The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Children-A Perfect Gift from Above

James 1:17     Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Since I was 10 or 11 years old, I dreamed of perfect gifts from above-children.  I would daydream about how many I would be blessed with, what I would name them, whether I would have boys or girls.  I have always loved babies and children and I love mine to depths of which I could not have imagined.  The love for our children is an unexplainable feeling that does not change. 

The same is true about God's love for us.  As the scripture says in James 1:17, God does not change.  His love for us remains constant, the same as the love that we have for our children.  His love for us is a perfect gift from above.     

I stand in awe of the perfect gift of children.  It is breathtaking to take it all in.  I marvel at the fact that cells which can only be seen under a microscope can merge together and develop into a person.  I marvel at those precious beings and how within my children I can see my grandmother's eyes, my husband's teeth, my hair, and other physical traits.  I can hear similarities in the voices of my children of other family members.  Personality traits can be recognized as well.  From God's love for us, we are gifted these precious beings.    

I thank God for those good and perfect gifts, for I know they are from above.  Hug those babies an extra time or two today and marvel at the gift which you have been given!       

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brewing bitterness

Luke 6:45  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Bitterness stored up in the heart will eventually overflow out of the mouth.  Bitterness is hard to keep secret.  It may be something that you try to keep inside and deal with privately, but somewhere and at some point, it will flow out of the mouth and become evident.  Bitterness boils when left unattended deep inside the heart.  It boils and brews and will reach the point of erupting like a hot, destructive volcano. 

Eruptions of bitterness from the mouth include words such as:  "I do not like....",  "let me tell you  what they did to me......", "I will never feel the same again....", "I will never forget how they treated me...."and so on.  More negative words and thoughts are spoken than positive when bitterness is brewing within the heart. 

When inward emotions, such as unresolved hurts, anger and bitterness manifest into outward actions, we are likely to wrong one another.  The wrongs take the form of slander, vengeance, and separating ourselves from fellowship with one another. This type of reaction contributes to a continuous cycle of bitterness.

We sin when we harbor bitterness.  We also sin when bitterness erupts from our mouths.  We separate ourselves from the thoughts and behaviors that God expects from us when our minds are clouded with negative, bitter emotions.   

If there is bitterness brewing deep inside, do not overlook it.  It may brew for long periods of time, but eventually it will erupt into words that are recognizable.  It is best to deal with it before it erupts and overflows from the mouth.    

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A load of towels and a sack of trash

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  

Every day I wash a load of towels and take out a sack of trash (sometimes two sacks).  It has been a  necessary part of my daily housekeeping routine for all the years that we have been married.  As I took out the trash today, I thought about what would happen if I didn't do these two chores each day.  Trash would be piled up in the floor and on the counter.  Various smells would circulate throughout the house.  Wet, smelly towels would mildew.  Family members will protest when shower and bath times roll around.   These particular jobs are not very time consuming nor are they difficult to complete.  They are not the most fun chores, however, they are completely necessary.

Consider how much time we spend each day in thought.  We think about things that have happened in our lives.  We spend time thinking about the things that we want to happen in our lives.  We spend time worrying about the things that have occurred that caused us pain or hurt.  How much of that time is spent in troublesome thought?  Do you spend time in thinking and ruminating about particular situations that caused hurt or discord?

We would have a much better attitude about ourselves and our lives if we took the garbage out of our minds each day and washed clean the emotions that are non-productive and negative.   A bit of housekeeping each day in the mind will prevent garbage from piling up and will not allow any mildew to grow on our thoughts. 

Spend some time each day in reading, prayer and worship with God.  He will help you rid of the garbage that collects in your mind.  Focus on the things in life that are lovely, pure, and true.  When you make these a regular part of your "housekeeping" each day, your mind can focus on praising God rather than on negativity and damaged emotions.  

