Bread – Strength

January 5, 2015


Readings for Monday, January 5, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Joshua 1:1-9; Heb. 11:32-12:2; John 15:1-16; Psalms 2,110:1-7

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Many people have made New Year’s resolutions, begun implementing them, and in the back of their mind know that by February much of the effort will be on the rocks, foundering from lack of attention, lack of time, lack of energy, commitment to other goals, and just simply messing it up.

Perhaps some of us have undertaken religious resolutions, from more time in prayer to more consistent worship to engaging in deeper Bible study. I myself have undertaken the resolution to write Bread more consistently.

What will happen to these resolutions? Will we have the strength to persevere to completion in spite of the headwinds against us from our friends, our bosses, our families, our innate sinfulness, our laziness? Will we have the strength to persevere?

Maybe yes and maybe no. No if we are relying upon ourselves, our plans, our efforts, our training, our education, our resources, our world. Yes, if we are relying upon God.

In today’s lessons, God tells us three ways to rely upon Him in order for there to be success in the New Year, in order to obtain and retain the strength to persevere.

The first way is for us to abide in Jesus Christ and not ourselves. Jesus said “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 For those of us who do not know Jesus, the way to have the strength to persevere is to find Him. For those of us who do not know Jesus, the way to have strength to persevere is to abide in Him, hang on Him, take up residence in the mind and the soul with Him, love and adore Him.

The second way is for us to trust Him, have faith in Him. “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire; escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness…” Heb. 11:32-34. Many people find Jesus in their minds, studying Him and His Word from morning to night, but do not find Jesus in their heart, where faith resides. It is not enough to know Him to have strength to persevere; it is necessary that we trust Him, have faith in Him in all circumstances. Through faith we can abide; without faith we will soon substitute ourselves for Him, relying upon ourselves first and foremost, substituting ourselves for God, making ourselves our own god.

The third way is for us to obey Him. As God said to Joshua, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. … Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or the left hand, that you may have good success wherever you go…For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success….Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5b-8 God’s commandments and His prescriptions for living are not just there to fill volumes of the Old Testament, but to give us guidelines for living life which will give us “good success.” If we are to have the strength to persevere, we must not weaken ourselves by going into byways and dark alleys of our own imagining, but be obedient to God’s ways, His prescriptions, and His will so that we may walk in the path of light and protection.

Want a real chance to transform resolution into reality? Have faith in, abide in, and obey Jesus. And there will be strength to persevere in the evil day, strength to receive all of the blessings which God has in mind for us, and strength to love.

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© 2015 GBF

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