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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His Righteous Hand is Strong

Dear church family
As we face this time together, I want to encourage you with a powerful promise from God who is here now, and will give you strength today.
Scripture for today
Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].
– Isaiah 41:10 AMP
God is with us.
He is an ever present help in time of trouble.  His perfect love casts out all fear.  His righteous hand is strong, safe, and victorious!  I’m praying health for you and your families and asking God to give you all that you need, today.  Please remember that if you have special needs, or concerns, please reach out to me.  I really do love you and we want to help if I can, whether through the church, through prayer, or through bringing other resources to assist.
Prayer for today
Father, you are loving and faithful. Today and every day.  With you by my side, I will not fear.  When I feel anxious or uncertain today, I will look to you and remember your promises.  Make your righteous hand strong for me, my family, my church, and my neighbors.  I trust you to work in all things, especially today.  You alone are my God. Give me strength.

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Listen To His Voice

Greetings, church family
Welcome to our “separated together” adventure.  During this time I want to help you connect with the Lord daily so that when it is all over, our faith will be stronger and our fears will be weaker.Did you know? During Nazi Germany’s march across France, some 80,000 French people died, not from bullets, but from fear (heart attacks and such). Fear weakens your immune system. On the other hand, “a cheerful heart is good medicine” Proverbs 17:22.
Scripture for today
I hope you’ll let Psalm 23 help you to have a cheerful heart today. Read the Psalm out loud, and then let me encourage you with it:
A psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
– Psalm 23:1-6
King David, in a moment when he needed God the most, realized that he wasn’t alone in what he was facing.  He was guided by the caring hand of his Shepherd, the Lord.  Throughout the day, God did all sorts of things for him, and for you.  The first one was: He made David lie down in green pastures.  Sheep are, by nature, fearful creatures. As they move into a new grazing area, they’re concerned with potential predators there.  Before the Shepherd ever moves His sheep to a new area, He goes before them, filling in gopher holes where they might twist an ankle, smoothing out dangerous places, and setting guards to ward off wolves.  God has done that already for you today. Before you woke up, He prepared your pasture.  I encourage you to stay in that pasture with Him today.
For many of us, that means staying away from other people so that we don’t become infected, and then agents of infection.  For our nurses and healthcare workers, it means venturing out to care for sick people – spending time in what verse 4 calls “the darkest valley.”
The critical piece for every promise in this Psalm is the fourth word in the sentence: “The Lord is my shepherd.”  Let the Lord be your shepherd today.
Listen to His voice, while also doing your best to heed the safety directives of our government.  Don’t saturate your mind with the news, which can make you fearful and sad.
Listen to His voice!
You may be in isolation, but you are not alone. He is with you.  Stay near to Him today, and stay six feet away from people outside of your family circle.
Prayer for today
Father, thank you for being my Shepherd today.
I am listening for Your voice. I will walk in the pasture You have prepared for me.
Help me to find joy in this situation, which I have never been in before.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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