Bread is not Boring!

9 10 2011

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” John 6:47-48   

I had an epiphany while working through my Bible study today that I would love to share with you. It involved bread. It’s always good to study around food, no? It’s probably why I paid attention in the first place…..

There is significance to bread in Scripture. It was used as a staple for nutrition. It was also used as an offering to God in the Old Testament.

In the case of David, we know that when he fled from Saul, he ran to Nod and visited Ahimelech who was fearful of David because he knew of David’s conquest over Goliath. David told him a lie that he was “on a secret mission” for Saul and asked for something to eat.

“Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here–provided the men have kept themselves from women. David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.” 1 Samuel 21:3-6

During the time of David, bread was offered to God as a way to remind God of the covenant that he made with his people (Israel). This is the “Shewbread” that we see in Scripture. It was placed on the altar, and it was 12 loaves of what is thought to be unleavened bread. It was replaced with fresh bread each Sabbath.  

David was given bread that had been offered to God. There is some meaning to this, it is a reminder to David by God of his commitment and covenant to protect him.

Jesus also used 5 loaves to feed the five thousand.

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food. Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14: 13-21

Jesus reminded the disciples and the crowd that he alone is the provisioner of all our needs. He can and will satisfy and sustain us.

  • Five loaves fed David when he fled from Saul.
  • Five loaves fed the 5,000. 
  • Twelve loaves on the altar of the tabernacle as an offering to the Lord.
  • Twelve apostles.
  • Consecrated bread represents the presence of the Lord. It is this bread of the presence that was given to David to remind him of the promise of God.
  • Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life.
  • We use bread during the communion ritual as a reminder of Christ’s body.

In the Old Testament bread is used to symbolize things beyond the obvious of nutrition; the presence of God, unity among a group, wisdom. In the New Testament, bread represents Christ himself, unity of his Kingdom and the Church.

When Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life, he is telling us in short that he is the embodied presence of God. He is wisdom, and unity, and the ultimate nutrition. He alone can satisfy your needs.

Doesn’t that just stir your soul to no end? I hope so! Bread, indeed, is not boring! Grasp at your bread hungrily and greedily….and maybe dip it in a little olive oil and vinegar with some cracked pepper as you do! May it become a reminder of who your Maker is and what promises he has made to us each and every time you have your daily bread.


David: Seeking a Heart Like His  (Beth

Holman Bible Dictionary 

Steadfast Stillness

5 09 2011

I’ve had some time to practice being still recently while working on recovery from a knee issue. The doctor suggested I spend some time reading (in response to my whine about boredom). This all coming after my exploratory plunge into finding joy! Call me cranky pants! Now, I know what you’re thinking….time laying around! Sounds great! Well, let me tell you….it’s fun for about a day. It becomes taxing pretty quickly so I needed to find something to occupy my mind. So, doctor’s orders!

Most recently, I’ve begun “What Good is God?” by Philip Yancey. He visited my church last year shortly before Christmas so I had the opportunity to have him sign a few items for gifts, but I kept this one for myself….in that unread pile on my office floor. Pulling books out of the stack of unread works are like finding hidden gems! (That’s joy!) So after digging it out of the stack, I nuzzled in for a read. Yancey has met with ten varied groups of people in varying stages of life crisis and how God fits into those moments.

I was struck by a quote of C.S. Lewis in Yancey’s book, “Pride….is the mother of all sins, and the original sin of Lucifer….I am an instrument strung but preferring to play itself because it thinks it knows the tune better than the Musician.” Like I read it about five times.

Hmmm…..Pride is a sin of Satan, because he believes he can do it better on his own. I hadn’t ever thought of the world in quite that way before. Isn’t that how we feel as well…about many things? Most things?

How often I make my own music because I am like a player piano on auto-pilot; when I could be looking to the composer/conductor for cues. Here I have the capability to make beautiful music, but I so often choose to play out of tune on my own volition. When I am out of alignment with God’s will for my life, how can I possibly expect there to be a beautiful symphony? My head hurts from thinking now.

Jeremiah’s Judgment

Jeremiah was a prophet during the final days of the kingdom of Judah. In the first Old Testament chapter begins with “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”” (Jer 1:4-5, NASB)

That speaks to what C.S. Lewis was trying to get at, that we are created as fully functioning strung instruments. God knew us before he created with us. He created us each with a specific and unique purpose. Isn’t that the most amazing thing, and at the same time one of the hardest things to truly accept?

