Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, June 22nd, 2023…Fresh Baked Bread

When I was a teenager my mom spent one entire day, literally from right after breakfast until the evening mealtime, baking for the week ahead. With three boys as well as her and dad, our family went through about 8 loaves of bread a week along with various other baked goods. She would make homemade English muffins, cookies, cakes, rolls…whatever we needed along with the constant of 8 loaves of fresh bread. With seven days in a week, and the family consuming one loaf a day, the 8th had a special purpose. On baking day, the last items to take their turn in the oven always included that special 8th loaf. That loaf was a blessing. The delicious smell of the house on baking day was phenomenal! The entire house smelled of freshly baked bread and cookies and anything else on mom’s culinary to-do list. Experiencing that aroma without being able to sample its tasty goodness would have been akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Because of that, mom always baked the 8th loaf. We all knew that on that particular day of the week, whatever we had for dinner would be accompanied by a warm delicious loaf of fresh baked bread. Now it is my wife Lynn who on most weeks’ labors in our kitchen to produce homemade bread for the two of us. The old family tradition still stands. On baking day, we enjoy warm freshly baked bread with dinner…what a blessing indeed!

This is the bread we ask for when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. It is the sustenance for our physical bodies. We need all kinds of various nutrients for our continued health, but I understand that if the flour were ground from whole grains a very basic diet of bread and water would likely sustain life for a very long time…perhaps indefinitely. Certainly we know that the Israelite people survived for the better part of 40 years in the wilderness eating only manna, the bread that fell each day from heaven. The fact that the bible tells us that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1-2) is reason enough to look to God for our daily provision. We absolutely should do as Jesus taught His disciples to do and pray each day that God will supply our needs out of His great love and the abundance of His incredible wealth.

Jesus had some other things to say about bread though, that were equally, if not more important. The first comes from the gospel of Matthew. There in chapter 4 we read of Jesus during His own wilderness experience He was led into by the Holy Spirit. (vs. 1) Jesus chose to use His time there fasting and spending it close to God the Father. After 40 days of fasting the bible tells us that Jesus was very hungry, and that is when the devil came to tempt Him. Satan suggested that since Jesus was the Son of God, He should turn the stones into bread. This is interesting to me on several levels. First, Satan came to tempt Jesus when He knew would be most vulnerable. Second, Satan knew that it was Jesus who had created the stones, and was therefore tempting Him with His own creative license. What I mean by that is that I think the devil was saying, “Look, you are the one who made the stone, so if you are hungry, is it not within your authority to re-purpose your creation of a stone and now turn it into a loaf of bread?” Jesus however, quoting scripture, pointed out in His answer that to do so at the whim of Satan, would be to submit to Satan’s authority, and that was exactly what Satan desired. He wanted Jesus to worship him. Jesus knew He was in the wilderness at the behest of God’s Holy Spirit, and should only ever submit to the authority of God. He answered and said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. (Vs. 4) This was a reference to Deuteronomy 8:1-3. There Moses reminded the people of Israel that they had received the commandments of the Lord directly from God and it was those very commandments that would be their strength and sustenance, not simply bread. Moses pointed out that this is why God had provided manna during their wilderness experience. He gave them a bread that was unlike any they had ever known or anyone had ever seen before. God did this so that they could identify that it was He and He alone who was providing for them. In light of His provision, God hoped they would understand that it really is only from every word that comes out of God’s mouth, whether a word of instruction, or a word of provision, that we exist. Acts 17:28 says For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…

In the Gospel of John chapter 6 we read of another time Jesus spoke about the bread from heaven. At the beginning of that chapter we find the account of Jesus feeding the 5000, where He fed 5000 men along with additional women and children. That passage goes on to record that Jesus began that occasion with just 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish and yet…He divided it up to feed what many estimate to be a crowd of 12,000-15,000 people! The next day those same people found Him and His disciples again and Jesus knowing that they were only looking for Him so He would possibly feed them again, He said this to them.  “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:32-35) Just a moment later He told them again, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.  Yes, I am the bread of life!  Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51)

God is our supplier…end of story. From His great abundance God gives us everything including the bread on our tables, and we should be very grateful for it. Jesus taught us to ask for His provision each day. In the wilderness, God provided for His people even when they were walking out the consequences of their own sin. Every day He spoke into existence the manna that would fall from the sky and came to be known to them as the bread of Heaven. However, physical bread will only get you so far. Each day you need more or eventually you will die. And so, God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to carry the consequences of all of our sin. In doing that He was providing for us the spiritual provision we needed to live with Him for eternity. Because of that Jesus could in fact say that He was the true bread of Heaven. If we will take Him into our lives and accept that His death pays the price for our sin, we can “Eat of Him” and never die.

I love it when I arrive at home after a day at work and can smell from the driveway that it has been baking day. I know from the wonderful aroma that I am going to get to enjoy warm, fresh baked bread with my dinner. I am absolutely grateful for my wife’s labor of love on those special days, and the blessing I am about to receive. However, even warm, freshly baked bread doesn’t begin to compare to the blessing of having received the Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, my Lord and Sweet, Sweet Savior, into my life!

So now, Thanking God daily for His provision for your greatest need, freedom from your sin through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus …Go be Awesome!