DayBreaks for 2/12/16 – Road Kill or the Bread of Life?

DayBreaks for 2/12/16: Road Kill or the Bread of Life?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Bizarre News, 2/1/06: CORNWALL, England – A retired British civil servant is writing a cook book about his passion of more than 50 years – road kill. Arthur Boyt, 66, of Cornwall, England, said he has eaten dead animals he found along the roadside since he was 13. “It’s good meat for free and I know nobody has been messing with it and feeding it hormones,” Boyt told Sky News.  “I’ve been doing it all my life and never been ill once,” he told The Guardian. Boyt, whose favorite snack is a badger sandwich, said he is putting his recipes in a road kill cookbook and has been invited to join celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay later this year.  

I’ve been told that in Texas there is a restaurant, perhaps a chain, called the Roadkill Café.  I really don’t know what they serve there, and I don’t know if I really do want to know.  I doubt that they really serve road kill.  I hope not.

It seems to me that we are creatures who prefer road kill to the Manna that comes from heaven.  People I know who have been around church for years, but who have never made a decision for Christ, are somewhat like Arthur Boyt.  A feast has been prepared, but they continue to eat road kill.  Why?  Because “road kill” doesn’t cost anything – Christianity does.  Jesus told his followers over and over and over again that Christianity is costly – it’ll cost you everything you have, including losing your life if you want to find life. 

And so, not wanting to pay the price, people keep eating road kill.  They feel like they’ve been eating it for so long ant it’s never “hurt” them.  That may be…or at least it may appear to be true.  But you know what?  It only takes eating bad food once and you may die.  The day will come when road kill isn’t available any longer, and those who have never taken in the Bread of Life will wish that they’d changed their diets. 

Mr. Boyt says that he knows no one has been messing with road kill.  Jesus died so we don’t have to eat that trash any longer.  From a spiritual standpoint, it is the Word of God which will endure forever – and we can know that no one has messed with the Word!

John 6:51-58 NLT –I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.”  Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.  So Jesus said again, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.   But those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day.  For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink.  All who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them.  I live by the power of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, those who partake of me will live because of me.  I am the true bread from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever and not die as your ancestors did, even though they ate the manna. 

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Jesus, we are so prone to settle for less than you offer to us.  We are content with road kill when You are the bread that gives us life.  May we take your life into us, so that we may live in your power forever.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/11/16 – What Our Conformance Means

DayBreaks for 2/11/16: What Our Conformance Means

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Romans 12:2 (NIV) – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will

Fashionable.  “With it.”  Contemporary.  Modern.  We’ve got all kinds of names for being like the rest of the world, don’t we?  And you know what?  They all sound good, don’t they?  I mean, would you rather be called unfashionable, “Out of it,” outdated?  We would generally think that those things are not very positive or flattering.

And we so want to think of ourselves as being “with it”, or if I can use some old fashioned language, “Cool!”  We would be hurt and perhaps even feel insulted of someone said we weren’t fashionable.  That’s really too bad. 

Our society is status-driven, and conformance to what society thinks is good is often in order to gain status or prestige.  Sometimes it is to try to curry favor in such a way that we will gain some advantages in business or school or in a dating relationship.  I can’t think of a single thing in our culture that elevates the things of God over the things of man.  Why?  Because the kingdom of God is at war, at very serious odds, with the kingdom of our culture.  You see, our culture is sick.  It’s twisted, perverted and I believe it stinks in the nostrils of Almighty God. 

And yet…we still go on trying to conform to this world.  But what does that mean?  If we are trying to conform to a sick culture, we are inviting sickness into our very souls, we are choosing sickness instead of the health that God wants to give us. 

What will you choose today?  His healing and health, or will you continue to choose sickness and embrace it to your bosom?

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Father, please change our hearts.  Give us the wisdom to see that there is a way that leads to life, and a way that leads to sickness and death.  By the power of Your Spirit, please give us the wisdom to choose life, even as Joshua challenged Israel to choose life so long ago.  Help us to care much more about how You think about us, not how the world things about us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/10/16 – The Tears He Wants

DayBreaks for 2/10/16: The Tears He Wants

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Luke 23:26-27 (NLT) – As they led Jesus away, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country just then, was forced to follow Jesus and carry his cross. Great crowds trailed along behind, including many grief-stricken women.

Some of the other translations say that the women who followed him as Jesus made his way through the streets of Jerusalem “mourned and lamented him.”  That means they were crying – and probably not a soft, barely audible sniffling and groaning.  Lamenting was loud.  It was accompanied by tears and shrieks and cries and the person gave vent to all that was in their hearts and the pain that was contained there. 

