When Your Life Feels Like a Confusing Box of Chocolates by Lynn Moratis

AmberOBrien"
Hello Sweet Sisters:)
Please help me to welcome our sweet and salty sister Lynn Moratis. Lynn is a true Proverbs 31 woman who with great style wears the many hats of:  wife, mother of two young men, nurse and vice president of a regional care coordination program. Sit back and enjoy a bonbon as she writes Part 2 on her teaching on Jesus being “the bread of Life.”
Do you ever feel like you are  in the movie “Forest Gump”, when Forest so honestly relays the line ” Life is Like a Box of Chocolates, You Never Know What Your Going to Get”? I think we all feel that way some days, don’t we? Thankfully, though there is an answer and that answer is Jesus.
I’ve never doubted my belief in Jesus and the one that God has sent to us. However, at times I did not pursue a close relationship with him and this left me empty. It also reminds me that even though you don’t always know what to expect, he does. He will meet your needs, he will fill you up. It’s not always what we wanted, expected or hoped for, but recognizing and leaning on the power of Jesus gives us the reassurance to keep going on.
Have you ever thought that having a closer relationship with him would be hard, that it’s not obtainable? That you have to make major changes to do this? It’s really simple, so read below to see what he tells us about believing in him.
Remember now that Jesus has been busy throughout the book of John teaching, preaching and working miracles – all leading to his crucifixion. The people are well aware of the miracles he is working. That being said though; they are still looking for more, but he plainly tells them to seek spiritual fulfillment:
“John 6:27, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed”.
They are looking for a sign from Jesus as they ask him about what they need to do to follow God, but like many things in life the answer is more simple that we would think as Jesus tells them in John 6: 29:
“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”.
Jesus is making it very clear that he is the bread of life. They are seeking a physical sign and he’s sharing a spiritual fulfillment. He tells them in verse 33 “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven; and giveth life unto the world”.
In verses 35 -40 we learn that Jesus is the source, but the true provider/giver of the source is God the Father. We are learning throughout these verses, Jesus is the real bread, while the people are looking for more, the real source, the real bread is right in front of them. It’s obvious, but they aren’t getting the obvious.
Again, much like our lives, we sometimes don’t see what is right in front of us. Jesus was obedient to his Father’s will. What is our role? What is expected of us from these verses, what was Jesus asking the people to do? Again, I must say it is simple – we just need to believe and pursue him and in return we have the gift of eternity. Of course in our belief, our lives should demonstrate him: love, service to others, pursuit of holiness, pursuit of wisdom.
Believe and pursue him – I can’t think of a better way to prepare for the unexpected chocolate’s we are all sure to face.
In my journey I have found that he loves us unconditionally, he is a true friend, he is the true source when other’s fail. A relationship with him is like your favorite food, dress, or gym routine- it’s meant to be shared, so other’s see him in you. Sharing him is easily seen in how we live our lives, how we speak and how we forgive.
Please, don’t keep the true bread of life a secret and don’t be afraid to pursue him, the more you pursue him, the more he will reveal himself to you and you become like him. I can’t think of a anybody else I’d rather be like – can you?

Running on Empty- Go to the Source Part 1 by Lynn Moratis

AmberOBrien"
Hello Sweet Sisters:)
Please help me to welcome our sweet and salty sister Lynn Moratis. Lynn is a true Proverbs 31 woman who with great style wears the many hats of:  wife, mother of two young men, nurse and vice president of a regional care coordination program. She taught last Monday at the Sweet Sister small group on the Name of Jesus being the “bread of Life”.
Running on Empty – Go to the Source
John 6: 1-13
In the above referenced scripture, we learn all about the miracle of the Feeding of 5,000. Set upon a grassy mountainside, with crowds following Jesus and his disciples to learn from him and watch the miracles he has been performing. This day is no different, 5,000 have gathered, many traveling miles by foot, some by boat. Jesus is famous, they were giving him all the attention at this point. He recognizes their physical hunger and wants to feed them, he ask his disciples for their recommendation, Philip is skeptical and Andrew is aware of the cost it would take to feed them, but also that Jesus has the Power to feed them. He uses a little boy and his meager food offering and feeds the 5,000 from 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. We know that this meal was not a luxury offering, it was meager, it was the food of the poor, but Jesus took something meager, and made it sufficient for all to eat.
Truly a miracle, truly an example of his generosity, his humbleness, his charity and his compassion. He fed them all. 
In today’s fast pace, I often realize I can let myself run on empty, going and going. In the past few years, I’ve found myself looking for satisfaction that may not be reasonable because my attention has been on the wrong types of satisfaction. Thinking about what I want or need versus realizing what I already have. Focusing on achieving more and realizing that true happiness is not in what I have or what I earn, but comes from going to the true source, the one with the power to perform miracles and the only one who promises me eternity. The one who shows us how to live and the one who lived a meager life on earth and gave it all up for me and you.
There is so much that happens on this one day of many miracles, but it also a great example for me to realize, yes Jesus provides for us physically and he did so for the 5,000 in John 6: 1-13. However, many times our hunger isn’t physical. When we find ourselves running on empty, he’s there for us, he is the Source. All we need to do is reach out and and believe in the true source – Jesus.

The Good Shepherd By Marni J. Hansel (guest sweet sister post)

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Please help me welcome our sweet and salty sister Marni J. Hansel to our table. She is the mother of 5 children, many who love to sing and perform on stage as much as she does. She opens our 9 week study based on Mary Southernland’s book entitled, Escaping the Stress Trap and the Names of Jesus. Today’s Name is Good Shepherd for if we know Him as our Shepherd then this helps us rest in peace. 

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14

“And he huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down.”  That simple phrase probably brought the entire fairy tale of the three little pigs and the big, bad wolf to your mind.  If you know something well, a small part sparks an association with the whole.

So what came to the minds of the Pharisees, expert teachers of Jewish law and history, when Jesus referred to himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11 and 14?  Let’s dive into the Bible and find out!

Skim through the first few chapters of the Gospel of John and see that Jesus begins a ministry of miracles in Roman-occupied Galilee, Samaria, and Judea (now Israel).  He quickly gathers a following of people who proclaim Him as the long-awaited Messiah, the savior of the Jewish people.  In John 3, Jesus tells a Pharisee named Nicodemus that He came so that all who believe in Him will have eternal life.  He convinces many people that He is the Chosen One of God by feeding 5000 men, walking on water, and in John 9, healing a man born blind.

This really angered the Pharisees, devout Jewish leaders, who considered His behavior blasphemous.  They were jealous of His large following.  Spiritually blind to the true identity of Jesus, they angrily pursued Him and tried to trip Him up in debate.  Pause and read John 10 now, as Jesus speaks to them directly.

“I am the Good Shepherd.  I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14.  Wow!  That may seem innocuous to a modern reader, but those Pharisees knew the entire story of Jewish history, so to them, Jesus was making a bold claim.

What came to their minds? 

They would have thought of the great hero of the Exodus, the shepherd Moses, chosen by God to deliver His people out of Egyptian bondage into the freedom of the Promised Land.  (Read Exodus 3:1-10)

They would have recalled the greatest king of the Jews, the shepherd David, who rescued sheep from the mouth of the lion and defeated the giant Goliath, triumphing over death, proclaiming God to the world.  (Read 1 Samuel 17:33-47)

They would have unconsciously been reciting Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd…” in their minds.

They would have remembered the Word of the Lord as prophesied through Ezekiel, “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says, ‘I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so I will look after my sheep.” (Ezekiel 34:11,12) and also “You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 34:31)  (Read all of Ezekiel 34 – it is amazing!)

Those poor Pharisees!  They were supposed to be caring for the downtrodden, oppressed Jewish people, and Jesus arrives on the scene to tell them that like robbers, strangers, and hired hands, they aren’t the true leaders of God’s people.

Instead, Jesus is the One who will lead His sheep out of oppression into freedom, out of the bondage of sin into the liberty of righteousness.  Jesus is the One who will rescue His sheep from death and guide them to the green pasture of abundant life. He fights our battles and is victorious.  Jesus proclaims God to the world!

And to those of us who know Him, to those of us “sheep” who follow Him as Savior and Lord, He gives us this promise in John 10:27, 28:  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Do you know the Good Shepherd?  Do you belong to Jesus?  Today, you can place your faith in Him and then “Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)