Gone is vacation time, gone is staying up late, gone is sleeping in a little, gone is a break from teaching lessons, gone is eating sweets, gone is being generally laid-back and - I'm afraid - a little lazy.
Here is scheduled time again. Here is schoolwork for younger siblings. Here are sewing students returning. Here are sister's piano students returning. Here are more chores. Here is a cleaner house. Here is a more organized bedroom. Here is more time set aside for writing, reading, blogging, studying, music practice. Here is wonderful life!
I enjoyed the holidays, but I'm thankful that life can return to "normal" again. ...But not quite normal. This didn't intentionally happen around New Years, and I didn't plan to make "New Year resolutions," but I feel in myself a desire to follow God more closely from now on. I feel a longing to truly redeem the time. I feel sick of fruitless endeavors and frivolous entertainment. I feel a longing to work, and work hard. I feel a longing to delight myself in the Lord, and see Him grant the desires of my heart. I feel a desire to truly abide in Him, revel in Him, bask in Him.
I found something interesting in my Bible reading a few weeks ago. It's always been there in the Bible, but somehow I missed it.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ...
47 ...Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
My first reaction to these words was just like the Jews; "yuck!" It really doesn't sound all that appealing for Jesus' flesh to be considered bread.
But then I started to really wonder what it is for Jesus to be the Bread of Life. I hadn't thought about it before; I'd always heard folks say it, and thought "oh, that sounds nice. Jesus is the Bread of Life."
So what? What is it to be the Bread of Life?
What is bread?
Bread is yummy, filling, life-giving, tender, delicious stuff. Back in Bible days it was a mainstay of the diet. If you didn't have bread, you pretty much were too poor to have anything. You might not be able to afford meat, but you lived on bread. Not just basic wheat bread, either; barley, wheat, oats, millet, ...I'm not an expert on what grains were available in the middle east, but I know the people there enjoyed more variety in their bread than most of us do today. Ezekiel made bread with wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches. I've heard that he could get all his needed nutrients from that bread alone.
Then I pictured my family around the table when the meal includes homemade bread. We rave over it. We slather butter on warm slices. We debate who gets the last slice. We sink our teeth into the spongy centers of our rolls. We love bread.
Bread doesn't just sustain life; it lends pleasure to life as well.
Physical bread contributes to physical life. We take it into ourselves and it fills us with delight. It satisfies our taste buds. It gives us energy. We can't wait to eat it. It keeps us alive.
The analogy filled my mind in a split second. As I pondered what physical bread means to our physical bodies, I instantly "got it." Jesus is such a master at making us understand spiritual things by using physical illustrations.
Spiritual bread! Jesus is to be in us. He is to fill us with delight. He is to satisfy us. He is to give us spiritual energy. We are to long after Him. He keeps our spirits alive and refreshed.
Then I thought of water. Jesus is the living water. Water! Spiritual water! Ah, suddenly everything was making sense.
The Bread of Life.
What a wonderful concept. Deeper than my mind can grasp... yet just knowing the edge of the beginning of knowledge gives me the shivers.
Can't you just smell the aroma?
In light of those thoughts, I'll think I list some of the goals that have come to my mind; ways I want to learn to redeem the time, be filled with this Bread, and follow my God. (No particular order):
~ I plan to practice my music more this year
~ I'd like to get up early enough to have at least an hour with God every morning before the day starts in earnest. I've been starting to sleep in more often, but I want to quit that!
~ I'd like to read more uplifting books.
~ I want to complete reading through the Bible before my birthday in May.
~ I want to go to bed at the time I actually have written down!
~ I want to become more patient and loving; particularly in my relationship to a certain sibling.
~ I want my tongue to be guarded more closely.
~ I want to smile more.