I was barely high enough to peer over the shiny, yellow, laminate countertops in my grandmother’s immaculate kitchen, but it was homemade-noodle making day, and I was overjoyed as I took my rightful place next to her on a worn, red, metal foot stool.
“Always make sure the eggs are at room temperature,” she reminded me as we took turns cracking them into the bright blue earthenware bowl.
The smells of the wonderfully cooked Italian food, glorious food, lovingly prepared by my tiny grandmother in her homespun kitchen are still unmatched today, and those memories remain some of my most cherished!
Being from a large Italian family, all of my favorite and important memories involve food. Banquets and feasts were the centerpiece of every holiday, birthday, and simple Sundays. My grandmother wanted to feed everyone. She loved people with food. Making others happy with food gave her joy. She would bring food to all her friends, cook for those who were sick or just in need of a little TLC. She was always prepared. To her, it was a crime to not have a freezer full of “just in case” lasagnas and cannolis for company!
I believe this is a “no getting around it” inherited trait of just being Italian, at least in my family. I too live to feed everybody and everything. The ducks on the lake outside my home know that all too well.
To me, there would be no worse feeling than to not be able to provide food for my family or being unable to feed my children.
I thought about the children of Israel. While they were endlessly wandering in the wilderness, they needed to fully rely on God to provide food (manna) for them each day. They were not allowed to take any more than a single day’s portion, and if they did, it would rot immediately. There would be no “just in case” food, no “what if God forgets to send it tomorrow” food! They had to have blind faith in what they did not see and wholeheartedly trust they would be able to go out each day and collect fresh food for their children. They had to believe a new day’s supply would be sent to nourish them by God from Heaven.
They had to trust that God would provide!
In Mark 10:36, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
God is so simple in His love for us. He just wants us to trust him. He asks us to tell him what we need. He says we have not, because we ask not.
By commanding the Israelites to not collect any more food than they needed for one day, God was asking them to totally rely on His merciful grace—the grace that can only come from Him. His grace is sufficient to take care of all we need on any given day.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV), the Lord told Paul,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul’s response was to “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Sometimes we look ahead—and the mountains we face and the trials and storms that engulf us, seem overwhelmingly impossible to manage. But then God shows up again with a daily helping of His amazing grace and a fresh batch of heavenly manna and says, “Trust me, we will get through this together today, I will be back tomorrow and we will handle tomorrow then.”
When we are weak, He is strong!
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14
When I was a little kid, I made an amazing discovery. I realized that if I found something I liked and asked the right person “Can I have this?” there was chance they would give it to me. This may not seem all that extraordinary to you, but trust me, to a child this was a goldmine. You see, I didn’t just ask for candy at the grocery store or stuff on TV commercials, I asked for everything. I asked other kids if I could have their toys, I asked the neighbors if I could have their dog, I think I even asked one family if I could have their house. I’m afraid I embarrassed my parents to no end, and by the time my father sat me down and explained that asking someone for all their belongings was rude, most people had stopped inviting our family over for dinner.
Kids can be a real hassle, and when you think about it, you can’t really blame the disciples for their actions in Mark 10. Take a look at the following passage,
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16
Here’s the thing about children. Children are messy, children are selfish, children are ignorant, and children are incredibly self-destructive. Don’t believe me? A monkey knows better than to stick a butter knife into an exposed wall socket, but let a child have its way and they will do it twice! Despite all this, however, you really can’t help but admire the oblivious, single-minded nature of a child.
If anything, Christians should try learning from their example. Too often we stop ourselves from encountering God because we are afraid we don’t fit the “Christian” criteria. Well, I’ve got news for you; we will always be children in God’s eyes: messy, crazy, self-destructive children. But as long as we make him the single focus of our hearts, He doesn’t care. So take a lesson from these little ones, pursue God recklessly and don’t pay attention to what others think, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.
A sermon for Spring
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.’ Song of Solomon 2:10–13
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 74:9–17
The things which are seen are types of the things which are not seen. The works of creation are pictures to the children of God of the secret mysteries of grace. The very seasons of the year find their parallel in the little world of man within. We have our winter when the north wind of the law rushes forth against us, when every hope is nipped, when all the seeds of joy lie buried beneath the dark clods of despair, when our soul is fast fettered like a river bound with ice. Thanks be unto God, the soft south wind breathes upon our soul, and at once the waters of desire are set free, the spring of love comes on, flowers of hope appear in our hearts, the trees of faith put forth their young shoots, the time of the singing of birds comes in our hearts, and we have joy and peace in believing through the Lord Jesus Christ. That happy springtide is followed in the believer by a rich summer, when his graces, like fragrant flowers, are in full bloom, loading the air with perfume; and fruits of the Spirit like citrons and pomegranates swell into their full proportion in the genial warmth of the Sun of Righteousness. Then comes the believer’s autumn, when his fruits grow ripe, and his fields are ready for the harvest; the time has come when his Lord shall gather together his ‘pleasant fruits,’ and store them in heaven; the feast of ingathering is at hand—the time when the year shall begin anew, an unchanging year, like the years of the right hand of the Most High in heaven.
For meditation: Until we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, our souls languish in an eternal winter’s night. Faith in him is the gateway to a new life in which we advance through the seasons of the soul towards eternal day (Zechariah 14:7; Revelation 21:25; 22:5).
“’O, Lord, please send someone else.’ Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.” – Exodus 4:13-14 NIV
God told Moses He wanted him to leave the service of his father-in-law, Jethro, and return to Egypt to lead His people into freedom. God described the task and even the response he could expect. Moses reacted with a series of objections. He felt inadequate for the task: “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
He complained that he was not “eloquent” enough but was “slow of speech and tongue” (v. 10). He simply did not know what to say and wondered how he would respond to criticism or objections.
God answered every excuse until Moses asked him to send someone else. Suddenly God became furious. What was different? God demonstrated that He welcomed honest questions. But Moses crossed the line when he declared that he would not go. But, finally, he did agree to go – with his brother Aaron.
We may go through similar experiences. As we feel God’s call, we may have questions and concerns. As Paul discovered, all of us have weaknesses and need to depend on God (2 Corinthians 12:10). Remember, He has prepared us for His assignments. We need to trust Him and move forward in faith.
Be ready to respond to God’s call for you. Seek His answers for the strategies and wisdom you need. Ask Him for the necessary resources and abilities. Always trust Him. Move forward in faith.