A Last Day Return to Power by Carter Conlon

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Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, and as many as the Lord our God will call’” (Acts 2:38-39).

This was the Day of Pentecost–a day shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune God, came down and indwelt people. This was foreseen by some of the Old Testament prophets, though likely considered by many people in that time as an idea almost too good to be true. I am sure some people heard the words of the prophets and concluded, “Well, maybe from time to time God found a special vessel like Elijah or King David to fill with His Spirit, but it’s not for me. That is for just the important, select few.”

Yet on the Day of Pentecost, it is as if the Lord said, “That may have been what it was like for a season, but now it is for every person, everywhere!”According to the verse, the promise of God’s Holy Spirit and power is also to “all who are far off,” meaning not within the physical proximity but also those who would be found in later places and later dates. That means the promise is for you and your children!

This is how clearly the Lord spoke about it though the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). Does that leave anybody out? Is there anyone who is not a son, a daughter, young, or old? We see here that the Lord just leveled the playing field, essentially saying, “Whoever calls on Me, I will fill with My Holy Spirit!

Now what would be the evidence of this infilling of the Holy Spirit? “And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you“(Acts 1:8). Notice that God did not say we would become an argument about Him. No! We are going to be a demonstration of His power! The verse continues, “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.“Everywhere, in all places–that includes your neighborhood, your apartment building, your office, your streets–you are to be a witness of who God is!

What an incredible promise! The early Church clearly walked in this promise; there was evidence of the divine in them. The Bible says the disciples began speaking in other tongues, and there was a sudden witness of God. Onlookers acknowledged that they were all Jews who could not have learned all these languages (see Acts 2:6-8). This was something that only God could have done!

THE PERIL OF THE LAST DAYS

What a glorious beginning for the Church of Jesus Christ! Yet when we go to the book of Second Timothy, Paul describes a type of religion that would develop in the last days–one “having a form of godliness but denying its power“(2 Timothy 3:5). In other words, many people would settle for an appearance of belonging to Jesus Christ while in reality abandoning God’s intended purpose for their lives.

Sadly, much of the Church in America seems to be a prime example of this. We have settled for just being churched, as if attending church every Sunday is enough. Of course, going to church is a good thing. Yet when you compare it to the second chapter of Acts, it falls far short of God’s intended purpose for His Church on the earth! In fact, Paul describes this type of powerless religion as the peril of the last days!

Yes, the last days will be a perilous time, as nuclear weapons are developed and governments that are against Christ rise up. But the peril Paul is talking about is the existence of a testimony so utterly devoid of the truth of God that ultimately men and women will end up in hell forever. That is the greatest peril that people in our society are facing–a peril deeper than anything else that may arise in the days ahead.

RELIGION WITHOUT POWER

So what brought about this type of powerless religion? If we look at the verses just prior in that same chapter, we can see what happened. “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3:2). Much of our teaching in the Church in America today is self-focused; and much is about money. “Give a dollar and you will get a hundred back. Give a hundred and get ten thousand back!” If you are listening to such teaching, shut it off! You must get back to biblical Christianity.

The verse continues to include “boasters.” There are so many who are bragging, “We stood in the presence of a Holy God!”However, if that were actually true, they would have been on the floor on their faces! It is just as the prophet Isaiah said: “Oh, God, I have spoken about You, but now I have seen You. Now I have seen Your holiness; now I recognize that we are all unclean. All our righteousness is like filthy rags before You. Touch my lips with Your mercy, and let my message be about You, Your mercy and Your redemption” (see Isaiah 6:5, 64:6).

Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). Lovers of pleasure! The constitution of this country states that everyone has the undeniable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are wonderful words, yet that is in the constitution of a secular nation. Unfortunately, this idea has been adopted by the Church as well. Much of the house of God is now all about my life; my liberty; my pursuit of my happiness. “Let the rest of the world perish–as long as I am happy and have money in the bank!”

RESISTING THE TRUE WORK OF GOD

Paul continued: “And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:5). Let me put it this way: Turn away from being that kind of a person! Turn away from being somebody who simply seeks a form of godliness with no power in it–no compassion, no willingness to obey God, no desire to live righteously.

Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Always learning, yet unwilling to be led by truth. It is those who say, “Wait, Lord, do not call me just yet. I am still learning.” It is like when Jesus instructed the people to be good to their neighbors, and a lawyer came up to Him with the ridiculous question, “And who is my neighbor?” (see Luke 10:29).

