Digging The Word

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"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure."
 

 

Looking For A Better Country

God's people usually find themselves living in a culture that is hostile to their faith.

 

Hebrews 11:13-16  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

14  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  15  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  16  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Do you get upset with the lack of morality in the world around you? Good! It should make you feel uncomfortable. Are you grieved that the world seems to be against what you believe and doesn't care about your morals? Get over it! God's children shouldn't feel too comfortable here in this world and we shouldn't expect the world to live up to our standards.

How do you think Noah felt? I think it is easy to rush through the story about the flood and miss the point of how immoral everybody in the world was with the exception of Noah. I suspect that the world was worse than it is today yet Noah was still living to please God and while he was building the ark he was evangelizing his neighbors. (2 Peter 2:5)

Matthew 5:10-12  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  11  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  12  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

In the Old Testament people like Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and his cool furnace friends, Esther and Mordecai all obeyed God and brought him glory. When God exiled his people from the Promised Land because they didn't obey him there was usually somebody that lived in opposition to the culture, somebody that didn't deserve to be exiled, somebody that had to live with the consequences of the sin of the rest of the nation. Those people didn't whine about the way the people around them lived and why they passed laws that did not honor God.

The New Testament gives us examples like John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and ultimately Jesus. The world hated the man that was the ultimate example of love and so they will also hate us as well. The gospel message was spread across the world because faithful men were willing to endure persecution. (John 15:18-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)

God's people should be easy to spot in a hostile culture but too often we are easy to spot for the wrong reasons. Throughout history we have been the people that have made the news for what we are against and for taking an ugly stand for it. Jesus told us that the world will know us by our love but a lot of people say that they know us by our hate.

Be Still and Wait

Psalms 37:7-9  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper--it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
That verse is great advice for us as we live in this world full of evil. Don't worry, don't fret, don't get mad about it! Is it keeping you awake at night? Are you obsessed with watching or reading the news? Are you afraid of the future?

Just be still and wait. What! That's isn't natural! We like to handle things ourselves. We like to help God do what he needs to do. But God tells us to get out of the way, "I am at work here and you don't know what I am up to."

Just be still and wait. In a hostile culture you are forced to rely on God and lean on his strength. We have no human power to lean on, our reliance on people or things gets stripped away when God is all that's left.

Lord help me to be still and wait for you. Help me to trust in you when the world around me seems to be drifting so far away from the truth found in your word.

Flawless

You have blown it plenty of times but the cross can make you flawless.



"Flawless" - MercyMe



There’s got to be more 
Than going back and forth 
From doing right to doing wrong 
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are 
Come on get in line right behind me 
You along with everybody 
Thinking there’s worth in what you do 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Could it possibly be 
That we simply can’t believe 
That this unconditional 
Kind of love would be enough 
To take a filthy wretch like this 
And wrap him up in righteousness 
But that’s exactly what He did 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

Take a breath smile and say 
Right here right now I’m ok 
Because the cross was enough 

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when 
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late 
Well let me introduce you to grace grace 
God’s grace 

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 
No matter the hurt 
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless 

No matter what they say 
Or what you think you are 
The day you called His name 
He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps 
No matter the bruises 
No matter the scars 
Still the truth is 
The cross has made 
The cross has made you flawless

Perfect in Jesus

Romans 3:22-24  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Flawless? Yes! Perfect? No! My perfection isn't based on any effort on my part. I am totally dependant on Jesus for my perfection.

Because of my faith in Jesus and the work that he came to do on the cross I have received the righteousness of Jesus. Not only is Christ’s righteousness transferred onto me but the penalty for my sin was transferred over to him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 2:20).

Thank you Jesus for making me flawless! Thank you for making it possible to stand before God in heaven without fear. I can say with confidence, “I am sinless, as Jesus is sinless.”

It's All About Him

God is great and he treats me way better than I deserve.



Nehemiah 9:2  Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.

Nehemiah 9:6-10  "You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship You.

"You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.  When he had proved himself faithful, You made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And You have done what You promised, for You are always true to Your word.

"You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and You heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.  10  You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for You knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten."

This may seem like a very obvious point and hardly worth repeating but as prideful as we humans are it is a point worth saying again. God is great and I don't deserve the benefits of his greatness. He is Jehovah, the one and only true and living God, he is the one that the angels worship. He is the creator of everything and yet he loves us above all of his creation.