In the case of Jesus, the women weren’t weeping for themselves.  They were weeping for Jesus.  We would probably look at that scene and heartily approve of their tears and weeping.  We likely would have said it was only right that they should weep and lament Jesus.  What was happening was a travesty of justice.  What had happened – his beatings, the mockery, the scourging, the betrayals – had turned this lonely figure who stumbled down the streets into a bloody mess – and it had to be tremendously difficult for anyone who had known and loved him to witness what was happening.

But in the next verse, Jesus tells the women not to weep for him.  He says that their weeping is on target – but the cause was wrong.  He encourages them to weep for themselves – for they live in a world that is full of horror, all brought about by sin.  And so it is that Sigmund Brouwer wrote: It is easy to weep when we see Jesus with the cross.  But those are tears he does not want.  He wants us to cry for our sins.  He wants us to ask forgiveness. 

Point made.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Lord, help us to weep first and foremost for our sin, the sin that caused You to walk beneath the weight of the beam and to stumble and fall on your way to Calvary.  Help us to seek your forgiveness, for that is what we need the most!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/09/16 – How About Your Donkey?

DayBreaks for 2/09/16: How About Your Donkey?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Matt. 21:1-5 –(NLT) – As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said, “and you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them here. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately send them.” This was done to fulfill the prophecy, “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your King is coming to you.  He is humble, riding on a donkey — even on a donkey’s colt.’”  

Have you ever thought much about the man who owned the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem?  We don’t know anything about him – his name, his address, his occupation or even his faith.  A totally nameless personage in Scripture.  We don’t know if Jesus had worked things out in advance with this man, or if it was a miracle that the man with the donkey was where he needed to be and was favorably disposed to Jesus’ need for the donkey.  All we know is that the disciples did what Jesus asked, and the donkey was provided to carry Jesus into the town. 

I guess we don’t need to know anything more about the man that we do.  He certainly wasn’t the central character in the story, nor was the donkey.  But, there is something we should all learn from this story.  When we are confronted with the Lord and a need that he has, what is our response?  Does it depend on what the need is – if we think it is something we can “part” with or do without for a while?  Does it depend on how great his request is of us?  Or, like the man in the story, is our first response to “immediately” provide whatever it is that the Lord needs from us? 

Today the Lord will most likely “need” something from each of us since he’s not here to speak the kind word directly, to put a comforting hand on someone’s shoulder, to provide a burger to the hungry or drink to someone who is thirsty.  So, it just may be that like the disciples that he sent to the man long ago, he will send someone to you today to request your help in meeting some need.  Let’s decide in advance to respond “immediately” and do whatever it is that is necessary to help the cause of Christ to move just a bit further down the road.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Lord, we don’t know what struggles and requests for help that we may receive today.  Help us to be wise and discerning, and to respond without hesitation to anything that would help move forward the kingdom in this world.  Give us the attitude and heart that was present in the unnamed man so long ago.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/05/16 – How Big is God?

DayBreaks for 2/05/16: How Big is God?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

I’m sure that people have wondered since the very beginning of time: how big is God?  Of course, the question isn’t limited to just God, but pretty much to all things heavenly.  In some of the Jewish apocryphal writings (Enoch), the writer was talking about angels and suggested that the rainbow that is pictured over the head of angels is Jewish thought was reputed to be 500 years journey above the head of the angel.  But then, on the other hand, others debate endlessly (and foolishly) about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin!

Quite frankly, I don’t really care about how big angels are.  I’m not depending on any “mere” angel to save me or deliver me.  That’s God’s job!  And that’s why it matters how big He is, I suppose.  We, poor excuses for spiritual beings that we are, tend to equate power with size.  We think that the bigger someone is, the more powerful they are and are therefore either more able to protect and deliver us, or to hurt us.  That’s because we are used to bigger people or animals being stronger than smaller ones.  And so, I suppose, most of us have a picture of God in our head that has Him being pretty big and strong looking.

Well, I’m happy to say that I think I’ve settled once and for all the question of “How big is God?” and I’m ready to share it with you! 

How big is God?  He’s big enough to calm a child’s fears.  He’s big enough to deal with an adolescent’s confusion.  He’s big enough to hold an adult’s hand as they face the heartbreak of rebellious children, a relationship that is broken, or a life that is coming to an end.  In short (no pun intended!), God is as big as He needs to be in order to everything He said He would ever do.  And that’s plenty big enough to meet every one of our needs, to shelter and protect us and to safely carry us home!

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Thank you, God, for being up to the job of taking care of our physical bodies in this world, of protecting us from the power of sin and death, and for being able to get us safely back to Your home.  When we are tempted to feel that life is caving in on us, help us to remember how great You are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/04/16 – What Are You Wearing?

