Our Daily Bread: Inspiration For All Seasons
I wrote this in 2005. This is the first publication
A story is told about a thirteen-year old boy who was dying. On his deathbed he gave Charles a sheaf of papers filled with writings on both sides. “I want you to give this to my mom and dad,” he said. “It’s a list of all the fun we had, all the times we laughed.”
Years went by. Then one day, Charles tried to do his own ‘joy list’ but faced a blank wall. Dave McCasland continues, “But as he began looking each day for the moments of laughter, satisfaction and joy, his list began to grow.”
That was just one of the hundreds of stories in the 2005 Our Daily Bread. Year after year, this book continues to move, comfort, nourish and renew the lives of thousands. Another illustration of the joy of spreading God’s word is the tale of the famed violinist Fritz Kreisler. He kept giving away all his earnings so that when he beheld the most beautiful violin he ever saw, was too broke too buy it. It took him quite some time to come up with enough money to buy it but by then, a collector had already beaten him to it. He was crestfallen when the collector refused to sell it to him. Then he asked impulsively, “Could I play the instrument once more before it is confined to silence?”
The collector agreed, and felt an inexplicable happiness upon hearing the sweet music that filled his house. “I have no right to keep that to myself!” he cried. “It’s yours Mr. Kreisler! Take it to the world and let people hear it!”
Our Daily Bread is brimming with inspiring prose and poetry celebrating Christ’s wonders in transforming lives. “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to one Man!” as Richard De Haan eloquently proclaims. The evangelist Henry Moorhouse shares with us this priceless insight. “I once bought a typewriter that was shipped mistakenly to another man named Henry Moorhouse at a different address. If John 3:16 had said that God loved Henry Moorhouse, I could have thought it meant the other Henry Moorhouse. But since it says whoever, there can be no mistakes.”
Some people have deliberately avoided this book and other works of similar nature under the erroneous assumption that it is exclusively for Born-Again folks. A broadened perspective would refute this of course. Christianity is essentially a covenanting process with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the timeless wisdom of the Scriptures. Whether one is a Catholic, Adventist, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness or belonging to any denomination within the matrix of Christendom, one’s beliefs and aspirations revolves around the spiritual union with the word made flesh who died and resurrected to save mankind. This central focus subsumes parochial differences in doctrines and dogmas, providing an outlook that is worthy for one who worships an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Creator who dwells in the realm of the infinite.
Salvation – like Love, compassion, Hope, Perserverance, Forgiveness, Humility and all the eternal truths – knows no limits. Dave Egner illustrates this with the story about a wise Cherokee Indian chief imparting the lessons of life to his grandson. “It’s like we have two wolves inside of us. One is good, the other is bad. Both demand our obedience.”
The boy asked, “Which one wins?”
The chief said, “The one we feed.”
It is easier to become a congressman than a true Christian. That ‘God works in mysterious ways’ has become an all-purpose cliché, a maxim taken for granted the meaning of which remaining unknown, ignored, or made to fit self-serving perceptions. A complete surrender to Jesus demands more purifying sacrifices anyone can ever imagine – but at the same time being filled with an inexplicable sense of joy and ‘peace beyond understanding’. Herb Vander Lugt tells about a young scholar named William Craig Lane. Lane recalled the turning point of his life: “I came to the end of my rope and cried out to God. I cried out all the bitterness and anger that was within me – and felt this tremendous infusion of joy, and God became at the moment a living reality in my life – a reality that has never left me.”
Few things are more powerful than a personal testimony. Dave Brannon’s 17 year-old daughter Melissa died, and despite having fallen in the abyss of pain and suffering, he was still able to witness: “God’s unfathomable plan for the universe and His redemptive work continue, and we must honor our loved ones by holding on to His hands. We don’t understand, but we must still trust God as we await the great reunion He has planned for us.” 1 Thessalonians says it all: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout…And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Mart De Haan submits a penetrating analysis of how Paul and Silas were able to ‘fight the good fight’ in the face of overwhelming agonies and torments: “They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they had a sense of mission. They were motivated by a desire to obey God and spread the message of Christ.” Paul’s testament of rock solid faith is reflected in Acts 20:24, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy.” His ‘fight’ wasn’t ‘good’ – it was great.
A beautiful life is worth a thousand sermons. Vernon Ground tells about the time Mahatma Gandhi was asked to put his message into a single statement. The Great Soul said simply, “My life is my message.” David Roper carries this point further: The portrait of Jesus with your humble, tranquil presence in the face of grievous wrong is worth many words on the subject. Some may see the life of Jesus revealed in you and long to enter into that life.”
Throughout this volume are unforgettable portraits of Sir Winston Churchill, Gen. George Patton, TV icon Fred Rogers, Nobel prize winner John Nash, Apollo XV astronaut James Irwin, Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell, St. Philip Neri, Dwight Moody, Martin Luther, Kondrad Adenauer, William Jennings Bryan, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton to name some.
And filling it’s pages are hundreds of timeless Biblical passages and uplifting poems, including this one by Baynard Fox: “I’ll tell the world how Jesus saved me/ And how he gave me a life brand new;/ And I know that if you trust Him/ That all He gave me He’ll give to you.”
In a seeming contradiction in terms, the best way to appreciate this devotional is to not treat it as such. One who reads it at random will inevitably find himself jumping from to page, witnessing for himself that the days of miracles have not passed.
And that God is mightier and more loving than ever.