Nov 5, 2015

Give us this day....

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"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from the evil one."

Matthew 6:9-13
 
 
 
A few weeks ago, my family attended a funeral. It was in honor of a precious lady that lived a very full and rich life. She left behind many children and grandchildren which are following in her faithful footsteps.
 
I love funerals. I know that is so weird, but I do. Yes, they always make me cry. Like, snotty-cry, but it's like a cleansing of the dirt that's been collecting on my spirit. The tears clean away the "take for granted" parts of my soul. My soul is awakened.
 
There is something about getting to be a part of a ceremony honoring the life of another human being. I leave feeling so alive. So ready to live with PURPOSE. With LOVE. With INTENTIONALITY. With JOY.
 
Each time I leave a funeral, something is marked in my soul. A reminder of the sanctity of life. A reminder to live, really LIVE my life to the fullest.
 
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
 
Anything less than an abundant life, is not the life God has planned for us.
 
A bold statement, yes. But, Jesus is known for His boldness. Man, I love Him.
 
An abundant life is a life that bears fruit. A life that breathes joy, love, hope, mercy, and grace to all those who enter into Christ's shadow. Not because of us, but because of Him.
 
"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.." 2 Corinthians 2:15
 
I love the thought of being a fragrance of Christ. Everywhere we go--leaving the aroma of Christ to all who come near. A sweet lingering aroma for all who pass by.

If you know me, you know I LOVE perfume. Of any kind.  Cheap, expensive, I don't care. I keep two bottles of scented lotion in my car at all times. [My daughter has inherited this gene]. So, between the two of us we smell like a spilled bottle of perfume. Beware.
 
Oh gosh, here I go getting off subject. I kind of write like I talk. It's hard for me to stay on track.
 
Ok, so back to the funeral.
 
During this funeral, at one point the preacher asked us to all pray the Lord's prayer together. [the one written at the top of this post.]  Most of us knew it by heart. However, I noticed my children only knew parts of it.
 
I made a mental note to teach them the whole blessed thing. Hello, how could I have gone so wrong?? Good grief.
 
If you are not aware of the story behind this prayer from the book of Matthew, this was Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray. In fact, my NLT version of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying this before He teaches the prayer..."Pray like this..." Matthew 6:9
 
I like clear instructions. Just tell me what to do and I can do it. This is exactly what Jesus does here. He tells us a prayer to pray.
 
Simple, yet oh so powerful.
 
I want to focus on a part of the prayer that has gotten my attention in the past few days. It's quietly tucked into the Lord's prayer, but the impact of these words is life changing.
 
Give us this day our daily bread.
 
Notice the word "this".
 
Jesus is not asking to give us tomorrow, the next day, the next year, the next 20 years, or the day before, or the year before, or the last 20 years...
 
He is asking God to give us THIS day.
 
The day that we are in. This day. The present.
 
Let that sink in for a milli-second.
 
I will wait for you...
 
Now, because I am a big fat history nerd, I want to take you back to the Israelites in the book of Exodus.
 
As the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness they got hungry and asked God to give them food. God told Moses He would send them bread from Heaven to eat.
 
The next day, the Lord provided manna for them to eat. The Hebrew word for manna actually translates to "what is it". I find that pretty funny.
 
God provided just enough manna for the people to sustain them each day.
 
However, if they tried to hoard the manna or tried to save it for the next day, the manna would breed worms. It would not be edible.
 
When Jesus teaches us to pray, He prays for God to give us this day, our daily bread.
 
Jesus is not asking for God to jump ahead and give us tomorrow's bread.He focuses on the needs of today. This day, God gives us bread for our present trials and needs. He answers the needs for this day. As E.M. Bounds states in his book on Prayer, "Victory today is the assurance of victory tomorrow."
 
I find myself often focusing on the big picture instead of "this" day. I can get overwhelmed when I think of all that I want to teach my kids, all the manners they need to have, all the stuff I need to do for the week, all the bills that need to be paid, all the posts I want to write, all the people I want to pray for,  all the things I need to do to be a better wife, all the blah, blah, blah...
 
This creates a loss of joy. Remember that thief we mentioned above in John 10:10?
 
Yep, that thief comes when we try to hoard the bread of today to carry over to tomorrow.
 
E.M. Bounds says it like this, "As every day demands its bread, so every day demands it prayer. No amount of praying done today will be sufficient for tomorrow' praying. On the other hand, no praying for tomorrow is of any great value of us today. Today's manna is what we need; tomorrow God will see that our needs are supplied."
 
Can we all just breathe a big fact collective sigh of relief?? We just need bread for THIS day! Jesus would not have told us if it were not true.
 
The bread of this day often gets overlooked by us. We kick it right out of the way. We are too busy storing up enough bread to make it through the week or the year. Our busy schedules demand that we hurry, rush, and speed through our days. No time for laughing with the kids,  no time for snuggling on the couch with our loved ones, no time for reading another night time story at the persistence of our little ones, no time for phone conversations or coffee dates with friends,  no time to sit and be still in the presence of God...
 
Oh, but Jesus teaches us the contrary. To get the most of this day, we feast on the bread for this day. At this moment. At this hour.
 
This day I will teach my kids. This day I will be a blessing to my husband. This day I will be kind. This day I will be a good steward with my money. This day I will make wise choices with my eating. This day I will call and check on my momma. This day I will read the bible. I will not think about the things of tomorrow, but the moments I have now, the bread that I have today to give. This day.  

This day is all we have. We are not promised tomorrow.
 
Today, this day, let's sit down, kick our shoes off, gather our people, and enjoy the bread of Heaven. The blessings, the moments, the daily little things that make for a big, full life. A life of abundance. The abundant life is found in this day.

Give all you have to this day. Leaving nothing to take tomorrow. Empty it out, scrape the bottom of these moments in this day, not wasting a breath.
 
 This day, we look our people in the eyes, we put down the things that draw us away from our people,  we quiet the thief that wants to tell us to save, salvage and hoard the leftover bread....he knows it will kill, steal, and destroy our joy. It will breed worms and be a stench to our people.

Don't we have enough faith in God this day that He will provide our bread for tomorrow?
 
Enjoy your bread, sweet friends. Savor it as you go throughout this day. Slow down and enjoy the sweet aroma of His daily bread. Share it with your people. There's plenty to be shared. There's always more than enough with God. He will provide for this day.
 
Have faith in God.
 
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1
 
Friends, we don't need to see the bread for tomorrow to know that it will be there. God assures us that it will by the bread He provides on this day.
 
Now go, enjoy this day. Eat up the bread He's given you with wonderment and joy. When you wake tomorrow, your bread for that day will be awaiting.
 
 
soaking up this day, 
 
 
jill