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Thread: Our Daily Bread

  1. #1061
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    We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

  2. #1062
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    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

    Dad was a man of few words. He had hearing damage due to years of military duty and wore hearing aids. One afternoon when Mom and I were talking a little longer than he thought necessary, he responded playfully, “Whenever I want peace and quiet, all I have to do is this.” Lifting both hands in a single motion, he turned off both hearing aids, folded his hands behind his head and closed his eyes in a serene smile.

    We laughed. As far as he was concerned, the conversation was over!

    Our God is big enough to hear the smallest voice.

    My father’s actions that day remind me how different God is from us. He always wants to hear His children. This is underscored by one of the shortest prayers in the Bible. One day Nehemiah, a servant to King Artaxerxes of Persia, was visibly sad in the king’s presence. Fearful when the king asked him why, Nehemiah confessed it was because Jerusalem, the conquered city of his ancestors, lay in ruins. Nehemiah recounts, “The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king…” (Neh. 2:4–5, italics added).

    Nehemiah’s prayer lasted only a moment, but God heard it. It set in motion God’s merciful response to the many prayers Nehemiah had already offered for Jerusalem. In that moment, Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the city.**

    Isn’t it comforting to know that God cares enough to listen to all of our prayers—from the shortest to the longest?

    Thank You, loving Father, for blessing me with the beautiful privilege and opportunity of prayer.

    Our God is big enough to hear the smallest voice.
    Nehemiah 2:1-9

    Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

    2*In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2*so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

    I was very much afraid, 3*but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

    4*The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

    Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5*and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

    6*Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

    7*I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8*And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9*So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry wi

    Cross references:Nehemiah 2:1 : S Ezr 4:7; S 6:14 Nehemiah 2:3 : 1Ki 1:31; Da 2:4; 3:9; 5:10; 6:6, 21 Nehemiah 2:3 : Ps 137:6 Nehemiah 2:3 : S Ne 1:3 Nehemiah 2:6 : Ne 5:14; 13:6 Nehemiah 2:7 : S Ezr 8:36 Nehemiah 2:8 : Ne 7:2 Nehemiah 2:8 : S Ezr 5:5 Nehemiah 2:8 : S Ezr 4:24 Nehemiah 2:9 : S Ezr 8:22
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  3. #1063
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    Sunday, April 23, 2017

    He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

    For three consecutive years, my son participated in a piano recital. The last year he played, I watched him mount the steps and set up his music. He played two songs and then sat down next to me and whispered, “Mom, this year the piano was smaller.” I said, “No, it’s the same piano you played last year. You’re bigger! You’ve grown.”

    Spiritual growth, like physical growth, often happens slowly over time. It is an ongoing process that involves becoming more like Jesus, and it happens as we are transformed through the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2).

    Dear God, give me a desire to grow spiritually. I want to honor You with my life.

    When the Holy Spirit is at work in us, we may become aware of sin in our lives. Wanting to honor God, we make an effort to change. Sometimes we experience success, but at other times, we try and fail. If it seems like nothing changes, we get discouraged. We may equate failure with a lack of progress, when it’s often proof that we are in the middle of the process.

    Spiritual growth involves the Holy Spirit, our willingness to change, and time. At certain points in our lives, we may look back and see that we have grown spiritually. May God give us the faith to continue to believe that “He who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

    Dear God, give me a desire to grow spiritually. I want to honor You with my life and experience the joy of the Spirit’s work inside of me.

    Spiritual growth is a process.

    INSIGHT:Paul established the church at Philippi during his second missionary journey. It was a growing and faithful church that had actively supported his ministry, and he was concerned that Christ-followers live exemplary holy lives (1:27). Paul’s prayer for believers to grow strong is also what we need. Let us pray that our love for God and for each other will overflow (v. 9), that we will grow in our understanding of Christ and His Word (v. 9), that we will live pure and holy lives (v. 10), that we will grow to be more like Christ (v. 11), and that we will glorify God in all we do (v. 11).
    Philippians 1:1-11

    *Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

    To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

    2*Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving and Prayer

    3*I thank my God every time I remember you. 4*In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5*because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6*being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    7*It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8*God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

    9*And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10*so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11*filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

    Footnotes:Philippians 1:1 The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.

    Cross references:Philippians 1:1 : S Ac 16:1; 2Co 1:1 Philippians 1:1 : S Ac 9:13 Philippians 1:1 : S Ac 16:12 Philippians 1:1 : S 1Ti 3:1 Philippians 1:1 : 1Ti 3:8 Philippians 1:2 : S Ro 1:7 Philippians 1:3 : S Ro 1:8 Philippians 1:4 : S Ro 1:10 Philippians 1:5 : Ac 2:42; Php 4:15 Philippians 1:5 : Ac 16:12-40 Philippians 1:6 : Ps 138:8 Philippians 1:6 : ver 10; S 1Co 1:8 Philippians 1:7 : 2Pe 1:13 Philippians 1:7 : 2Co 7:3 Philippians 1:7 : ver 13, 14, 17; S Ac 21:33 Philippians 1:7 : ver 16 Philippians 1:8 : S Ro 1:9 Philippians 1:9 : 1Th 3:12 Philippians 1:9 : S Eph 1:17 Philippians 1:10 : ver 6; S 1Co 1:8 Philippians 1:11 : S Jas 3:18
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    We love to think and create and express ourselves because we were created to do so by a God who has surrounded us with exquisite prof that he loves these same activities. - Undeniable by Douglas Axe, P 242

  5. #1065
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    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

    My friend Gloria called with excitement in her voice. She had not been able to leave her home except for doctors’ appointments. So I understood why she was so happy to tell me, “My son just attached new speakers to my computer, so now I can go to my church!” Now she could hear the live broadcast of her church’s worship service. She raved about God’s goodness and the “best gift my son could have given me!”

    Gloria teaches me about having a thankful heart. Despite her many limitations, she’s thankful for the smallest of things—sunsets, helpful family and neighbors, quiet moments with God, the ability to remain in her own apartment. She’s had a lifetime of seeing God provide for her, and she talks about Him to anyone who visits or calls.

    God is the giver of all good gifts in our life.

    We don’t know what difficulties the author of Psalm 116 was encountering. Some Bible commentaries say it was probably sickness because he said, “the cords of death entangled me” (v. 3). But he gave thanks to the Lord for being gracious and full of compassion when he was “brought low” (vv. 5–6).

    When we’re low, it can be hard to look up. Yet if we do, we see that God is the giver of all good gifts in our life—great and small—and we learn to give Him thanks.

    What shall I*render to the*Lord for all his benefits to me? . . . I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 116:12, 17 esv).

    Praise to God comes naturally when you count your blessings.

    INSIGHT:This marvelous psalm celebrates the miraculous deliverance we receive from the God who comes to our rescue. Verses 1–9 recognize the call for help, the gracious response of God, and the praise and rest that come to us after a stressful time. Verses 8–9 also give us an eloquent summary of God’s deliverance: “For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord*in the land of the living.” These two verses are worth memorizing as a means of strengthening our faith, giving thanks for past help from God, and in preparation for future trials. Fear of death, tears of sorrow, and even stumbling feet find their comfort and restoration in the God of grace. All of these offer reasons to count our blessings.

    For what can you praise God today?
    Psalms 116:1-9

    For what can you praise God today?

    1*I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
    2*Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

    3*The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
    4*Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Lord, save me!”

