Thursday, February 23, 2012

Faith on the Rise

Today, I want to begin to share with you some excerpts from my book, "Passing on Godly Heirlooms."

This first post is about passing on the Godly heirloom of faith.

And Moses said to them, “this is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”

Exodus 16:15NIV

Running down the stairs to greet the morning, I entered the kitchen and saw Grandma focused on her kneading. She reached into the flour bin and sprinkled more flour on the dough, working it in the powdery white mound. I stood in wonderment beside her watching and waiting for the moment when the dough would get shiny. That was the moment that told her the dough was ready to form into loaves. Grandma reached in the cabinet for the pans. The clanging of the loaf pans as metal hit metal, acted like a morning alarm calling everyone to arise.

Grandma blew an upward breathe trying to move a loose strand of hair from her forehead. A sifting of white flour blended right in with the snowy white lock as she pushed it out of the way with her hand. Tiny beads of moisture peppered her brow and upper lip. The wood cook stove, sizzled with its snap, crackle, and pop, adding heat to the already too warm kitchen. The August night had remained sultry, and the house had not cooled. No matter, the heat was a small price to pay for a taste of Grandma’s homemade bread. Soon the aroma from the baking bread would fill the house, making our mouths water in anticipation. Later, the golden loaves would be set to cool and served at the noonday meal. I could wait, for I had faith that my daily bread would be waiting for me at the appointed time. This morning we would eat biscuits, which Grandma was already stirring up. Early in my life, I had learned that bread was an important substance of life.

The years have passed, and Grandma has gone to her heavenly home. Mom frequently made bread in our home, not out of necessity, for store-brought bread was readily available. I suspect she made it to release the scent of times remembered. Today,when I walk by a bakery and smell the aroma of yeast bread, I think of Grandma. Sometimes, I stir up my memories by mixing, kneading and baking bread just like Grandma used to make. When I do, I remember how blest I am that God has provided and will always provide for me. He is the Bread of Life which sustains me.

Heavenly Insight

Generations ago, God provided for another family. When the Israelites left Egypt(Exodus 16) and were just a few days into the wilderness, they complained of hunger. They’d had bountiful food in Egypt. After traveling just a short while, they were sure they were going to starve. They wanted bread and meat, and they wanted it immediately! In spite of the fact that they were complaining against the One who had just saved them from slavery, and parted the Red Sea for their escape, God showed His unconditional love by raining bread in the morning and meat in the evening.

 After the morning dew lifted, a small round substance, as fine as frost appeared on the ground. The Israelites named it Manna, which means What? (Exodus 16:15) Sweet with the taste of honey and looking like white coriander seed, this was bread rained from Heaven by a merciful God.

 Moses had told the Israelites that their complaining was not against Aaron and himself, but against God. Wow! What an eye-opener. Often times, we discover life’smost meaningful lessons when we become willing to ask ourselves, What can I learn from this difficult or uncomfortable situation? We must always consider if complaining is hampering our growth.

The people couldn’t gather more than one day’s worth of Manna. If they did, it would decay. Yet, when it came time for the Sabbath, they could gather for two days, and it was preserved. Many tried to do things their way, but ended up losing what they fought so hard to keep. Still, others tried to work overtime on Sundays, only to find that it didn’t pay. There wasn’t any Manna except when God provided it.

Later, the Lord commanded Moses to have the people fill an omer with Manna. They were to keep this evidence, and show it to future generations. In that way, their descendants could see the bread and learn how God fed them in the wilderness. This omer was to be a godly heirloom.

Grandma’s Pearls--things to remember

God is a God of deliverance.

God is a God of unconditional love.

God can be trusted to provide for our daily needs.

To go against the way of the Lord is foolishness.

God’s will prevails.

God considers passing on godly heirlooms an important way to build faith in future generations.

Passing On The Godly Heirloom of FAITH

God dealt with the physical needs of His people, while at the same time, He was caring for their spiritual need. Even then, He planned to send His Son, Jesus, who said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger. . .” John6:35 NKJV

What faith evidence are you sharing with your children and grandchildren? You may not have an omer full of Manna, but you can help your grandkids remember that God is faithful. Try the following activities to lead into a spiritual discussion and cause the spiritual lesson to connect with a memory. Have fun while learning a spiritual truth!

PRETZEL BAKING PARTY-- Bake bread with your children or grandchildren. Share the Exodus passage, plus John 6, on Jesus being the “Bread of Life”. If you are not a bread baker, buy a bag of frozen bread dough at the supermarket, divide into small portions and let your grandchildren roll out on wax paper and form into pretzel shapes. Share the story of how Jesus fed the 5000, providing deliverance from hunger and unconditional love although some doubted that He could do so. (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-13)

MINI-PIZZA PARTY—Using the frozen dough, form it into individual-sized pizza. Provide the usual pizza toppings, as well as raisins, nuts, and honey for grandkids to use. Share how God provided Manna in the wilderness. Talk about the fact that it was sweet, and the love of Jesus is sweet.

TAKE TWO—Have the grandkids take two servings of some type of bread. They are to eat one and leave the other uncovered overnight. In the morning have them taste the second serving. Discuss what happened to the bread and what happened when the Israelites didn’t trust God to provide for them as He promised He would. Ask your grandkids to imagine what the spoiled, stale Manna would have been like.

PROVIDE FOR OTHERS—Children are never to young to learn about helping others. Make miniature loaves of bread, wrap in cellophane, and tie with some pretty ribbon. Have your grandchildren help you distribute these to people in your neighborhood, or a nearby nursing home. Talk about how Jesus said He is the Bread of Life. Discuss what that means.

TAKE IT ONE STEP FARTHER—Save change and as a family sponsor a needy child in a worthwhile organization. Explain that we are God’s legs and arms. He faithfully provides for us that we may provide for others.

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK OF YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. Fill it with personal snapshots and written stories. Tell how God has worked in your life by delivering you, answering prayer, sustaining and encouraging you. Encourage your grandchildren to start a Faith-Builder Scrapbook. Provide them with colorful markers, jell pens, glue sticks, paper and film.

BRAINSTORM WITH THE GRANDCHILDREN—Decide on some ways that God has been faithful to your family, and brainstorm how the family can pass on that faithfulness to others.

Long distance grandparents videotape yourselves demonstrating these activities and discuss the Scriptures. Also, you can enlist the aid of your adult children to buy and provide the frozen bread dough for the activities. Think it through; you can grandparent by long distance.