January 20 – 24, 2020

January 20 – 24, 2020

Monday

John 6:35, 48, 51, 68

Jesus’ teaching of the Bread of Life Discourse (6:35-70) is given the day after Jesus fed 5,000+ hungry people in Galilee, using a small boy’s two fish and five loaves of barley bread. This sign points to Jesus as the Messiah, and made Jesus’ identity clear to any who cared to know. All that God the Father is, God the Son is also (Hebrews 1:1-3). Jesus possesses not only all power and authority but also the desire and ability to bless all who come to Him, you and me, both physically and spiritually.

The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 also prepared the crowds, the casual disciples, and the twelve committed disciples to receive Jesus’ revelation of Himself as the Bread of Life. After this self-revelation, many followers turned away from Jesus. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (v. 67) Jesus asked His disciples. Peter spoke for all the twelve when he said, “Lord, to whom will we go? We … know that you are the Holy One of God” (v. 68). Is this faith true of you?

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (v. 35a). The people wanted Jesus for things He could give them, but He Himself was all they truly needed. “I am the bread of life” is the first of seven statements that Jesus makes about Himself. These “I am” statements are word pictures that reveal Jesus’ identity and work in a believer’s life.

Jesus also said, “Whoever comes to me” (v. 35b). He used the word “come” interchangeably with “believe.” Both words indicate a definite action. This is a “once-for-all” action, but we return again and again for Jesus to nourish us. The reality of His companionship feeds us. His power at work to redeem us from the guilt and power of sin sustains us. His words give life. Jesus truly is the Bread of Life that fully sustains and satisfies. No one who has found and “eaten of Christ” will ever  hunger and thirst after salvation again.

Eternal life rests on God’s faithfulness. As you respond to God’s drawing, live by Jesus’ life and eagerly anticipate your future life in heaven. Jesus gives to all who come to Him a taste of that glorious future now. New life, new incentives and desires, new power, new emotional fulfillment and a new Christlikeness belong to Jesus.

Questions

Who is Jesus and how has knowing Him made a difference in your life?

Prayers for For His Children Ministry

Pray for the ministry For His Children, which has provided quality care for Ecuadorian children in at-risk situations,
such as abandonment or neglect, since 1990. They work with local authorities and social services to try to reunite the child
with his or her birth family. Glenkirk has sent several mission teams to FHC.

 

Tuesday

John 6:25-27

Have you ever had a great meal and said to yourself: “I will never eat again”? The obvious truth is the very next day we are hungry again! Jesus is going to use this very common understanding of physical hunger to teach us that He is essential for life! Jesus tells the seeking crowd to “stop working for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him (Jesus) God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (v. 27).

Jesus fed a great crowd of people (5,000 men and their families) the day before using a little boy’s Lunchable. This profound miracle is recorded in all four gospels. The crowd ate as much as they wanted of the bread and fish. The crowd witnessed the leftovers of twelve basketfuls (6:1-13). It is the next day, when the now hungry crowds seek out Jesus on the other side of the lake.

Every miracle that Jesus performed had a purpose of exposing a deeper truth to those who would hear it. He uses the presence of the crowd’s returning physical hunger to teach about our spiritual hunger. This spiritual hunger can only be satisfied by the Bread of Life.

What is spiritual hunger? We all have spiritual needs that hunger for satisfaction. We hunger for love, to be known, and to be valued. We long for connectedness in relationships, to be connected to something greater than ourselves. There is the “bread” of this world that we consume that temporarily fills us up but eventually leaves us empty and wanting.

We want success in our work, marriage, and kids; we want financial and social recognition, political insights, social media affirmation, education and material possessions. We consume our time with the gym, shopping, drinking, drugs, sex, Pinterest, videogames, Netflix, Facebook, texting, etc. Or maybe you are looking for the next big thing to pursue. These things in themselves are not wrong or evil, but they are not the answer to our deepest needs. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Is Jesus your Bread of Life? What changes in your life have you experienced as you sought and consumed the very words and love of Jesus? Ask God to help you feed the hearts of the hungry in your home, workplace or neighborhood with the Bread of Life, Jesus. 

Questions

How has Jesus answered your deepest spiritual hunger? What has been the effect of spiritual junk food on your heart’s health?

Prayers for For His Children Ministry

For His Children helps create permanent, loving families through adoption by way of the government’s national and international adoption programs. Pray that several children will soon meet their “forever families.”

 

Wednesday

John 6:29

To make a delicious root beer float, you need only two ingredients: root beer and vanilla ice cream. When combined, these two make a dessert suitable for everyone of all ages!

Did you know that faith in Jesus has two ingredients? To become a Christian you need to believe, which means trusting that Jesus Christ is God, that He died for your sins, and that He was raised from the dead. And you need to repent, which means you need to turn from your sins and from going your own way to following Jesus (Acts 2:38, 17:30; Hebrews 6:1). These two ingredients, faith and repentance, combine to make you a family member of God forever!

