7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church, Part 6: Please Pass the Manna

old woman exercising

Technologists and researchers claim it’s only a matter of time before the age of 100 will be the new 50. According to David A. Kekich, a recognized expert on longevity science, “. . . we’re getting very close to making that happen. Instead of deteriorating with age, and going into a slow steady decline, we’re seeing the day where actually we’re going to be getting better with age. . . .”

In his book, Life Extension Express, Mr. Kekich recommends seven steps to increase the quality and quantity of our lives. His #1 step introduces the importance of an appropriate diet. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to you. We all know the food we eat is a huge factor in our over-all health.

The other six suggestions are all steps to insure the quality of our lives. However, there is no mention of the spiritual aspect of a healthy life style. How does God fit into the picture?

Mr. Kekich claims for those who believe in God, this kind of technology could bring us closer to God. If this is true, how are we to grow spiritually?

Suppose we conquer the affects of aging. What about all the other problems wrought by human nature? Can you imagine a world full of physically healthy but spiritually destitute people?

As a believer in the God of the universe, that scenario sounds more like the wilderness than the promised land to me. And I have one response to the possibility of everyone living to 100. “Lord, please pass the manna.”

The problem with spiritually destitute people is we don’t know we’re spiritually destitute. And on our own, we have no resources to be any different. Why do you suppose God allowed the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for forty years?

One, His purpose was to humble His people and test what was in their hearts, whether they would keep His commands/His Word. (Deuteronomy 8:1-3)

The second reason for the wilderness was to teach the Israelites to hunger for Him. He met their physical hunger with “bread from heaven.” But His higher purpose for the manna was to help them realize “. . . man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut. 8:3

Bible

Today, God continues to feed us spiritually by providing “manna” through His Word. However, reading the Bible as an intellectual exercise is different than digesting it as spiritual food. The first method may feed the mind and possibly the ego. But the second feeds the soul and changes lives.

I mentioned in my last post how God got my attention through a ladies Bible study. Up to that point, I thought I was a pretty good person, compared to serial killers and prostitutes.

I was well aware of my short temper and sharp tongue. And yet, I had no idea how to deal with the daily frustrations that plagued me. No one ever told me God could change my life, inside out.

That is, until I attended a ladies Bible study in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time, I realized the importance of applying God’s Word in my everyday life. For example, I learned a biblical  concept that radically changed the way I responded to life circumstances.

In Romans 8:28, God promises to work all things for good in the lives of those who love Him and are living according to His purpose. In other words, He works the bad things, as well as the good to bless us and to conform us to the image of His Son.

What then are we to do when bad things happen? Strangely enough, God’s Word commands us to give thanks. Not just when everything goes well, but in all circumstances. Why? Because this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Of course, there’s no way we’re going to feel thankful when life throws us a curve ball. However, thanking God denotes faith on our part. It says we trust His plan to use the curve balls to grow us spiritually.

This, my friend, is one example of how God uses His Word to help us aim for not our own perfection, but His. Our part is to allow God’s Spirit to apply God’s Word in and through us to conform us to the likeness of God’s Son, the perfect One.

FYI, I’m pretty sure it’s too late to prepare my physical body to live 100+ years. That may be true for you, as well. But it’s not too late for us to pursue a steady diet of spiritual food. In fact, it’s crucial to our spiritual well-being.

This is why I’ve placed the understanding of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word at the top of the list of 7 characteristics of a perfect church.

The two are interdependent and equal in importance. To try to embrace the work of God’s Spirit apart from God’s Word is an act of futility based on false assumptions and faulty expectations. To attempt to understand God’s Word apart from the Holy Spirit may boost one’s intellect. But it will do nothing for one’s spiritual well-being.

Equipping God's People

This is why it’s the responsibility of God’s church to equip God’s people:

1. to understand and apply the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our moment-by-moment everyday lives.

2. to understand how to study and apply God’s Word.

I invite you to consider this prayer as your own.

Lord, please help us to be spiritually aware of who you are, the Creator of the universe. And please help us not to forsake the One who made us in order to go our own way trying to solve problems in our own strength. Help us to seek your truth and rely upon your power to become the people you want us to be.

Lord, we don’t want to become a spiritually destitute people. Therefore, we ask you to please pass the manna. For we need your bread from Heaven to be able to understand or combat earthly problems. By faith, we thank you for every curve ball you send our way. Win or lose, we trust you to work everything in the game of life to our good and for your purpose. Amen

Do you have an example of how God’s Word has changed your life? If so, please share it with me.

woman on computer

(Be sure to check out my next post, the Crumbs for Please Pass the Manna. Among other tidbits and quotes, I’ll include Mr. Kekich other six steps to increase the quality and quantity of our lives. I’ll also share a personal experience of how God’s Word helped me drive through a snow storm and make it home safely. See you then!)

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Comments
4 Responses to “7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church, Part 6: Please Pass the Manna”
  1. Mary Beth Welsh says:

    Understanding the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer are truly, I believe, two of the most important aspects of your and Dad’s legacy. We are so blessed to have had both so incorporated into our lives. I know so many, church going believers that really have no concept of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for, once again, for allowing the Lord to use you to teach such important concepts. I love you, keep on writing!

  2. Harriett Salley says:

    i AM COUNTING ON GOD’S HELP ON GETTING ME THRU REHAB AND back to normal—wHAT EVER THAT IS!!!! CAN’T WAIT TO TRY YOUR Caramel CAKE. lOVE, TO BOTH!

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