Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam

March

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam—March 1, 2021 

The Word Of God—It Is Our Life! 

Deuteronomy 32:45-47 “Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and He said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe–all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.”              

In our text today, The Lord had gathered the Israelites at the Jordan to review the years they spent wandering in the desert. They were on the edge of the Promised Land, but before they were to enter, God wanted them to be careful not to make the mistake their fathers made in disobeying His Word. Their parents died without seeing the Promised Land because of their failure to follow the Lord’s Commandments. In fact, even Moses was soon to leave them because He failed to honor God by obeying His Word. The Word of God is not just a helpful group of preventive warnings, helpful suggestions, or inspirational thoughts. It is our life itself! Without it we cannot go on. Without it we have no direction. Without it we cannot be born again. In Romans 10:17 we read, “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” God had assured the Israelites that, His Word was essential to their very living!  Our respect for God’s word is revealed not only by what we say, but what we do. To disregard the Word of God is to disregard life itself. To obey God’s Word is the best way to know all the blessing the Lord has in store for us! As God commanded His people on the edge of the Promised Land, so is He commanding us today:            

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  

February

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam—February 22, 2021

Learning to Control Our Spirit – A Worthy Goal For Today!

Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” 

            We are a society that is an act on impulse, do it if it feels good, instant-gratification people. Not only do we struggle with self-control, we have a hard time teaching it to our children. There are actually some new parenting books out that are emphasizing the need to teach the lost skill of patience and self- control to today’s adolescents.  One of them suggests that, “self-control is a foundational virtue on which other virtues depend, like kindness and gentleness.”

            God is also a parent. He’s our “Dad”— and He has made it clear that self-control is of extreme importance to Him. It is certainly no surprise that we find this truth listed among the “Wisdom Writings” of His Word. He also listed it as a “fruit of the Spirit”! In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “But the Fruit of the Spirit is …self – control.” As Christian adults, we can readily appreciate the need for self-control. As children of the King, we can fully grasp why it is so important to have control over our bodies, our energies, our motives, our purposes, and our hearts. It is the only way we can truly be useful servants to our master—faithful children to our Father.

            So, what is the key to gaining this important “fruit of the Spirit”? First, we must allow God’s Spirit to develop within us, our Father’s nature of self-control. Secondly, we must commit ourselves to acting on who we are in Christ; “children of God”!

Oh, by the way, did I mention this is a life-long pursuit? Shall we begin today!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – February 15, 2021

Something Good to Be Known For!

John 1:40-42 “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him (Jesus), was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.”

            People become known for many things. I know people who are known for their winsome spirit. They almost always cause me to look on the bright side of life. I know people who are friendly souls. They just never meet a stranger. Go in a restaurant with them, and they will find someone to talk to on the way to be seated.

            The Bible is filled with people who were known for certain things. There are many good and noble things to be known for. Noah was known as “a preacher of righteousness” for the evil age he lived in. Of course, we all remember King David, who was “a man after God’s own heart”. John the apostle was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. The title “betrayer”, brings to mind Judas. The apostle Paul is remembered as the man who “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith”.

             What about the apostle Andrew? Why, Andrew is known for bringing people to Jesus. In our text today, we find that the first person Andrew brought to Jesus was his brother Peter. Very soon after joining the apostolic band, Peter became the spokesperson for the group, while Andrew stayed in the background. Andrew never seemed to mind, he just kept bringing people to Jesus.

            It was Andrew who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus (John 6:8-9). It was Andrew who brought Greeks to Jesus, even though they were despised by many Jews (John 12:20-22). There is no biblical record of Andrew ever performing a miracle, or preaching a sermon. My heart and mind tells me that he most likely did both. But the Bible does tell us that he loved to bring people to Jesus.

            Andrew is a great role model for us. Our job is not to convert people into being Christians, or to convict them of sin. Our Heavily Father has called us to get people to Jesus! It is Jesus who will perform the miracle of the new birth.

So today, may we strive (among other noble things) to be known for bringing people to Jesus!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – February 8, 2021

Our Goal—That We May Finish Well!

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

            We all like to finish what we start. We all like to finish well. I have about 10 years military experience behind me. Most of that was active duty status. Both, as an infantryman and a Chaplin, I was always challenged to run. It’s what the Army does! The one thing I always wanted to do, no matter what, was finish the run. To my knowledge, I never fell out of a run. I wasn’t often first, but I was able to hang in there.

            The Bible draws a spiritual lesson from the world of sports. The apostle Paul rejoiced that he had not only begun His spiritual life well, but he had also finished well. The Christian life is not always easy. Sometimes the going gets tough. Sometimes you may wonder if you are going to make it through. When we get to those places in life, we can look to Paul, who said, “Ihave fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul was able to do it, and so can we.

I am also encouraged by the Lord Jesus. In Hebrews 12:1-2 we read, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus persevered! He finished well, and so can we.

