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Daily Needs – Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11

A salesman from KFC walked up to the Pope and offers him a million dollars if he would change “The Lord’s Prayer” from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken.” The Pope refused his offer.

Two weeks later, the man offered the pope 10 million dollars to change it from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken” and again the Pope refused the man’s generous offer. Another week later, the man offered the Pope 20 million dollars and finally the Pope accepted. The following day, the Pope said to all his officials, “I have some good news and some bad news. ‘The good news is, that we have just received a check for 20 million dollars. The bad news is, we lost the Wonder Bread account!”’

Ok…this is a tough one.  “Give us this day our daily bread” is verse 11 of Jesus’ model prayer.  If you’ve noticed, Jesus starts out his prayer using the words “us” and “our.”  He continues in verse 11 in the same manner.  It’s true that he was talking to a crowd.  But I wonder if He is also addressing the Kingdom, His church.  If this is true, then this is a prayer for the each member of the group to use “daily.”  He wants us to be on the same page moving together with the same goals and values….His Father’s goals and His Father’s values.

With that said, we need to figure out what this “bread” means.  The more I want to say that it is a spiritual request…the more I lean towards it meaning our daily ‘needs.’  Yes, I just said it.  I’ve been talking with a couple co-workers about how hard this lesson is to swallow being a born and bread “American Dream” type of person.  I also just came back from Haiti where I met and ministered to people who, when they prayed this prayer, knew exactly what it meant.  They lived in a maybe 10×10 wooden box built for them after being displace from their 15×15 cement/dirt floor home.

The question is, what do we truly need?  If Christ’s church shows the world that we need anything more than Christ, don’t we do a disservice to His message?  So let’s look at what we know from Scripture first.  Jesus said in John 6, in an extensive way, that He is the bread of life.  He told Satan during his 40 day fast that the Word of God was His bread to live on.  When telling 72 of His followers to go out on their first missionary mission trip, He said not to take anything except the clothes they were wearing.  They would be taken care of…workers deserve fair wages…God would provide (Luke 10).  In Matthew 6, beginning with verse 24, Jesus says that we can’t serve two masters…then the big word “therefore” comes into play as He says, don’t worry about your food, clothes or anything else that you think you need.  Why?  Because the Father knows what you need, and if you focus on Kingdom work, then He will supply your needs.

That’s what we know. Were the 72 taken care of?  Yes.  Did Jesus make it through His fast? Yes.  Are the birds of the air watched over by their creator?  Yes.  Can God clothe us like the lilies of the fields?  Yes.  Should we have any worry about these things?  No.  Reason?  Because when we truly rely on God for our needs, then people will see Him…and want to have Him…and be with Him for eternity.  Our wanting to supply our own felt needs points back to us.  Our relying on God for our daily bread always points back to Him.  One of those tip toes really close to sin…unintentional or not.  The other walks “humbly with our God” as the Lord points out through the prophet Micah in his book, chapter 6 verse 8.

Ok….what do we do with this?  I’m struggling with this one.  As a reasonable person, I can see how huge this could be to pointing people to see God.  But boy is it hard to let go of “self sufficiency!”  Let’s look for a modern day example of this really happening…not just a fairy tale sermon illustration.

George Mueller is a man we can look to for such an example.  He built and ran an orphanage for many, many, years.  He said, in an interview at age 91, “No man can ever say I asked him for a penny.”  When he needed something for the sometimes 2000 orphans under his care….he gathered his staff together and prayed.  God would send food, money, supplies and workers when needed…sometimes immediately before the prayer was finished.  This man truly relied only on what God felt He and his orphans needed.  Who is glorified in this example?  Mr. Mueller?  Well, his is a life to be patterned after.  But we know who supplied every need….no human.  Through humans, yes….but because of any human?  No.

So, can we live like in this manner?  It has been shown that we can.  Now…the question simply remains…will we choose to do so?…Individually and as a group of people who claim Christ their King and God their Father who supplies all things?

I’m not sure what to add here.  I’m sufficiently guilty right now and need to process where I’m at with this one little life changing verse.  I do know this.  I like to take care of things by myself…and therein lies the problem.  When we take care of things ourselves, we are lifted up.  When we fully and completely rely on God…only He can receive credit and fame.

Questions for thought:

  • What do you really need?  List here……
  • What things do we strive for that aren’t necessary, and sometimes place glory on us?
  • How do we change this?  Why would we even attempt to change this?
  • In the end, who get’s all the glory for our life?…all the glory…all

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

No Swearing Gosh Darnit!

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Just fill in the appropriate letters…

  • A seven-year-old tells his four-year-old brother that they should start swearing. “When we go downstairs for breakfast, I’ll say ‘H_ll’ and you say ‘A_S.'” The four-year-old happily agrees.
  • At breakfast, the seven-year-old says, “Aw H_ll, Mom, I’ll just have some toast.”The surprised mother quickly smacks him. The boy runs upstairs crying.
  • The mother turns to the younger boy, “And what would YOU like for breakfast?”
  • “I don’t know,” the four-year-old blubbers, “but you can bet you’re a_s it’s not gonna be toast!”

When the topic of swearing comes up, we often think of things such as the joke above.  Jesus is directing this portion of the Sermon on the Mount towards something a bit more specific…our word.  By ‘word’ I mean our trustworthiness.  Our integrity.  Our ability to keep a promise.

 

We’ve often heard it said that in the “olden days” a man’s handshake was his “word.”  Meaning, you could trust a guy if he shook your hand.  It meant something.  Nothing more needed to be said between two men.  A firm handshake meant trust was present…even if the two men were not agreeable.  Jesus, throughout chapter 5 verses 17 and following, has been taking his group of 12 and anyone else within hearing distance, through some basics of why He came.  He is referring back to the 10 commandments and explaining the principles or the foundations behind them.  We’ve talked about His view of hate and murder, lust and adultery, of the finality of divorce, and now he brings up oaths and promises.

 

What we’ve found so far is that His standard is so far above the simple words of the 10 Commandments.  He is helping people to understand that this is how His Kingdom truly looks different than the world.  These are the standards of those who live with Him and under Him.  These principles help us really see what Holiness looks like…what true Love looks like.  Can you envision the picture?  We are in the world but not of the world.

 

Oaths.  Oaths combine two things.  An oath is both verbal and action oriented.  By this I mean that if you promise something, you’re bound to come through on that promise.  Promise your kids that you’re going to McDonald’s, and then pass it by on the way to have bologna sandwiches at home and you’ll know that you’ve broken a promise.  They will call you out!  “DAD!  You just passed McD’s!”  Next time you promise…there will be a flicker of hope and hopelessness in their heart.  They know you might or might not come through based on past experience.

 

Jesus wants us to build a past that looks like Him.  If Jesus promises you McD’s, you know He’s coming through.  Therefore, make sure your Yes for McD’s is a Yes.  He goes a bit deeper though.  Don’t swear an oath.

 

“I swear to God!”  Ever hear that one?  Does it really make you sound like you have more integrity, or does it make you sound desperate?  Jesus comes right out and says, “Don’t misuse my Father’s name.  It’s not for promises.  Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.”  In fact, He says don’t swear by anything.

 

If you are going to live a life of kept promises, it’s not going to be by how many lofty words you place after the words “I swear…”  Your promise will only be kept or broken by your actions.  He’s lifting up the fact that words have meaning.  Attach God to a potentially broken promise, and you not only lessen your integrity to another person…but they might just look at God differently too.  It’s not the Kingdom way.

 

Words have meaning.  Words spoken that are followed by differing actions show even more of the heart.  What do you want your heart to look like to those around you?  How do you want your friends to see your heart?  How do you want your spouse and kids to see your heart?  How do you want Jesus to see your heart?  Do your actions match your words?  James says it best by writing, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).  Your works will show your faith.  Don’t use God’s name or Heaven or your mother’s grave as a way to make your works, your vows, more than they are.

 

So do you know someone whom you can trust at their word?  They probably give you a fairly good picture of Jesus.  Haha…can you picture Jesus looking you in the eye and saying, “I swear on my earth dad’s head that I’ll come back from Heaven to be with you and take you home!”  No.  Me neither.  I just picture Him saying, “I’ll be back.”  I’m sure when the disciples heard this, they matched those words up with all of His previous actions and trusted Him.  We’re to be Jesus to others.

 

Another tough one.  Most of us talk a lot.  We have grand ideas and plans and promises…and many times we don’t come through.  Let’s get better at that.  Maybe talk less.  Maybe come through more.  It’s all for the Kingdom.

 

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Standing on the Promises

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Teacher: What is your ambition?
Student: I want to be a Politician

Teacher: Why?
Student: Because I am very good at making false promises

This is one of my favorite sections of the Bible. It is where I believe God sets up the remainder of the Old Testament right up to the birth of Christ and beyond to the day you are reading this. The promises given to Abram/Abraham from God’s own lips are the foundation of God’s family and the church. In reality, you are a part of those promises as a believer in Jesus.

The verses listed above cover just 5 or so promises, depending on how you group them or count them. However, these same verses cover nearly 2000 of years. Abraham didn’t get to see all of them fulfilled. In fact, he really only got to see one of them fulfilled. I say “see” as in see them fulfilled here on Earth.

How a person keeps their promises shows who they really are. In the olden days…and sometimes today…a man’s word was as good as the handshake he gave. People who were trusted had a good name. If someone’s handshake was not well trusted, they had less than a good name. Simplicity ruled. A man was as good as his word…or the promises he fulfilled.

Being truthful with what you can do and with how you follow through is important. As Christian leaders, we are entrusted with the gift of the Holy Spirit and with the Gospel of Peace. We are to be the hands and feet of the One we represent. If people are to see the One who promises forgiveness and eternal life, they will see Him through us and our word and our faithfulness.

Do people trust you? Are you a person who is talked about in outside circles as one who keeps their word? Do you talk about people behind their back when they’ve trusted you with their words? Do you promise with the life you live to lift others above you; enemies and friends alike? Are you trusted? Are you called a ‘good man’ or ‘good lady’? I can only imagine that if Jesus lived in the times when people were heading westward in America, that He would be known throughout the towns as a ‘Good Man’…someone who you could trust your life with. And He is.

Can God be trusted? Yes, He can. Why? Because He keeps His word. He is entitled to Honor based on His character and performance with the promises He gives. He said He would rise from the dead. He did. Based on that, He can be trusted.

One of the most important characteristics of a leader is trust. People will follow someone who can be trusted.

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot. ~Abraham Lincoln

Categories: trust Tags: , , ,
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