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Monday, July 11, 2011
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"Our Daily Bread"
"Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8,9).
I am struck by a photo in a recent edition of the National Geographic magazine that shows three men who appear to be about my age but are likely much younger. They are fishermen from Bangladesh, one of the most impoverished parts of the world. I consider how different my life is from theirs.
One of our favorite print devotionals is the booklet "Our Daily Bread." In the course of our pastoral ministry we have distributed thousands of copies and continue to do so in our chaplaincy ministry. It's a blessing to see that people read them and find value in spiritual truths revealed in these brief devotionals. We visited in a home and saw selected pages ripped out taped to the kitchen cabinets as spiritual reminders!
The title is surely taken from the well-known words from the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread." However I wonder if our Lord might have also had the daily verse in mind when He shared His model prayer.
Proverbs 30 records the sayings of Agur son of Jakeh even though most of the Proverbs were written by Solomon. What a timeless truth he expressed when he prayed the prayer that comprises our daily verse. He introduces this section with these words that reveal his prayerful heart, "Two things I ask of you, O LORD."
There are always dangers in the life of faith and one is the continuous tension between poverty and wealth. As I carefully and prayerfully consider today's verse I admit I have a hard time praying it myself, "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." I would desire riches over poverty and certainly more than just daily bread! I want my pantry to be filled with a variety of food.
But the basis of the prayer is easily observable and is just as appropriate today as three thousand years ago:
1) When things are going well and we're enjoying peace and prosperity it's very easy to forget that this world is not our home. We get comfortable and begin to drive the stakes deeply into our temporal location along with its values and earthly perspective. Our heavenward focus is exchanged for an earthbound focus. Our eyes and thoughts begin to feast upon the pleasures of humankind instead of Almighty God. Agur put it this way: "I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'"
2) On the other hand when things are tough we may resort to the arm of flesh (stealing in its various forms) to get by rather than trusting in the Lord. According to Agur we would, in this manner, "dishonor the name of my God."
The tendency for many of us who live in the prosperous regions is to view those who have more than us as rich. Our economic classes reflect this. We look up the scale and then reckon ourselves "poor" comparatively. Most reading this do not even consider themselves as rich because we use the term "rich" for the very wealthy or at least those several notches up the scale from us. You may even be annoyed at me for pointing this out!
But comparatively as my consideration of the Bangaldesh fishermen indicated most of us are very rich when we consider the perspective of the tremendous poverty in many, many parts of the world, especially third-world countries. I have visited some of these countries and seen people that truly know the meaning of "daily bread." Most of us certainly have far more than "daily bread" don't we? We have stocked freezers and overflowing pantries. We are "rich in this present world" (1 Timothy 6:17) and do well to regularly heed the cautions.
Today let us count our blessings, share generously from our bounty, and praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You are the Giver of all good things. You have given us so much and we are indeed grateful. Move upon our hearts to be generous with our resources. When we're tempted to look at other's possessions in comparison to our own, may we always be mindful of those who have less rather than those who have more. This will help us to be more prayerful and generous toward those who are without. It will also help us to be less whining and more content with what we have. Amen.
We enjoyed a weekend with long-time friends Mike and Kathy Matangelo who reside in Hickory, North Carolina along with their daughter, Tina.
On our drive home from church Sunday Mike took a shot of this well-groomed garden. The photo does not do it justice but we posted it anyway. The third row boasts of bright yellow sunflowers - a beauty to behold!
On our walk monday morning with the Matangelos before we enjoyed our waffles at breakfast and their departure to home. This is up the road and we call this road, Doggie Heaven, since many doggies take their walks on this road. Mollie and Roxie love the "dgggie scent" as they stroll either side of the road.
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Lord's Prayer" Video Michael W. Smith
The photo and article I read concerning the Bangladesh fishermen referred to in the first paragraph is here
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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