Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sharing The Bread Of Life

I just began reading Max Lucado's latest book, "Outlive Your Life - You Were Made to Make a Difference." It was one of the gifts that my son bought me for Christmas. Since I had two other books to read before getting to this one, it has taken me two months to start Lucado's book.

I really enjoy Lucado's writing style. He always places some humorous anecdotes in his books while revealing profound truth about living the Christian life that Jesus would have us live. Even though I am only on page 40, the book has already had a great impact on my life.

After reading several pages of Lucado's book, I decided to go online and read what has been published on some of my favorite blogs. However, I got that usual annoying message that my borrowed laptop was "in need of repair." I wanted to skip over that, so I clicked on the choice "start windows manually." Well, after looking at a blank dark screen (except for the tiny "Microsoft" trademark message at the bottom of the page) for fifteen minutes, I decided it might be a good idea to listen to the recommendation to start up using the repair mode. So, I shut the computer off, restarted it, and this time I clicked on the "start up repair (recommended)" icon.

After watching the repair message at work for what seemed like 15 more minutes, I clicked on the choice to "cancel repair." Well...I must have waited too long because the message I got said something like this:

"The current repair session cannot be cancelled."

Lucky for me, it only took about five more minutes for the repair to be completed. I still had a bit of trouble. My computer was supposed to restart on it's own, but nothing was happening so I shut it off myself and then restarted it.

I thought about the statement, "the current repair session cannot be cancelled" and thought of God's mercy and grace through the cross of Christ. It must have been because I was reading Max Lucado's book that I drew a parallel between the computer message and God's message to mankind.

I have often stated here at this blog that Mercy is God withholding what we do deserve, and Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve. The gospel of salvation through the cross of Christ is the world's "current repair session that cannot be cancelled."

In chapter four, Lucado shares a humorous story about going on an errand, at the request of his wife, to buy bread at the grocery store. When he gets there, he collects his favorite cereal, milk, Oreo cookies, barbecue chips (does this guy love junk food or what??) and some ice cream. He checked out and went home. His wife looks at the purchases and then asked, "where's the bread?"

Max had forgotten the big item.

"The one thing I went to get. The one essential product. I forgot the bread."



Lucado goes on to write:

Might we make the same mistake in a more critical arena? In an effort to do good, we can get distracted. We feed people. We encourage, heal, help, and serve. We address racial issues and poverty. Yet there is one duty we must fulfill. We can't forget the bread.

Peter didn't.

Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you now this. God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power. (Acts 2:22-24 CEV).


[Peter] would eventually speak about poverty. The church would soon address the issues of widows, disease, and bigotry. But not yet. The first order of the church's first sermon was this: pardon for all our sins. Peter delivered the bread.

[Would] you consider the offer of Jesus? "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again" (John 6:35 NLT).


Max Lucado gives us some insight into what it takes to make bread.

The grain-to-bread process is a demanding one. The seed must be planted before it can grow. When the grain is ripe, it must be cut down and ground into flour. Before it can become bread, it must pass through the oven. Bread is the end result of planting, harvesting, and heating.

Jesus endured an identical process. He was born into this world. He was cut down, bruised, and beaten on the threshing floor of Calvary. He passed through the fire of God's wrath, for our sake. He "suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all--was put to death and then made alive--to bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18 MSG).

Bread of Life? Jesus lived up to the title. But an unopened loaf does a person no good. Have you received the bread? Have you received God's forgiveness?


What an awesome and powerful analogy!

Our God is a God of second chances! If we will simply believe that Jesus is who He said He is - the Son of God, Savior and Lord, and we confess our sins at the foot of the cross of Calvary and accept him as Lord and Savior of our lives, we will be forgiven and saved. People, make sure that you receive the Bread of Life of Christ Jesus. The ONLY Bread of Life that really matters now and will ultimately matter in eternity.

Someone very dear to me and my family passed away in January. I can't know for sure if this family member was saved, but I tried my best to witness to her over the course of 15 or more years.

I usually do not share detailed personal information at this blog, but I will state that in the eulogy that I wrote for the funeral, I was led to share the gospel of Christ for the sake of the people attending. I do not know if what I said encouraged anyone there who is not yet saved to receive the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. Perhaps a seed or two were planted. However, when someone dies we realize just how brief this life on earth truly is. The Bible tells us that "it is but a vapor" compared to eternity.

Once a Christian receives the Bread of Life, it is our duty to pass it on. Max Lucado writes:

After all, if we don't, who will? Governments don't feed the soul. The secular relief house can give a bed, a meal, and valuable counsel. But we can give much more. Not just help for this life but hope for the next.

[So] along with cups of water, plates of food, and vials of medicine, let there be the message of sins forgiven and death defeated.

Remember the bread.


The secular world climate these days reveals an open hostility towards Christianity in general, and Jesus Christ in particular. Despite the fact that believers are often ridiculed and hatred is constantly being hurled at us, we must turn our distress, sadness, and fears into boldness so that we continue to be faithful ambassadors for Christ.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" For God made Christ, who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21 NLT).

Hat Tip:

Max Lucado: Out Live Your Life

10 comments:

GMpilot said...

