Daily Bread

John 6: 48

I am the bread of life.

I have just one question for you. Are you going to eat tomorrow? Well, in truth it’s a bit of a trick question because I am wondering whether we all will feed ourselves both spiritually and physically.

Most likely all of us will consume food tomorrow, and we need to. There is nothing unholy in feeding your body. I just had the sense today that many of us are not where we want to be in life or with Jesus because we fail to feed ourselves spiritual food daily. Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11). Do you think when he began speaking about himself as the bread of life he changed his mind about bread being a daily necessity?

This is such a simple teaching, there is nothing truly profound here. We all know we need Jesus daily but we get caught up in life and forget that he is the bread of life. The result is that we begin to starve, literally. Many of us are starving and we are not even aware of the deprivation.

Your spirit feeds your entire being. By that I mean to say that a healthy spirit feeds and supports a healthy body and a healthy mind. Our spirits are our central being so as they hunger, nutrition is lost throughout.

Jesus is the life and he is the bread of life. That has to say a lot about our ability to have fullness of life. We need a daily intake of Jesus. We always seem to find the time to eat food. Maybe we can find the time to feed too. Have some bread of Life.

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.

Prayers for the Needy

Philippians 4: 19

And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Philippians assuring them that because they were meeting his needs God would take care of their needs. That is a good perspective from which to view our needs and our prayers. God meets our needs when we meet the needs of others. Still I suspect most of us spend a good bit of time praying about our needs. I noticed in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave “needs” one line; “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11). When Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, what do you suppose he prayed about? I suspect he didn’t spend much time praying about the things he needed. I imagine he prayed for people and for his calling.

I think what God is showing me is that we need spend very little time praying about our physical needs. In fact, I am beginning to think we need not spend much time at all praying about any of our perceived needs for two reasons. First, Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you” (Matthew 7: 7). So ask and be done.

Secondly, I don’t think we really know what we need. Sometimes we pray (ask) for something that we want but don’t need. In fact, sometimes the thing we are praying for would destroy us if we received it. Take for example the Israelites who prayed and prayed for a king. God told them, “No” at first time saying that He would be their king. He told them that their desire would only lead them to ruin. They kept on and on until finally he relented (read this story in 1 Samuel 8). And if you know the story of Saul, the first ever king of Israel, you know that God spoke to them truthfully.

I think our prayer time is better spent asking God what we need. In other words, I think we should pray about ourselves rather than for ourselves. We need God’s revelation on what we need and it may well be something that He wants to do in our hearts. At least that is what I am finding. If we back up a little bit from Matthew 7: 7 where Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you,” and go to the end of Chapter 6 we find something interesting. Bear in mind that this is all one teaching. When Jesus spoke this it wasn’t divided into chapters so just a few moments before He said, “Ask and receive” he said, “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6: 33).

I believe this is what was happening in Philippi. The people had finally turned their hearts from seeking after their own needs and desires to seeking the kingdom. When they got back into a spiritual state, reconnected with the Holy Spirit within them they sent a gift to Paul for his support and maintenance. Then Paul said that their gift to Him would insure that their needs were met. You see, the Holy Spirit will speak to us about what we need in our lives. He will even lead our prayers. He will also direct our actions so that what we need will be provided for us. The Philippians didn’t send their gift to Paul in order to get their needs met, they were just connecting with God in their hearts. They were seeking the kingdom and the Holy Spirit led them to send a gift to Paul. In that act, their needs were met, as well as Paul’s. So, we need to seek God in our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to lead our actions. When we do we will not need to pray unceasingly for our needs and wants. They will become a by-product of what God is doing in our spirits. It seems then that the key to the kingdom is what we have all been told time and time again. Seek the Lord, our God and He will take care of everything else.


John 6: 35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

I am overwhelmed today with how much hunger and thirst there is and I do not speak of the world but rather of the body of Christ. How can it be that people are dying of starvation who are of the Body and faint from thirst who are the children of God? Then there are those of us who are wasting away spiritually and are not even aware of our malnutrition. Have we been fed straw instead of wheat for so long now that we no longer even expect a full course meal for your spirit?

We, the church, ought to be powerful and strong in the spirit but we have become anemic. I believe the reason for this is that we are not being fed the bread of life. Jesus is not a one-time feast. He is our daily bread. Do you recall that in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matthew 6:11)? We are to feed daily if our spirits are to grow and be strong but all to often we find ourselves weak from the hunger.

The Body of Christ is famished and I blame me. God has called us to feed the sheep and yet the bodies of God’s beloved are strewn across the landscape, weak from lack of nourishment. If we love God we are to tend His flock. I have to question how well pulpit ministers are doing our jobs. How can the Body of Christ go about its Great Commission to reach the world with the love and grace of God if it has not been given sustenance? And how are you going to tend the lost if you are dying from mal-nutrition?

I am grieved that believers are not receiving what they need. Sure, each of us has a personal responsibility to draw upon Jesus daily for our needs but our churches and pastors must add to our plates as well. I can write to you for days upon end on my thoughts and ideas but in the end they are just vain philosophies, they are straw. The only thing that will actually nourish you is the Word of God which is, of course, Jesus who is the bread of life. Ministers who feed us on the Word are in fact feeding us Jesus who is the bread that will ever satisfy and water which ends thirst.

I don’t mean to be radical but honestly I have observed that the Word of God occupies less and less space in our worship services. Our brothers and sisters are dying on the battlefield because the pastor is more concerned about which congregation will be first to reach the local restaurant. Of course the pastor has been pressured to end the service earlier and earlier for that and other non-spiritual reasons. There is little room for the Holy Spirit to even have a say in most services these days. The upshot is that our people are dying. And if the children have no bread, then how are they to feed the lost?

If you have a pastor who teaches the Word of God and reveals the heart of the Spirit then you ought to get on your knees and praise God. If you do not, then you should stand on your feet and demand Bread! You have every right and should pull on any one who calls themselves a minister and demand that they feed you.

If you aren’t already so spiritually numb that you can no longer assess the condition of your spirit then you should do a spirit check and see how you really are. Are you anemic? Are you suffering from a lack of nutrition? If so, demand food. Look around you. Are the people you know spiritually alive or spiritually dead? What about the people at church. Are their spirits thriving or just hanging in there? Whether or not you have noticed it, we are living in spiritually perilous times. However, for those who are receiving nourishment these are exciting times. Make sure that you are receiving the sustenance that you need in order to keep your spirit thriving. Don’t be a casualty of war. There are resources. There are teachers. There are believers who yearn to be a blessing. Let us join together however we may to give each other needed nourishment.