First Light is a short devotional that is posted daily throughout the week via email and this blog.  If you are interested in receiving a copy in your email, just contact us at office@thelambschapel.org and tell us you would like to receive First Light.

Bread from Heaven

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:37 AM

"My Father gives you the true Bread from heaven."

John 6:32

In this passage Jesus is asked by some Jewish friends, that since Moses gave them bread from heaven, what would He give them? They were reflecting on the time that God sent manna from heaven to feed them. In order to sustain them God let bread fall from heaven everyday to feed them. One stipulation was that it was daily bread. The bread that fell was good only for that day. If they tried to save it for the next day it rotted. He wanted them to trust Him daily. Hundreds of years later Jesus reveals that the whole bread in the wilderness thing was a prophetic parable that actually pointed to Him. He said that Moses did not give the true bread but that "my Father gives you the true bread from heaven". Then He went on to say "I am the bread of life". Here we find a precious secret that just as the children of Israel had to eat everyday what God provided in order to live strong, we must feed on Jesus daily in the same fashion. What about the "one days portion every day" stuff. It is a revelation that yesterday's strength from heaven will not carry me today. I need a daily "meal" to live a great life. We were not designed by our Creator to live without eating for long periods of time. Physically or spiritually. You can no more live on one touch from God's Spirit a week than you can live on one meal a week. Healthy living comes from healthy eating. Much like the poster child for a "feed the hungry" campaign, so many of God's children are starving to death spiritually. Not because they are bad people, but because they don't eat enough to stay alive. We make time to feed our bodies three times a day (plus!), lets make time to feed our spirits on the Bread of life daily so we don't end up in intensive care! You learned how to cook physical food. Get in the Word and learn how to cook spirit food for your soul to feed on!

Thank you for providing the Spirit for my daily Bread! Teach me how to feed on Him so I can live strong and long! 

How often do you eat?

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:37 AM

"He who feeds on me will live because of me."

John 6:57

It doesn't matter how well you have been eating or what great  physical condition you are in, if you stop eating you will become weak. If you continue to go without eating you will die. Is this hard to understand? You must eat to live. If you eat great nutritious food you will live well. We understand this about our bodies, therefore we feed ourselves well. Why do we have so much trouble understanding God's truth that our souls, just like our bodies, are a direct reflection of our eating habits. To be saved is to be born again. It is a real Spirit birth. You can't live just by being born. You must feed and be nourished to live. Both body and soul. In this great passage Jesus explains that He is the "bread of life". Does that name tell us something? What physical bread is to our bodies, His Spirit is to our spirit. It is the daily nourishment that we must consume to live strong. Why do so many believers start out so well and then after a while or after forty years they die spiritually? They are alive physically but there is no Spirit life in them. It is the simple truth that they stopped feeding on Christ Himself. Stop eating and you die. Slowly. To live Kingdom life you must learn how to feed yourself daily. Good stuff. Just as a baby may be spoon fed at first and he later learns to feed himself, a new believer may need to be spoon fed at first but he must learn how to feed on Christ for himself. How do you "feed on Jesus"? For me it is to get alone and let Him feed me on His Word by His Spirit. Some like to pray while listening to worship music. Others walk alone outdoors and talk to Him. However He leads you to do it you must eat to live. Its not for His sake. I eat for my sake so I can stay strong and live well. Its good to attend church and be fed. But, just like one meal a week, even if its a big one, is not enough to live on, much less stay strong on, one spiritual feeding a week isn't enough. When we understand that our lives are a direct reflection of our spiritual strength we will make it a priority to feed ourselves well on God's Spirit so that we can live well.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the bread and water, the wine and milk, the honey from the Rock that I need to live strong and thrive. Teach me how to "feed on you".

Always hope

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:36 AM

"Take heart men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me."

