Thursday, February 29, 2024

Lent - Up to Jerusalem

 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               

As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51 NIV

Jesus spent the last months of ministry making His final journey up to Jerusalem. This verse in Luke’s Gospel announces the turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Focus on His teaching ministry changes, and Jesus begins to prepare the Disciples and Himself for His destiny, the cross. Over the next months Jesus repeatedly explains to the Disciples that He will suffer beatings and betrayal, death and resurrection. Christian discipleship always comes down to the cross!

Scholars call Luke 9:51 through Luke 19:44 the “travel narrative”. Jesus and the disciples minister to people from Galilee to Jerusalem. Parables and healing, opposition and rejection become lessons about the cost of discipleship. Plots to kill and schemes to discredit both challenge and confront Jesus’ authority. Up to Jerusalem really describes Jesus in steadfast determination and faithful obedience to accomplish His assigned mission. God’s plan requires a journey to the cross!

Lord, I, too, know something about suffering and betrayal, rejection and confrontation. Like the disciples, I, too, do not always understand. In the shadow of the cross, I pray, Lord, always give us this bread to sustain me, to strengthen my resolve as I go up to my Jerusalem. - dho

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Lent - Impossible Bread

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                                                                                    

“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 would be necessary to feed such a crowd; it’s not realistic. Andrew finds a young boy with some 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

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Lent ~ Ash Wednesday

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

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3

In spiritual preparation to begin His ministry and after fasting forty days in the wilderness, Jesus is tired, weak, and hungry. Satan tempts Jesus. With each of the three temptations, Jesus rebukes the offer quoting Scripture from Deuteronomy. Led into the desert by the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus shields Himself with God’s Holy Word. Spiritual warfare always desires to interrupt God’s plan.

As we begin our forty day journey to spiritual renewal, we, too, are surrounded by spiritual warfare, tempted to take short-cuts or feel important or avoid hardship. Sometimes in our weakness we choose temptation’s path only to become disappointed and disillusioned at its end. Jesus tells us, “I AM the bread of life.” Needing more than food to sustain us, we desperately need spiritual nourishment that can only come from Jesus. 

God Almighty, I kneel before You, resting my weariness, laying down my frail attempts to succeed by my own efforts. Mark me a sinner, one who has failed but is willing to try again. Renew my starving spirit; let my prayer be, Lord, always give us this bread.” 
– dho

Thursday, February 08, 2024


He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved - surprised to be loved2 Samuel 22:20 The Message

God of miracle-wonders,
God of well-thought-out-plans ~
His cloud-brightness burst through a grand
comet of fireworks. Then God thundered out
of heaven; the High God gave a great shout

I have seen You ~ the Light in my darkness. 
I have felt You ~ the Power in my weakness. 
I have heard You ~ the Voice in the chaos. 
I celebrate You! I praise You! 
I rest in the mountaintop refuge, safe. 

Love Most High, in all times You are my
shield of protection! You rescue me, touch me,
heal me, lead me forward. For such love, words
search but find no escape, captives of
mediocrity. God, make my life complete as I
place all the pieces before You. Hear the
prayers of my heart. Amen.
~ dho 

Scripture from 2 Samuel 22 (The Message)

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Divine Agenda

"The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to tell the people".  
John 4:28
"She put down her water jar. This very well may be
the heart of this beautiful story. Her water jar is her
own agenda. . . She walked away from that well with
Living Water because she was able to let go of her
own agenda . . . and go forth with God's agenda."
from Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels

How easy to go about our daily routines of gathering and doing! This woman went to the well to get water, a daily task. In going about her ordinary task, she encounters Jesus and is never the same again. Others, too, are changed because she tells her story. The author of “A Tree Full of Angels” paints a beautiful picture of finding more that expected in the ordinary task when we lay down our own agenda and go with God’s agenda! Living Water fills us up when we make room for Jesus.

Holy Father,
Help me put down my water jar - my agenda, my expectations, my plans, my desires. These get in the way of your Mighty Ways, your Divine Intentions for my life. 
In my own humanity, I fail to come to the altar without some remnant of thought or partial desire in my heart. In the deepest part of my soul, I long to worship You with pure intent. I thirst for Living Water.  Fill my cup . . . I lift it up . . .Quench this thirsting in my soul . . . Fill it up and make me whole. Find me on my knees, my soul in the circle of grace, listening for Your Agenda. Amen. ~ dho