 

Monday, December 26, 2016

There is power in your choice to forgive

1 Corinthians 8:9     Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Each of us possesses the power to forgive or not to forgive others.   We are given that freedom and free will to make those choices.   This is a huge responsibility as a Christian.  The decision to forgive and allow forgiveness and grace to cover all offenses can change the course of another person's life forever.  (Read that sentence again)    Our actions and reactions pertaining to forgiveness can change a person's life. 

Forgiveness may offer a positive change of direction in the life of another.  Positive change could be:
                        -leading someone to salvation
                        -offering strength in times of weakness
                        -healing and restoration of a relationship

A lack of forgiveness may in turn offer negative or destructive change of direction in the life of another.  Negative change could be:
                       -causing a person to stumble
                       -division of family
                       -destruction of relationships

Anger, hurt and disappointment tempt us and cause us to withhold forgiveness, mercy and compassion.  Our flesh wants to focus on vengeance and justice.    There is great power in our freedom and ability to forgive. That power should not become distorted nor misused due to self-righteous pride. 

We are commanded to forgive and told that we will be forgiven according to the forgiveness that we offer.   (Mark 11:8; Luke 6:37; Col 3:13).   If you are dealing with unforgiveness, I urge you to pray and may you realize the power that you hold in your freedom to forgive. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:11   Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:14   Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men......


Jesus was born in order to open the way for us to have peace with God.  He is also the door through which we have peace within ourselves.  Through His love, we have the opportunity to be at peace with others.  

This Christmas season, may your hearts spill over with the peace and joy that comes from knowing our savior.  May you enjoy that peace which passes all understanding.  May you find new peace where chaos might exist in your life.  May you offer peace where you are able to make a difference.

Merry Christmas to each of you and may the season be filled will love, laughter and a deep appreciation for the meaning of Christ's birth. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Friends

Proverbs 27:17    As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  One size does NOT fit all.  
Friends should add to us, not take away from us.
God will send a variety of friends to meet a variety of our needs. 
As long as the hearts of friends match, all the other things do not need to match.

God sends friends to us for comfort in our times of distress (Job 2:11).

God offers us friends to deliver wise counsel (Proverbs 19:20).

God sends us friends for love and support (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

God will give us friends in order that we may show His love (John 15:12-15).  
Please join me in celebrating friends. God, being the greatest friend of all, has shown me in countless ways how many friends I do indeed have, in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.   For that, I am grateful!!       

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The "C" word

Romans 8:38-39   For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The "C" word.  Cancer.  A dreadful, frightening word that we never want to hear our doctor utter.  Conditions that devastate the mind and body.  A word that has affected my family on both sides.  Cancer is no respecter of persons.  It invades the young, old and anyone in between.  It descends upon athletes, businessmen, farmers, teachers, and any other profession.  It does not seem to matter who nor how healthy a person may be.  It is always a possibility.

Cancer can separate people from their jobs.  It disrupts the comfort zone and turns the world upside down.  It affects the quality of life.  It causes insecurity and uncertainty.  Often, cancer permanently separates people from their families as they succumb to the horrible disease. 

As we strive to raise the awareness of cancer and treatments, may we also raise the awareness of God's presence and love for us.   I have been reminded of God's love and comfort in this matter a few times in my life.  I have been in the waiting room while family members have undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.  I have waited to speak with surgeons to hear whether the surgery was successful.  I have watched family members undergo chemotherapy.  I have seen the long term effects of cancer.  I have seen death because of cancer.  God's comfort and security is the only thing that will provide peace in these situations.

As much as this disease causes earthly separations, it will never cause separation from our loving God.  His love endures through it all!  His comfort, in the fearful times of dealing with cancer, shows his love and faithfulness to us. Thank you, Lord for your love and comfort!   Thank you, that even though we may experience earthly pain and separations, we are never separated from your love. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Forgiveness is a willful attitude

Corrie Ten Boom said this about forgiveness:  “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”  
 

Corrie Ten Boom was a prisoner in a Natzi concentration camp for helping Jews to hide during World War II.  Her sister, Betsy, was executed at the concentration camp, while Corrie was released because of a clerical error.  She had been schedule to be executed the next day.  

