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Christian Living

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Carefully Consider What You Ask of God Each Day When You Pray

When Jesus’s disciples asked him to teach them how the pray, he gave them a prayer (Luke 11:1-4). Though many people recite this prayer exactly as the Bible records it (also see Matthew 6:9-13), a better approach is to use this prayer—often called the Lord’s prayer—as a model to inform our own communication with God.

One line is “give us our daily bread.” This is a curious phrase that many people stumble over. Two thousand years ago having enough to eat—even having something to eat—was a daily concern for most people. Hunger was something they knew too well, so they would easily resonate with Jesus’s prayer to ask God to provide them with food for the day.

Some people in our world today struggle with getting enough to eat. They’ll do well to ask God to “give us our daily bread.” Some euphemistically call this need for enough to eat as “food insecurity.” Sorry, it’s called hunger. It leads to starvation and death. Don’t minimize the lack of this basic need of life by giving it a nice sounding label.

Yet much of the world gives little thought to where their next meal will come from. Most have plenty of food stockpiled in their homes, with nearby stores selling more.

For these people—myself included—does it make sense to ask God for something he’s already provided? I think not. In fact, I suspect that thoughtlessly asking him for what he’s already given stands as an insult to his generosity.

Instead, we should consider how to adapt the phrase “give us our daily bread” to our situation today. One thought, which I followed for many years, is to ask God to “provide us with what we need for today.” For me this became a generic request to give me the basics things I needed for the day. Instead of asking for my daily bread, I asked for the essentials for my daily life.

This focus became me asking God each morning to supply just what I needed for the day. Oh, how this limited him. It’s as if I were asking for just enough to live another day, when he was standing by, ready to do all that and much more. All I needed to do was ask.

Consider how to apply the phrase “give us our daily bread” to your prayers each morning. Click To Tweet

What if we begin each day by asking God to provide for us from the bounty of his limitless resources?

We could make a generic request for him to provide for us in his sovereign wisdom. Or better yet we could ask for specifics, requesting God’s supernatural intervention in particular situations or to meet certain needs. These items could relate to health, finances, work, relationships, safety, favor, or any number of other things.

For some people asking God for their daily bread is a wise, necessary, and proper request. But for the rest of us, it’s time to stop saying this out of rote repetition and start making specific requests to God each day.

Consider how to apply the phrase “give us our daily bread” to your prayers each morning. Then do it.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

How Content Are You with God’s Blessings?

The Bible Tells Us to Live a Life of Contentment

Though some people in our world struggle to have the basic requirements for life, many others enjoy an existence that meets all their needs and beyond. This is a given for many people in most developed nations. They don’t need to seek God for their daily bread; they already have plenty to eat. Instead, they seek more. These materialistic people never have enough; they are not content. They continually strive to expand what they have. Metaphorically, they’re building bigger barns (see Luke 12:16-21).

Thankful or Dissatisfied?

Though there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve our situation in life, we must make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons—God-honoring reasons. If God has supplied our needs and we still aren’t content, isn’t this an insult to God and his generosity?

If we aren’t satisfied with God’s provisions, doesn’t this suggest that we don’t appreciate his blessings? Though most of us would be quick to say we’re thankful for God’s gifts, our actions and attitudes often suggest the opposite.

Scripture Calls Us to Be Content

In the Bible, Paul shares about his life. He says he’s learned to be content in every situation. Not only is this during times of plenty but also when he’s hungry or living in want. He does this through God’s strength (Philippians 4:11-13).

Not only does Paul provide this example of contentment, but he also encourages Timothy and others (including us) to be content with what they have. He even goes as far as to connect contentment with godliness. (1 Timothy 6:6-9).

A final passage to consider comes from the writer of Hebrews who tells his audience to avoid materialism (the love of money) and be content—that is, satisfied—with what we have. This is because God is with us always and will never forget us (Hebrews 13:15).

We can always love God more and should never be content with loving him just a little. Click To Tweet

Spiritual Contentment?

These verses about contentment address our physical situation, our material needs: food, clothing, and shelter. But what about our spiritual situation? Should we be content with that too?

