Manna in the Morning

06-01-09

Genesis 16:14, ‘That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.” It is located between Kadesh and Bered.’

            It seems as though we are always asking ‘why’.  Why did it have to rain on my one day off?  God, why did you let that happen to me, or why didn’t God answer my prayer?  Hagar was an Egyptian hand maiden or slave of Abraham’s wife Sarah, when after many years of being unable to bear a child, Sarah conceived the idea in her mind that if Abraham fathered a child through Hagar, Sarah could claim it as her own and the promise of God for a descendent would be fulfilled.  As with most plans, when we try to help God out by assisting in the answer, we only make things worse, and the results can be long lasting and devastating.  Hagar ran away from Sarah’s tent because she would no longer put up with the abuse and vitriol Sarah heaped upon her after she bore a son so she ran into the wilderness with Ishmael, her son and as they both were about to die she cried out to God who showed her a spring of water that sustained them and saved their lives.  Now, thousands of years later, we are wondering why God saved the ancestor of the Arab Nations.  Hagar recognized God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing God who looked after her and her son, naming the spring as she did as a memorial to God’s grace. 

            When we ask God the question, “Why?”  We are not fully trusting in His power and promises to turn things to our good.  It was only after Abraham and Sarah fully trusted God that Isaac was born, it was in fully trusting God that made the Prophet Elijah so effective in his ministry, and it is only in fully trusting our Heavenly Father that His blessings can be poured out upon us to proclaim His glory. 

            There have been times in all of our lives when we could have asked the question, “God, way have you blessed me so wonderfully, I have done nothing to deserve it,” the answer can only be, because of His grace and great love for us!  Our Gracious, loving Heavenly Father, we ask you to make us effective witnesses to your love and glory this day, in Jesus’ name.

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Manna in the Morning

05-29-09

Psalms 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

            There are a large number of verses that explain how we may delight in our God, and many that tell us how He can delight in us.  Nehemiah said he delighted to revere the name of our God.  In our society today, even among Christians, there are many who do not seem to understand using the Lord’s name in vain or in trivial talk, or who show lack of reverence for our great, awesome God is in direct disobedience to the Third Commandment.  Every time we show reverence or delight in the Name of our Heavenly Father, it is a source of delight to both Him and us. 

            In the First Psalm, the man or woman of God is to show delight in the Word of God and the Believer in Jesus is to meditate upon it in the quiet hours.  Each of us should set apart a portion of each day to meditate upon the Word of God, His statutes, laws, commands and desires for us.  Another way we can delight our Heavenly Father is to walk blameless in a sinful world, not yielding to temptation or putting ourselves in a situation where we are expected to observe or participate in sinful activity.  Much of our entertainment industry products show illicit sex, drugs, murder and many other flagrant acts of disobedience to the laws of God, pray that we will walk blameless.

            In Proverbs God is said to delight in faithful people, those who are true to His Word, who obey His commands, and can be counted upon to be found faithful.  This is the example we are to leave for those who follow in the generations behind us.  Our Heavenly Father delights in the prayers of His children.  We shouldn’t approach the throne of our God in an advisory attitude, telling God how and when to answer, but laying our concerns before Him, the things that are on our hearts, concern for the unsaved, the ill, and our families, praying that they may walk in a manner that pleases Him. 

            For us, it is a delightful experience to have an intimate talk with our Heavenly Father, to be honest and forthright in telling Him what concerns us, there is no set pattern of words to use, only the aches and joys of our heart given over to Him.  It is a delight to our God to listen, to encourage and to shine the light of His glory on the path we are to walk daily.  We will delight in sharing the message of salvation to those we meet today, and share God’s delight when they turn to him in repentance.  Our Gracious, loving Heavenly Father, we delight in you this day and seek to live to your great glory.`

Manna in the Morning

05-28-09

John 17:21, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.”