Acts 27:25

It has been said, and I believe it is true, that hope is the one thing that the human heart can not live without. People can overcome any obstacle, endure any setback and weather any storm as long as they can hold on to hope. Biblical hope is believing that I will experience the hand and goodness of God on my behalf. As king David said "I would have lost hope if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of God". I am convinced that the enemy of our soul constantly attacks our hope in the goodness and promise of God toward us. Often our circumstances scream hopelessness. Our eyes and intellects tell us that the outcome is in doubt. In this passage in Acts the scripture records that after a great storm "had beat on us for no few days (ever been there?) all hope was given up". The situation looked impossible. Much like today when futures are in jeopardy. Dreams are being dashed. Homes are dissolving. Finances are drying up. We are beginning to see, according to pollsters, a growing despair among  millennials concerning the future. However, in the midst of this darkness a man stood up and spoke revealing the truth that shattered the hopelessness when he said "take heart men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me". Here we find our anchor of hope for every issue of life. Our God is a God of hope according to Romans 15:13 who has given us a Book of Hope filled with the promises of His goodness to us when we choose to believe Him. In the darkness Paul chose to believe God's word concerning his situation. His faith was rewarded and the God of heaven worked a miracle on his behalf. We always have a choice. We can believe what we see, feel or think logically or we can chose to believe God's promise in His Word. Believing His Word is the source of all hope. Spend time meditating on His Word concerning you situation and allow the Holy Spirit to cause hope to rise in your heart. Then as Paul did, speak hope to others that need a "good word in due season".

I praise you that no mountain is too high for you, no obstacle is too great for you to overcome, no person is too far gone for you to redeem and no situation is too hopeless for you to heal. I believe that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living!

The doorway of His goodness

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:36 AM

"The Lord is gracious, full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all of His works."

Psalm 145:8-9

The goodness of God is what draws us to Him according to the book of Romans. Until you have a heart revelation of how good He is, it is impossible to trust Him. Would you send your children off in a car with a stranger? Would you get in a car with an angry man that intended to hurt you? Nobody is going to commit their life and well being to and angry, overbearing, uncaring God. Fear is a terrible motivator. We may sing the songs, attend the services and give lip service to Deity, but, until He shows us His heart we will never abandon ourselves to Him. Don't over complicate His goodness. When the Bible says that He is good, that is what it means. He is the most forgiving person in the world. He is the slowest to anger. He always chooses to see the best in people. He is the most generous man alive. He is the absolute "friend of sinners". He is the King that makes the common man His friend. He is always looking for a way to help people start over. Contrary to what religion has taught us (among many misconceptions) He is smiling. As a matter of Biblical fact He is rejoicing. (Luke 15:6) Over you. Once you begin to see by His Spirit how good He is you will begin to relax in His love the same way that a baby rests in its mother's arms. (Psalm 131:2) You will be drawn to Him. You will begin to go to Him confidently to meet every need. Your worry will give way to trust. Do your children worry about having food to eat, clothes to wear? Are you a better parent than Him? Pray for an understanding of how good He is. Ask Him to show Himself to you. Life in Him will go from duty to delight as you discover the smile of God over you!

I pray that you will be able to understand with all His children what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of God that passes human understanding.

Ephesians 3:18-19

The simplicity of the gospel

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:35 AM

"But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve, by his craftiness, so your minds could be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ."

2 Corinthians 11:3

We live in a day of off the charts complication. We have come a long way from the Andy Griffith days of simplicity. In this scripture we find an alarming admonition, warning us about the dangers of being seduced by satan himself away from the simple message of God. Let me remind you that the enemy of our souls is constantly attempting to take that which should be plain and understandable and twist it to the point of complication in order to confuse and deceive people in order to steal the blessing of God from them. Just a few years ago raising children was pretty simple. Grandma did it well with just a sixth grade education. When did it get so complicated? How about when the experts with all their degrees showed up?  Hasn't been all that long since right was right and wrong was wrong. When did we confuse the two? How about when the Bible was discarded in the land? Does anybody remember when common sense was actually common? Do we really need a PhD to tell us what dumb is? Our land is being carried away by deep complicated arguments that sound impressive but as the Bible says "the end result is death". Actually, the Bible is a pretty simple book. Its God's story. There is a Creator (you're not Him). Mankind broke relationship with Him through sin. His love wouldn't give up on His beloved children. He brutalized His dear Son on a cross to bring us back to Himself. His arms are open wide to anyone that wants to start over with Him. He is a good Father. Obey Him and experience an abundant life. Forever. There it is. Pretty simple isn't it? Please don't let the avowed enemy of your soul and family complicate this message. I am often labeled as "overly simplistic" by the "deep thinkers". They make my head hurt. I wear the label proudly. Why take something a child can understand and make it so complex that it leaves you wandering around in a maze without an exit? Always remember, dear ones, God spells it out in beautiful simplicity in His book. The deceiver (what does that name tell you?) wraps you around the axle and leaves you confused and bewildered. Keep it simple.

