Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For Gloria

Good morning,

I met a delightful lady while in Peru.  Her name is Gloria, and her son, Cesar, is the leader of Zona Zegura, in Cusco.  She requested that I post the lyrics to one of the songs I sang in Peru, the one I sang at Zona Zegura's leadership retreat in Pisaq.

The English song lyrics were written by my friend, Alison Everill. The Spanish translation was done by my friend, Danny Smith.  I'm also indebted to Gladys Galindez, my friend and sister in Christ, who helped me rehearse.  Otherwise, what I sang would have likely sounded like gibberish.  Our generous and kind worship leader at FBC Canton recorded the accompaniment tracks, which (although my playing is nowhere nearly as good as Alison's) allowed me to sing unhindered.  Thank you, Aaron!!


Verse 1:
There was a time I stood outside the holy place
Una vez estaba fuera del lugar sagrado

Wretched and blind, desperately reaching out for grace
Miserable y ciego/a, desesperadamente tratando de alcanzar la misericordia

I could not come before the most high and holy Lord
No pude venir delante del Señor altísmimo y santísimo

There was never any hope
Sin ninguna esperanza

There at the mercy seat, You met my deepest need
Allá en el propiciatorio, Tú me diste para mi necesidad más profunda

The pure and perfect One
El Puro y El Perfecto

Tore the veil so I could come
Rompió el velo para que pudiera entrar

Sometimes I dance
A veces bailo

Sometimes I bow
A veces me humillo

Sometimes I run into Your presence
A veces corro hacia Tu presencia

And I don't know how
Y no sé cómo

You love me still
Tú puedes amarme todavía

Knowing my shame
Cuando sabes mi pecado

I come to offer up this meager life You died to save
Vengo para ofrecerte esta vida miserable que Tú moriste para salvar

Oh, but most of all
Pero, más que todo

I come amazed
Vengo asombrado/a

Verse 2: 
And when I think of all the times You've drawn me near
Y cuando pienso en cuando Tú te has acercado a mí

There at your feet I've shared my hopes my dreams, my fears
A Tus pies, he compartido contigo mis esperanzas, mis sueños, mi temores

And, Oh, where do I begin, my dear and precious friend
Y, ¿cómo puedo empezar?, mi querido y precioso amigo

There is comfort in Your arms
Hay consolación en Tus brazos

And there in Your embrace, beholding Your lovely face
Y abrazándote, mirando Tu cara preciosa

My heart has found a home
Mi corazón ha encontrado su hogar

I will worship You alone
A Ti Solo Te alabaré.

I'm amazed

By Your mercy
Por Tu misericordia

I'm amazed

By Your love
Por Tu amor

all rights reserved, copyright 2009
Alison Everill, copyright owner, writer, composer

You can also hear Alison sing this song at the YouTube link below:

Father, thank you for Gloria and for other new friends from Peru.  Thank you for my very gifted, anointed friend, Alison, who graciously allowed me to have translated and to perform her song in Pisaq, to share Your amazing love with the Zona Zegura believers.  Please continue to bless her ministry and use all of us only for Your honor and glory!  Soli Deo Gloria!  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Peru, In Retrospect

Good morning,

Before beginning this post-Peru post, I re-read my last one.  The Scripture the Holy Spirit laid on my heart that day was one that was needed more than I even knew at that time.  We went to Peru with our agenda laid out, as best we could.  But, God had His own agenda.

As we were preparing to go, I was puzzled by the make-up of the team.  There were five fine and godly men...and then this one, solitary woman: me.  We prayed for others to go, especially for other women to go.  It was not to be.  When we got to Peru and began to minister to the people there, it became clear why those who went were truly chosen.  God did a mighty work there through our team, and I give Him all the glory for that.  There were times we laughed and rejoiced.  There were times our hearts were so broken that we sat, speechless.  There were times that drove us to our knees in prayer over the darkness that confronted us.

That battle is still being fought, though these soldiers had to leave the battlefield.  The chief weapon of this team will be prayer, until we can be present with our Peruvian brothers and sisters in person once again.  The spiritual darkness in Peru is great, and the laborers are few in number.  I now have a clearer understanding of the magnitude of the need there and of the scarcity of resources.  The disparity is appalling.  It is in these situations, when you realize that only God can save.  Only the power of God can bring the light which dispels spiritual darkness.

