The Bread

Matthew 6: 11

Give us this day our daily bread.
I had the opportunity on Sunday to hear Pastor Wayne Anderson of Idaho speak on his most recent book, Change the World with Prayer. One of the messages he brought to us was Jesus’ teaching on prayer which is found in what we commonly call the Lord’s Prayer. I was very much struck by Anderson’s point about this one little, short verse having the word “day”, or a derivative, in it twice. As he discussed it I was reminded of how the manna that God provided from heaven to the Israelites would spoil after one day. that really got me thinking.
God promised to provide for the Israelites daily. The fact that this is a daily event is an important point. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction’” (Exodus 16: 4). The Israelites were specifically precluded from collecting two or three days of manna. They were supposed to take only enough for each person for one day and then trust God for the bread for the other days. That is not our way, is it? The ground was literally littered with manna but God said to gather only a day’s worth and not to keep any of it for the next day. It would be normal for us to want to collect enough for several days but God said “Let’s see if they will follow my directions.” “But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul” (Exodus 16: 20).
Overnight the manna that people saved became inedible. Years later Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread. Yesterday’s bread won’t feed you today. It was for yesterday. It was good food for yesterday but you need today’s bread for today. Thousands of years ago as God tried to get the Israelites to trust Him day to day for their provision He was also laying down a spiritual principle that Jesus picked up and attempted to instill in his followers, including us. So this is Jesus’ word to us that we need to feed daily on the bread which God provides for us. But what does this really mean? Is this spiritual mumbo jumbo or does Jesus mean this literally? What do you think Jesus is trying to get us to do about daily bread? 
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6: 30 – 35).
I believe Jesus is teaching us that we need to partake of him daily. How do you do that, you may ask. My answer is John 1: 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the incarnate Word of God so to partake of him we partake of the Word of God. But wait, there is more. Blindly reading the Bible is not what I am talking about. A heathen could sit all day and read the Bible but never partake of Jesus. Our consumption of the Word is a meditative, contemplative, spiritual ingesting of the person of Jesus Christ as he is found in God’s Word. There is, to my way of thinking, a big difference between “The Bible” and “The Word” but I will leave that to you to figure out.
At the end of the day I think Jesus is telling us that God has provided for us just as He did for the Israelites. Our manna is the living word. Jesus seems to be teaching us that we must feed on it daily. Yesterday’s manna is no good for today. It met yesterday’s need but today is a new day and we need fresh bread. I promise that Jesus is fresh and appropriate to today’s need.

One last comment, I only gave you today an excerpt of what Jesus said about being the bread of life. I strongly recommend that you read the entire sixth chapter of John. I think it will be a blessing and definitely food for thought.

Divine Diet

Ezekiel 2: 7

But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are a rebellious people.

Every pastor faces the uncomfortable time when God has given her or him a message that he or she believes will not be received with gratitude by the congregation. None the less, as God told Ezekiel, that message must be delivered.

We can all be rebellious in our own right. There may be certain days when we are not as receptive or obedient as we should be. There are also certain topics to which we shut our hearts. However, we really need to make a pact with ourselves that we will soften our hearts and hear the message the minister has been given. In order for us to do that, we must first have confidence that our pastor is hearing from God. If you cannot say for certainty that your pastor is receiving his messages from God, then you must ask yourself why you are attending that church or listening to that particular minister.

The minister’s job, which I believe is clearly demonstrated in this passage, is to take from God and give whatever they receive to the people under her charge. Ministers must take the time to condition their hearts and the time necessary to hear from God. This is something we should all do but the minister spends more time in this pursuit than most people have to dedicate to the purpose. Ministers have an important role. Each person has a specific call on their lives for serving God and the body of Christ. The minister is supposed to help each person fulfill their personal destiny by delivering the Anointed Word of God to them.

If you are a pastor, teacher or other minister who has been called and anointed of God then I wish to encourage you today to deliver the words God has given you. It is not always easy as I appreciate. You may run into some resistance. However, there may be one person within the reach of your voice who is awaiting that very message. Further, we must agree together that the Holy Spirit will prepare the people’s hearts. You do your job and trust the Holy Spirit to do his. Also, do what you have to do to hear the voice of God. Your congregation does not need your wisdom. They need your anointing and your obedience to your anointing. They do not need cute anecdotes. Although they are good icebreakers, we cannot live on the cute stories. Pastor, feed on the word and the voice of God. Then deliver that food to those entrusted to you.

If your calling is not in full-time ministry there are two encouragements I wish to give you today. First, accept that you are, none the less, called into ministry. Everyone is. Secondly, do not let a tough message discourage you. You are made of sterner stuff than that. God is imparting life to you. Sometimes, though, we need a bit of jolt to awaken us. Trust your pastor or if you don’t then change churches. If you believe your pastor is hearing from God, then you would be a fool not to listen to him, right?

We all need the bread of life. To the extent we are deprived of it we are dying in some way. We need God’s Word and receiving it is a major reason for church services. You must be fed. Make it your determined purpose to feast at God’s divine table. Nourish yourself according to His nutritional plan. He is serving life.