BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ONE & ONLY GOD

Ephesians 4:5-6 New Living Translation
“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”
     In a world where people seem to believe there are many ways to get to heaven I present this to you: Paul’s statement regarding the one true and everlasting God. All scripture points to the undeniable thought process that the belief in Christ alone as man’s Savior and Lord and the existence of one God who is supremely over all creation is the correct path. If it were not so then why is it the only belief system that gets persecuted? Why are Christian believers alone martyred for their faith? Why aren’t Buddhists or Hindus or Jehovah Witness or any other fringe ‘religious’ group? Only believers in Jesus Christ.
         In this age of ‘live and let live’ those seeking to live as they please are grossly intolerant of those who have chosen what they feel is a better path. Believers haven’t helped their cause by being pushy and even somewhat belligerent regarding their faith. It’s a choice, live it in front of others and say only what you feel compelled to say according to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 
         In the end it will be those who have sought to be Christ-like in their everyday lives that will have the greatest impact on this lost and dying world. God wishes for all men (and women) to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Having said that, you cannot force anyone to believe. If you could they might break the yoke you have placed upon them and you may have lost them, perhaps forever. Let your thoughts predominantly be of Christ and God’s grace. Pray that you might see ALL others, both saved and unsaved, as our Lord sees them. Don’t preach at anyone, but rather, love them with patience, kindness and a gentle, merciful spirit. That will do more to advance the kingdom of God than any words we could ever say. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible.

Monday, January 30, 2017

UNITY IN THE BODY

Ephesians 4:1-2 New Living Translation
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
            The purpose of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus was to strengthen their faith by explaining the purpose of the church and the body of Christ.  He verse 1 of the fourth chapter he implores them to lead a life worthy of their calling.  The use of the word ‘beg’ in this particular translation might lead one to believe that they were not doing so.  Churches are filled with people who come from different backgrounds, regions and cultures. In general, people can tend to rub each other the wrong way. Not everyone is going to believe exactly the same way. Therein lies the challenge, to be gentle, humble and patient with one another. That is much easier said than done. If someone is louder or stands out by looking different then the others, they are avoided or talked about. This is not the way a representative of Christ should act. Face it; we all do that from time to time for none of us is perfect.
       The characteristics Paul mentions is not complete. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the spirit that include: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.” Every member of every community of faith ought to practice these characteristics, because this is what Jesus displayed in his life.  If we are to emulate Christ, then we must strive to exhibit these characteristics in our own lives.
          This life is not all about ‘YOU’. Paul makes that clear in his letter to the church in Philippi when he says in chapter 2 verse 3: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  We, as believers in Christ, are not better than anyone else, whether saved or unsaved. We are nothing more than sinners saved by the grace of God. Having said that it must be stated that we are children of the one true God and King. That doesn’t give us the right to be ugly to anyone else. We are to treat all others within the body as better than ourselves and be a positive example to those who have yet to be redeemed. No one is perfect; therefore we must strive diligently to become more like Christ in this life. We will never attain perfection, but we must at least seek it. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resources: The Life Application Study Bible; The Asbury Bible Commentary.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

THE BATTLE IS GOD’S

Ephesians 6:10-12 New Living Translation
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
         There is no need to fight your own battles against the forces of evil. The battle is the Lord’s.  2 Chronicles* tells of King Jehoshaphat & the people of Judah and their dilemma. An enemy force was bearing down on them. Instead of panicking or fretting, King Jehoshaphat committed the situation to the Lord. In his prayer he acknowledged that only God could save them. He sought God’s favor.  He then acknowledged God’s authority over their enemy. The King then praised the name of the Lord and professed total dependence on his God. 
         We may never have an enemy army bearing down on us, but we do battle temptation and various other types of pressure in this life.  The devil and his demons, the angels that fell with him from heaven, may control this earth, but they do not control you unless you allow them to.  Chapter 6 of Ephesians describes the armor in detail; that which we are to don and utilize to protect us from the wiles of our chief adversary.  We cannot defeat him on our own, but we cannot be defeated if we rely on God to fight our battles.
         There is a spiritual realm that has quite a bit of activity in it I would imagine, for it is there that angels and demons wage war for the souls of men.  If we are a child of the King there is nothing the devil can ever do to us.  He may scorch everything around us, but he cannot touch us unless God sanctions it for his own specific purpose.  Even then, we are ultimately safe and secure, in spite of our immediate situation.  When we have faith to trust the Lord to keep his promises we can conquer any foe.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resources:  The Life Application Study Bible; The Reformation Study Bible.
2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT

He said, "Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017

NEXT POSTING SAT, JAN 28

Due to time constraints, I will be unable to post a devotional for tomorrow, 
Friday, January 27th, 2017. 


FIXING YOUR THOUGHTS

Philippians 4:8 New Living Translation
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
         Our minds are like personal computers. What we put into them is what will come out. Our way of thinking, our morals, our ethics, our general everyday behavior comes from what we fill our minds with.  Modern technology, while useful, is not our friend. Media rushes at us constantly, seeking to influence our way of thinking. That which we invest our time in will impact our behavior the most. 
         All believers wrestle with evil desires and impure thoughts. A spiritually mature Christian will dismiss such things as both trivial and damaging to their behavior and overall testimony. In our efforts to be like Jesus, we scrutinize scripture, yet never quite get the significance of selfless living. To truly be like Jesus we must make ourselves less while elevating Christ in the process. We must accept the fact that we truly know nothing and need to be taught by the Holy Spirit to succeed in our pursuit of heaven. 
         Focus on who God is and who we are in him. We are his child and his representative on this earth. We have wonderful tales to tell of the goodness of God. Tell them. Let his praises flow from your heart. Disregard worldly pleasures and hone in on that which is pleasing to the Lord.  It is most critical that we do for we are this world’s only hope. With all the messages floating here and about, it is our message, the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ alone, that can set the captive free from the burden of sin.  Put personal wants and agendas aside in favor of a higher calling and God will be honored in the process. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PLANT YOUR SEEDS WISELY

Galatians 6:7-8 New Living Translation
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”
         There is a natural law at play here.  An agricultural principle that is factual and true. What farmer who planted corn would ever expect pumpkins to grow? Whatever seeds you plant will yield a harvest of the same once it is fully-grown. The Apostle Paul brings this illustration into his letter more than likely because farming would be a subject many, if not all of the brethren would be familiar with.  That tells me his readers knew exactly what Paul of trying to say.
         God knows all things. He even knows what we are thinking and what we will say and do prior to our saying or doing it. To not be able to do so would characterize a flaw in his abilities and render him less than who he claims to be. Therefore, we must choose very wisely that which we plant in our life.  The Lord sees thru all our disguises as we attempt to satisfy our flesh. We deceive ourselves if we think we can do as we please without repercussions.  We are to be judged not by our beliefs, but by what we do with those beliefs. Did they lie dormant, as we played church?
         Hypocrisy in the church is evident to both God and man. We mustn’t say one thing and do another. That is not the Christ way.  If we are to emulate Christ in our daily lives then we will plant seeds that please God and do not mock him.  There’s nothing more important in this life for the believer than to choose which seeds we will plant. Our desires are inconsequential, not totally meaningless, but less important than the godly desires that reside in our heart.  You will never be shortchanged following God.  Live for him with all your being, knowing that anything less doesn’t take full advantage of God’s grace. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
The Resources: Asbury Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary of the Bible; The IVP New Testament Commentary Series & The Life Application Study Bible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TEMPTING vs. TESTING

James 1:13-15 New Living Translation
“…when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
         There is one distinction that must be made clear on the onset of this writing. That is the difference between  ‘tempting’ and ‘testing’. God does not tempt us to sin. Our own evil desires lead us to entertain temptation, which when it goes unchecked gives birth to sin. God tests our faith thru various trials, which are designed to aid in our spiritual growth. 
         An interesting point is that our sinful inclinations come from within. We are not forced to sin, nor are we forced to surrender to temptation. It’s our sinful nature that succumbs to temptation. That’s why scripture tells us to develop self-control. Since Jesus was free from original sin he was tempted from without and not from within.
         Those who continually give in to sinful desires seem to always want to blame someone other than themselves.  The fact remains that we are responsible for our own actions 100% of the time.  No one makes us do what we do. We choose to do that which we think is the right thing to do based on what we either know or think we know. Temptations do not go away once a believer is redeemed.  In some ways they become worse because now you are declaring your allegiance to the devil’s main enemy, Almighty God.  You are now a threat to Satan.  If we take the first few chapters of the Book of Job literally, Satan must ask permission to tempt or harass a child of God.  With the Lord in control, no matter what Satan throws at us we can come out unscathed if we exercise self-control and maintain our faith in God.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resources: The Life Application Study Bible; The Reformation Study Bible.