Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bread of Life

March 9th 2017
Scripture: John 6:66-67 (KJV)

Bread of Life

  "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"

Jesus taught one of His toughest teachings about living the Christian life to His multitudes of so-called "disciples"; that He himself was the Bread of Life. Anyone who did not eat his flesh and drink his blood could not have true life in them. Now, come on, you can't say this teaching isn't a bit strange... 

But there is a deeper meaning here, as Jesus' words always do. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. His "blood" spewed from his body and his "flesh" torn open like a loaf of bread. Bread (food) is life; for we could not live long without food to keep us going. We need water to survive. Spiritually speaking, we need Jesus like we need food and water, if we have any hopes of gaining eternal life. Yet "...many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

What really strikes me is Jesus' question to his 12 closest disciples, "Will you also go away?" This question cuts to the heart, because so many times I find myself relapsing in my faith. I no longer walk with Jesus, but go off on my own trail and do my work for Jesus. It is so easy to lose my venturing and devoted walk with Jesus. One day, two days, skip a few more, and I find myself yards away from Jesus' side. I don't notice it at the time that its happening, but each step I take away from walking alongside Jesus in my daily relationship with him, I slowly starve myself spiritually. I start asking, "what am I going to do?" instead of, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" I lose my sense of dependency and devotion to him. In all realities, we need Him by our side, every step of the way. For He alone is the bread that gives us life.

"Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are always ready to pick up right where we left off, no matter how far I stride. Help me to realize daily how much I need your word, just like I need food and water and air. You alone are my Bread of Life, let my spirit relish our times together. Amen."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Open Heart Surgery

February 15th, 2017
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)

Open Heart Surgery

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."


After the Fall of Jerusalem, the LORD assures hope for the People of Israel through the words of Ezekiel the prophet. The LORD speaks of a "spiritual operation" that He will preform as the chief surgeon. He will give His people a new heart and new spirit, replacing stone with flesh. The very core of their being will be changed from the inside-out.

  I've heard the expression used, "stone cold", as a way of saying that a person can be cruel beyond belief, or inhumane. I've also heard the phrase, "set in stone", as a way of expressing permanent action that cannot be undone. I think this is similar to the "heart of stone" that is lodged within the hearts of humanity. But I also believe that nothing or no one is beyond redemption.

God wants to give us new hearts of flesh; living tissue that matures, grows, and contains life. Just as Jesus said, "[Those who believe] have crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). God also wants to put a new spirit inside of us: The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of His Son.

So next time you think you are too far gone, or that you won't be able to trust ever again, or you will never break the numbness you feel, just remember the Great Healer has an operating table waiting for you. All you have to do is ask God for the surgery and give Him permission to do it. It may take some time to replace that heart of stone, just like real heart surgeries take time, but the end result is always worth it!

"Lord Jesus, thank You that our hearts can be mended, repaired, and ultimately replaced and renewed. I give You full permission to work on my heart, so I can be filled with love and new life. In Your Holy Name, Amen."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Root Source

February 1st 2017
Scripture: John 15:5 (NIV)

Root Source

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples in the upper room; the closing moments before his betrayal in the Garden. In this chapter, Jesus gives his disciples some last thoughts. He starts by telling them they are "branches" that grow from "the vine". He is the source that brings them life; and there are serious repercussions if they do not remain in him.
Image result for Vines 
As a Christian, it is important to realize the "root source" of my partnership with God. When I remain with Jesus, allowing him to be at the center of my life, I can do much fruit-bearing in the spiritual realm. 

But the moment I step away from the life-giving relationship, I lose any and all gains for God's Kingdom, because apart from Jesus I can do absolutely NOTHING; which is a much different story than, "I can do all things <through Christ>"(Phil. 4:13). I sometimes forget to include that the source of my strength is not "will power" or "self-help" but "Christ's help" and "His power."

"Lord Jesus, I thank You that I can bear spiritual fruit for Your kingdom. Help me to remain in You, and keep You at the root of my ministry. I can do nothing without You. Amen."

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Asking for a Blessing

January 5th 2017
Scripture: Judges 1:14-15 (ESV)

Asking for a Blessing

"When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs."

Caleb's daughter, Achsah, urged her new husband, Othniel, to ask her father to give them a blessing; land on which to build a home. After realizing that Othniel was going to keep his mouth shut, she did something that was a little taboo in her day and age. She dismounted her donkey and asked Caleb herself. In a male dominated culture, it was not a woman's place to speak her mind freely. I can imagine what fear she must have felt to step out against the culture's expectations, and wondering what her father would think of her for asking. But she did not receive a judgemental "No, shame on you!" What happened? He gave her the upper AND lower springs! Much more than she must have expected or ever needed. 

When I think of my father, he is always wanting to bless me; sacrificing his time, resources, and energy, to bless me with whatever he is able to give. Why? Because he loves me and wants the best for me. But sometimes when I think about God, I feel that asking Him for something would be out of place, or insignificant to Him. But God loves me, and wants to bless me. A lot of times I have not because I ask not. 

God's answer will not always be "Yes", for He sees the bigger picture and desires the best for my life, which means I must let go of something good I want, for something greater. But there is no harm in asking anyways.

"Dear Lord Jesus, help me to have courage to approach Your throne with confidence. Remind me that like my earthly father, You are looking for ways to bless me. Help me to accept Your answer as the best answer whether "Yes" or "No". Amen.