So, who could you share a root beer float and the Good News about Jesus with this week?

It takes two things to make an airplane fly: wings to lift and an engine to power the lift. If you have wings but no engine, your airplane can’t fly. If you have an engine but no wings, you can move down the runway but never leave the ground. Like an airplane that soars, when you believe in Jesus, two things are working together. You will grow in love for God and love for people (Galatians 5:6).

That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15). If you think you are trusting Jesus, but you don’t love people, you are like an airplane without wings.

Some people think they can live good lives without believing in Jesus. They trust in their own good works to save them. They are like airplanes with no engines. Trust that Jesus has done all the work to save you and soar into His loving arms.

Jesus says, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent” (John 6:29). The next time you see an airplane flying overhead, share the two things that believing Jesus has grown in you. Pray for opportunities to share your faith and a root beer float with someone this week. Ask that God show you areas where you need to repent and love others.

Questions

What is faith? What does it mean for you to believe in Jesus?

Prayers for For His Children Ministry   

Pray for each child at For His Children, that they would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

 

Thursday

Micah 6:6-11, John 6:29

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

The scene in Micah 6 is one of a tense courtroom where God accuses His people of being disloyal to Him and committing fraud against one another (Micah 6:2-4, 9-11). God’s tone is not harsh or condemning. He pleads with them as “my people,” and He reminds them of the many times of His rescue from trouble. God doesn’t want to judge them; He wants to build them up.

But God’s people respond with mock repentance. Like scolded teenagers they complain, “What do you want from me? Okay, I’ll give you everything you possibly could want! How about a thousand rams to sacrifice? And how about ten thousand rivers of oil? Is that enough for you? If not, then I’ll give you my firstborn as a sacrifice. Surely that’s what’s called for!” (petulance in my words)

Micah comes forward with words that will cut to the very heart of the problem, which is the heart of God’s people. In typical Jewish style, he poses a question: “What does the Lord require?” Some may be getting their checklists out to see if they have this list all ready. This is not a formula, but a pattern of life God wants to build into every person. Micah tells them, “God does not want rams or rivers or dead children. He wants only three things from you and me: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. That’s enough and that’s plenty.

It is true justice to give every person all the graciousness and gentle charities of the heart and hand. As with God, man’s justice is as true as his mercy. The third requirement is the most subtle and profound. We are to walk humbly with God. Can two walk together unless they agree? In walking with God there must be communion, based in love and resulting in imitation. And this sweet communion must be like a gold thread in a tapestry that runs throughout. As tapestries go, the full beauty is not realized until it is complete.

But we all fail at this! As Christmas revealed to us, the gift of God is Jesus Christ, and that gift meets all our failures. Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He sent” (John 6:29). Lord, help us to walk humbly with You every day.  Show us areas where Your change is called for to do justice and love mercy. 

Questions

What does God require? How would you describe walking with God to a five-year-old?

Prayers for For His Children Ministry 

Pray for protection for the children and staff at For His Children as civil unrest continues to play out.

 

Friday

Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

“My God, I bless thee that thou hast given me the eye of faith to see thee as Father, to know thee as a covenant God, to experience thy love planted in me: for faith is the grace of union by which I spell out my entitlement to thee; faith casts my anchor upwards where I trust in thee and engage thee as Lord.” (The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions)

In every aspect of our lives, we exercise faith. When we sit in a chair, we have faith that it won’t collapse under our weight. When we come to a green light, we trust that cars coming from the opposite direction will stop because those cars are facing a red light. When it comes to the spiritual realm, however, some of us think that we have nothing substantial on which to base our trust. But that’s not the case.

Though the spiritual realm is invisible, God has given us plenty of evidence about His power, love, and faithfulness. Nature reveals the creativity and power of God, and the life of Christ is the supreme demonstration of God’s character and His purpose for us. Still, faith, by its nature, remains a mystery. We trust in God today, looking back on the substance of Creation, the life of Christ, and the countless believers who found God to be faithful in their lives. The choice to trust Him today is our challenge. We don’t see Him, and we don’t audibly hear Him, but God has given each of us a sense that He is  there and that we can trust Him.

The opening lines of Hebrews 11, known as the “Hall of Faith” chapter, blends two concepts: first, the absolute reliability of God in the past and as seen in nature; second, our trust in God’s invisible hand today. Faith stands on the past and confidently reaches out for the future, trusting that what God did in the past He will do one more time—for us.

Father, grant me the faith to stand on the past and reach out confidently for what is in the future. 

Questions

How does God want you to trust in Him today? In what ways is our faith based on the visible and tangible? On the invisible and intangible?

Prayers for For His Children Ministry

Pray for Mayte, who is 8 years old and is in the hospital with sepsis. She is better and needs prayers for a complete recovery and to be able to come home soon.

 

Sources

Arthur G. Bennett, Editor. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of  Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975).

 

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