This Day, This Bread

This Day, This Bread

I'm receiving Christ's fullness as my daily portion, morning by morning, day by day.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
John 1:16 NIV

And so as I embrace HIM for my day, moment by moment, I'm also revisiting some of my previous meditations.

Would you like to join in and relearn with me? I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded often of that which I already know. But I need to know it today ... in my real life ... now.

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Grace upon Grace ... Bread upon Bread

Our Father ... give us this day our daily bread.

I love my word for the year, daily bread. (You can read the story behind it here)But it wasn't always so. In fact, would you believe that after embracing it as perfect for the stress I was feeling, I began to feel cheated. 

Cheated? How could that be?

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"Daily Bread" in the Words of Babes

"Daily Bread" in the Words of Babes

For the past almost three weeks, my husband and I have been with our daughter Beth, her husband Nate, and their three lively sons, Kaden, Eli, and William. The plan was to celebrate Christmas together, make a quick dash north for a family wedding, then back to Beth & Nate's to help with a move. 

But one by one, we "were dropping like flies" into a viral infection that just wouldn't let go. We all pushed through as much as possible and somehow it all got done.

But in the midst of it all, I was able to enjoy my usual treasured practice ...

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THIS day, THIS ______ : a back-story

In my last post (This Day, This Word), I shared how the Lord broke through my self-pity in a very concrete, but affectionate way...with just one word. Well, there's a back-story to that loving deliverance of His.  Let me tell you about it.

Shortly before my "done, depleted day," my sweet friend Kitty and I had gotten together.  We talked about many things, but one subject we often go back to is "writing."

Kitty "has a book in her," so to speak, but it just doesn't seem to be God's timing yet for that book to come forth.  So as all writers know and advise, Kitty just needs to write something...anything...every day, if possible.

But it's so easy to struggle with expectations we, and others, place upon ourselves, isn't it? And it can be overwhelming...and crushing...even paralyzing...for poor Kitty (and for you and me, if we are honest)!

So as our conversation progressed that day, the Lord reminded me of a "mantra" I had adopted for my own life:

THIS day...THIS bread.

It was based on the verse from the Lord's prayer: "Give us THIS day our daily bread." The key word there had been "this."

After sharing with Kitty this background to my "mantra," I said,

Kitty, How about if you just say each day, "THIS day, THIS word?" And then maybe the next day might be, "THIS day, THIS phrase"... then maybe, "THIS day, THIS sentence." Your key word is THIS! THIS "whatever God may give you that day!"

In her email on that infamous "burn-out" morning of mine a couple weeks later, Kitty unknowingly wrote this encouragement to my exhausted heart:

Jan, I keep sharing your THIS advice with friends... Kitty, take THIS,...THIS... THIS DAY THIS _________ THIS sentence THIS paragraph THIS CHAPTER THIS WORD WORD ONE WORD WORDS

There it was, this day, this word...the Lord had given me just what I had needed for my day!

Dear friend, what is it that you need for your today, this day?  Cry out to the Lord and receive from Him this day, this "whatever HE has to give to you."

Your Abba is very fond of you! He will respond in His love...

THIS day with THIS whatever you really need!  Amen!

PS To read the entire original series, click here:

This Day, This Bread

This Day, Today

This Day, This Bread...Today

This Day, This LORD!

Thanks for grace in joining me here. By the way, you can subscribe by entering your email to the right. I would be honored!

THIS day...THIS bread...Today!

I love this picture.  We received a framed copy for a wedding gift many years ago.  It reminds me of the simplicity of daily provision by our loving Heavenly Father for today...every day.

We don't really need much...but we think we do, don't we?  Just a simple prayer today...

THIS day, O Father! THIS bread, O Lord!  Thank You!

So let's reflect again, dear friend, and may your soul be enriched:

We need to learn to receive the grace of THIS day and THIS bread

...The only way we really break the cycle of being trapped in either the glory years or future anxiety is to allow the words of the Lord’s prayer to sink all the way in. When we pray “Give us this day our daily bread,"...the most important word might be THIS.