            Our faith in God is not proven by how we begin our life of service to our Lord, but in how we finish. To finish well is an individual task that lies before each of us. We are not running the race of life against each other. We are simply running toward the goal God has set before us. Paul says it this way in Philippines 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

            May we today, seek to “Finish Well”!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – February 1, 2021

A Healthy Response—To Tremble At God’s Word

Isaiah 66:2 “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

            What is your response when God speaks? We are living in an age when not many people “tremble at God’s Word”. When was the last time that you were physically affected by the awareness that God actually spoke to you? As you read your Bible you may feel that God is surely speaking to you! It is at that time that you should take a moment to consider the reality that the God who spoke the universe into existence just spoke to “little you”. That is quite an experience. Don’t let it get away without your having a sense of awe.

            When God spoke to John the Apostle, he lost all physical strength. In Revelation 1:17 we read, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” Paul fell to the ground on the road to Damascus when Jesus spoke to him. In Acts 9:12 we read, “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Moses trembled when God spoke to him. In Acts 7:31-32 we read, “When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.”

            If Jesus could speak—and raise the dead, cast out demons, heal the sick, restore the lame, and calm a storm, then what effect might a word from Him have on our lives? The possibilities are endless—and that should make us tremble!

January

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – January 25, 2021

You Are A Chosen Vessel!

Acts 9:10-11, 15 “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying…. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.’’

God has uniquely made each of us. For those of us who have given our hearts and lives to Christ for salvation, He is fashioning our lives to be vessels of honor to Him. God has also personally chosen us to bear His name to this lost and dying world. Everyone needs to see, know and experience the Love of God. God assured Ananias that He had big plans for this man who was known as Saul of Tarsus. He would be one to “bear God’s name before Gentiles, Kings, and the children of Israel.” And the Bible tells us he did just that!

            The truth is, God is molding each of us to be “perfectly fit for the Master’s use”! God is not interested in beautiful vessels that sit in a case to be admired. God is working in your life to make you a vessel that is worthy to “bear His name”. That is a marvelous privilege! Think of yourself as a bowl, a cup, or a glass. You are a vessel in the Master’s hand, bearing life giving water to a lost and needy world.

            Do not be overly concerned about feeling you need to be beautiful enough to sit on a shelf in a fine home, or old enough to be an antique. Just live faithfully, as you bear the Lord’s name to the part of this world God puts before you today!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – January 18, 2021

God Wants To Give You The Desires Of Your Heart!

Psalm 37:3-4 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

What one thing brings you more joy, pleasure and satisfaction than any other relationship, activity, or earthly possession? Hopefully you can answer that question by saying your relationship with the Lord is that one thing. The Bibles teaches us that we are to “delight ourselves in the Lord”. Our greatest pleasures should be found in pleasing the heart of God.

            The scriptures teach that only as we find pleasure in the things the Lord enjoys, and begin to spend time with Him, will our hearts truly “start delighting itself in Him.” As we begin to look at our situations as God sees them, our hearts will begin to want what God wants. Then, when we pray, we will begin to ask for the very things that God wants. His will, His desires, will more readily become second nature as we bring our requests. We will be moved to seek things in prayer, not for ourselves, but for the Lord and His Kingdom.

            It is in this state of seeking to desire the things of God, that we find God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. As we seek God’s priorities, He seeks to fulfill our hearts desires in ways that we will sometimes be completely surprised to find.

             May we “Take our delight in the Lord today!”

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – January 11, 2021

Safe In The Father’s Strong Hand!

John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” 

            God’s children are safe in the Father’s strong hand. Jesus sent His disciples into the world where they experienced difficult and dangerous circumstances. He says in His high priestly prayer in John 17:12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Jesus chose the twelve disciples the Father had given Him, and then jealously guarded them from the evil one. Specifically, he interceded for them to the Father so they would have strong protection from the devil. He said in John 17:15, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

            Nothing that Satan can do to you should cause you to fear. There is no better place for you to be today, than in the strong hand of Almighty God! The Apostle John knew the importance of a strong faith that trusts completely in God’s power. In 1 John 4:4 we read, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

            How we live reveals what we believe. We must demonstrate our faith and trust in our “Good Good Father”. Today, we must seek His strength to live a life that is not controlled by fear or anxiety. Jesus is continually interceding for you and me. May we trust Him, and our Heavenly Father, to care for us—To Keep Us Safe!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – January 4, 2021

How Will  You Invest Your Life this Year?

Esther 4:13-14 “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 

History is filled with men and women who discovered that God would work through them to make a real difference in the lives of those the Lord placed in their paths. Like Esther, who Mordecai challenged to consider that God had placed her in the position as Queen in the Persian Kingdom, for the great purpose of saving the Jewish people from certain death. There is no doubt that God placed her in this strategic position for this great work.

God placed Joseph strategically to become the most powerful advisor in Egypt, and to save Jacob and his family from a devastating drought. Daniel would not let temptation cause him to compromise his faith, but was certain that he was to resist the world’s standards. He knew that to make his life useful to the Lord, he had to be obedient in all things. In Daniel 1:8-9 we read, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.”  Daniel chose to invest His life in obedience to God!

