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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, November 25, 2005

Daily Bread

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day – Matthew 6:11
Give us this day our daily bread.

Daily Scripture ReadingJohn 6

Puritan Catechism
Question #7: What are the decrees of God?
Answer: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory he has foreordained whatever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11-12).

Devotional Thoughts
Matthew 6:11 - This part of the prayer may seem foreign to us today in the United States. Why would we need God to supply us daily with bread to eat when we can go down to the corner market and buy more food than we can eat in a week? But before we make any assumptions, let's stop and take a look at what Jesus is saying. After all, even though God's Word was written and preached at a certain time in history, we must remember that His Word is TIMELESS! It reflects for us the character of God, and in fact is a revelation of HImself to us. The Living Word and the written Word have this in common - they are the same yesterday, today, and forever! You see, God's Word really does apply to us and our lives right now, today! (And if your pastor is not teaching God's Word and applying to your daily life, then he is failing at his job. He must apply God's Truth to your life on a daily basis!!)

So what does this verse tell us about praying? Jesus is, after all, teaching us how God expects us to pray. And as Jesus continues with the model prayer, He asks for God to supply a daily need for bread in the life of the one who prays. This teaches us that we are to look to God for our daily provision. Whether it be spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical, it is God who supplies our every need. In the day Jesus preached this, most of the people there that day would have to stop by the market place to find something to cook and eat every single day! Bread was a real daily necessity.

Now, though, we must look beyond the need for food. Bread in this verse for us represents the totality of our physical needs. There are things that we need every day. We do need food, clothing, health, a job, family, friends, etc. There are things that we need every day whether we admit it or not. And ALL of these things are provided by God. We might foolishly depend on ourselves, but without God's gracious provision, no matter how hard we worked at it we would have nothing!

A matter of truth is established with this verse. God is our Provider. James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights..." Get that! EVERY GIFT is from God and everything we have is a gift! We, contrary to the American Dream, don't own anything. It is all His and He gives it to us to use as we have need. Jesus is teaching a perspective to have when we pray and His words simply point to the truth. It is all HIS!

To say, "Give" when addressing God notates the need and dependence we have on Him. We must learn that the first part of humility is admitting that we have needs. The second is that only God can meet them! We are dependent. We need God. We couldn't take another breath without Him! And this single sentence in the model prayer sums up that total dependence on God. He must give us DAILY what we need to continue living to His glory -- and if He doesn't give it we either don't need it or He will be taking us home to be with Him! If we really need it, on a daily basis He gives it!

Sadly, the opposite of this verse can be seen in our lives. We are taught in church at an early age that if we have an emergency or a situation that we get ourselves into and can't get out of, then we can always call out to God and He will come to the rescue like a superhero! To use a word picture, imagine that our life is signified by a car driving down a highway. As we drive along the highway of life suddenly a situation arises, a supposedly unfortunate circumstance - we have a blow out. A flat tire forces us off the road for a while. To fix the flat we hurry to our trunk, open it up, and pull out the spare tire! We put the spare tire on and drive to a service station where they fix the flat - which is good because the spare is only a doughnut spare and can't be used except in an emergency, besides, it is only good to drive slowly and carefully - we can't do everything we want to do when the spare is out! The flat is fixed or replaced and in no time at all the spare is neatly tucked away and we are off back down the road! Isn't this how we treat God? Truly, we act as though He is nothing more than a SPARE TIRE. He is the small, mostly useless spare tire that we pull out in case of an emergency when there is no other way to get where we want to go. And as soon as the flat or circumstance is fixed and we don't need Him anymore back He goes into the trunk, forgotten until the next emergency!

Don't think about using God like that! He is the giver of life and the provider of every single day by day need that we have. To see Him any other way is to cheapen Him and His grace! God is not the spare tire!! In fact He is the boss. He makes the road we drive. He lays the plans and paths for our lives. He is so far above our simple lives that it really is amazing grace that He takes the time to care about us daily!

Today - remember, we are dependent on Him and Him alone for everything we might need. And He promises that we can trust Him, He never changes, never lies, and will never leave or forsake us. He even promises that every single circumstance we encounter is another opportunity to see His glory and our good as He cares for us!

Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from A Discourse on Delight in Prayer by Stephen Charnock.

4. Uses.

A. Of information.

1. There is a great pleasure in the ways of God, if rightly understood. Prayer, which is a duty wherein we express our wants, is delightful. There is more sweetness in a Christian's asking, than in a wicked man's enjoying blessings.

2. What delight will there be in heaven! If there be such sweetness in desire, what will there be in a full fruition! If there is joy in seeking, what is there then in finding! Duty hath its sweets, its thousands; but glory its ten thousands. If the pleasure of the seed-time be so great, what will the pleasure of the harvest be!

3. The miserable condition of those who can delight in any thing but prayer. It is an aggravation of our enmity to God, when we can sin cheerfully and pray dully: when duty is more loathsome than iniquity.

B. Of examination. We pray; but how are our hearts? If it be for what concerns our momentary being, is not our running like the running of Ahimaaz? But when for spiritual things, do not our hearts sink within us, like Nabal's? Let us, therefore, observe our hearts closely; allow them not to give us the slip in our examination of them; resolve not to take the first answer, but search to the bottom.

1. Whether we delight at all in prayer,

2. How do we prize the opportunities of duty? There is an opportunity of an earthly, and an opportunity of a heavenly gain; consider which our hearts more readily close with. Can we with much pleasure follow a vain world, and heartlessly welcome an opportunity of duty, delight more with Judas in bags, than in Christ's company? This is sad! But are praying opportunities our festival times? Do we go to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise?

3. Whether we seek excuses to avoid a present duty, when conscience and opportunity urge and invite us to it? Are our souls more skillful in delays than in performances? Are there no excuses when sin calls us, and studied put-offs when God invites us? Like the sluggard, folding our arms, yet a little while longer? Or do our hearts rise and beat quick against frivolous excuses that step in to hinder us from prayer?

4. How are our hearts affected in prayer? Are we more ready to pray ourselves asleep, than into a vigorous frame? Do we enter into it with some life, and find our hearts quickly tire and fatigue us? Are we more awake when we are up, than we were all the time upon our knees? Are our hearts in prayer like withered sapless things, and very quick afterwards if any worldly business invite us? Are we like logs and blocks in prayer, and like a roe upon the mountains in earthly concerns? Surely what our pulse beats quickest to, is the object most delighted in.

5. What time is it we choose for prayer? Is it not our drowsiest and laziest time, when our nods are as many, or more than our petitions; as though the dullest time, and the deadest state of mind were most suitable to a rising God? Do we come with our hearts full of the world, to pray for heaven? Or do we pick out the most lively seasons? Luther chose those hours for prayer and meditation wherein he found himself most lively for study.

6. Do we not often wish a duty over? As those in the prophet that were glad when the Sabbath was over, that they might run to their buying and selling? Or, are we of Peter's temper, and express Peter's language? It is good to be here with Christ on the mount.

7. Do we prepare ourselves by delightful and enlivening considerations? Do we think of the precept of God, which should spur us, and of the promise of God which should allure us? Do we rub our souls to heat them, Do we blow them to kindle them into a flame? Do we send up quick prayers for a quickening spirit? If thoughts of God be a burden, requests to him will not be a pleasure. If we have a coldness in our thoughts of God and duty, we can have no warmth in our desire, no delight in our petitions.

8. Do we content ourselves with dull motions, or do we give check to them? Can we, though our hearts be never so lazy, stroke ourselves at the end, and call ourselves good and faithful servants? Do we take our souls to task afterwards, and examine why they are so lazy, why so heavy? Do we inquire into the causes of our deadness? A gracious soul is more troubled at its dullness in prayer, than a natural conscience is at the omission of prayer. He will complain of his sluggishness and mend his pace.

