Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Shared Post – Seeking Solace in God

As I was browsing through my usual reads at the office today, I stumbled on this and couldn’t agree more. Today, I’m choosing #6. Lent is just around the corner (wait for that post to be uploaded — I’m calling for acountability and community here). Here’s to living life to its fullest!

6 options for godly single women wanting to marry

I am currently preaching through Malachi and talking about Living for a Legacy. While the book does say that God is a Father seeking “godly offspring” through his people, my concern is that singles will feel isolated or overlooked in this series. So, I wanted to supplement the sermons with some additional thoughts for singles.

“Daughters . . . Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

–Song of Songs 2:7 (NIV)

These are tough times for godly single women who want to marry.

There are some single women who remain single for no good reason. I know plenty of them. Some have never married. Some married only to have their husband die. Others have been divorced by a guy who did not appreciate what he had and did not want to invest the energy it takes to make a great marriage. These are women who are friends of Grace and I, people we know well, women who are very godly, actively serving others, and well known in their church community. Of course, the world is also filled with singles who are not mature, godly, or stable, but I’m not talking about them.

As for the godly single women wanting to marry, however, I’m meeting more and more women like this recently. They often ask me for advice on what they should do. Those who are over thirty are sometimes beginning to wonder if their hopes to marry and become a mother will be fulfilled. For some, this leads to near panic. For others, a constant despair with seasons of dark depression lingers like a chronic ache.

Admittedly, I am not the best person to give advice to a single woman about specific ways to navigate the path of holding out hope while being realistic regarding planning for one’s future. But, I am a pastor and a dad. I do love the women in our church, and I love them like a spiritual father. Also, I am the father of two girls whom I absolutely enjoy and adore, the oldest of which is sixteen. So I think about this a lot.

For the godly single ladies reading this blog post, I know that sometimes the drama and details of relationships (or the lack thereof) can become confusing, cloudy, and cold. Sometimes, pulling back from a situation, particularly one that is emotionally expensive for you, helps you see that even though the specific choices you are making are not what you would want, they are the best in light of the options you have. This dawned on me recently while talking with a woman at an event where I was teaching. In that conversation, I told her she really only had six options.

Option #1: Sin

You can decide that God has not come through for you, so you take matters into your own hands. You decide to be a gal who parties a lot, casually dates a bunch of guys you’d never marry, sleeps around, moves in with a guy, or does other things that will really hurt the one relationship you have with a great man: Jesus Christ. If you take this path, you will eventually come to feel horrible for what you have done and miserable in the world you live.

Option #2: Surrender

You can give up on ever meeting someone worth marrying. You can just stop taking any risks, meeting any people, or trying in any way. Often this is because you are sick of getting your heart broken and would rather lock it away in a vault than take another risk. But when you shut down your heart to life in general, you are not just foregoing marriage but also hope and joy.

Option #3: Settle

You can lower your standards to the point that nearly any guy can meet them. Single men and women are prone to have a list of what they want in a spouse that is way too detailed, long, and unreasonable. But, it is also possible to keep editing your list to the point where “godly man” eventually becomes “believes in a higher power of some sort,” and “I respect him” becomes “I think I can put up with him.” This may get you a man, but not a long-term, joy-filled, God-honoring marriage.

Option #4: Suffer

You can allow your singleness to become the devastating, discouraging, and defining aspect of your life. You can let it make you feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. You can allow it to haunt you, pushing you into shame, isolation, and despair. You can let your singleness be a club for Satan to beat you with over, and over, and over, and over . . .

Option #5: Strive

You can start to obsess over doing literally everything you can to land a husband. You never leave the house without looking like you are ready for a pageant. You count every calorie and spend more time at the gym than the treadmill does. You start an account for every Christian dating site that exists. You attend every church with a decent number of single men, and never miss a singles ministry event at any megachurch within a two-hour drive of your home. The center of your life is no longer Jesus, but some guy you are determined to attract to fill his place.