Would you dare to consider that this year, God will choose to work mightily through you? The Sovereign Lord of this universe has equipped you by His Spirit for His work. He has placed you precisely where you are for His purpose. Will you commit to allow God to use you this year for His glory? Will you invest in His Kingdom work today?

December

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – December 28, 2020

Who Is Your Heart Loyal To Today?

 2 Chronicles 1:.9 “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him….”

            Every morning during my prayer time with the Lord, I quote this Bible verse to the Father, and ask him to help me to be loyal to Him. Although we all have loyalties to many people who are part of our lives, our first loyalty must be to Christ!           

            If your heart is loyal to God, then you do not have to look for Him. He is already looking for you. He shares with us that He is continually looking for those whose hearts are steadfast in their commitment to Him. God makes His presence powerfully evident to His loyal followers. That would be you and me.

            In the context of this dynamic statement from God, he had shone himself strong on behalf of King Asa. God encouraged King Asa to take courage in knowing that He is never distracted, but faithfully seeks people whose heart are completely committed to Him.

            Living life is sometimes hard. Do you often feel like you find yourself fighting the battles by yourself? Do you sometimes feel you are too weak for the fight? Don’t give up. Keep your heart loyal to God, for He constantly watches over you. He wants to demonstrate His power in your life. Just as the Lord was there for King Asa, He is here for you today!

            Take comfort in God’s promise that He watches over you and is committed to giving you victory today!

Christmas Truth With Bro. Sam – December 21, 2020

What Child Is This?

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 

            Christmas—When Jesus came to the earth. Many people have struggled over the years to understand who Jesus is. When Jesus arrived in this sin-cursed world, the angels tried to tell Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and others who He was. They were ultimately unable to fully understand the complete message of Christmas. Even in this day with the complete revelation of God, we are still seeking to understand fully His wonder and grace. Yet, long before our Lord was born, God gave us a good snapshot of His nature and purpose.

Who is This Child?

            The Wonderful Counselor. Jesus came to be the wisdom of God for each of us. Because He lives in us, we can always access His great understanding of our challenges in life. He is always there as one who wants to listen to us, and help us.

            The Mighty God. Jesus came to demonstrate His great power in our lives. He gives us salvation and sets us free from sin. He forgives, heals and delivers us.

            The Everlasting Father. Jesus is the eternal one. He is one with the Father. He is co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit.

            The Prince of Peace. Jesus came to give us peace. In Him we have peace with God in salvation, and the peace of God in our hearts. His peace is absolutely perfect. The Prince of Peace brings a calmness in our lives that nothing or no one can take away.

            May this Christmas season find you more in love with Jesus than ever before!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – December 14, 2020

A Promise—From One With Experience

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” 

Joy is something I believe everyone seeks, but few find. Even those of us who find it need to be reminded of its true source from time to time.

            I read about a woman who was in the hospital with an illness and was having a hard time coping with the situation. As it often happens with me when I’m visiting someone in a hospital, a nurse asked a pastor, who she knew visited patients regularly, to step into the lady’s room and offer her some encouragement. After sharing some words of Scripture with her, he offered a small uplifting book that he gave away regularly. She looked at the little book, and said, “I don’t guess I need to take this copy from you pastor.” He said, “Oh, have you read it before?”  She said, “Yes, I guess you could say that. I wrote it.”

             Jesus certainly knew something about joy. The Bible speaks of it regularly. In Hebrews 12:2 we read, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy Jesus said was “His”, is a joy that resides in the heart of God. It is  a joy that has no end. It is a joy that overcomes all fear of the present situation. It is a joy that trusts God to fulfill His promise to bring us good in the present, and the future. It is a joy you and I can claim today, because it is a promise that comes from one who has experience with God’s joy in the midst of difficult times.

            Let us claim God’s joy today.  Remember He has promised!

Weekly Bread With Bro. Sam – December 7, 2020

Our “Forever God” Is Our “Faithful Guide”

Psalm 48:9-10, 14 “We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, In the midst of Your temple. According to Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness….For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death.”

            The one who is guiding a person or a group must be one who knows the way. Those who follow must be able to trust their guide. Back in the late seventies, I was an Infantry Seageant in the U. S. Army. I spent about 14 months in South Korea. For part of that time we were protecting the border in the “Demilitarized Zone” between North Korea and South Korea. I often led night patrols out for about 10 hours at a time. As I guided my squad through the area, I had to study my map carefully, because you could walk right into North Korea. I learned firsthand, the responsibility of a knowledgeable and faithful guide. People were counting on me.

            God knows that we are counting on Him. We are depending on Him to guide us through this world faithfully, and bring us safely to our destination—which is through death, and on to the next world. In our text today, the psalmist confidently assures us that our “forever God” will guide us, “even to death”. This is a powerful truth. The one who is “forever praised”, will also guide us to the end of this life, and on into eternity. He is our knowledgeable and faithful guide. We can trust Him. Our guide has been through death, and was victorious. He will guide us safely home!

           There is no place we will go today that our Lord has not already been!