Bread of Life

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make the bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”

Ezekiek 4:9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

As a girl, I learned to make bread–corn bread specifically. Cornbread was typically a staple at our evening meal, so I was about nine years old when I learned to make it. We would make a large pan of cornbread to supplement whatever else we might be eating that night. It served as a filler making the meal “stick to our ribs” so we did not get hungry again until time for breakfast. During wintertime, often we had cornbread and milk as our evening meal. A bowl of cornbread soaked in milk is somewhat akin to porridge for breakfast. Both are made of grain which helps to satiate a person. Thus, hunger is held at bay for a time.

As a young wife and mother, I had already expanded my knowledge to embrace making cinnamon rolls, puff pastries, and other goodies. Thus, I decided it was time to try my hand at making yeast bread. My first batch flopped. It was hard as a rock and never raised even a fraction of an inch. Even the dog wanted nothing to do with it. Later, I discovered the yeast was long out of date. So, lesson learned: always be sure the yeast is still within active dates of usage. If the expiration date is in the past, the yeast should be in the trash.

My second batch of yeast bread turned out beautifully. I was thrilled to see it actually take shape as loaves similar to those bought at the store. Always striving to improve upon the food I prepared for my family, I learned of the important role whole wheat bread serves in our daily diet. The whole grain includes fiber which aids in digestion by slowing the process to allow time for nutrients to be absorbed across the intestinal wall. So, I decided to use whole wheat flour when making my bread. The result was quite satisfactory.

I always knew beans were nutritious and occasionally made a big batch of chili beans. During the holiday season, I would make baked beans as part of our traditional celebration. When we moved to the Gulf Coast, I learned how to make Red Beans and Rice. A close relative had grown-up on the coast and was quite adept at cooking with a southern flair. Therefore, it was not long until I, too, had learned to cook in like manner at least part of the time. As more years passed, I learned how to cook other types of flavorful bean dishes and began to truly appreciate the value of their inexpensive but very nutritious addition to the mealtime budget. As a result, a number of bean varieties are included in my dietary routine.

Suffice it to say, with knowledge of the important roles grains and legumes play in our nutritional intake, when I happened across the scripture quoted above during the course of my recent Bible study, I was amazed at the rich quality of the ingredients God specified for Ezekiel to include in his bread. This bread would provide almost all of a person’s nutritional requirements for a time. The one ingredient I was not familiar with–fitches– is actually the name of an ancient grain known as modern-day spelt. I have seen it mentioned when perusing various grain products available for purchase, but until now had not been overly inquisitive as to its dietary value. As with the manna from heaven which provided the Israelites with their nutritional needs during the weekly Sabbath observation while wandering forty years in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land, God now is providing Ezekiel with the knowledge of how to prepare a bread to satisfy his nutritional needs while serving as His prophet to the Israelites.

In Deuteronomy 8:2, and 3, God told Moses:

  • 2 — “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
  • 3 — “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

Here, God tells the Israelites they are not to live on only the physical bread in their daily diet, but to the physical bread, they must also add “. . . every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” These words equate “God’s Words” with “bread.” He is telling them, both provide sustenance for life. The physical bread is sustenance for physical life, and the “bread” of “God’s words” is sustenance for the spiritual life.

Knowing God is so focused upon the nutrition needed by the human body, we can also know it is possible to look to the Bible for understanding as to which foods are best at meeting our nutritional needs. The foods mentioned in the Bible can be wholesome and nutritious additions to our physical diets.

Further, we find in the New Testament, Jesus’ response to Satan while being tempted of him in the wilderness:

“But He answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:4 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Does this mean we must know and abide by every “word” in the Bible? Well, yes, but probably not in the same sense you might understand. First, we must learn how we are to receive “. . . every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” To begin this understanding, let’s look at some words from the apostle John.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

From these words, we can see God’s Word has existed from the beginning. As long as God has existed, His Word has existed.

We also see, “the Word was with God.” This indicates, not only did the Word come “from God.” It also existed “with God.”

