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The Gospel & Soul Food

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soulfood

The Gospel & Soul Food

Any true southerner can tell you that while soul food is southern food, not all southern cooking is soul. To me, there is definitely comfort to be found in cornbread smothered in beans with ham-hock or pulled pork on johnny-cakes (flat cornbread cakes cooked on a griddle, yum) with a side of mustard greens and don’t forget a tall glass of sweet iced tea. Throw in a bowl of homemade gumbo and I’ll be your friend for life.

I have a feeling that I may regret thinking about soul food at ten in the morning as lunch is a couple hours off, yet my suddenly rumbling stomach causes me to stop and consider this… it is not the only thing that requires nourishment. Our spirit must also be fed if it is to grow and remain strong.

The apostle Peter encourages us to, “desire the pure milk of the word so that you may grow thereby.” (I Pet 2.2) He’s right you know. Only when we drink in the wisdom and knowledge of God through His word can our spirit grow to be more Christ like.

Advertisements constantly bombard our senses with the promised benefits of “power” foods. You can enjoy everything from weight loss and stress relief to brain and muscle builders if you just eat our diet. Perhaps we are missing the ‘most powerful’ food of all in our diet; one powerful enough to save a life from eternal suffering! Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation…”(Rom 1.16)

Jesus chastised Satan when He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”  (Mt 4.4) We routinely work to make sure we have our favorite foods in the pantry, investing a good bit of our time and money to the effort. Do we give the same amount of time and attention to our spiritual necessities which impact our lives dearly? Our Lord plainly said that if all we are doing in life is feeding our bodies, then we are neglecting  that thing which matters most, our souls. When this happens, I sadly believe, we become dead men walking. Talk about an eye opener.

While talking with a Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke about giving her “living water.” (John 4.10) He tells her, “Whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4.13)

Consider this. If you have ever struggled with obesity and the doctor showed you a simple food that would help you get healthy, you can even eat as much of it as you want, you just have to eat some every day, would you try it? If depression or anxiety could be a thing of the past with a daily glass of juice, would you drink it? If cancer would retreat in the face of a simple nightly snack, would you keep a stockpile of it? We all know the answers. Why then do so many people throw their  eternal lives away by allowing sin to feed bloated pride or the world to drag us into hopelessness? Why is the simple, freely offered cure for a slowly dying life left untouched?

Jesus said to His disciples, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (John 7.63-64).

Don’t let your spirit starve and wither to die.

Feed it with the living word of God.

Feed it!

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Hurt People Can Hurt People

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CryingWhen I was a teenager, I had a dog that was hit by a car. His hip was broken in the accident. Obviously, he was in a lot of pain. So when I picked him up to take him to the vet, do you know what he did? He bit me! I was only trying to be kind and help, but he bit me.

Same song, second verse…

Have you ever tried to reach out to someone who was obviously in pain in an effort to help them? When you have done so, have you ever been “bitten” by those you were trying to help? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you have. You see, I’ve come to realize that hurt people can hurt people.

 So here are two challenges we face in times of great stress in our life:

1)      Don’t let your fear of being “bitten” keep you from doing good for others. Seldom does doing good and helping another come without some cost. The gift of God’s grace for doing the right thing far outweighs the emotional or financial sting a hurting soul can dish out.

2)      When you are hurting, and someone reaches out with an offer of help, resist the urge to “bite”. Do not be afraid to graciously accept their help, try to understand that they are seeking your good. Sometimes it is difficult to admit that we need assistance, but we end up doing good ourselves by allowing others to serve God in helping their fellow man (even if it is us).

Consider this, being a Christian is much more than having the right answers to biblical questions. It’s also making oneself available to be used by Jesus to reach out to a hurting world with a healing message. Let’s be sure we share the love of Christ with our words and show His love through our deeds.

 

“By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.35).