I am reminding myself of these facts because I am very much like the Israelites that Nehemiah was working with and I bet that you are very much like them too. All of us have seen the goodness of God and we have seen how magnificent his creation is and yet we ignore what we already know about him.

In his sovereignty he choose a man and his ancestors to be his people, to be the people that would be a witness for God, to be the lineage of our Savior. A man and his descendants that were nothing special that God should choose them over any other people. They would prove that fact over and over again.

God led his people through difficulty (Nehemiah 9:7-9)


First he invited Abraham to leave home, we don't fully get that today, our travels are so comfortable that we don't comprehend what that was like. Then there was Joseph and Moses, they were forced out of their homes, Moses went to live in the desert and Joseph wound up in Egypt.

God showed his glory to his people (Nehemiah 9:10-12)


Why were they in Egypt for so long? If you think about it this is the first great display of God's power and glory since the flood. I think they needed to see God's power to help them in future battles.

Exodus 18:10-12  "Praise the LORD," Jethro said, "for He has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, He has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!  I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because He rescued His people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians."  Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God's presence.

Moses' father-in-law was impressed with the display of God's power against the Egyptians. The word about what God had done to the Egyptians was spread all over the ancient world and the inhabitants of the Promised Land were scared of God's people when they got there.

God taught his people (Nehemiah 9:13-14)


The people were given instructions directly from this powerful God on how to please him. Over and over again they broke their covenant that they swore to him. God was so patient with them and sent more people to give them warnings but they refused to change. God was always patient with his people and slow to anger. (Nehemiah 9:31)

God sustained his people (Nehemiah 9:15)


The wandered around the desert for a long time, much longer than the trip requires, they always had food and water and their clothes never worn out. He was without question their sole provider, there wasn't any way to exist in the desert for that long without some divine assistance.

God's people walk away

Nehemiah 9:16-17  "But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to Your commands. They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles You had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them.
As much as they had experienced of God's mercy and grace and the great display they had witnessed they still walk away. God's children have been doing the same thing ever since. We never have stopped seeking out our own way. (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:25)

God patiently waits on me and no matter how difficult the rebuke from him seems it is nowhere close to what I deserve. When I am in distress and live is hard I need to ask myself if God is trying to change me. Many times he uses the difficult times that we hate to draw us closer to him.

Nehemiah 9:33 Every time You punished us You were being just. We have sinned greatly, and You gave us only what we deserved.

Lord I have seen your power and goodness and I know that you treat me way better than I deserve. Your power and glory have been displayed in my life and I am without excuse for walking away from your instructions. Forgive me for being so ungrateful!

Life Is Hard So Come To Jesus

When life don't seem worth living and you need a helping hand.

 

Oh, my baby, when you're older
Maybe then you'll understand
You have angels to dance around your shoulders
'Cause at times in life you need a helping hand

Oh, my baby, when you're prayin'
Leave your burden by my door
You have Jesus standing at your bedside
To keep you calm, keep you safe,
Away from harm

Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons
Child, when life don't seem worth livin'
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms

Oh, my baby, when you're cryin'
Never hide your face from me
'cause I have conquered hell and driven out the demons
I have come with a light to set you free

Oh, my baby, when you're dying
Believe the healing of His hand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand

Complete lyrics for Come To Jesus by Mindy Smith

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Reactions To Jesus Offer

You have to decide what you will do with Jesus.

 

John 7:37-38  On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!  38  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

John 7:40-46  When the crowds heard Him say this, some of them declared, "Surely this man is the Prophet we've been expecting."  41  Others said, "He is the Messiah." Still others said, "But He can't be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?  42  For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born."  43  So the crowd was divided about Him.  44  Some even wanted Him arrested, but no one laid a hand on Him.  45  When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, "Why didn't you bring Him in?"  46  "We have never heard anyone speak like this!" the guards responded.

"Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!" Jesus made an offer to the crowd that should have been great news but there was only a handful of people that saw it that way. Jesus invites us to come to him if you are thirsty for spiritual things, if you are thirsty for a full pardon for your sin and if you crave a relationship with your creator then come on down. Get yourself a taste of living water that can satisfy!

