Our Daily Bread
READ: Matthew 22:34-39; 28:16-20
Always be ready to give a defense . . . with meekness. —1 Peter 3:15
Although my culinary skills remain undeveloped, occasionally I use a box of premixed ingredients to make a cake. After adding eggs, vegetable oil, and water, I stir it all together. To bake a palate-pleasing cake, it’s vital to have the correct balance of the right ingredients. That helps me picture the relationship of the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:36-38) and the Great Commission (28:19-20) as we spread the gospel.
When Jesus told His followers to go and make disciples of all nations, He did not give them permission to be rude and uncaring as they did so. His own citing of the “first and great commandment”—to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind—was quickly followed by the call to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Throughout the New Testament, we find this model of compassionate, respectful living restated many places, including “the love chapter” (1 Cor. 13) and Peter’s instruction to give a reason for the hope within us “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
In our eagerness to share Christ with others, we must always include a healthy balance of those two ingredients—the true gospel and godly love. This wonderfully sweet cake bakes best in the warmth of God’s love. —David McCasland
Lord, help me to love with both words and deeds,
To reach out to sinners and meet their needs;
Lord, burden my heart for those lost in sin,
With mercy and love that flows from within. —Fitzhugh
- READ: Psalm 22:1-8,19-26
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! —Psalm 22:26
Do you know which psalm is quoted most often in the New Testament? You may have guessed the familiar and beloved 23rd Psalm, but actually it is
Psalm 22. This psalm begins with David’s poignant, heart-breaking words
that were quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You
forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34).
Imagine the situation David must have found himself in that caused him to cry
out to God in this way. Notice that he felt forsaken and abandoned: “Why are You so far from helping me?” (Ps. 22:1). He also felt ignored: “O
my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear” (v.2).
Ever been there? Have you ever looked up into the heavens and wondered why
it seemed that God had abandoned you, or was ignoring you? Welcome to
David’s world. But for every plaintive cry David expresses, there is a
characteristic of God mentioned that rescues him from despondency.
Through it all, David discovers that God is holy (v.3), trustworthy
(vv.4-5), a deliverer and rescuer (vv.8,20-21), and his strength (v.19).
Do you feel forsaken? Seek the Lord. Rehearse His character. And “let your heart rejoice with everlasting joy” (v.26 nlt). —Dave Branon
Lord, sometimes I feel as if You don’t care about
my life. When those times come, please remind me
of Your character as You did David. Help me to
lean on You again and know that You are there.
Even when we don’t sense God’s presence, His loving care is all around us.