Have you ever been following someone that you shouldn’t have been? I lived in a suburb of St Paul, MN for about seven years. My family and I lived in the southeast suburbs and my work was north of the Twin Cities. I had a forty minute commute to get to work. All but about five miles were interstate. The traffic was sporadic, but for the most part, I was on the road before there were any major backups. But, you learn to anticipate the bottlenecks. So, when I got near a typical bottleneck in Maplewood, I just stayed behind a large truck that obviously was caught behind traffic. Yet, the left lane was zooming by me. After many minutes when by following this big truck, I finally decided to try my attempt at passing in rush hour traffic. Only to find out that there was zero traffic ahead of the large truck. I was following something that was setting the pace 15 miles below the speed limit! I couldn’t believe it!
In winter, we are told not to follow tire tracks, because they could lead you right into the ditch! We are to be careful who we follow in life too! If we follow the wrong thing, we may get lead down the wrong path. When Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:13, he taught us this line “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” This simple verse reminds us to follow Jesus because he is not going to trick us. God isn’t like the stores that practice bait and switch where they lure us in with a sale that sells out quick only to get us to buy something more expensive. God won’t lead us into a ditch…
God has provided the Bible for us to follow. We are to follow his leading. When you learn to follow Jesus’ teachings, he will deliver you from evil and he will lead you down paths of righteousness. Not for HIS sake, but for yours! That is a beautiful thing. God is not hidden somewhere and you have to find him…NO! He is knocking on the door of your heart and you need to let him in and let him lead you today!
Here is your lesson for today: Who or what are you following? Is it slowing you down? Is this person going to lead you in the wrong direction? Jesus taught us to pray for God to lead us and deliver us from evil. That should be our prayer today!
Have you ever known someone for a short time, but it felt like you have known them for a lifetime? Somehow they were a missing piece of the puzzle of your life? Then maybe they move or even pass away. They are no longer with you. If you would have known that…maybe you would have changed your conversations. Maybe you wouldn’t have talked about petty things; instead you would have gotten to deep meaningful conversations from the start.
John 6:35 says “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.”
Here Jesus is explaining that HE is very manna from heaven. It took his Jewish listeners back in their history when they were begging God for something to eat and God provided manna (bread) from heaven! Jesus is the only person, the only thing that fill our desires; he is the only one that can quench our thirst. So, now imagine the disciples... Jesus worked with them for three years. Three years really isn’t that long when standing next to a lifetime. So, Jesus calls his disciples to follow him and then pours his life into them. He knew his lifetime would end abruptly, but they didn’t. Since he knew, he didn’t waste his time on petty things. He was intentional about making a lesson out of ordinary things of life. Jesus wanted to change his disciple’s life. I would say he was successful. After all, he is the “Bread of Life”.
Even though Jesus hinted at the fact that he would leave the Earth early, they were still picturing the day that he would establish an earthly kingdom and sit on the royal throne and rule. But, if they would have known that their time was only three years together, would they have done things differently? After all, this was the man that was our very sustenance. Would they have asked more questions? Would they have spent all their time with him? Would they have betrayed him or fallen asleep in Gethsemane or would they have argued over who would sit at his right hand or would they have questioned why allowed perfume to be poured on him? Obviously these questions are rhetorical and we don’t need to bother going in depth trying to find the answer. Rather, we should ask ourselves the same questions.
So, here is the lesson for today: We don’t know how long we have on this earth. Are we spending our time on meaningful things or are we wasting our time on frivolous things? Are we soaking up the teachings of Christ in order to live an abundant life? When we lean on Jesus for our understanding, we can’t go wrong because he is the Bread of Life.
Forty days…what is it about 40 days! Genesis 6-8 records the forty days of rain the flooded the earth. Exodus 24:18 records the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai. Luke 4:1-13 tells of the forty days Jesus lived in the desert being tempted by Satan and subsequently beginning his ministry. Then there is Acts 1:3 that reminds us that Jesus spent 40 days visiting his followers after the resurrection. There is something holy about 40 if no other reason than God seemed to use this number of days to get through to people.
So, it should be no surprise that the church today will often set aside forty days of preparation in order to allow God to do something special inside each of us. So, here we stand looking at Easter about a month away. We could choose to simply wait it out and suddenly be surprised by Easter. Or we could begin a journey to the cross. Some of you may have started that 40 day journey on Ash Wednesday. While not all churches observe Lent, it is a great idea to prepare for one of the most precious holidays on the Christian calendar…Easter.
I want to encourage you today to begin a journey to the cross. Although we are to celebrate Easter every Sunday by worshipping the risen Christ, Easter is once a year that we focus even more on the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. You can either let it come and go or prepare yourself for something great!
The lesson for today is to prepare for Easter. Begin now by praying for God to reveal how you might get closer to him. Get into the word on a regular basis. Take a day to fast from food or media and use that time to spend quietly with God. The more time you spend with God, the more special Easter will become.
I am a man on a journey...