Archive for the ‘Bread of Life’ Category

nothing to eat

Anyone who has ever raised a teenager is more than familiar with the complaint, “I’m hungry!” I guess I shouldn’t complain, though; my teenagers (and my husband) only eat once a day– they start early in the morning and finish about bedtime.

Not that long ago, as my daughter sang the never-ending “There’s nothing to eat,” chorus, I opened the cabinets and showed her all the edibles there. I opened both the refrigerator and freezer and did the same. And what do you call all of this? I asked, handing her the fruit bowl. And this, and….

Unbeknownst to her, I had just done the weekly shopping. I could share with you a list of the food items in my kitchen that day, but that would be too time-consuming. Suffice it to say, that having just spent the equivalent of the national deficit at the grocery store, there really was quite a variety of healthy food available. And I emphasize healthy because, as any parent knows, when a teenager says there is nothing to eat, what they really mean is that there is no junk food handy.

You know how to cook, I reminded her. There must be at least a dozen things you could whip-up in no time.

Long story short, she walked away hungry. Can anyone relate?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing my daughter. There have been times that I have done the same thing. Sometimes I too want to eat something that is readily available without having to put any effort into it whatsoever. In fact, I find that the older I get, the more often I want to skip the work and get straight to the eating. Ten years from now, I may never cook again.

When it comes to Bible study, though, I find the opposite to be true. Years ago, when I was a baby Christian, I read my Bible a lot, but I relied on the wisdom of preachers and teachers when it came to those difficult subjects that I didn’t quite understand. After all, they were the “experts.” Of course, as a new believer, I was wearing my spiritual diapers and drinking milk; being bottle-fed wasn’t such a bad thing. The apostle Peter said as much: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” (I Peter 2:2). Over the course of time, however, I matured and craved the meat!

Thus, I have diligently searched the Scriptures for many years. These days, I voraciously devour every word of my Bible. I could opt to simply listen to a sermon or teaching during my study time, but I don’t want to rely on someone else to “feed” me, nor should I. That would be the equivalent of eating fast food instead of taking the time to prepare a healthy meal. Don’t get me wrong, the sermon might be really inspired, and there certainly are times to benefit from another’s teaching, but we are all admonished in Scripture to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

We are not made pious, dear reader, because we daily study our Bibles, but to do so is certainly our obligation as a follower of Christ. Moreover, it is a great and rewarding pleasure! I pray that every time we, as God’s children, feel the pangs of spiritual hunger that we will open our Bibles and enjoy a feast. May we never become so complacent that we walk away hungry because we don’t feel like putting any effort into study.

“There’s nothing to eat.” On the contrary, the Lord’s kitchen is fully stocked and the food is exceedingly healthy!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear the heavenly dinner bell ringing. Till next time, blessings upon you and your household.


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During this time of year, my thoughts often drift back to those cherished days of yesteryear, when my beloved sang our children to sleep. There, in our worn-out old rocking chair, they were comforted by both his warm embrace, and by songs of God’s Amazing Grace and boundless love for them. As I listened to the sleepy yawns of our precious children, I knew they would sleep peacefully.

Now that our children are pretty much grown, I pray that they continue to live their lives enveloped in God’s peace. And I pray that, no matter their age, or where they are, they never forget the message of the songs that their daddy always sang to them when they were little.

¹On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t really say that our Messiah was crucified upon a cross. The word cross is the chosen translation for the Greek word stauros, meaning a stake. The Bible also says, four times, that He was hanged on a tree. However, there are enough archaeological artifacts from the first century remaining to indicate that the stake -or tree- was probably erected with a cross beam.

So which is correct, and which word should we use in conversation? As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter. Our soul focus (spelling intentional) should be Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ in English), and His atoning sacrifice for our sins. That’s what this song is about:

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

This past week much of the world rejoiced in the Messiah’s resurrection by way of either Passover or Easter. Which is correct, and which should we celebrate? Unlike the subject of the cross versus the stake, God has given us very specific instructions regarding this matter. Therefore, it is very important!

While I have my own definite understanding of which is the correct celebration (Passover), I respect my fellow brothers and sisters in the LORD and choose, therefore, to rejoice with them in the LORD’s resurrection rather than debate the subject of Passover versus Easter. I will say this, though, if you have never studied what the Bible has to say about Passover, you should. You might just be surprised.

