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Week 04

Jesus is the Bread of Life

by Grace Hunter

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 NIV

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:27-29 NIV

As I read through John chapter 6, I see several themes. One of them is bread. John 6:1-15 relates the feeding of the 5000 with five barley loaves of bread and two fish. Starting in John 6:25, Jesus teaches using bread and manna as metaphors. Many in the crowd at the feeding of the 5000 wanted Jesus to explain the phenomenon of how he got to Capernaum, while others wanted Jesus to simply perform even more miracles and signs. But Jesus chose to use manna and bread to describe himself, to plainly describe God’s gift of manna, and to teach about eternal life.

Jesus made several profound “I” statements in this chapter. “I am the bread of life,” John 6:35a, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me,” John 6:38, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life,” John 6:47. 

Again Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,” John 6:48-51 NIV.

Jesus called himself the bread of life, living bread and bread that has come down from heaven. He goes on to elaborate on what is required of us in order to obtain eternal life. The crowds were primarily interested in seeing more signs and wonders, but the Pharisees understood Jesus’ references to himself — calling himself the Son of God, and as having come from heaven.

I suggest you read through the whole chapter of John 6. Look for the many references to bread. Notice what Jesus calls himself and what He says He will do on behalf of those who believe in Him. Take note of how Jesus says God draws people to Himself. When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray: “Give us today our daily bread”, I believe He is talking about our daily need for Himself, for His teaching, for His influence in our lives, in our decisions, in our attitudes. As you read through John 6, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal to you what you need to see and understand in this passage today. Then thank Him for drawing you to Himself.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Jesus is the Bread of Life2024-02-17T14:54:02-07:00

Our Daily Bread

by Kathleen Petersen

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 CSB

This portion of the Lord’s Prayer confirms Our Father in Heaven’s desire to daily provide for his children. But which concerns are most critical — physical issues or those centered in the mysterious, unseen realm? A contest between “sacred” and “secular” is unnecessary. The term for this false struggle is Dualism. Here’s a definition:   

Dualism is the idea that all of life can be separated into two main categories: the sacred and the secular. This fragmented vision of reality puts “spiritual” things in the “sacred” category and “worldly” things in the “secular” category.

Scripture makes no such division. In the first chapters of Genesis, God declares both his physical creation and his simple spiritual order as very good.
Genesis 1:31

As we observe and experience the continuing chaos ensuing from man’s attempts to disengage from God, we are presented with a variety of approaches to settle the resulting discomfort. For instance, if your personal chaos is related to a physical illness, does it display greater faith to ask for a certifiable miracle or is it more practical to skip that step and enlist the nearest competent medical professional? Is it okay to relieve emotional distress with just the right amount of counseling, pain relievers or engrossing entertainment or should your first action always be scripture, prayer and fasting?

Here’s another angle to consider. If you have an overabundance of food squirreled away and overstocked grocery stores nearby, praying “Give us today our daily bread” seems extraneous. But if you focus on the “us” part, the petition may morph into “Lord, what do you want me to do with my excess?

In summary, this part of Jesus’ model prayer encourages meditation on how to use God’s intertwined physical and spiritual resources. Furthermore, it prompts us to serve the broken world around us. 

Just for today, look in the refrigerator, freezer or food storage areas of your home while you pray this line of the Lord’s Prayer. Tell a family member or friend about your experience.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Our Daily Bread2024-02-17T14:10:59-07:00

Manna – Daily Bread in the Wilderness

by Carolyn Schmitt

Exodus 16:1-36 and Numbers 11:1-34 both tell about the Israelites complaining to Moses and Aaron about not having the kind of food available to them when they were slaves in Egypt. 

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Exodus 16:3

 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

 

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ” Exodus 16:11-16

 

In the Lord’s Prayer there is a change in pronouns: The first three petitions have the pronoun “your”, about God’s name being hallowed, His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. The next three pronouns are “us”, about our need for daily bread, forgiveness of our debts, and protection from temptation.  The first three are a request for what happens in heaven that it will also happen on earth, and the next three are what is needed by us who live on earth. 

In the request, “Give us this day our daily bread”, my research brought to light a variety of responses to what it meant when Jesus spoke it to the people then and what it may mean to us in our time.  Taken literally, it might  mean that we should only have on hand what we can eat up in a day and we should not be making sure that we have food on hand to fix for us or our family the next day or beyond.  

I remember on our farm we always kept what are called, “staples” in the house.  They were basic ingredients that we could use to make various kinds of bread. They included flour, salt, yeast, baking powder, lard, and milk from our cows, eggs from our chickens, butter and buttermilk from our own making.  Our farm was 10 miles from town, so it would have been unrealistic to go somewhere every day to get our “daily bread”.  

