BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

THE KING’S RETURN

Zechariah 14:9 New Living Translation
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.”
       The future is like standing on the shore looking out upon the ocean.  As far as the eye can see there is nothingness, just water below and sky above.  The future is a sea of nothingness to mortal man as well.  We have no idea what will happen in the next moment, let alone a day, week, month or year from now.  And it is fruitless to guess, for there is no point to it.  However, we know someone who knows the beginning from the end and everything in between.  It is Almighty God, Creator of the Universe and man’s first breath. 
       The Jews had recently been allowed to return from their exile in Babylon once Cyrus, King of Persia had overthrown that city.  Once they had returned to Jerusalem they began rebuilding the Temple.  Due to a 10 year hiatus in construction the Temple was not completed for a total of 20 yrs.  Zechariah was considered in scripture to be one of the Minor Prophets or post-exilic prophets along with Malachi and Haggai.  Zechariah set about encouraging the people that the Messiah, the deliverer of the people of God, would come at a future time to rescue the people from sin and reign for all time as their King. 
       Since gentiles had been grafted into the branch that Israel had rejected (Romans 11:11-31), namely Christ, this message is also important to us.  One day the Lord will return in the clouds to rescue all believers from this world of degradation and then return with an angelic army to conquer all his enemies and rule over the earth.  All the vicious, violent acts in the name of religion that are taking place in the world today will be stopped upon the return of Christ.  He will return in power and glory and no man will be able to withstand his fury of vengeance.  We will live for all eternity in peace under the loving and powerful rule of our Savior.  That will be a glorious day!  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible; Tyndale House Publishing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE PATIENCE OF GOD

2 Peter 3:9 New Living Translation
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
       Peter is writing this second letter to an unspecified group of believers.  It comes roughly 2-3 years after his first letter. This portion of his letter speaks of Christ’s Return.  It should be noted that The Last Days prior to the catching away or rapture of the church as spoken of in scripture began once Jesus ascended into the clouds in front of the disciples.  His followers had every reason to believe that his return was imminent.  Nearly 2000 years later we still look for his return in the clouds.  What’s taking so long?  Why must so many suffer such great persecution in the meantime?  Only God knows his purpose and plan for mankind.  That may seem like a glib answer, but it happens to be true.  If we believe everything happens for a reason and that God is always and forever in control of all things, then there must be some eternal purpose for all that transpires in this life.  Even the random killings that are taking place now.
       To us the wait is excruciatingly long.  Of course we are the same ones that almost have a heart attack if we have to wait in a grocery line for more than 5 minutes.  It’s taking so long in our estimation because the Lord doesn’t wish any to perish.  He doesn’t take delight in any soul being cast out of his presence for all eternity.  Yet there will be many people who simply will not listen.  Our time schedule doesn’t even come remotely close to meshing with God’s.  As scripture states, to God a 1000 years is like a day and a day like 1000 years.  Therefore, if we wish to keep our sanity intact we must accept that God knows what He’s doing and continue to wait.  What other choice do we have as believers in Christ?  We can always renounce our faith in Christ and go back to the same place we were before.  Of course, scripture speaks of that in 2 Peter 2:21, “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.”
       The Lord is waiting for people to turn to Him.  Do you know that person you simply cannot stand; God’s waiting so that person has every opportunity to repent.  That goes for any and all of those folks that rub us the wrong way.  They deserve every chance to make the choice of all choices.  What are we doing to lead people to Christ? Ask him if you could be doing more and then listen for the still small voice of his spirit.  It’s part of what we have been called to do.   Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible; Tyndale House Publishing. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