In other words, “I am studying it, and when I am finally able to figure out who my neighbor is, count me in!” Studying can often be a smokescreen for not walking in obedience. You can be always learning, going to the newest seminar, listening to a new message, following a new ministry–but never being led to where truth always leads.

THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS

You see, truth will always lead to a life that is surrendered to the purposes of God, a life filled with the power of God. That is how the early Church started, and regardless of how things may look now, I believe the Church will ultimately end up like that! I am believing for a spiritual awakening among God’s people. I believe we will rediscover our identity in the last days, and we will once again live with the conviction that with God, all things are possible. We will understand that we have an incredible inheritance–that with our salvation comes the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This promise is going to be rediscovered very soon!

It began with a hundred and twenty people who simply knew that without God, nothing would happen. They gathered in an upper room and prayed, yielding themselves to God, and He filled them with His Spirit! Then they stepped out into the marketplace–willing to be mocked–for they cared more for the praise of God than the praise of man. They encountered thousands going into the temple to learn things about God. Perhaps they were discussing things such as the deliverance from Egypt or the Feast of Booths. They were learning all kinds of things about God, but suddenly on the way home, they met a hundred and twenty people who had met with God. There is a huge difference between the two!

Similarly, in our nation, we have been learning about God for years. We have talked about the character of God, the mercy of God, the Father-heart of God. We are constantly learning things about Him, and these things are all true. However, we have done everything but meet with God! When you meet with God, you are transformed by His power.

Remember, the hundred and twenty disciples were just ordinary people. They did not have diplomas on the wall, yet the Bible tells us that the Pharisees, who perceived they were ignorant and unlearned men, were astounded at the power and wisdom with which they spoke (see Acts 4:13). The only thing they could say about the disciples was that they had been with Jesus! They were not there giving an argument. Rather, there was an irrefutable argument manifesting itself through their lives–the power of God’s Holy Spirit! Suddenly, three thousand people who had met about God now encountered a hundred and twenty who had met with God! And when they saw them, they said, “What must we do to have this kind of life with God?” (see Acts 2:37).

As we saw in our opening Scripture, Peter responded: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). In other words, “Put off your old way of living. Put off all your attempts to be holy in your own strength. Put off the facade of being a Christian, and put on Christ. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is for you!”

According to the Scriptures, three thousand souls were added to the Church that day–three thousand religious people who had been doing the best they could to be godly in their own strength; three thousand who were perhaps tired of learning about God and His former power; three thousand who noticed that there were people who actually possessed the power of God!

REDISCOVERING THE PROMISE

So what must you and I do in order to get this power of God today? After all, we will surely need it in order to confront the days ahead of us.

First of all, we must return to the full purpose that God intended for our lives on this earth: To be living witnesses of who He is. That requires willingness and humility, for we will be mocked and ridiculed. Jesus warned us, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master…If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!“(Matthew 10:24-25). There is no escaping it! Do not expect this world to love you because you finally step into the public with the power of God in your life.

Yet, regardless of what the world may think, there must be a resolve in your heart that says, “I do not care what it will cost. I want this new life. I want strength to go with God. I will not settle for being lukewarm–for merely coming to church and learning about God. I want to meet with the Living God!”

It is a choice you and I must make. Remember, the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you, to your children, to the young, to the old, the educated, the uneducated, the strong, the weak, the servants. But the question is: Do you truly want it? Do you want the lifestyle that accompanies it? Are you willing to walk along the pathway where it will lead you?

If you are willing, I encourage you to go before the Lord in humility and ask Him to fulfill His great promise to you. He will surely be faithful to His Word. And then as His Church, we will return to the power of God in these last days!

A Thief In a Parking Lot

The thief has come to kill your future and family, to steal your joy and hope and to kill your effectiveness on earth. The devil will have
us believe we will always be in pursuit of a victory we will never catch. Today we are reminded that we have been given weaponry in
Christ to pursue the kingdom of darkness and pulldown strongholds. As the Church of Jesus Christ we should stop sniffling and stand
up against Satan because we have a General that is so powerful the mention of His name can fold up the universe. Everyone has a
plan until somebody punches them in the mouth–It’s time to punch the devil in the mouth.

