Bread Winners

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20-21, and Psalm 107

Matthew 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Influence. Have you ever really thought about the influence you have throughout the day? Your family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, community? These influences can come in the shape of a simple hug, smile, phone call, or word of encouragement.  All small gestures can have great influences.   You see we never know what may be going on that day with the other person you give this gesture to.   A Christ-like gesture can make a difference like Jesus’s parable about yeast to dough,  you can change a persons day.

As I look at this picture of making dough I’m reminded of how God is shaping us, kneading us, and watching as we rise to a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.  I think about small kingdom words or expressions I could use in my everyday moments.  Maybe the gesture of praying with someone, praising God in song, or maybe recognizing fruits of the spirit being acted out by others.  These positive moments that model our Father can influence like the yeast that starts out small in dough, but spreads throughout.

Our Father is building His Kingdom always.  We always have influence.  I was reminded by a friend this morning that we are called to influence.  That in Romans 8:12 we have an obligation not to the flesh, but to the spirit.

Yeast is used in both good and bad contexts in the bible.  Yeast can spread corruption as we are reminded in Galatians 5:9 or 1 Corinthians 5:6 or it can also be for building His Kingdom. The kingdom is promised to those rich in faith and who love Him. James 2:5,

What will you do with the yeast you provide today? 

Colossians 4-5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Dear Father,

Thank you for your parables that you speak into us through your living word.  Just like we have had others speak into us, help us today to be an ambassador for you.  Let our grace, kindness, encouragement, and love for others point back to you God.  We are grateful for each day we get to praise you and pray for us all to continue to draw closer to you each day.  Amen

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1

Heathers

Have ever seen the cult classic movie “Heathers”? You might be surprised by what you are about to read.

Numbers 31; Psalms 75–76; Isaiah 23; 1 John 1

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin… -1John 1: 5-7

Eighteen years ago I met a person who changed my life. She’s different from me in ways that I continue to discover. Last April she went on a mission trip to Haiti, the same week I went to a convention in Las Vegas for my niche in commercial real estate — my mission trip.

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My wife isn’t perfect, no one but God can claim that; but if there was anyone more perfect for me, I couldn’t imagine. I often recall a Seinfeld episode that contrasts the bodies of women to men; as sleek sports cars compared to battered old jeeps. That’s not all, she is absolutely stunning, and what is truly remarkable is that her beauty emanates from the inside. It is there that her spirit of grace and gratitude is found, forged in her tireless efforts to bring peace and stability to my tumultuous life, and blessing to others in greater need. Her examples of discipline, self control, patience and tolerance have been a light in my life, one that has helped illuminate the path to the cross, through her gentle spirit and long suffering encouragement.

When I think of how God encourages us through His word, to walk in the light, I think of her. She embodies the fruit of the spirit in ways I’m still just trying to understand. She loves the light — not the spotlight. At this point I’m not even certain that she will allow me to share whatever it is I end up writing about this sweet, quiet, person of character, who serves others with dignity and respect. Her humility and hesitance to speak too loud, too long, or poorly about another person has been the perfect compliment to my rambling, “old school” stories, mostly about me or the great people I claim to have known.

Her trip to Haiti, along with friends from two different (Eastview Church) small groups (ones that we have been privileged to grow with over thirteen years) helped point me to Jesus, just like her many other demonstrations of faith. Despite physical challenges, fairly rugged conditions, and taking time away from our son whom she loves so so well, she served others in need. Being part of a wave of missionaries who have slowly and faithfully helped establish a church, a school, and adequate housing for numerous families, was in her words, “an honor and a privilege.” Upon her return she shared this; “These people who have so little, were so grateful, just for our presence, let alone the gifts of homes and goats and more. These were people filled with abundant joy in the simplicity of lives that would be considered marginal by American standards. They found sustenance in their fellowship with God and with others. It was so humbling how they offered us prayers and love, for the challenges we faced seeking God amidst the abundant, worldly pleasures, of our affluent western culture.”

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In Haiti, she experienced the needs of young children who just wanted to be held; and was shocked how “the Americans” who came to serve were treated with such honor. She received their gift of faith; as I did hers. Never have I had a better friend! When I grow up, I want to be more like Heather.