Finally, dear reader, I truly hope that you were greatly blessed in your celebration of our LORD’s resurrection. Until next year’s celebration, may we all continue to sing:

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Postscript: For most of the Jewish population, Passover is still a celebration of YHVH’s (God’s) deliverance from Egypt. They do not acknowledge Passover as a celebration of the resurrection because they do not yet accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah. However, more and more Jews are beginning to understand, and accept, Yeshua as Messiah. At this, my heart rejoices. Additionally, more and more Christians are beginning to observe Passover again. I rejoice at this also, because it is not just some “Jewish” thing -it is totally a “God thing.”

P.s.s. Whereas the King James Bible, and a few other translations, uses the word Easter in Acts 12:4, the Greek manuscripts actually use the word pascha, or Passover. To verify this point, here is the same verse in other Bible translations: 1560 Geneva Bible: And when he had caught him, he put him in prison, and deliuered him to foure quaternions of souldiers to be kept, intending after the Passeouer to bring him foorth to the people. —1867 Darby Translation: after the Passover — 2000 King James: after the Passover — 1382 Wycliff Translation: and wolde aftir pask (and would after Passover).

Old Rugged Cross. George Bennard. 1913. Public Domain
He’s Alive sung by David Phelps
¹Old Rugged Cross sung by Carlene Moody

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My raven-haired beauty was only four years old when she glued her library book to the bed.
I’m still not sure how she found the bottle of wood glue in the first place, but I do admire her creativity in solving what she considered to be a big problem. Of course, I didn’t approve of her method, but I had to smile at her reasoning. She explained, “Liz-a-biff kept trying to take my book. I had to stop her!”

Reading has always been an important part of my children’s lives. They were each given their own library card from the time they were old enough to toddle into the library. There, we spent many happy hours searching for just the right story to fuel their imaginations, and the perfect books to expand their knowledge about science and history, and all the other fascinating wonders of life. You see, their father and I wanted to instill the love of reading, and learning, into our children from a very young age, in the hopes that their love of such would be life-long.

Most importantly, we wanted our children to love God’s Word. They each had their own picture Bible before they could even talk. By the time they worked their way up to the good ole King James, all of our children knew more about the Bible than many adults do. In fact, this same raven-haired beauty once climbed a tree and began preaching to the people on the streets when she was only seven.

How I wish I would have been raised knowing God’s Word like that! Sadly, I didn’t learn any of it until I was an adult. But, it’s never too late to start. I have now been a student of the Word for over twenty years, and enjoyed every minute of it. I am so thankful that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to read our Bibles without persecution. Tragically, this may not always be the case. It is quite probable that Americans will soon join the ranks of countless others who have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

If this ever happens, I can assure you that gluing our Bibles to the bed won’t prevent them from being taken away. However, there is something that we can do -starting now. The psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (119:11). I pray, dear reader, we would all do likewise. After all, once God’s holy Word is hidden in our hearts, no one can ever take it away from us!

I admit that memorizing Scripture, especially long portions of it, can be hard work–especially for us older folks. Even so, there are few pursuits in life that are more rewarding and beneficial. How then do we start, if we haven’t already? Simple, we can learn from the children on this one.

Have you ever watched a young child recite the words of her favorite story book to an audience of stuffed animals without having to look at the book? She is able to do this because she has read it (or had it read to her) so many times that it became a part of her. And because she loves the story so much, she can’t help but enthusiastically share it.

That’s how we should be with God’s Word. Because the Bible is so much more than just words on a page –it is God’s personal instruction to mankind- we should absolutely love to read it over and over until it becomes a part of us. And, we should care enough about our Holy book that we would rather glue it to the bed than let anyone take it from us.

Dear reader, it would be really silly of me to tell you “Don’t glue your book to the bed.” I would like to encourage you, however, to keep the Holy Bible “glued to your face.” If you’re not familiar with that expression, just ask my raven-haired beauty what it means; she still has a book glued to her face most of the time. That’s my girl!

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What happened to spring? I guess I’ve been so busy with all the extra tasks of preparing for summer that it just crept up on me without noticing –until the blast of triple digits hit me in the face that is.

No matter how hot it gets though, I just can’t bring myself to use Chicken Poop™ on my lips. Granted, this oddly named lip balm doesn’t really contain any barnyard waste, but the name itself is a bit of a
turn-off. Obviously, you can’t judge a book by its cover but still….

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Although my face scrunches at the thought of putting Chicken Poop™ on my lips, I can’t help but enjoy the expressions on my dinner guests’ faces when they find out I use chicken feet in my matzah ball soup. Apparently, the thought of a chicken’s feet is nearly as distasteful as the thought of its poop.

So why use them? “Chicken feet – gnarly, repulsive and disturbing – make for the very best stock. Devoid of little else but tendons, bone and cartilage (sound appetizing yet?), chicken feet produce a fine golden broth that’s rich in all those obscure nutrients that make a good stock so nourishing: glucosamine chondroitin, collagen and trace minerals…” and “an excellent source of
calcium …” (Nourished Kitchen).

Additionally, chicken broth made with the feet is tastier! If you’re like most, that statement leaves you a bit skeptical, but the proof is in the pudding -or in this case the broth. You’ll have to try it for yourself. Most importantly, it is well-known that chicken broth has natural healing properties.

Today I plan to make soup for dinner because some members of my household are dealing with sinus infections and we always try the natural remedies first. However, we would be greatly amiss if we did not prioritize our healing efforts with the most natural and most essential medicine of all – the word of God.
Whenever anyone in my family is sick, I like to open the Bible and digest some “Gos-pills,” which is my pet term for all the Scriptures which promise physical healing -there are tons of them!

However, it is not only the healing scriptures that we must dwell on but rather the Bible as a whole. There is much instruction given for our spiritual health as well as our physical:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22).

The Bible is replete with God’s promise of healing-both spiritual and physical! Yet I know several people who claim they don’t read the Bible because it is nothing more than an unsavory list of “Thou shall not(s)!” While it is true that there are some of those in the Bible, there are also a lot of “Thou Shall” instructions also. Either way, some of these instructions are a bit like chicken feet – a bit repulsive to our way of thinking. Like chicken feet, however, many of these instructions are loaded with nourishment (for our souls.) Once we give them a try, we quickly learn that they are not as distasteful as we initially presumed; they are rather pleasing and satisfying instead.

I share this with you because like the Apostle John, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2). Dear reader, if you have hesitated to read the Bible because you are apprehensive about what might be in there, remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Having said that, maybe I should throw some Chicken Poop™ on these chapped lips after all, then go make that soup.

Postscript: In case you were wondering (I was), Chicken Poop™ is made of Soybean Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Sweet Orange Essential Oil –sounds like good stuff.

(1) Nourished Kitchen @ http://nourishedkitchen.com/ 30 November 2009

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Photo Credit: yhsBiology

What do peanut butter and jellyfish have to do with each other? Nothing really, but I thought it made for a catchy title. Although, people do eat jellyfish –even here in the good ole U.S.A. –but I cannot imagine why. I’ll just take God’s word for it that jellyfish is not food and steer clear of it altogether!

I have had jellyfish on my mind ever since I read a really fascinating article in the Smithsonian 40th Anniversary edition magazine entitled The New King of the Sea by Abigail Tucker. She starts by reporting that 40 million people lost their power in the Philippines in December,1999 because “Some 50 dump trucks’ worth (of jellyfish) had been sucked into the cooling pipes of a coal-fired power plant, causing a cascading power failure.”

Jellyfish, it seems, are becoming so prolific that they are literally taking over the oceans. I couldn’t help but think back to my high school days when the term jellyfish was the popular dig to taunt a coward. But there weren’t too many jellyfish in high school. Back then you never heard reports of the oceans’ “Jellyfish Gone Wild” either (National Science Foundation Report 2008).

There are many theories as to why the oceans are now teeming with jellyfish to the point that the waters are no longer safe and these mobs have become unmanageable. The most logical explanation seems to be the ever-increasing pollution of the waters which cause ‘dead zones.’ Most marine life cannot live in a dead zone but jellyfish can thrive there. Sadly, the number of coastal dead zones, according to Tucker, has doubled every decade since the 1960’s.

After reading the magazine article, I couldn’t help but compare myself to a jellyfish during the days of my life before Christ. Not just because I was afraid of my own shadow, but because I fit the general description of a jellyfish. These creatures are not only boneless, they are also brainless. They don’t think about where they are going but rather drift aimlessly at the mercy of the currents and simply survive. Yes, I was a jellyfish, living in a dead zone.

But Jesus said I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10). I am living proof that He does just that. The very moment I accepted Him and His free gift of salvation, he changed me forever. And if He did that for me, He can certainly do it for you as well.

However, too many people today –those who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal savior — are frustrated and frightened. They are watching helplessly as our world plummets into the depths of despair and becomes more unmanageable all the time. And they, like jellyfish, seem to be drifting aimlessly without hope, without courage. But we have the answers to the problems they face and it is our responsibility to share them.

Now, more than ever, the world needs to find the house of God in order and free of this world’s pollution. The Bible speaks metaphorically of people being a ‘sea.’ But much of the sea is polluted and therefore the spiritual dead zones are multiplying just like the physical ones are.

That is why God’s people have been commissioned to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

Real jellyfish cannot ever be anything but jellyfish; they will never be more than a dangerous nuisance or a piece of sushi on someone’s plate. People, on the other hand, can most assuredly become a new creation.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Tucker stated that “Jellyfish reproduce and move into new niches so rapidly that even within 40 years, some experts predict “regime shifts” in which jellyfish assume dominance in one marine ecosystem after another.”

Sadly, we are beginning to see regime shifts in America as well and we will lose our power if we are not careful. We used to be a Christian nation that sent missionaries to foreign countries to preach the gospel. To our shame, missionaries are now coming to America to preach the gospel to us. We must never let down on our foreign missions endeavors, but we must also march boldly into America’s dead zones and reclaim them for Jesus Christ!

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37 NIV). Let’s go round-up some jellyfish but rather than eating them, let’s feed them the words of life so Jesus Christ can make them into a new creation. Who’s with me?

footnote: Tucker, Abigail. The New King of the Sea. Smithsonian magazine, 40th Anniversary edition. July/Aug 2010
photo at http://yhsbiology.wikispaces.com/Scyphozoa
~~For those of you who are interested in nature, the article is very informative and well-written; the website is a wonderful resource to learn about jellyfish.

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My tummy is dancing to the aroma of baking bread wafting through my house. I bake bread quite often because it is one of the little pleasures of life that just adds an air of warmth and comfort to the home. When my family prays “give us this day our daily bread” I want that bread to be straight out of the oven. Honestly, I believe the daily bread of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is, in context, speaking of God’s Word, but I desire my family to have fresh bread, both physical and spiritual.

A few thousand years ago, a baby was born in the little town of Bethlehem in Judea who would change the world forever. Bethlehem is a Hebrew word which literally means ‘House of Bread.’ The baby’s name was Yeshua (Jesus, to the English-speaking world). How very appropriate that He would be born in the ‘House of Bread’ because He would later refer to Himself as the Bread of Life:

And Jesus (Yeshua) said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger… (John 6:35)

The name Yeshua literally means salvation. Therefore, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Yosef (Joseph) in a dream, He was saying about Miriam (Mary) that she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name SALVATION: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21),

Like all mothers-to-be, Mary had anxiously awaited the arrival of her ‘Salvation’ for a long time. Can you just imagine Miriam looking into the face of this beautiful newborn baby with joyful tears saying “Alas, Salvation has finally come?”

Much of the world has chosen this time of year to reflect on the birth of Yeshua. However, I would like us to take a few moments to reflect on Him as the Bread of Life; which isn’t hard to for me to do as I sit here engulfed in the delectable aroma of baking bread.

In the first chapter of the book of John we read:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….… [John 1:1-4] Jumping to verse 14 we read: And the Word was made 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.

So we see that the God caused a part of Himself, His word, to be made manifest in a tangible body, the body of the babe Yeshua. I know this is all pretty difficult for our finite, human minds to fully comprehend. Even so, Yeshua is the Son of God and designates Himself as the Bread of Life (amongst other descriptions).

John goes on to say:

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Unquestionably Yeshua, living as a man in a physical body, needed food for sustenance. Nevertheless, he understood that physical bread only satisfies our temporal bodies for a short time. He therefore emphasized the urgency of nourishing oneself with spiritual food; that which quenches the soul’s hunger always:

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:1-4)

In other words, because our bodies soon perish but our souls are immortal, feeding ourselves spiritually must be our priority. But how do we partake of the bread of life? By every word of God! In the beginning was the Word… and the word became flesh. To read God’s Word is to partake of the Bread of Life.

How can the bread satisfy, though, unless it is fresh? Unlike oven-baked bread which becomes stale very quickly, spiritual bread stays fresh forever and its nutrients never diminish. Nevertheless, we should never be satisfied to live on yesterday’s bread.

Remember, Yeshua taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread

I pray that in the same way the enticing aroma of fresh-baked bread stimulates our appetite and creates anxiousness to partake of this fresh, warm comfort food, that thoughts of our precious Lord will fill our hearts and minds in the same way. May we all become desirous to start each day with a fresh, ‘warm slice’ of the Bread of Life.

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