Mom’s Baked Bread

Is there anything more appetizing than the aroma of home made bread in the oven? I looked forward to the treat of Mom’s fresh baked bread! Even the heels of the loaf were delicious. Buttered bread, now frowned upon in many diets is a real pleasure. I think many times people choose a specific restaurant just because their fresh bread and yeast rolls draw them in. Some restaurant chains have even made tossed hot rolls their advertising focus. I guess the rolls that land on the floor will end up as treats for dogs begging at the back door.

In the past, people referred to bread as the staff of life. They considered bread to be an essential, not a high calorie food. Recently it began to make a comeback. Whole wheat breads are seen as a very good high fiber addition to our diets. Grandpa Ford knew what he needed before it gained nutritional experts stamp of approval.

The written word of God uses many different names for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each highlights a part of His character, or His loving action. We often forget that Jesus is the living bread.  He clearly explains His role of sustaining life. “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh (John 6: 47- 51 NAS).”

Those who listened argued over such a radical claim. Did he expect them to eat His flesh? In a session on foreign missions our speaker presented the difficulty of Bible translators for a foreign language of cannibal tribes. Those given the challenge realized their need for God’s divine guidance.

What does it mean to you? He is essential. He nourishes us. He sustains us. He satisfies us. We receive these benefits only when we receive Him as the bread of life. His bread is always fresh and available. The Lord does not ask us to settle for day old bread.  He offers Himself; will you receive? The next time you drive through a busy city with a large bread factory, notice the aroma drifting through the air; look above to your true bread of life!

Feasting On The Word

We all enjoy a good meal! Just as our tastes differ in finding the perfect mate, so we have our own ideas about the ideal meal. When they say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” it explains why your taste and mine can be worlds apart. Favorite foods are determined for most of us by our environment, customs, and traditions. Not only is a meal from a foreign country strange to us; very often foods from another section of America are just as unfamiliar to our senses of smell and taste! Raised in The Northeast, my basic meal consisted of meat, side dish of potatoes, rice, pasta, or noodles, with one vegetable. Meals rarely included desserts. With a very limited variety of fruits and vegetables, I did not know how much I missed. When I first met my future Husband, Norm at age eighteen, I had an eye opener! He hailed from the Deep South, and introduced me to many new foods including: grits, egg plant, okra, and fried yellow squash. Later I discovered pomegranates, persimmons, figs, and fried cat fish. A good southern meal is often served buffet style, with a variety of meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts. It is difficult to explain. The other foods were there all the time, in existence, but just outside of my little corner of the world!

Our church home prepared for a time of revival. In my quiet time, I prayed for the visiting Evangelist, who would present his messages. I became impressed by a thought… We know that we are fed by the word of God. It brings nourishment to our spirits, renewal, strength and energy, just as the foods we eat from our tables feed our physical bodies. Jesus continues to feed us His life, in His role of “the Bread of Life.” I visualized our speaker preparing a full dinner for us. His menu consisted of: an appetizer, soup and salad, the entrée, and dessert.

Often today our bodies are given fast and convenient junk foods, with empty calories. Our bodies are crying out for a good nourishing home cooked meal! How do they cry out? Ask any physician, and they will be quick to share their knowledge that many of our illnesses, diseases, and premature deaths could be prevented by a well balanced diet! Spiritually, we too often do the same. While on the run we try to satisfy our inner hunger and thirst for God with “fast foods.” We attend church when not too busy, grabbing our Bibles at the close of a hectic day, to quickly read a few verses, when we are really too tired to digest it. Maybe we squeeze in a message on the radio or television, listening to a tape or CD. All the while we are preoccupied in busy traffic, or at home trying to do our daily exercises, (to lose the weight from all that junk food!)

Let’s imagine a full spiritual meal, and what that might be like? For an appetizer I often like a scripture or a theme to make me sense my hunger. An example would be: “Be anxious for nothing,” found in the scripture (I Peter 5: 6-10). Well, that really gets my interest; because I have a nature to worry, to fret, to be anxious!  Or, I may see a picture, such as “The Praying Hands.” It gives me a renewed hunger to pray, and to see prayers answered. When seeing a cross, I’m reminded that Jesus gave me His body, “the Bread of Life”!

Alright, now onto the soup and salad …Oh, how I love a good hot bowl of home made soup! My Mom made delicious soups, including bean, vegetable, chicken and rice, and potato. Soup is one of my comfort foods. Don’t we also need such comfort for our spirits?  Yes, such hymns as Rock of Ages, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Amazing Grace, and Victory in Jesus would fill us with God’s comfort, warmth and encouragement. The message in song offers hope and security in His care for us. A fresh salad is full of vitamins and roughage, needed to aid in our digestive system, and guess what? If we don’t load it with lots of fattening salad dressings, we won’t get that middle age spread!  Spiritual food doesn’t add extra weight that we have to carry around all day. It does just the opposite, lifting our loads and our burdens. Jesus said that when we are weary and heavy laden, to come to Him for rest. (Matthew 11:28) For my spiritual salad I’ll choose a “Tossed Testimony Time!” As we hear of God’s miracles, His hand touching lives, we are fed, nurtured, deep down to our doubts! God is alive! God cares! God loves!