DayBreaks for 2/04/16: What Are You Wearing?

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Happy feet.  That’s a term that could describe the kind of feet that dance and skip – feet that have to move because they are too full of joy and happiness to stand still!

In Psalm 30:11-12, David wrote: You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

There are four key thoughts in this passage:

FIRST: As David puts it in past tense, “You HAVE turned my mourning into joyful dancing.”  That this is in the past tense is significant: it isn’t some blissful state in the future that David anticipates, but a present reality in his life.  It wasn’t something that he had to wait for until after he was dead – it was a blessing that he was enjoying as he went through this life.

SECOND: not only did God wipe away the tears of David’s mourning, he took David’s sackcloth away.  Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning, and the fact that God has taken it away and clothed David with joy is a beautiful picture.  The clothes of mourning don’t belong to David any longer – they can’t be found in his closet any longer – they’ve been replaced with the garments of joy!

THIRD: there was a purpose that God took away the sackcloth and gave David happy feet – it was so David would no longer be held captive by the silent suffering of mourning, but so that he could sing praises to God and give Him glory!  Notice who David said he would sing the praises to: “to You”, not to hundreds or thousands of people.  It is God that should hear our praises of His greatness.  We sometimes think that God heals our hurts and pains just because He wants us to feel better.  And while that may be true, there is always a bigger and greater purpose to God’s actions than just relieving us – it is to bring glory to Himself. 

FOURTH: when we begin to praise God regularly, it leads us to thankfulness – a thankfulness that is never-ending. 

Joy has a need to be expressed.  How is it being expressed in my life?  Am I clothed with joy or with sullenness and despair?  And when I am clothed with joy, do I take time to think of Him and thank Him?

Let’s try to visualize ourselves clothed in joy – the joy of the Lord – and to praise him.  I shouldn’t do it to see what kind of reaction it draws from those around me, or to have an impact on them (although that may happen), but I should do it simply to be praising Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  We have been blessed, Lord, with every spiritual blessing in You.  We have everything we need in this life in order to live lives of joy and happiness.  We have your blessings here on earth, we have an eternal home secured for us in the heavens, you have set us free from fear of death and the guilt of sin.  Father, clothe us in Your joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/03/16 – Something to Count On

DayBreaks for 2/03/16: Something to Count On

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2006:

Ps. 33:4 – For the word of the LORD holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. (NLT)

In a world of great and vast uncertainty, what would you give for something that you can always count on?  Many have put their trust in precious gems or metals, only to find them decline in value or to be stolen.  The stock market crashes of the depression years showed the futility of the words of stock brokers – and “paper money” that was only worth something at certain times.  It was just recently that the anniversary of the Challenger disaster was observed.  There were 7 people who put their faith in NASA and in a very large and complicated piece of machinery – only to find that their confidence was misplaced because of nothing more sinister than cold temperatures that damaged the seal on the booster rocket. 

Throughout the centuries, people have believed things to be true which were later proven false: the earth is flat, the solar system revolves around the earth, the earth rides on the back of a giant tortoise, the concept of spontaneous generation of life from rotting meat – these are all just a few examples.  Sadly, many have put their complete trust in the words of their beloved as they stood at the altar and made their wedding vows: “I will keep myself to you and you alone, for as long as we both shall live,” only to find that those words weren’t true, either. 

The Psalmist is clear: if you are looking for something that will always hold true, look to the Word of the Lord.  But just because something is true doesn’t mean that it is good that it’s true.  But with God, “everything He does is worthy of our trust.”  What does that mean?  It means His word is true, and that what he does can be counted on as being right, good, wholesome for us as individuals, i.e., “worthy of our trust”.  This is, indeed, good news!  By contrast, there is nothing else in the universe that will hold true except the Word of the Lord.  In an ever-changing world where we even hear about comets far off in space that may be targeting our little blue planet, the one thing we can ALWAYS count on it His Word!

We are far too prone to trust our own understanding – listening, if you will, to our own “words of wisdom”, formulating our plans and then trusting in those plans and our ingenuity to make it all come to pass as planned.  Instead of racking our brains to try to figure things out, we’d be far better served to search the Word for the principles and truths that will always yield sweet fruit when followed faithfully.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  It is hard for us prideful beings to admit that we don’t have it all figured out, Lord.  We think we’re so smart and yet we put our faith in the wrong things over and over again.  We confess to you our foolishness and ask you to help us to remember that only You are absolutely trustworthy – in all Your actions, promises and words.  May we look to Your Word for the only sure answers to this life and the next!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.