I lived  for a time in a small town where  the grocery store was walking distance from our house. Even after moving to Denver in 1953, the grocery store was only 4 blocks from home.  Food still had to be prepared.  There were no fast food or take out shops for convenience.  

Something that was mentioned in several sources was that this prayer might mean praying for how God makes it possible for farmers to grow food and for people who do the work of processing, packaging, transporting and making food available to buy.  

It might mean that, unlike the Israelites who complained about what they didn’t have,  we are to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness to God for all who labor for what we do have.

I had forgotten until I looked it up that the Israelites only received the food the Lord provided them from heaven during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. 

 

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:10-12

 

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Manna – Daily Bread in the Wilderness2024-02-17T13:25:26-07:00

Functionality of Light

Our state of Colorado purportedly averages 300 sunny days per year. Studies have shown that availability of sunshine has more impact on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor. No wonder I became more positive after moving here!

Light affects the core of our being. So, when Jesus said to us, his disciples, “You are the light of the world….”, Matthew 5:14, it’s worth a deep dive into what he meant.

Light and darkness are the first contrasting elements mentioned in the book of Beginnings (Genesis).

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:1-4 NIV

The first thing I see in this account is that light is “good”. When God said “let there be light” that culminated with light separating from darkness, it implies that light invades, permeates and dominates. Could permeation be the main quality of light? Here’s a partial list of the benefits of light:

  • Without illumination we can’t see at all nor can we see colors.
  • Light is the sole source of food generation for all living organisms on earth.
  • Sunlight provides the best source of vitamin D which is necessary for healthy bodily functions.
  • The temperature of the earth would drop drastically without sunlight.
  • Circadian rhythm from everyday light keeps plants and animals synchronized with the time of day or night.
  • Light, especially its ultraviolet component, is an excellent sterilizing agent.
  • Plants grow toward the sky as they are guided by the light.

In his gospel, John identifies Jesus as creator, mirroring the above passage in Genesis. Here John contrasts the light of Jesus with darkness and proclaims that the light of Jesus wins!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 NIV

Later in his gospel, John records Jesus identifying himself as “the light of the world”.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 ESV

A couple I know who were pursuing a “New Age” spiritual path, were challenged when her mother observed, “The light inside you is darkness“’.
After that proclamation they encountered Jesus and began to walk with him. Since then, the light of Jesus inside them has illuminated many other people.

Using the above list of the benefits of light, meditate on the affirmation that “You are the light of the world”. How does Jesus’ light inside you spiritually illuminate those in your sphere of influence and give glory to “your Father who is in heaven”? Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Functionality of Light2023-09-30T09:51:30-06:00

Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask questions about the sermon series, Sermon on the Mount, “We Are the Light of the World”
at https://redcouchtheology.com/ or
by texting 720-316-3893 prior to, or during the “LIVE” podcast.

Blog sites:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767

Red Couch Theology Podcast2023-10-02T23:28:25-06:00

Dim Bulb

I bet I got your attention. Obviously, that is a derogatory term people have used more than once to describe me. But I hope that after today you may see its significance in a totally different light. I am using the two word phrase to describe a condition we all must consciously choose to avoid. And it has nothing to do with intelligence.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-20

Notice something. Jesus didn’t approach the brothers with a shiny brochure promising free treats at Camp Capernaum. He didn’t step up onto a soapbox and deliver an impassioned speech. He simply said, “Come, follow me.” And they did.

How about this small snapshot?

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15

Were the children rushing to Jesus because they were anxious to hear him speak? Probably not. It was something else he offered.

In both of these cases, there was that special thing about Jesus that drew others to him. Even before he had spoken a single word.

He had light. And if I am not mistaken, the power source of that light was his love.

We are living in increasingly darker times. People are angry, striking out at one another. Name-calling has become an art form. Man’s inhumanity to man is on display everywhere we look. And Satan wants us to join in. He’d like to dim our 100 watt bulb down to 10 watts. We can’t allow that.

After meeting Jesus, John the Baptist said “He must become more. I must become less.” John 3:30

Step aside and allow Jesus’ love powered light to shine through you. It will always be 100 watts.

Jesus People, “Let Your Light Shine”.

No Dim Bulbs Here

by Bruce Hanson

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Dim Bulb2023-10-04T20:26:34-06:00

Light Pollution

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:14-16

I have a friend who loves all things outdoors. A few years ago, he wanted to put together a guys’ outing to a dark sky zone. Our world is filled with so many lights that there are very few places in our country with little or no light pollution. The night sky is breathtaking when you find yourself in one of those places.

The stars and planets are more brilliant and beautiful when no light competes with them. Jesus invites his kingdom people to be light in our world. He also warns us that there are “baskets” that might cover up our light. Whether it’s a shield or artificial light sources, there is a lot of competition contending for our attention.

