I gotta say. It doesn’t feel like I’ve sent through three stars in the span of 36 hours. And that’s a good thing I guess. Today consisted of an early breakfast, and a trip to the National Museum of United States Air Force. Nice place to see the fighter jets and drones up close. And really disappointing to see the US army spending so much money on military power. The U.S. seems to just want to take part in every world conflict through the use of military strength. Seriously, the only reason the Iraqis are terrorizing Americans is because the Americans are terrorizing them. Ironic.
Food is way too cheap here. A buffet offering steaks and chicken costs a measly $12. In Canada, a single steak would run you at least $15.
Today’s devotional passage comes from John chapter 6. I’m going through the book of John as I was instructed to and have nothing else to do on the bus.
Previously in chapter 4, it spoke about Jesus offering water that quenches us from worldly thirst. In chapter 6, it speaks about Jesus being the bread of life, that when people ate bread of the world, they inevitably die. When we consume the bread of Christ, we are pursuing the eternal satisfaction of being filled. What this means is very similar to what Jesus said to the Samaritan about being thirsty for worldly water.
In this context, Jesus compares rotting food for a temporary life. We eat time restricted physical food for a temporary life. ‘There is a food that endures to eternal life’ (v. 27); the bread Jesus offers endures an eternal life. The satisfaction in what Jesus offers bears the fruit of eternal life! The term life is often negated and taken for granted. It is to be understood as the greatest gift from God. The most prized possession in life is life itself.
As for context, the Samaritan woman was told to drink the water Jesus offers so that she may be quenched of her thirst. The metaphor is that we need to stop chasing after things that satisfy us temporarily to be wanting again. In chapter 6, Jesus refers the bread to the action of following Christ: “denying himself and taking up his cross daily”. By conducting acts that glorify God, we are satisfied with the expansion of God’s kingdom.
But this where the message comes in. The followers ask Jesus: what is needed to be done so we can get this bread?! They felt as if they needed to do something to earn this gift of life enduring bread. What they miss out on is that Jesus is expressing the need to pursue the fruit (the outcome) of the bread through having faith in the one who offers it. The lesson I was reminded of is that God has given us spiritual food to live off of, and worldly food is insufficient in an eternal life we have with Jesus Christ. This gift is not earned or deserved, but rather readily available to those who choose to consume the bread of life.
So watching people eat at buffets, and wondering why buffets exist; there are many people who do not remember or know the free gift offered by God. How are we ought to respond? Why aren’t we doing it?
Its been a good 14 hours since departure from Toronto, and I got to honestly say: it sucks here. The bus ride was good, the tour itself sucks. Out of all places in the states, Detroit has to be the place to go… /endsarcasm.
Here’s what we did. We departed at around 7:20 from Toronto, and took a rest stop at the duty free shop. Traveling a bit further we hit a McDonalds. Mind you there were ~ 50-60 people on this trip as well, only knowing one person in my age group. The food was cheap. So cheap its illegal. Canada should really learn. But there’s a reason why stereotypes exist. Americans are actually fat. Not supersized, but clearly overweight.
We visited the Ford Rouge manufacturing plant, and I was actually interested in the process of car building.
Anyways, Detroit sucks. The “city” isn’t meant for a suburban kid like me. Or any Torontonian for that matter. Its just so… Boring. There’s nowhere to really shop, no good place to eat (other than fast food), and nowhere fun to ‘sightsee’.
OK it’s not that bad. I’m trying my best to enjoy the American experience. But it’s difficult. Detroit is a pretty screwed up place where crime is regular. Being out on the street at night is just asking to be mugged. I have this gut feeling about my surrounding that Detroit is NOT a safe place to be - despite it being civilized.
Canada feels safe. It just does. I was questioning why Canada was so strict on its firearms law, and I now understand why its difficult to obtain a gun. Its cuz you don’t need one! Because others don’t carry it on the street, it means you don’t need a gun to protect yourself.
I also learn how materialistic people really are. It’s like a rude awakening. You realize how much you don’t need when the prices are so low. And how much people waste on stuff because the prices are so low. Strolling through Walmart, I see 3 kids arguing over the fact that one kid got 4 toys while the others only got 3. It’s clear to me that those kids and the generation alike have taken their life for granted. Why argue about toys when a kid in the third world country is building that toy just to have a thread of clothing on their back? And why do Americans choose to neglect the poor when they are stuffing themselves away with feasts? God made the planet in a way that there is an abundant amount of food for EVERYONE. If the food was divided equally, everyone would have their portions and extra to spare.