Option #6: Solace

You can take comfort in God’s love for you and that Jesus is the Man in your life who sympathizes with your singleness. You can allow your singleness to explain you but not identify you. You can allow your singleness to be an aspect of your life but not the essence of your life. You can remind yourself that you worship a God who was single, and that the early church was nearly the polar opposite of today’s: singleness was considered a virtuous, preferable life by many in service to God. You can live your life without waiting for someone else to show up and make it worthwhile. You can retain your desire for marriage without drifting into desperation. You can be open to a relationship without putting your entire life on hold until one occurs. You can pour your desires for a family into your extended family and/or church family.

To my single sisters wanting to marry, I do not want to discourage you in any way. But, the truth is that it is harder to be a single woman than a single man as a Christian. Every poll I have ever seen says that single women are generally more mature and responsible than single men. Men are waiting until around 30 years old to marry for the first time, if they ever do. And, they are going for younger women, according to the statistics. Across Christianity, there are far more single women than single men, which means that the odds are not in the favor of godly single women. In addition, for theological reasons, many Christian women do not want to be the dating initiator, asking guys out and taking the lead in the relationship.

All of this together means that godly single women live in a complex world that is increasingly more difficult for those who want to marry and have children with a godly man. Love, prayer, friendship, support, counsel, and community are needed more than ever.

Being single is not easy. But neither is being married. They are just difficult in different ways as God uses everything in our life to make us more like Jesus, who happened to live a perfect life while single.

December 25: three presents

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. – 1 John 3.7-8

Ponder this remarkable situation with me. If the son of God came to help you stop sinning – to destroy the works of the devil – and if he also came to die so that, when you do sin, there is a propitiation, a removal of God’s wrath, then what does this imply for living your life?

Three things. And they are wonderful to have. I give them to you briefly as Christmas presents.

1.       A Clear Purpose for Living

It implies that you have a clear purpose for living. Negatively, it is simply this: don’t sin. I write these things to you so that you may not sin (1 John 2.1). The Son of God appeared to destroy the works for the devil (1 John 3.8).

If you ask, “Can you give us that positively, instead of negatively?” the answer is: Yes, it’s all summed up in 1 John 3.23. It’s a great summary of what John’s whole letter requires. Notice the singular “Commandment” – This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. These two things are so closely connected for John he calls them one commandment: believe Jesus and love others. That is your purpose. That is the sum of the Christian life. Trusting Jesus, loving people. Trust Jesus, love people There’s the first give: a purpose to live.

2.       Hope that Our Failures Will Be Forgiven

Now consider the second implication of the twofold truth that Christ came to destroy our sinning and to forgive our sins. It’s this: We make progress in overcoming our sin when we have hop that our failures will be forgiven. If you don’t have hope that God will forgive your failures, when you start fighting sin, you give up.

Many of you are pondering some changes in the new year, because you have fallen into sinful patterns and want out. You want some new patterns of eating. New patterns for entertainment. New patterns for giving. New patterns of relating to your spouse. New patterns of family devotions. New patterns of sleep and exercise. New patterns of courage in witness. But you are struggling, wonder whether it’s any use. Well here’s you second Christmas present: Christ not only came to destroy the works of the devil – our sinning- he also came to be an advocate for us when we fail in our fight.

So I plead with you, let the freedom to fail give you the hope to fight. But beware! If you turn the grace of God into a license, and say, “Well, if I can fail, and it doesn’t matter, then why bother fighting?” – if you say that, and mean it, and go on acting on it, you are probably not born again and should tremble.

But that is not where most of you are. Most of you want to fight sinful patterns in your life. And what God is saying to you is this: Let the freedom to fail give you hope to fight. I write this to you that you might not sin, but if you sin you have an advocate, Jesus Christ.

