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Houses of Bread

“The bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  
John 6:33, NIV

It wasn’t an everyday after-dinner occurrence, but there were times in my childhood when my sister and I would bundle up on a cold evening and ask our mother for bread. We’d each grab a slice, run to the large oak tree in the middle of our front yard, squat beneath it, and eat our fluffy white treat.

I know it sounds strange. And if you asked me why we did it, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. All I know is that when I remember those times shared with my sister, my heart smiles.

I’d almost forgotten about our odd ritual, until recently when I ran across a book written in 1995 by Dennis, Sheila, and Matthew Linn, Sleeping with Bread, Holding What Gives You Life. The Linn’s created their picture book to help families remember moments of consolation that had emerged from times of desolation and be grateful.

The book recounted the bombing raids of World War II when thousands of children were orphaned and left starving. The fortunate ones found refuge in camps where they could receive care, but fear kept many awake at night. Nothing consoled the children until someone thought to give each child a piece of bread. Holding the slice, they would fall asleep. The food reminded them, “Today I ate, and I will eat again tomorrow.”

The story of Ruth in Scripture opens during a time of famine in Israel. Elimelech had taken his wife Naomi and their two sons from their home in Bethlehem (The House of Bread) to the idolatrous region of Moab for refuge. The opening verse states, “he went to live there for a while.” Elimelech fully intended to return to Bethlehem, but he and his two sons never went back to the Promised Land. They died in the pagan land of Moab. Elimelech’s intentions were good, but leaving God’s place of provision was a bad idea.

Famine provokes movement. How many trips have you made to the refrigerator because your tummy rumbled? Or perhaps you can connect on a deeper level. How often have you jumped the fence for greener pastures only to find your “feast” short-lived?

The temptation to leave our houses of bread in times of physical or spiritual famine appeals to us, but our quick fixes are often short-lived. Jesus tells us, “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).

Don’t settle in a place outside of God’s will. You’ll stay longer than planned and forfeit the consolation and permanent solution that only comes from the giver and sustainer of life. Choose the bread God offers and grip it till morning comes. There in the early light, in the midst of God’s comforting presence, your heart will smile—and so will God.

Blessings,

Starr

Rainy Days and Mondays

“The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
Psalm 145:8, NIV

For those who survived the mind-bending seventies―an era marked by anti-war protests, women’s lib, bell-bottom pants, lava lamps, and Saturday Night Fever―the soft, compelling voice of Karen Carpenter was a welcome reprieve within the psychedelic acid rock and hippie subculture of the day.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1950, Karen and her brother, Richard, released more than a dozen hit records by the time she was twenty-four. Less than ten years later she was gone. A victim of heart failure brought on by anorexia nervosa, a devastating eating disorder the general public knew little about until her death. Although known by her friends to be goofy and fun loving, inwardly she struggled to feel loved and accepted.

I write this devotion on a Monday. It’s raining—again. The words of Karen’s 1971 hit, Rainy Days and Mondays, roll through my mind. As she sings of how rainy Mondays always get her down, I note her words in the following line hold the solution to her pain. She states, “The only thing to do is run and find the one who loves me.” I wonder if she knew the One who truly loved her. If those who feel unloved and discarded in today’s society knew the One who loved them, there would be far less anxiety, depression, and suicide. God’s Word tells us that without hope, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). We see this sad conclusion play out daily in the news.

Our Heavenly Father is a God of compassion who desires to lift us above our circumstances. He encourages us to come to him when we are “weary and heavy-laden.” Walking daily by his side is where we’ll find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

Do you know the One who loves you? If so, are you willing to share Christ’s love with someone who hasn’t experienced this freeing reality? Psalm 145 tells us that Jesus is loving and faithful. He is our Protector, Provider, Sustainer. He is our Savior, and he is near. Believers are Christ’s hands and feet in this turbulent world. The words we speak can lift the heads of those who are down-trodden. Be Jesus with skin on.

Rainy days and Mondays don’t always have to get us down.

Blessings,

Starr

Every Day

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” 
Acts 2:46 NIV

When was the last time you studied Acts? The book is significant because it details the lives of the disciples in the tenuous days after Jesus was resurrected. These ordinary men could have easily gone their separate ways and returned to their former lives, which is exactly what the Sanhedrin expected them to do with their leader gone, but instead, filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to work together to carry out the great commission. Here are seven lessons I believe we can learn from these early disciples which are just as applicable to believers today as they were 2000 years ago.

  1. The disciples committed to each other, knowing that their efforts required teamwork and love. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Acts 2:46 NIV.

 

  1. They had not been trained in special schools and they were not religious leaders. They were simple men who had been chosen by Jesus to do His work. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” Acts 4:13 NIV.

 

  1. They shared the word of God boldly, even though they could be persecuted for it. After Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin and commanded by them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, they prayed “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” Acts 4:29 NIV.

 

  1. They selflessly took care of each other’s needs. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” Acts 4:32 NIV.

 

  1. They were not afraid of what people thought. After they were brought before the Sanhedrin again to explain why they continued to teach in the name of Jesus, they replied “We must obey God rather than men” Acts 5:29 NIV.

 

  1. They did not let fear of persecution stop them. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” Acts 5:41-42 NIV.

 

  1. They did not serve for any human gain. When a new believer tried to pay money to receive the Holy Spirit, Peter said “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God” Acts 8:21 NIV.

 

We tend today to stick to our daily routines, not sharing our burdens with others, afraid we are not good enough, afraid of what other people might think, but God has a plan and as believers we are allowed to be a part of it. 2000 years after these early disciples, we are still here following Jesus. Let’s learn from these men and not stick to our old lives but boldly proclaim what Jesus has done for us to bring in new believers to share in the living water that only comes from Christ. Our job on earth is not to be idle but to live every day for Him.

Walking with you in Christ,

Erin Tabor

 

 

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/bread-farmer-s-bread-crispy-baked-1281053/