We are designed to be dependent creatures. Like the Israelites who received daily manna, God has designed us to be dependent on him in a day-by-day, moment-by-moment way. We don’t have leftover manna to live off of from the glory years. And we don’t get a detailed plan of where next year’s manna comes from. All God promises us is THIS day, and THIS bread.

What if we learned to receive that as a gift instead of a curse? What if each meal could be received with a grace for THIS moment’s provision. What if each good conversation could be received as a gift from God for THIS moment? On and on the list could go.

...I am asking God to reveal to me THIS — this moment, this grace, this provision, this gift, this opportunity. It really does change the way you look at each day day… even each moment with God. Daniel Hill

And so we again pray:

I do not ask

for some future bread.

I do not ask

for some lofty thing.

I ask for nothing more

I ask for nothing less

than primal provision.

For this, and this—only this.

I do not ask for then.

I do not ask for there.

I do not ask for that.

only this meal—this moment.

for this day, only

for this, and this—only this.

Jonathan Martin

THIS Day...Today

For this NON-procrastinator, it is very difficult to live in the moment, in the today!  My mind is always racing ahead...to the next responsibility, the next event, the next idea... As a result, " time crunches" and "performance anxiety" are often the name of my game! So I love these words from our Lord, captured with the help of two brothers.

Give us THIS day our daily bread...

Here is today's reflection to feed my soul...and yours?

Most of us live trapped in anxiety around either the past or the future

There is something about the human condition that seems incapable of living in the now. We seem unable to enjoy the moment; to be grateful for our current provision; to be joyful in our present reality. We tend to either memorialize the past or anxiously await the future.

...for some of us, we seem to incessantly gravitate back to the “glory years.” This is quite common in the life of church. As the congregation grows and evolves, some of us are tempted to say, “I wish we could go back to (fill in the blank) era. Things were so peaceful then. Everybody knew each other. There was so much harmony and joy.” Of course, the actual reality was almost never as good as the fantasy we have turned the glory years into. But that’s just the point – by fondly remembering a story we’ve created for ourselves, we find another way to escape from the reality we currently live in.

For others of us, we spend all of our precious emotional resources on trying to guess what lies ahead. We worry about our future finances, our future vocation, our future spouse, or the future of our kids. We plan, strategize, and obsess over every potential detail. We hear the words of Jesus — “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” — but it doesn’t seem to break the anxiety cycle. When it comes down to our emotional and spiritual state, we realistically live much more in the future than in the present moment. Daniel Hill

So again we pray...

I do not ask

for some future bread.

I do not ask

for some lofty thing.

I ask for nothing more

I ask for nothing less

than primal provision.

For this, and this—only this.

I do not ask for then.

I do not ask for there.

I do not ask for that.

only this meal—this moment.

for this day, only

for this, and this—only this.

Jonathan Martin

THIS Day...THIS bread!

I have a new prayer to pray, a new breath to breathe:

Father...THIS day, THIS bread!

I find myself breathing this often...

And there's a bit of a story behind embracing this prayer.

It all started with an unlikely meeting...on Twitter, of all places!. Now you have to know that I am on Twitter, but I'm not "on Twitter."  But when Daniel Hill interacted with my "tweet" (a tweet? really?), a connection happened.  And I'm so glad! I've been following Daniel's blog ever since.

Daniel Hill pastors River City, a diverse congregation in Chicago, and is the author of a new book, 10:10: Life to the Fullest.

Pastor Dan's blog has held treasures for me, and his current post is no exception. In it Daniel shares some profoundly simple and practical truths from a sermon on a line from the Lord's Prayer by a respected colleague in the ministry, Jonathan Martin:

Give us this day our daily bread.

So for the next few days, I would like us to meditate on this amazing verse here on A Branch in the Vine.

But for today, this prayer:

I do not ask

for some future bread.

I do not ask

for some lofty thing.

I ask for nothing more

I ask for nothing less

than primal provision.

For this, and this—only this.

I do not ask for then.

I do not ask for there.

I do not ask for that.

only this meal—this moment.

for this day, only

for this, and this—only this.

Thank you, Jonathan Martin for letting us pray along...

And thank you, Daniel, for sharing your reflections.