Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pass the Bread, Please: Read the Labels

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
"It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' "
Matthew 4:1-4  NASB

In my recent bout with a back injury and its after effects, my ruptured disk produced a pinched sciatic nerve and introduced me to a new companion - pain.  Funny thing about pain, it's a gift that keeps on giving!  Throughout the duration of my painful experience, I started exhibiting other symptoms.  My blood pressure went sky high - as high as 170 over 97 - and, my bad cholesterol level went as high as 165.  Then, as if to birth a set of triplets making the "family" complete, my sugar levels elevated to around 128.  Diabetes runs rampant in my family history - I was unnerved.

Before the work related accident that put me on this painful pathway, I basically led a carefree life in relation to health and nutrition.  For instance - consider a typical food shopping trip.  I would grab a cart and say, "Ready of not, here I come!"  I'd see what I liked on the shelves and proceed to dump it into the cart - forsaking the health conscious warnings from my all too wise wife.  My attitude, you see, went something like this:  "What God has blessed me with (potato chips, snacks, junk food in general) He won't hurt me."  I was depending on God to bless my bad choices!

I could care less as to what went into the food I was buying - it could have been bread made from stones, for all I knew.  To me, "processed" meant that they wrapped it in plastic to keep it fresh.  How bad could it be?  I needed it.  I liked it.  I wanted it.  I bought it.  I trusted the good ol' USDA - the world - to meet my needs -   trusting the world, our legislators, and our food inspectors to produce the things I needed to sustain my high standard of living large.

All that went out the window with that visit to my doctor.  His response to my predicament:  "Take a pill and you'll be alright.  There's been so much advancement in the field of medicine.  With this pill you'll be able to eat what you want and still have a normal life - just have some moderation."

You know, that phrase - "everything in moderation" sounds like it might be in the Bible - but it isn't.

I asked Doc, "Will I ever get off this medication?"

He shook his head.  "Not likely.  You'll have to take it for the rest of your life."

You see, Doc's experience with his patients was that they relied on the medicine apart from a changed diet and changed lifestyle activity.  His expertise, although it did help me lower my cholesterol and blood pressure, was still like the world.  Since it was founded on the world's ways - assuming that in the face of health threats, medication removes the need for a changed life.

My sugar levels, after a second blood test, came back normal.  But, not before giving me a good scare - especially with my family's diabetic history. I had a choice to make.  Just like Jesus in the Biblical account of Matthew 4.  Here we read the details of the face-off between Jesus in the desert tempted by Satan.  Satan suggests a cure for Jesus' hunger - turning stones to bread.  Jesus, however - wouldn't bite.  Jesus had read the labels on that brand of bread and knew the ingredients to be inferior - if not downright poisonous.  Only the Bread from Heaven - the Word of God - can truly satisfy hunger pains.

I had heard the opinion of my doctor, based upon his observation over so many years.  Perhaps all those folks who took the medications but made no life changes just never knew there was a higher authority on the subject.  A second opinion was in order - a REAL Authority - One Whose penmanship on the prescription sheet I could actually read!

I went to the Lord - and the Bread of His Word.  After all - He created this body of mine - shouldn't He know what my best options are?  As if I were back in the Garden of Eden, I listened, as the Lord commanded Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, " Fill the earth, and subdue it."  Don't let it rule you - you rule it!

And, later on in Genesis 2:15, "The Lord took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it, and keep it."  The Lord was telling me to own it - to take ownership - not shirk my responsibilities by laying them on government inspectors, food companies, and doctors.  They are all fine in their place.   But the Lord - He is to be the FIRST One consulted - not the last when all else fails.

This was a call to a total life change - owning my health issues and exercising proper stewardship of my life here on earth.

"Whatever, then, you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  
I Corinthians 10:31 

So, back to our Matthew 4 verse - be picky about the bread you eat.  Read the label.  Be choosey about what is allowed in the eye gate, the mouth-gate - where is the most nutritional value found.

Now, I joined my wife in label reading, shopping more carefully for fat, sodium, and sugar content.  You bet - our food bill is much higher.  The cost is greater.  But, so too, the rewards.

I've lost weight, have renewed energy, greater mental focus, and all my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are returning to normal.  I've made a life change - the medications are not life long.

Satan is always about convincing us that his stones turned to bread will fill our needs.  We have the pageantry of world history to prove that his "medications" only make one more dependent on a false fix, when what is really wanting is a changed life and a renewal of personal stewardship.

My dependency these days is on what I read on product labels in grocery stores - no doubt - but, moreso, I am wholly dependent on His Word to bring health to my body, soul, and spirit.  What I don't read CAN kill me!  Throw away Satan's stones and pass the Bread of His Word, please.   I've read that Label - I believe - and therein is my life!

How do you read it?  What do you think?

Sharing Pass the Bread, Please: Read the Labels this week with:
Brag on God Fridays at Beholding Glory


  1. Great processing. Such a good example, thank you.

  2. This was good for me to read in light of my 2112 word of Healthy. I'm doing all I can to reach healthy and trusting God for the issues beyond my control. I want my body -- and what I put into it -- to glorify God.

  3. Read the labels. I do this sometimes. I confess I don't always do it though. Those potato chips with sea salt and cracked pepper find their way into my shopping cart without before I know what happened. Thank you for sharing what you learned the hard way. I hope it will help others who are traveling down that path.
    Thank you for sharing on Spiritual Sundays.

  4. Hi Ed,
    I can understand the scare you got at those readings being so high!
    Isn't it amazing how food can affect us and our health!?
    We have had to change some of our diet too.
    Some grains and starches are not very friendly to our systems.
    My hubby was addicted to soft white bread for ages.
    Actually he is a bit hypoglycemic and the bread used to stop him from shaking and feeling dizzy :-(
    Nowdays he eats a healthy heavier sourdough and has lost the bad craving for the overprocessed white stuff.
    Making diet changes is not always easy, but as you say - the rewards are so worth it!
    I love your analogy to the Bread of God's Word.
    So true!!


I welcome your comments and conversation as we enter into His Story together!

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