Lunch Bites

Lunch Bite March 4, 2021

Nehemiah 8:10b

10 ….  And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

There are many reasons to be grieved in life.  There are personal reasons and there is always the concerns of the world and daily life.  All of these deprive us of strength by depleting our joy.  It is not the huge major catastrophic events of life that sweep away our strength.  It is the continual small leaks that left unattended rob us of the source of our strength.  The source of our strength is joy.  Not simply happiness but beyond happiness and our joy in Jesus.  Jesus said, “11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11). 

These small leaks must be attended to before we are depleted of all strength, we must shore up our life to be seeking and living in the joy of the Lord.  It is like an oil leak in an engine there are just a few drops, and then a few more, and unattended soon the engine has no oil and will seize losing all power. 

Keep an eye on your dipstick, keep your life filled with the joy of the Lord no matter what may grieve you, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).  He is the source of lasting joy in this life and the eternal joy when we transition to our new life.  May the joy of the Lord be your strength for today. 

Stay hungry!

Lunch Bite March 2, 2021

Matthew 5:6

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

We all want a world where everything is good and right, where there is no evil and no sadness.  There are few that love the darkness of unrighteousness.  However, we spend a lot of time standing at the edge of that darkness looking upon.  The world has many trappings that decorate the darkness and make it look like the light and so many will develop an appetite for the darkness, an acceptance of some of the darkness in their life.

When we seek to satisfy our appetite for righteousness in our life and feed our soul on the food from the darkness, we starve our soul.  The food of the darkness has no nutritional value for the spirit of mankind.  The spirit will wither and become weak. 

The only food that will satisfy the soul, which will quench the thirst, and appease the appetite is the food of God.  Seeking God’s righteousness, His truth, His promises, and principles for life are the food that satisfies.  God will always leave us with a little hunger and thirst to motivate us to seek Him and draw nearer to Him.  Let God feed you a lunch bite today and be satisfied as He opens His hand to feed you today.

Lunch Bite February 24, 2021

Matthew 22:36–38

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

We are what we do.  God has given us this commandment to devote our time and our life to because if we practice loving God with our whole being then not only will our life change but the world around us will change.  The world needs to see God’s people living out there first love and devotion because we become what we do.  We become compassionate, patient, steadfast, and strong in the face of all the opposition of the evil in the world.  They will see the perfection of God in our life.  They will see us standing amid tragedy filled with hope and a soul that is at peace. 

God did not say to love him simply because he can and simply because he is sovereign.  God said devote your life to loving me and you will see a change in your life.  We become what we do.  Are there times when we do not understand all the ways of God?  Absolutely!  We are not God but that should not hinder our pursuit or practice of loving God.  God has given us far more reasons to pursue loving Him than there are for doubting Him.  Commit to loving God with your feelings, with your spirit, and with your thinking and you will find a better person emerging.  Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.   

Lunch Bite February 23,2021

2 Peter 1:19

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

Have you ever stood in a sunrise?  It really is amazing to wait in the darkness facing east, the skies begin to lighten, if there are a few clouds in the east the sunrise will be announced by an explosion of oranges and reds.  This is usually the coldest part of the night as if the night is waging one last battle to rule the day.  This cold stirs in our heart the need we have for the morning star our Sun to cast away the darkness, to be victorious over the night,  and thaw our frozen heart.  Then as the Sun begins to rise first just a sliver and then suddenly as if by magic the glorious light floods the earth, and we are warmed standing in the Sunrise.

There is another Son rise.  One that is far more important than the physical sunrise,  this one touches the human soul.  This Son rise causes the darkness of our soul, our troubles, and our tragedies to flee.  This Son rise can change stone cold hearts into warm and loving hearts filled by the Son with love to share with all.  The day is dawning, and the Son is ready to rise in your life either for the first time as one turns from the darkness of sin to begin a new day and a new life or as one faithfully following the Son seeking to stand in the true Son rise. 

Will the Star of your day be the one true “Morning Star,” Christ Jesus or will sin entangle you today?  Will the darkness of your sin win and freeze your heart from the love of God?  If it is your first Son rise or your thousandth Son rise, we must turn from the darkness into the glorious light, turning away from our sin, and become the lamp the Son will use to destroy the darkness in other’s lives. Let Jesus be the Star as you start your day.

Lunch Bite February 22, 2021

Revelation 2:1–4

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

The beginning of Revelation contains an amazing section of passages containing letters written to the people of God who meet in different places.  Jesus is making a statement to the churches but more importantly to the people who make up the body.  There are seven letters to seven churches and we are part of the body and these letters are meant for us even today. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a personalized letter from our Lord in the mail today?  It would if there was nothing but positive in the letter. This happened for only two of the churches –Smyrna and Philadelphia.  If Jesus said to you today, I know your works,  what would he commend?  If he had a rebuke for the wrongs in your life what would those be?  Which list is longer?  Because of what Jesus has done for us in giving us a new life our work is to make the good list longer than the bad list.  We do this by the work of the Holy Spirit as he guides, counsels, and enables us to do more.  OK, so you may be like me and the bad list seems way too long but if you start today living the new life in a way to hear Jesus say, “Well done,” it won’t be long before the commendations of Jesus are greater than the rebukes. 