Thank you Father for making life so simple that I can understand it. Protect me from the "complicator" of truth that comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

Rich in poverty

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:35 AM

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3

Hettie Green is listed in the Guiness record book as the world's greatest miser. She lived in a one room run down apartment in New York. She turned the radiator heat up just enough to stay alive. She ate cold oatmeal at every meal. She owned one black dress that she would take off and wash every few nights. Don't pity Ms. Green. She had millions of dollars on deposit with the Chase Manhattan bank. She chose to live in poverty although she certainly didn't have to. If this verse in Ephesians is true, then Hettie's life is a picture of the life of God's children. Living in poverty although Jesus has purchased for us "every spiritual blessing". What is included in this "Divine deposit" the lover of our soul has made for us? His Word is the catalog of all that is ours in Him. Our peace, contentment, love, joy, purpose and prosperity are just a few of the treasures He records in His Book. We will spend a lifetime and all of eternity discovering all that is ours in Him. The tragedy would be to live in any need if it was already mine. Lets get in His Word and find our inheritance and then lay hold of it by faith. If there is one moment of regret in heaven it will be to arrive poverty stricken and find that it wasn't necessary. Let Hettie scrape by if she wants to. I don't want Jesus sacrifice to go to waste.

Thank you for being a good Father. Open my eyes to the "riches of my inheritance in Christ Jesus". I pray for grace not to waste your sacrifice for my blessing.

Pushing through

Posted by Brandon Patton on Monday, February 25, 2019 @ 9:48 AM

"For she said, "if only I can touch His clothes I will be made well."

Mark 5:28

The woman in this passage had a great need, much like we all do. She knew that if she could just get to Jesus He would help her. However, she found herself having to fight through the crowd to reach Him. Have you ever noticed in the Bible how often people had to fight through something to get to God so He could help them? Over and over people had to push through circumstances to reach Him. What is God saying through these examples? There is no doubt that He is good, that He is able to meet any need we incur. The message is that His goodness toward us often is blocked by something. That we must often press in to be blessed. What if, when the going got difficult she had given in to discouragement and stopped reaching out to Him? What if, when the way became hard she had assumed that it wasn't His will to help her? There was something about this woman that refused to stop believing that He would do something great for her even is she had to battle for it. If the four men that carried a crippled friend to Jesus had stopped at the first roadblock he would never have been healed. They were determined to get to Him so they just tore the roof off the house and lowered him down in front of the healer. I can't explain why it often seems like such a fight to reach God and His goodness, but, I do know that if we determine that we will reach Him no matter what the cost He always shows Himself faithful to us. What is standing between you and your need or heart's desire? Is it doubt? Is it your own weakness? Like the woman, is it other people? Is it the silence of God? Whatever it is, you have to choose. Quit in discouragement and miss His best for you, or you can declare that "He is good and He will meet me as I press in by faith to reach Him". The woman declared "when I get to Jesus He will help me". His promises can not fail. He will do what He said He would. Sometimes its not knowledge, its just plain old bulldog determination to reach Him that gets rewarded. Ask the woman.

Father, I know you are there even when I don't feel you or see you. I know by your promise that as I push through to you I will see your goodness to me. Help me to press on to lay hold of you and your best.

The reward of the humble

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:43 AM

"God gives grace to the humble."

James 4:6

Different people admire different traits and qualities in others. Some respect strength. Some admire courage. Still others are impressed by charisma. The Bible reveals to us that the trait that moves the heart of God is humility. From Genesis to Revelation we see that He seeks out the humble and does great things for them. David, although a great warrior who had killed a lion with his hands, remained a man of deep humility allowing God to bless him and raise him up. Moses is declared the most humble man that ever lived in the Bible. He was a bold leader that walked in humility before God. No doubt that the person that desires the favor and goodness of God on their lives needs to cultivate the trait of humility. Although it is the quality that God desires most of all it is also one of the most misunderstood traits. Many believe that humility is to be self loathing, mousy, or pitiful looking. Not at all. This is actually inverted pride. Humility is defined in scripture as simply being needy. A humble man is one that knows and acknowledges his great need for God's grace. He is one that is totally dependant on God for everything. He agrees with the Bible that "apart from Jesus I can do nothing". God is not looking for people that want to impress Him with how strong they are or how they ca do it on their own. He is drawn to the humble cry of the tax collector in Luke 18, "God be merciful to me a sinner". The question is not whether we are needy or not. Everyone is. Only the fool believes that he is self sufficient. Who's air are you breathing right now? The issue is whether we recognize our need or not. Lets place ourselves in the place of grace by bowing before God in humility knowing that just as water always runs to the lowest place, His kindness flows from heaven to the lowest heart.

Today I praise you that there is abundant grace waiting for me at your feet. I humble myself and declare that I need you more than I know. Thank you that the cry of the humble is always a prayer that you respond to.  

Patterns

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:42 AM

"Brethren, join in following my example, and make a note of others who live like me as you have us as a pattern."

Philippians 3:17

Its a known truth that to get somewhere you need to know where you are going! Nobody achieves greatness by accident. If you reach your goal it will be on purpose. In this verse our great God reveals one of the necessary keys to ending up where we want to be. He admonishes us to identify people that are living the life that we desire to live and use them as a "pattern" for our lives. We have the bible to show us the abundant life that we desire. We also have the life of Jesus as a model to follow. But, He also calls us to pick out people that can serve as models for us to imitate. I was blessed to have men that lived exceptional lives that I could watch and learn from as a pattern for where I wanted to be. Ernie taught me by example to refuse to live a mediocre life. He taught me to never miss a chance to make every day extraordinary. Kenneth modeled a life of great faith in God's Word that I could follow and imitate. Perry inspired me to have a passion for people to find salvation in Jesus. Ken ignited in me a deep desire for the mysticism of the Kingdom. To never be satisfied with what I know about Jesus as a person but to always be seeking to know Him more. What about you? Do you have some people in your life that you admire certain qualities about? Qualities that you would like to develop? Maybe a parent, a friend or a public figure? Identify a few people that you can "study" and learn from. Someone that you can ask yourself "what would so and so do"? Mark yourself some patterns that can help you get where God has destined you to go.  

Father, today I am grateful for the people that you have placed in my life as patterns to help me reach my full potential in you. Thank you for living examples along life's road!   

You have to say it

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:42 AM

"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."

Psalm 91:2

When you are in a difficult place what do you do? Do you pray? do you talk about how hard it is? Do you sulk in discouragement? The Bible teaches that to receive help from on high we must speak something. In this verse  we see that we must "say" something. "I will say" is how we release faith in God and His word that causes Him to intervene in the affairs of our lives. This is how faith works. Jesus taught in Mark 11:23 that to have faith in God is to believe His promise and then speak it out loud. He then said that "he who speaks will have whatever he says". This seems strange to the natural mind. So be it. Its natural during tough times to want to whine, talk about the problem, predict doom, ask why and wonder what will happen, but this is not what faith does. Faith believes God's promise and begins to speak what God says in dogged determination. Don't say "we are going broke". Say "my God will supply all my need". Don't say "I'm scared for my kids". Say "all my children will be taught of the Lord and live in great peace". Don't say "I'm afraid of what might happen". Say "no evil shall befall me nor shall any plague come near my door". You get the picture. Stop living and speaking what you see. Start living by and speaking God's word and promises. His goodness is available to anyone. It is faith that brings it home.

"Blessed be the Lord that daily loads me with benefits!"

Psalm 68:19

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