BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

SHED YOUR OLD SELF

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”  Ephesians 4:21-24
       It is a special day when we give our life over to Christ.  The angels in heaven rejoice (Luke 15:7, 10) when one soul is saved from hell.  The truth you have come to know regarding Christ has vaulted you from your old life to a new life.  Your future with Christ becomes a situation where the more you put into the new relationship, the stronger your faith will become.  Your former lifestyle should fade into the background and your new nature should burst forth with a zeal that is fueled by God’s Holy Spirit.  It all depends on how determined you are to please God and live for him going forward.
       Many folks make an initial commitment, then become lazy and simply don’t make the effort to grow spiritually.  They then fall prey to time restraints and the seemingly innocent appointments that crop up, keeping them from church services.  The devil will keep you plenty busy if you are looking for reasons to live a lukewarm life as a believer.
       Your new nature should be one that shines forth with the love and mercy of the Lord, as you grow progressively stronger for the kingdom.  Your life can involve things outside the spiritual realm of course, but whatever draws most of your time and attention reveals to others what is most important to you.  Throw off your old nature like you would old, dingy rags and put on the righteous, holy new creature that salvation introduces.  Allow the Lord to lead and guide you down the narrow path of his choosing.  This world is not your friend.  The only one who doesn’t ever forsake you and is always willing to be forgiving and merciful is God.  Life with him is far more loving, constructive and beneficial that making the choice to serve him becomes rather easy.  Choose wisely what path you will follow.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Note:  The NEW LIVING TRANSLATION was used in this devotional; publisher – Tyndale House.

Friday, January 29, 2016

THE IMPARTIALITY OF GOD

“The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’”  John 4:9  NLT
     What Jesus did in this portion of scripture (John 4:1-30) was totally unacceptable to the Jewish religious leaders of his day.  Speaking to a woman who was not his wife was one thing; the woman being a Samaritan was another.  Two major social and religious taboos that rose even the eyebrows of Christ’s own disciples.  Jesus was in effect revealing that there was no one who he was not willing to reach with the good news of God’s grace; forgiveness for every sin committed.  Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.  The creator of all things cared enough for his own creation that he dwelled among them and provided the blood sacrifice necessary to remove all sin with his own life.  There is nowhere else to turn to receive such an indescribable gift. 
     The Samaritan woman had a slate that needed to be wiped clean.  We are no different than this woman.  Our sins were different but to God they are all the same.  She listened intently to the words of Christ.  She went to her townspeople and told them to come see the man she perceived could be the Messiah they had all been waiting for.  It is inferred that she left her past life in the dust behind her and moved on with the living water Jesus spoke of in verses 13 and 14. 
     When we represent Christ with our lives, do we pick and choose whom we will reveal him to or shall we feel compelled to go (v.4) where the Spirit of God leads us to perform his purpose for the advancement of the kingdom? All too often we hinder ourselves due to social standards that are arbitrarily set by this politically correct world.  We must be ready to step outside the box and go with the Spirit’s leading.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

NOTE: Jews in the first century thought it unseemly for a rabbi to talk to a woman (cf. v. 27). Furthermore, there was a history of tension between Jews and Samaritans. Because Jews could never be certain that Samaritans had properly observed the purity laws, they would not use vessels in common with them. (The final clause in v. 9 should be translated “Jews do not share [utensils] with Samaritans”; with the translation Jews do not associate with Samaritans, contrast v. 8.) The situation demanded clarification, and that was given in the ensuing conversation (vv. 10-15), which develops the theme of water (cf. 3:5; 7:37-39; 19:34).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