Old Men Shall Dream Dreams by Carter Conlon

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And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). You and I are living in the last days, which means that these wonderful promises are for us. In fact, the last days actually began on the day of Pentecost. It was on that day that the apostle Peter confirmed the words spoken by the prophet Joel. The time had come when God would interact in a supernatural way through all who turned to Him.

So what are some of the ways God will do this? Let’s start by looking at the first part of the verse: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” The word “prophesy” in the original text means to declare truths through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I have personally experienced this. For example, I remember as a young man being sent to Police College. The curriculum included a public speaking course and I was the only novice in a classroom full of seasoned public speakers. But each time I had to speak, I prayed, and God’s Holy Spirit came on me as I spoke on Bible topics. It was amazing!

The last assignment was a thirty minute presentation which would determine whether you passed or failed the course. Before it was due, I was called in and told, “Carter, you are a nice guy; we really like you. But this is not an evangelistic association; it is a Police College. You cannot pass your final exam unless you speak on a police topic.”

I was terrified! I knew it was only the anointing of God’s Spirit that enabled me to speak thus far. But would God anoint me to talk about the preservation of a crime scene?

The next day when it was my turn to speak, I got up and said, “Today I am going to speak about a police topic: the Bible. When we get up to testify in a court of law, we are asked to put our hand on a Book and say, ‘I swear, based on what is in this Book, that what I am about to say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.’ Don’t you think it is important to know what we are swearing to?”

Everybody agreed, “Yeah, I guess so.” So I started in Genesis and went through to Revelation. Thirty minutes on the dial, I said, “He is coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords!”

At the end of the meeting, they were supposed to evaluate me based on eye contact, voice intonations, hand gestures—but nobody did any of that. Everybody looked at me and, one after another, said, “I have never heard anything like that in my whole life!” One guy commented, “Boy, have you ever given me something to think about!” Another said, “Wow, this is what I am swearing to when I put my hand on the Bible?”

I went in there filled with fear, yet by the end, the instructors even asked if I would be interested in coming back to teach the course! That is what God can do! He enables us to declare His truth in a divine way through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS

The verse goes on to say, “Your young men shall see visions.” The word “visions” means inspired appearances. I have seen visions, which tend to come to me like snapshots—often when I least expect them. One occurred during service as I was worshiping. Pastor David Wilkerson was beside me, and suddenly God gave me a picture of him going all over the world, standing before other pastors who had fallen onto the ground in despair. He was holding a censer, which indicates worship and prayer, and as he stood before them, they started to rise up. They began to give God glory again as hope and courage returned to their hearts.

I leaned over to Pastor David and said, “The Lord has just shown me that He is going to send you all over the world to speak to pastors.” Pastor David leaned back and said, “Well, He hasn’t spoken that to me yet.”And I said, “Well, I can only tell you what He has shown me.”

A year later, Pastor David launched out on what became a fifty-six-nation tour, speaking to tens of thousands of pastors. In one particular meeting, there were from eight to ten thousand people gathered, and everyone in the whole stadium went down onto their faces—even the maintenance people in the back—as the presence of God came so powerfully! When they rose to their feet, they were encouraged. They were worshiping again, exactly as God had shown me.

THE GRANDFATHER SIDE

I have given prophecies, I have seen visions, and now the Lord has reserved the best for last: This old man is beginning to dream dreams! That is the third promise. And while I can honestly say that I have had more in my life than my heart could wish for, now that I am “Papa” to eight wonderful grandchildren, I get to experience a side of God that I have never known before.

We see this side of God in the book of Genesis. “Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19). This is the grandfather side of God! God created this man Adam out of the dust and then He created all the animals and brought them to him.

A father would say, “Adam, this is a giraffe, now remember that.”But a grandfather would say, “Adam, what do you think we should call this?” And the Scripture says that whatever Adam called every living creature, that is what they are today!

I have the privilege of experiencing this wonderful side of God. You see, Mom and Dad represent the law. “Get up in the morning. Brush your teeth. Where are your books? Put on your good shoes. Eat your supper!”That’s Mom and Dad!

I have been there; I understand the necessity. It is the legal side of God that says, “Touch not, taste not, handle not” (see Colossians 2:21). “Be careful crossing the road. Don’t do this; don’t say that.”It is the legal side, and moms and dads have to go through that.

