Give Us This Day


I know Jesus always meant what he said. In my own life, I really try to “mean what I say, and say what I mean”, and for the most part, I’d say that is generally what is accomplished.

So when Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread” (or however your translation happens to phrase it) I think he wasn’t really just talking about bread—or even just our food.

Too often we are caught up in any moment besides now. Worries about the future, or even just plans and strategies for our future; hurt, pain, doubt, guilt from our past, whether of our own doing, or somehow inflicted upon us—these things can consume us.

We really have no idea what is coming next, nor how our past has prepared us for the now.

All we have is “this day”.

That reality has been so present for me again lately. I have friends who have been thrust into a daily place that I’m sure they don’t want to be (and yet, I know they are seeing and even feeling God’s blessings in the midst of such a hard place) and we are even waging our own daily battles here, too, which seem to have been going on for far too long now.

Maybe someone you love has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Maybe you have. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you lost someone that you love. Maybe you’re living a life that you never thought would be “like this”, and you don’t know how to change it.

Maybe you doubt your Father’s love, or his goodness… or even his existence.

Give us this day…

I think today, I will drink deeply of the place that God has me. I know the bad. Somehow it is often better at being noticed. (Or maybe I am better at noticing it.) But I also know the good. There is good, now. It’s not some future reality that will be present once I’m through this, or change that, or realize some yet-unattained desire.

I have breath in me. I am here, in this place, now. There are people (whom God loves) around me whom I can share that breath and life with … now.

This day.

None of this is new, I’m sure. It’s not to me. But it sure seems that I need reminders to slow, to breathe, to just… be.


May your day be filled with all that he gives. Even if it’s not what you were hoping or looking for.

He is there. This day.

The Water Shoe [Memory Lane]

Continuing the series from the last week of July, we’ll been taking a trip down Memory Lane each Thursday in August! I will be posting some of my favorite stories ever published here. Some were taken from books (like today’s) and others have only been published online thus far. There are some funny, some sad, and some heart-warming moments from the life we’ve lived. If you missed any, you can use the series navigation at the end of this post to read more. I invite you to enjoy them (all) with me, too.

This was one of the most fun lessons in trusting God that we’ve ever seen actually worked out before our own eyes. It was truly incredible to be part of, and, all for only a tiny shoe.

The Water Shoe

October 29th & 30th, 2003

This collection of articles was written “real-time”, not after the fact (until the fact had actually happened) and so we wanted to present them that way, but we have put them together in one chapter calling it The Water Shoe. We still have the water shoe. It only cost us a few dollars at a Wal-Mart somewhere along the way, but it is now priceless for what—for Who—it represents. So, sit back and read the story of the day we found The Water Shoe…

Flowery Prayers

October 29th, 2003

I was humbled again. By my son Ian. I love it when he does that. Really.

We were praying, and sometimes Ian is a bit embarrassed to talk with God in front of people, even Mom and Dad. Tonight he was again, but He decided to.

A bit of background…

We went to the beach tonight after sunset (yes, the water was still quite warm!) and Ian and I were having a bunch of fun jumping waves. On one jump, over a large wave, Ian returned to the ground quite upset, and finally got out of him that he lost his water shoe!!! I spent 10 minutes feeling around for it, and looking around in the moonlit water. No luck. And all I could think about was the trust of Ian for his Dad to find his shoe (that seemed to me to be quite precious to him) and how I could not do it. So I kept thinking that God is in control of oceans. And I kept asking him to help me find it, wash it up on shore, or put it in my hand. Whatever he wanted to do for my son Ian who completely trusts both of his Dads. Well, no shoe, but I kept thinking that we should just come back tomorrow morning… so, I went back to Ian and told him that. And we are going to go back and look for it tomorrow morning.

So, fast forward to tonight, praying before Ian goes to bed. And Ian decides he can pray without getting embarrassed. He simply asked God to “please put the shoe on the beach so we can find it tomorrow. Thanks.” That was so cool.

The part that humbled me was not that. We continued to pray, and this time I was praying for our friend Kayla who is sick in the hospital with pneumonia. I thanked God for being big and powerful and asked him to help in many ways to heal Kayla, and to help Kayla’s Mom have peace as she trusts Him.

Simple. Plain English. That’s how I would talk to my dad, so that’s how I talk to my Dad.

But Ian wanted to pray for Kayla, too. So he did.

“God, we know that you are mighty, and powerful… and we ask you to… get the… to… uh…. (many words) … help the doctors get medicine to help Kayla’s body to get better. So she doesn’t die.”

