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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 14:15-21, where the Bible says,

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

BIG CHALLENGES? BRING THEM TO JESUS!


Every year, Americans spend about five hundred million dollars on Twinkies.  Yes, TWINKIES! Those golden, cream-filled cylinder cakes are still around. To me, they really taste good with a hot cup of coffee when traveling. I fill up the gas on the way to the next speaking engagement, run into the “icehouse,” buy that coffee, AND chase it down with a twinkie. Now, I realize that they have NO nutritional value. I also realize that a diet of twinkies will “do me in” in the end. And yet, five hundred million dollars! Why do we do it? I can hear you telling me the truth, “Dr. Seltz, you’ve got to eat better than that!” And you’d be right! But they are hard to resist.

500 million dollars seems like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the $16 billion dollars that we spend on chocolate.  And that’s nothing compared to the $117,000,000,000 that we Americans spend on fast food every year. That’s a lot of zeros isn’t it? So, follow the money.

Yet we’ve got to face facts. We are a people who tend to hunger for all the wrong things. If it tastes good, we eat it, even if it’s bad for us. It seems that we have an appetite that forfeits what is really needed for healthy minds and bodies. But today’s Bible passage goes much further than that. Today Jesus himself reminds us that we are sinful people who don’t just crave “junk food” physically; we’ve also got an insatiable appetite for “spiritual junk food!”

We crave the latest and the greatest things of this world, even though they will always let us down in the end. We hope that they might fill our lives, maybe even our hearts and souls too. We have access to information from around the world. Every year it’s the latest TV, I-Phone or computer. This year some of you might be willing to trade in your car, your job, or even your spouse and family! But the “next thing” is not the solution, nor is it really the problem. The problem is who we are without God. The solution is who we are with Him.

We're spiritually hungry because we are meant to have a relationship with God. That’s what really matters. It’s not the hunger that’s the problem; it’s the SPIRITUAL JUNK FOOD WE CONSUME that will eventually consume us!. When faced with the big challenges in life, don’t look for quick fixes or easy changes. No, look to refocus your life on what really matters, your relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ ALONE!

In Matthew chapter 14, Jesus challenges the disciples to see their great problem in feeding all of those people as a faith challenge. Yes, we have physical hunger pangs that need to be filled. But, more importantly, we have spiritual hunger pangs that are only filled by entrusting our lives to God by faith. When faced with big challenges in this “physical” world, remember that the Lord of heaven and earth is your creator and redeemer. He is the one who cares for you. That puts all of your challenges in their proper perspective. Then place your problems in the hands of a Savior whose eternal capacity can even lead us through death to everlasting life. When faced with challenges that often overwhelm, bring them to your Savior who has overwhelmed death itself so that you and I might live forever with Him by grace through faith. Problems and challenges shrink in size when we put them in Jesus’ hands. Whether they are big or small, bring them all to Jesus!

PRAYER – Dear Lord, give us faith that is greater than confidence in ourselves and our own abilities. Give us the courage and confidence that comes through faith in YOU alone, faith to bring our struggles to You. But, more importantly, grant us faith to face the challenges of the day with confidence that we are always in Your hands, now and forever. AMEN.

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