Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Sunday, October 9, 2011

“After this manner therefore pray ye:… Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 KJV).

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”—more aptly, the “Our Father Prayer”—has nothing to do with us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Its contents do not apply to our dispensation. However, the “Our Father” prayer is very appropriate in Israel’s kingdom program, its context. Our Apostle Paul tells us that if we want to eat, we must work (2 Thessalonians 3:10)! Yet, according to today’s Scripture, the Jews are to pray for daily bread rather than work for it (cf. Luke 11:3). Why?

Understand that the “bread” of today’s Scripture correlates with the manna (bread) that God rained down from heaven in Israel’s history. For the 40 years’ of wilderness wanderings, the LORD feed Israel with manna and quail (Exodus 16:4-36; Numbers 11:4-35; John 6:31,32). God miraculously feeding Israel will occur again, future from our present-day.

In the middle of the seven-year Tribulation, at least 42 months after the rapture, the antichrist will break his covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27). At this time, according to Matthew 24:15-21, God warns a believing remnant of Jews living in Jerusalem to flee into the wilderness of the Jordan River valley (north of Jerusalem). He tells them to take nothing with them: no food, no clothes, nothing.

According to Revelation 12:6, “the woman” (the believing remnant of Jews) flees into the wilderness, “where she hath a place prepared of God, that they [the Godhead] should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Just as God fed Israel in the Old Testament, He will miraculously feed these Jews hiding from the antichrist! This “hidden manna” of Revelation 2:17 will rain down for the last 42 months of the seven years.

We have no reason to pray the “Our Father” prayer because we do not depend on God for our daily food. The Jews of Revelation 12:6 will be unable to work for their food, so God will honor their faith and feed them. Wow, it makes sense, unlike religion’s vain repetitious “Lord’s Prayer,” huh?

I Send Thee Unto the Gentiles

Saturday, October 8, 2011

“And he said… Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18 KJV).

Ephesians 2:11,12 explains that, in “time past,” Gentiles (non-Jews) were “without Christ” and “without God in the world.” Back in Genesis chapter 11, at the tower of Babel, God “gave up” the nations “to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16; Acts 17:30; Romans 1:20-32). From Genesis chapter 12 until we come to Paul’s ministry (Acts chapter 9), God dealt with Israel, not the Gentiles.

Did God not care about saving Gentiles in the Old Testament? He did care, but His method of saving Gentiles was through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory (Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.): God would only bless and save Gentiles through Israel’s kingdom (Genesis 12:3). But, by the time of early Acts, Israel has already killed her Messiah-King Jesus Christ and blasphemed against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31,32). Now, God saves Saul of Tarsus (Paul).

In today’s Scripture the Apostle Paul recounts his salvation experience to King Agrippa. Jesus Christ told Paul that he would His vessel to Gentiles (cf. Acts 9:15,16; Acts 22:21). Now, God revealed that Gentile salvation would occur through Israel’s fall. With her kingdom temporarily postponed, salvation would go to Gentiles through Paul’s ministry. “Through their [Israel’s] fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (Romans 11:11).

Today, we do not need to be a part of the nation Israel to be saved. By placing our faith in the finished cross work of Jesus Christ, God accepts us and saves us in His Son (Ephesians 1:6). In the “but now,” as Gentiles we have an opportunity to be saved from our sins and delivered from satanic bondage (Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:12-14). Despite Israel’s unbelief and rejection of her kingdom, salvation still came to us Gentiles!

The Blue Screen of Death

Friday, October 7, 2011

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14 KJV).

It is an invisible computer, one of the Lord Jesus Christ’s greatest designs. Housed in a body of flesh and blood, its particular operating system starts up in a dark, watery environment. It logs on, beginning its lifetime of interacting with a network of other computers.

Just out of the box, its beep is a cry. In its lifetime, it will store and access many files, and receive updates to increase efficiency and learning. It will run numerous programs and software packages: its various modes can accomplish all sorts of tasks, including manufacturing other computers! When inactive, it sleeps and may hibernate.

It can store a seemingly unlimited amount of data, although it does have occasional difficulty retrieving information, especially in its later years. It grows sick with bugs, freezes, glitches, and viruses. As it ages, its booting time increases and it becomes resistant to updates.

Then, one day, its operating system becomes outdated, and new software and other repairs are unsuccessful in prolonging its life. Now, it permanently shuts down, succumbing to the greatest crash of all: death. Another human mind logs off—from this world, anyway….

We have been given limited time here on earth. Death will overcome wealth, fame, and fortune, and take it all away. It has been frequently stated, “You cannot take it with you.” “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out(1 Timothy 6:7).

Today’s Scripture likens the brevity of human life to a “vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (cf. Psalm 39:4,5). Our lives are quick like “wind” (Job 7:7), “smoke” (Psalm 102:3), and “a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

You are not guaranteed tomorrow, so be sure you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour today. Do not wait until tomorrow, for tomorrow may not come. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

The Faithful Stewards of God’s Mysteries

Thursday, October 6, 2011

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1,2 KJV).

As Christians we have a ministry to the world. We share the ministry that was also committed to Paul, Sosthenes, Titus, Timothy, Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, and others. These were “faithful” men (“faithful” meaning trustworthy and dependable, not sinless or perfect).