Notice a difference? I did. Ian was getting all flowery (in his best four-year-old way… because I guess I do. I try hard to just be real with God. Guess I can try even more. I don’t want Ian thinking God is a distant, unapproachable God who only listens if we use the right words.

Thanks Ian for a fresh perspective.

Thanks Dad for Ian.

You are both awesome. (In different ways of course…)

Ian’s Shoe

October 30th, 2003

The Water ShoeJust a quick update on Ian’s shoe…

We got up this morning at 7am, which is like 3 hours before Ian usually gets up! We walked right out the door (Dad and Ian) and headed to the beach. We asked God as we walked to show us where He put the shoe… and we started looking. We probably looked for 30 min or so, up and down the beach where we had lost it. No luck. I finally told Ian, “Why don’t we go home and we’ll come back and see if God wants to give it to us later. Sometimes God likes us to learn to trust Him by waiting.”

So we did. We made it back to the beach around 1:30pm or so with the whole family, and started to look again. We were just having fun, too… but Ian really wanted to find his shoe. He said, “Ask God again, Dad!” I told him, “Yeah, I can’t do anything about this Ian. If God wants to give you your shoe, He will, if not, then we’ll just have to get another one.”

Within one minute I think, Ian had gone up to be with Mom (out of the water) and they started walking down the beach, and there were shouts of excitement… THEY FOUND IT!!! It was just sitting right in the beach wash (which Ian and I had checked at least 4 times earlier today).

Wow. Thanks God. You are the Wave Maker. The Oceans (and the Gulfs) obey your commands. And you love your children so much. We are amazed at God’s abilities and his love for us.

Hope you know that too.

From My Perspective

October 30th, 2003

I just wanted to add some more on the fantastic faith story of Ian’s water shoe. Just some thoughts from my head throughout the whole thing.

Can God Really Do It?

That thought obviously kept going through my head. In a way. You know, I really had no problem believing that God could bring Ian’s shoe out of the water and neatly onto the shore for us… but where my mind betrays me or gets me into trouble is on the “does he want to” side of things. I mean, what does God care about a shoe?

But He Cares About Ian…

But I kept coming back to the fact that it’s not about the shoe. It’s about how much God loves Ian—and even me—in this. He loves it when we come to him believing that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith Like A Child.

You know, I actually saw Ian’s simple faith waiver a bit. But it wasn’t as insecure as my wavering. I wonder if God would ever do something big and God-like for me… but Ian didn’t worry about that. He just wondered when it would happen. He knew God would do it. That was so cool. I did too actually. It was honestly some of the most confident I have been in a while, and I just smiled every time I was talking to God cause I really knew He was going to do it.

Moments of Doubt.

There were plenty of moments when I had looked and asked and found nothing where I wanted to just give up. And I would talk to God again and ask Him what should I do… lead me to the shoe. (That rhymed…) I knew that even if God did not come through with the shoe, there would be some awesome story of His provision. I was confident in that.


You know, I honestly thought I would celebrate more. But all I wanted to do was smile and worship God. We sang some, we shouted out “GOD IS AWESOME!” and just had fun. But in the end, we were really expecting Him to do it! We knew he could, and we thought he would. Amazing.

I think that is how God wants us to live. Completely trusting Him, even when it doesn’t make sense, or seem possible. There are so many chances we have in life to trust that God is bigger. Sickness being one of them. Our friend’s daughter is really, really sick. And they love Jesus. A lot. They are in a crisis of belief. Can God fix this? Will he? Does he love us? They know all the answers, but now they have to trust him.

God gave Ian his shoe back today so he will have a reason to trust Him in the future with bigger stuff. Our friends are dealing with a very tough situation right now, where they have to trust God. God has given them plenty of shoes. That is what they are holding on to, and taking comfort in right now—the shoes God has given them.

What are your shoes? Can you think of one? Or several? God gives us little markers along the way where we see Him very clearly working or leading in our lives. And it’s when we look back at those that we can look forward in trust. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Words of wisdom from the book of Hebrews.

Faith requires action. God gives us reasons to trust him (shoes) and then something happens where we have to trust him. That’s when we remember the shoes, and trust that He has another one for us.

Tonight, celebrate Ian’s shoe, and remember yours. And thank God for his amazing love and faithfulness. And trust him. Really trust him.

Life in the Rearview Mirror: Reflections on Life Lived by Greg CampbellThis post is a chapter in the book A Journey Shared: Selected Thoughts on Life from Greg’s Head from by Greg Campbell, available through If you’d like to purchase the book, please click the book title in the previous sentence. Thanks for reading, sharing, and feel free to add to the discussion in the comments below, or wherever else you can reach me.