3.       Christ Will Help Us

Finally, the third implication of the double truth that Christ came to destroy our sinning and to forgive our sins, is this: Christ will really help us in our fight. He really will help you. He is on your side. He didn’t come to destroy sin because sin is fun. He came to destroy sin because it is fatal. It is a deceptive work of the devil and will destroy us if we don’t fight it. He came to help us, not hurt us.

So here’s your third Christmas gift: Christ will help overcome sin in you. 1 John 4.4 says, He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. Jesus is alive, Jesus is almighty. Jesus lives in us by faith. And Jesus is for us, not against us. He will help you. Trust him.

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

December 14: making it real

Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant be mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8.6

Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, according to Hebrews 8.6. What does that mean? It means that his blood – the blood of the covenant (Luke 22.20; Hebrews 13.20) – purchased the fulfillment of God’s promises for us.

It means that God brings about our inner transformation by the Spirit of Christ.

And it means that God works all his transformation in us through faith in all that God is for us in Christ.

The new covenant is purchased by the blood of Christ, effected by the Spirit of Christ, and appropriated by faith in Christ.

The best place to see Christ working as the Mediator of the new covenant is in Hebrews 13.20-21:

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.

So the meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the reality and makes it real to his people. He writes it on our hearts. He does not lay his Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength. He picks it up and puts in your heart and in you mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God.

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

December 12: replacing the shadows

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. —Hebrews 8:1–2

The point of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has not just come to fit into the earthly system of priestly ministry as the best and final human priest, but he has come to fulfill and put an end to that system and to orient all our attention on himself ministering for us in heaven.

The Old Testament tabernacle and priests and sacrifices were shadows. Now the reality has come, and the shadows pass away.

Here’s an Advent illustration for kids (and for those of us who used to be kids and remember what it was like). Suppose you and your mom get separated in the grocery store, and you start to get scared and panic and don’t know which way to go, and you run to the end of an aisle, and just before you start to cry, you see a shadow on the floor at the end of the aisle that looks just like your mom. It makes you really happy and you feel hope. But which is better?

The happiness of seeing the shadow, or having your mom step around the corner and seeing that it’s really her?

That’s the way it is when Jesus comes to be our High Priest. That’s what Christmas is. Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

traditions: trimming the tree

I’ve said it before and have no shame in mentioning it again.

I love Christmas.

Prior to Thanksgiving, I decided to decorate my apartment since I would be away during the holiday 14aa4b07b7c8e786dcf8d175e25282a0weekend and wanted to come home to Christmas. The balcony had been decorated during one of the last 50 degree days of October (early, I know, but that’s what we do in Minnesota).

I hauled out my new tree, last years’ ornaments, the matching, deep-red tree skirt, and other odds and ends. As I was wrapping glittered, net-style ribbon around my little tree, I pondered how they got their start and the connection to Jesus.

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him… John 19.17-18

Let’s start with the Christmas tree’s history: It’s been said that the Christmas tree has its roots buried in Germany. Ever hear of the term tannenbaum? It’s the German word for Christmas tree. In 1570, a small tree was decorated with what we now consider holiday foods and was set up in the 16th century equivalent of today’s gentleman’s club: a guild-house. Children were allowed to collect those treats (apples, nuts, dates and pretzels) on Christmas Day.

Wax candles were added to the mix in the 18th century and eventually, the tradition spread to other countries.

By the end of the 19th century, the Christmas tree was termed a Christmas tradition. Artificial trees were introduced and they, too originated in Germany.

The connection to Jesus: I think of God’s story…our history.

When you start in the book of Genesis and follow His story to Revelation, there are two trees: The first trees in the garden and the tree where Jesus gave his life.

Trees are a symbol of strength, growth, prosperity, intimacy, life and death. They provide context for both the sorrow and hope of mankind. A tree is at the center of our fall into sin and is also at the center of our salvation.

God created us in his image; to commune with him through an eternal life of worship. This life was embodied in the Tree of Life in the midst of Eden. And it was through the abuse of another, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that Adam and Eve were separated from the Tree of Life; from God himself. Hope seemed lost forever.

