Bread for Today

Today's text is teeming with of treasures of truth. The gift of the Lectio Divina method of slow, prayerful listening to and meditating on a small portion of the text is that we awaken to our hunger for God. By humbly slowing down we discover our place of need. We make room for God's Spirit to work in us supplying food for our need while renewing how we think and transforming our how we act. Keep on bringing your real self and real needs to the text. Stay in conversation with God. Wrestle with the Scriptures. Freely ask your questions in prayer and make your needs known. This is a real relationship you are cultivating with God. Keep listening. God's Spirit will continue to speak long after your designated times of prayer. Stay alert, watching for the manna falling from heaven for you each day. And always, it is given with great love. Say thanks.

John 6:25-34 NLT
They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said, “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. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What caught your attention as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the story? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

Reflect on where you are noticing your hunger for God. What is truly nourishing that hunger?

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.

    Tags: desire, food, hunger, listening, need, soul food

An Earnest Search

I wonder if the evidence of an earnest search for God is to know the security of His hand holding us up, even as we seem to be looking elsewhere. I wonder if our thirsts and longings might sometimes be satisfied before we even realize it. It’s a provocative question, isn’t it?—Am I already resting on the fulcrum of my earnest search? Am I already settled into “Oh, God, you are my God”?
What do you sense in your earnest search?

© Brenda Henry

Psalm 63:1-8 (NLT)
O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
 
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
 
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
 
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.
 
I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
 
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
 
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

For Prayer and Reflection:
Was there a word, phrase, or an image that captured your attention? What is its invitation to you?

Imagine yourself in one or more of the postures represented here (searching, thirsting, longing, gazing, praising, lying awake, singing, clinging, etc.). What is Jesus' posture towards you as you sit with him in that?

What satisfies you?

 

Planted

In this next season, we will transition to praying with the Psalms. Coined by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the Prayer Book of the Bible, the Psalms guide us in relating to God through prayer. They aid us in knowing the character of God while helping us find our voice as we live in authentic relationship with God. No conversation seems 'out of bounds' in this book.

This weeks' Psalm has us planted by the streams of water. Come, join us there...

Psalm 1  (NIV)

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that shimmered as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus. Perhaps you want to draw or color your prayer.

In your prayer, picture yourself being planted by a stream. Notice your deepest desire as you are planted by the stream. What do you most want there?

When are you most aware of God watching over you? What feelings does that bring up for you? What does God see when God looks
upon you? Bring these ponderings into your prayer. 

Listening for Desire

Still on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples arrive in Jericho. As they leave with a crowd following alongside them, a blind beggar interrupts their journey with his desperate cries for mercy. Once again, Jesus is willing to be interrupted and asks the question for a second time, "what do you want"? Why does Jesus repeatedly invite the same question? What does Jesus understand about desire that he keeps asking and listening for desire in his conversations with others?

You are invited into this same dialogue with Jesus. Are you willing to acknowledge and name what you want in his presence? Keep listening. He is calling you.

Mark 10:46-52 (NIV)
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What word(s) or phrase in the passage calls out to you?

Think about a time when you were aware of your own desire or desperation for God to do something in your life. Ponder the how, what, when, where, why of that time.

What is a desire you are most aware of in your life right now?

What would be your response if Jesus said to you, "What do you want me to do for you"?

The Kingdom of God is Like...

Jesus often used parables to put words around a concept that went beyond a definition into meaning that was much deeper. In this parable we wonder, “What is this seed that is scattered that seems to grow without external effort?” Could this seed be the Spirit of God? Could this seed be desire for God planted within us? Could this seed be love and compassion that grows within us and is readied to be harvested to nourish and sustain others?

All reflect the Kingdom of God and the reign of Christ that grows within our hearts and souls, becoming that which matures within us, meant to flow out into the world. As you sit with the following passage reflect on what stands out to you through the words and voice of Christ.

Mark 4:26-29

Parable of the Growing Seed

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

•    What did you hear as you listened/read?  What stood out to you?
•    What do you hear that helps you understand more of what the Kingdom of God is like?
•    What do you notice about God’s grace in this passage?