But Papa and Grammy get to represent grace—the other side of God! I have a closet in a home we go to in the summertime that I have turned into “Papa’s Store.” It is filled with candy from top to bottom—Oh Henry! bars, gummy worms, Jujubes, Swedish Fish! At the end of each day, if everybody has behaved, they get to go to Papa’s Store and have a handful of whatever they want.

Mom and Dad say, “Eat your brussel sprouts!” But Papa and Grammy get to say, “Ice cream? How much do you want? How about a double scoop cone?”

Just the other night, our grandchildren were jumping on the bed. Now we would never let our kids do that. “You are going to wreck the mattress! You are going to fall and get hurt!”But now we say, “See if you can go higher! If something breaks, it’s no big deal!”

You see, I believe that is the way God intended to reveal His character: through the family. And maybe you do not have family, but remember, you are in another family now—the Body of Christ. You get to be Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa here in the Body of Christ!

DIVINE REVELATIONS

So, what exactly are these dreams that old men dream? Why are they considered supernatural? The commentator Matthew Henry says these dreams are divine revelations. In other words, as Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: “He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14)

Divine revelations are when God speaks to your heart about the future of not only your children, but of your grandchildren. He will tell you things that He is about to do in and through your family—especially regarding the little ones He has put in your care. These are whispers of God! For example, the Lord promised me years ago that my family will be known for missions long after I am gone. I do not know in what capacity, and I thank God I do not have to make it happen. As the Lord reminded me, “Carter, if you have to make it happen, it is no longer a promise. This is a promise: Your family will be known for missions.”

Your old men shall be given these divine revelations! We have more power as grandparents than you and I realize. God gives us the power to speak into the lives of the next generation. He gives us the power to tell them what God is going to do; the plans that He has—especially if we take the time to pray.

It says it this way in the book of Malachi: “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [which we read about in Acts chapter two], and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).

In other words, your words have the power to break any curse of sin this world would like to use to captivate your family or those over whom you have influence. I believe that is why the devil has tried to sow selfishness into the Body of Christ, knowing that if our hearts are turned only to ourselves, we lose that power and vision God was willing to give us for the future. However, when our hearts are turned to the children—when we do not see them as just something to be babysat but rather regard them as tomorrow’s Church and the future of this nation—we have the power to break the curse of sin on the earth.

What a phenomenal thought! There is incredible power in your speech when you walk with God and your heart is not all about yourself. You are not thinking only about your retirement and your own comfort. Rather, your heart is toward your children and your grandchildren; toward other children whom God has put under your influence. As you are thinking about them, praying for them, living for them, suddenly the divine begins to flow through your life. Those are the dreams the old men begin to dream!

You do not have to make them up; God will simply begin to speak to and through you. And it does not have to be outlandish. It might simply be, “You will be very courageous. You will have a heart for people. Just let God do what He wants to do in your life.”

I am entering that stage of my life now, and it is the best. I have preached to five hundred thousand people. I have been in the homes of two presidents; I have traveled. It has been amazing, but nothing beats this! This is what makes growing old the most joyful thing. I see things in my grandchildren—good things. God gives me the ability to speak these things into their lives.

THE POWER OF A WORD

Growing old in the world is fearful—it is all about aches and pains, and your kids are just trying to decide how to look after you. But in the Body of Christ, power is given to old age! It is a power beyond prophesying and seeing visions, as those things are generally about larger events. But at the end of life, it is about the people whom you love. It is about the ones closest to you—those whom God has put under your care. It is about nephews and nieces, grandchildren, or that mother and her three kids across the hall.

That is what it is all about! When you get old in the Body of Christ, you do not have to curl up and die. You start living! And so our cry must be, “Oh, God, turn our hearts to the children of this generation! No matter how far away they might seem, show us their future. Give us the courage to speak into their lives and leave a lasting impact.”

It is amazing when you realize that you have the power of speech to make a difference in somebody’s life. I remember as a young Christian in my early twenties, I went through a season when I felt like a failure. I had so many struggles in my life, and I ended up under this cloud of despair for a couple of months, feeling that I would never change.

One day I was out with an older police officer named Doug who happened to be a Christian. “What’s wrong with you?”he asked.

“I’m just so discouraged,” I explained. “I feel like a failure. I want to be different, but it’s just hopeless.”

He looked at me and said, “That is just the devil trying to condemn you. But there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh. I know you want God, so let’s just put that thing away.”

To this day, I still remember those words that he spoke over my life! They were not especially profound; he did not open a text in the Bible. It was simply an older man speaking into a younger man’s life, and it enabled me to get up again.