Pray… Why?


Do you ever wonder why we pray? I mean, God is love, he’s all knowing, he’s sovereign, omni-everything, right? So… why should I reiterate what he already knows, especially since he also knows what comes next?

Yes. So have I.

In fact, I often wonder all of that while I am praying.

It happens when I make nearly every request of any kind. “God, my friend’s grandma has so many health issues right now … which… you already know, but… well, it would be nice if you could, I mean… I know you CAN… so, they’d like for her to be healed, obviously… except, if you know a reason—I mean, of course you DO have a reason, and know one… if you do…—for her to not be healed, then we want that, instead of what we’re asking. I’m pretty sure. InJesusNameAmen.”

Something like that.

But, really… if God knows everything, and we really do trust him with all that we are (and whatever is, and is to come) then… why do we pray?

Some of Jesus’ most famous words are what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”. He precedes this “Lord’s Prayer” with the words, “When you pray… you should pray like this:”

That sounds important. We like “How To”s.

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.

OK. Holy. Different. Other. Remember that we are not God, that he is, and keep our perspective properly calibrated. Got it.

May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.

It really can be lousy here sometimes. So I understand why we should ask for this. But every time? Maybe it is a perspective thing again? It does remind us that we are not in control. We don’t get to pick when God’s Kingdom will exist “on earth, as it does in heaven”.

We really don’t. Have you seen the news lately? The crazy abortion guy in Philadelphia? The government is getting more and more intrusive, says the NSA Whistleblower? Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes… deaths and destruction? The Middle East is always on fire, everyone wanting everyone else dead (and working hard to make it happen).

Yuck. And that’s just the “world out there”. Don’t we all have our own messes?

Yep. We do.

I’m definitely on board with this, “May your Kingdom come soon” part.

Give us today the food we need,

OK, daily provision. Not a week’s (or month’s!) worth of food in the fridge and freezer and pantry… daily food. Sounds like another reminder for us that we need God. More perspective.

Apparently Jesus knows we need lots of perspective adjustment each time we talk with God?

and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

Huh. Look at that. More perspective setting.

First, we are sinners. (Forgive our sin…) That’s perspective right there. I don’t have it all together. I’m not without blame, error, nor evil.

But the second part is the other perspective setter: forgive as we forgive others who have wronged us.

Hmm. So our own forgiveness (before we even get to ask God about what we were praying for in the first place …) is dependent upon how forgiving we are to people who are mean to us?

Looks like it.

But I don’t think it’s just God saying, “Lalalalala.. I’m not LIST-en-ing…. until you forgive your brother! Oh, and your neighbors, too, while you’re at it.” I think we’re back to the perspective setting. How can we ask for, and expect God to forgive our wrongs when we won’t do the same for somebody else?

We really can’t.

And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Satan. The Evil One. One, not just … evil, as a generic term. So another perspective adjustment, this time to remember that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but a very real, spiritual one.

I understand. Paul says this in Galatians:

“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. (Gal 5:16-17)

Everyday, all day there is a war inside me. One side wanting to serve self, the other to deny self; preferring submission to Spirit, and often to others.

It makes sense, then, to first remember the battle exists, and is ongoing, and also to ask for help standing up against it.

Wait. What? Where’s the rest? Where’s the, “And please help Aunt Mary…” or the “And I need a [fill in the need blank]…”?

They aren’t there.

Jesus did perhaps add “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” That line is in some manuscripts we have, and not in others.

But there is still not a “Insert your [real] requests here…” part.

Fascinating, huh?

So Jesus said, “When you pray, pray like this.” And nearly all of it is just perspective rebuilding. Maybe it’s just important that we remember (1) there is a powerful, loving God, and (2) you’re not him.

(Neither am I.)

So, for the sake of context, In the previous paragraphs, Jesus makes sure that his disciples know that praying is not for show. In fact, he says pray in your closet. (Do you do that? I don’t think I ever have…) He also says don’t “babble on and on”. More words does not mean more power. Apparently, it’s not like having more raffle tickets gets you a better chance of winning the prize.

And later on, in the next chapter (chapters being as we have divided them, post-Jesus) he gets back to the topic of prayer with these words:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

So … don’t use a lot of words, but… ask a lot? Not sure what Jesus is trying to say here, other than trust your Father.

Maybe that is all he’s trying to say?

