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Encourage Him.
Deuteronomy 1:38.
But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

GOD employs His people to encourage one another. He did not say to an angel, "Gabriel, my servant Joshua is about to lead my people into Canaan - go, encourage him." God never works needless miracles; if His purposes can be accomplished by ordinary means, He will not use miraculous agency. Gabriel would not have been half so well fitted for the work as Moses. A brother's sympathy is more precious than an angel's embassy. The angel, swift of wing, had better known the Master's bidding than the people's temper.

An angel had never experienced the hardness of the road, nor seen the fiery serpents, nor had he led the stiff-necked multitude in the wilderness as Moses had done. We should be glad that God usually works for man by man. It forms a bond of brotherhood, and being mutually dependent on one another, we are fused more completely into one family. Brethren, take the text as God's message to you. Labour to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious enquirer, lovingly try to remove stumblingblocks out of his way.

When you find a spark of grace in the heart, kneel down and blow it into a flame. Leave the young believer to discover the roughness of the road by degrees, but tell him of the strength which dwells in God, of the sureness of the promise, and of the charms of communion with Christ. Aim to comfort the sorrowful, and to animate the desponding. Speak a word in season to him that is weary, and encourage those who are fearful to go on their way with gladness. God encourages you by His promises; Christ encourages you as He points to the heaven He has won for you, and the spirit encourages you as He works in you to will and to do of His own will and pleasure. Imitate divine wisdom, and encourage others, according to the word of this evening.

C. H. Spurgeon

"I am the bread of life"

"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." [John 6.35]

 Why did Jesus choose the symbol of the bread? Well, bread was a staple food for the Jews, just as it is today. Everyone understood bread was essential to life and hunger was something experienced by most people in those times. At its simplest, this quotation of Jesus means that just as bread is vital to mortal life, so Jesus is essential to everlasting life. We can see then that the hunger referred to, is a spiritual hunger and the thirst, a spiritual thirsting. These represent our longing to understand, to make sense of this life.


Jesus phrased his message in strong language, which to some people may suggest cannibalism in its imagery - something that is still an abhorrent thought, even in this Godless age, let alone to Jews living under the Law with its strict dietary requirements. "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." [ John 6.54] Yet the imagery fits the concept of one life being consumed to benefit other lives.

Still greater meaning is borne out for us when we consider some other words of Scripture. "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." [Luke 4.4] In this scripture, where Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, we have the same distinction made between temporal food - food for this life - and spiritual food, namely the Word of God. Then look at this next scripture...


"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." [John 1.14] These words, as everyone would agree, refer to Jesus the Word being made flesh and dwelling amongst us. Here is a well known scripture from the account of the Last Supper. "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body." [Matthew 26.26] This reinforces the imagery we have already considered. It is an easy thing to say, yet difficult to understand. We see again the link established between Jesus, his body and the bread:

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 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." [John 6.54-58]

With these words, we see a further link, the link between bread, the Word, Jesus and flesh. We also see that by eating the `bread', we can enter into a special relationship with Jesus and through him, with God. Jesus lives by the Father and we live because of Jesus.

Jesus is represented by several symbols in Scripture, the Lamb, the Good Shepherd and the Rock, to name some of them. The eating of bread, that symbol of the body of Christ, is something that discerning disciples of Christ do regularly in obedience to his command:

 "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." [Luke 22.19]

The bread does not literally become the body of Jesus. Since his ascension, Jesus has a spiritual, incorruptible body. Also, Jesus was the once and for all sacrifice for sin. [Hebrews 9.26] He is not sacrificed daily for us, once was enough. But by eating the bread, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus; we remember what he did for us; we remember his sacrifice was an atonement for sin. Without the sacrifice and the resurrection of Jesus, then to become our mediator, we would have no access to God and therefore no route to salvation:

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." [Acts 4.12]


What does this sacrifice tell us about Jesus? Simply this: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." [John 15.13] What does this sacrifice tell us about God? Simply this: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' [John 3.16]

Most people could quote the scripture `God is love', even if they were not sure where it came from [1 John 4.8]. It is interesting to see the whole verse - "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." God is also a God of righteous anger when appropriate, but His love for us - despite all our failures, permeates throughout the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

In the beginning, God created Adam in His own image and offered to him the wonderful prospect of everlasting life on earth. Yet Adam rejected this opportunity and sin entered the world through one man. God could have washed His hands of the Human Race, either destroying them completely or at the very least, leaving them without hope, destined to live a few short years and then die. But God did not do this. Even in mankind's darkest hour, when Adam and Eve disobeyed the simplest of instructions through their desire to obtain the knowledge of God - in other words, not being content with what God had given them; even then, God had a plan to remedy the situation. This plan, we know as `the Word' and it was with God from the beginning. Yet it was only when the Word became flesh that the plan was put into action. Why did God do all this, if not for love? Why did Jesus, knowing what would happen to him if he went to Jerusalem at Passover, continue on regardless? Why else, if not for love?

Thus the simple symbol of the bread, used by Jesus to describe himself, prompts many thoughts. However, one thought, one image, one impression that comes through more strongly than all others, is the love of God and of His Son Jesus for you and I.

Our ultimate destiny is dependent on how we individually respond to that love.

Message Source: Internet


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