Tag Archives: The Bread of LIfe

October 14; Bread From Heaven

Mark 6:45-56; Matthew 14:22-36; John 6:16-59

Seriously, is there anything better than the aroma of freshly-baked bread, filling the entire house with its enticing scent? There might be something better than that. But you have to agree that smell is right up there.

On the surface, what Jesus is saying in John 6 is anything but appetizing. If you don’t understand metaphors, reading this portion of John’s Gospel can be disturbing because it seems Jesus is proposing cannibalism. That’s the opposite of baking bread, right? But take a closer look at this Scripture. Jesus is telling us He is the Messiah!

He is the Bread which came down from heaven. His body made of real flesh, will be brutally beaten and hung on a cross where He will die. His blood, as red as yours, will be shed so my sins – and yours- can be forgiven. And we who take Him in are satisfied forever.

No more hunger for peace. He is our peace. No more longing for love. God IS love. No more thirsting for joy, or happiness, or worth. Jesus is all that, and more. People who are always looking for more, have only to accept what Jesus offers, and find more than they were looking for.

There are those who will tell you that Jesus is talking to a chosen few, because He tells us, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…: (vs 44). They use the word, “unless,” to suggest God is selective in who He draws to Himself. But read on.

Verses 45-47 says, “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him come to me… he who believes has everlasting life.” I will tell you without hesitation that Jesus is talking to YOU.

Jesus is saying you can’t bake your own bread. God has sent His Son, the Bread of Life, into the world, and like a fresh loaf right out of the oven, His aroma spreads out over the whole world, drawing all people to the source. Everyone who listens to God, and believes in His Son, will have everlasting life.

That’s what God chose. He chose to save everyone who listens to the Father, learns from Him, and comes to Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Jesus tells us not to work for food that spoils. Don’t try to find happiness in a spouse, or fulfillment in a job, or success by driving a BMW, or salvation in church attendance. The only “work” we can do to receive what Jesus died to give us is believe in Him. (vs 29)

Breathe in that aroma, devour that Bread from Heaven, make Him a part of you. And never hunger or thirst again.

April 13; How Much Better Would It Be?

I Samuel 13:24-14-52; I Chronicles 8:1-9

The Israelites were at war, and God gave them one victory after another. Saul had tunnel vision, which probably isn’t really a bad thing for a leader. But what I see here is that Saul’s tunnel vision had him wanting to defeat the enemy, without caring for the fighting men who were putting their lives on the line. The Bible tells us Saul was so intent on winning, he threw out an oath and cursed anyone who ate anything until he had “avenged himself on (his) enemies.”

“Fight!” he seems to say. “Attack and kill! And don’t you dare stop even long enough to eat anything until I have the victory.”

The Bible says the men were in distress because of it. I love what Jonathan said when he heard what his dad had demanded of them. In effect, Johnathan replied,

“That’s just stupid.”

Just a taste of honey made a noticeable difference in Johnathan’s appearance and strength. How much better would an entire meal be?

We are at war with our enemy Satan. And I wonder if some of us aren’t fighting one battle after another without stopping to feed our souls. We neglect our private time with the Bread of Life. We don’t drink from the Living Water when we don’t pray, when we don’t meditate on His Word.

Yet we’re out there fighting Satan, weak as we are. Johnathan asked, “How much better would it have been if the fighting men had stopped to eat…?” I’m asking the same thing of us.

How much better would our day be, how much more decisive would our victory be, if we’d take on every day, every battle, not in our own strength – but in the strength of the Lord? Thinking we can fight Satan without a nourished soul is, in effect just… well…

stupid.

 

Deuteronomy 16-17; Bread of Affliction

Moses, in 16:3, called unleavened bread, “the bread of affliction.” Remember, the Jews were to eat only unleavened bread during Passover. The bread was to remind them about their ancestors’ time of slavery in Egypt, and how God told them to flee Egypt in haste.

As a non-Jew, I don’t think I’ve given enough attention to that symbolism as it applies to my own life in 2017. I don’t know about you, but there are just some things I’d rather forget. So why were the Jews commanded to remember the darkest time in their history, the days of affliction and slavery? And is this suggesting I remember my own darkest days, the days I was a slave to sin?