But God, in his great mercy and grace, offered another way through his Son at Calvary.

At Christmas, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We celebrate our hope.

His story climaxes on the tree at Golgotha; on the cross.

That last tree, the cross, was a far cry from the one gracing my living room. That first tree wasn’t a beautiful evergreen found among many on a tree farm or in the woods. It was a piece of rough-hewn wood with no natural beauty and its sole purpose was to bring misery and pain and eventually death. Its only beauty was in the purpose for which God intended in using it: to restore our relationship with him.

Instead of being decorated with white lights and ornaments from my childhood, the Light of the World hung upon its limbs, his body beaten and bruised by those responsible for his punishment.

There was no tree skirt or fake snow beneath this tree. Instead, the ground was stained crimson red by the blood shed for the sins of the world.

We share stories of Christmases past, sing Christmas carols and joyful laughter around our trees today. Those who did so then were hurling insults and mocked the Son of God – Emanuel – God with us. He was shown no mercy and yet, chose to show us mercy.

Remember those gifts tied to the branches of the first originating “Christmas trees”? This may very well be the only similarity between our tree and the tree on which my Savior died. The greatest gift of all was “tied” to the branches of the tree on Golgotha. There he died and paid the penalty for not my sin, but the sins of the entire world. There, he gave a gift, a free gift, so unlike those we give to one another and this gift is still active, alive and available today.

My tree is placed in a prominent position in my living room: right in front of the giant glass patio doors for the world (well, my little world anyway) to see. Just as my tree has that vantage point, I have to make that same choice to have the cross placed in a prominent position in my life and in my heart. Does the world see him through the way I live? Through my actions? Through my words? Do they?

I challenge you to look beyond the tree gracing your home, if you have one, and see the tree on which Jesus gave his life – for you and for me.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9.15

December 2: Mary’s magnificent God

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has show strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1.46-55

Mary sees clearly a most remarkable thing about God: he is about to change the course of all human history. The most important three decades in all of time are about to begin. And where is God? Occupying himself with two obscure, humble women – one old and barren (Elizabeth), on young and virginal (Mary). And Mary is so moved by the vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song – a song that has come to be known as “the Magnificat.”

Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, and the thing he wants to impress on Theophilus, his noble reader, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary.

Elizabeth says, “Why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me?” (Luke 1.43) and Mary says, “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant” (Luke 1.48).

The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary – people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by condescension of the magnificent God.

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

21. my discipleship group and the power of prayer

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2.42

I love my discipleship/accountability group and I could not imagine going weeks (or years as I had been before) without those strong relationships; relationships where we can disagree, hash it out and know that it we will still be okay moving forward. I’m okay with them confronting me about my stuff even when I may or may not want to hear it at the time; even when I don’t realize it’s there.

And it’s because of Jesus’ use of those relationships that he’s forming me into the woman God intended me to be and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I met Rick first, back in the fall of 2005, while I was away at college. I had just started my sophomore year and, having fallen in love with the local church I attended, I wanted to find a way to get more involved. I had been involved in a campus ministry but didn’t feel connected or part of a community; not the way I did when I was at that church.

That September, I received a postcard in the mail about a new college ministry that would be starting up at my church. They were looking for singers, musicians and others interested in being on the leadership time and after “chewing on it” for a few days, I emailed Rick and got my foot in the door. We met that November during one of the bands’ first meetings.

I met Holly shortly after and although our friendship at the time didn’t have the depth then as it does now, I’ve enjoyed going into those deeper waters with her, knowing that Jesus will keep us afloat the further we drift out as long as we remain in him.

It’s been nine amaznig years since and Rick has become more than just my pastor. He’s one of my best friends and a pretty stand-up guy (minus all the teasing I get). It’s been an immense blessing to watch God work through him in the lives of those his touches as well as knowing that I can get a solid, truth-filled answer or opinion if I weret o seek one out.