That is the power God is giving you now! It is the power to speak to your family; to make a difference in a generation of young people. He is giving you the power to live for the benefit of others, beginning in your own home. Whether or not your children are still at home or your grandchildren are close by, you still have that power. You can make a phone call. You can write a card if your children are not speaking to you.

Perhaps in the past, your words were not what they should have been. But this can be a new day. Despite our flaws and frailties, God remains faithful and will empower us to speak to the next generation.

Remember, all children in the Body of Christ belong to us, not just our own physical lineage. There are also many out in the streets who belong to God and just do not know it yet. But He will give us the power to get up and go get them. So let’s take this promise given to the prophet Joel—this mark of the supernatural that “your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). We simply have to choose to dream these dreams to their fullest; to take the deep deposit the Lord has sown into each of our lives and speak a word in season to a troubled heart.

Let’s display God’s power and make Him known to this next generation!

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by Carter Conlon

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This message comes with a warning: We are living in the last days and the world as we know it is going to plunge into unspeakable darkness. Biblical prophecy is unfolding before us daily, and soon we will see Jerusalem encompassed by armies. Jesus warned that in the last days, many false prophets are going to arise and many Christians are going to be deceived (see Matthew 24:11). Let me tell you why they are going to be deceived: Quite simply, because they are not in the Word of God! They are following books, fads, and fancy speakers—but they are not opening the text of the Bible.

Remember, the Bible is a living Word. “The entrance of Your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 3, 14). “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God“(John 1:11–12).

The Word of God is alive with the power to create and recreate the human heart. It has the power to give sight, freedom, hope and strength. And perhaps most importantly of all in this generation, the Word provides direction. There will be a myriad of confusing voices sent by hell itself to divert the people of God and ensnare the lazy, yet God promises that His Word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105).

THE BREAD OF LIFE

Jesus Himself highlighted the importance of the Word when He gave us a specific manner in which to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread“(Matthew 6:9–11). Notice that He described it as “our daily bread.”There is a daily provision which Jesus promises to give us.

Jesus said it this way in the book of John: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:48–51). Jesus was essentially saying, “I am the bread! I am your strength, your vision, your redemption, your freedom. I am your protector and your guide. Everything that you need for life and godliness can be found in Me.”

Therefore, biblically speaking, I suppose one could say that you are what you eat! If you choose to go on a diet from the Bible, you are going to become weak, and eventually you will end up very confused. Incorrect thoughts will begin to guide you. Then, in your desperation, you will start turning on the television and listening to voices that are not speaking truth. They will stand before you and essentially say, “Look at me! This is what the Christian life looks like. Come, follow me!” And because you are not reading the Word of God—you are not eating this Living Bread—you will end up being deceived at the end of your days.

Now everybody who was listening to Jesus should have understood when He referred to their fathers eating manna in the wilderness, for they were aware of their own history. Let’s take a moment to go back to the Old Testament so that we, too, can understand Jesus’ claim to be the “Bread of Life”in the context of their past.

MANNA FROM HEAVEN

In the book of Exodus, we see specific principles about this “living bread” when it came in the form of manna. “And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat’“(Exodus 16:14–15).

The people of God knew that miraculous bread had been given to them. It appeared on the ground every morning, and everyone would pick up some and take it home. This bread had a supernatural capability to it: All the nutrients that the human body required were found in this little wafer that, according to the Scriptures, tasted like it was “made with honey” (see Exodus 16:31).

The passage continues: “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent’” (Exodus 16:16). I believe this serves as an exhortation to us today. Fathers, you must gather some bread from the Bible for your tent, and you must do it every day! You must read the Word when you get up in the morning because it will set a tone in your house. Remember, you are the covering for your wife and your children. Mothers, you must get up and get into the Word of God, too. It is true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Everyone has a part in this; everyone has to get up in the morning and gather from the Word of God according to his or her household.

NEITHER EXCESS NOR LACK

I love what the Scriptures say happened next: “Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need” (Exodus 16:17–18).

What an incredible thought! You see, there are some people, like me, who have time to get up in the morning and spend a few hours reading the Bible. However, I am aware that is not the case for everybody. Some must get up in the morning and make lunch for four kids and then get them to school. Others have to get to work early. If they are fortunate, they might be able to scrape out ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to open their Bible.