IT’S HIS POWER, NOT OURS

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
     When evil comes against you what should you do? Stand tall in the face of it and be strong in the Lord.  Easier said than done you may say.  True enough.  It takes spending time at the feet of God.  Anyone who excels at any skill took much time to learn and then practice that skill until they mastered it.  Leaning heavily on the strong arm of the Lord comes with time.  You must mature as a Christian and the only way to do that is to draw close to the Lord and allow his word to permeate your mind, heart and soul. 
     Notice that Paul says to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  The strength and power doesn’t come from within you.  Our strength is weak compared to the immense and infinite power of Almighty God.  Just that title alone speaks to his strength. Almighty!       
     One of God’s attributes is that he is omnipotent.  To be omnipotent is to have unlimited power and authority.  There is no one greater than the Lord.  He who can create something out of nothing is far greater than anything this world has ever seen. 
     Paul continues on in Chapter 6 speaking about the putting on of our Spiritual Armor.  We must be able to stand tall in the face of the coming evil that is surely on its way. If we know the Lord and put on the armor of the spirit there is nothing we cannot do.  It’s God’s power and his might that shall see us thru any and all events that we may encounter in this life.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

NOTE: Definitions come from the American Heritage Dictionary; the translation used is the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, published by Tyndale House. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

HAVING A SPIRIT OF HUMILITY

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:10
     What does it mean to be humble before God?  Having a spirit of humility is exhibiting a certain meek, modest quality that to some may look like weakness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is the meek in heart and attitude that has control over their emotions.  They exhibit self-control and an attitude of submissive respect.  We should be this way with our God and with man. 
     Having an arrogant, prideful spirit is quite the opposite of being humble.  That person believes life is all about them and they do whatever they can to let others know it.  It flies in the face of God’s standard for living a fulfilling and productive life for the kingdom.  Christian’s fall prey to being selfish & prideful just like anyone else.  The devil hits us at our weakest point.  Perhaps it’s a person’s lack of worldly success in their career.  Perhaps it’s our lack of physical stature.  Whatever it is, it pales in comparison to being in God’s favor and being lifted up in honor.  That requires different character traits than the world boasts.
     If you lack humility in your own walk with the Lord and know it, simply ask God to teach you how to become humble of spirit.  It starts by reading God’s word.  Don’t just blow thru a daily reading as if it were some religious requirement.  We should read the Bible not because we have to, but because we get to.  All the wisdom and guidance one will ever need is found within the pages of that book.  Ask the Lord to show you some special nugget of wisdom from the word each day.  Meditate on what you read.  Let it sink into your spirit and find a resting place in your heart.  We should humble ourselves before God because we are his creation.  It is out of admiration and respect that we bow before him.  Only then will he lift you up.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

NOTE:  The dictionary used was the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.  The translation used was the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION; Published by Tyndale House.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SEEK GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Luke 12:31
     Christians and non-Christians alike have a problem at times determining what they truly need and what they really only want.  It’s like the teenager who tells his father he needs a new pair of basketball shoes.  His father asks him what they cost to which the son replies “$!00.”  The father counters with “How much do you have?” “$40” was the reply.  The father’s answer was the following: “Well then I’ll tell you what you need if you want that $100 pair of basketball shoes … $60.”  The son really only wanted those shoes, but he didn’t need them.  The point of this illustration is determining for ourselves what we need as opposed to what we want. 
     If we devote ourselves to seeking God’s kingdom, wisdom and loving guidance more than all else our wants will fall by the wayside.  All we should really want is a heart that’s sold out to him.  Everything else will fall into place.  God will see to it that all of our needs will be filled so that we will want for nothing.  Too many people have gotten caught up in the pop culture of the moment.  They fall into the trap of wanting what everyone else has or what’s worse, want to be one step ahead of others regarding the vehicle they drive, the size home they have, the clothes they wear, etc.  These material things, while not intrinsically wrong in and of themselves, are unnecessary.  Christians don’t need to have the biggest and baddest toys on the block; they don’t need to outdo anyone.  What they need to do is submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, for that is where true lasting peace and fulfillment lie.
     If you want everything you could ever hope for, everything you will ever need, give yourself over to God’s will for your life.  Seek his kingdom first and foremost and all your needs throughout your life shall be met by your Heavenly Father.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

NOTE: The NEW LIVING TRANSLATION; Publisher – Tyndale House.