There were also times of outpouring of God's blessing, times of victory, encouragement, uplifting of hearts and hands.  I believe that God allowed us to experience the former in order to endure and to battle what lay ahead.  He did a mighty work in Peru these past few days, and to Him belongs all the glory.

These are the Scriptures that are in my heart as I look back and look ahead.

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from me, says the LORD.
Isaiah 54:17  NASB

2And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3“Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4“Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. 5“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7“Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8“Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 
Luke 10:2-9

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 NASB

God willing, I long to return to Peru next year, to teach and minister in whatever way God calls me back.
Cesar, Gabi, Fio, Vale, Matteo, Rollans, Friene, Deisy, David, Marilia and Luis - - - - you will all be in my prayers, until we meet again.

Father, thank you for the privilege of spreading the Gospel here at home and to the "ends of the earth". Please bless the work of Zona Zegura and Village of the Children and keep my friends in your tender care. Guide them, direct them, empower them in their efforts to reach Cachora, Cusco and ll of Peru for Jesus Christ.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Go Ye

Good morning,

Tomorrow, I leave for Peru, on a 8-day mission trip, to teach, sing and otherwise minister in various ways to new churches in Cusco, the orphans at Village of the Children in Cachora and the unsaved in various places.  There are 6 people on our team.  We would greatly appreciate your prayer support as we go.

Please pray specifically for :

  • souls to be saved from sin's devastation, which leads to an eternity in Hell
  • Christians to be discipled, equipped and encouraged
  • team members to be filled with the Holy Spirit and not be distracted by less-important things
  • traveling mercies
  • protection from the attacks of our enemy, the evil one
  • that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will receive all the honor and glory and blessing, because only HE is worthy

I am so grateful for my loving husband, who will be keeping things grounded at home and who supports me to do the work I have been called to do.

Because of so many unknown factors, I will not be consistently blogging for several days, as I do not know what the availability of internet services will be.  If I can, I'll post; if I can't, I won't.  I'm going to try to be as responsive to the Holy Spirit about how He wants me to spend my time while in the field.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading the devotional posts here.  I look forward to reuniting with you in a few days.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Ephesians 6:10-18  J.B. Phillips New Testament

In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women.

Father, there is none like You.  Following in the footsteps of your Son, serving You, is such a privilege, whether it be in my own home, or town...or whether it be in a remote corner of the world. There is no greater calling.  Thank you, not only for loving me, forever and ever, but for loving this empty, pale and poor world so much that You gave us Your Son.  There is no greater love than this. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Striving of the Bowels

Good morning,

An exemplary life is a compassionate life, a life marked by compassion for those who do not know the Savior.  

We read over and over in the New Testament that Jesus was "moved with compassion" (Matthew 9:36). Watch what the early 20th century evangelist Charles Spurgeon had to say about that phrase:

The original word is a very remarkable one. It is not found in classic Greek. It is not found in the Septuagint. The fact is, it was a word coined by the evangelists themselves. They did not find one in the whole Greek language that suited their purpose, and therefore they had to make one. It is expressive of the deepest emotion; a striving of the bowels—a yearning of the innermost nature with pity. As the dictionaries tell us— Ex intimis visceribus misericordia commoveor. I suppose that when our Saviour looked upon certain sights, those who watched him closely perceived that his internal agitation was very great, his emotions were very deep, and then his face betrayed it, his eyes gushed like founts with tears, and you saw that his big heart was ready to burst with pity for the sorrow upon which his eyes were gazing. He was moved with compassion. His whole nature was agitated with commiseration for the sufferers before him.

His compassion was so deep there was not a Greek word for it, and Greek is a marvelously expressive language.  They had 3 different words for "love", for goodness sake!  Jesus - - - the Indescribable One.  He was heartbreakingly compassionate for the needs of others.  Remember how He cried as He was on the hilltop overlooking Jerusalem, just before the "triumphant entry" into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it!
Luke 13:34

I am so convicted by this because often my heart is unmoved by the needs of those who are suffering, who are needy, or lonely, or sick or shunned...or lost without Christ. 
I shut my eyes to the sight of their suffering and close my ears to their pleas.  I throw some money at them from time to time and think I've done my part, but God forbid that I should get my pretty clothes dirty.