Bread always tastes best when it's fresh.
Know where I can find some? 'Cause the kind served here is long past its expiration date.

Christinewjc said...

People who regularly read here must shake their heads in disbelief about the displays of your ignorance via many of your comments at this blog. The blinders you wear against the truth are evident, too, through your lack of recognition of your own depravity.

Jesus asks each of us to answer his all important question, "Who do you say that I am?"

Perhaps, one day, before you reach your expiration date, you will reconsider your answer to that question.

Michael said...

Question 1: Can you give an accurate definition of the
phrase, “Lamb of God?”

Question 2: Why would the Catholic Church offer the Holy
Eucharist at every Mass throughout the world in over 3000
languages?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Eucharist
is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” (CC 1324

Christinewjc said...

Hello Michael,

Thanks for stopping by and asking such important questions! I want to give your inquiry the time it deserves to answer so I will be back later.

I think that John the Baptist gave an accurate answer to your question about the "Lamb of God" when he revealed Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. I need to look up the passage to give more detail.

I noticed that your blog is called, "Bread of Life." What a great name!

Be back later.

Christine

Christinewjc said...

Hi again Michael,

I prefer using Scripture when it comes to accurate definitions about Jesus.

Here are the portions of Scripture where John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the "Lamb of God."




Jhn 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!


Jhn 1:30 "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'


Jhn 1:31 "I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."


Jhn 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.


Jhn 1:33 "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'


Jhn 1:34 "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

Jhn 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.


Jhn 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"

Christinewjc said...

Your second question was:

Question 2: Why would the Catholic Church offer the Holy
Eucharist at every Mass throughout the world in over 3000
languages?


The obvious answer would be - because they need to and can.

I am not quite sure why you are asking such a question.

*******

You also asked:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Eucharist
is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” (CC 1324


Christians are to receive communion in remembrance of what Christ did for us at the cross.

1Cr 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;


1Cr 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."


1Cr 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."


1Cr 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

Michael said...

Dear Christine

BREAD OF LIFE MEANING

We all know that Lamb of God is one of the names used for Jesus, like Messiah, Savior, Son of Man, or Christ. But exactly what is the importance of the name "Lamb of God"?

What knowledge do the Catholic Church have that would make them feel compelled to offer The Holy Eucharist every day at every Mass for thousands of years?

For more information on Jesus New Covenant and how everything ties together -- Passover Meal -> Manna -> Prophecy of the New Covenant -> Bread of Life Meaning -- go to The 4th Cup.com and watch the video! You can also read along while the video is playing.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Michael,

Will check out that link and video soon. Thanks for sharing.

Michael said...

Dear Christine,

53 " Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (the taken away branch);

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 HE WHO EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD ABIDES IN ME, AND I IN HIM.

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."


What does "Truly, truly" mean to you in verse 53? What does "unless" mean?

The body lives because it receives real food sustenance. Starve the body and it will die.

Just as the body needs real sustenance, so does the soul, else it will not bear fruit.

The soul lives by real Divine sustenance, the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. (John 6:53-57)

Michael said...

Dear Christine,

Do you understand the 4th Cup?

After the beginning of Jesus’ Last Passover Supper (Seder) Judas Iscariot left to do what he had to do. The twelve left in the room were at the point where the second of four traditional cups was about to be drunk.

(The first is at the beginning of the Seder meal.) Jesus took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.”

More of the lamb meal was consumed. During that He took a loaf of unleavened bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, “This IS my body given for you; do this to recall me.” (“Recall” is a better translation of the Greek “anamnesis” than “remember”.)

After the supper He took the third cup saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This IS my blood of the NEW and everlasting covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

A hymn was sung, which is a combination of several psalms called The Great Hallel, and they went out to the Mount of Olives.

What happened? The Passover ceremony and ritual was not complete. There was no fourth cup. There was no announcement that it was finished. Could it be that Jesus was so upset with what He knew was about to happen that He forgot? Doubtful!

Not only Jesus, but also the 11 others had participated in the Passover Seder every year of their lives. No, this was done on purpose. The last supper of Jesus was not over.

On the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

He prayed that three times. Then Jesus was arrested, illegally put on trial by the Sanhedrin, then by Pontius Pilate, sentenced and crucified.

While on the cross He wept. Jesus, who was in excruciating agony, was so merciful that He prayed for the forgiveness of His executioners. He was offered some wine with a pain killer, myrrh, in it. He refused it.

“Later, knowing that all was now complete, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled and the kingdom established, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.‘” A man dipped a sponge into sour wine; he placed it on a hyssop branch and lifted it up to Jesus lips.

He drank. (We recall that it was the hyssop branch which was used to paint lambs blood around the Hebrew’s door for the Passover of the angel of death.)

It was then that Jesus said, “It is finished.” He then bowed His head and gave up the spirit to His Father.

The fourth cup now represented the lamb’s blood of the first Passover, a saving signal to the angel of death.

The Lamb of God was now sacrificed. The last Passover supper of Jesus Christ was now complete with the fourth cup. It was finished.

The tie in with the Passover is unmistakable.

The Lamb of God was sacrifice and death was about to be passed over come Easter day.

The promise of eternal life for many was about to be fulfilled.