People recognize this, but choose to believe they are part of the poorer population. So they board for themselves, not caring about those around them. It’s time for us blessed people to help those in need. Starting with sharing our abundance of resources.
Reading John 4 this morning was really examplified in the time spent today. People pursue after worldly possessions and realize they become thirsty soon after. But Jesus offers water that quenches us in a way that we will not want or thirst after materials. Are you overconsuming?
People just don’t know what love means.
“I love this, I love pizza, I love sports, I love everything.”
What they really mean is that they like the object. A lot. Love isn’t meant to be poured out towards inanimate objects. The type of love many people talk about is affectionate feeling.
Relational love is deeply rooted in the Christian faith. Very few, if any other, religions are revolved around the basis of love. Relational love is the act of sacrificing one’s self for the betterment another person. Sacrificial love is demonstrated through Christ and the Almighty God. The ultimate sacrifice conducted was Jesus’ death on the cross.
God’s all powerful love is described within the Gospel:
•As humans we are sinners, conducting acts that cause us to fall short of God’s pure expectation to willfully obey.
•God is a just God, valuing justice and despising evil. As a result of our failure to reach his expectations (sinning against him), he is to righteously damn us to hell.
•Although God is just, He loves us as his own children (as we are created by him). He provides a way for us to be redeemed from our inevitable path to hell and destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). He has given up his son Jesus Christ in order to pay the penalty for our sin.
•During the old days, followers of God (via the appointed priests by God) sacrificed animals in order to please God and be forgiven of their sins
•The pure sinless animals would take upon the penalty of the people’s sin and are killed.
•As a result of God’s mercy and willingness to give up his son sacrificially to save us, we are put in a relationship with him so that we may love him and that we may accept his unending love.
God’s love is demonstrated by the sacrificing of his son Jesus. Not only did God sacrifice, but Jesus did as well. (A lot of theology is incorporated so some explanation will take place near the end.)
Jesus gave up his life as a God. A fully upper superior. But for our sake he gave himself up and became a human, enduring the pain and responsibilities of a human.
Jesus did this even though he had the free will to say no. Also, during his trial, he had the ability to call down angels and save him from crucifixion. However, he went on and pressed towards his mission which is to cleanse us of our sins by death on the cross, so that the pure became impure, carrying the sins of many (sacrificial animal resemblance).
So the principle of sacrificial love is demonstrated within the gospel, and as Christians we are called to follow Christ’s example. Loving someone and something is very possible, just as you are willing to sacrificially give up yourself (Mark 12:31) without the expectation of receiving anything in return.
Ultimately, Christ’s sacrificial intentions was for us to return to God as his children and develop a relationship with him so that we may willfully obey his word and commands. This relationship can be represented as a worldly romantic relationship.
The purpose of being in a relationship is to lovingly be there for the other partner. What many people do in failed relationships is excuse themselves by saying that the other person has changed negatively, that the person is not the same anymore.
But God disproves and disapproves this to be the case. Regardless of who we are, what we’ve done, what we are going to do, God continues to pour out his love of sacrifice and seeks a relationship with us.
With a secular relationship, love should become a motivated choice for commitment. Following God’s example means to love the partner regardless of what changes. It is wise to know that is what a committed relationship simply means. However people think a committed relationship means to remain labelled as “in a romantic relationship”. Although it is OK to believe that, it is also appropriate to consider the former.
Although affectionate feelings may fade (remember ‘liking’?), you can still lovingly support the partner, even if it means to leave the secular relationship. It is just as important to consider one’s own emotional condition before their partner’s SO THAT they may continue to care for the other.
"Above all else, guard your heart. For it is wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23
This passage tells us to:
•Care for our own heart. Loving someone wholeheartedly doesn’t not mean to disregard you own, but to selflessly thinking about others. Loving someone not for your benefit, most of the time at your expense. Be aware of your self condition so that you may…
•Continue to love others. Being careful of what your emotional state is dictates your ability to love to the maximal degree. Bitterness arises when you do not take the steps to care for your own self. As a person loving through Christ, Christ loves the other person through your existence and motivation of actions.
•Bitterness produces hardheartedness and causes the inability to love.
The difference between liking and loving is the determination to commit. The level of determination is displayed through the amount sacrifice given to the partner. For “⁴ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
New International Version (NIV)