BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Monday, August 31, 2015

DON’T SQUANDER YOUR DO OVER

“Therefore, remember … that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13
          This is God’s grace in action; His unmerited or undeserved favor. Man deserves nothing from God but judgment and wrath for the way they have lived.  Scripture clearly says in Romans 3:23 that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  Revelation 21:27, speaking of heaven, says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.” We are entitled to nothing.  We could never be good enough.  Any good deed done under our own power for our own honor is worth nothing in God’s kingdom.  It is the selfless man, the humble man, the merciful and kind man who lives to honor God that receives praise from the One who made him.
          At one time anyone who was not a Jew* was far away from God.  The Jews were God’s chosen people.  Their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah opened the door for all non-Jews to be given the opportunity to enter in to the life that God now provides for all men.  It is the blood of Christ that takes away the sins of the world; however, it is not a blanket pardon for all men.  Some refuse to believe in the existence of a Creator God.  A blanket pardon would allow for men to trample on God’s incredible and gracious gift of forgiveness.  It’s a gift and like all gifts one must take possession of it and make use of it.  If we receive it and place it in a catch-all room, never opening it, how can we receive any benefit from it. 
          Prior to Christ’s substitutionary death man was lost in sin with no hope.  After His blood was applied to sin all those who received the gift of forgiveness were free.  Their shackles fell off.  They were given a new life.  It’s what happened to you when you asked for and received God’s forgiveness. What we do with that second chance is up to us.  Remember what scripture says about those who are forgiven and then walk away from their newfound faith.   “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”  (2 Peter 2:21)  No matter what is happening in your life, trust God and never walk away.  You’ve been bought with a high price.  Live like Christ matters to you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
* A gentile was anyone who was not a Jew

Saturday, August 29, 2015

WE’VE BEEN RESCUED

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Galatians 1:3
         This greeting from the Apostle Paul to the church in Galatia speaks of a rescue.  We were drowning in our own sin and didn’t even realize it until it was pointed out to us.  It’s as if we were bobbing up and down in the Atlantic Ocean with miles and miles of nothing in every direction.  Christ rescued us when we were incapable of rescuing ourselves.  Many times it’s when we are at the end of our rope that we reach out to Christ.  In our desperation we grab for anything that can keep us afloat.  The Law of Moses may have been a means of staying afloat, but it didn’t rescue us from our sinful state. Only Christ’s death on the cross could completely and for all time set us free from that which had us bound. 
         The devil desires to trip us up at every turn. His attacks are indiscriminant, for he will create a snare for both young or old, male or female in an effort to keep us from finding that which will set us free from the bondage sin causes.  Christ gave Himself willingly to provide a means of rescue for whoever would accept it.
         Salvation isn’t a blanket pardon that falls over all mankind.  It is a gift that must be sought and then received.  It was and is the will of God to provide this gift, this rescue and for that we must give Him praise and glory forever and ever.  No one else could have rescued us.  We cannot rescue ourselves, nor can we rescue anyone else.  It’s God alone through Christ that provides all we will ever need to save us from the sin that has us bound.  His forgiveness has a lasting effect for it is once for all time.  Have you thanked your rescuer today? Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, August 28, 2015

BEING ALL IN

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” Jeremiah 29:13-14
          A half-hearted effort to find God will not suffice.  A person must be ‘all in’.  Those who say they don’t believe in the existence of a Supreme Spirit Being who created everything we see simply haven’t been looking in the right place.  When a person examines their own heart they may find something’s missing. Soul searching is therapeutic, but honesty is key.    It cleanses the soul and leads us to the piece of the puzzle that is missing. 
          I tell people who are uncertain of God’s existence to simply ask Him “If you are real, then reveal Yourself to me.”  That person must leave what they think they know at the door.  They need to clear their mind of the clutter than this world provides in abundance.  Begin to read the gospels slowly keeping an open mind.  You can’t force someone to receive Christ.  You can simply lead them to a certain point then let them go, kind of like teaching a small child how to ride their first bike without training wheels.  They will either make an honest effort to find God or they will not.  Their free will allows them to choose for themselves.  It’s not like a contest where God is competing against the world for ultimate control of a person’s life.  God loves us and desires to forgive us, but we must come to the place where we see our need for that forgiveness. 
          These verses in Jeremiah reveal one of the multitudes of promises God makes to mankind.  If you earnestly seek the Lord with all your heart, you WILL find Him.  Why is it with the heart that we seek God?  The heart is the source of our being, emotions, and sensibilities.  To invest everything into finding and then knowing the Creator of the Universe is to find once-for-all-time forgiveness, marvelous mercy, glorious grace and unconditional love.  That’s something that’s worth looking into.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource:  The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TRUST LEADS TO PEACE

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV
          In a world where chaos is it’s middle name and peace seems hard to find, we read these words from the prophet Isaiah.  Israel would know all about chaos and a lack of peace for they experienced multiple series of events that have led to defeat and capture.  They have been led away from their home to strange lands.  While these events were the result of disobedience in large part, still God loved them unconditionally, just as He does us.  As a side note, just because we fail Him doesn’t mean God casts us off and has nothing more to do with us.  Man makes mistakes in judgment more frequently then they would care to admit; yet God’s love toward him is steadfast.  Our relationship with God is in a constant state of flux, God’s relationship with us remains the same at all times.
          Isaiah 26 is a song of holy joy and praise to Jehovah.  It is written to assist in bolstering the faith and hope of God’s people.  Notice that we do not conjure up the peace, but rather the Lord provides it.  “YOU will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,…”  It is a conditional statement.  Perfect peace comes to those whose minds are firmly and fiercely loyal and unswerving towards God.  It is a byproduct of daily fellowship with the Lord.  Our faith will grow based on the amount of time we spend thinking on and doing godly things.  Our faith will lead us to greater trust.  Trusting God is extremely important.  The is the step in the maturation process that leads to reliance.  If we fail to trust the Lord we will not be inclined to rely on Him. 
          In all things we must see the hand of God, for He desires to be our all in all.  Our peace will come and abide in us when we see God for who He truly is and that is only possible thru seeking.  The Lord wishes to lead and guide us into His will for us.  Let go of the wheel and let the captain steer the ship lest we crash upon the rocks of devastation and begin to  flounder.  Trust in God, He has and will never fail you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource:  Matthew Henry Commentary of the Old & New Testament.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

KNOWING GOD’S WORD

“May my cry come before you, Lord; 
give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.”
Psalm 119:69-73
          There is something that every Christian must seek.  It is intimacy with God.  We need to accept His nearness to us and take advantage of it so that we can experience the fullness of His glory in our lives.  David, the author of this the longest Psalm in the Bible, was not perfect, yet he knew His God well enough to know that forgiveness was for the asking and redemption would lead him to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Lord.  The verses above are examples of one of the author’s heartfelt petitions to God.  Four of the five verses start with David crying out, humbly praying and singing praise.  He seeks understanding and deliverance from the Lord.  David wishes to be taught God’s decrees by the Holy Spirit.  He then acknowledges that God’s precepts are righteous, fair and just. 
          The interesting thing about God’s precepts is that they are righteous, fair and just for all men, not just a few select men.   I have written before about standards.  For mankind to survive and not tear each other to shreds, there must be a standard for living in place.  No one this side of heaven could ever come up with a standard, with rules and laws, that was completely impartial. All created beings develop preconceived ideas and prejudices that would taint any standards in one way or another.  The Creator of the Universe is the only One who is completely flawless, impartial and free from all prejudice.  He loves each of us equally and unconditionally.  His standard is the one that needs to be followed to have a rich and fulfilling life. 
          As Christians, we all want to take full advantage of God’s promises; however, we need to seek, embrace and embody the standards that the Lord has set forth.  Scripture is clear; God knows exactly what He’s doing and lays out His standard, with both its laws and promises throughout the Bible.  That is why I continuously stress that we need to be people of His word.  Otherwise, how will we know what God expects of us?  This isn’t a one-way street; it goes two ways.  It isn’t all about you or me; it’s about God and who we are in Him.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resources:  The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

OUR GRACIOUS GOD

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.  The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.”  Psalm 116:5-6
          There are some interesting words in these two verses; words that speak of God’s character.  He is gracious, which means the Lord is kind and warmly courteous.  It also means God is merciful and compassionate.  We have seen that in our own salvation.  Psalm 145:8 reiterates this element of the Lord’s character: “The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”*  This is reserved for those who seek Him.  The Lord is with His people. He doesn’t stand at a distance when they suffer.  God is compassionate to all, but those who are His own know the full measure of His grace and mercy for He has saved them from their every sin.
          God watches over His children and protects those of us who are not alert to danger or problems.  In other words, they don’t see trouble coming at them.  Knowing God is always watching us enables us to serve the kingdom without fear.  Rather than anticipating calamity, we can tap into God’s peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 
         The 23rd Psalm paints a picture of Christ as the Good Shepherd who watches over His flock.  When we are in trouble Christ saves us, even as He saves the sheep that got himself caught in a thistle bush.  That is the image I receive when I see verse 6.  We have been compromised, yet the Lord will come to us with His rod and staff and bring us comfort. (Psalm 23:4)  Trust the Lord under all circumstances and rely on Him to never change, for He never will.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resources:  American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language; The Reformation Study Bible.
* Translation used:  New Living Translation  (NLT)