Everybody that has been introduced to Jesus must react, the claims that he made about himself cannot just sit there without a response, the crowds in the temple that day were split into four groups:

The Convinced

"This is the Messiah! The one that we have been waiting for since Moses told us about him." They thought that John the Baptist was the prophet but now they are sure that Jesus is the one that they have been anticipating. (Deuteronomy 18:18, John 1:21)

The Contrary

This group is bent on tearing down the people that are convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. Without looking at the facts they make a crazy remark about where Jesus was born. "You convinced people, what's wrong with you? You think Messiah comes from Galilee?" They didn't use the fact checker to see that Jesus really did fulfill the prediction about the birthplace of the Messiah.

The Confused

This group is stuck in the middle, there are the believers and the unbelievers and then there are the ones that are not sure what to think. Why didn't the guards bring Jesus in? It sounds like they are not sure about who he is and if he really is the Messiah then they don't want to mess with him.

The unbelievers ridicule the believers and also the confused. The religious leaders let the soldiers know who makes the decisions about spiritual stuff. The common everyday people can't decide for themselves, they need us to tell them what God is doing, there are still a lot of cults and religious systems that operate that way.

The Contemplative

It's been almost three years since that night when he visited Jesus. He was doing his own research to decide for himself what the truth is about Jesus. He is a thinking man and he wants to learn the truth instead of letting somebody else in his group of friends decide for him.

How Will You Respond?

Matthew 27:22  Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
There isn't any other offer that is as important as this one with such drastic consequences.The offer is out there and you must decide for yourself what you are going to do with it. Will you get the facts straight for yourself, let your friends dictate what is right or just ignore the offer all together.

Thank you Lord for your offer, I am so thankful that I am a part of the convinced crowd, help me tell others the good news and open their heart to get the facts and accept your offer.

Come To Jesus

Jesus is God and he is able to satisfy your thirsty soul better than anything else.



John 7:30-32  Then the leaders tried to arrest Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His time had not yet come.  31  Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in Him. "After all," they said, "would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?"  32  When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

John 7:37-38  On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me!  38  Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

Another visit to the temple has turned into chaos, every time Jesus goes there is a disturbance, this time it is the Jewish Festival of Shelters. There was a commotion before Jesus got there that only got worse, the crowds were trying to find Jesus and the were debating who he is.

The crowds are trying to decide who Jesus is but they are not looking at all of the evidence. Is this guy a good man or a deceiver? Are those really the only options for you to choose from?

John 7:12 There was a lot of grumbling about Him among the crowds. Some argued, "He's a good man," but others said, "He's nothing but a fraud who deceives the people."

We have been looking at some of the proof about Jesus in the study of the Book of John. John has given us a great deal of evidence about who Jesus is. John keeps coming back to this issue because he wants us to see that neither of those are viable options.

Jesus has been telling this crowd who he is but they didn't even list being God as one of the possibilities. Jesus teaching, his miracles and all of the prophecy that was fulfilled at his birth make a solid case to back up his claim to be God in a body.

The crowds got stuck on the fact that Jesus came in humility, he was selfless, he didn't attempt to gain money or political power, none of the things that a worldly leader should have, yet he had an incredible impact on our world. A false Messiah has never made this big of a difference in our world and he has never been humble and renounce money and power.

Jesus Makes Us An Offer

John 4:13-14  Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."

Jesus doesn't get into the debate, he has done enough to prove who he is, instead he makes an offer to the crowd. If you are hung up on whether Jesus is a good man or a deceiver then this offer isn't going to mean anything to you. He makes an offer to this crowd of Jews in the temple that is the same as the offer he made to an adulterous Samaritan woman next to a well and it is the same offer that is being given to each of us.

Jesus invites us to come to him if you are thirsty for spiritual things, if you are thirsty for a full pardon for your sin and if you crave a relationship with your creator then come on down. Get yourself a taste of living water that can satisfy!

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let anyone who hears this say, "Come." Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

See how satisfying living water can be, get a taste of forgiveness, grow in your knowledge of who God is and what he desires for your life. Drink freely and experience his grace, salvation and pardon for sin that will last for eternity.

After you have had a taste of this water you will have to share it with others. Not only do you drink and have your own thirst quenched, but you also become the supplier for other people, you will have this satisfying water pouring out of you for the world to taste.

Thank you Lord for the drink of living water! Help me to be a river of water to the thirsty world around me.

Desiring God's Word

I need to be willing to pursue God's word in order to gain understanding. 


 
John 7:15-18  The people were surprised when they heard Him. "How does He know so much when He hasn't been trained?" they asked.

16  So Jesus told them, "My message is not My own; it comes from God who sent Me.  17  Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.  18  Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.

There are a lot of impressive speakers these days, people that can keep you listening without staring at the clock, it is pretty common to have someone that is very skilled at communicating. It really isn't a surprise these days but in Jesus time they didn't have any classes on communication.

To the crowds that have been drawn to Jesus, his teaching is surprising, there wasn't anybody that spoke like him, ever since he was twelve years old he has been surprising his audience. (Luke 2:41-52)

It is always obvious that he knows stuff and he isn't making this stuff up as he goes. If is difficult to believe that he could possibly know much since he hasn't been to any of the rabbi schools. Everybody knows that he learned the carpenter trade from his earthly father and none of the local authority's on scripture or spirituality have taught Jesus.

Jesus let's them know that he didn't need to be trained to know any of this stuff all he needs to do is listen to what his heavenly father tells him to say. I love Jesus remark to the skeptical crowd:

Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.

If you read that too fast you don't realize that Jesus was rebuking the crowd for not knowing the truth of his message. Jesus says they don't understand his teaching because they don't want to do the will of God. I have to want to want to know, Jesus told this crowd that they have a choice to make, if I want to do his will then I will have understanding and if I don't understand then it my fault. I have to be careful to be sincere in following Jesus and desire to make him my Lord.

Choose To Know God

Proverbs 2:2-6  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  3  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  4  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.  5  Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.  6  For the LORD grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
We have an entire book in the Bible that encourages the pursuit of Godly wisdom. The whole book of Proverbs talks about making good choices. Nobody is forcing me to live with Jesus as the Lord of my life. I have to make the choice to pursue his teaching, I have to have the desire that prompts me to actively seek out how to please God, I can't be lazy, sitting around talking about knowing God and what his will is doesn't do me any good, I have to pursue it.

1 Corinthians 1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

Lord, I don't want to be in the crowd that thinks that all of this is a bunch of foolishness. I don't want to use you for my own personal gain. Help me to grow in my desire to study your word so that I can know you.

Responding To Jesus

How will you respond to the radical claims of Jesus?



John 6:41-42  Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because He had said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."  42  They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know His father and mother. How can He say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

John 6:60-69  Many of His disciples said, "This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?"

61  Jesus was aware that His disciples were complaining, so He said to them, "Does this offend you?  62  Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?

63  The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  64  But some of you do not believe Me." (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn't believe, and He knew who would betray Him.)

65  Then He said, "That is why I said that people can't come to Me unless the Father gives them to Me."  66  At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him.

John chapter six could be called the bread chapter, it starts off with Jesus asking Phillip where they could get enough bread to fill the stomachs of thousands of people, then the next morning the crowd demands to get breakfast. Jesus reply to them is that he is not so concerned about their belly but rather he is the bread of life that their souls are hungry for.

The people that were following Jesus around were not really followers of Jesus, he gave them so much evidence to prove who he was and yet they still didn't get it, just look at all of the miracles that he performed in Galilee. In Galilee he turned the water into wine, he healed the nobleman's son without even seeing him, he fed the hungry crowds but none of that mattered to this crowd. The evidence is overwhelming and their lack of understanding is inexcusable.

Matthew 11:23-24 "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you."

They are unaware of the danger in ignoring God's blessings. As immoral as those Old Testament cities were they are still better off than the city of Capernaum.

Even the guys that grew up with Jesus had a hard time believing and it wasn't until after the resurrection that they finally got it.

John 7:5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.

The crowds could handle the physical benefits of following Jesus, the free food and the free medical, the stuff that he did made him very popular but then the things that he said made them turn on him. They could take his works but not His words. As soon as He starts talking about being God's son and that he came to save them from their sins they are out of there.

Will You Believe?

John 6:67-69 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you also going to leave?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know You are the Holy One of God. "
At the beginning of this chapter there are thousands of followers and by the end there are only eleven. There are plenty of people that want the Jesus that came to do good deeds and talk about being nice to each other but the number of people that are willing to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior is much smaller.

Peter responds to Jesus question with another question, it is a question that we should all ponder, the answer to this question should help build up our faith. Where will you go if you turn from Jesus to follow something else?

Will you go to those who deny God’s sovereignty or to those that deny that he exists? Will you hang out with those that deny the power of sin or those that say it really isn't a big problem?

As John Piper says:

The world offers a long list of alternatives to Jesus but they all fall short of dealing with the issues. We may not have all the problems solved—the problems of following Jesus and saying yes to his teaching and his Lordship and his saving work.

We cannot possibly understand everything about God or his son Jesus, there are plenty of things in the Bible that baffle us and some things that we will find offensive, but where else can you go to solve the dilemma of your sin? Where else can you find the words that give eternal life?

Thank you Lord for your word that gives light to help me know you.

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I Found You

I have found hope, love and strength to rise above.



"I Found You" - Anthony Evans

You never know what could open up your eyes
Sometimes the truth comes in disguise
So close what you need most
Is hard for you to see
Unexpected but if you let it
Itʼs everything you need

[CHORUS:]
I found hope I found love
I found strength to rise above
A beautiful a fire that burned though
Everything I thought I knew
When I found you

Beauty rises from the dust
Heartache can teach us how to love
In the dark night a trace of light
Shines so easily
When you broke though like a bright blue sky
You changed the way I sing

[CHORUS]

Anytime my heart gives into doubt
Iʼll remember when
Iʼll remember how I Found You



Doubt is one of the leading causes of blindness, we can easily forget the truth that God has already revealed and proven to us, that's right where Satan wants us to be. My pastor Ken Whitten says: "Never doubt in the dark what God has showed you in the light."

This song is a reminder to me to celebrate the fact that I have hope, I have love and I have the strength to rise above my circumstances. If I look around in my dark places I can find Jesus right there with me.

Thank you Lord for giving me hope and love that this world desperately needs.

The Real Bread

Jesus came to satisfy our soul not our body.



John 6:30-40  They answered, "Show us a miraculous sign if You want us to believe in You. What can You do?  31  After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, 'Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

32  Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, Moses didn't give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now He offers you the true bread from heaven.  33  The true bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

34  "Sir," they said, "give us that bread every day."

35  Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.  36  But you haven't believed in Me even though you have seen Me.  37  However, those the Father has given Me will come to Me, and I will never reject them.

38  For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me, not to do My own will.  39  And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those He has given Me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  40  For it is My Father's will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day."

The disrespectful crowds are at it again. They follow Jesus around everyday but they aren't really following Jesus, they refuse to make Jesus the Lord of their lives, they just follow him around for their benefit and amusement.

The crowd got a free dinner from Jesus yesterday and now they have followed him to the other side of the lake to see if he will serve up some breakfast. They felt that Jesus should be able to measure up to the standard that Moses set, they wanted a food pantry but Jesus didn't come to satisfy their bodies, he came to satisfy their souls.

According to John McArthur this crowd is basically saying:

"Ah, that's a pretty big claim, telling us You're the One approved of God. You're the One coming down here with this eternal bread. And we're supposed to believe in You. Well, prove it. How do we know who you are how do we know that you're greater than Moses, look what he did as compared to what You did?"

They misquoted their scripture, Moses didn't give them bread from heaven and he never tried to take credit for it, the only thing that Moses did was organize a collection program. The crowd told Jesus if he is really the guy that Moses told them about then they want to see some more food. (Exodus 16:4, Deuteronomy 18:15)

Moses Versus Jesus

Exodus 16:4  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Look, I'm going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow My instructions."
The bread that they called manna didn't last, it didn't give life for eternity and it was only for Israel. The bread that Jesus has to offer gives satisfaction for now and for all of eternity and it is offered to everyone. Manna was only a symbol of the real bread that was Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

God sent his Son to be the bread that I need in order to feed my hungry soul. Without this food I will not live forever, I cannot admire the bread and say that he is a great and noble teacher, I must eat the bread and depend on it to give me life for eternity.

Thank you God for sending the bread of life.

Don't Have Much To Give? Good!

God uses inadequate people with inadequate resources.

 
bread

John 6:5-13 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for Him. Turning to Philip, He asked, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" 6 He was testing Philip, for He already knew what He was going to do.

 7 Philip replied, "Even if we worked for months, we wouldn't have enough money to feed them!" 8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up. 

 9 "There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" 10 "Tell everyone to sit down," Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 

 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward He did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told His disciples, "Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted." 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

In the previous post we saw that the crowds that followed Jesus around were not really followers of Jesus. To them he was an amusement and a resource for free health care. They had a lot of nerve to say to Jesus "Show us a miraculous sign if You want us to believe in You. What can You do?" (John 6:30)

Jesus knows that they don't have enough money to feed all of these people but he also knows that there is a boy whose mom made him wait before he left the house so that she could finish packing his lunch. Again we are going to see that Jesus has a plan and he has an agenda.

Jesus has compassion for this crowd but he also has a higher agenda just like when he cleared the temple, when he healed the man by the pool on the Sabbath and when he "needed" to go through Samaria to meet a woman. Jesus always has an agenda. Jesus had compassion for them all but the greater end that Jesus is working toward has more to do with teaching the disciples a lesson than it does the feeding of a hungry crowd.

The disciples are looking for an easy way out, this crowd has been a pain for too long, perhaps they wanted to use this opportunity to get rid of them. Let's send them away so that they can buy their own food and we can have some peace and quiet. (Mark 6:36)

Jesus ruins that idea when he asked Philip about the local food supply. Philip should have said to Jesus, not too long ago I saw you turn water into the best wine, he should have thought that Jesus could give them food from out of nowhere just like the manna that God made fall from the sky for their forefathers. The disciples should have been ready to say to Jesus "You can feed these people you don't even need the little boys lunch to do it." (John 6:5-6, Deuteronomy 8:16-17)

These guys were low on faith but they were still obedient and made the crowd spread out and sit down. Maybe the fact that they were right there with Jesus and he gave them a direct order made them feel pressured to go ahead and do it. Usually a lack of faith makes me become disobedient.

Jehovah Jireh

Philippians 4:19 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.
Jesus proves that he is totally sufficient, he is in control, and he has unlimited resources. Imagine watching the first and second person get their food and you are next, you probably think that the food from that little lunch box is all gone, but then the food comes from somewhere. I have to wonder at what point the new pieces of bread showed up. Could the people see the next piece of bread suddenly pop into Jesus hands or did they pop into the basket just before Jesus reached back in?

Jesus uses the inadequate people who yield their inadequate resources to Him. What an awesome lesson for the disciples and one that we need to come to realize as well. God's people are inadequate to meet the needs of the people that they minister to and it is better for us if we realize that before we get busy in ministry. Without God we can't save them and we can't meet their real needs.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the needs around us and we can get burned out in serving the Lord because we are trying to meet those needs in our own strength, if we rely on God and his resources we will be freed from worry and we will become more generous as we prove his faithfulness.

Help me to be faithful to do your will, forgive me Lord for being disobedient when I can't see the resources to do what you want me to do.

Is Jesus The Lord?

The crowds try to make Jesus the servant.



John 6:1-5  After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias.

A huge crowd kept following Him wherever He went, because they saw His miraculous signs as He healed the sick.

Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with His disciples around Him.  (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)  Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for Him. Turning to Philip, He asked, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?"

John 6:14-15  When the people saw Him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, "Surely, He is the Prophet we have been expecting!"  15  When Jesus saw that they were ready to force Him to be their king, He slipped away into the hills by Himself.

The crowds that are following Jesus are continuing to grow, and why not? Jesus is doing some pretty cool stuff. After a big disturbance in Jerusalem he moved on to Galilee and he is really gaining in popularity.

In Galilee alone the Centurion's servant has been healed, the son of the widow of Nain is alive again, remember Jairus' daughter, the two blind men, the woman who touched His clothes, a demonic who couldn't speak. All of this has happened right here in Galilee!

Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.

This crowd was looking for someone that would save them from the oppression of the Romans, they wanted to see the fulfillment of the hope that Moses gave them that another prophet would rise up to help them.

The crowds were looking for somebody that would make their life a lot easier, they wanted a Messiah who healed and fed them and was a physical earthly Messiah that would help their country. The free lunch and healing Messiah was all they wanted and sometimes Jesus disciples felt the same way.

What Can Jesus Do For Me?

John 6:29-30  Jesus told them, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent."

They answered, "Show us a miraculous sign if You want us to believe in You. What can You do?"
They were just like a lot of people in our world who want that same kind of Jesus. They want one who will just do everything for them and make no demands. They like the help but they don't want to hear that this Jesus requires something of them. They didn't have any thought of repentance at all.

One test of whether I am truly submitting to God is how I react to my circumstances. Am I grumbling or giving thanks when things don't go the way that I wanted them to go. If God choose this situation that I am in and he did so for my good then who am I to try to take charge.

Who is really the lord of my life? If I am using God then I am promoting myself to the position of lord and I am trying to make him my servant. Jesus does not want followers who use Him for their own purposes, but followers who grow to know Him and trust Him for who He is and allow him to be Lord.

Forgive me Lord for making myself the lord and putting you in the place of the servant. I want to live for your glory and be obedient to you instead of trying to get you to obey me.