It's Not Church Snacks


Luke 22:19
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Have you ever tied a string around your finger to help you remember something?

String doesn’t usually help me remember anything. I write notes to myself. There must be details in the notes to help me get where I need to be when I need to be there. I use the alarm on my phone to help me stop doing something and move to the next thing.

What helps you remember things?

Jesus knows we sometimes need help remembering things. When he was about to change all our lives forever by going to the cross to pay for our sins, he did something to help us remember the moment. He celebrated Passover with his disciples in a special way. He took the long-held tradition of Passover and made it a memory-jogger. He linked the taking of the bread and the cup to the whole reason for doing it in the first place.

Passover started with Moses right before they were given freedom. The first Passover was held just before Moses led his people out of slavery on the journey to the Promised Land, their new home.

Jesus was about to buy our freedom with his blood. He led us out of our slavery to sin on the journey to our Promised Land and new home, Heaven.

He said that the bread and wine were to remind us of his body and blood. It’s almost like he said to use the bread and wine as a string around our finger to remind us that he has paid for our freedom. If you show up at a movie theater with a free ticket in your hand, you don’t have to pay for the ticket someone gave you. It was already paid for. Don’t ask the theater manager if you can earn your seat in the theater when you have a ticket in your hand. Just use the ticket. Walk in and enjoy the theater.

Jesus doesn’t want us to try to pay for our own freedom. Our freedom is already paid for. We can’t buy salvation. We’ve already been given our ticket. We’re supposed to use it. Live like we’ve been given freedom.

I don’t think any of the disciples at the Last Supper understood fully what they were hearing when Jesus changed the rules. Jesus told them about a new covenant in his blood. But they learned more about it as time went by. It must have been like one of those infomercials that shout, “But wait, there’s more!”

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we can live free from slavery to sin. But wait, there’s more. We can also have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But wait, there’s more. We can also receive healing and wisdom and guidance. But wait, there’s more.

There’s so much more. 

The next time you eat bread and drink wine, will you remember the body and blood of Jesus? Will you remember to shake off the lies of the devil and live in your blood-bought freedom?

I hope you will. Stick around and seek God with me.

The Honey, The Lion, and Samson


Judges 14:9

He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

The story of the honey and the lion is found in Judges 14:5-20. This is where Samson was going to marry a woman and challenged his companions with a riddle. “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” The payoff for getting the riddle right was thirty sets of clothes.

When they couldn’t figure out the riddle, they went to the bride and asked her to get the answer from Samson so they could tell him they figured it out. When they went to Samson and said, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?”, he knew what had happened.

Samson wasn’t stupid. He knew his companions had persuaded her to use their relationship against him. But I’m not sure he knew why. Verse 15 tells us, “On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, ‘Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?’”

She was afraid for her life. What she didn’t realize was that she was the bride of the strongest man around. She should have told Samson that she and her family had been threatened. He might have taken care of her and her family because of her loyalty to him. Instead, she did what she was told by those who threatened her life.

If you look at this as if Jesus is our husband (instead of Samson) and the evildoers of the world are portrayed by Samson’s companions, we see a picture of how Jesus could get displeased with us because of our disloyalty. When we don’t go to Jesus, but instead we follow the instructions of those threatening us on the Earth today, we’re not giving Jesus a chance to defend us and rescue us. It looks like we don’t think he can.  

Are we being bold and going to Jesus when we’re being threatened? Or do we fear those who hate us enough to threaten our lives? Shouldn’t we go to Jesus who has the ability and the willingness to protect and defend those who are his? Are we his? Then we should act like it. Go to him today.

Does Food Distract You?


Luke 10:40
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Mary and Martha had the privilege of hosting Jesus in their home. Mary welcomed the Lord and his disciples inside and made sure everyone was comfortable before taking a seat near Jesus. She looked around, but didn’t see Martha. Probably in the kitchen. Mary thought of going to help, but who could look into those gentle eyes so filled with love and turn away? Who could leave Jesus while his words brightened dark places deep inside? What could be more important than catching and holding onto every word he spoke?

Martha pulled out a pan and set it down. Fruit! There was plenty on the tree. Mary could fill a basket while Martha boiled water for the soup. She looked over her shoulder for Mary. Certainly Mary had gotten the men settled in the other room by now. She should be back here helping with preparations. There were a lot of things to do to prepare for meals if all those men were going to stay for dinner. What could be taking so long? Martha peeked around the doorway. 

No one knew more than Martha about the details of hosting such a group of men. They were hungry, and cooking took time. There was no kitchen staff to do all the necessary tasks. Martha needed help, and she needed it now. But what was Mary doing? Sitting near Jesus as if she were one of them? How inconsiderate of her! Those men didn’t want the women in there with them. They wanted food. And now it all fell on Martha’s shoulders to do something about it.

I wonder how many people sit in church during the sermon and make notes. Not about the sermon, but about their To Do List for the coming week. I wonder if forty percent are listening to the sermon and sixty percent are focused on what to do about Sunday lunch. Aren’t we just as distracted during our personal prayer time – if we remember to do some personal prayer time?

Does food distract you away from Jesus? Martha put her reputation ahead of her spiritual condition. What would people think if it got out that she hadn’t prepared a meal for the houseful of men? Food doesn’t prepare itself.  

Our problem is that we don’t consider what Jesus thinks should be our top priority. No doubt that feeding others is important. But didn’t Jesus multiply loaves and fishes for thousands of hungry people? God knows what we need better than we do. When we prioritize according to faulty standards, we show that we don’t always value the things Jesus values.

Top priority on our list isn’t usually spending quiet time asking God what he wants us to do. We think we have it all figured out, don’t we? We tell God to heal someone or help someone financially. We tell him how to enrich our lives. As if he was our servant.

My challenge to all of us is to remember that serving God requires us to first find out what he wants us to do. Obedience is important to God, but we aren’t able to obey until we know what he asks of us.

What Would You Do For Stew?


Genesis 25: 32-33
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.”
So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
Have you ever promised something and followed up that promise with, “Fine. Whatever. Doesn’t matter anyway.”

If you take important things seriously, your word means something. Your word is something others can count on. You know what matters and what doesn’t. If you act and speak like something doesn’t matter to you, it obviously doesn’t.

Esau was a hunter. Jacob was a cook. One day when Esau came back from a hunting trip, the only thing on his mind was the stew Jacob was cooking. It smelled good. Very appetizing.

Esau was hungry. Jacob was scheming to get as much as he could in return for his fabulous stew. Esau, being the firstborn son, had something Jacob wanted. His birthright. This was Jacob’s opportunity to find out how seriously Esau took his birthright. Jacob knew no stew was worth giving up your birthright for, but Esau looked pretty hungry.

Jacob made Esau swear to give Jacob his birthright before filling up a big bowl with that aromatic, warm, mouth-watering, meaty stew.

Esau gave up something very important over a bowl of stew. Not a lifetime supply. Just one bowl. Today, some girls give up their innocence over a date. Some get knee-deep in debt over expensive entertainment items. Is it worth it? Really?

What would it take for you to give up something important? Maybe we should take inventory of the really important things we still have and guard against the deceitfulness of others. What in your life is important enough to protect?