Jeremiah wanted the people of Judah to understand that God’s promises would be fulfilled, but only after a period of exile and judgment. They would have to be obedient and faithful, certainly, but God’s promises would be fulfilled indeed.

For some reason, Jeremiah 31:20 keeps returning to me, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him,” declares the Lord.” (NIV)

We know that the term Ephraim was often used as a term for Israel. So the Lord was reminding the people of Israel of his promise of restoration. God delights in his children as a parent might. Even though they do things outside rightness at times, or against a parent’s will, it does not diminish the love that exists.

What I take from this is the unsettled assurance that even when I take matters of life into my own hands and attempt to do things on my own rather than asking for and applying guidance, my Father in Heaven loves me still (Joy! Joy! Joy!).

Even when I am guilty of performing an off-key instrumental solo, my Father still sits in the sidelines calling me gently back to him, yearning for me to run into his waiting arms. When one has that kind of love waiting on the sidelines, how can one not have joy? Perhaps now that I can see it in a slightly different light that it’s actually a form of pride to believe that I can handle things on my own I’ll now be more motivated to seek out God’s will for myself moving forward.

God wants to restore us to wholeness, and through that He wants us to know joy here on earth, as a picture of what waits for us in the hereafter. Not the temporary, happy feeling, but real, deep, assured joy. He also wants us to receive his promises to be fully functioning instruments in concert with the rest of the symphony, according to his score. God is so good.

May your faith matter.

Note: More info on Philip Yancey’s work What Good is God? In Search of a Faith that Matters is available from

Joyous Joyance

30 07 2011

I’ve been working through a Bible Study by Kay Warren called Choose Joy. We had our final session this past week. The main theme of the study is that joy is less about feelings and circumstances and is more about our thoughts. How we think determines how we feel, how we feel determines how we act. Having joy is a choice we must make. It’s up to us.

Have you ever stood on train tracks on a long straight plane and looked out towards the horizon? Off in the distance the train tracks seem to converge together into one. The main analogy used in the study is that life is like a train track, parallel rails of joys and sorrows. Life is not all sorrow, or all joy. Life doesn’t become complete joy until off on the horizon we come to be in heaven with our Savior. Only at that point do all sorrows melt away.

I should know that when I sign up for these studies, when they catch the attention of my periphery, God has something he wants to teach me. I don’t know why I don’t learn any way other than the hard way!

Since the study, it’s as though God is purposefully giving me opportunities where I have to put my money where my mouth is and make a conscious choice to be joyful. God has broken my heart on several levels of late. My job situation is less than promising, a relationship has come to the end of the tracks, and now this week I’ve learned that my furry friend, Sadie, has the diagnosis of “probable cancer.” That was the last straw for me. I wanted to scream at the vet and say what is “probable cancer”???? She either has it or she doesn’t, MISTER! But I opted for the other response which was to break into the ugly cry in the middle of the exam room. Thank God for assistants with giant boxes of Kleenex on standby.

Here she is, this sweet doggie girl, who is finally coming out of her shell and behaving more or less like a normal dog after all the terror she’s been through. Mess with me God, okay, but Sadie? Come on!

For those of you that don’t know her story, Sadie is a rescue lab that’s had some severe issues. She was used in a puppy mill as a breeder, there’s some physical abuse in her history, and then she had a master cell tumor successfully removed once I got her. We’ve worked through so many behavioral issues and normal dog behaviors are just starting to show. Now they believe she has lymphoma. I was hoping to have some time with her to show her humans aren’t all bad. My heart is broken.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my first response was to want to yell at God yesterday. Really, God? Really? You want me to choose to be joyful today when you’re putting all these great opportunities in my path? Seriously? You expect me to be able to find joy in all things? Right! Like that’s gonna happen!!! The mistress of sarcasm rears her ugly head once again.

This morning, a dear friend who texts me each morning with a Scripture sent Jeremiah 29:11. We talked about this in last week’s blog how God brings this very verse to me in times of crossroads to remind me that he’s there. Her text this morning read:

“Good morning, praying 4 u this verse is for u “The plans I have for you are plans to prosper you, not to harm you. They are plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)”

This friend would have had no way of knowing about Sadie. I haven’t told many yet. And here she unknowingly allowed herself to be used by God to deliver this message of hope to me today. Thanks for the reminder God. I love you too.

So today I will choose to be joyful. There is a plan even though I don’t understand. My heart is breaking, but I am choosing to be joyful for each and every moment I have with my furry bud. I choose to be joyful for the opportunity to get out of a rut and redefine myself professionally. I am grateful to be blessed beyond measure by the marvelous friends in my life.  There is always joy among the sorrows.