Hmmmmm; so, while His word emitted from Him, it also co-existed alongside Him.

The end of this verse takes this thought process one step further, ” . . . and the Word was God.” Now, how often have you thought “the Word” not only is “from God,” but “the Word” actually “is God?”

How can this be? Well, let’s see what Jesus says about the matter. Remember, we are looking at the word “bread,” how there is a “physical bread” which we physically ingest, but there is also a “spiritual bread,” which is necessary to ingest in order to attain life eternal. The “spiritual bread” comes from “every word out of the mouth of God.”

I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:35 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In the above scripture, Jesus is telling us, He is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Looking back to John 1:1, He is also telling us, “He” was the “Word” referred to in this verse. In other words, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God.” If you notice, in this scripture the “Word” is capitalized, equating it with “someone”–equating it with “God.” Now, in John 6:35, Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life, . . .” He tells us, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, . . . ” If we are truly pricked in the heart and present ourselves to Jesus for His guidance, our physical needs will be provided, but our spiritual needs will be provided too. This is not the only place Jesus tells us this, and His apostles follow His teachings with the same message.

Finally, Jesus said, “. . . and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Here, He is telling us there is more to “life” than eating and drinking; there is more to “life” than the physical life we know. This portion of the verse needs to be looked at more in depth, but for now–that is another devotional. I hope you will join us for that one as well.

Today, my prayer for each of you–and for the world–is that God and Jesus might place the knowledge and the surety of their existence–side by side–within our hearts and minds. Give us the understanding that the needs of this life will be provided for those who come to You. Give us the understanding of these scriptures. Help us to know that God and His Word (Jesus) existed in the beginning, that the Word (Jesus) was with God in the beginning, and the Word (Jesus) was God. Help us to understand: If Jesus is the bread of life, then He is God’s Word–He is every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Thank You for stopping by to read and commune with me, with God, and with Jesus. As I strive t o learn more about the message God and Jesus are imparting to me through the Scriptures–the Holy Bible–I am honored that you choose to share this journey with me. Please “Like,” “Share,” “Follow,” and keep coming back!

Have a Blessed Day!

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ezekiel 4:9. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). EZEKIEL 4:9 KJV “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Deuteronomy 8:2, 3. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). Deuteronomy 8:2 – 8:3 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 4:4. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). MATTHEW 4:4 KJV “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). JOHN 1:1 KJV “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 6:35. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). JOHN 6:35 KJV “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: by TiBing @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Strength and Refuge

~~ by tkbrown
I cannot imagine what it must be like
to be in his position, having lost so much . . . 

How does one rebuild after such devastation?
. . . after seeing so much suffering and misery?
. . . after opening eyes to the cruelest of cruel
and the most surreal of the most beautiful?

The pain in his facial expression, his eyes,
brings tears to mine that won't blink back.
So much planning! Will it be enough
to bring life to a town so marred by death?
Can any amount of planning or effort
to jumpstart life -- after so much death --
ever diminish or take away the pain?

The stress of shouldering so much responsibility
must overwhelm even the strongest of men at times.
One must respect, if not admire, the tenacity
of those in public office, muddling through the mire
that life has suddenly wrought -- with no warning --
no time to prepare for the insurmountable struggles
faced by all during these uncharted times.

These are the times when I look to the scriptures
for guidance and for resolution within myself.
Many specific passages come to the front of my mind,
but for this day, one can take comfort in the message
meted out in the thirteenth chapter of Romans (NKJV).
To those in positions of power during this time
of foreboding, each is to be subject and to give honor.
He or she has been burdened with the greatest load
any leader has ever known. Even war does not
wreak the havoc, pain and loss of incurable illness.
In the end, each of us, whether stricken or not,
whether impoverished or not, must answer
for deeds directed toward those in power --
for each is appointed that power by the Lord God.
Let me never forget, if characteristics needed
to address the burdens of the time were mine,
I would be there; but, I do not have what it takes
to meet today's challenges head-on --
most of us do not . . ..
Thus, I must respect those whom God deems
able to fill whatever needs arise on this day,
and on every day throughout this time of trial.
May God Bless and Keep Each of Them,
and May He Be Their Strength and Refuge!

~~~~~~~~~~

Source Referenced: The Holy Bible (NKJV) — the New King James Version

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo by: Steve Halama on Unsplash.com