But as we see in this passage, the beauty of the Word of God is that the one who gathered much did not have anything left over, and the one who gathered little had no lack. That means that you may not be able to read a whole basketful of Scripture in the morning, but God knows what circumstances you are going to face that day and He is able to bring you right back to a verse that you read earlier. He is able to take the little bit that you gathered and multiply it to meet your needs throughout the day!

And so we are reminded of how imperative it is to establish our thoughts in the Word of God every day. Do not let the news media get your thoughts first thing in the morning, for that is what you will end up talking about for the rest of the day. Begin your day in the Bible and say, “Lord, give me a thought for the day,” and you will see how miraculous His Word is! You will encounter a situation during the course of the day, and that verse of Scripture you have been thinking about will be your strength. It will be your power to respond; it will be your guard and your guide. And at the end of the day, it will be your rejoicing because God has kept you!

THE WORD NEGLECTED

And Moses said, ‘Let no one leave any of it till morning.’Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank” (Exodus 16:19–20). Here we learn yet another lesson through their experience with the manna: God’s promises are there to enable you to face your day, but if you do not consume them, by the end of the day, what you should have had stinks!

You should have had a word for the situation you found yourself in; you should have had strength to get through. But you said, “Ah, well, I’ll read the Bible when I get home.” And so you left the promises of God that could have established your day. As a result, you ran into circumstances for which you did not have adequate resources. Instead of responding with God’s kindness, you gave back word for word, insult for insult, lie for lie, anger for anger. By the time you get home, you realize that your day stinks.

The passage continues: “So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted“(Exodus 16:21). You cannot live on yesterday’s bread! You need your daily bread because the sun gets hot. You will face trials—perhaps ridicule, criticism, disappointment. All you have to do is go to work and say, “I am a conservative” and watch how hot it gets! And when the sun gets hot, yesterday’s bread is not going to keep you! We need a daily thought from God.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

After Jesus says, “Give us this day our daily bread,” in verse 11, He continues the prayer by saying, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:12–13). In light of what we have been considering, here is my paraphrase of these verses of Scripture:

And forgive us our debts.” “Forgive me for being lazy and not spending time reading and studying the Word. As Paul said to Timothy, I want to be a workman who is not ashamed (see 2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, not triumphed over in my day. Forgive me for each time I did not seek my daily bread, and as a result, ended up with insufficient strength to represent You as I ought to. Forgive me for finding myself without the strength to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit—for the times when You told me to speak and I didn’t; when You called me to stand and I wouldn’t; when You told me to love and I couldn’t.”

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.“”However, do not let me be so discouraged by my failure that I start to agree with the devil’s condemnation of me.”

For Yours is the kingdom.” “Yours is the only kingdom that will last. One day, all of men’s opinions, boastings, and curses will be gone! Your words are the only words that are eternal.”

And the power.” “Your Word has the power to cancel the authority of death and give me abundant and everlasting life. Your Word has power to recreate me and to take me where You want me to go.”

And the glory.” “The glory of the heart that knows You and knows Your Word; the glory of knowing that the Word abides in us; the glory of having a transformed mind—that glory that belongs to God alone!”

WHERE TO BEGIN

Perhaps you find it difficult to get into the Word daily. However, God can give you grace. It all begins with a simple prayer: “Lord, will You help me to read the Bible? Would you establish my thoughts in Your ways? Would you take me farther than I have ever gone before?”

I suggest that you start by reading Matthew to Revelation, the Psalms, and Proverbs. Read them until they become a part of you. And read a translation that you can understand. If you find it difficult to understand the King James Version, then get yourself another Bible. There are some great modern translations out there that are easy to understand. You can even buy Bibles that have four or five translations across the page so you can get the full sense of a verse of Scripture.

And don’t forget, you not only have to read your Bible, but you have to believe what you read! So let it be quality time that you spend with God, even if it is only fifteen minutes you can get in the morning. Go before the Lord with your open Bible and say, “Father, speak to me today. Speak to my mind; speak to my heart. Guide me and guard me. Let me see throughout the day how your Word will keep me.” And then watch what God will begin to do! He will open His Word to you. He will begin to lead you to places you never thought you could go, empowering you with a strength that you know is not your own. Suddenly you will find yourself with a greater thirst to get in the Word of God. You will realize that God spoke to you in advance about what you were about to face. And day after day, you will see that His Word is truly alive!