Today, the Petco grooming girls, who have always taken such great care with Sadie, the ones who discovered the lump in her throat, arranged to have her picture taken for me. They dolled her up with the prettiest of bows, had the photo done, then put it in a key chain and a special card that they signed. They did this for me so that I would always have her with me. How precious they are. That just made my heart sing! To know the kindness of people, especially when unexpected, brings me great joy.

There are parallel themes of joy and sorrow running throughout life. I can’t have one without the other. But I do have the opportunity to seek out the joy in every situation. To choose to be joyful! Won’t you join me? What do you have to be joyful about? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3 (NASB)

P.S. If you’d like more info on the study by Kay Warren, daily video lessons are available by visiting and signing up for the “Choose Joy” Devotional Videos. You’ll receive one a day via email for thirty days.

My Dog Ate God

23 07 2011

Skipping the alliteration for a post, we’ve taken a temporary detour to the anagram. Here’s the story of how my dog ate God….

My neurotic rescue, Sadie the Silent Wonder Dog, would react in fear by stealing and chewing my possessions under the cover of darkness. She had a particular fondness for chewing anything of mine that was leather. She would steal a shoe here, a Coach purse there (I know you feel my pain!). There was an incident in the past where she stole my favorite Bible and chewed on the corner.  As I was running after her to repossess my stolen possessions, I was thinking “you better be filled with the Holy Spirit now because I’m a-gonna kill you!!!” something always stopped me from reacting with her. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the ever-present sorrowful “don’t hit me” look in her eyes. She was used and abused and has severe distrust of humans.

It got me thinking, we as humans say some terribly unkind things to one another. Why is it so easy to for me to catch myself from reacting to Sadie’s antics, and not as easy to stop reacting when another human being wrongs me?

Why is it so easy to connect to an animal? Is it simply because they offer unconditional love? Why is it such a challenge to do the same for another human? Dogs don’t disappoint the way humans do. But is that really true? Or do we just have different expectations with dogs so there isn’t as much pressure on them to be a certain way?

Over time, dog has become my second shadow. Part of that is because she’s still fearful of other humans and hides behind me for protection, but I believe she’s finally begun to trust me.

Dictionary dot com defines trust as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence; confident expectation of something; hope.

Glob in Blog?

One of the quirky ways that God chooses to communicate with me is by dropping special key verses in my path. He elects people here and there to bring the verse into my path. It’s always at a critical juncture. There are a couple of verses he uses, but the one I’d like to share with you is Jeremiah 29:11-14:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

This particular verse is a favorite of many. The text has an obvious message, but it wasn’t until recently that someone helped me see this in a slightly different way.

If you look in the verse before this (29:10), you come to learn that Jeremiah is sending this message to the people (Israel) that have been held captive in Babylon. Though captive, they have been asked to remain faithful to God and to obey his word in the culture they were transplanted to and held captive by. Babylon had a reputation for the excessive (sound like anything we’re dealing with today?).

God is promising to deliver them from 70 years of captivity. 70 years spans several generations. There would be some that were sons and daughters that had never lived in the Promised Land; these would have been born in captivity. God is offering hope and a future, but he’s asking that the people Israel trust him, sight unseen in some cases.

Doesn’t that sound a little like what we’re dealing with today? We’re the sons and daughters that have been born into the captivity of the culture of excess around us. As believers, we’re being asked to live a little differently from the culture around us and place our trust in something the rest of the world simply doesn’t understand and probably thinks is a little weird. And even though we’ve never lived in the Promised Land, we are being asked by God to trust him, sight unseen.

And whether our proverbial captivity extends 70 years or beyond, we are being asked to trust. We are being asked to rely with integrity, strength, ability, and surety in Christ with a confident expectation. We are being asked to put our hope in Him. 

God wants you to prosper dear one.  He’s asking you to trust Him to do so.

Strut towards Trust

Sadie is developing a confident expectation in me and I in her. She’s acting out less and less. She’s slowly becoming more interactive and affectionate. She follows me everywhere I go. I’m quite certain that she was placed in my life as an experiential teaching tool, to give me a picture of what it means to love unconditionally, to change and evolve. Something analogous to the expectations that God has for me, the plans to prosper me, to give me hope and a future, provided I remember where my trust belongs.