What about that last group, the lost?  In the college Bible study group Hubster and I co-lead with another couple, we are studying a book called Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan. The author wrote the book because in modern-day American churches we have largely erased Hell from our vocabularies.  We don't preach about it, but more importantly, we don't live in the reality of it.  That is, if we really believed in an actual Hell, would we not be living differently?  Would we not have a severe "striving of the bowels" for those God has placed in our paths?  Would we still be afraid to share the gospel, for fear of being misunderstood or rejected?

Let's be honest.  What we need as Jesus Christ's Church is a heaping helping of compassion, not the phony compassion that gives lip-service to Him, not the kind where we go to church on Sunday to wave our hands around exclaiming how we "love the Lord!" and then live the rest of the week loving on ourselves. 

Lord Jesus, over and over we stand in church and sing about how we want to be like You, but I confess that I've not been a big fan of Your compassion.  I've been largely unmoved by the example you Your poured Yourself out for "the unlovely".  I've been deceived into thinking that I've been living an exemplary life, but when I face this ugly truth about my hard-heartedness, I realize that I've got a ways to go.  Show me and lead me, Lord, to open my heart to the lost, the  "poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."  (Matthew 5:3).


Monday, September 14, 2015


Good morning,

Do you know someone or some situation that you believe to be "irredeemable", unfixable, hopelessly broken?  As I said in the last post, "If you've lived long enough, you've experienced this."

Today we are going to examine the life of a woman whom the Jews, the "people of God" would not have given any attention (much less respect), under ordinary circumstances.  Yet, she is named in a list of people who had tremendous faith in Jehovah God.

Let's look at Hebrews 11:31.

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Yes, Rahab was her name.  She was not only a whore; she was the owner/operator of a whorehouse, which was built into the wall of a great city, Jericho (Joshua 2:15).
The story, which took place nearly 1500 years before Jesus was born, is recorded in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6.  Here is what was happening.

The Hebrew nation, the Jews, had already begun to claim the Land promised to them by God.  They had conquered a couple of kingdoms on the east side of the Jordan River.  The city of Jericho lay on the west side of the Jordan.  Jericho was a key city in the land of Canaan.  Its location was such that, if Jericho was conquered, there would be easy access to other strategic cities in the Promised Land.

However, Jericho was a heavily fortified city.  It was surrounded by a stone wall that was very tall and very thick.  Houses were built into the inside of the wall in order to make it stronger.  Rahab's house of prostitution was one of those houses.  The outside wall of her house was the actual outside wall of the city.  Do you get the picture?

The people of Jericho were part of the Amorite kingdom, a group of very violent, evil, pagan people who had existed back to the time of Abraham, over 2000 years earlier.  These people were so bad that God had ordered them to be totally exterminated in Deuteronomy 20:17.  These folks were the reason God had given Abraham and his descendants rights to The Promised Land of Canaan in the first place.

The Hebrew commander, Joshua, sent two young men into Jericho to gather information that would be useful to the army's general and would help him plan the attack (Joshua 2:1).  Where did they choose to get lodging for the night?  At Rahab's whorehouse.  Why do you think they did that?

Well, I don't know much about whorehouses, but I do know this:  the people who operate them would have to be good at keeping secrets.  Right?  So, that was one reason, and the other was the fact that Rahab's house was in such a great location, should they need to escape quickly.

Imagine Rahab's surprise when she discovered these two men were not at her business to use her women!  That must have come as a shock!  We read in Joshua 2:11 Rahab telling the two spies that the people of Jericho were terrified of the Hebrews, because of their battle victories on the other side of the Jordan.

Soon, Rahab found herself in a terrible predicament.  The ruler of Jericho found out that the two spies were at her house.  She had two choices:  she could either turn the men over to the police; or, she could help them escape.  There was probably a huge financial reward offered to her if she turned them in.  At that moment, Rahab made a decision that would not only change her life, but would change the course of human history forever.  She decided to protect the Hebrew spies.  She hid them under "stalks of flax".  Have you ever seen flax growing?  I have not.  I imagine that these would be like cornstalks.  It has been suggested that Rahab kept these on the roof of her house for the very purpose of hiding men when jealous wives came looking for them.  And, this came in handy when she made the decision to hide the Hebrew spies.

