Give us this day our daily bread. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.1
Jesus teaches us to pray to His Father, who is also our Father, asking Him to provide for daily needs of body and soul. We can only get good things from God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); He is the exclusive Source of good stuff.2 Everything the Lord supplies is His free gift, never deserved or merited, so we owe Him thankfulness and praise for everything that He gives us to enjoy.
Martin Luther once said that the Lord’s daily wonderful works tend to be unappreciated by us and taken for granted. Not because God’s providential kindnesses are small, but because they flow so freely and constantly to us without interruption. We get comfortably numb to the miracle that Jesus rules the world and upholds us and all His creation. We forget that He runs His universe daily according to His appointed plan, so we overlook His daily mercies. Luther reminds us that when the Heavenly Father meets daily needs it is as great a wonder as when Christ fed five thousand men (plus many more women and children) with five loaves and two fish and when He changed water into wine at the Cana wedding.3
I am very, very grateful for the “ordinary miracles” which the Lord has performed for Words of Hope since 2008, providing for all of our needs with some left over. The Lord moved people like you at just the right time to help us financially and we are very grateful to Him and to you!
Henry Erskine (1624–1696) was a Scottish pastor and often financially hard-pressed. After he and his family had eaten dinner one night they had no more bread, grain, vegetables, fruit, meat, or money in the house. The next morning the children begged for breakfast and Henry had nothing to give them, so he urged himself and his family to call upon the Heavenly Father who feeds the birds and all creatures when they ask Him. While Henry was explaining these things, a man knocked on the door to deliver a huge sack of groceries as a gift from Lady Rayburn. Erskine said it was a mistake since he didn’t know Lady Rayburn and there were other Erskines in town. The delivery man was adamant that the sender specified Rev. Henry Erskine at this exact address. Henry hesitated again and the delivery man growled, “Take the bag or I’ll leave it on your doorstep.” When Henry brought the parcel inside he found it teaming with food and so his family praised the Lord and enjoyed God’s provision.
I have never been as hard-pressed as Henry Erskine, but like him I have seen the Lord provide for me and my family and for all the expenses of Words of Hope in ways that were “ordinary miracles.” You were often the “Lord and Lady Rayburns,” Jesus’ agents of caring for me, and I appreciate that more than I can tell you. I began pastoral ministry in 1980 as the student minister at Johnsville Reformed Church (north of Philadelphia, PA), after the pastor moved on to another flock. God’s unceasing goodness since then reminds me of the privileges I have in serving King Jesus along with you.
As 2018 hurries to a close and 2019 is around the corner, let us all gratefully recommit ourselves to evangelism and witnessing, teaching and praying, worship and fellowship, encouraging and serving, and demonstrating mercy and grace to each other and outsiders as we praise our Savior and prepare for His return. Christ encourages us:
What kind of people ought you to be? Live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God (Christ’s return) and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with Jesus’ promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.4
Christ still remembers, still cares, and still bridges the gap between Himself and needy people and Jesus uses us in building His kingdom; that’s exciting!
Thank you again for the privilege of serving for you and with you and for the many kindnesses you have shown me!
Your very grateful brother in Christ, Bob
From the blog
- Ascribing Praise to Jesus (Part 1)
- Ascribing Praise to Jesus (Part 2)
- Kaspar’s Experiment: Christian Joy and Contentment
- Made Like the Returning Jesus
- The Bible’s Cleansing Power
- Jesus in the Old Testament
- Giving Others the Benefit of Doubt
Notes: 1 Matt 6:11; Psalm 136:1,25. 2 James 1:17. 3 Matt 14:13-21; John 2:1-12. 4 2 Peter 3:11-13.