him, their understanding that He even provided the food that is stored in their freezer.  Not until some tragedy hits do they turn to God for help, and then there is fear and anxiety in their hearts, because they have not built , through long experience, an understanding of God’s ability to provide.

When Jesus included this line in His model prayer, He did it to remind God’s people that every good thing that we have comes from His hand.  Every bit of food in our pantries and our freezers is God’s gracious gift.  Every cent in our savings account is there because He gave it to us.  If we will keep those things in mind every day, and every day ask God to provide what is needed (which is actually FAR more than mere food, shelter, and transportation if we are truly doing the work of the kingdom), it will help us to build a consistent mindset of dependence on Him that will unleash a continual flow of blessing into our lives.

Father, thank you for providing all that we need each day.  Help us, Lord, to keep You right at the center of our focus, all day, every day, and to turn to You every day for all that we need.  Give us today our daily bread.  Amen.

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