So as our Lord commands take up you cross and follow him.  Then at the end of your day be proud to come before the Lord as a faithful follower of Christ.

Lunch Bite February 18, 2021

Lunch Bite February 18, 2021

Sometimes in the rush to read the Word and get something quick that we can take away we miss a large part of the story.  For lunch today God invites us to eat the food of angels to feast upon his Word.  We do so by putting ourselves in the story of Israel and letting this reflect our own life with God where are we rebelling and disgruntled with God and how has God shown us patience in restraining Himself when we have.  Are we telling our children about God both our physical children and our spiritual children?

Enjoy the bread of angels, the Words of God!

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.” (Psalm 78:2–3, ESV)

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:5–8, ESV)

He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers. Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?”” (Psalm 78:15–20, ESV)

Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.” (Psalm 78:21–25, ESV)

Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert!” (Psalm 78:37–40, ESV)

They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe, when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.” (Psalm 78:41–43, ESV)

Lunch Bite February 17, 2021

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” (Psalm 32:10, ESV)

There is wickedness in the world and there is wickedness in our own lives.  Sins that are besetting –lingering— sins are burdens  that we have not completely overcome, and they will trouble us, and we will have sorrows as a result.  The path to experiencing intimacy with God and the steadfast love that is God comes from trusting God and not the world.

We must trust that the promises of Christ as believers means our sins will never condemn us to eternal separation from God on the last days.

We must trust that if we follow Holy Spirit’s counsel, we can overcome even the most stubborn of temptations. That means waiting on the Lord, being still, and seeking out God in every temptation, trial, and trouble of life.

We must trust the Father that he wants good for us and that the final good comes not in this life but the life to come. 

Can you say today, “In God I Trust?”

Lunch Bite February 16, 2021

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32, ESV)

A simple Proverb for a big problem.  The problem an unruly and angry spirit.  Our world seems dominated by anger today.  There is a public anger against those who believers know are caught up in sin.  Yes, they may very well may be but this should not affect us and we should not fall into sin because others sin.  This we do when we allow our spirit to be unruled by God’s word and His commandment to love everyone.  Scripture gives us a way to respond to those that we can, who are caught up in transgressions. But guard yourself.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, ESV)

Public anger is one aspect of an unruly and angry spirit.  The other aspect is a far greater danger and involves private (personal) anger concerning our situations, frustrations, and circumstances.  When things do not go our way in life, we begin to lose control over our flesh, we justify feelings and thoughts.  Then those thoughts and feelings become out of control actions.  Those actions will result in consequences that may affect your life for many years.  This passage says that one who controls themselves wields more power than the mightiest warriors or leaders.  It takes far less power to rule the spirit internally than when the internal desires become external sins in our life.  Like a snowball released at the top of the mountain is far easier to stop and control than the avalanche it will become at the bottom of the mountain.  Our spirit is best controlled and ruled internally.  The wisdom of God given through Solemn in this Proverb is to fight the battle, while it takes great might, internally where it can be won and keep control over your life with lots of small victories every day.  Many wars against sin have been lost because we do not control and rule our spirit internally.     

Lunch Bite February 15, 2021

Lunch Bite February 15, 2021

“…. God is love, …” (1 John 4:16, ESV)

I usually don’t like the practice of pulling a phrase from a passage or sentence.  But this one stands on its own.  I have never been a great student of English, I speak it, somewhat I reckon.  But being a student of the Word has forced me to slow down from time to time and focus on words that I have taken for granted.  “Is” is one of those words.  “Is” is the present tense third person form of “be.”  The word describes the nature and being of something or someone.  In this case the “is” defines the essence of God’s being.  This may be important because it is not an action of God to love but love is God is love.  So, we need to rethink love.  Love is not simply an action.  Love must become part of our being who we are.

For the rest of the passage now, 

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16, ESV)

Our being must be about the abiding presence of God in our life.  The Trinitarian God of scripture.  God abides with us as Father, God abides with us as Savior and King Christ Jesus who died for us, God abides with us as Holy Spirit who counsels us, reveals God to us, and is the most intimate presence of God in our daily life.  From Shakespeare’s play Hamlet we are all familiar with the quote, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.”  That is the question for believers are we to continue trying to love or will we simply be love in others lives just as God’s being in our life is love. 

Lunch Bite February 12, 2021

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, ESV)

A God of comfort.  Truly we all need comfort, and I would say we need it every day in the bad days and the good days.  However, I know many think that the comfort of God is only needed when we are in a tight spot in our life.  The times when we grieve, the times when all hope is gone, and times when we cannot seem to get control of our life it is most obvious, we need God.   Should we not also enjoy God’s comfort in times of peace, contentment, and joy as well?  God is the one who has brought us to an oasis in our life.  Yes, we enjoy those times but are we resting in God’s comfort in those periods of our life.  The case is often when our soul is at rest in the world it is not resting in God.  We should be comforted not only in our affliction also when life is going well.  Because this is what God brings to us and He does so by His presence in our life. 

As God has comforted us, he expects us to share what we have received with others.  We know what we have been through and we know what they are going through, and we should bring the God of all comfort to them in the good and in the bad.  Which means we must look to serving not just the afflicted but those at ease in life because it is likely they are the ones in most need and furthest from God.