When the police asked her where the men were, she misdirected them.  Basically, she lied.  Lying was her way of life at that time; so, she thought nothing about it.  We are not admiring Rahab's lying, but instead her faith in the Lord God Almighty.  When the police went off in the wrong direction to look for the men, Rahab tossed the two spies out the window of her house.
No, not really...what she did was to help them escape down the wall of the city (which was part of her house) through a window.  (Again, no doubt, she had had to do that in the past.)

By deciding to protect the spies, Rahab turned her back on the life she had known.  She knew that her decision could cost her everything.  This is why she asked that, in exchange for her help, her family be spared when the Hebrews attacked Jericho.  She must have learned a lot from the spies about their God, and God's Spirit must have touched her, because she decided to put her life and everything she owned into His mighty hands.

Rahab turned to Jehovah God out of fear, but that is okay.  We read in Psalm 111:10 that the reverence, respect, fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Let's read Joshua 2:17-21.

17 So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be thatwhoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.”
21 Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.

The Word of God is so beautiful.  God gave us this sign in the story of Rahab to remind us of the blood of the Passover lamb, painted on the doors of the Hebrews in Egypt. The red cord that Rahab hung in the window the spies escaped from also hints of what He was going to do 1500 years later when the blood of Jesus Christ was spilled to save us all from the destruction of our sin.

When the angel of death was sent to Egypt to kill all the firstborn children, it "passed over" the Hebrew homes because they had the blood of the Passover lambs painted on the doors.  The Hebrews in Joshua's day "passed over" Rahab's house, sparing her family's lives, because the red cord hung from her window (Joshua 2:22-23).  God forgives our sin when the blood of Jesus, God's own Passover Lamb, is painted on our hearts.  (Did you realize that Jesus was crucified during the Passover celebration?)

So, what happened to Rahab after she and her family were spared while the city of Jericho was destroyed all around her?  It appears from Joshua 6:25 that she lived out the rest of her life a heroine among the Hebrew people.  She is not mentioned again in the Old Testament.

But, look at this:  Rahab, that pagan whore, is mentioned on the first page of the New Testament.  Look at Matthew 1:5 (NKJV) -- -
Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse...
And, Jesse was the father of King David!

What??!!  Yes, Rahab is in the ancestral line, the "family tree" of Jesus Christ.  The author John MacArthur1 points out that there are 5 women mentioned in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus.  "Three of them were Gentiles.  Three of them were disgraced because of their own sin."  All of them had experienced what it was like to be an outcast, to have some sort of notoriety attached to their reputations.
1.  Tamar (Genesis 38:13-30)
2.  Rahab (Joshua 2 and 6)
3.  Ruth (Ruth 1:3)
4.  Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11)
5.  Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (Luke 1 and 2)
They were women the world would have called "unfixable", "irredeemable", hopelessly broken.  Yet, the grace of God was poured out on each of them .  Because they trusted in Him, had faith in Him He was able to do amazing things through their lives.

So, the next time you are tempted to devalue yourself or someone else, remember this:  Jesus did not come to save "the good people".  He can only save those who realize their utter sinfulness.  In Mark 2:17, we read that Jesus Christ "did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance". The stink of Rahab's sin, and the stink of our own, merely magnifies and glorifies the divine grace of our mighty God and Savior, who transformed her by His amazing grace.

Precious Father, "not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to Your mercy You have saved us." (Titus 3:5)  None of us is every beyond the reach of your marvelous grace!  Every day we are confronted with making choices, seemingly little choices, whether to side with You or to walk our own way.  May we choose You, always, Father!  Please give us the faith to choose You, and even though they are not fun times, we will thank you for those circumstances that exercise and strengthen our faith.  In Jesus' name, amen.


MacArthur, John. "Rahab: A Horrible Life Redeemed." Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You. Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2005. 51-67. Print.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Good morning,

I was listening via the morning news to a replay clip of Jimmy Fallon's conversation with The Donald last night on The Tonight Show.  Jimmy asked Mr. Trump if he had ever apologized....ever?  Mr. Trump replied that if he ever does anything wrong, he will apologize for it.      <crickets...>

Anyone who has lived long enough has been badly hurt by someone.  That is just a fact of life.  And, if you are not in the former category, you may be in the category of being the "hurter".  Most likely, most of us have been both, at one time or another.

