“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:37-40
Part of my meditation last week was on Jesus’ words describing His second coming to establish His glory.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
The nations shall be gathered before Him and He will separate the sheep from the goats. Those who ministered to others in His name will be honored with Him.
As I thought of the coming glory of our Lord, I remembered those to whom I have ministered in the past. My heart was warmed and quickened from twenty-five years ago in the three weeks I cared for my mother and dad when he was dying of cancer.
Then there were the times through the years of caring for four of our granddaughters.
At the same time, Mother was living with Jerry and me, enduring Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2006, a month after she died, Jerry had emergency surgery and the month after, His leg was amputated.
He recovered from a heart attack almost three years ago but has not walked in over two years due to problems with diabetes.
Wheelchairs are familiar to our family. Because these events happened after the Lord gave me a new heart and spirit ~ a new life in Christ ~ in 1992, my life has been consecrated to Him through my devotion to my family and others in need.
Tears sometimes flow from the joy of knowing all these years ~ especially the last thirteen ~ have been in my ministry to the needs of others as “unto the Lord.” He has always been as close as my immediate family, in our church family, and our neighborhood.
Endurance is experienced as we are ministering in His name. It is in His strength that we live unto Him and for His glory.
This joy of service in His kingdom here is but a taste of the eternal kingdom that is to come. There is no greater life here than living to serve Him and others.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world:”
Gracious Father, we praise you for giving us eternal life in Jesus Christ, your dear Son. We thank you for the indwelling of your Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of Christ, our Lord. No words or actions can pay for the precious gifts and blessings you bestow upon us as your children. Reveal your love, joy, and peace through us as we minister to others by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
This post follows Food for the Hungry Soul. The most well-known verse with the word BREAD is found in the Old and New Testaments, Jesus in Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”.
Old Testament H3899
Strong’s Concordance defines BREAD in Hebrew: lechem, lekh’-em;; food (for man or beast), especially bread, or grain (for making it):—(shew-) bread,
from H3898lâcham, law-kham’; a primitive root; to feed on; figuratively, to consume; by implication, to battle (as destruction)
God’s Word speaks of bread not only as physical food but anything that is needful ~ something we feed on so as to ward off destruction. Men’s main concern is to satisfy his craving for the body. Not many consider bread for the soul. Only those who seek God and the bread He gives will be fully satisfied in this life and the next.
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” Psalm 37:25
The Psalmist would have been thinking of bread in terms of the righteous whose whole life is dependent on God and His provisions for all things. Paul speaks in these terms in Philippians 4:19
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
“The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” Psalm 105:40
From the abundance of our provisions, we are to give even to our enemies who are hungry.
“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:” Proverbs 25:21 (Romans 12:20)
“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” Ecclesiestes 11:1
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): “Sixty-two years ago I preached a poor, dry, barren sermon with no comfort to myself and, as I imagined, with no comfort to others. But a long time afterwards I heard of nineteen distinct cases of blessing resulting from that sermon.”
The Lord speaks through Isaiah to His people to hearken diligently to Him, to eat what is good and let their soul delight in fatness (Isaiah 55:2).
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:” Isaiah 55:10
“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house?” Isaiah 58:7
The Lord speaks through Amos of a famine of His Word.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:”
What greater verse than this from the Old Testament can describe the need for the sustenance of true life. We understand the hunger and thirst that is satisfied only by the words of the Lord. And what a refreshing we come to in the New Testament with the Living Word of God, His Son, Jesus Christ, who gives Himself as that bread of life.
New Testament G740 ártos, ar’-tos; from G142; bread (as raised) or a loaf:
From this Greek definition, it seems that bread was considered as one loaf not to be cut but broken. This would describe the body of Christ given for us in His sacrifice for us and in the communion of the Lord’s Supper and the breaking of bread.
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:3-4
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
Jesus taught His disciples to ask the Father who gives all that we need but to ask for one day’s supply at a time. This prayer keeps us close to Him and dependent daily on Him.
The following sermon is from Ryan McKee in Northern Ireland as he is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. Give us This Day our Daily Bread
“And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Matthew 15:33
Jesus satisfies all who come to Him. His life is given to the multitudes with no limitation and with satisfaction for all our needs.
The Living Bread
Let us meditate on the following verses where Jesus speaks of Himself as the true bread from heaven, that comes down from heaven, the bread of God as life to the world, the bread of life, the living bread, the bread that He gives and the results.
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” John 6:31-32 (Jesus quoting Psalm 105:40)
“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.” John 6:33-34
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35, 48
“This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:50-51
“This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” John 6:58
The Lord’s Supper
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
Jesus instituted what would become the practice of those who have accepted Him as their Life. The Apostle Paul speaks of the bread of the Lord’s Supper. Even as Jesus spoke of being the bread of life, the breaking of bread in the Supper is the communion of the members of His body, partakers of that one bread.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? or we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26
Jesus used the word bread as symbolic of the doctrine of the Pharisees, even as Paul used it in terms of fruit, both signifying the results of what men produce from their spiritual life. Instead of malice, our fellowship with Christ and each other should be in sincerity and truth.
“How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:11-12
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8
“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)” 2 Corinthians 9:10
Dear Heavenly Father, your Word speaks and spreads the seed of life, watered by your Holy Spirit. We praise you that you sent the Seed of Life in your Living Word, Jesus Christ, to give us His life ~ abundant life that satisfies every longing. Send your Spirit in power to awaken our need for the bread of your Word. We thank you in Jesus’ name, Amen. Fran
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.“
In my continued study on prayer and intercession, I am amazed at how our heavenly Father answers our prayers when we know why and what to pray.
Two main points of this thing called Prayer are essential if we are to experience answered prayer. And these two are the essence of Christian life ~ not just for prayer.
Christian living and Prayer are two sides of the same coin. Our petitions are selective and representative of our lives.
Asking from the Heart
As earthly creatures, we speak from the heart the first thing that comes to mind.
James speaks of those whose prayers are not answered because they ask selfishly.
Jesus speaks of answered prayers spoken according to what our heavenly Father promises.
Jesus did not come to earth from His glory in heaven to receive the scorn of sinners, to die, and to open heaven so that we could continue in our selfish state.
There are many facets of prayer. We will consider two in this article. One facet of prayer is the understanding of why we pray. The other facet is knowing what to pray
When we consider who we are in Christ, living to the glory of God ~ whether we eat or drink ~ or pray ~ it is all to the glory of our heavenly Father
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
Our main course of eating should be the Word of God. Our main drink should be the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). We know why we pray when we are feasting at His table. We pray for the resources revealed in His Word for His glory and the benefit of others.
The Pipeline of Grace
Prayer is the pipeline of grace that reaches the heights of His glory, whereby we ask and receive what He has prepared for His people. Heaven is the storehouse of the goodness and provisions we need for His life and preparation for eternal life with Him.
We, as His creatures, know what to ask because we know Him. We must know His Word and His promises. His promises are much more applicable to our needs than what we usually ask.
We ask to be relieved from our troubles. The Lord promises to be with us in our troubles. In His sovereignty, He plans to use our trials and difficulties as His means of grace to draw us closer to Him and to grow us in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are called to pray for others. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored him.
Getting back to the point and title of this article, we, as God’s people, have access to the storehouse of God’s Word that replenishes and satisfies the human soul.
We speak it in power to others, and it opens the storehouse of heaven when we ask it for others. What we ask in prayer has to do with what He wants to give.
We ask according to His Word, knowing Him and His Word. We pray because our lives are dependent on Him and because we live according to His Word and for His glory.
It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
We experience prayer in its true light when we see it from God’s point of view.
Imagine you are God, waiting with glorious things prepared for your people, blessings unimaginable to the human mind. They do not receive because they do not know your great heart and love for them. They do not read the good news you sent them with the order form, or they would come and ask and partake of the glorious bounty you have promised in your Word.
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.”
Gracious heavenly Father, you have blessed us by your grace to know your goodness and to see your glory. In your Word, you have revealed the greatest gift ~ eternal life through Jesus Christ your Son. By your Holy Spirit, you open our eyes to the promises revealed in Christ. Thank you for drawing us to Him to receive Him, to live in and through Him here, now, and forever. In Jesus’ name, I praise you. Amen. This will lead us into our next post ~ Words of Life ~ BREAD
We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.
We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.
In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:”Luke 13:25-26
The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.
We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25) and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
When Jesus Knocks
The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.
Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)Hebrews 3:7-12
By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.
We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65
The Doors of Wisdom
“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34
In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven” to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.
Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven
“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
A Door of Hope
“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15
The Door of Faith
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the doorof faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27
In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.
We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.
The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.
In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9
We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.
Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
As I continue this search for the meanings of Jesus’ words, I am impressed with the thoughts of fervently asking, diligentlyseeking, and urgently knocking. We are sharing what God’s Word reveals of diligentlyseeking in this post.
When Jesus told His disciples to ask, seek, and knock, He had certain things and conditions in mind. Being brought up with the Law and the Prophets, He reiterated the first thing we should seek. He emphasized seekingthe kingdom of God and His righteousness which we find repetitive in the Old Testament.
Seek the Lord
“If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;” Job 8:5
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is;”
“Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.” Psalm 105:3
“The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him”
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:”
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” Ezra 8:21
“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness:” Zephaniah 2:3
“Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4
Seek His Face
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7
Our Father in heaven, forgive us for not seeking you as we ought. Thank you for teaching us through your Word how to seek you. We praise you for your Son, our Lord Jesus who teaches us to seek your kingdom and your righteousness above all things ~ and for Paul who teaches us to seek those things above. Fill us with your Spirit and with the power to seek and find you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. Fran
Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
As I have been interceding for Bill and Terry these two weeks, the importance of prayer has again become for me a major interest and calling for another search in God’s Word.
I was led to Jesus’ words instructing us to ask,seek, and knock. His words are not just thrown out to us for a random catch. Every word He spoke ~ every word recorded ~ has infinite meaning. If we want to know the depths of His words, we need to go beneath the surface. If we are to understand the full meaning of His words, we must dig deeper into the whole counsel of the written Word for the heavenly substance contained in them. We must search for the legacy that is ours as His disciples.
Thinking this would be a simple 1-2-3-presentation, I started to search and as usual, discovered more, much more than I anticipated. Again overwhelmed with the treasure of God’s Word, we must break this into three parts: Ask, Seek, and Knock.
As you can tell from the title, His message is to teach us what it means to ASK with the understanding that asking, seeking, and knocking are three forms of the same desire to apprehend and claim what is promised from the Giver of all things.
ASK in the Old Testament
In Hebrewask ~ shâʼal, shaw-al’ meaning to inquire; by implication, to request; by extension, to demand.
God commands us to ask and He tells us in His Word what we are claim from Him as the Giver. He would not tell us to ask except that He waits to be gracious to us and grant our request. The first references are from the Old Testament.
In Isaiah 45:11 the Lord says “concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”
In Jeremiah we remember the Lord’s counsel.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jeremiah 50:5
ASK in the New Testament
In Greek ask ~aitéō, ahee-teh’-o means to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require
There are two specific things we are to ask for:
The Holy Spirit and Wisdom
The Holy Spirit
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples as perhaps the first and most important thing to ask, for it is the Holy Spirit that gave men the words from God and interprets them for us. He is the Spirit of truth and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He reveals what we are to ask.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6
We ask and receive because we keep His commandments.
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:22
We ask according to His will.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14
We know what to ask because we abide in Him and His words abide in us. Here, again, the Holy Spirit works through His Word in us.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7
We ask in Jesus’ name.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
The power of the Holy Spirit works in us through our asking and receiving.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
Dear heavenly Father, I ask that you speak through your Holy Spirit to those of your children who have not yet learned what to ask or how to ask. Bring us closer to you in faith and knowledge of your gracious bounty that is ours in Christ. Keep us abiding in your Word, filled with the power of your Spirit to live in obedience to your will for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. Fran
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