PROTECT YOUR HEART

Proverbs 4:23 New Living Translation
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”         
       Our heart determines to a large extent how we live. Here Solomon tells us that in guarding our hearts we must make sure we concentrate on those desires that will keep us on the right path.  The right path is the path that God has laid before us.  While under God’s grace we can, of course, quite literally do as we please but man’s track record going his own way is not at all good.  The freedom we receive and quite frankly have always had is to choose what we will believe, what course we shall take and then live with the consequences. By design, we are supposed to utilize our freedom to obediently serve the one true and living God.  We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness.  We have a whole new set of standards, to operate under.  Instead of thinking of ourselves first, we are to think of ourselves last.  Instead of judging those around us, we are to dispense mercy and grace in the measure it has been given to us. This is crazy talk to the unregenerate mind. However, once redeemed, crazy talk gives way to understanding.  There is a bigger picture at play here; one that cannot be seen unless the door to the spirit is opened. 
      We must understand that everything entering our minds migrates to our hearts and at some point comes out of our mouths or shows up in our actions.  This is why it is so urgent that we guard our heart.  Protect it by feeding it the spiritual nourishment that comes from God’s word.  Be mindful of the Lord day and night. Take the time to fellowship with one another so you may engage in meaningful conversation regarding spiritual things.  Seek to please the Lord in all you think, say and do. By guarding your heart you will ward off temptation and steer clear of the resulting sin.  Do not waste precious time entertaining that which is contemptible to our Lord. Steer clear of all things that are not from God and you will find peace.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible; Tyndale House Publishing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

STAY THE COURSE

James 1:2-4 New Living Translation
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
       You have no doubt heard the saying, “Stay the course”. It means to stay on the course you are on, to hold steady, don’t deviate. When we become Christians, we begin to be buffeted about by various trials and tribulations that are sent by our enemy to knock us off course. It is like the winds and waves at sea which can redirect a ships course of direction by their force. If our eyes are fixed on Christ and Christ alone, then we will be more inclined to stay on course. Fears, real or imagined, will begin to disappear.
       Trials are allowed by God for that very purpose, to strengthen us. We need not fold under the pressure of them, for our faith, no matter how small, will slowly grow in the face of them.  God doesn’t allow anything that will harm us and is ever watchful to protect us. He is seeking to produce in us a stick-to-it mentality that will not waver in the face of mounting pressure. Your maturity and growth as a believer depends on it. It is our perseverance that matures us. With each test and trial our faith increases. It’s how we grow spiritually as reliance on the Lord increases.  We begin to realize that God will do as He says.  When the Lord says “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6,8) He really means it.
       Trials are not any reason to turn from God.  Trials lead us to greater blessings. God seeks to make us strong in our faith and trust so that we can withstand any trial that we face in life. As we face your trials head on we can know that God is with us and will see us through each and every one of them. In the end, our faith will be strong and our example to be a beacon of light to those around you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource:  The Life Application Study Bible – Tyndale House Publishing.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

THE NARROW ROAD

Matthew 7:13-14 New Living Translation
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
       I liken the narrow way to heaven as a one-lane road going in one direction. I am not aware of any verses in scripture that speak of it being a two-way road with people coming and going, while I am certain that if someone had it in their mind to make a U-Turn, God wouldn’t stop them. I see it more as a single lane road heading in one direction with a shoulder and exit ramps providing many opportunities to pull to the side of the road or go off on a tangent, at times far from God’s chosen path. Free will allows for this.
       The roadway to hell is paved with the lives of those who strove to please themselves. They became wealthy and perhaps even influential, but in the end were left nothing that could bring them peace, contentment or fulfillment. There is a reason Christ came and it was not to provide those who believe in Him with riches, power and influence. It was not to aid us in our climb up the ladder of career and financial success. These things cannot buy you ANYTHING that is lasting and certainly nothing that you can take with you in the afterlife. We strive for all the wrong things if we do not strive to please God first.
       Solomon, the writer of Psalm 127:1, states the following: Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.” Now is the time to reflect on how you are building your house (living your life)? What is most important to you? What have you made your top priority? If it isn’t the Lord, then you are wasting valuable time that can never be recovered. The narrow road may be long, may be winding and difficult at times, but in the end, you will never be dissatisfied with where you end up. Trust God to fulfill His promises from scripture and have faith that you will always be provided for with just exactly what you need, just exactly when you need it the most. Until next time, Walk with the King and be a blessing!!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible; Tyndale House Publishing.