Friday, April 26, 2013

Heaven's Bread

Give us this day our daily bread.
Matthew 6:11

Imagine having plenty to eat all around while one is starving.  It simply makes sense just to take the time and energy to get something to eat rather than just sitting there waiting for the food to come to you.  Of course men are notoriously bad at doing just that--starving in sight of a full pantry.  Ask any wife who returns home after a long shopping trip and you will hear how her husband waited until she got home to eat even though the refrigerator was loaded.  I've done that a few times myself.  :)

Many claim to be starving spiritually (and they usually blame someone else--like a pastor for instance).  However, Jesus has provided more than enough for them to feast on personally.  Maybe that is why Matthew and Luke used a strange word for "daily".  It is so strange that it is not found in any other Greek text known.  It was as if Jesus said something in His native language that led them to coin a new word in order to give us a comprehensive meaning.  The word is only ever found in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3.  It is epiousios. 

Some versions give the impression that this word is speaking about tomorrow so they render it as such.  One Arabic version reads as, "give us our bread for tomorrow".  Why?  It seems that the word sort of means to "come upon" or to "approach".  As a result, some translators have chosen to put the verse in a future sense.  However, we already have a clear example in scripture as to why Jesus chose to use such an interesting term for daily and it is certain that He had today in mind.  Jesus told us with clarity to not worry about tomorrow--there is grace and provision for today!  

Exodus 16 tells of the supernatural supply that the LORD made for the children of Israel.  Bread, called manna, literally appeared for them daily. It was just enough for the present day and those who tried to save it for the morrow soon found that it would be spoiled by then.  Heaven's bread literally "came upon" them daily! They needed only to "approach" the bread and make an effort to fetch it.

It seems that this word was chosen to remind one of the Exodus wanderings and manna gathering.  God made the needed provision, and He is still doing the same today. All you need to do is to take the time to stoop down in and gather it.  So you are starving spiritually?  Is there a Bible in your grasp?  Can you not stoop in prayer?  Quit waiting on someone to spoon feed the Word to you and make an effort to obtain that daily provision the Almighty has sent just for you!  If you choose not to eat today--of course you are starving!  

May the LORD bless you and remind you that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Sure WORD!

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2 Peter 1:19

The great reformer, Martin Luther, is quoted as saying: 

"Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing."

It is so important to follow the word of GOD while weighing our experiences against its truth.  Most are so caught up today with following experiences that they are not discerning of the source.  Remember, for every act of the LORD, the devil has a counterfeit.  This is why the apostles often warned believers to test the spirits to be sure that they were legitimate.  Also, given that we are a society that is guided more by the principles of entertainment than the Word, it is even more important to measure everything by the plumb line of scripture.

Simon Peter even stresses this in the verses prior to the one quoted above.  He has just informed us of a mountain top experience with Christ--literally!  On the mountain with Jesus, James and John, he had just watch Jesus transformed in great glory.  The LORD was speaking with Moses and Elijah personally.  Peter was so stupefied that he couldn't think of a thing to say--so, as usual, he blurted out something silly.  Add to this a booming voice from the Father confirming, "This is my Beloved Son in whom I Am well pleased"  and we can see they had one special church service.  Here is his testimony in his own words:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 
For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2 Peter 1:16-18

Now look again at the verse 19 above.  What does the apostle balance his experience with?  The WORD!  The word that is translated as "more sure" means just that.  God's word is that which is trustworthy, stable, dependable, steadfast, and sure.  Our feelings and experiences can lead us to wrong conclusions, but the Bible is always central and focused on the truth of Christ.  

In essence, Peter reminds us that he was an eyewitness who saw and experienced Jesus first hand.  He was there on the mountain.  However, he also seems to understand that all he saw was simply a confirmation of what the Word clearly taught.  He understood that it was the same Holy Spirit who wrote the Bible confirming the mountain top experience with balance.

Paul also dealt with one mess of a church named Corinth.  They had every gift of the Spirit in operation, yet they were walking in the flesh while out of direction by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  Theirs was an "experience trumps the truth" religion.  Paul, however, clearly reminded them that the Bible must be central in all matters of faith and not just shouting good times.  Be careful!  There are a lot who are sincerely deluded by apparitions, false miracles, signs, and wonders.  Some are experiencing visions and dreams that are contrary to scripture. If anything you see, feel, hear, taste, or touch leads you away from the blood of Christ's cross and the centrality of the WORD--run!  It is easy to see how those following signs and not biblical truth could be given over to strong delusion. Deception is a major sign that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,