Cross and Flame - Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

poptarts

Two Pop Tarts and a Donut

Isaiah 55:1-3a

This past week my daughter called to say she would be in the neighborhood and wanted to know if she could drop by.  I said she could and added that she did not need to stop by a fast food place because there were some kolaches and donuts at the house.  She said, “What?”  Since she was in the car driving I thought she just couldn’t hear me.  So I repeated it to which she replied, “Mom, I want real food.  I will be there in a few minutes.  Get dressed.”

I looked at the kolaches sitting on the counter and the extra donuts.  They looked like real food to me.  That morning they had been pretty satisfying with a cup of coffee.  Then I got dressed so she could take me out for some real food.  We had a laugh about it when she got to the house and the joke followed us right on into the restaurant.

Mom, kolaches and donuts is like giving a kid two pop-tarts and a donut.  Sugar High; sugar coma. With kids, they don’t care.  They will come back for seconds, follow it up with a 24 oz. bottle of water and a Big Gulp 15 minutes later.  For them, life couldn’t get any better; unless, of course, they get hungry again.

Well, by now, I was hearing with my spiritual ears and my daughter caught it.  We began talking about the Word of God.  How many folks have sat in church listening to sermons that are the equivalent of 2 pop-tarts and a donut?  They hear words that sound good and may even make them feel good for a little while.  They have gotten their Sunday fix and they are headed home in time to make the kick-off.  No change spiritually and life goes on to the same old beat.

The thing about two pop-tarts and a donut is they might taste good doing down but if this becomes a steady diet, there will be a noticeable change.  Malnutrition has its side effects.  This combination of 2 pop-tarts and a donut is full of calories – 626 to be exact: 200 each for the pop-tarts and 226 for the donut.

Two pop-tarts and a donut can give you instant energy but it will not sustain you.  They keep you coming back for more.  The food may taste good but it is not necessarily good for you. The carbs are good if you are going to burn them off, but retreating to the couch or your favorite chair is not to your advantage.  Kids will usually burn the energy off but this diet can eventually catch up with them also.  In the end, you need real food and a balanced diet.

As Christians, we sometimes think that two pop-tarts and a donut will sustain us but when I liken that to the word of God snacking on God’s Word does not make a strong, mature disciple of Christ.

Christianity is based on knowing Christ in the free pardon of our sins and we can only know and understand Christ through God’s Holy Word.  Jeremiah 3:14-15 says

Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.  Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

The prophet Jeremiah is referring to the spiritual leaders and preachers that God has called to lead God’s people.  Lead the people with knowledge and understanding.  Provide what they need to understand the truth of Who God is.  Unfortunately, spiritual leaders are guilty of serving less than a Word-based meal on Sunday mornings.  The real crime, however, occurs when pastors do follow the mandates of God and the table is laid, the meal is prepared, but no one eats.

In 1 Peter 2:2, Christians are encouraged to “long” for the “real” thing.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,  

We are encouraged to truly desire the Word.  What will it do for us in our daily lives?  How will being God-conscious help us to help others along the way?  Can that pure Word being comfort when we need it?  You can continue to ask your own questions as you ponder this verse of Scripture.

Ezekiel 34:13-14 again speaks to how God wants to take care of those who are called by His name.

 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

John 6:51 speaks to us of Jesus the Christ as the sustenance for those who are called by His name.  He is the living bread of heaven.  It is a spiritual thing.

 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

This life that we live is governed by and through the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ.  We are not on our own flopping around like fish out of water.  God wants to you us what we need to mature in the faith (spiritual matter) and grow into a true disciple of Christ.

From the hymn, “Here I Am Lord, verse 3, the author echoes God’s love and desire for God’s people.

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.

I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have born my peoples pain.
I have wept for love of them,

They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone;
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,

Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

God sends preachers and teachers after His own heart to prepare a table of spiritual food for His people.  Speak the truth of who I am to the people.  There are no pop-tarts or donuts on this table.  You cannot do the work of the Lord in this earth running on spiritual fumes.  You may get along for a little while but soon it will catch up with you.  Some folks call it burnout.

John 6:27 says

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

There are many more Scriptures I could give you but for this day, we will wrap it up with Isaiah 55:2

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest of fare.

To know God is to know His Word.  To know His Word and receive it is sustenance for your body, mind, and spirit.  Knowing God satisfies your true hunger – that hunger and thirst for Him.  Two pop-tarts and a donut won’t cut it.  You might get full but you will never be satisfied.

Amen.