Are you ready for the entree’? The true man of God is a man who handles the truth, the word of God accurately. (II Timothy 2:15)  He starts in the word, proceeds in the word, and concludes in the word!  His conviction is that the written word and the spoken word, always, always points to Jesus: the Living Word of God! (John 1:1-4) Here we have found complete nourishment for all areas our spiritual bodies. Our spiritual eyes are enlightened. Spiritual ears hear God’s still small voice, (I Kings 19:12-13) It is a message you alone can hear. An intimate, individual message is prepared. When hearing God’s word spoken, the person sitting next to you hears his or her personal message from God, just as at Pentecost each heard the good news of salvation in their own language! (Acts 2:8) Do you believe God has a word for you today?

Oh, don’t forget our spiritual taste…God’s word is not bitter. “Taste and see that He is good!” (Psalms 34:8). What blah meal times we would have at those special occasions, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners, if we did not have the gift of the sense of smell! Well, God wants our spiritual feast to also have a sweet and pleasing aroma. (2 Corinthians 2:16) Our prayers and our lives in this meal are to be a fragrance unto God and each other. When we feel full of God’s love in His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit, we are fed and satisfied! Don’t push away from the table, yet. There is still room for dessert!

Desserts are usually a high sugar, and high fat item. Do we need dessert?  Some with great discipline choose a fruit, such as an apple or banana. Most would be quicker to choose pie, cake, or maybe an ice cream sundae! We desire them! They bring pleasure to the eye. Even just a picture of a dessert on a menu is appealing! When we take our first bite, it usually gives great satisfaction. We serve a good God! For our spiritual dessert, we can receive “the desires of our heart” (Psalms 37:4) Dessert:  A time of praise and thanksgiving! We can sing praises unto Him. Adore Him! Then we see decisions made for Christ!  As they say, “That’s the icing on the cake!”  Come; let’s feast together on God and on His word!   

 

Are You Listening?

 
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27
We have a new family member, Jack, a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack is a sweetie pie, cute as a button, the total opposite of Zeke. Jack loves to hunt, he has a field day in our yard running from tree to tree chasing whatever it is that he is chasing. He plays keep away with Zeke, they chase each other around the house, each one trying to keep the ball or stuffed animal away from the other. Jack has never had an accident, he’s not chewed up anything except chew toys. He’s a good dog. But Jack does not listen to me.

I can be calling his name and he’s so focused in on what he’s doing … he totally ignores me. I have to actually go over to him and pick him up for him to stop doing what he’s doing and look at me. Jack does not hear my voice.

Zeke, on the other hand, who has been my best buddy for over five years always hears my voice. Even when I don’t want him to hear me, he does. I cannot say one word without Zeke being at my side. Sometimes I don’t have to even speak, I can just look at him and he’ll come over and lay his head on me. Zeke loves me, he listens for my voice and the second he hears it, he responds.

Sometimes I act like Jack, with God. I am so busy running around doing my thing, I don’t hear His gentle whisperings. He literally has to put a wall up in front of me for me to stop what I am doing and listen.

I want to be more like Zeke in my walk with Jesus. I want to hear His voice, whatever I’m doing – where ever I’m doing it. I want to stay attuned to His call.

I want to be part of His flock. I want to follow HIM.

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Father, thank you for allowing me to see this example so clearly. Teach me Lord Jesus, how to hear your voice, no matter what the circumstance.

I Love You Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God’s Blessing Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

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What Does Jesus Want To Multiply In You?

feed_5000 After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberius). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews.

 When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”

One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.

When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.   (John 6:1-13  – The Message)

We’ve all heard the story of Jesus feeding the crowd with 5 loaves and 2 fishes … but have you ever pondered how this concept could be manifested in your own life?

No … I don’t mean that you have to try to feed an army with breadcrumbs … but what has God given you that he can multiply? 

Jesus took what was available that day, blessed it and it became more than enough. 

He’s given you gifts and talents … are you allowing him to multiply what’s inside of  YOU??

Food for thought …

Father … thank you for the gifts that I have been given.  Teach me Lord to use them for your good.

I love you Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

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Bread of Life

971524_roman_mosaic.jpgAnd Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  John 6:35 NKJVThen Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53 NKJV

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”  John 6:51 NKJV

Until we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are dead in our trespasses and sins.  We may think we’re alive, but in the spiritual world we are dead.  This death is a separation from God.  Once we come to Jesus and believe in Him, we are given a new spiritual life which lives on in relationship with God forever. 

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. John 6:57 NKJV

This new life comes from Jesus.  It can only be obtained by “he who feeds on Me” says Jesus.  Let’s think about bread for a moment, since that’s the symbol Jesus used to try to communicate this message of life. 

Physical bread is used to fill the void and satisfy something within.  It also nourishes, sustains, empowers and strengthens the body.  Eating physical bread causes us to take it in and it becomes part of us.  Our body uses the food to draw nourishment from it to fuel the body.  Likewise, when we take in Christ we are strengthened by Him, nourished by His words, and empowered by His Holy Spirit.

Hunger and thirst are used as symbols of something obviously lacking.  There is an emptiness inside which drives us to fill it.  We can try filling it with possessions, power, money, friends, lust, family, but the only thing that will slack this hunger and thirst is Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul understood this in Galatians 2:20 NKJV: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

How about you?  Can you say along with Paul “I no longer live but Christ lives in me”?

Lord Jesus thank you for being our Bread of Life. Thank you for granting us life forever when we come and believe in You. Lord, we take you in as we do bread and drink.  Thank you for your sacrifice that we may live on in you.  In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.