Monday, February 29, 2016

Crowd's Unbelief - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35    
                                                                                   
During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt

The people began to murmur in disagreement… We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven?’ John 6:41-42 NLT

Unbelief denies even the possibility of Jesus’ divinity. Hostility towards Jesus grows even more during His last months on earth. How could this man, a carpenter from Nazareth, be the Son of God, how could he come down from heaven? Strong rejection of Jesus’ revelation spreads through this crowd. What makes believing so difficult?

Some 2,000 years later, the crowd still struggles to believe in the authenticity of Jesus’ identity. The Good News remains the same today ~ Believe in Jesus and have everlasting life! Some want proof, others want more miracles. Many simply ignore the message and create their own truths. Hostility towards Jesus grows as the days until His return shorten. Christians do not know when Jesus will come back to earth or exactly how that will look, but we do believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Living Manna from heaven for a hungry world.

Lord, there are crowds wandering, murmuring unbelief, and its people suffer great injustices. Without everlasting hope, the possibilities are few and the disappointments are many. Starving spiritually and unaware, anger and rage take control. Lord, always give us this bread.” Help me feed this hungry world. – dho


Focus Point: Christians do not know when Jesus will come back to earth or exactly how that will look, but we do believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Living Manna from heaven for a hungry world.

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Sunday, February 28, 2016

3rd Sunday of Lent - Mystery of God's Infinite Love

 Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35         
                                                                              

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt

When we understand the mystery that we are loved not for what we do but because of who God says we are, we are free to love others in a similar way.   Henri Nouwen

God showed how much He loved us by sending His only son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 NLT

While revelations of God’s character and redemption find expression in the Holy Scriptures, humanity struggles to find words that completely define or describe the glory of God. As one begins to recognize the splendor of God, the soul discovers the mark of God’s love permanently etched, the image of the Creator forged inside, a remnant of God’s life-giving breath. The heart overflows with emotion; the mind strives to comprehend. The mystery of God’s infinite love exceeds explanation. - dho


You Are Loved ~ Laura Story (click here for video)

God of the Heavens, You find me here, right now. My hunger for more and my dissatisfaction with less struggles to ignore Your everlasting, never ending, all-consuming love! Lord, always give us this bread.”; You complete me! – dho


Focus Point: “Everlasting, never ending, all-consuming, You are love!” ~ Laura Story

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Bread of Life - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35               
                                                                        

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt


Yeshua told them, “I am the bread of life…” John 6:33-40

Every year at Passover the Jewish people remember God’s protection as they recall putting the blood of an unblemished lamb over their doorways for the angel of death to pass. Religious rituals of removing all leaven from their homes and eating only unleavened bread during this time reminds them of God’s promise and God’s plan for His people. God provides.

God’s redemption of Israel from Egypt and hope of a Promised Land finds the people full of weariness and fear, struggling with disobedience and consequence. Historical retelling of daily manna from heaven for the forty years in the wilderness reveals a God of faithfulness. Centuries later, Jesus enters this world and becomes God’s living manna from heaven, God’s promise of redemption for all, for you and for me. Jesus, Bread of life, broken for you; broken for me. God provides.

Bread of life, I need a God of promise and hope, faithful and true. Lord, always give us this bread. – dho

Focus Point: God provides.

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Friday, February 26, 2016

Soul Food - Lent 2016


Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35        
                                                                               

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt


For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38 NASB

Reinforcing His relationship to the Father, Jesus explains His purpose fulfills God’s plan and does not include a personal agenda. While God’s sovereignty never changes, Jesus reveals a unity with the Father. Together, the plan of salvation unfolds before the people. Living Manna from heaven brings redemption to a lost people. God’s soul food!

God provides the food, but humanity still gets to choose. God’s sovereignty allows us to come to Christ by faith, each individual by personally believing. Verse 40 explains God’s plan: believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and have eternal life. Grace comes through faith in Jesus. Perfect Love demonstrates obedience to the Father’s plan. God chooses each of us. How will you reply?

Lord, I struggle to lay down my agenda, my plan, my dreams. Sometimes, I want life to evolve on my terms, my timetable, my truth. You call me by name and invite me to call You Father, to rest in Your purpose. You ask me to believe! Teach me how to pray Lord, always give us this bread so that I find Living Manna. - dho

Focus Point: Perfect Love demonstrates obedience to the Father’s plan.

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Am the Bread of Life - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35    
                                                                                   

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt




And 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 NKJV

Teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, telling those who crowd in to hear, Jesus explains the bread of God comes down from heaven. The crowd says, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Recognizing their spiritual blindness, Jesus clarifies, “I am the bread of life.” The Bread of heaven is spiritual food that completely nourishes the soul. Jesus declares “I am this bread!”

Listening but not understanding, the people struggle with the spiritual concept. Jesus, the Messiah, the Bread of heaven, sits in front of them, speaks directly to them; yet, they do not believe. Today, the Living Bread of heaven still calls each person into a relationship with Him, offers to love us, to meet all our spiritual needs, but like these people 2,000 years ago, we hesitate and sometimes we step back further into the crowd. Jesus sees our uncertainty but repeats believe in Me. Jesus waits, and we remain hungry!