            In this same portion of Scripture, Jesus prayed that He would accept and fulfill the responsibility the Father had laid upon Him, and after He had prayed for the disciples whom He had mentored, He turned His attention to those who would follow Him.  This is the prayer for all the Believers in Jesus throughout the centuries down to and including you and me today.  His prayer was for us to understand the distinct differences in the three persons of the Trinity, but to understand their full and complete unity.  His desire is that you and I as Believers in Him, will know the closeness in our relationship with Him as he and the Father are one.  They have the same desire for the men and women in this world to come to know Him, the same passion for winning others, the same yearning for fellowship with us as He has with the Father.  We, because we love Him, desire to communicate and commune with our Savior, we want to listen for his voice and follow his every command.  We also need to have closeness with our fellow Believers on the earth.  We should live our lives so there is nothing between us, hindering our fellowship.

            The love between the Father and the Son has always been.  There was never, in all eternity, anything that pre-existed their love.  This is the love our Lord Jesus placed in our hearts when we were born anew into the Family of God and this eternal love is that which we feel for fellow believers.  It is this same love we need to show to those who do not know Christ Jesus, and to offer to them through their being born into God’s eternal family.

            Our gracious Heavenly Father, we are and will be eternally grateful for the love with which you loved us before the world was formed and the love you have placed in our hearts for all who know you.  Give us the opportunity to share this love with someone this day we pray in Jesus’ name.

Manna in the Morning

05-27-09

John 17:4, “I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.”

            Jesus spoke these words as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He prayed for Himself, for the ordeal He was about to go through. Then He prayed for His disciples for the challenges they would face during His crucifixion and then as He continued, He prayed for us, knowing the things we would face in our lifetime, the temptations we will face and the way we will carry out our work for his glory.  God has already gifted all of us.  When we are born into the Family of God, we are prepared for service for our Lord and to serve His Church for God’s greater glory.  The value of these gifts by God’s grace is not equally prominent, but equally valid.  God uses the person in the parking lot who assists and greets newcomers to prepare their hearts for the message from God’s Word by the one who is gifted to proclaim His Word.  In God’s eyes, each of these serves their Lord and he has prepared them for their unique purpose. 

            Jesus fulfilled the Father’s will by giving His own life in sacrifice, we give our time to Him, not to the Church as an entity or to the Pastor or parking coordinator, but to our Savior and Lord as an act of worship.  What ever we do, we are completing the work assigned to us.  There are times when we feel as though we are misplaced, that we should have another assignment, but we do not see things as God does.  When we fulfill our responsibility we have brought glory to our God, when we falter, someone else must pick up where we failed or the work will not continue.  It is not for us to choose our place of service, it is for us to go before the Lord and find where He has determined to use us, pray and ask for His guidance, then leave the decision up to Him. Just as no one could take His place, you are chosen, gifted and prepared to serve Him in the appropriate place.  Our gracious Heavenly Father, we are anxious to serve you in the place you have chosen for us.  Guide us we ask in Jesus’ name.

Manna in the Morning

05-26-07

Psalms 143:8, “Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You.

Reveal to me the way I should go, because I long for You.”

            One of the things we always want to do, is to do what God commands and go where he sends us.  Here, the Psalmist asks God to reveal the way he should go.  Many of the Old Testament spiritual leaders would not leave their houses in the morning without knowing where God would have them to go.  We often pray with Missionary applicants for them to know the place where God would send them or with young people who feel called to our Lord’s service, so they can determine where and when they should go.  Pastors pray hard to know to which church they should go, and we should ask our Heavenly Father to guide our every step for each day, so we know where we should go, what our goal and aim should be for each and every day. 

            The way to do this, is for us to spend time each morning recognizing how wonderful our Heavenly Father is, how he knows the beginning from the end and can lead us into the paths of righteousness as he promised using the light of His Word as our guide and leader.  When we open each day communing with God in order to ask for His guidance and strive to follow the Words given us in Scripture, we will be in the place where He has Placed us, doing the things He has chosen for us to do and meeting the people He has arranged to meet and shine His light upon them.  Our heavenly Father, we ask for your surrounding presence this day in Jesus’ saving name.