When it comes to God and living a life that honors him, we should never be content. We should always desire a deeper relationship with Jesus. God doesn’t want us to coast our way into heaven. When we say yes to following Jesus, he wants us to go all in and live every day for him. We can always love God more and should never be content with loving him just a little.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

What Does the Bible Mean by Breaking Bread?

The Broken Bread at the First Communion Represented Jesus’s Body

The phrases breaking bread, break bread, and broke bread only appear in the New Testament. And they only show up eleven times, appearing in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and 1 Corinthians.

Should we understand this idea of breaking bread as a euphemism for Communion or simply for any time people share a meal?

We should remember that sliced bread did not exist two thousand years ago. Though they could have cut bread with a knife, it’s more likely they use their hands—the most convenient tool available to them—to divide a loaf of bread and distribute it to everyone at the meal.

Here are the situations when the Bible talks about breaking bread.

The First Communion

We first hear of Jesus taking bread and breaking it into pieces so he could dole it out to the disciples during the first Communion. This took place during the Passover meal (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, and Luke 22:19). And Paul references this concept in 1 Corinthians 10:16.

A Simple Meal

We next hear this phrase used after Jesus travels down the road to Emmaus with two of his followers. This is after he resurrected from the dead, and his traveling companions don’t recognize him. When they reach the village, they urge him to stay with them. He does.

They sit down to eat. Jesus takes the bread, thanks God for it, breaks it into pieces, and passes it out to them (Luke 24:30 and Luke 24:35). At this point they recognize Jesus.

The Early Church

The idea of breaking bread occurs five times in the book of Acts.

Two of the mentions seem to revolve around a common meal, though it could be they celebrated the Lord’s supper too (Acts 2:42 and Acts 2:46).

The next two verses are after Eutychus fell to his death and Paul raises him from the dead. In celebration they share a meal (Acts 20:7 and Acts 20:11).

The fifth time occurs when Paul is at sea during a terrible storm. When they’ve given up all hope, Paul encourages everyone on board by telling them that though they will lose the ship and cargo, everyone will live.

He took bread, thanked God for it, broke it, and gave it to everyone to eat, all 276 people (Acts 27:35). Note that most of these people who ate this bread were not followers of Jesus. To them this was a simple meal and not a religious practice.

A Final Thought about Breaking Bread

We considered that in Bible times, the most practical way to divide bread for people at a meal was to break it (not slice it). We remember that at the first Lord’s supper Jesus said the bread represented his body, which would soon be broken when he was crucified.

Therefore, at every meal afterward, Jesus’s followers would see bread being broken, and it would automatically remind them of Jesus’s body being broken for them in the ultimate sacrifice.

The breaking of bread at each meal would remind Jesus’s followers of him. Click To Tweet

Without speaking a word, the breaking of bread at each meal would remind Jesus’s followers of him.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What Sycamore Tree Do We Need to Climb?

The Story of Zacchaeus

There was a man in Jericho who was boss of the people who collected taxes. He was quite rich. He wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus, but couldn’t because he was a short rascal and the taller people blocked his view.

Ever resourceful, he ran ahead of the throng and climbed a tree. It was a sycamore tree. From his perch he watched Jesus walk towards him. The view was great and he finally achieved his objective; he got to see Jesus.

When Jesus reached the tree he glanced up and said, “Hey, dude, can we hang out at your place?

Not only did Shorty, as known as Zacchaeus, get to see Jesus, but he would soon have some one-on-one time. That was quite a reward for his diligence (Luke 19:1-10).

Although we don’t need to literally climb a sycamore tree to see Jesus, I wonder if it can be a metaphor for us to do whatever we need to do to see him. Maybe we need to slow down, not work so much, or watch less TV.

Perhaps a relationship is in our way or the desire to accumulate money, power, and prestige. Or could it simply be that we’re in our own way, stubborn, closed-mind, or procrastinating.

Perhaps each of us has our own “sycamore tree” that we need to climb to see Jesus.

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Is Being a Christian a Present Reality or a Future Hope?

Our perspective on what it means to follow Jesus shapes how we think and act

I’ve met people so fixated on heaven that they squander their time here on earth. Not only do they miss the opportunities before them, but they also offer a negative example to the world of what it means to be a Christian.