9. If we find we have a delight, let us examine whether it be a delight of the right kind.

a. Do we delight in it because of the gift, we have ourselves, or the gift of others we join with? A man may rejoice in hearing the word, not because of the holiness and spirituality of the matter, but because of the goodness of the dress, and the elegancy of the expression. Ezek. 33:32; The prophet was unto them as a lovely song; as one that kind a pleasant voice. He may, upon the same ground, delight in prayer. But this is a temper not kindled by the true fire of the sanctuary. Or, do we delight in it, not when our tongues are most quick, but our hearts most warm; not because we have the best words, but the most spiritualized affections? We may have angels' gifts in prayer, without an angel's spirit.

b. Is there a delight in all parts of a duty? Not only in asking temporal blessings, or some spiritual, as pardoning mercy, but in begging for refining grace? Are we earnest only when we have bosom quarrels and conscience-convulsions, but tire when we come to pray for sanctifying mercy? The cause of this is a sense of discomfort with the trouble and danger, not with the sin and cause.

c. Doth our delight in prayer and spiritual things outdo our delight in outward things? The Psalmist's joy in God was more than his delight in the harvest of vintage, Psalm 4:7. Are we like ravens that delight to hover in the air sometimes, but our greatest delight is to feed upon carrion? Though we have, and may have a sensible delight in worldly things, yet is it as solid and rational as that we have in duty?

d. Is our delight in prayer a humble delight? Is it a rejoicing with humbling? "Serve the Lord with gladness, and rejoice before him with trembling," Psalm 2:11. If our service be right, it will be cheerful, and if truly cheerful, it will be humble.

e. Is our delight in prayer accompanied with a delight in waiting? Do we, like merchants, not only delight in the first launching of a ship, or the setting it out of the haven with a full freight; but also in expectations of a rich return of spiritual mercies? Do we delight to pray, though God for the present does not delight to give, and wait, like David, with an owning God's wisdom in delaying? Or do we shoot them only as arrows at random, and never look after them where they strike, or where to find them?

f. Is our delight in praising God when mercy comes, answerable to the delight in praying when a wanted mercy was begged? The ten lepers desired mercy with an equal cheerfulness, in hopes of having their leprosy cured; but only the one who returned expressed genuine delight. As he prayed with a loud voice, so he praised with a loud voice, Luke 17:13, 15. And Christ tells him, his faith had made him whole. As he had an answer in the way of grace, so he had before a gracious delight in his asking; the others had a natural delight, and so a return in the way of common providence.

C. Of exhortation. Let us delight in prayer. God loves a cheerful giver in alms, and a cheerful petitioner in prayer. God would have his children free with him. He takes special notice of a spiritual frame, "who hath engaged his heart?" Jer. 30:21. The more delight we have in God, the more delight he will have in us. He takes no pleasure in a lumpish service. It is an uncomely sight to see a joyful sinner and a dumpish petitioner. Why should we not exercise as much joy in holy duties, as formerly we did in sinful practices? How delightfully will men sit at their games, and spend their days in gluttony and luxury? And shall not a Christian find much more delight in applying himself to God? We should delight that we can, and have hearts to ask such gifts, that thousands in the world never dream of begging. To be dull, is a discontentedness with our own petitions. Delight in prayer is the way to gain assurance. To seek God, and treat him as our chiefest good, endears the soul to him. Delighting in accesses to him, will enflame our love. And there is no greater sign of an interest in him than a powerful estimation of him. God casts off none that affectionately clasp about his throne.

To this purpose,

1. Pray for quickening grace. How often do we find David upon his knees for it? God only gives this grace, and God only stirs this grace.

2. Meditate on the promises you intend to plead. Unbelief is the great root of all dumpishness. It was by the belief of the word we had life at first, and by an exercise of that belief we gain liveliness. What maintains our love will maintain our delight; the amiableness of God, and the excellency of the promises, are the incentives and fuel both of the one and of the other. Think that they are eternal things you are to pray for and that you have as much invitation to beg them, and as good a promise to attain them, as David, Paul, or any other ever had. How would this awaken our drowsy souls, and elevate our heavy hearts, and open the lazy eye-lids to look up! And whatever meditation we find begin to kindle our souls, let us follow it on, that the spark may not go out.

3. Choose the time when your hearts are most revived. Observe when God sends an invitation, and hoist up the sails when the wind begins to blow. There is no Christian but hath one time or an another a greater activeness of spirit. Choose none of those seasons which may quench the heat, and dull the sprightliness of your affection. Resolve beforehand this, to delight yourselves in the Lord, and thereby you shall gain the desire of your hearts.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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