    5*The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
    6*The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

    7*Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

    8*For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
    9*that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

    Cross references:Psalm 116:1 : Ps 18:1 Psalm 116:1 : S Ps 31:22; S 40:1 Psalm 116:1 : S Ps 6:9; S 28:2 Psalm 116:2 : S Ps 5:1 Psalm 116:3 : S 2Sa 22:6; Ps 18:4-5 Psalm 116:4 : Ps 80:18; 118:5 Psalm 116:4 : S Ps 80:2 Psalm 116:5 : S Ex 9:27; S 2Ch 12:6; S Ezr 9:15 Psalm 116:5 : S Ex 22:27; S Ps 86:15 Psalm 116:6 : S Ps 79:8 Psalm 116:6 : Ps 18:3; 22:5; 107:13 Psalm 116:7 : Ps 46:10; 62:1; 131:2; Mt 11:29 Psalm 116:7 : Ps 13:6; 106:1; 142:7 Psalm 116:8 : S Ps 86:13 Psalm 116:9 : S Ge 5:22; Ps 56:13; 89:15 Psalm 116:9 : S Job 28:13; Ps 27:13; Isa 38:11; Jer 11:19
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  6. #1066
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    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

    Bob Foster, my mentor and friend for more than fifty*years, never gave up on me.*His unchanging friendship and encouragement, even during my darkest times, helped carry me through.

    We often find ourselves determined to reach out and help someone we know who is in great need. But when we fail to see improvement right away, our resolve can weaken and we may eventually give up. We discover that what we hoped would be an immediate change has become an ongoing process.

    As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.

    The apostle Paul urges us to be patient in helping one another through the stumbles and struggles of life. When he writes, “Carry each other’s burdens” and so “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), he is comparing our task to the work, time, and waiting it takes for a farmer to see a harvest.* *

    How long should we keep praying and reaching out to those we love? “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”* (v. 9). How many times should we reach out? “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (v. 10).

    The Lord encourages us today to trust Him, to remain faithful to others, to keep on praying, and to not*give up!

    Father in heaven, we ask for hope and perseverance to continue reaching out to others.

    In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably*more than all we ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

    INSIGHT:We may be hesitant about allowing ourselves to start feeling the pain of those around us. So did Paul lead us into more than we can handle when he urged us to reach out to the needs of others? (Gal. 6:9). Let’s put his words in context. In the previous chapter he wrote extensively about the importance of living with a sense of liberty (5:1). He didn’t see love as a matter of duty and bondage; rather, life in the Spirit is a life of care and concern for others, enabled by the Spirit.

    So are we having cold feet about the implications of being warmhearted? If so, maybe we need to accept those natural fears. But in the freedom of the Spirit we can learn to act out of our own heart rather than out of duty; we can act out of the grace God generously gives us to care for others (6:4–5).
    Galatians 6:1-10

    Doing Good to All

    6*Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2*Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3*If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4*Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5*for each one should carry their own load. 6*Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

    7*Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8*Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9*Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10*Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

    Cross references:Galatians 6:1 : 1Co 2:15; 3:1 Galatians 6:1 : S Mt 18:15; S 2Co 2:7 Galatians 6:2 : 1Co 9:21; Jas 2:8 Galatians 6:3 : Ro 12:3; 1Co 8:2 Galatians 6:3 : 1Co 3:18 Galatians 6:4 : 2Co 13:5 Galatians 6:4 : 2Co 10:12 Galatians 6:5 : ver 2; Jer 31:30 Galatians 6:6 : 1Co 9:11, 14; 1Ti 5:17, 18 Galatians 6:7 : S 1Co 6:9 Galatians 6:7 : Pr 22:8; Jer 34:17; Hos 10:12, 13; 2Co 9:6 Galatians 6:8 : S Gal 5:24 Galatians 6:8 : Job 4:8; Hos 8:7; S Ro 6:23 Galatians 6:8 : Jas 3:18 Galatians 6:9 : 1Co 15:58; 2Co 4:1 Galatians 6:9 : Job 42:12; Ps 126:5; Heb 12:3; Rev 2:10 Galatians 6:10 : Pr 3:27; S Tit 2:14 Galatians 6:10 : Eph 2:19; 1Pe 4:17
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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