Meditation: Romans 6: 6-7, 14

We need to remember that each day we are “born anew”, we die to sin and rise to Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Because we are shown grace and mercy, we have the possibility of dying to whatever holds us back, and rising again renewed and full of life and light.

Matthew 5: 13-15

13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 You are the light of theworld. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house

But until we actually recognize that living in the Presence of our Creator actually means shining forth every day as light in this world, we are only surviving, instead of thriving.

Give us this day our daily bread

If you haven’t read Emmet Fox‘s book “The Lord’s Prayer“, I definitely recommend it.  This is the part about “Give us this day our daily bread”.  I particularly love his explanation of the thought:

“we have to recognize God and God alone as the Source and fountainhead of all our good. Lack… is always traceable to the fact that we have been seeking our supply from some secondary source, instead of from God Himself, the Author and Giver of life.”

Of course, that’s not necessarily “prosperity” or abundance, but it certainly is seeing God as our source of sustenance, our daily bread. If our reliance is upon God, we are indifferent to HOW we are provided for – the “channel”.  We train ourselves to look to God for all we need, knowing that the channel will take care of itself.

Matthew 6:33 (The Message)

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The Lord’s Prayer

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Because we are the children of a loving Father, we are entitled to expect that God will provide us fully with everything we need. Children naturally and spontaneously look to their human parents to supply all their wants, and in the same way we should look to God to supply ours. If we do so, in faith and understanding, we shall never look in vain.

It is the Will of God that we should all lead healthy, happy lives, full of joyous experience; that we should develop freely and steadily, day by day and week by week, as our pathways unfold more and more unto the perfect day. To this end we require such things as food, clothing, shelter, means of travel, books, and so on; above all, we require freedom; and in the Prayer all these things are included under the heading of bread.

Bread, that is to say, means not merely food in general, but all things that man requires for a healthy, happy, free, and harmonious life. But in order to obtain these things, we have to claim them, not necessarily in detail, but we have to claim them, and, we have to recognize God and God alone as the Source and fountainhead of all our good. Lack of any kind is always traceable to the fact that we have been seeking our supply from some secondary source, instead of from God Himself, the Author and Giver of life.

People think of their supply as coming from certain investments, or from a business, or from an employer, perhaps; whereas these are merely the channels through which it comes, God being the Source.

The number of possible channels is infinite, the Source is One. The particular channel through which you are getting your supply is quite likely to change, because change is the Cosmic Law for manifestation. Stagnation is really death; but as long as you realize that the Source of your supply is the one unchangeable Spirit, all is well. The fading out of one channel will be but the signal for the opening of another. If, on the other hand, like most people, you regard the particular channel as being the source, then when that channel fails, as it is very likely to do, you are left stranded, because you believe that the source has dried up – and for practical purposes, on the physical plane, things are as we believe them to be.

A man, for instance, thinks of his employment as the source of his income, and for some reason he loses it. His employer goes out of business, or cuts down the staff, or they have a falling out. Now, because he believes that his position is the source of his income, the loss of the position naturally means the loss of the income, and so he has to start looking about for another job, and perhaps has to look a long time, meanwhile finding himself without apparent supply. If such a man had realized, through regular daily Treatment, that God was his supply, and his job only the particular channel through which it came, then upon the closing of that channel, he would have found another, and probably a better one, opening immediately. If his belief had been in God as his supply, then since God cannot change or fail, or fade out, his supply would have come from somewhere, and would have formed its own channel in whatever was the easiest way.

In precisely the same way the proprietor of a business may find himself obliged to close down for some cause outside of his control; or one whose income is dependent upon stocks or bond may suddenly find that source dried up, owing to unexpected happenings on the stock market, or to some catastrophe to a factory or mine. If he regards the business or the investment as his source of supply, he will believe his source to have collapsed, and will in consequence be left stranded; whereas, if his reliance is upon God, he will be comparatively indifferent to the channel and so that channel will be easily supplanted by a new one. In short, we have to train ourselves to look to God, Cause, for all that we need, and then the channel, which is entirely a secondary matter, will take care of itself.

In its inner and most important meaning, our daily bread signifies the realization of the Presence of God – an actual sense that God exists not merely in a nominal way, but as the great reality; the sense that He is present with us; and the feeling that because He is God, all-good, all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving, we have nothing to fear; that we can rely upon Him to take every care of use; that He will supply all that we need to have; teach us all that we need to know; and guide our steps so that we shall not make mistakes.

