Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 31:1-33:20
A week ago today God gave me a vision of the bread cabinet in our RV “Rover”. There were several loaves of bread in it still from our trip last weekend and He showed me taking these loaves out of the cabinet and throwing them away. I argued with Him that it was such a waste to throw away perfectly good bread and He simply said “Fresh Bread”. Reminding me about this blog/daily devotional and what He had told me when I first started it. “Fresh Manna”. Meaning I was to always keep things current and fresh so that I wasn’t serving you stale old spiritual bread. But rather fresh and piping hot from the oven, bread that had just been baked; the Word that His Spirit had just spoken to my own spirit. And so I was all set to do that until I turned on the TV for my daughter that morning. The show that was currently playing was an interview of the author of a new book and she was sharing how she had stayed up until one in the morning reading another woman’s blog because she was so overwhelmed with this woman’s complete abandon to the Lord. I was immediately hooked and convicted. While I needed to make up some fresh bread dough that day, I decided to put it off a bit, just a little bit, so that I could share with you all my weekend. Which I do believe is what I was supposed to do. However, I wasn’t supposed to just write that first bit of the story and then move on with my day. No. God had called me to cease the business of my plans for that day and take the day to write and “catch up” on my bread baking. Unfortunately for me that’s not what I did. I continued pressing on and doing ALL the things on my very full calendar… skipping my usual mid-day quiet time. That’s the time when I do my writing and rest in the Lord while the kids are resting in their beds. You see for me just reading the word is only half the equation for me. God has made me to be a teacher, a teacher through writing, and when I’m not doing that I’m just not complete. If I’m not writing, I’m apart from Him. And when I go too long I can do nothing until I have fused with Him again and become a part of Him once more.
What’s really funny about this whole situation is how God has used it to perfectly illustrate a phrase I got stuck on the Thursday before we left for the mission trip.
Abide in Me, what does that mean exactly? Abide in Me. How do I do that? What does that look like? What does that feel like? How does that work, Abide in Him? And for almost two weeks now I’ve had that very question in the back of my mind rolling around with all the rest of my marbles fighting for a place to rest, until yesterday morning. I was sitting in my rocking chair, Bible open before me, the stillness of a new morning surrounding me and enveloping my chaotic spirit with His still waters the Father showed me a picture of abiding in Him. An embryo in its mother’s womb.
This child has no means to provide or care for itself. The child is abiding within its mother’s love snuggled safely within her protective womb filled with water and blood. To say that this child is dependent on its mother seems like almost an understatement. To abide in the Father’s love for us, in Jesus’ love for us, we stay there. We live in His protective care connected to Him through an umbilical-like vine that provides nutrition and waste management services all through one point of connection, our bellies.
In Bible times the belly was the seat of the spirit, it is where we feel many of our deepest emotions. These days, we call it anything from gut instincts to women’s intuition, but it’s there in our belly where we usually feel it the strongest. In the seventh chapter of John, he tells us “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (verses 37-39) That word “heart”, in Greek, can also be translated as “belly” or “womb” and basically indicates someone’s inner man. When we accept Jesus as our spiritual husband, provider and loving life-long companion we receive His Spirit.
The Bible tells us that we are the Bride of Christ, when we accept Jesus we are choosing to spend the rest of our lives with Him as our heavenly husband. Now, stick with me here, after a bride and a groom become husband and wife there is a certain ritual that we all know and love… it’s called the wedding night. In that wedding night exchange the two become one flesh, not just in word alone, but in deed as well. These two halves of a single heart join and become whole, one completing the other in an inseparable bond for life. And it is in that very union that something is born created from those two halves and is knit together in its mother’s womb. When we spend that wedding night with Jesus we receive His spirit, the very spirit that He gave up on the cross after yelling “It is finished”. That Spirit comes to abide within our bellies and becomes for us a river of living water springing forth from our inner most being. His Spirit in us is the vine, the umbilical cord that connects us directly and immediately to the Father, our Creator.