The same goes for Holly and I met her shortly after. She’s intense and in my face when it comes to most things and while there are moments when I want to kick her out of my apartment or walk away, I love her. It amazes me how a person can frustrate and move you at the same time. Only out of the love and grace of Jesus Christ is that possible.

In this last year, we made the decision to start meeting at least once every three weeks to discuss more deeply what God’s been doing in each of our lives, seeking out truth together, and being the iron that sharpens another (Proverbs 27.17).

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12.2

We’ve devoted ourselves to one another to learn from Jesus’ teaching and from those of his God-inspired followers (Paul, Peter, John, etc.). We’ve devoted ourselves to fellowship and community with one another and just last night, we talked about what that should and will look like in our church. We sometimes enjoy food or coffee together, partaking in the elements of communion with the rest of the body and we always pray for one another, sending sporadic notes of encouragement throughout the week/month.

Combining this with my relationship with Jesus, I’m being transformed from the inside out. I’ve seen the evidence of this my life, which is now, so much fuller.

I am so grateful for those who have chosen to partner with me and God in helping me become the woman he created me to be…especially when they have to call me on my junk when it shows.

Accountability goes a long way, as does love, truth spoken in love and a large dose of grace when it comes to these relationships.

Rick and Holly – I’m so incredibly thankful for you and I pray that God also enriches your lives with blessings, not earned by these actions, but because you are his children, my brother and sister, too.

20. intellect

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” – Jesus, Luke 10.27

Intelligence

The way God created us.

You

Me

Smart

Thought-processing

A beautiful mind

Out of everything God created, human beings have the ability to be creative with our thinking, tointellect form thoughts, string them together and form complete sentences…most of the time, anyway.

I’ve always loved learning, reading, writing (case in point), and letting my creative giftings run wild. It’s never been something I could force so when the moment strikes, I have to get those words, thoughts, lyrics, etc. out.

But, our minds can also be a dangerous place if we don’t learn how to control our wayward thoughts with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12.2

To keep Satan from gaining a foothold in your life, you must develop a sound mind that is completely controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit. Your mind must be renewed. When you make the choice to follow Jesus, the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5.17). This doesn’t happen overnight. This isn’t a one-time event where you give your life to Jesus and BOOM, everything is fixed. Believe me, God and I are still in the processes of renewing my habits and ways of thinking and I honestly want to get to a point where living out His life through me is second nature.

We must conform our thinking on purpose, on a daily basis and sometimes, moment by moment. We do this by diving into God’s Word on a regular basis. We do this by meditating on Scripture. We do this through prayer. And all of that may look different for you than it does for me. Everyone relates to God differently.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 1 Peter 1.13-14

You mind holds a tremendous creative ability. That’s why God gave us an imagination – the Creator of all gives his creation the ability to create, to add faith to the things we imagine and the ability to see them come to life. Once you’ve made up your mind when it comes to something you want to do, a dream you want to come true or a goal you want to meet, you map out a way to attain that and you do it.

If you can control your mind, you can control the choices you make, which pile up like snowflakes…either revealing the beauty or the ugliness underneath (again, depending on those choices) when it all finally melts away. You can choose right now to end up with a different ending than what your past would dictate. That’s the beauty of being able to decide; to make that choice.

In making the choice to immerse yourself in the Word, you set yourself up for success – not by the world’s definition, but based on God’s terms and you’ll be okay with his timing. He’ll bless you with wisdom, discernment, insight and the ability to accomplish anything through him.

The mind is a beautiful thing when under God’s control and for that, I am thankful.

Set your mind on him and he will bless you beyond what you can imagine or come up with on your own.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3.1-3

19. my home

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24.15bhome2

Whom do you serve?

Who has the leadership role in your life?

You?

Or God?

I struggled a bit this morning as I contemplated what (or how, rather) I would write about when it comes to thinking about the roof over my head.

