Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

 (Is this Petition Relevant Today?)

by George V Trivandrum

In Mathew Chapter 6 verses 9-13, we have what is generally called as the Lord’s Prayer.”  In using this title however we should remember that Jesus never prayed it Himself.  It was given to disciples as a model after which they could pattern their prayer.  In some Christian groups this prayer is often used, as a matter of routine, without knowing the real meaning of each petition.  Out of the seven petitions here, the first three concern the name, kingdom and will of God.  The Lord must occupy the highest place, and indeed in our whole lives.  The four petitions for ourselves rise by degrees from “bread” up to “deliverance from evil”: teaching us that we ought to grovel in prayer, but to increase in spirituality while we pray. (C H Spurgeon)  “Give us this day our daily bread.” Give us necessary food, bread for the day; our own bread, yet thy gracious gift; give it not only to me, but to all of us thy children.  Is this petition needed today when our purses are thick, bank balances sufficient, and our store houses and fridges are full with food materials from salad to chicken?  There was a time when our fore-fathers and evangelists like George Muller or M E Cherian and many others fully depended on our gracious Lord for each meal?  I still remember a time when a friend of mine, was examining the rooftop of their wooden house to check, whether he could get few pieces of dried Tapioca, which was stolen by rats from them.  Such was the hard time!  Now the situations have changed!  Who needs such a prayer when many could join with that fool in Luke 12 who said, “soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry”! (v. 19).  Let us examine this Lord’s teaching on the basis of the Scriptures:

Physical Needs:
“Our daily bread” refers primarily to the supply of our temporal needs.  With the Hebrews,  bread was a generic term, signifying the necessities and conveniences of this life.  (Gen: 3:19; 28:20), such as food, raiment and housing.  Inherent in the use of the specific term bread  rather than the more general term food  is an emphasis, teaching us not to ask for dainties or for riches, but for that which is whole-some and needful.  Bread here includes health and appetite apart from which food does us no good.  It also takes into account nourishment:  for this comes not from the food alone, nor does it lie within the power of man’s will.  Hence God’s blessings  on it is to be sought.  “For every creature of God is good, and on it is nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanks giving:  For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer”  (1 Tim. 4:4,5).

Spiritual Needs:
Mathew Henry has correctly pointed out that the reason for this request for the supply of our physical needs heads the last four petitions in this prayer is that “our natural well being is necessary for our spiritual well being in the world.”  In other words, God grants to us the physical things of this life as helps to discharge of our spiritual duties.  And since they are given by Him, they are to be employed in His service, and not for our selfish activities for making money.  What gracious consideration God shows toward our weakness: we are unapt and unfit to perform our higher duties if deprived of the things needed for the sustenance of our bodily existence.  We may also rightly infer that this petitions comes first, in order to promote the steady growth and strengthening of our faith.  Perceiving the goodness and faithfulness of God in applying our daily physical needs, we are encouraged and stimulated to ask for higher blessings (Cf. Acts. 17:25-28).

Solomon’s Attitude
In begging God to give us our daily bread, we ask that He might graciously provide us with a portion of outward things such as He sees will be best suited to our calling and station.  “Give me neither poverty nor riches;  feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny Thee and say, Who is Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain (Prov. 30:8,9).  If God grants us the superfluities of life we are to be thankful, and must endeavor to use them to His glory; but we must not ask them.  “And having food and raiments let us be therewith content.   We  are to ask for “our daily bread”  (1 Tim. 6:8)  It is to be obtained not by theft, nor by taking force or fraud what belongs to another, but by our personal labor and industry.  Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty, open thine eyes and thou shall be satisfied with bread”  (prov. 20:13)  “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness”  (Prov. 31:27)  Is this request restricted to our daily bread)   No.  First we are reminded of our frailty.  We are unable to continue in health for twenty four hours, and are unfit for duties of a single day, unless constantly fed from on high.  Second, we are reminded of the brevity of our mundane existence.  None of us know what a day bring forth, and  therefore we are forbidden to boast ourselves of tomorrow (Pro. 27:1)  Third, we are taught to suppress all anxious concern for future and to live a day at a time one day at a time.  “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6: 34) Fourth, Christ inculcates a lesson of moderation.  Finally, observe that our Lord’s word “Give us this day our daily bread” is appropriate for use each morning, where as the expressions, He teaches in Luke 11:3 “Give us day by day our bread” ought be our request every night.  Then the question that comes before us is “Do we have family worship (prayer) every morning and evening?  Let us all re-confirm this in our lives during this year, to have family alter.  Let me conclude this by quoting our Lord’s words from Matthew Chapter 6:25-28  “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  It then came to the ground to pick up a Crum and rising merrily again seemed to repeat its simple song “Mortals, cease from toil and sorrow, God provideth for the morrow.”  This greatly comforted the Reformers heart”  (C.H. Spurgeon)  let us cheer our hearts by reading that delicious song of contentment: Psalm 23:  The Lord is my shepherd is ENOUGH:   “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:  and  I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Ps. 46:11).  It is good to sing this twice; it is a truth of which no believer wearies, it is a fact too often forgotten.  John Wesley was sick and could not be understood.  He attempted to speak.  At last, with all his strength he cried.  “The best of all is, God is with us.”  Again, raising his hand and waving it in triumph, he exclaimed with thrilling effect,  “The best of all is, God is with us.”  These words seem to express the leading feature of his life.  God had been with him from early childhood.  His providence had guided him through all the devious wanderings of human life.  Now when he was entering the “valley of shadow of death,” the same hand sustained him (Spurgeon: “The Treasury of David”). 

Beloved, is the Lord on your side?  Is Emmanuel, God with us, Your Redeemer? CL

(An adaptation from the magazine “Vineyard Echoes” a GFTI publication, Chennai, Used by permission)

The Awful Sin of Dismembering the Body of Jesus Christ

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). This Scripture is interpreted in various ways by different religious schools of thought today. One group is striving for total ecclesiastical union without any regard for doctrinal agreement. With them it is union at any price.

Another group believes unity is possible only on the basis of complete agreement on doctrinal and religious practices.

Then there are those who are endeavoring for unity in the Body of Christ on the basis of our oneness with Christ.

Now, organizational union is not what is meant by the spirit of unity. And, of course, this organizational union (ecumenicism) can work where Christ is considered to be only a wonderful teacher and person. To insist on the fact that He is the Virgin-born Son of God at once destroys this union.

The teaching of the Word is that by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body that is into Jesus Christ. And we are called upon by the Spirit to keep this unity in the bond of

There are many issues on which Christians differ. Some are doctrinal and others are matters of practice. The present trend is to emphasize our differences, which has the effect of destroying the unity of Spirit. What we ought to be doing is applying Galatians 6:1 where needed and through love strive toward a proper spirit of unity in Christ.

Certain denominational differences could actually be hidden blessings. Christians tend to emphasize one or several doctrines to the exclusion of others. So, where denominations keep doctrinal truths alive, they help to keep a doctrinal balance in the churches.

On the other hand, when we tear to pieces the Body of Jesus Christ because of our differences and isolate ourselves from other believers, we do harm to the great cause of true Christian unity.

How the devil must smile at the way Christians hack away each other! Were not the name of Christ mentioned, one would think that we were in the midst of a political struggle just before election time. This is a great shame upon the church, and we will yet answer for this sin.

Here at the Broadcast, God has sent us personnel from some 25 different denominational groups to work together. We do not always see eye to eye on doctrinal matters, or on practices, but God has given a perfect unity centered about Christ and our ministry in Him. The men and women here constantly labor to keep this unity. Our people attend the different Evangelical churches of the city serving in them in various capacities. During the week, in the finest spirit of Christian unity, they work together for the propagation of the gospel by the various means that the Lord has put at our disposal at the Broadcast. I have many times praised God for this demonstration of His grace and His power in the Spirit, enabling us to keep this unity in the bond of peace.

The modern trend of exalting certain personalities and condemning other personalities is one of the basic wrongs in today’s dissecting of the Body of Jesus Christ. Every truly born-again believer, regardless of his church affiliation, is a member of the same Body of Jesus Christ of which I am a member. I often wonder, as I see what we are doing to that Body, in what way we differ from the heathen who torment various part of their bodies in a mistaken attempt to find peace for their sins. We, too, are tormenting certain members of the Body of Jesus Christ, and this leads not to peace but disharmony.

We Christians need to repent of the great sin of dismembering the Body of Jesus Christ. Then, by the grace of God, we need to seek to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We need to practice to the full the admonition found in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the sprit of meekness; considering thyself, let thou also be tempted.”
                                                                                                                                                                   — Theodore H Epp

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bible Study: Title: Friend of Jesus

Scripture: Romans 12:14, Acts 6-7, Luke 4:28-30, John 15:19, Matthew 12:14, John 8:57-59, Matthew 5:44, Ephesians 3:16, John 15:15-16

Have you ever had someone dislike you because of something you've said or done? Most of us have experienced that. Have you ever had someone dislike you because of one of your friends? If you're a Christian, that has happened--or will happen someday. Why? Jesus explains.