Corrie Ten Boom is a wonderful example of how we as human beings can find it within ourselves to forgive.  She is a model of the fact that forgiveness is an attitude and decision and that forgiveness can occur, no matter how much anger or hurt is in a person's heart.  

Not only did Ten Boom willfully forgive the acts of evil that she witnessed in that camp, but she also came face-to-face with one of the men from that concentration camp in a church service some years later.   The mercy and forgiveness that she offered him was astounding.  She made it look easy, although if you have ever dealt with forgiving someone that caused deep hurts and wounds, you are aware of all the inner emotions and difficulty that may be present.   The bodily flesh wants to kick and scream and hold on to the hurt and anger.   

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.

An attitude of forgiveness comes from our love for God which should, in turn, contain a love for our fellow brothers and sisters.   Forgiveness is a mindset, a decision and a lifestyle that we must learn to live.   Forgiveness means that our love for God is more valuable than the wrongs that others have bestowed upon us and that relationships are important.

Forgiving another person does not mean that he/she will change.

Forgiving will not change what another has done to you.

Forgiveness is more about how your life can be changed.  This is a key life principle that contributes to our relationship with God, improves our peace and restores joy in our lives. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

"... and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men"

Luke 2:14    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Each year my children will ask me what I would like to have for Christmas.  As many years as I can remember, my answer has been "Peace on Earth".  In my heart the need desire for peace on earth is both narrow and widespread.  I wish for peace in the hearts of those near me that are lost or battling with hurts and unforgiveness.  I long for a world wide peace that would make our surroundings safe and more enjoyable.

The latter part of this scripture,"goodwill toward men" speaks to me as much as "peace on earth".  Do we possess goodwill toward men?  What does this feel like or look like?  Goodwill toward men has a variety of meanings.  God's goodwill toward men means that he sent the Messiah to offer peace to all of us on earth.  We can practice goodwill toward our fellow men by offering what God has called us to do for one another.

In the Christmas season, we think of "goodwill toward men" as being related to helping others.  It means that we are willing to help those in need, regardless of how they arrived at the point of needing.  Goodwill toward others means that we desire to see others succeed and that we assist them in carrying out God's plans on earth.  Goodwill toward men means that God's will is at the forefront without selfish motives. 

Do we practice good will?  When we know that a brother or sister is struggling, do we offer to help carry the burden?  Do we resist the urges to judge the situation and instead offer to lighten the load?  Do we pray for our brothers and sisters to have peace and for good things and blessings come their way?  Do we pray for their businesses to thrive and for their families to be healthy? 

Goodwill toward men is a condition of the heart.  If we experience the ultimate goodwill that God offers through Jesus Christ, then we may share a heart of goodwill with others.  If we abide with God in the midst of our goodwill toward others, he will be glorified and receive the honor.  This is my wish for this Christmas--goodwill toward men---all across our planet.                   

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Children's Christmas Plays

Luke 2:11    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

One of my most favorite things of the Christmas season is the play presented by the children.  There is just something so special about such a play.  During the children's play this weekend at our church, I was flooded with memories of all the different presentations of the story of Jesus' birth that I have seen throughout the years.  Some plays have a modern presentation, some are musicals and some are very traditional with the acting out of the story. 

There are some memorable moments to most every children's Christmas play.  There is usually a wardrobe malfunction of some sort (wings or halos that fall off), a wedgie that needs attending to, a nose that needs picking, or a line that is forgotten and requires a prompt.  Many times there are bath robes and baby dolls involved.  Occasionally, there is a case of stage fright and a child runs to mom or dad, declaring an end to his/her acting career.  I call these the precious moments of the children's  Christmas play!

One thing that we can absolutely ALWAYS depend on during a children's Christmas play is an uninhibited, plain and simple presentation of the birth of Jesus.  Children singing from their hearts, huge smiles and sparkling eyes are always found at these plays.  They proudly wear their costumes and jump into their characters to spread the word of the savior.  They give it their all!! 