In Matthew 6:12, Jesus prays something astounding.  In the Greek, it is written like this:

"And forgive us the debts of us as also we forgive the debtors of us."

The Greek word for "debts" is ὀφειλήματα, "opheilemata" , which is not found anywhere else in the New Testament, as far as I can determine.

Jesus could have merely prayed, "Father, forgive us."  But, no, He tied our forgiveness to the same manner in which we forgive those who do wrong to us.  In other words, if we refuse to forgive others, forgiveness will be withheld from us.

This statement must have rocked the listeners back on their heels because, after Jesus finishes His model prayer, in verse 13, He goes back to this forgiveness point, to re-emphasize and clarify it, just so there is no misunderstanding.

14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus reiterates this message in Mark 11:19-26, as He is teaching His disciples.  In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the story of the unmerciful servant, as illustration of this truth.  Elsewhere in Scripture, we have learned that, as Christians, we are to model Jesus Christ in all aspects of our lives.  Our salvation is assured, because we have accepted Jesus as Savior.  These verses do not contradict those truths.  Our salvation is not conditional on our own works or good deeds.  If it were, the grace of God would be null and void.

However, when we harbor hate and bitterness in our hearts, we fracture our relationship with Father. When we do this, we are acting in diametric opposition to the life of Jesus Christ, which was characterized by forgiveness, even as He was dying on the cross.  We may not be called to die for our belief in Christ Jesus; but, if we are, we will be expected to forgive our murderers with our dying breath.  This is the standard of holiness that our Lord has set before us.

Unreasonable?  Not if you consider the forgiveness of God, which was extended even to the dying thief who was crucified next to Jesus, and whose only redeeming "work" was to cast himself on the mercy of the One, True God, being crucified beside him.  Once we have a clear picture of what we have been forgiven for, we are much more likely to forgive others.  If we have truly experienced God's forgiveness, we will be much more ready to forgive our fellow man.  

12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.
Colossians 3:12-13

Unforgiveness is not a healthy state of being.  It leads to anger, bitterness, depression - - - all of which will eat at one's soul, like an acid.  

Crucial Point:
If we have wronged another person, and this comes to our attention either through the testimony of someone else or through the urging of the Holy Spirit, we are to go and make things right with the person we've wronged before we ask God for His forgiveness.  

Psalm 66:18 - - - If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Matthew 5:23-24 - - - “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Sometimes, the person we've wronged is unavailable; perhaps they are dead.  Still, do your best to make things right with those you can.  The Spirit will lead you in this.  Follow His direction.

Listen!  This command includes the failure to forgive yourself.  There are some of us dearly beloved brothers and sisters who are quick to forgive others, but cannot forgive ourselves.  When we attempt to do so, the Enemy, Satan, continues to bring up the past - - horrible mistakes and sins, in an effort to derail the work of God in and through each of His children. Satan is a master of deception and accusation. He will lie to you by claiming that God has not forgiven you and that you should not forgive yourself.

But, here is the truth of God:
When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9
God will not despise or reject a broken, repentant, contrite heart.  Psalm 51:17
He has removed our sins from Himself, as far as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103:12
He has cast our sins down into the depths of the deepest sea.  Micah 7:19
He remembers our sins against us no more.  Hebrews 8:12 
These words are our aggressive weapon to use when Satan attacks.  The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)
In his book, I Should Forgive, but..., Dr. Chuck Lynch said this:

"I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a counselee say, 'Oh, I confessed that sin a year ago - - - a thousand times.'  First, that is 999 times too many.  Second, each subsequent time that sin is confessed, rather than the confession bringing relief, it only reinforces the false belief that it has not been forgiven.  Double, or re-confession, only deepens the false belief that we have not been forgiven."

So, what should we then do when attacked by Satan in this manner?  We should thank God for His forgiveness by praying His Word out loud, and then move on.  Here are some Scriptures to help with that.  Study them on your own and accept their truth.
2 Kings 22:19
Psalm 40:2-4, 11-12
Psalm 32:5
Psalm 51:1-2, 10, 17
Isaiah 55:7
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 
Romans 8:1-3 (precious promise!)
Romans 4:7-8
2 Timothy 1:12

Sobering, isn't it?  Are you getting the idea that God is serious about our forgiving others and ourselves?