They treat life as a burden and react to every disappointment as a stoic martyr. With long faces they measure their time on earth as an ordeal to endure, one that prevents them from obtaining heavenly bliss.

Yes, our future hope in heaven is significant, but if that’s the only reason to be a Christian, we’re missing what God wants from us and has to give us – now.

Life is a gift, an amazing gift to enjoy and to use and to share. We need to make each minute count for Jesus today, not sit in a corner and count each minute until it’s time to leave.

Years ago I largely missed the delight of my senior year in high school because I was so fixated on what was to come next. High school loomed as a time to tolerate, a hurdle to jump over, before I could move on with life.

I even let relationships languish because I didn’t see them as part of my post high school reality. I lost that time and can’t reclaim it.

Yes, I can’t wait to get to heaven and enjoy eternal ecstasy, but I also can’t wait for the opportunities of each new day. In some small way I want to be the hands, the face, and the love of Jesus to those I meet.

I want to encourage those who are discouraged, to help those in need, and to point those who are searching to a better way.

If we don’t make the most of today we may not be fully ready for our future with Jesus in heaven Click To Tweet

When Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11), it was a reminder to take each day as it comes, one day at a time, and not rush to the next one. We need to make the most of today, whether it is our last one or we have thousands more.

God has given me my time on earth for a reason. If I don’t make the best of it, I may not be ready to fully embrace my future with him in heaven.

As the saying goes, “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.” We need to live it to the full for Jesus.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What’s the Meaning of Manna?

When the nation of Israel was in the desert between Egypt and the land God promised to give them, stuck in time-out, they needed something to eat. God supernaturally provided a substance called manna. It sustained them for forty years while in the Sinai Peninsula.

Although the Bible describes manna, the explanation leaves me wanting. Apparently it was a nutritious foodstuff. It had multiple uses and physically nourished them, either in part or in whole, while living in the desert.

In a practical sense, God gave them manna to keep them alive. However, there’s more.

Manna is a means to live, both physically and spiritually; we need both every day. Click To Tweet

Moses writes that:

  • God humbled his people. Being hungry will do that. Consider the implications to fasting.
  • In their hunger, God provided for them.
  • The lesson in this was that “man does not live on bread alone.” Yeah, Moses said that. Does it sound familiar?
  • In addition to eating manna (bread) for physical sustenance, God wanted his people to also depend on him for their spiritual sustenance, living on his words—all of them.

Several centuries later, when Satan tempted Jesus to perform a miracle in order to feed himself, Jesus quoted Moses: “Man shall not live on bread alone.” The implication is that even more important than eating food, is hearing God. Spiritual needs trump the physical.

But there’s more. Later, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, one phrase was “Give us today our daily bread.” This is a request to meet both our physical and our spiritual needs.

Manna is a means to live, both physically and spiritually; we need both every day.

[Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4, Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Why Do We Ask For Our Daily Bread?

Jesus taught his disciples to ask God for their daily bread, that is, the food they needed for the day.

Just as God provided manna for the Israelites in the desert, the implication is God will meet our needs each day.

We are not to ask for enough for the week, the month, or the whole year, but for only one day, today. Tomorrow we will need to ask again.

Jesus taught his disciples to ask God for their daily bread. Click To Tweet

The instruction to ask daily isn’t because God is only powerful enough to supply our need for one day, but because God doesn’t want us to take him for granted. And if we seek him each day, that’s not likely to happen.

Plus, I think he enjoys hearing from us each morning.

[Exodus 16:14-32, Matthew 6:11]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

What is Manna?

When the nation of Israel was in the desert, God provided food for them each day. The Israelites called it manna and it miraculously appeared every morning. The manna would provide them with the sustenance they needed for that day.

If they tried to gather extra and stockpile it, it would turn bad (except for the Sabbath). God gave them what they needed for that day but no more; it was essentially their daily bread.

Later on, Jesus instructed his disciples to pray for God to give them their “daily bread.” The disciples surely connected that with Moses and the manna in the desert, and as a result they were assured God would faithfully provide for them each day.

Manna is the daily bread that God faithfully provides. Click To Tweet

This is just one of many amazing ways the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are connected.

Manna is the daily bread that God faithfully provides.

[Exodus 16:14-32, Matthew 6:11]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.