Blessed Bread

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Matthew 26:26-29
 

When our oldest child became a teenager, my wife and I gave her a journal that we’d been writing in since her birth. We’d recorded her likes and dislikes, quirks and memorable one-liners. At some point the entries became more like letters, describing what we see in her and how we see God at work in her. When we gave it to her on her thirteenth birthday, she was mesmerized. She’d been given the gift of knowing a crucial part of the origins of her identity.

In blessing something as common as bread, Jesus was revealing its identity. What it—along with all creation—was made to reflect: God’s glory. I believe Jesus was also pointing to the future of the material world. All creation will one day be filled with the glory of God. So in blessing bread (Matthew 26:26), Jesus was pointing to the originand the destiny of creation (Romans 8:21–22).

Maybe the “beginning” of your story feels messed up. Maybe you don’t think there’s much of a future. But there’s a bigger story. It’s a story of a God who made you on purpose and for a purpose, who took pleasure in you. It’s a story of God who came to rescue you (Matthew 26:28); a God who put His Spirit in you to renew you and recover your identity. It’s a story of a God who wants to bless you.

Reflect & Pray

How does seeing your true origin story as being made on purpose and for a purpose change the way you see yourself? What’s the bigger story than simply your situation right now?

Dear Jesus, I place my life like bread in Your hands. Only You can return me to my origin. Only You can carry me to my destiny. Jesus, You are the author and the finisher of my faith


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Reunion

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Revelation 21:1–7
 
The little boy excitedly ripped open a big box from his serviceman daddy, whom he believed wouldn’t be home to celebrate his birthday. Inside that box was yet another giftwrapped box, and inside that box was another that simply held a piece of paper saying, “Surprise!” Confused, the boy looked up—just as his dad entered the room. Tearfully the son leapt into his father’s arms, exclaiming, “Daddy, I missed you” and “I love you!”
 
That tearful yet joyful reunion captures the heart of Revelation 21’s description of the glorious moment when God’s children see their loving Father face to face—in the fully renewed and restored creation. There, “[God] will wipe every tear from [our] eyes.” No longer will we experience pain or sorrow, because we’ll be with our heavenly Father. As the “loud voice” in Revelation 21 declares, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them” (vv. 3–4).
 
There’s a tender love and joy that followers of Jesus already enjoy with God, as 1 Peter 1:8 describes: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Yet imagine our incredible, overflowing joy when we see the one we’ve loved and longed for welcoming us into His open arms!
By: Alyson Kieda
 
Reflect & Pray
What do you most look forward to about life in God’s presence in the restored creation? How do you experience glimpses of that joy now?
Loving God, we anticipate with joy the day when we will be with You. Until then, help us to happily serve You as we wait.

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Amazing Skill

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Psalm 139:7–16
 
The leader of our college singing group directed the group and accompanied us on the piano at the same time, skillfully balancing those responsibilities. At the close of one concert, he looked particularly weary, so I asked him if he was okay. He responded, “I’ve never had to do that before.” Then he explained. “The piano was so out of tune that I had to play the whole concert in two different keys—my left hand playing in one key and my right hand in another!” I was blown away by the startling skill he displayed, and I was amazed at the One who creates humans to be capable of such things.
 
King David expressed an even greater sense of wonder when he wrote, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14 nlt). Whether in people’s abilities or nature’s marvels, the wonders of creation point us to the majesty of our Creator.
 
One day, when we’re in God’s presence, people from every generation will worship Him with the words, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). The amazing skills God gives us and the great beauty God has created are ample reason to worship Him.
By: Bill Crowder
 
Reflect & Pray
What parts of God’s creation cause you to respond in worship? Why is it important for you to thank and praise God for the skills He’s given you?
How wonderful You are, God! I see Your fingerprints everywhere. Thank You for all that You’ve made.

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