Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feeding the Hungry with The Bread of Life

This morning I read this post from Keeper of the Home. After reading the post my thoughts settled on how this problem is being dealt with by a very compassionate chef, Tim Hammack from the San Francisco Bay Area. I left a comment on the post from Keeper of the Home with a link to an interview CBS did with Tim - so heart warming. And I've blogged about Tim before here on the Good Woman.

I'm posting that CBS interview here on my blog, but first I want to acknowledge why we, as Christians, feed the hungry. It isn't just to fill their empty bellies. It isn't just to satisfy a temporal need. It isn't just to do something that makes us feel good about ourselves. It isn't just about the here and now.

Though I agree completely with Hallie the Homemaker about the importance of feeding the hungry real food, I had to think this thing out in order to get a perspective that not only validates Hallee's concerns but also considers God's sovereignty regarding man's hunger problem. After considering various Scriptures, I felt less frustrated about the problem with feeding the homeless and the hungry and confident in God's greater concern for them.

The text that started me on my way was Christ's reminder to us of the sobering truth that, "...man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." Jesus quoted that verse to Satan when He was being tempted after having fasted for forty days and forty nights. Hunger creates vulnerability and Satan wanted to capitalize on Christ's hunger to magnify himself, and to transfer Jesus' focus onto His physical need, rendering Him independent from His Father. He said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (Matthew 4:3).

Jesus responded by quoting the well-known verse from Deuteronomy (as mentioned above). But have you ever looked at that text in the Old Testament in its entirety? Amazingly, it says, "And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3-4)

Wow!!! That's an eye opener. Physical hunger is often given to call us to listen to the word of the Lord - His every word. And didn't the "Word" become flesh and dwell among us? Jesus is the Word of God as we learn in John 1:1, and 1:14. Furthermore, in Matthew 17:5, God audibly spoke of His Son to the disciples when He said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

Listen to Him! What a charge. If we listen to Jesus we hear Him say in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." And we hear, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3). And we hear Him say, "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45).

Then we hear Him say, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry..." (John 6:35); and "...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14-15). Of course Jesus is speaking here of a hunger and thirst that goes much deeper than bodily hunger or thirst. He is offering Himself as the only lasting thirst-quenching drink and hunger-satisfying food that will ever fill our souls completely.

So even though we may have to settle for processed, devitalized and chemical laden foods (while changing what we can for the better) to feed those who have a physical hunger, we will never have to offer second rate soul-food to them. Jesus satisfies hungry souls as only Jesus can and He serves up eternal life for all those who take refuge in His work on the Cross.

Hunger is sometimes given as a tool to bring men and women to the Savior. This is a message that is proclaimed throughout Scripture as we have seen. How wonderful to be able to see those who are physically hungry embrace Him who truly satisfies. Tim understands this. I think he must be one of the most blessed food servers this side of heaven. He gets to offer both real physical food and the Bread of Life to those hungry souls that come his way. How magnificent!

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8


"Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
 

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Let Them Come Home" - Encouragement for the Parents of Prodigals

Abraham Piper has written a great article about loving and winning your prodigal to Christ. Let Them Come Home is a stunning piece by John Piper's son which includes the younger Piper's own experience of being away from "the father's house" and his return home. Take time to be encouraged, especially if you have a prodigal daughter or son or simply want to minister to a friend or loved one that is out in the "far country".

Find the article here.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Well Rested Soul

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

From this passage of Scripture, do you generally identify more with Mary or Martha?

I am both women. I can easily become distracted and frustrated because of my busyness. When this is the case, I always experience a sense of loss - an opportunity to sit and listen to Jesus lost and gone forever - and regret and must confess it as sin. But as for the times when I sit at Jesus' feet, I never regret those times, nor do I feel like I missed out on anything the best of my busyness holds out to me. It has all to do with the difference between the eternal and the temporal.

As far as sitting at Christ's feet daily in devotion to listen for the purpose of obedience, others have said it better than I: 
We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. A. W. Tozer
This perpetual hurry of busyness and company ruins me in soul if not in body. More solitude and earlier hours!...Surely the experience of all good men confirms that proposition that without a due measure of private devotions the soul will grow lean. William Wilberforce
 A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it. D. L. Moody
Nothing can be more healthful to the soul of the believer than feeding upon the Word, and digesting it by frequent meditation. C. H. Spurgeon
There is greater rest and solace to be found in the presence of God for one hour, than in an eternity of the presence of man. Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. Thomas Brooks
He who lives with little prayer - he who seldom reads the Word- he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high - he will be the man whose heart will become cold and barren. C. H. Spurgeon
But of course, Jesus said it best in Matthew 11:28-30, and who would want to refuse such an invitation?:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Don't miss another opportunity to come to Jesus for the rest your soul so desperately needs!

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Christ - the Lifter of My Head


The picture above is such a reality for me. It seems the older I get the more aware I am of my failings in following Christ. It seems I really should be more mature than I am by now. It seems...I could go on and on. But there is an over-reaching reality for the Christian and that is the grace of God. If it weren't for that I could very well be frozen in a such a "pity-party-posture" as is the lady in the picture. Instead, the Lord of mercy, grace and pardon is the Lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). How kind He is!

And sometimes His kindness is manifested to us through other men and women who blog for God's glory. Tim Challies is one. I just visited his blog and was so moved by the piece he posted today, called, "I Failed Him". How I can relate.

Oh...but for the grace and mercy of God. John of Kronstadt so aptly expressed these thoughts: "Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence."

If it weren't for that mercy, goodness, wisdom and omnipotence where would we all be? His grace, not our sin, will always have the last say for the child of God. How thankful I am for that!

If you need to be encouraged today, please take time to read Tim Challies' post and let Christ lift your head!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Trip to Paris

About a month ago my sister and I along with our friend Suqui, visited Paris Flea Market in Livermore (CA.). So much fun!!! The shop is only open once a month for four days from a Thursday evening through the following Sunday. The above photo is of the bicycle that sits outside the store. Of course I did a little Photo Shop Elements magic on it.

Following is how the Paris Flea Market website describes its shop:
Searching estate sales, auctions and an occasional flea market results in an ever-changing inventory of fabulously priced home furnishings, collectibles and accessories. You'll find an eclectic mix of vintage, French country, Paris apartment, cottage, rustic and shabby styles (and once in a while a genuine antique!) with a past.
One of the first displays I visited in the store.

Cute stuff, huh?

I liked this vintage picture.

I'd like to know who occupies this chair after the shop closes.

This sign says it all...

Sweet...

One of the signs in the store itself.

How lovely this vase would be with some luscious pink, sweetly scented David Austin English roses in it.

This is a crib bed-spring re-purposed as a memo holder. Clever...

And a close-up of one of the items on the springs (above).

My good friend Suqui deciding just what it is that she cannot live without.

An old bed headboard re-purposed as one of the signs in the store. Hum.. this gives me an idea.

This is my parent's era. I have photos of my dad that are so similar - minus the gorgeous frame.

I thought about getting these canisters, but decided on something else instead.

The "something else" I decided on was the antique sewing box pictured here (on the right).

I believe this is the headboard that was part of the crib that was re-purposed. Remember the springs in the photo above? In case you cannot read what this says: "A woman is like a tea bag. You don't know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

Now this is Paris! Ooh, la, la...

 On the way home with our treasures, anxious to put them in their places. This is just the front of the van. The back was packed with the larger stuff.

Well, its off to Paris again, ladies. Tomorrow the store is open - the first time since May when I took these photos. My sister and I are taking three of our friends with us this time.

Why not visit the Paris Flea Market website for more information and then plan a trip there with some of your friends?

Oh, and by the way, the same women who so creatively run the Paris Flea Market, have another store in Walnut Creek (CA.) called A Room With a Past. It is equally as wonderful. 

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