Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Bread is Good

I love bread. Bread taste good. It doesn’t matter if it’s garlic bread or a pumpernickel loaf. There is just something good about bread. If I were hungry and someone offered me bread I would take it and eat it without question. In fact I would enjoy it. I would not question the motivation behind the gift because my hunger is being satisfied. In fact, I would probably thank them for their benevolence. If I discovered, somehow, that the person who gave me the bread was an adulterer or a pimp, or a drug dealer, or criminal it would not change my hunger nor would it change the nutritional value of the bread that was offered to and eaten by me. Even if I discovered, that the person who offered me the bread was only giving it to me to manipulate me or to gain favor with me. It still would not change the taste, value or content of the bread that I received and was nourished by.

I have wanted to write on this subject for some time now. But if you have been following the blog, you know that I have been drawn to the subject of forgiveness; which is truly important and fundamental to a life of peace. But today, I felt like writing something a little different. Actually, it wasn't me. Most of my writing isn't premeditated. I have moments of spontaneous inspiration or revelation and I’m like,

“Oh, wow, that’s good. Thank you, God for explaining that to me. Let me write it down.”

Case in point, the bread is good. I wasn’t particularly concentrated on a specific aspect of my faith. I was just reading “Both/And:Ministering In Between Life's Extremes” by Benny Perez and “The Lady’s Rage” by yours truly, and I began to think about the message. The word. The gospel. And I considered a few people that I know who struggle to believe the message, the word and the gospel. And as I was considering them and myself, God painted a picture in my mind’s eye that made sense to me.

“I am the bread of life.” John 6:48

Jesus says of himself, that He is the bread of life. The bread is good. If someone presents bread to us, whose hands are unclean or whose heart is impure, it doesn’t change the quality of the bread. I know, you might say it does but you only say that from the perspective of not being hungry. Do you think a person who is starving cares where his food comes from? Or whose hands prepared it? Or why it’s being given? A starved person isn’t in a position to make these judgments because they are hungry. And the only thing that satisfies hunger is food. Not theology. Not religion. Not education. Not even money.

When you are hungry do you reach in your refrigerator for gold, money or diamonds? Do you go to your library of books and search for something to eat? No, you reach for food! The same is true of the gospel. The gospel is very simple. Hungry? Eat. Condemned? Eat. Depressed? Eat. Food is for the hungry. Jesus is the bread of life. He is the bread that we ALL need to live. Much like a starving person, there is a level of humility every believer comes to with the realization that they are hungry. Not for what does not satisfy but for Who does. Our culture is starved for real food;satiated by candy bars and chips.We make gods of mere men and idols of material; and complain that they are flawed, imperfect.

“Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'” John 6:35

The good news isn’t corrupt. It is not spoiled even by bad men. The bread is good. God is good. Leave the delegation of right and wrong to God. And if you are hungry, eat. Eat your fill of bread because there is more than enough of God to go around. As a person, who believes and has received the good news, I am obligated by passion to share what has been given to me. I have never been more satisfied or fulfilled by anything or anyone than I am in communion with God. Life's challenges. People's attitudes. The world's view. The cultures of men and women don't change the mere fact...that when I was hungry...God fed me. And the bread is good.

Friday, June 21, 2013

L-O-V-E is the Movement

Gosh, I have wanted to write on other things: relationships, my book, “The Lady’s Rage” and some of the everyday challenges and triumphs I have had recently; but I keep being drawn back to the same theme of forgiveness. Let’s just say that I don’t see myself as one who harbors ill feelings. I don’t hold grudges. I can’t think of anyone that I am mad at. However, there are people that occasionally offend me. Offenses come. We are all in this world and we are all so very different; and at times people will say or do things that are inappropriate, demeaning and all together offensive to us. And that is not to say we are right and they are wrong; but that because of the vast differences between people it is easy sometimes to offend or to do or say something that rubs another person the wrong way.

My greatest offenses come at the expense of my call…not to perfection but to righteousness. I am offended by things, conversations and actions that are clearly meant to create havoc. I like peace. I like peaceable situations. I like peaceable people. I am very comfortable in quiet environments where I can hear a bird chirp, the wind blowing, the trees rustling and the sound of my own thoughts; because it makes it easier for me to hear the voice of my Father. Chaos, ruckus and arguing are not things I enjoy. And on the occasions, that I am forced to be subject to chaos, argument and havoc I am innately bothered. I want to make peace. Unfortunately, not everyone is like me. Some people thrive off of drama. The more the merrier. And as much as I would like to make the world a happier and more peaceful place, it clearer is not. The challenge is this when the offense strikes you at your very core. Can you forgive? Can you let it go? As I said, I am not a person who harbors things. I believe that people can change. What you did or said in a moment may not be where you are forever. I know there are things I have said, things I have done in a period of my life that are the complete opposite of who I am today. My past literally contradicts my present and my present will inevitably contradict my future. I am constantly changing, moving and growing.

In fact, I had a conversation with my mom Sunday and I was talking to her about movement. I was marveling at the sound of my voice, as I was talking, and how it is that everything in my body is in constant movement. Even as I sat in the living room talking to her, blood was moving in my body. Cells and neutrons (I think), words and terminology for my biology are at movement even as I type these words. Nerves are reacting and ping ponging messages to my brain that are helping me formulate my thoughts. Movement. I was telling my mom, that God is constantly moving on our behalves. We may not see it, we may not know it but He is moving. Things are reacting and ping ponging off of the words that we speak. Whatever is abundantly present in us will emanate from us in the words that we speak. The words that we speak are the very elements that move us, change us, deliver us and grow us.

I say that because we must always be moving in love. Love is the movement. For out of love grows forgiveness. Forgiveness, if you are a believer is a lifestyle. It should be an absolute. If not, we will be stuck and grow stale and bitter with time. If I am, as a child of God, offended at the world, its system of doing things, the ignorant and ill informed opinions of people who are without knowledge of the true and living God, than I too am perpetuating the same ill advised and demented behavior that is offensive to me. I must forgive everyone. EVERYONE. Jesus lamented, “Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.” We all are like children. And the greatest evidence of my right standing, sonship, with the Father, My God, my creator is not in my perfection but in the acknowledgement, receipt and dispensation of His great and unfailing love. Forgiveness comes at a price. It cost your humility. It cost you saying, what you did to me, said about me is not going to stop me from loving you. Forgiveness prepares to give before the offense occurs and gives without reluctance. I challenge you today, as I challenge myself, FORGIVE EVERYONE.

In His Love, Natrietia