God is good. (And he is God.) He loves you, far better than even the best dad could. He’s listening, and wants to forgive wrongs, and protect from future bad choices.

Remind us who we are, and who you are, God.

And that’s how—and why—to pray.

Holding Pattern

It would seem the the operative word for me this moment is: Wait.

For quite a while there’s been a stirring in me that something is going to change. They have never been wrong so far, these inklings, and so I’d guess this one will not be either. And in fact, I have good reason to believe that thanks to some developing events. But for the moment … they have not completely unfolded. In fact, at the moment, I can elaborate no more than that.

But there’s more on hold than that.

I have several new web projects brewing, but for one reason or another all of them remain “on hold”. For a while we were “on hold” with several expected payments as well, but those have been coming in of late. (That’s good!)

Everything around me seems to be at a point where I just have to wait. I’ve caught myself actually thinking, “I’ve got nothing to do right now!” (Then I do quickly think of ten other things I need to tend to… but usually the List of Urgent is so dominant that I don’t get a chance to even breathe, much less think how I might have “nothing to do”.

And perhaps that’s it.

I tend to be “fidgety” when I have nothing to do. I am a Doer. I do. But perhaps God is allowing me some time to breathe? Maybe he knows what’s coming. Obviously I can not, and do not. But he does.

In the waiting, I’ve had some time to pray for people. (And there are definitely some people who are “waiting” on much more serious issues than I am dealing with. I am praying for God’s peace for many folks right now…) I’ve had some more time to be with my family. I even worked on a personal project today that I hadn’t been able to in … well, I don’t know how long!

But at the moment, there’s really nothing I can do other than wait. I am tempted to feel as though I am not doing all I can do when I reach those times, but perhaps as I get a tad older I realize the fruit that can come from the holding patterns, too. Perhaps.

However, I do admit to some pretty great “antsy-ness”. 🙂

This season will pass. For now, I wait. But soon I’m sure we’ll be back to doing.

Till then maybe I can make a dent in my next-to-read list…

Asking Because We’re Loved

Remember a little while ago, I posted some thoughts regarding asking God for things, even though we might know or trust that he knows the best option or outcome anyway? I am still chewing on that, to be sure, because the more I get to know our Father, the more I trust his love for me and his way superior wisdom (not to mention much better vantage point).

This morning I was thinking more about what we ask God for and had a couple more thoughts to add. This past weekend, we were looking at Paul’s prayer and how he asked for stuff we don’t usually pray for. We like to pray for healing and other physical things (monetary needs, jobs, places to live, food to eat, etc.) Paul asked God to give the church inner strength, an understanding of just how amazingly loved by God they are, and by that to be filled with the fullness of life that comes from God. Notably, he didn’t ask for healing, provisions, or freedom from persecution. He asked that they would know Jesus more.

And, I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, in Jesus “model prayer” (his reply to, “Master, teach us how to pray”) neither did he pray for healing – only for “daily bread”.

But what perhaps “clicked” today for me was that, even though Jesus didn’t necessarily ask God for it, and Paul did not, what we see Jesus doing is tons of healing. A majority of the stories we have from Jesus’ life on the planet involve some sort of healing. (And sometimes we see him asking his Father to bring that healing, but often he just healed.)

Why the discrepancy? Why wouldn’t Jesus model that in his “How To Pray” prayer? Why didn’t Paul ask for that for the Ephesians? I think maybe that there are “better” things than healing, at times, but in the end, God loves us… and he listens to us. He really does. When Jesus saw the people who were hurting and were asking for healing, maybe he knew of some way they could “grow” spiritually – that “inner strength” Paul asked for the Ephesians to receive – but when he was asked, he gave.

I know that as a dad – and certainly a flawed dad – I can be swayed by my kids’ askings. Even if perhaps there is a “better” option. Not always, of course. But sometimes. And I wonder if sometimes God forgoes the long range “best” to just say a short term, “I love you.” Could that be? Does that mean he is choosing an inferior option? Doesn’t that lessen him? Only if love is a lesser choice. I think he’d argue that it is not.

Much of this is just off-the-cuff ramblings from some thoughts I am still processing. It’s been a strange season lately. Lots of major illness and other things to ask God to heal, restore, renew. I am doing that. (And actually, so is he. Some very positive – if only short term? – happenings in response to our askings.) So, thanks for reading along, and I very much welcome your thoughts on “prayer” and the balance between asking him for what we long for, what we think is best, and trusting the love of our amazing Father, whom we know loves us, and knows “best.”

It’s an interesting journey, is it not?