Some believers in Ephesus and Colosse were called “faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

In Ephesians 6:21,22 Paul mentions Tychicus, “a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.” Tychicus was reliable and trustworthy: Paul depended on him to relay messages to the Ephesian believers and comfort them. Paul also mentions “faithful” Tychicus in Colossians 4:7-9, along with “faithful and beloved” Onesimus (Philemon’s slave).

Epaphras was a “faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7). Timothy too was called “faithful in the Lord” because he would teach the Corinthians about Paul’s ministry and activities (1 Corinthians 4:17). The Holy Spirit refers to the Apostle Paul as “faithful” in 1 Corinthians 7:25 and 1 Timothy 1:12.

A bishop (overseer of the local church) should be faithful, “holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” (Titus 1:7-9). Deacons should also be “faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:10,11).

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

The “stewards” of today’s Scripture are “managers or servants of the mysteries of God.” God wants honest saints, men (and women) who will ensure His Word is properly taught and preached. He wants people who stand firm in sound doctrine, not vacillating wimps.

Are you a “faithful steward of the mysteries of God?” Will you share the truths of God’s rightly divided Word with others? If you are a member of the Body of Christ, this is what God ordained you to do in Christ!

Be a Berean Bible Student

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11 KJV).

The believing Jews of Berea (verse 10) were certainly not like most professing Christians today. According to today’s Scripture there are two defining characteristics of a Berean:

  1. “they received the word with all readiness of mind” — A Berean will have a balance between an open mind and a mind that cannot be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Lost people, and even some saved people, are so set in their ways they do not want to believe the Bible, especially if it contradicts what they have always heard in religion/church. We should be open-minded about what someone says, but we do not want to be swayed by every whim of religious leaders and hierarchies. What is most important is that we receive God’s Word—not “preacher talk”—“with all readiness of mind.”

  2. “they searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” — Here is man’s number one failure: he believes anything and everything except what God’s Word says. Even the average Christian is guilty of ignoring the testimony of God’s Word! Never depend on what the preacher says, and never depend on what I say. Rather than “going by what the preacher said,” these saints actually studied the Bible to determine if what the preacher said was really what God’s Word said. The Bereans compared what Paul said to the Old Testament Scriptures. God’s Word “rightly divided” is the standard whereby we judge the veracity or the dishonesty of anyone’s statements. Study the Bible “rightly divided” as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, believe the Bible “rightly divided” as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, and you will be a Berean Bible student… never mind you do not live in Berea! 🙂

“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7).

 

Not Walking By Sight, Literally

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

Two weeks ago Brother “G,” my friend and co-laborer in the Christian writing ministry, suffered a stroke, losing most sight in one eye. Currently, he has greatly limited vision in both eyes (years ago, his other eye suffered a stroke). Last week, after “seeing” my optometrist, I visited Brother G. However, as of three days ago, I have been enduring an eye infection. I am currently typing with sight in just one eye! 🙂

Case in point: in this fallen creation we all have troubles and adversity (they are “common to man”). Sin and its subsequent curse result in our sickness and ultimate death (Romans 5:12; Romans 8:20-22). But, even during sickness, today’s Scripture says we “bear it.” How?

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:22-25).

We Christians are “saved” from despair. While we suffer sickness, we have faith in the hope that, one day, these weak physical bodies will be redeemed and transformed into new glorified bodies (the rapture; 1 Corinthians 15:49-57; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:20,21). Our destination, as members of the Body of Christ, is the heavenly places, where there is neither sin nor suffering.

After “seeing” doctors, Brother G and me still groan in sickness, but we are walking by faith, NOT sight. Literally, we hope in what “we see not.” 🙂

The Deliverer

Monday, October 3, 2011

“This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush” (Acts 7:35 KJV).

Moses is a type (figure, preview) of Jesus Christ. By commanding Moses to do what he did for Israel, God was foreshadowing what the Lord Jesus Christ would accomplish for Israel millennia later.

When Moses approached Israel in Egypt for the first time, Israel rejected him. Today’s Scripture quotes Exodus 2:14, where a Hebrew asked Moses, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” Moses, who had just murdered an Egyptian soldier, fled Egypt and disappeared for 40 years.

After that 40-year period, the LORD appeared to Moses in the famous burning bush account to inform Moses that He would now deliver Israel (Exodus chapter 3). By faith Moses returned to Egypt to deliver God’s people from slavery. As Moses led Israel out of Egyptian bondage, so Jesus Christ will one day deliver Israel from satanic bondage.

When Jesus Christ came to Israel the first time, they rejected Him too. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). In fact, the Jewish priests shouted (John 19:15): “We have no king but Caesar!” Jesus Christ was crucified on Calvary’s cross, murdered at the Jews’ behest and executed by the Roman government. In the early Acts period, Jesus Christ, as a royal exile, ascended to His Father’s right hand, where He still sits today.

As Moses left Israel for 40 years, Christ has left Israel for nearly 2000 years. Jesus Christ will return at His Second Coming to deliver Israel from her sins, from Satan’s power, and from the Gentiles’ rule (Isaiah 59:20,21; Jeremiah 31:34; Romans 11:26-29; et al.). This second time, the believing remnant of Israel will accept Jesus as their Messiah-King, and He will set up His earthly kingdom (Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:8,9; Acts 3:19-26; Hebrews 9:28; et al.).

As Moses lead Israel to the Promised Land, so Jesus Christ will one day lead Israel to that same land, to dwell in it forever.