Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Does God Feed You?

Please read Mark 6:30-44

Does Jesus really care about your needs? After reading this passage, you may wonder… sure, He did such a wonderful job with the small obento the boy had. Five loaves and two fish—to feed over 5,000 people on that hillside—was more than enough!

But does He do that kind of thing today? Does He really provide for His People? When we look at the Old Testament, we can see times in the Hebrew’s history when God sure had provided for them. Victory in war, manna from the sky when no food was available, opened the Red Sea to escape the Egyptian army. Even when things looked bad for Israel, God’s promise was to hold the test of time. He would say: “I am the God of Israel!” “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

So, today, we hear of people’s needs. Someone will share his or her need for a job. Another, their need for better health. Still another, the need for comfort. Does God really answer—like He did in the times of the Bible?

Who would say YES to that? And why would we say YES? Because some of us have seen such answers to our prayers. Our needs were met. Our bills were paid. Our loved one is yet alive! And still we have some doubt. Please understand that some doubt is good—when it brings us face to face//heart to heart with the Person of Jesus. In our story today, He was the One who directed the action, the one who caused the 12 to see something that was out of the ordinary. ~ A miracle.

Some would say that when the people there saw the generous actions of the one with the small lunch, they broke down and shared what they had and when it was all over, everyone had shared with everyone else and everyone was filled—even with a surplus left over.

But that was not what happened. If it did happen that way, the story would have been told that way. In truth, Jesus, who knew that there was going to be a need, took what was given to Him and He multiplied it many times over.

Think of what that would mean to us today! A point of application here: IF WE GIVE WHAT WE HAVE TO JESUS, HE WOULD BLESS IT AND MULTIPLY IT MANY TIMES OVER.

Whenever we as a Church engage in Kingdom work (enterprises), we offer the Holy Spirit something He can and often will use to save people’s souls.

Wasn’t that what Jesus was aiming at? Was it to feed the people with bread and fish or was He interested in meeting special needs of the people and of His 12? The people looked at this miracle as proof that He could be the New Leader of Israel. He was looking to set them free from not the bondage of Rome but from the bondage of being self-centered and careless. From being concerned more for the things of this world than the needs of our broken hearts.

We are broken people and as Vidar reminded us last week, Jesus did not come to fix us! Jesus came to make us new! That is the Power of the Gospel. To take away our stone cold hearts and to give us new hearts that is made in the likeness of our Creator God.

So, how does God feed us today? First, you need to know when you are hungry. Sometimes during the workday, you might just keep working without a break. You start to have a hunger pains and you feel a little dizzy. Then you look at the clock and say, “Wow, I have not eaten yet!” Once you feed your body, you feel refreshed and continue the work.

It is true with Spiritual Hunger. Do you know that you are spiritually hungry? Many people don’t know that they are starving their spirit. Many don’t even know there IS a spiritual part of their being! They go through life and there may be a tug in their sprit but the person is not use to that feeling so they let it go. Jesus said that if you are hungry, come to Him and eat and be satisfied!

It is true with being thirsty. Without water, you can become dehydrated and fall sick. Again, Jesus said—and he is talking of a different level of thirst, Come to Me and drink and not be thirsty again.

John 4:14 "whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 6:35 Then 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 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink.

There is a vast hole in our lives. We try to fill it with all sorts of things; some good things ~ other bad things. We look for love. (We might look for it in all the wrong places.) We look for it friendships; we look for it in families; in fellowships and it seems dry and lacking real joy.

I asked the question at the start of this talk: How does God feed you? Here are some ways: He feeds us through Friendships. A true friend is a gift from God. One that will stick closer than a brother. A friend that we can share our life with! This is a true Gift from the Lord.

He feeds us with Family. Sometimes, families are the most difficult people to live with. Strangers get along better than some families do. Why is that? Because the family is God’s building block for community. He wants us to be in a family that reflects His love and care. It is His way to build us up into the people we need to be. The Evil One, Satan’s design, is to fight the ways of God. To destroy families. To hurt friendships and to drive a wedge between family members. But God’s design is to build up the family. He feeds us with families that care.

He feeds us with Fellowship. Many times, after the service is over, people stay around here for one, two even three hours and then, leave together to go have more fellowship someplace else. That is feeding time for us. We are made to fellowship. We do our best service for Him when we fellowship, because that reflects His Love and Holy Character. He feeds us in our fellowships.

The Bible talks about Wisdom as a person. Looking at the Book of Proverbs, verse after verse teaches us how important Wisdom is in our life. With Wisdom, we can really know Him. Proverbs 4:5 says “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget My words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you. Love her and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

The beginning of wisdom is the knowing of God! With Wisdom, the walls of doubt and loneliness are pushed down. Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

The biggest way Jesus feeds us is by His WORD. The Word of God, the Bible, is the source of all there is to know about Him and His plan for you. His Word is a lamp unto my paths, a light unto my way. He makes the path clear when I look at it from His Word.

His joy is found in His creation enjoying Him. That is the full duty of man. To love Him and to enjoy Him forever. Our hunger goes away when He satisfies our soul. We thirst no longer for the things that will dry up because we have taken His Word into our lives and we now are really alive! We are not fixed but made new.

Once a person becomes a follower of Jesus, all the old things pass away and all things become new! 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. We are no longer sheep without a shepherd—alone in the world—blinded by the shinny stuff of material lust. We are found. We have a place to go when we die. He has prepared a place for us. He died on the Cross to take our sins away. We all need to turn to the God of the Bible and receive what He died to give us: FORGIVENESS for our sins!


Next Sunday.

Only a few weeks into 2011, most resolutions have probably waned or vanished altogether. As followers of Christ, it's exciting to remember that we have the unfailing love of God and the constant promise of renewal through His Grace. There is no need to wait for New Year's or spring or any other outer prompting. God helps us to see our errors, forgives us, and shows us how to correct them and to grow closer to Him. God is never boring! Every moment with Him is full of promise and transformation.

When someone asked me what my New Year's resolution was, I quickly realized that the myriad of things I'd been considering - to be kinder and more patient, to be a better friend, to develop a more positive attitude - were all covered by being a dedicated follower of Jesus. If my life truly reflects the love of Christ, then patience and kindness and cheer will naturally follow.

How can this week be different from all the other weeks in my life? Maybe as we look again at the Feeding of the 5,000 from Mark 6, the Lord will show you how to depend on His leading you and on His providing you with all you need to live this Life of Faith.