Bread of life ~ sometimes my thoughts are dull and shallow. I say, Lord, always give us this bread, but I miss Your point. Believing doesn’t mean the answers will be simple or the questions easy, doesn’t come with a guarantee of life without difficulty or disappointment. As I find my nourishment in You, I discover new strength for the sadness, fresh hope for the hard times, and  inner joy for the journey. Jesus, I believe! – dho

Focus Point: The Bread of heaven is spiritual food that completely nourishes the soul. Jesus declares “I am this bread!”

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

True Bread - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35      
                                                                                 

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt



[the crowd says] Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’… [Jesus replies] “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”  

More than1400 years earlier, Israel refuses to enter the Promised Land, fearing their enemies and not trusting God and spends forty years wandering in the desert wilderness. With Moses leading their ancestors, God provides daily manna, or bread, for each person (Exodus 16:4). These present-day Jews all know about the provision of bread from heaven. Jesus makes it clear, “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.”

Jesus expresses two important concepts in verse 33. First, the life-giving bread of God comes down out of heaven. Secondly, this bread comes with a purpose; this bread gives life to the world. The manna from heaven of the Old Testament symbolizes a daily, but temporary provision meeting physical needs. Through Jesus, God gives life-sustaining, everlasting true bread for spiritual nourishment. This true bread becomes God’s promise of eternal life to the world – to the Jews and the Gentiles, to men and women, to every race, creed, and nationality. Jesus is the true bread of God from heaven for all people!

Bread of heaven, sometimes my spirit wanders in a modern-day wilderness of excess, overloaded and overwhelmed; yet, I feel empty. You know my deepest needs. True Bread, feed me. And with all people, help me pray, Lord, always give us this bread.”  - dho

Focus Point: Jesus is the true bread of God from heaven for all people!

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Show Me Something Good - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35      
                                                                                 

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt





[The crowd asks Jesus], “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? John 6:30 NKJV

Many in the crowd come from Bethsaida, having witnessed the feeding of the multitude miracle first hand, while others from Capernaum who gather into the synagogue have heard about this Jesus, a healer and miracle worker. Curiously they ask Jesus, “What does God want us to do?” Jesus tells them that God only wants them to believe in the One sent by Him. Believing in Jesus is the Good News!

The people crave more signs, more miracles, more evidence. They beg Jesus to give them something that will help them believe, some proof. Jesus feeding 20,000 men, women, and children with 2 fish and 5 small barley loaves should have been more than sufficient. Perhaps testimonies from all those who received physical healings would add credibility. Jesus knows the crowd’s spiritual blindness to all these miracles will not be changed by more miracles.

Yeshua, You ask one thing ~ Believe in Me! Open my eyes to my selfishness, my indecision, by doubt. The miracle that transforms me is You! Lord, always give us this bread.”  - dho

Focus Point: Believing in Jesus is the Good News!

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Next Day- Lent 2016


Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35     
                                                                         
During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt



Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with Me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. John 6:26 NLT

Jesus feeds nearly 20,000 people, and the next day many of them come looking for Him. Finding Jesus and the disciples in Capernaum, the crowd wants more, but Jesus realizes their true motive. The miracle of God witnessed the day before escapes them. The crowd seeks an immediate and temporary fix. This self-focused approach blinds them to the real miracle: the supernatural personhood and the lasting spiritual nourishment of Jesus.

Jesus describes for them two kinds of food, food for the body and food for the spirit. The necessary food requires work and perishes, and He cautions them not to miss the real food, the lasting food, the essential food. The necessary food our physical bodies need can never gratify the soul like the everlasting, spiritual food which comes from God. Only Jesus provides spiritual food that always satisfies, today and every next day.

God, Your gifts transcend my imagination. Sometimes, I miss the miracles designed to expand my understanding, overlook the signs of Your presence, do not grasp the offerings You provide. Give me the living bread that satisfies this day and every next day! Lord, always give us this bread.”  – dho

Focus Point: Only Jesus provides spiritual food that always satisfies, today and every next day. 

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2nd Sunday of Lent 2016 ~ Mystery of God's Provision

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35        
                                                                               

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt


Nothing that comes from God, even the greatest miracle, can be proven like 2x2=4. Romano Guardini, German theologian, professor and Catholic priest

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

Many scriptures in the Bible speak to God’s provision, but His greatest gift enters into the world wrapped in swaddling cloth, lying in a manger and leaves wrapped in suffering and shame, dying on a cross. God’s provision exists before time and will continue when time is no longer recorded, and Jesus, always with Him, holds the keys to everlasting life. Who can understand the mind of God? Why are God’s ways so incomprehensible? How could Infinite Love choose me? Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide, for our deepest needs, through our darkest nights, and in our most desperate moments. God provides in Christ Jesus.