What light pollution might you have allowed to creep into your life? Remember, the goal is for others to see the brilliance and beauty of Jesus through you. Praying the Lord’s prayer is a great way to toil incessantly for his advancing kingdom. That daily reminder helps us be intentional about how we shine.

Take a moment to pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask him to remove anything that might cover the brightness of his light through you.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Light Pollution2023-10-03T22:43:43-06:00

Matthew 5:13 Important Uses of Salt

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. ESV

“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it. Good News Bible

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. NIV

In the Beatitudes, Jesus describes the character of what people would be like as they became Kingdom of heaven people. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus next tells the disciples and the crowd on the mountainside what His followers would do and be in the world around them. By using salt as a metaphor, he related a common process that was essential to life, that portrays what would happen as his followers permeated society.

They knew the value and the many practical uses of salt in their lives.

Salt was a medium of trade that because of its essential need was more valuable than gold.

Salt is important for health, particularly in a hot climate. It is essential for normal interchange and retention of fluids within the cells of the body for humans as well as animals.

Salt was the only preservative in their climate they had to keep meat, fish and other foodstuffs from rotting. Any meat not eaten during a meal would be soaked in a strong solution of salt which prevented decay as well as the destruction caused by flies that hovered around both raw and cooked meat.

Salt also made a monotonous diet bearable for the common people, by heightening the flavor of their simple food.

Salt was well known to be an excellent sterilizer for wounds. Mixed with warm water, it was used to cleanse open sores and prevent infection.

Salt benefitted the livestock: oxen, camels and donkeys that did heavy work for the common people who worked the land. It was used for internal as well as external health for the animal.

Salt also would have reminded those who heard Jesus of how it represented the qualities of steadfastness, strength and trustworthiness.

Jesus also warned about salt that had lost its saltiness and grown weak in flavor and health giving strength. Even so, salt was used to eradicate, for instance, by being thrown out on pathways to sterilize the ground and keep weeds from growing (so people could walk on the path). Once that was done, the ground was useless for growing anything ever again.

A book I recommend that covers the Beatitudes and Matthew 5:13 is” Salt for Society, by W. Phillip Keller. published in 1981. It is available in paperback through a number of online used book stores. It explains more in-depth the uses and values of salt that still continue in impoverished parts of the world. It also conveys what it means to be disciples who, like salt, are health-giving to today’s society.

As you continue with us to pray the Lord’s Prayer, think about how salt relates to “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Also about salt and “daily bread”, salt and “forgiveness” and salt and being “[rescued] from temptation”.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Matthew 5:13 Important Uses of Salt2023-09-30T08:56:41-06:00

Covenant of Salt

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. Matthew 5:13 NIV

“ Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring.” Numbers 18:19 NIV

Have you ever noticed this verse before? What is a covenant of salt? First, we need a little background. Imagine you are living several thousand years ago, with no refrigeration and few ways to store or keep meat safe to eat. Next, remember that salt was used as a preservative, as a means of keeping and storing meat beyond the day an animal was killed. Salt was extremely valuable; any economy that had naturally occurring salt had the means to become wealthy and powerful. Salt was desirable as payment, because it could be used as an antiseptic for wounds, and when used to preserve meat, could assure there would be food for the future.

God told Moses in Leviticus 2:13 “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” Earlier in Exodus 30:34-37 God gave these instructions for making incense,

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices–gum resin, onycha and galbanum–and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD.”

Why do you think God wanted his grain sacrifices and his incense to include salt? Perhaps because salt was so valuable that including it in the grain sacrifice would demonstrate an Israelite’s devotion. This recipe for incense was to be offered to God alone; all of these ingredients were expensive – including salt.

In Numbers 18 God told Aaron and his descendants which portions of the offerings were to be burned and which portions were to be eaten by the priests and their families. Then, in Numbers 18:19, God said, “Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring.”

When God makes a covenant with His people, it is enduring, it is everlasting, it is binding. Salt has this unusual quality that it is always salt, it cannot be changed. Even when it is diluted by water, if the water is evaporated, the salt will recrystallize and be salt again. When salt was burned on the offerings, it was still there when all the meat or grain was burned up. Salt is a picture of our everlasting God who does not change, who keeps His word and whose promises and covenants are enduring. As you pray the Lord’s prayer remember our God is everlasting and does not change.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Covenant of Salt2023-09-29T19:44:06-06:00

Red Couch Theology

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron, and the occasional guest having a casual conversation, diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask Questions about the Sermon Series, Out of the Ordinary – “Living a Parable in Ordinary Life”
by texting 720-316-3893 prior to, or during the “LIVE” Thursday podcast.

Blog sites:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767

Red Couch Theology2023-06-16T11:46:33-06:00
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