This is Emanuel, or God with us; and remember that it absolutely means some degree of actual realization, that is to say, some experience in consciousness, and not just a theoretical recognition of the fact; not simply talking about God, however beautifully one may talk, or thinking about Him; but some degree of actual experience. We must begin by thinking about God, but this should lead to the realization which is the daily bread or manna. That is the gist of the whole matter. Realization, which is experience, is the thing that counts. It is realization which marks the progress of the soul. It is realization which guarantees the demonstration. It is realization, as distinct from mere theorizing and fine words, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

This is the Bread of Life, the hidden manna, and when one has that, he has all things in deed and in truth. Jesus several times refers to this experience as bread because it is the nourishment of the soul, just as physical food is the nourishment of the physical body. Supplied with this food, the soul grows and waxes strong, gradually developing to adult stature. Without it, she, being deprived of her essential nourishment, is naturally stunted and crippled.

The common mistake, of course, is to suppose that a formal recognition of God is sufficient, or that talking about Divine things, perhaps talking very poetically, is the same as possessing them; but this is exactly on a par with supposing that looking at a tray of food, or discussing the chemical composition of sundry foodstuffs, is the same things as actually eating a meal. It is this mistake which is responsible for the fact that people sometimes pray for a thing for years without any tangible result. If prayer is a force at all, it cannot be possible to pray without something happening.

A realization cannot be obtained to order; it must come spontaneously as the result of regular daily prayer. To seek realization by will power is the surest way to miss it. Pray regularly and quietly – remember that in all mental work, effort or strain defeats itself – then presently, perhaps when you least expect it, like a thief in the night, the realization will come. Meanwhile it is well to know that all sorts of practical difficulties can be overcome by sincere prayer, without any realization at all. Good workers have said that they have had some of their best demonstrations without any realization worth speaking about; but while it is, of course, a wonderful boon to surmount such particular difficulties, we do not achieve the sense of security and well-being to which we are entitled until we have experienced realization.

Another reason why the food or bread symbol for the experience of the Presence of God is such a telling one is that the act of eating food is essentially a thing that must be done for oneself. No one can assimilate food for another. One may hire servants to do all sorts of other things for him; but there is one thing that one must positively do for himself, and that is to eat his own food. In the same way, the realization of the Presence of God is a thing that no one else can have for us. We can and should help one another in the overcoming of specific difficulties – “Bear ye one another’s burdens” – but the realization (or making real) of the Presence of God, the “substance” and “evidence,” can, in the nature of things, be had only at firsthand.

In speaking of the “bread of life, Emanuel,” Jesus call it our daily bread. The reason for this is very fundamental – our contact with God must be a living one. It is our momentary attitude to God which governs our being. “Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” The most futile thing in the world is to seek to live upon a past realization. The thing that means spiritual life to you is your realization of God here and now.

Today’s realization, no matter how feeble and poor it may seem, has a million times more power to help you than the most vivid realization of yesterday. Be thankful for yesterday’s experience, knowing that it is with you forever in the change of consciousness which it brought about, but do not lean upon it for a single moment for the need of today. Divine Spirit is, and changes not with the ebb and flow of human apprehension. The manna, in the desert is the Old Testament prototype of this. The people wandering in the wilderness were told that they would be supplied with manna from heaven every day, each one always receiving abundant for his needs, but they were on no account to try to save it up for the morrow.

They were on no account to endeavor to live upon yesterday’s food, and when, notwithstanding the rule, some of them did try to do so, the result was pestilence or death.

So it is with us. When we seek to live upon yesterday’s realization, we are actually seeking to live in the past, and to live in the past is death. The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself. The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to make today all that it should be.

If you haven’t read this commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, I definitely recommend it.

Rising up on wings like eagles


  • Isaiah 40: 21- 31
  • Mark 1: 29-39

Isaiah 40:21-31 (NRSV)

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
    or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
    calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
    mighty in power,
    not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

If you’ve experienced a storm in your life, you know being patient and waiting for a resolution can be so hard. If right now you are passing through a hard time, “waiting on the Lord” can seem like a tall order. Like the Israelites, you may be feeling and saying:

“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?

The Jewish people that had been taken into exile in Babylon were in a precarious position. Nebuchadnezzar had long since passed, and he had been replaced by Nabonidus. Now Nabonidus had left the city of Babylon to live in the Arabian desert and worship the moon god, leaving his young son Belshazzar (Belsharusur) as regent king in his place. And this young regent was all about partying and having fun with his friends. You may remember in Daniel 5, with the hand writing on the wall, when the young king is partying with all his friends, drinking wine from the sacred temple goblets.  Belshazzar was far from a good king.

