The life is in the seed

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” ~1 John 5:13

When I was younger I used to love ‘planting’ black beans between two layers of tissue and cotton wool, watering them, and then watching them sprout. It never ceased to amaze and enthrall me. Unfortunately these sprouts never made it to mature plant-hood because the fun part was watching something that appeared to be dead (the dry bean) turn into something that was living (a mini plant).

The life is in the seed! If you plant an apple seed, inside that seed is everything that is needed to make a perfect apple tree, which will produce perfect apples.

We were created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27). God’s word is the seed (Luke 8:11), and we – our hearts – are the field (1 Cor 3:9). We should make sure we know what God ‘looks like’ according to His word, because if His seed is planted in us, we should be growing into His image and likeness.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
~1 Peter 1:23

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Did you try growing beans when you were younger?
Do you enjoy gardening and growing your own plants?

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Is there a ‘proper time’ to eat bread?

Have you ever really thought about the Lord’s Prayer? Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray correctly, but within that same chapter (Mt 6) there seems to be a contradiction… In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray “Give us today our daily bread” (Mt 6:11), but a few verses later Jesus tells his disciples “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Mt 6:31-32)… Huh? Didn’t Jesus just teach us to pray for our daily bread? And isn’t that worrying about ‘what we shall eat’?

But maybe this isn’t a contradiction…maybe we just have to correctly understand what Jesus meant when he taught us to pray “give us today our daily bread.”

In John 6 Jesus refers to himself as the “bread of life” (Jn 6:48). What else was Jesus? Jn 1:14 says that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is referring to Jesus, he was the Word made flesh.

If Jesus is the ‘bread of life’ and also the Word made flesh, what is this bread that we are supposed to eat in order to have life (Jn 6:51)? It is Jesus’ spiritual flesh, which refers to Jesus’ words. Hearing and accepting them (eating his flesh, which is the bread of life) is what leads to eternal life.  

However, if this is misunderstood, or understood literally it can cause great confusion. Many people have turned away from Christianity because of this very teaching, in fact it is even recorded in the Bible that some of Jesus’ followers “turned back and no longer followed him” after hearing this teaching (Jn 6:66). Why? Because, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”  (Jn 6:60)

As for the “today” and “daily” parts (“Give us today our daily bread”)… They are both referring to a timeframe. When is the best time to eat? I can’t eat tomorrow’s lunch today, that is in the future, and I can’t eat yesterday’s breakfast today either, if I missed it I missed it. So when is the best time to eat a meal? Today! Basically this is telling us that we have to eat the bread at the proper time. We cannot eat it before we are supposed to, and if we miss the proper time to eat, the time has passed. Mt 24:45 talks about a similar thing: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants of his household to give them their food at the proper time?

At Jesus’ first coming the food was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies. They were all physically fulfilled through Jesus, and he testified about their fulfillment, yet the Pharisees did not accept his testimony. They did not eat the “food at the proper time,” and therefore did not receive life (John 5:36-40). However, the Bible does not end after Jesus ascends to heaven.
There are promises and prophecies in the New Testament that have to be fulfilled. The physical fulfillment of the New Testament prophecies becomes the “food at the proper time” for us. If we refuse to ‘eat’ this food, if we do not accept the testimony of the one God sends to testify (like Jesus at the first coming), then we are no better than the Pharisees 2000 years ago.

Let’s make sure we keep praying for our daily bread, so that we can eat at the proper time and receive life.

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Have you ever baked your own (homemade) bread?

How would you describe an elephant?

There are four men standing in front of an elephant. They have been blind from birth and have never before seen an elephant. Each man is asked to describe the animal using only his hands as his ‘eyes’.

Man #1 touches the elephant’s trunk and says, “The elephant is this rough, bumpy feeling animal that is long and skinny, and quite flexible.”
Man #2 touches the elephant’s tusk and says, “An elephant has a very smooth and hard exterior, with a slight curve to its shell.”
Man #3 touches its body and says, “Wow, the elephant is a very large animal. Its skin has a leathery texture, and its shape is rather rotund.”
The last man touches the elephant’s ear and says, “Ah, the elephant is a very flat and flimsy animal. It appears to flap and move around quite a lot, which is probably its way of escaping danger.”

Depending on what part of the elephant each man touched, they described completely different things. Because of this, if you only heard one of those descriptions you would have a very different understanding of what an elephant actually is. The blind men had not seen the animal as a whole, and therefore could not accurately describe it as a whole. They had not seen the whole picture.

Today we do the same thing when listening to God’s word. We listen to, and accept words from those who have not seen the “whole picture”, those who do not understand God’s hidden secrets (1 Cor 2:6-8). They are like blind guides (Mt 15:14).

At the time of the first coming, who had seen the “whole picture”? Who came to fulfill and explain all the prophecies of the Old Testament? Jesus.

And who were those who had not seen the “whole picture”? Who did not understand the Old Testament prophecies, and could not explain them, even though they studied them and read them every Sabbath? The Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law. They were the ones whom Jesus called “blind guides”, and those who shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces (Mt 23:13). They did not have the full understanding and wisdom, and so their teachings were only rules taught by men, they nullified the word of God for the sake of their traditions (Mt 15:6-9).

Now is the time to understand God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that was once hidden (1 Cor 2:7). Let’s make sure we are not following blind guides, but are following God’s word of truth that goes out from the ‘mountain of the Lord’s temple’, Mount Zion (Is 2:2-4; Rv 14:1).

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” ~Psalm 43:3

Here is a video of the “whole picture” – a few elephants (and a sneezing baby)

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Have you ever seen an elephant in real life?