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Tag Archives: the bread of life

When You Misread Signs from God

Somewhere along the way, I picked up a belief that God immediately punishes individuals for their sins.  Perhaps, I heard too many sermons on the wrath of God from the Old Testament growing up.  Subsequently, I began to read too much into daily events, as if I knew why good or bad things were happening to me.  Fortunately, I’m not the only one who struggles to understand God.

“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” – Mark 8:15

One day while traveling across the countryside, the disciples forgot to bring their usual allotment of bread for their trip.  As soon as this was brought to Jesus’ attention, He began to warn the disciples.  Thinking Jesus was mad at them for forgetting the bread, each misread what the Lord was trying to say.  Instead of seeing the big picture, the twelve disciples were blinded by a narrow view of this world.

Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? – Mark 8:18

A day earlier, Jesus had fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.  Focused on whose fault it was, forgetting the bread, each disciple failed to see that Jesus was and is the Bread of Life.  The yeast of the Pharisees is cynicism from human beings who try to discredit Jesus’ miracles.  Therefore, if you begin to live by sight and not by faith, you too may soon misread signs from God.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Breathe Prayer

John Michael Talbot’s music career took an unusual turn in 1977 as he withdrew from the world to study Catholicism.  This new direction inspired albums like The Lord’s Supper and Come to the Quiet.  Today, John Michael has become an author, motivational speaker and pioneer, blazing a trail a faith for others to follow.

One of his more popular teachings today is on the Breathe Prayer.  Following a prayer of one of the earliest Christian Churches, Talbot has  created a series of youtubes to guide others as they follow this traditional prayer.  However, Talbot incorporates Christian meditation to empower and enhance a believers prayer life.  As you call on the name of the Lord, you breathe in.  When you say, “have mercy on me” you believe out.  Like a chant, you continue this for several minutes.

The word Lord is derived from 2 old English terms, Loaf and Warden.  Once these 2 words are combined, you get the meaning “the Keeper of the Bread.”  The Jewish process of making bread is listed below:

1) Wheat is cut off at the base.

2) A community of workers gather the stalks together.

3) Threshing the wheat off the stalk at the threshing floor.

4) Letting the wind, separate the wheat from the chaff, usually on a tarp, throwing each up in the air.

5) Crushing the wheat into fine pieces with a grinding stone.

6) Adding water and yeast to the flour you made.

7) Kneading the dough, placing it in a pan.

8) Baking and poking the loaf 3 times so it doesn’t explode.

Since Jesus is called the Bread of Life in John 6:25-40, the breathe prayer serves as a visual exercise, reminding hearts and minds of the identity of Christ.

Although I am an amateur in the field of Christian meditation, its refreshing to see someone develop these prayers and practices.  Since the modern church has sat back and watched as yoga has hijacked the practice of meditation from the Christian faith, there is a place for this lost art, Joshua 1:8-9.  May John Michael Talbot’s material draw you closer to God.

by Jay Mankus

The Day When the Others Fell Away

If Matthew 5:48 is any indication, Jesus had high expectations for his followers.  Hard teachings like Matthew 19:16-25 even made Jesus’ own disciples question their faith.  Thus, to meet his lofty goal, Jesus selected 12 men, giving each special authority to act on his behalf, like an ambassador, Matthew 10:1.  During their initial trial run which began in Mark 6:7, it appears by remarks made in Mark 9:14-29 that success didn’t always came easy or in this case, not at all.  When all your attempts to please your boss, mentor and teacher fail, some fall by the wayside, John 12:6.

Meanwhile, Luke 10:1-20 implies an addition 72 disciples were appointed by Jesus and given similar responsibilities like the more famous 12.  Since the first 12 Jesus called are sent out in Luke 9:1-9, Luke is not repeating himself by accident.  Rather, Luke 10:17 suggests Jesus delegated an identical power to these men who were able to cast out demons, possibly healing others as well.  However, when the crowds following Jesus grew beyond a reasonable limit, Jesus offered up the words of Luke 14:25-35 to communicate his standards and necessary sacrifices to maintain for the long haul.  While none are mentioned to have left there on the spot, logic says people began to second guess their stance or commitment level.

The decision within the minds of many followers came to a climax in John 6:25-66.  Jesus used the feeding of the 5,000 as a teachable moment, to further people’s understanding of who he was, “the bread of life,” John 6:51.  Just as Jesus’ words puzzled Nicodemus in John 3:4, many disciples were left dazed, unable to grasp this spiritual message.  This difficult teaching lead to grumbling among the ranks of the disciples according to John 6:60-61.  While no names are given, John 6:66 clearly states that many of the 72 and possibly other categories of disciples abandoned Jesus.  This is the day, prior to Jesus’ last Passover on earth, when the others fell away.

by Jay Mankus

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