Some of the best-known verses from the Psalms are the first few verses of Psalm 103. Written by King David, the Psalm focuses on the blessings received from the Lord and encourages us to “bless the Lord, O my soul.” In verse 2, David writes, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…” It is these few words that are the reason for this page on our website: remembering the Lord, and all His benefits.
This year is a special year to us in Canada. Forty years ago, the very first physical office was opened in Windsor, Ontario, to fully serve Canada with Our Daily Bread and the many resources that accompanied it. To see what the Lord has done over the past forty years causes us to pause and remember His blessings.
It’s hard to imagine how the time has flown. Do you recall in 1981 when the entire country converted to selling gasoline from gallons to litres, or when NASA launched the first space shuttle mission? Even while the grand opulence of Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding was taking place, the work to establish the Windsor office was also in full motion.
After servicing Canadians out of the U.S. office in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1938, having an actual office in Canada, staffed by Canadians ready to serve from within Canada was a decision that made sense – and we can only praise God that He has maintained the ministry in Canada for all of these years. Since September 23, 1981, the office has been through many changes. Originally situated in a 500 square foot office overlooking the Detroit River, the office and staff grew quickly. By 1999, the Board of Directors determined that a piece of property in a new development should be purchased for building our own office, rather than paying rent each month. It was a quick transaction. So quick in fact, that the new building was being built, even before the new road was in place! The office walls were going up as the road grader began levelling the ground where the road would be built.
As we look back on the Lord’s faithfulness over the past forty years, we bless Him for all He has done. He has not only blessed the work and the workers, he has also provided loyal supporters across Canada. As a result of all these blessings, today, we are able to distribute over 2.5 million copies of Our Daily Bread throughout Canada each year.
Another special anniversary we are celebrating this year is the 65th Anniversary of the Our Daily Bread devotional itself. The first edition was printed and distributed in April 1956, and now, 65 years, and almost 24,000 daily devotionals later, Our Daily Bread is distributed in over 100 countries around the world, in over 50 languages.
It is interesting how the Lord directs and moves us. In 1956, Our Daily Bread was introduced to draw people into the Word of God on a daily basis. At that time, the only other ministry was a Sunday radio program. Dr. M. R. DeHaan and his leadership team felt that a daily devotional would be the perfect thing to encourage listeners to read the Bible each day between broadcasts. Started in 1938, the weekly radio message of the Radio Bible Class grew quickly across the USA, Canada, and on shortwave radio.
Dr. M. R. DeHaan would preach the Bible with passion and might, often focusing on the coming of the Lord, and closing his message with the reminder that “perhaps today” the Lord might come. His Perhaps Today reminder became so synonymous with his preaching, that a listener hand-painted a small sign for his desk that simply said Perhaps Today. That desk sign is now on display in the front entrance of the offices in Grand Rapids.
Once again, we bring to remembrance, the words of Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…” Thank you once again that we can remember the Lord’s benefits to us over the past 40 years, and may we continue to bless Him this year in all we do.