I would like to take it a step further and suggest that if we place our hope in Christ, it helps us manage our expectations; of self and others. If we can remember that we are essentially as captives in the Babylonian-style world and called to live a little differently, it may serve to help us keep our expectations in perspective and focused on God.

People disappoint sometimes. God doesn’t.

I believe if we can learn to relax our expectations of others, and remember that they are in this same struggle of captivity that we are facing, it may help us choose a different reaction, perhaps a more kind and loving response….perhaps we can come to trust God and use that trust to seek wisdom in our response to others.

Now I’m going to go swallow my own medicine. And hug my dog.

Wanton Whispers

17 07 2011

I was out at the pool in my homeowner’s association today working on my daily dose of Vitamin D.  There’s something about that summer sun that soothes the soul.  I had a tall bottle of water, a new magazine, beach towel perfectly draped on the lounge chair. I set the 30 minute timer on iPhone to remind me when it’s time to flip over. I was perfectly poised for wonderful possibilities!

When I laid down near the spa, which is in a partially enclosed area with a curved wall, it was suddenly as if I had been transported through space to the whispering gallery in St. Paul’s Cathedral; the church home that was the place where Prince Charles and Lady Di married. The cathedral that I’ve had the opportunity to visit and happen upon an eventide service with stunning voices echoing throughout the halls; This massive place of worship, designed by Christopher Wren has a not so secret gallery up in the dome. After a few satisfying steps, you alight to a walkway that rims the dome, something like 100 feet above the ground floor, and when you whisper against the wall, anyone near the wall at any point around the dome walkway, can hear precisely what you are whispering about.  <travelus interruptus!>

Only what I was hearing out at the pool was not echoes of sweet prayers and heartfelt songs of praise.  It was……a bunch of cats engaging in some vicious gossip about another. Now my intent is not to sell my gender down the river, and I’m not here to suggest that I’ve never engaged in gossip myself, dear reader. It was just one of those teachable moments I had the opportunity to participate in which I’m choosing to take as a personal reminder why I shouldn’t gossip. I’m sure they had no idea that I could hear all they were saying as the sound secretly traveled around every inch of that curved retaining wall. I’d like to think they would be embarrassed if they knew that I could hear every wretched word, as I would have been if it had been me.

I don’t know the gaggle of gals and I’ll never know the identity of the one of which they were speaking.  But I did just lay there for a minute thinking about the person they were speaking of.  I would venture to guess we’ve all had days here or there that we’ve felt like the world was against us. How are we to respond when life drops unavoidable negative circumstances in our path?

“All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me…”  Psalm 41:7 (NIV)

We know that Jesus experienced the same whispering issues in Galilee. John 7:12 says, “Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.”  There was a mixed bag for him too. We can tell that people had strong reactions to him and it’s only natural that there would have been a fair amount of gossiping going on about him behind his back. We know for sure that Jesus felt the weight of the world on the cross.

“Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer.” Isaiah 26:16 (NIV)

All this to say, dear ones, your Savior knows what you’re going through when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. He’s been there too. Cry out to him, even when you don’t have the strength to. Cling to him. He’s trustworthy. He’ll rescue you.  He can calm the storms and rough seas in your life, if you let him. He wants you to cry out to him. He’ll bring you the peace that passes all understanding. He’ll stand beside you while you face those pesky pessimists.

 “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”  Psalm 107:29 (NIV)

He’s waiting for your wanton whispers.

**Let’s get a conversation going. What do you do when you have times of distress and you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? What are some ways that you walk through the storms? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Catty Corny Chowder

On the menu this evening is the now officially titled catty corn chowder in honor of that gaggle of girlies! Fast and easy summer supper….with leftovers!

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
8 cups of water (or low sodium chicken stock is an option)

In a stock pot, heat the oil and add the onions. Fry about 5 minutes until they are translucent. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 30 minutes. You will now puree the soup. If you are using a blender, please make sure and cool the mixture before pureeing. Learn from my mistakes. Hot food in a blender, with the top on, makes the glass explode from the pressure. Physics 101 lecture now completed and it’s too pretty a day to have to mop up a mess. You may also use a stick blender if you have one. Now you have a choice here. You may puree it all if you prefer is smooth, or only half if you like a few chunks of corny potato goodness. Plate and serve. This works for leftovers too!

Serving Ideas:
I made up a little gringo salsa with some fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro to put on top. Pretty! Pair it up with a crisp green salad or a hot crusty roll (or both!) and you’ve got yourself a nice little meal (and lunch tomorrow!)