Father, I don't want any sin to stand between You and me.  So, I confess my waywardness and deliberate disobedience to You this morning.  If I have wronged another person, Lord, please make me aware of that so that I can make it right.  Thank you for forgiving me so completely and for setting the example that I am commanded to follow in my daily living.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Moore, Beth. Praying God's Word. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2009. Print.
Lynch, Chuck. I Should Forgive, But--: Finding Release from Anger and Bitterness. Nashville: Word Pub., 1998. Print.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Daily Bread

Good morning,

We continue on into The Lord's Prayer with the next phrase/petition:

"Give us this day, our daily bread."
Matthew 6:11

After the portion of the prayer that aligns our will with that of our Heavenly Father, we are then allowed to ask for Him to meet our needs.  The first one is, on the surface, representative of our physical needs.

Obviously, we need more than bread.  We need clean water, clothing, shelter and basic resources. However, "bread" is representative of basic, physical needs.  In that day, the bread consumed was freshly made, with non-GMO wheat or other grain, with all-fresh ingredients, with no added gluten, and it was healthful.  In fact, it was the most fundamental food of all.  This is why I am unable to agree with folks today who argue that "all wheat is bad".  Non-GMO wheat is most certainly NOT bad for most humans.  There are a very small few who truly have a gluten allergy.  The rest of us eat bread products which, although tasty, have become so terribly perverted our bodies react to them in a negative manner.  Well, enough about that.

In comparing Himself to the manna that God provided in the wilderness for the Hebrew people (Exodus 16) Jesus called Himself  (John 6:32, 58) "the true bread from Heaven".  Therefore, there is a double-meaning in this prayer for daily, physical sustenance.  Having our physical needs is not enough.

This morning, I slept uncharacteristically late and was very tired upon arising.  (I taught a lengthy class last night and ate a late dinner.  I guess that was the cause.)  One of the first places I went after awakening was the kitchen to get some "physical sustenance".  Our bodies let us know when we need it, don't they?

Our souls need regular, daily sustenance also, in order to be healthy.  As Father provides for us physical "bread", He also provides through the Person of His Son and Holy Spirit spiritual bread.

In John 6, Jesus had just fed over 5000 people by miraculously multiplying 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish, humbly donated by a young boy.  The people were so excited over this miracle they were ready to crown Him as their king, right then and there.  Their attitude was somewhat analogous to people today who get so excited over a politician who will give them "free stuff".  Jesus even escaped to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Capernaum) to distract them.  However, they followed Him! The lure for free goods is great.... They were making that miraculous bread their "gospel".  They didn't care if Jesus took away their sins.  They merely wanted Him to meet their needs.

In Capernaum, then, Jesus began to reveal to them, in a rather cryptic yet graphic fashion, who He was/is.  See John 6:26-55.  Most of the crowd did not understand such bizarre statements and, predictably, began to leave, shaking their heads in amazement.

In The Lord's Supper, Jesus gave a visible demonstration of the meaning behind these bizarre statements.  The ingestion of the little piece of bread and the sip of juice/wine symbolize our taking Jesus into our souls as Savior.  We commemorate that decision we made, every time we "take communion" (eat The Lord's Supper).  It is like...celebrating our spiritual anniversary!

Jesus Himself is our daily bread.  He is the true bread, and all the fulness of the Trinity abides in Him (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).  We need to feast on Him daily. This is why I routinely eat from His Word and break bread with you in this blog.  His words are Spirit and they are Life!  In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said,

"Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

Jon Bloom says, "He {Christ} did not come to save us from starvation, but from damnation."1
Do we feed our bodies and not our Spirits?  Or, rather, do we feed our Spirits "junk food"?  Don't be ARE feeding your soul something.  

Lord Jesus, please give us our daily portion of Yourself, so that we may grow spiritually, as well as physically. Teach us to pray, to seek Your face in everything, to "pray without ceasing".  Thank you for providing just what we need, when we need it, and through Your provision teaching us to trust in You for all things.  In Jesus name, amen.