~~~~~~~~~~

Devotional: Social Distancing

Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)

“‘For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.'”

~~~~~~~~~~

Notes on Scripture: by tkbrown

These are trying times for people of the faith as well as for those not of the faith. People who are accustomed to attending worship services on Sundays are longing for those days to return. Those who violate the guidelines of no more than 10 in a gathering are frequently penalized by law enforcement. How do we balance our obligation to attend church services?

I encourage you to remember the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:20 (above). Here, Jesus knew there would be trying times when large gatherings could not meet. In fact, the disciples went through some of those times. Christians were despised by many during the first century AD. They usually met–either in the catacombs beneath the city, or they would meet house to house. This allowed them to meet in smaller groups–making them less conspicuous. The Emperor Nero was among the Roman rulers who persecuted the Christians. The apostle Peter died during Nero’s heinous rule.

So, take heart during these troubled times, and meet in small groups. Worship house to house like they did after Christ’s death. Just be very careful to ensure that social distancing is practiced. Even with these precautions, you still may contaminate others. If you are an asymptomatic carrier, you may not even know you are infecting others. If you are comfortable with the online, media worship, this is the safest procedure. If not, then please practice social distancing, and meet in small groups. This can be done under the direction of church leadership. I have seen it done. It can work.

I pray that Christians everywhere abide by the restrictions COVID-19 is placing upon us. I ask that God allow us to meet in small groups practicing social distancing in order not to infect others. I pray that God give us strength to learn the lessons intended by these troubling times and make us stronger Christians in better servitude to each other as we serve Him after these times are over. May God Bless and Keep all who practice the faith in Christ Jesus according to Christ’s teachings. I ask all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~

Image above: by Hannah Busing on Unsplash.com

~~~~~~~~~~

. . . a new creation

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
old antique bible as an open book with sunlight bursting from the pages

. . . a new creation

~~ a haiku by tkbrown

 Christianity —
new in Christ through baptism —
a new creation.

Thanksgiving

~~ a Devotional ~~

~~ by tkbrown

Note: If we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, if we believe that He was sent to this earth to die for the sins of all mankind, if we believe He rose again three days after His death, and if we believe He ascended to heaven to be with God, His Father, once again, then we must believe He will come again to receive us unto himself, when it is time!

— Philippians 4:4 — “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice!”

Philippians 4:5 — “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

Note: I am amazed at all God has provided for me and mine. He has left no need lacking. With a prayerful heart, I give Thanks this day for His abounding provisions. He makes His love for me known by providing all for which I have need!. I am, daily, amazed at the unlimited bounds of His love.

Philippians 4:6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,”

Philippians 4:7 — “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

~~~~~~~~~~

~~ Please join with me in an ongoing Prayer of Thanks. ~~

~~~~~~~~~~

The Two Greatest Commandments

Photo by: aleteia.org
Source: Holy Bible (NKJV)

John 13:34-37 — “Love one another . . .”
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
John 13:35“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 13:36 — “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,”
John 13:37 — “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

John 13:38-40 — Love the Lord they God . . .”
John 13:38 — “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heaert, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.'”
John 13:39“‘This is the first and great commandment.'”
John 13:40“‘On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'”

~~~~~

Notes: by tkbrown

First, we are told to “Love the Lord thy God . . . ” above all others. If we do this, then the second – which is like unto the first – will follow. Jesus said, “This is the first and great commandment.

Second, we are to “love one another . . . ” as Jesus loved us. By this, His disciples shall be known. If we strive to emulate Christ in our lives, others can see Him in us by the love that we have one for another.

Finally, He goes on to say that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” All else that we as Christians are required to strive toward hinges upon these two commandments. If we strive toward complete obedience of these two commandments, all else will fall into place.

%d bloggers like this: