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OUR DAILY BREAD
Food.
 
One of the real great pleasure in life.
 
You certainly notice if you hadn’t eaten all day. Your stomach rumbles, you feel agitated, weak. You are reminded that you need substance.
 
Indeed, only a select minority can go without eating all day and not notice. Our physical bodies are designed for nourishment that only food can give. The longer we don&rsqu... read more
 
JESUS, LORD OF OUR SOCIAL NETWORK
 
JESUS, LORD OF OUR SOCIAL NETWORK
By Mark Jones
 
'Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of life.' Matthew 10:37-38
 
This was the challenging passage we looked at in a... read more

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Food.
 
One of the real great pleasure in life.
 
You certainly notice if you hadn’t eaten all day. Your stomach rumbles, you feel agitated, weak. You are reminded that you need substance.
 
Indeed, only a select minority can go without eating all day and not notice. Our physical bodies are designed for nourishment that only food can give. The longer we don’t eat, the weaker we get.
 
Yet, how often do we read the Word?
 
How often do we pray?
 
 How often do we have fellowship by meeting with other believers and going to church?
 
How often do we have a quiet time with God, really seeking Him?
 
Now, before you go wishing I never asked these questions, as you start to feel guilty, and wonder how you can measure up....
 
Stop!
 
Were you feeling guilty when I asked those questions? When I brought up the topic?
 
Why?
 
Does a daily quiet time save us? Reading the Word every day? Praying? Church? Does doing these things regularly mean we’re more saved, that we are more righteous before God?
 
No.
 
They aren’t a legal requirement. No more than it says, “Thou shall have a daily quiet time.”
 
Nor is there an actual law demanding that you must eat every day. Yet we do.
 
Why?
 
Because we know the benefits of eating? Because we know what will happen if we don’t eat? Because we enjoy the taste of food?
 
Well, yes. But the real reason?
 
Because we’re hungry. Our stomachs cry out, and we respond.
 
Yet, we often forget, that not only are we physical beings, but we are also spiritual beings. And our spirits get famished!
 
This is where Christ comes in. For only he can satisfy our spiritual hunger, our spiritual thirst deep down in our souls.
 
When Jesus meets a Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus promises to satisfy this otherwise insatiable thirst. But Jesus doesn’t stop there, however. He goes even further.
 
In John 6:35, Jesus makes a remarkable claim!
 
‘Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” 
 
It is Him that is our daily bread!
 
Which means our spirits, our very souls, need Him to avoid being weak, to avoid being faint with hunger.
 
So why do we have regular quiet times? To read the Word? To pray?
 
Because he alone fills us up and satisfies our souls! We are told in Psalm 34 to ‘See and taste that the Lord is good’, but do we really believe it?
 
Or perhaps have we merely forgotten what the taste of the Lord is like?
 
Either way, when Jesus talks about being the ‘bread of life’, this isn’t stale or gone-off bread he’s talking about. No! This is hot, freshly baked, and mouth-watering bread, made with only the finest of ingredients.
 
Makes a big difference, doesn’t it?
 
And what is better than just eating by yourself?
 
Eating with good company!
 
Family, friends, those we love. Company can greatly increase the pleasure of eating. Or, if you’re like me, the basic cooking you normally do for yourself suddenly increases in quality as you make sure the ones around you eat and enjoy the meal the best they possibly can.
 
What is interesting is that when we are told to remember what Christ has done for us, to remember his sacrifice, by eating the bread and drinking the wine representing his body and blood, it is simply around a meal table.
 
What if we were to remember Christ as often as we actually ate? That it became as natural as sitting down for a meal?
 
One pastor mentioned how by missing church was like missing a meal. You can justify it once in a while without having too great an effect, although you will feel a little weak. But if you keep doing it, you keeping missing your meals, you will slowly wither and die.
 
It was a powerful and beautiful analogy. Encouraging and yet challenging.
 
So let us stop feeling guilty and instead seek Christ. Just as when we are starving, we seek food as quickly as possible (after all the worst time to go food shopping is when you’re hungry), let us be likewise as desperate for Jesus.
 
Let that be the motivation to pray, to read his Word, to spend time with him, to enjoy him with other believers.
 
Let us pray for a fresh vision of Him, a fresh desire, to be starving for his presence, to crave his company. For him to not just give us our daily bread, but to BE our daily bread.
 
And just as we remember the great taste and smell of freshly baked bread, let us remember how delightful the presence of Christ is.
 
For it is this what our hungry hearts cry out for.
 
So let us respond by never forgetting to eat... ever again.
 
 
Our Father in Heaven,
 
Be today my Daily Bread,
 
let my spirit hunger for you,
 
my soul thirst for you
 
JESUS, LORD OF OUR SOCIAL NETWORK
By Mark Jones
 
'Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of life.' Matthew 10:37-38
 
This was the challenging passage we looked at in a recent LIVF conference, 'Parable of the Mustard Seed', where a mixture of students
and graduates were encouraged to look at thinking big for God's great purposes despite feeling small.
 
It was there in the session of 'Jesus: the Lord of the our social network' that we explored what that passage meant. That Jesus must be
our first love. Not just with family, but in every relationship we have.
 
That if we want Jesus to be Lord of our life, Lord of our soul, he also needs to be Lord of our social network. That means we need to break and tear down all other relationships or bridges for Jesus, and rebuild the old network into a social network which is Jesus centred.
From going 'How can I please you' to be about 'How can I love you?'
 
The big question asked was, 'How does Jesus being Lord of your social network affect your life?' How does this influence and affect your
relationships? What becomes the priority?  The hub which defines all other relationship should be the relationship with Jesus. How does
this then affect our lives?
 
One practical implication that we need take to heart was the fact that by making Jesus the Lord of our social network, we therefore put every
relationship under his influence and authority. This also therefore certainly affects who we date.
 
If the session didn't mention this aspect explicitly, the session afterward certainly begged us to seriously think through what was
being said and apply it into our own lives. The sessions raised thought-provoking and difficult questions we must ask of ourselves:
 
Do we want to be in a (romantic) relationship that is in fierce competition against our relationship with Jesus? Will it bring
opposing and conflicting loyalties, along with tension, difficult choice and often heartache - or will our (romantic) relationships
bring divine harmony? For often the (romantic) relationship in competition against Jesus will try to take us away from the good godly
relationships out of jealousy and control.
 
Is that what we want? Is Jesus actually Lord in this area -in our social networks and relationships? What sacrifices do we need to make?
 
Here in Lebanon, family ties are strong and what others think about you is important. It is easy to be swept away by the influence of
others. The challenge of being influential instead by planting mustard seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven in our own social networks spoke
powerfully to the hearts of all.
 
The session closed with this last thought: Don't neglect the relationships you are in because you have been planted where you are
for a reason.
 
So how can we be effective in our social networks? How can we maintain time, effort, care and love into them, reflecting Christ into our
home, course, campus, workplace?
 
Finally, what is the impact of this session, and this conference? As one girl said: 'It encouraged me a lot specially that I was thinking
lately about how am I gonna start the whole thing (Bible Study group on campus) and I'm alone in the university. But I always can start
with my friends, and I thought I can't, but I needed to hear the sessions to be encouraged.'
 
Let's be just as encouraged, and just as challenged.