Manna in the Morning

05-29-07

Ezekiel 39:13, “The day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

            Each of us have memorable days that we hold close and celebrate; it may be the day you accepted Christ Jesus as your Redeemer, the day you married the love of your life, or the day you left the hospital after a long illness.  It could be the day your first child or grandchild was born, or many of the other memorable milestones in your life.  It is the same with our Nation, we memorialize July 4th 1776, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed.  We celebrate the day the Minutemen died at Concord, the day the Revolutionary War was ended and The United States of America was born. We memorialize V-E Day, Pearl Harbor and V-J day, the day Sadaam Husain’s reign of terror ended.  Through all the wars since 1776, tens of millions of men and women have served in our Military services, and millions have given their lives on foreign soil for the God given heritage of freedom we enjoy today.  Our Founding Fathers had an abiding hope and trust in God, and the blood bought freedom of Religious expression and unfettered worship is one of the underlying principles of our Constitution. 

            Over the more than 230 years since the birth of this Nation, we have gradually lost our National fervor to honor our Heavenly Father and Guide.  Now, once again we need to recapture the attitudes and willingness to see that, once again, our nation glorifies God in our schools and societal convictions.  This Memorial Day, let’s remember with gratitude and thanksgiving, the men and women who gave their lives to preserve the American Vision, “One Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and Justice for all.” 

            When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, promised to Abraham centuries before, they took twelve stones from the bottom of the Jordan River to build an altar out in the open fields where all could see it.  It was to be a cause of remembrance to the men and women who crossed the river on dry land and to their children and grandchildren so they could know and remember the power of our awesome God.  As Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s restore the promises of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution that have been eroded over the years.  Understanding our freedoms are God given, not Government granted, reaffirming our freedom to worship without government intervention, the right to speak freely of what God has done in our lives as we witness to others as well as our other God-given rights.

            Lord God in Heaven, lead our Country once more to the place where you will be glorified in our national life and may the world see us as the light of God’s liberty in this tired, broken world, make us a people you can bless abundantly, In Jesus’ name.

Manna in the Morning

05-22-09

1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.”

            As we finish the week of considering the ‘don’ts’ in the Bible, There is a rather long list of things we should not neglect.  First, every person that has been born anew into the Kingdom of God has been given gifts of skills and talents so that we may be able to serve our Lord, further His Kingdom and bring glory to His name.  God has given the gift of teaching and preaching to help other Believers understand more of the Bible Message, encouraging others and leading them into a deeper understanding of God’s Word and a more rich and full life of service.  Others have the gift of making others feel comfortable and welcome in Church and other types of meeting while still others have a gift of giving of their selves, money and looking at others with compassion just as Jesus did.  These are gifts given by God for the edification and encouragement of the Church, the body of Believers that have been entrusted with the message of salvation and spiritual growth.  God has also instructed us not to neglect other Christians and the Church were we worship for our own spiritual wellbeing and growth.  Do not neglect Church attendance is a specific command.  Scripture says we are not to neglect the House of the Lord, which is the place we worship, it is inappropriate to see a Church building in need of repair and cleaning.  We are also commanded not to neglect to simply do good things and to share with others.  Jesus said if we have given to the poor, needy, destitute people out of the abundance of our heart, we have done it as unto Him and we will be rewarded for our effort. 

            God has also said in His Word not to neglect simple hospitality Just as Jesus welcomed all into His presence, so should we and finally we are not to neglect the reading and study of Scripture and our time of prayer.  We cannot expect God to bless our lives in abundance if we do not spend time in studying His Word carefully preserved for us over the centuries.  Our time of reading is to let God speak to us and our prayer time is when we speak to God our Heavenly Father, never neglecting to tell Him how much we love and cherish Him and praise Him for the gifts he has given us.  Our gracious Heavenly Father, we do not want our lives to gather the patina of rust from neglect and forgetfulness, but rather the vibrant look of a life devoted daily to your glory.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.

Manna in the Morning

05-21-09

Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.”

            As we consider the don’ts in Scripture, this is a very important one to keep uppermost in our minds.  Don’t ever forget what God has done for us.  We all can recount special answers to prayer, the times when we came to our Heavenly Father in desperation and He answered us.  The times when the path seemed cloudy and uncertain and the light of God’s grace outlined every step you should take.  Especially meaningful are the times we asked for His help, things continued on at a rapid pace, and weren’t sure God heard us, let alone answered our plea, now looking back we see the path we took was straight, blessed of God and our position today is far better than if God had answered our feeble prayer in the way we asked

            Not only should we remember these things, we should immediately share them with others, with believers to encourage them and solidify the answer in our own minds, and with non-believers to let them know how wonderful our Heavenly Father is and how important He is in our daily life.  In this passage Moses is reminding the Israelites of all that God had done for them in the comparatively recent past, moving them out of their slavery in Egypt, forgiving them for the sin of idolatry with the golden calf, feeding them with the daily manna and now preparing to fulfill the promise made to Abraham centuries earlier by opening, under Joshua’s leadership, the gates to the land of Canaan in God’s time, and under His direction.  Today, we live under the umbrella of God’s promises, and can confidently expect Him to fulfill all He has promised us in His Word. 

            We need to teach these things, remember and tell younger Christians and members of our earthly families and churches how God has moved in past days to encourage them in living for Him today.  Our gracious heavenly Father, we desire to live under your umbrella of love today and not move away from your care.  Keep us close in your loving arms we pray in Jesus’ name.

Manna in the Morning

05-20-09

Matthew 6:25, “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?” 34, “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

            I think we have all heard the musical phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy” as if it’s ok to go through life without giving a thought to anything.  This is definitely not the message Jesus has given to us.  We are to be prudent in all we do, carefully think things through, but not to lose sleep or raise a crop of ulcers over things that we cannot change or over which we have no control.  Also, we are not to be overly concerned with what brand shoes we wear or which restaurant we’ll choose for tonight’s dinner, since it is what is in a man or woman that defines them, not what we wear. 

            Many times we allow inconsequential things to rule our minds and thoughts so much we are not effective in anything we attempt to accomplish.  Even though our national economy is not doing well right now, there is nothing we can do as individuals to make our investments any more secure or increase their value; there are prudent measures we can take to make our families safe from other dangers such as violent crime or even lack of food.  God has promised He will care for us and promised the righteous man will not see his children begging for bread.  We can trust His Word in all instances, but unfortunately we have learned from others over the last few years to trust in government to care for our wants and needs instead of our all powerful Heavenly Father.  In Philippians 4:6 God’s Word says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

            Instead of a silly jingle, it is our promise from our Heavenly Father to care for us and as we trust in His promise, we can leave our worries at His feet and know He will give us the answer to any problem, the key to any obstacle and the perfect solution to any dilemma that may face us.  Our gracious Heavenly Father, we trust you and depend upon your mercy and grace in any problem we may face.  It is in Jesus’ name we pray for guidance and wisdom.

Manna in the Morning

05-19-09

Psalms 103:2-3, “My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.”

            As we continue to consider the don’ts in the scripture we are reminded here by David the Psalmist not to forget all the benefits of our being born anew into the Family of God.  First and foremost, we can never forget or make light of the fact we are forgiven of all our sin.  When we cried out to God for forgiveness and salvation we were covered with the filth and mire of our life of sin.  The Apostle Paul uses one of the most descriptive terms imaginable to describe our filth before we came to the Savior.  Instead of seeing us in that way, God looks upon us and sees us clothed in the perfect, spotless righteousness of Jesus, making us fit to approach His Holiness on the throne of His mercy.  Praise God for His mercy and grace. 

            Our God heals us of all the effects of sin in this world, all the diseases and illnesses that affect the bodies of men and women are direct effects of the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden.  While He ministered here on earth Jesus directly healed men and women of all diseases, maladies, lame legs, blind eyes and ears that were stopped up.  He forgave men their sin and finally gave His perfect life on Calvary to remove the root cause of disease, sin, from the souls of all who call upon Him. At the end of our lives we will go to a perfect Heaven where no sin can ever raise its head to live in fellowship and communion with our Heavenly Father. 

            Today, we have the benefit of God the Holy Spirit infusing every part of our lives, making our bodies a temple by his habitation.  We are also the recipients of His gifts of grace poured out on us every day we live on this earth.  His love, mercy and grace are gifts of our God as is the Holy Word of God that has been preserved for us throughout the centuries, fully inspired of God as men wrote under His direct influence allowing us to read it today with that same illumination of God the Holy Spirit to guide our minds as we read and understand the message.  Our gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for all your great gifts to us, for our redemption, our position in Christ Jesus, our place in Your family and all the other benefits you have in store for us.  May we do Your will this day we ask in Jesus’ wondrous name.