Saturday, March 23, 2024

Lent - “I Am This 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    

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 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

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Lent - Spiritual Hunger

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               

Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in Me will never thirst. . . I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.” John 6:35,58 NLT

Jesus uses bread to explain the difference between meeting the physical needs of hunger and the spiritual needs of redemption. Our physical life requires ongoing nutrition to survive, while our spiritual growth requires an ongoing relationship with Jesus. The greatest difference between bread and living bread is that in Christ our souls know permanent nourishment, everlasting sustenance. 

How does one eat living bread? Believing that Christ’s death and resurrection brings each one new life and trusting the Holy Spirit for guidance is the beginning. Continuing to grow in our knowledge and faith sustains us. Sharing the Good News of Jesus, sharing the living bread with others gives an even deeper satisfaction. Christ came down out of heaven, and Perfect Love offered Himself so the world may live.
  • Hungry? How much time do you spend feeding your soul with Gods word? 
  • Will you commit to spending time with God - daily?

Living Bread ~ I am fed by an offering I cannot explain. Bread of Heaven, feed me ‘til I want no more. My God-story is full! – dho

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Lent - Bread of the Presence

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                                                                                       

Place the Bread of the Presence on the table to remain before Me at all times. Exodus 25:30 NLT

In giving explicit instructions to Moses about building a holy sanctuary, God’s plan is to be present with His people. Chapters 25-27 in Exodus provide the specific details for the Tabernacle in which the Ark of the Covenant would stay. The Tabernacle includes two distinct areas: an outer space called the Holy Place where the lampstand (menorah), the table, and the Bread of the Presence would be, and an inner space known as the Most Holy Place surrounded by curtains where the Ark of the Covenant stays. This Bread of the Presence, 12 loaves of unleavened bread baked fresh each week before the Sabbath, must be placed on the holy table in two piles of six to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bread of the Presence depicts the people’s offering to God and God’s desire to always be present with His people.

Only to be eaten by the priests in a holy place, the Bread of the Presence of the Tabernacle can symbolize Jesus, the Bread of Life, an offering of atonement to God. Christ, as the true High Priest, enters the Most Holy Place as a blood sacrifice, an offering for all people. Christ becomes the New Covenant offering atonement for sins, offering forgiveness and grace and everlasting life. Jesus, the Holy One, becomes true bread, spiritual bread that satisfies the hungry. Jesus, always present, is the Bread of Life.

Lord, my life needs something constant and knowing You are always present calms me, reassures me, comforts me. Lord, always give us this bread.” Bread of the Presence and Bread of Life, Holy, Holy, Holy! I fall to my knees aware of Your unlimited love and grace. – dho

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