What Does God Say?
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.   You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."  (John 15:15-16, NKJV).

Jesus reminds us that as Christ-followers we are not just His servants, but we are His friends. Being a friend of Jesus is one of the privileges of being a Christian. But Jesus makes a prediction for His friends.

"The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you" (John 15:19, NLT).

What kind of prediction did Jesus make for His friends? 
According to these verses, why will the world hate you? 
Read the following verses and answer the questions.

Matthew 12:14

Why did the Pharisees call a meeting in Matthew 12?
Luke 4:28-30

Who was furious with Jesus in Luke 4:28-30? 
What did they do to Jesus? 
What did they intend to do? 
How did Jesus get away?
John 8:57-59

Who was upset with Jesus in these verses? 
What did they use to express their anger? 
How did Jesus get away?
After reading the above verses, what do you learn about the relationships Jesus had with others (especially the religious leaders) during the last three years of His life?

My Thoughts 
Do you understand why as a Christ-follower you will be disliked or hated even though you have done nothing to deserve it?

Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Bible Teacher, clarifies: "When you live a life that pleases the Lord, you are a problem to people who don't please the Lord. So, is it any wonder, then, that the world hates you? When I say to you, 'Have a good and godly day,' I am saying to you, 'You do that, and you're going to be hated because of it.' Why? Because the world doesn't know God."

Randomly scribble any words that express how you feel when you consider that you will be hated and perhaps even persecuted someday because of your faith.

If "fear" or a similar emotion is on your list, take your list before God and tell Him how you feel. Then think about this.

How does Jesus expect you to respond to hostility and perhaps even persecution? (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14).
Who will give you the strength to respond appropriately? (Ephesians 3:16). 

My Part
Are you a friend of Jesus? If so, you can expect some people to have a very negative reaction to you.

Ask the Lord to strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit and to give you the character of Christ, in particular His courage and compassion. See Acts 6 and 7 for Stephen's example.


by Alice Mathews Martin
He knocked at my door, for me to let Him in,
I did shut Him out for my house was a dustbin,
He waited at my door refusing to go away,
I said, “leave me alone to do the things my own way!

He waited at my door, He said, “do let me come in,”
To sit and dine with you”… replied I, “come when my house is clean.’
He waited at my door; relentlessly through the day,
I tried to clean my house and got myself all disarray.

He waited at my door, he said he would help me clean,
But I was so ashamed, I did not let him in.
He waited at my door, my patience weaning out,
I offered him many things, but he did not turn about.

He continued to wait at my door. When at last I did relent,
He walked right into my house, and how my heart did repent!
As he walked into my house, I saw his richly attire!
For surely he must be a king! And I wanted to hide my entire!

When he came into my house, my house into a mansion was formed!
For where the king must live; the place will be transformed!

(Based on revelations 3:20 fulfilled in my life, written with joy for the one who gives it freely)

Philip (Making a Comeback)

Current Issue's Cover Page

(Making a Comeback)
By Woodrow Kroll
East Carolina played Marshall in the 2011 GMAC Bowl.  At the halftime, East Carolina had a 38-8 edge.  But Marshall quarterback Bryon Leftwich orchestrated an incredible comeback, tossing an 8-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime to stun East Carolina, 64-61.
NAME: “Lover of Horses”
DATE:    1st Century AD
IDENTIFICATION:   A native of Bethsaida, Philip became one of Jesus’ Twelve
STORY LINE:  When God wanted faith, all Philip could give Him were facts
READ IT IN THE BIBLE:  John 1:43-49; 6: 1-13; 14: 1-12
Comebacks are always exciting, especially with people.  Take Philip, for example.
Philip was one of Jesus’ Twelve, a native of Bethsaida.  When Philip first met Jesus he eagerly embraced the Savior.  IN his fledgling faith, Philip quickly found Nathanael and introduced him to the Lord, too.  But at the feeding of the five thousand, Philip’s faith faltered.  Jesus tested him  
with a question about where they could find enough bread to feed everyone.  Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them” (John 6:7).  Philip’s calculations were almost dead on, but while Jesus was looking for faith, all Philip could give Him were facts.
Finally, when Jesus told His disci0ples, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (John 14:7), Philip’s faith failed completely.
He responded, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Each time we encounter Philip in John’s Gospel his faith is weaker.  But thank God it didn’t stay that way.  After ministering in Samaria and to the Ethiopian eunuch, tradition tells us that he settled in Hierapolis and became “the great light of Asia (Minor)”
How’s your faith today?  Do you need to make a comeback?  When Jesus is looking for faith, do you just give Him facts?  Show Him by your life that you believe all things are possible with God.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Woodrow Kroll