I want to be more like the children in the Christmas play. I want to be uninhibited about proclaiming the news of Jesus Christ.  I want to give it my all.  Let us all pray that more of us can be like the sweet children in Christmas plays everywhere-ready and willing to present a great message of the wonderful story! 



Monday, December 12, 2016

Follow HIm

Luke 5:27-28  After this Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth.  "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

This verse in Luke speaks loudly about obedience to Christ.  The last few words of verse 28, "left everything and followed him", express the obedient nature of those who desire to serve him.  When Jesus commanded Levi to follow as he led, the response was immediate.  Levi did not say that he needed to finish his work first or that he would have to wait until the time was right.  He directly obeyed Jesus' prompt to get up and go. Levi left everything.  He left his work; he did not worry about his business.

Are we so willing to follow Christ immediately?  When he bids us "go" are we excited to leave everything and follow him?  Do we worry about our work or business that needs to be attended to?  Do we postpone being obedient to tasks with which he calls us to do?  Is following Christ our first priority or do we plan to follow him when we have more time?

We are told Matthew 16:24 that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ.  There is a cost to discipleship.  Sometimes the cost is monetary, other times the cost will be friendships or other relationships.  However, the cost of refusing to follow Christ is much greater.  The risk of disobedience to God's principles involves eternity.  The worldly things we might gain do not mean anything compared to what is to be gained in eternally.   

Friday, December 9, 2016

Words

Proverbs  18:21    The tongue has the power of life and death.

Have you ever thought about what causes us to enjoy some people more than others?   Even though we love many people in our lives there are just some people that we have a stronger desire with which to spend our time.  Think for a moment of some of your "favorite" people.   What about them influences the fact that they are favorites?

When I think of some of my favorite people throughout my lifetime, I think of words.   It is not that there were any spectacular words or fancy words, but just merely the fact that we shared words.  Kind words and words of encouragement develop those warm, fuzzy feelings.  Questions with words that displayed an interest in the happenings of my life have contributed to deep bonds with other people.  Words of love and fulfillment come to mind when I think of those most close to my heart.  Words that convey compassion, trust, and security develop everlasting relationships. 

We remember words. We also remember the emotion attached to the words.  Damaging words that bring about negative emotions will cause us to have no desire to be in the presence of the people that spoke them.  On the other hand, encouraging and loving words will produce a desire to spend great amounts of time with the people that spoke them.   

Words have a huge impact on our minds and emotions.  Words can build up or tear down.  We can all call to mind words that we would like to take back because they tore down or caused damage.  We can likely remember times when words were spoken to us that we would like to give back to the mouth from which they departed.

There have been words that we should have said yet never did.  There have been words that we did say but never should have.

Each time that we talk with people, we have a choice in our words.   We choose whether we use words that are destructive or constructive.  When we choose our words, we release the opportunity for life or death.  May we always choose construction.  May we always have a desire to speak life into the ears of another.   



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Seasonal Discouragement

"It's the most wonderful time of the year".   I love that song.  It paints such a picture of happy hearts and fun Christmas time activities.  Christmas is a special time.  However, for many it is a time that causes discouragement and disappointments to rear their ugly heads. 

The media portrays only the happy thoughts and events.  Pictures of the perfect decorations, an abundance of gifts, and flawless family gatherings.   This is purposed at selling merchandise or ideas.  In reality, many folks have families that are dysfunctional, broken or in distress, finances that are a mess, or emotional longings that go unfulfilled.   Discouragement threatens to set up housekeeping when our expectations are not met and we focus on the negative elements of the situations over which we have no control. 

Many of us, if we would be honest with ourselves, find that at the end of all the activities, we are left with an anticlimactic feeling.  Perhaps we compare the "perfect" movies and media to the imperfections of people in the real world.  We feel compelled to continue to participate in gatherings out of tradition, even if they produce stress.