I Am Not Alone ~ Kari Jobe (click here for link to video)


Jehovah-Jireh, in the silence of waiting, in the chaos of need – You come to me. When I pray, Lord, always give us this bread, You feed my soul with everlasting manna. I can’t prove You, but I can testify that God provides for me in mysterious and majestic ways. I don’t understand the when or how or why of Your provision, but I trust that Your Goodness will always cover me in Christ. – dho


Focus Point: “You amaze me, redeem me, call me as Your own…my Strength, my Defender, my Shelter in the storm.” ~ Kari Jobe

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Five Loaves of Impossible - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35             
                                                                          

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt


“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” John 6:9 NKJV

When Jesus asks Philip where they could buy bread, he replies that 200 days’ wages of bread would be necessary to feed such a crowd; it’s not realistic. Andrew finds the young boy with the barley loaves and fish. Barley, not wheat, is the type grain the poor use to make bread. These loaves are more like small flat wafers and the fish more like sardines, a modest meal for the boy. What a contrast between Philip’s estimation of the bread’s cost and the food in hand! The problem seems impossible.

Throughout the Bible, God does the impossible with less, the miraculous with little. Most of us seldom give sacrificially; seldom do we even give generously. Like feeding 20,000 people with a poor boy’s small lunch, Jesus takes our sparse offerings and multiplies them for the blessings of others. Consumerism stands on every corner luring us to spend money. What a contrast between how much we spend on a TV to watch the world’s news and what we give to share the Good News of Christ! With God, the impossible becomes possible!

Miracle Worker, do a miracle within my heart! Show me true poverty that I might understand need. Multiply my time and talents and money for Your Glory! Lord, always give us this bread.”  Help me see Your possibilities! – dho

Focus Point: With God, the impossible becomes possible!

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Friday, February 19, 2016

What About the Disciples? - Lent 2016


Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35   
                                                                                    

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt




That evening His disciples went down to the shore to wait for [Jesus]. John 6:16

Jesus feeds nearly 20,000 people with five barley loaves and two pieces of fish. Afterwards, the disciples collect 12 baskets of leftovers! Scripture does not give insight into their thoughts or questions. Perhaps the lack of recorded information suggests amazement or bewilderment, or maybe they are just overwhelmed by the miracles. What we do know is that at the end of the day, the crowd clamors for Jesus to save them from Rome, Jesus retreats higher into the hills to be alone, and the disciples head to the shore to wait on Jesus. What are the disciples thinking?

In meeting the physical needs of the crowd, Jesus performs many miracles of healing and the supernatural multiplication of food for the masses, but He also teaches spiritual truths about the Kingdom of God. For us, sometimes circumstances happen, and, when in the middle of them, we simply go through the motions. Later, we struggle to understand all the implications. Do the disciples even discern a difference between physical and spiritual hunger? Do they, like the crowd, believe only in a “bread messiah”? (Holman Concise Bible Dictionary) Aren’t we like them, waiting for someone to fix other people or give us the answers? Jesus offers spiritual food – even to those who do not know they are hungry! Do the disciples understand the spiritual famine of the crowd? Do they recognize their own spiritual hunger? Do we?

Jesus – You are the spiritual food that sustains me though all the circumstances of my life. I am hungry for more of You! Lord, always give us this bread.” – dho

Focus Point: Jesus offers spiritual food – even to those who do not know they are hungry!

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Expected Prophet - Lent 2016

Living Bread ~ Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35    
                                                                                   

During this season of reflections and renewal, join me in exploring the Bread of Life. When we encounter Jesus Christ, this Living Bread feeds, satisfies, and transforms us. Come on this journey and remember this True Bread “is broken for you”. ~ Donna Oswalt


When the people saw this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” Jesus saw that they were ready to…make Him king, so He went higher into the hills alone. John 6:14-15 NLT

Scripture tells us Passover, the feast of the Jews, is near (John 6:4). With the Feast of Unleavened Bread possibly on their minds, the people might be remembering God’s provision when He rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. (Exodus 12) In this annual celebration, bread becomes a focus point; the bread, having been made without yeast as Israel flees Egypt with haste, serves as a reminder that God has a plan and provides for His people. Perhaps conversations evolve and passions multiply, until the people begin to believe this Prophet, like Moses before, will be the one to rescue them from the Romans.

For centuries before, through abundance and famine, Israel has looked for the Messiah but frequently thinks this would mean a political ruler. When this great crowd of people recognizes the miracles of Jesus - the compassion, the healings, the feeding – they believe Jesus to be the expected Prophet! They desperately desire a king who can save them from Roman oppression. They misunderstand. How frequently does our human perspective try to limit God’s provision? God’s plan is older than time, and He knows the greatest need. Jesus becomes God’s provision of everlasting hope!

Prophet and Priest and King, forgive my shortsightedness, my urge to rush ahead, my failure to simply be thankful for Your generous provision. Lord, always give us this bread.” – dho

Focus Point: Jesus becomes God’s provision of everlasting hope!

All rights reserved; copyright 2016 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~