Those who were taken into captivity were the old Judean aristrocracy. In Jerusalem, they had held positions of power, status and wealth. This was not the case in Babylon.  They were forced to live in ethnic enclaves, something like our 20th-Century concentration or force-labor camps.  Such a change would have created doubts in their mind as to whether they were truly the elected people of God on earth.

While the aristocracy was held in Babylon, society in Judah had disintegrated after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The population was reduced by 90%, meaning only 10% of the population was left: death, exile and destruction of the temple gutted all the institutions that held the society together.  There was no hope in the past, there seemed to be no future and way forward.

And so, in 550 B.C., Cyrus the Persian captured Ecbatana, the capital of the Median Empire. After this victory, he began to look south toward Babylon. Because of the way that Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar had been ruling, Cyrus  was very welcome in Babylon. When Cyrus finally arrived, in 539 BC, he was greeted with shouts of joy from the conquered.

Isaiah chapter 40 starts with “Comfort my people”, and it is the beginning of the second Isaiah (as it is believed that chapters 1 to 39 were written by Isaiah, and the second half were written by a disciple of Isaiah). Regardless of who wrote chapters 40 to 55, there is a distinct change of tone: chapters 1 to 39 speak of judgement and disaster. Chapters 40 to 55 speak to salvation, hope and restoration.  For 50 years, they have been “hidden from the Lord”, and so in chapter 40 we read “Comfort my people… Speak comfort to Jerusalem… her warfare is ended… her iniquity is pardoned”.

We find words of hope, “wait on the Lord”.

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    23 who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

What’s bigger? Your problem? or God? How often do we become so embroiled and caught up with our problems, that we make them into mountains? And even so, what is bigger: your mountain of problems, or God?  When you go through something awful or unexpected, you get the chance to see whether or not your faith in God is real. Do you really wait upon the Lord when you are faced with challenges?

Some key questions we might ask are:

  • What does it mean to wait? What’s involved?
  • How are we to wait?
  • Who and what are we waiting for?
  • Why should we wait?
  • How long do we wait?

Habakkuk 2:1 says,

I will stand at my watchpost,
    and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
    and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Are you keeping watch, at your watchpost? Are you continuing at your station or on the rampart, to see what God has to say about your complaints?  I read somewhere:

“Hurry is the death of prayer. The reason why you don’t hear God is because you’re in too much of a hurry. ‘God, I want to hear from you. But hurry up! I’ve got to make it to my next appointment.’”

“Psalm 130:5-6: “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning,” he was comparing waiting expectantly on the Lord to the night guards of the city who watched the passage of time in anticipation of the coming dawn when they would be released from duty. The coming of the dawn was certain, but not without the passage of time.”

Psalm 46:10 reminds us:

Be still and know that I am God.

There is a moment to simply wait on the Lord, in order to renew your strength.  Be still.

Psalm 62:5  (NRSV)

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    for my hope is from him.

Are you waiting in silence?

Psalm 27:14 (NRSV)

14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

There are at least 29 verses in the Bible that speak of “wait on the Lord”. Psalm 23 speaks of waiting in rest: lie down in green pastures, restoring our souls.  Ours is a society that has grown accustomed to immediate gratification. Due to modern technology and all our conveniences—telephones, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, fast foods, airplanes, etc.—we have many things immediately at our fingertips. But yet we find a growing group of people that are learning mindfulness, breathing (“Just breathe”) and sitting quietly in silence. And we, as Christians, need to learn to wait upon the Lord.

But like the Jewish exiles, we are impatient for salvation. How long? How much longer? Are we nearly there yet?

In Mark 1, we read:

35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer.

We also read in Matthew 14: 23:

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Mark 6:46

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Luke 5: 16 

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Luke 6: 12 

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.

Luke 9: 18 

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him,

Matthew 26 & Mark 14, in Gethsemane:  “Sit here while I go over there and pray. “And he went a little beyond them and fell on his face and prayed.” “He went away a second time and prayed.” “and he left them again, and went away and prayed a third time”

We are reminded in the Bible repeatedly to “wait on the Lord”, and we see the best example in the life of Jesus. Pulling away from the crowds, pulling away from the hustle and bustle of life, pulling away into the wilderness, or onto a hill, or up a mountain, to pray.  Before and after teaching and preaching, before and after healing the sick and throwing out demons – Jesus went aside to pray.  He knew where his strength and stamina truly came from.

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.