How will you stay encouraged?   I have these inspirations to offer.  These are good reminders as we enter the Christmas season. 
                  -God expects us to realize the meaning of Christmas  (Luke 2)
                  -God expects us to accept the meaning of Christmas  (John 3:16)
                  -All other expectations are worldly standards
                  -God does not expect us to attend a certain number of dinners or functions
                  -God does not expect us to spend an enormous amount of money on gifts
                  -If it produces stress or discouragement, it needs to be evaluated and perhaps eliminated
                  *Repeat the first 2 on the list as much as needed.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

You are adequate and capable

2 Corinthians 1:21-22   Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 

If you have ever had one of those days when Satan works hard to remind you of all the things you are not, then you also know how draining and energy zapping such a time can be.  The devil wants to make us feel as if we are inadequate and incapable.  If we entertain these thoughts, our day can be ruined.  More importantly, if we entertain these thoughts, God's plan and purpose for us can be ruined.  That would make Satan very happy. 

When such notions enter our minds, we should quickly recognize who is at work with these ideas.  Satan's motives are to kill, steal and destroy and if he can do so by changing our thoughts about ourselves, he can thwart God's work within us. 

Do not entertain thought of what you are not.  Hold on to what you ARE.  

You are God's child; His perfect creation, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them", (Genesis 1:27).

You are loved, "for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life", (John 3:16).

You are redeemed, "in fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness", (Hebrews 9:22). 

You are an opportunity; a chance to spread the gospel, serve and love others, "let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up", (Galatians 6:9).

When Satan or anyone else that you encounter tries to discourage you with thoughts of inadequacy, remember that God says He will give us strength and the ability to accomplish all that He requires of us.  We are adequate and plenty capable in God's eyes. 
                 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Protection

Deuteronomy 31:3-6  The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’

I am the oldest child in my family.  My sister, who is two years my junior, has often joked about the middle child syndrome.  At times we will encounter memes that portray the oldest child as being bossy and overbearing (I will neither admit nor deny, LOL).  However, when I think of being the older sister, I think of protection- the mother hen syndrome.  My parents often tell people that until she was grown if we were out in public and I would speak for my sister and order her food in a restaurant.  I also carried her purse or the contents of it because she did not want to carry it herself--well, I still do that sometimes.  I never wanted her to be uncomfortable, scared, or worried.  Even though my parents did a great job taking care of us, I had the mindset to take care of her and protect her.  She has that promise from me until I take my last breath.  

In the above passage from Deuteronomy, God offers a promise of continued protection.  At this time, Moses is 120 years old and knows that the end of his time leading the Israelites is near.  He has been their leader for 40 plus years.  They had relied upon his guidance and protection.  With God's provision and protection, Moses took care of the Israelites.  If they had only listened with more faith, they would never have been uncomfortable, scared, or worried.  

There probably were times when the Israelites looked at Moses as being bossy.  Other times, they had little trust in God's guidance.  But, He always had their best interests at heart.  He helped them with their food (manna) when they needed to eat in the desert.  He "carried their purses" so to speak at different times during their wanderings.  He was their source of direction.

Are there times when we misconstrue God's protection?  Are there cases where we fail to see an occurrence in life as protection, but instead view it as dictatorial?  There have been instances in my life where in the moment I could not understand why the events occurred as they did.  However, as time progressed, I was able to recognize God's protection and provision in that particular situation.  I am grateful for that protection. 

May we all begin to appreciate the protection that God provides for each of us.  May we always view His guardianship with faith.  May we look forward to His promises and the protection that each one holds for us. 


Monday, December 5, 2016

Anger

Ephesians 4:26-28  "In your anger do not sin"  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.  

"I have every right to be angry!"  "If that person did to you what he/she did to me, you would be angry too."  How many times have you heard someone say these things?  Maybe you have said them yourself trying to justify your feelings of anger and thoughts of vengeance. 

Anger is not an entitlement.  It is a by-product of hurtfulness.  Anger is one of the strongest emotions that the human heart ever feels and is a feeling that can lead to destructive words and actions.   The Bible does not tell us that we cannot feel anger, but it does tell us that we are to handle it properly.  We are expected to control our anger in spite of our hurts.  