You see, I’ve been blessed with a good-sized apartment in downtown Minneapolis, not to mention at a great price with some pretty decent amenities. My commute to work is just ten blocks, so I hike; it’s easier and free…not to mention, better for my health, overall. I also have an amazing view. For that, and so much more, I am thankful.

Those things pale in comparison to who I share my home with…or rather Who.

Jesus has taken his rightful role of leadership in my life (most days…I do fail occasionally) and through that, I am also blessed in opening my home to others.

I was blessed with the gift of hospitality.

I love hosting and planning and having people over…more Martha than Mary, I’ll admit, but Jesus and I are working on it. I also lack the space to hold bigger gatherings.

Someday

But, if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24.15

No matter who sets foot in my home, they know where I stand when it comes to my faith and who I follow. And in spite of the bad rap Christians get these days, my hope and prayer is that all who enter will feel the love and acceptance of Christ through me rather than feelings of judgment and condemnation.  I know not where their hearts are, but I do know that they are loved, just as I am loved.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 8.1

So I’ll ask again.

Whom do you serve?

Who leads your life?

Seek Him first, always.

home

18. good food

Thanksgiving

That holiday evokes visions of turkeys, cranberry sauce, and other sights, smells and sounds of noisy, family gatherings. It triggers memories of the tastes of stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and leaves my mouth watering.

It brings a smile to my face.

Thanksgiving

November

The time of year that kicks off the holiday season, falls smack dab in the middle of my favorite time of the year and well, consists of food. food1

And I love food. Not in the sense that I pig out every chance I get (my body wouldn’t thank me if I did), but in the sense that I enjoy it. I enjoy cooking, baking (especially this time of year), tasting and, of course, eating.

Every year, I try a new holiday dish and make my pumpkin and sweet potato pies…which, apparently, are to die for according to my Dad’s side of the family. Not to mention the fact that Thanksgiving weekend is when I do the majority of my holiday baking in my mom’s kitchen. It’s bigger than mine and, on the plus side, I get to spend time with her and my sister, which makes it that much more enjoyable.

I firmly believe that baking and cooking should be a social event. In fact, I spent this past Saturday baking pies with a friend. Fun times…

My love of food doesn’t simply stop there. It also spills into my spiritual life, which should cover every other part of my life.

Jesus referred to himself as the Bread of Life:

“I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6.35

Jesus had just fed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The crowd was excited and thrilled over what he had done and he used that miracle pair with a moment in Israel’s history to “land the plane,” so to speak. Jesus reminded them that it was God who had provided the manna for them in the desert and used that moment to point the truth of their spiritual depravity back to him.

Jesus is the Bread of Life.

He is the Living Water.

What nourished the body, he uses to picture what nourishes the soul.

Only he can satisfy those soul cravings.

We were created to hunger and thirst for only that which can fill us in completely.

Him

Only Jesus

We have a hunger for God that nothing in this world can fully satisfy.

Sure, the things of this world do satisfy…and that’s the problem. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that the “next thing” will bring fulfillment and it does…but only for a short time. And then we’re off, looking for that “next thing.” We all have our own vices and maybe even an addiction. Much of what is of this world can be good in and of itself but if that thing becomes the “main thing” (whether it’s a job, a relationship or a new “toy”), it becomes and idol and therefore, takes precedence over God.

Sadly, many will live life search for “bread and fish” and miss out on the Bread of Life. Many will get stuck in the never-ending cycle of pursuit to fill that void and miss out on what it means to “have life to the full.”

Only Jesus lasts.

I’m slowly learning that truth in my own life and have discovered when I choose him over anything else in my day (meet with him first thing in the morning, choose to pray on my way to work rather than ponder over whatever situation I may dealing with or that of a friend, and putting him first in each decision I make…not to mention my writing), I experience such depth and richness in this relationship and in my life than I would if I didn’t choose him.

Only Jesus lasts. Only he can fill.

And when we embrace that truth and seek Him first, we will be filled beyond what we can imagine and we’ll keep coming back from more, become so satisfied that we won’t hunger for anything else.