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What Do You Feed Your Soul?

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Can you imagine how completely awe inspiring it would have been to see Jesus do a miracle? I mean, come on, Jesus took five loaves of barley bread and two small fish and fed around five thousand people! (John 6.1-14) It’s no wonder the men who witnessed this said, “This is truly the prophet who is come into the world.”

The sad part about this wonderful display of divine power by Christ is that some people could not care less that Jesus was the Son of God. They were just interested in what Jesus could do for them. Look at what He tells them when He says, “you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (Jn 6.26) What an ungrateful thing it is to look at God and basically say, ‘what have you done for me lately?’; especially when He had so richly blessed them by feeding so many just the day before.

In the face of such selfishness, how would you feel? How would you react? I know many people would be hurt and lash out at such an uncaring attitude. Jesus however uses this as a teaching moment and says, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6.27) You would think that they would pump their fist in the air, yell YES, and do a little happy dance. I mean, who would not want that kind of food?!!!

Unfortunately, these guys were not only selfish, they were dense and selfish. Can you believe their response to what Jesus said was to ask how they could get the power to work the miracles of God? They said, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” I don’t know about you but I think I might have lost my cool at that point, but not Jesus. He goes on to essentially say, ‘OK, you want to do the works of God, here is what you do.’ “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6.29) That’s awesome! Even I can do that work of God, so can you, but the men Jesus was speaking to still did not get it. They just could not see past their own self-importance, selfishness and pride.

Now they began asking for a sign or a miracle to prove Himself. WHAT? He just fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, what more could you want? They even said to Jesus, “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written; ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

They were so focused on trying to figure out how to get the same power Jesus had, they missed the truth that the bread that feeds the soul, the bread of life…Jesus, was standing right before them! He said plainly, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6.35)

bread-of-life

Friends, while the food that fills our stomach is important, it is nothing compared to the food that can fill our soul! Jesus is the very bread of life that can strengthen your soul and feed you for eternity. Please, do not let selfishness, pride, or the problems and cares of this earthly life keep you away from that which can feed your soul forever…Jesus and His word. Think about it.

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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!