Released thoughtlessly, anger can destroy relationships.  If left bottled up inside, anger can cause bitterness and resentment and destroy us from inside.  If anger is allowed to "fester" inside us, we give the devil opportunities to cause disruption and division.  As I read somewhere, ANGER is one letter away from DANGER!  

Anger belongs to the beholder.  No one else causes you to be angry.  The emotion of anger is one over which you have complete control.  Anger is not an entitlement because of another person's transgressions against you.    Yes, transgressions do hurt and they are going to happen but anger is not the response that God expects from us.   James 1:20 tells us, "for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires".

In Ephesians, Paul instructs us to deal with our anger promptly and properly.  Are you angry with someone right now?    Examine the situation, take a look into your own heart and seek ways to resolve the anger.  Do not allow the strong emotion of anger to cause you to give way to the devil's schemes.  Feel the anger.  Deal with the anger.  Put the anger in its place.  



       

                     

Friday, December 2, 2016

Daily Bread

Exodus 16:14-15     When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.  When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is this?"  For they did not know what it was.

Daily bread.  That is what it was.  The Israelites did not even realize that the manna which God sent them fresh every morning was their daily bread.  The manna rained from heaven onto the grass.  The interesting thing was that it could not be stored.  It only lasted long enough for the Israelites to eat and then it spoiled.  But, each morning, there was fresh, new manna to sustain the hungry people. 

Daily bread.  The Israelites had a literal "daily bread" with a symbolic meaning.  While they grumbled and wondered what they would eat and how they would survive in the desert, God was showing them that he would provide everything that they needed, exactly when it was needed. 

Same goes for us.  Daily bread.  What we need, when we need it.  Everything we need for the moment, for the day.

Several scriptures in the Bible speak of daily bread.  In the Lord's prayer, Matthew chapter 6, asks the Lord to "give us this day our daily bread".   Proverbs 30:8, "give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread". 

Daily bread means more than just our "manna" for the day.  When I think of daily bread, I think of these things as well:
                  -peace that God offers in the midst of tumultuous storms in our lives=daily bread
                  -protection from all the evils in our world=daily bread
                  -phone call from a friend at a moment when you needed it=daily bread
                  -an unexpected act of kindness that beams with God's love=daily bread
                 
Daily bread consists of those things that keep us filled up with God's love.  Daily bread sustains us when the world around us is chaotic.   Daily bread fills us until our cup runneth over. 

We should thank God each day for our daily bread, the literal slices as well as the figurative slices.  Daily bread is everything we need today. Tomorrow, new manna will be sent from above!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Feast on the manna

Exodus 16:14-15     When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.  When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is this?"  For they did not know what it was.


After God freed the Israelites from the slavery of Pharoah, they wandered in the desert, grumbling and groaning; complaining because they were hungry.  Obtaining food was different than when they had lived in Egypt.  Food in a desert is scarce and their gratitude for having been freed from bondage quickly turned to grumblings because they had to obtain food in a different way than before.

The "flakes like frost on the ground" were sent from heaven.  It was called it manna and it came down like rain from the sky.   Manna means "what is it?".  Manna is described in the dictionary as something that is needed and is received unexpectedly.  The Israelites did not know what the flakes were nor what to do with the manna.  Moses explained to them that God had sent it and that they were to gather the amount needed to sustain them for a day.  Each day, God sent new manna down to the Israelites to meet their needs.  They crushed it and made delicious, honey flavored pancakes to eat.  The manna was a gift each day that satisfied their needs.  

How many times do receive our "manna" each day amidst our own grumblings and ungrateful attitudes?  How often do we wish for other circumstances, i.e. more money, more possessions, bigger home, better car, different job?  How often do we miss "feasting on the manna" because we do not know what it is? 

God is wonderful provider.  Each day when we arise, their is new manna raining down from heaven.  I can think of many times over the years in which manna has appeared unexpectedly in my life in order to meet a need.  God understands our needs.  He will supply us with just what we need each day.   Feast on his manna, those gifts that we receive each day.  Seek to recognize the manna.  Give thanks for it!