I think there are two reasons why this is exactly the case:

1.  If we don’t remember our mistakes, we take the risk of repeating them. “History repeats itself” is sadly true way too often.

2.  Remembering my past sins helps me to recognize what a great salvation is mine through the blood of Jesus, and how far I’ve come with Him since I asked Him to forgive me.

But didn’t Paul say, “Forgetting what lies behind…”? So which is it? Are we to remember the past or forget it?

Yes.

There is a difference between remembering the past, and living there. As awful as the things I did in my past, I don’t want to just forget them and pretend they never happened. I don’t want to ever do those things again. But I don’t want to continue to beat myself up for things God’s forgiven me for, either. That’s why Paul said he lets the past live in the past, but then he presses on toward the goal of knowing Jesus today.

I want my relationship with my Savior to be a realistic one. That’s why I have those memories of past sins, to recognize how much it cost Him to pay for each and every one. I want to live my life out of gratitude for so great a salvation. And I want to remember what being separated from Him because of my sin felt like, so I never go back to those dark days.

The Old Testament Jews were told to leave Egypt quickly, and completely. They weren’t told to go back, or even to revisit their place of captivity. But they were also told never to forget what it was like to live back there.

I am reminded Jesus called Himself, the Bread of Life. No longer the bread of affliction. He is the life-giver, the sin-forgiverer, the One who redeems by past and makes something beautiful out of my ugliness.

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me today what it was like to live in “Egypt.” A slave to sin, with no hope. A woman condemned to life and eternity without You. And thank You for being the Bread of Life, who has forgiven me for every sin that I’ve committed, who sees me as Your child, Your friend. I am in awe. I am humbled. And I am grateful for what Jesus did for even me, as He hung on that cross. May I never forget what it cost Him, may I never forget where I’ve been, and may I never go back there. I give you my past, and press on toward the future with You, my Savior and my Lord.

 

 

 

Exodus 39-40; Not For Show

The shewbread or “bread of the face,” or “bread of the Presence” has never really caught my attention before. But after doing a bit of research, I am thanking God for the precious truth that loaf represents.

Twelve loaves of bread, baked with the finest flour, were arranged every week on the table in the Tent of Meeting. It was there as a display, set out representing the Presence of God among the twelve tribes of Israel. The bread, however, was not to be eaten by anyone, no matter how hungry they might be.

Then, after a week, new loaves replaced the old ones, and the priests ate the week-old bread on the Sabbath. It serves as another example of Jesus.

Before the cross, God was accessible to only a few chosen people, and only periodically. Oh, His Presence was visible. Just not touched.

Then Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life,” and “Take, eat…” God is no longer out of reach to those who accept Him.

Fill me, Lord. Thank You for Jesus, the Bread of Life. Thank You for making Yourself accessible to us through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for being everything I need for life and eternity. I want more of You. Fill me, Lord.

Exodus 16; Give Us This Day

Manna intrigues me. It was something no one had ever seen before, or has seen since. It came straight from God in a very visible way. It was good, refreshing, and nourishing. The Israelites could bake it or boil it. And God gave exactly what everyone needed every day.

One commentator I read suggested I put myself in a Jewish sandal for a moment. Their food supply was spent. They went to bed hungry every night, and parents knew their children were starving. Is it any wonder they complained to their leader?

And is it any wonder that, when that first manna came down from heaven, some hoarded a bunch? They had learned to go to bed each night with no food in the fridge, and it was pretty understandable they wanted a backup plan in case the manna didn’t come again in the morning.

But the manna came. And their hoarded food spoiled. Lesson: Trust God even when things look  hopeless. The Israelites learned they could go to bed at night without any food in the house and no means of supplying food on their own, and trust that God would provide. Every. Day.

Sometimes I can lie awake in bed at night and worry over a situation, or plot a plan of action just in case. I need to learn from the Jews and trust God to supply exactly what I need. When will I learn to pray believing in every situation?

Scripture has been likened to manna. Jesus told us He is the Bread of Life. And Jesus taught us to pray “… give us this day our daily bread…”

Jill Briscoe, in her book “Here Am I… Send Aaron,” points out an important lesson from this account in Exodus 16. If God’s Word is manna, and Jesus is the Bread of Life, how’s my diet?

Most of us have probably been “hangry” a time or two in our lives. You know that irritable feeling that comes from being hungry. Isn’t it Snickers that has the commercial that tells us, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry”? Been there. Done that.

But how many angry Christians do you know? Christians who complain about the pastor, who divide the fellowship with malicious gossip, who find fault in every decision, and who blame God when they don’t get their way. Jill suggests those kinds of Christians aren’t collecting manna.

We are all created with a hunger to know God. And God has supplied the manna in the pages of the Bible. But if we don’t read it, think on it, pray over it every day, we are starving ourselves. Too many people expect the pastor to feed them a week’s worth of manna on Sunday. They have reason to be “hangry” if that’s the case. They are starving!

Jesus prayed, “give us this day…”  God does. We just need to collect it this day, and every day. If we feed our souls, feast on God Word, ingest our Bread of Life daily, we will be healthy, productive children of God.

If we don’t, well… it’s not God’s fault.

October 18 – A Dozen Donuts, Please

John 6

I do not believe Scripture teaches that God “chooses” to save some individuals, and “chooses” others to send to hell. Quite the contrary, in fact. God so loved the world that… WHOEVER believes has everlasting life. God didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but that THE WORLD could be saved through Him.

But then I come across a verse like 6:65, “… For this reason, I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father,” and I picture God on His throne, pointing His scepter and saying, “I’ll take that one, and that one, but not that one,” like some guy picking out a dozen donuts.

Jesus had just talked about His role as The Bread of Life. He went into shocking detail that seemed like He was talking about cannibalism. But, He explained, the words He spoke weren’t about the flesh at all. They were words of spirit and life. He was describing who it is that are granted salvation. It is those who partake of the Bread of Life, who take Jesus in – all of Him.

Some look at this verse through a paper towel tube and see Mary, and Susie, and Bob. I think God would have us see The Way, not individuals. No one can come to Jesus unless it has been granted him from the Father, and in order for anyone to be granted access, that person… any person… must accept Jesus.

Jesus is reminding us there is only one Salvation. And only those who do it God’s way are granted access to the Son. God chose mankind to save. And He has spelled out His plan of salvation in great detail. It’s all about Jesus.

The choice to do it God’s way, or not, is your choice. To choose Jesus is life. To choose rejection of Him is death. It can’t get much plainer than that.

June 29 – Best. Food. Ever.

I Kings 17-19

Elijah was a great man of God, and God revealed Himself through Elijah in extraordinary ways. But Elijah was human.

So when Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life, the prophet was afraid, and ran. He hid in the wilderness, feeling alone, betrayed, and fearful.

Ever felt like that? No one understands the depth of our pain. It seems like life itself is against you, and you are afraid. You are at a loss where to turn or who you can trust.

I Kings 19 shares something I find incredibly helpful. When Elijah was at his most vulnerable, God sent an angel with freshly baked bread and cool water. The prophet ate it, then took a nap.

The angel came again with the food and water, then said something I want you to hear today:

Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.

The truth is, folks, sometimes life is too hard, the journey too tough to handle on our own. We need what God provides.

I love this picture of the heavily bread and water the angel gave Elijah. Didn’t Jesus say HE is the Bread of Life, and the Living Water? Didn’t He say if we drink Him in we’ll never thirst?

Elijah’s story doesn’t end there. After eating and drinking the heavenly food, he got up, “and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty night…” (vs 8)

That’s some good food!

I don’t know where you are in life. You may be on a mountain top or right there with Elijah under that jumper tree But I know that getting your nourishment from spending time in God’s Word, praying to the Bread of Life, drinking in the Living water every day, is exactly what you need.

We don’t have to make it last forty days. When Jesus taught us how to pray He said, “Give us today our daily bread.”

Are you partaking of the Bread of Life every day? It’s even better than the Olive Garden’s bread sticks!

Jesus is the best food ever!!!