Category Archives: Our Daily Bread

JANUARY 5, 2021 Our Daily Bread- A Ripening Process

Topic: A Ripening Process
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 13–15 Matthew 5:1–26

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.
Jeremiah 15:15–18

Our Daily Bread

Early in his fifty-year ministry in Cambridge, England, Charles Simeon (1759–1836) met a neighbouring pastor, Henry Venn, and his daughters. After the visit, the daughters remarked how harsh and self-assertive the young man seemed. In response, Venn asked his daughters to pick a peach from the trees. When they wondered why their father would want the unripe fruit, he responded, “Well, my dears, it is green now, and we must wait; but a little more sun, and a few more showers, and the peach will be ripe and sweet. So it is with. Simeon.”

Over the years Simeon did soften through God’s transforming grace. One reason was his commitment to read the Bible and pray every day. A friend who stayed with him for a few months witnessed this practice and remarked, “Here was the secret of his great grace and spiritual strength.”

Simeon in his daily time with God followed the practice of the prophet Jeremiah, who faithfully listened for God’s words. Jeremiah depended on them so much that he said, “When your words came, I ate them.” He mulled and chewed over God’s words, which were his “joy” and “heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16).

If we too resemble a sour green fruit, we can trust that God will help to soften us through His Spirit as we get to know Him through reading and obeying the Scriptures.

JANUARY 4, 2021 Our Daily Bread- A Lifestyle of Worship

Topic: A Lifestyle of Worship
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 10–12 Matthew 4

 the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100

Our Daily Bread

As I waited in the breakfast buffet line at a Christian conference centre, a group of women entered the dining hall. I smiled, saying hello to a woman who stepped into the line behind me. Returning my greeting, she said, “I know you.” We scooped scrambled eggs onto our plates and tried to figure out where we’d met. But I was pretty sure she’d mistaken me for someone else.

When we returned for lunch, the woman approached me. “Do you drive a white car?”

I shrugged. “I used to. A few years ago.”

She laughed. “We stopped at the same traffic light by the elementary school almost every morning,” she said. “You’d always be lifting your hands, singing joyfully. I thought you were worshipping God. That made me want to join in, even on tough days.”

Praising God, we prayed together, hugged, and enjoyed lunch.

My new friend affirmed that people notice how Jesus’ followers behave, even when we think no one is watching. As we embrace a lifestyle of joyful worship, we can come before our Creator anytime and anywhere. Acknowledging His enduring love and faithfulness, we can enjoy intimate communion with Him and thank Him for His ongoing care (Psalm 100). Whether we’re singing praises in our cars, praying in public, or spreading God’s love through kind acts, we can inspire others to “praise his name” (v. 4). Worshipping God is more than a Sunday morning event.

January 3, 2021 Our Daily Bread- Moving at the Speed of Jesus

Topic: Moving at the Speed of Jesus
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 7–9 Matthew 3

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
John 11:14–27

Our Daily Bread

Recently, my car needed work. The mechanic’s shop was close, a mile from my home. So I decided to just walk home. But as I shuffled along next to a bustling thoroughfare, I noticed something: Everyone else was moving so fast.

This isn’t rocket science. Cars go faster than pedestrians. Zip, zip, zip! As I ambled home, I had a realization: We’re so used to moving fast. All the time. Then, another realization: I often expect God to move just as quickly. I want His plans to fit my speedy timetable.

When Jesus lived on earth, His seemingly slow pace sometimes disappointed His friends. In John 11, Mary and Martha sent word that their brother, Lazarus, was sick. They knew Jesus could help Vvv. 1–3). But He arrived some four days later (v. 17, after Lazarus had died. “ ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ ” (v. 21). Translation: Jesus didn’t move fast enough. But He had bigger plans: raising Lazarus from the dead VSV. 38–44).

Can you relate to Martha’s desperation? I can. Sometimes, I long for Jesus to move more quickly to answer a prayer. Sometimes, it seems like He’s late. But Jesus’ sovereign schedule is different from ours. He accomplishes His saving work on His timetable, not ours. And the ultimate outcome displays His glory and goodness in ways that are so much greater than our plans.

DECEMBER 30, 2020 Our Daily Bread- True Success

Topic: True Success
Bible in a Year:
Zechariah 13–14 Revelation 21

 Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Exodus 34:1–7

Our Daily Bread

My interview guest politely answered my questions. I had a feeling, though, that something lurked beneath our interaction. A passing comment brought it out.

“You’re inspiring thousands of people,” I said.

“Not thousands,” he muttered. “Millions.”

And as if pitying my ignorance, my guest reminded me of his credentials—the titles he held, the things he’d achieved, the magazine he’d graced. It was an awkward moment.

Ever since that experience, I’ve been struck by how God revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:5–7). Here was the Creator of the cosmos and Judge of humanity, but God didn’t use His titles. Here was the Maker of 100 billion galaxies, but such feats weren’t mentioned either. Instead, God introduced Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (v. 6). When He reveals who He is, it isn’t His titles or achievements He lists but the kind of character He has.

As people made in God’s image and called to follow His example (Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:1–2), this is profound. Achievement is good, titles have their place, but what matters is how compassionate, gracious, and loving we’re becoming.

Like that interview guest, we too can base our significance on our achievements. I have. But our God has modelled what true success is—not what’s written on our business cards and resumés, but how we’re becoming like Him.

DECEMBER 28, 2020 Our Daily Bread- Rebuilding the Ruins

Topic:Rebuilding the Ruins
Bible in a Year:
Zechariah 5–8 Revelation 19

Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor.
Jeremiah 33:6–11

Our Daily Bread

At seventeen, Dowayne had to leave his family’s home in Manenberg, a part of Cape Town, South Africa, because of his stealing and addiction to heroin. He didn’t go far, building a shack of corrugated metal in his mother’s backyard, which soon became known as the Casino, a place to use drugs. When he was nineteen, however, Dowayne came to saving faith in Jesus. His journey off drugs was long and exhausting, but he got clean with God’s help and with the support of friends who are believers in Jesus. And ten years after Dowayne built the Casino, he and others turned the hut into a house church. What was once a dark and foreboding place now is a place of worship and prayer.

The leaders of this church look to Jeremiah 33 for how God can bring healing and restoration to people and places, as He’s done with Dowayne and the former Casino. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to God’s people in captivity, saying that although the city would not be spared, yet God would heal His people and would “rebuild them,” cleansing them from their sin (Jeremiah 33:7–8). Then the city would bring Him joy, renown, and honor (v. 9).

When we’re tempted to despair over the sin that brings heartbreak and brokenness, let’s continue to pray that God will bring healing and hope, even as He’s done in a backyard in Manenberg.

DECEMBER 27, 2020 Our Daily Bread- A Song in the Night

Topic: A Song in the Night
Bible in a Year:
Zechariah 1–4 Revelation 18

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Psalm 103:1–14

Our Daily Bread

The sun had long set when our electrical power suddenly went out. I was at home with our two younger children, and this was their first time experiencing a power outage. After verifying that the utility company knew about the outage, I located some candles, and the kids and I huddled together in the kitchen around the flickering flames. They seemed nervous and unsettled, so we began to sing. Soon the concerned looks on their faces were replaced with smiles. Sometimes in our darkest moment,s we need a song.

Psalm 103 may be one of the psalms prayed or sung after the people of God had returned from exile to a homeland that had been laid waste. In a moment of crisis, they needed to sing. But not just any song, they needed to sing about who God is and what He does. Psalm 103 also helps us remember that He’s compassionate, merciful, patient, and full of faithful love (v. 8). And in case we wonder if the judgment for our sin still hangs over our heads, the psalm announces that God isn’t angry, He has forgiven, and He feels compassion. These are good things to sing about during the nights of our lives.

Maybe that’s where you find yourself—in a dark and difficult place, wondering if Goy is good, questioning His love for you. If so, pray and sing to the One who abounds in love!

DECEMBER 24, 2020 Our Daily Bread- When Peace Breaks Out

Topic: When Peace Breaks Out
Bible in a Year:
Habakkuk 1–3 Revelation 15

Peace to those on whom his favour rests.
Luke 2:8–20

Our Daily Bread

On a cold Christmas Eve in Belgium in 1914, the sound of singing floated from the trenches where soldiers were dug in. Strains of the carol “Silent Night” rang out in German and then in English. Soldiers who earlier in the day had been shooting at each other laid down their weapons and emerged from their trenches to shake hands in the “no man’s land” between them, exchanging Christmas greetings and spontaneous gifts from their rations. The ceasefire continued through the next day as the soldiers talked and laughed and even organized soccer matches together.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 that occurred along World War I’s Western Front offered a brief glimpse of the peace the angels proclaimed on the first Christmas long ago. An angel spoke to terrified shepherds with these reassuring words: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:10–11). Then a multitude of angels appeared, “praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests’” (vs. 13–14).

Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” who saves us from our sins (Isaiah 9:6). Through His sacrifice on the cross, He offers forgiveness and peace with God to all who trust in Him.

DECEMBER 23, 2020 Our Daily Bread- No Glitz, Just Glory

Topic: No Glitz, Just Glory
Bible in a Year:
Nahum 1–3 Revelation 14

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Isaiah 53:1–9

Our Daily Bread

Looking at the handmade Christmas ornaments my son, Xavier, crafted over the years and the annual mismatched baubles Grandma had sent him, I couldn’t figure out why I was not content with our decorations. I’d always valued the creativity and memories each ornament represented. So, why did the allure of the retail stores’ holiday displays tempt me to desire a tree adorned with perfectly matched bulbs, shimmering orbs, and satin ribbons?

As I began to turn away from our humble decor, I glimpsed a red, heart-shaped ornament with a simple phrase scripted on it—Jesus, My Savior. How could I have forgotten that my family and my hope in Christ are the reasons I love celebrating Christmas? Our simple tree looked nothing like the trees in the storefronts, but the love behind every decoration made it beautiful.

Like our modest tree, the Messiah didn’t meet the world’s expectations in any way (Isaiah 53:2). Jesus “was despised and rejected” (v. 3). Yet, in an amazing display of love, He still chose to be “pierced for our transgressions” (v. 5). He endured punishment, so we could enjoy peace (v. 5). Nothing is more beautiful than that.

With renewed gratitude for our imperfect decorations and our perfect Savior, I stopped longing for glitz and praised God for His glorious love. Sparkling adornments could never match the beauty of His sacrificial gift—Jesus.

DECEMBER 22, 2020 Our Daily Bread- Curling Up with the Good Book

Topic: Curling Up with the Good Book
Bible in a Year:
Micah 6–7 Revelation 13

All Scripture is God-breathed.
2 Timothy 3:14–17

Our Daily Bread

The small country of Iceland is a nation of readers. It’s reported that each year this nation publishes and reads more books per person than any other country. On Christmas Eve, it’s a tradition for Icelanders to give books to family and friends and then read long into the night. This tradition dates back to World War I when imports were restricted but the paper was cheap. Icelandic publishers began flooding the market with new titles in late fall. Now catalogue of the country’s new releases is sent to every Icelandic home in mid-November. This tradition is known as the Christmas Book Flood.

We can be thankful God blessed so many with the ability to craft a good story and to educate, inspire, or motivate others through their words. There’s nothing like a good book! The best-selling book of all, the Bible, was composed by many authors who wrote in poetry and prose—some great stories, some not so—but all of it inspired. As the apostle Paul reminded Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” and equipping God’s people “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Reading the Bible convicts, inspires, and helps us to live for Him—and guides us into the truth (2:15).

In our reading, let’s not forget to find time to curl up with the greatest book of all, the Bible.

DECEMBER 21, 2020 Our Daily Bread- What to Name the Baby

Topic: What to Name the Baby
Bible in a Year:
Micah 4–5 Revelation 12

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:2–7

Our Daily Bread

Here’s one conversation Mary didn’t have to have with Joseph as they awaited the birth of the baby she was carrying: “Joseph, what should we name the baby?” Unlike most people awaiting a birth, they had no question about what they would call this child.

The angels who visited Mary and then Joseph told them both that the baby’s name would be Jesus (Matthew 1:20–21; Luke 1:30–31). The angel that appeared to Joseph explained that this name indicated that the baby would “save his people from their sins.”

He would also be called “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), which means “God is with us,” because He would be God in human form—deity wrapped in swaddling clothes. The prophet Isaiah revealed additional titles of “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6), because He would be all of those things.

It’s always exciting to name a new baby. But no other baby had such a powerful, exciting, world-changing name as the one who was “Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:16). What a thrill for us to be able to “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2)! There’s no other name that saves (Acts 4:12).

Let’s praise Jesus and contemplate everything He means to us this Christmas season!