Breakfast of Champions

(Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

You may have memories of watching a commercial for the well-known cereal that enticed your desire with rainbow colors, treasure, and marshmallow treats.  As if the visuals in the ad weren’t enough to get you to think you needed to have it, they added the mysterious tagline that they are “Magically delicious!”.  A little addition to make you think it has something exceptionally extraordinary, so you would surely beg your mom into submission.   

Well, it was not exactly false advertisement.  The magic of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives,

oils and sweeteners have been used by the food industry for decades to increase shelf life and taste.  Over the last few years there’s been an increased awareness of these man-made concoctions, and growing concern, so many companies have scaled back and now offer these same products with ingredients that are at least a little bit closer to nature. 

While I don’t place full blame on the food industry (I’ll be the first to tell you our problem is not the Ho Hos.  It’s our lustful hearts toward the Ho Hos.), I do want to stress the importance of verifying their claims.    

Instead of just assuming something that has a stamp of “Natural” or “Nutritious” is, take the time to look at the label.  A cereal can be pumped full of vitamins deeming it worthy of being labeled “nutritious”, yet still contain 14+ grams of sugar.  Something labeled “0 grams of trans fat” can still contain hydrogenated oils under .5 grams per serving, so you are still ingesting trace amounts and more if you are eating greater than one serving (which many are).  This is why it’s important to know the ingredients of the foods you are eating.

I remember when I began a walk toward healthier living.  I had never checked a label.  I turned the box of my favorite crackers sandwiched with cheese and thought, “Oh my!  I just ate what and how much?!?!”  That was a big eye opener for me.  Once you become familiar with real food, you crave it and it becomes easier to recognize with just a glance.    

This practice is even more important with your spiritual food and I have a similar testimony.  I grew up in a denomination that didn’t advocate laymen reading Scripture.  When I was in my mid-20’s I heard a song that said, “It’s not what You can do for me, God.  What can I do for You?”  I thought, “Yes!  I know He loves me and is caring for me, but what can I do for You, God?”  The immediate answer I got was, “Read my Word.”  Not boxed, pieced, or digested through the voice of another, but read His pure Word directly cover to cover.  I did and it transformed me.  It still is. 

Now when I hear a teacher, I don’t just swallow what they are saying.  I go to the Word of God and make sure that what they are claiming lines up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8 NIV

The Gospel is and literally means “Good News”.  It doesn’t need to be spruced up with flavor enhancers or colors to make it look pretty.  The pure Gospel is naturally delicious; good medicine that goes down like a spoon full of sugar, yet offers authentic nutrients for life, peace, and health to the whole being. 

rainbow_ Serge Bertasius Photography
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is beautiful to those who are humble and hungry for what is real.  A breakfast of champions designed to be chewed on regularly because, although it is satisfying and tastes so good, it is very different from what the world constantly feeds your eyes and mind. 

Man-made philosophies pumped full of artificially sweet claims that sparkle and boast, “You need this to be happy!  Do this to be accepted.  Prove yourself!  Work harder so you can be blessed.” fight to replace the Pure Seed of the Gospel of grace. 

Tasting the Truth brings with it this marathon of hope and trust that requires endurance.  Expect struggles designed to refine you.  Hardships give you a choice.  Are you going to eat what you are seeing and hearing pumped through these giant world speakers controlled by the prince of the power of the air?  Or, will you earnestly digest Jesus – the Word, Spirit and Life – and patiently wait for all the blessing that Good Food brings?  (See the “Parable of the Sower”.)
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50 NIV


Jesus truly paid and still pays it all.  You are always loved and totally forgiven.  The punishment for your mistakes has been taken in His body never to be counted against you, so don’t blame God for the troubles in your life or try to punish yourself. 

If you have chosen Jesus, as a New Covenant believer God promises never to be angry with you or punish you again (Isa 54:9).  You can be honest and open with God.  You are fully accepted in the Beloved and, however tempting, you don’t need to prove yourself.  Just surrender completely.  Then hold fast to Jesus, continuing in faith in what He’s done for you and is doing in you.  He will use every trial to draw you that much deeper into Himself, wherein lies authentic joy and pleasure. 
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 ESV

 

The Good News in purity and truth may not bring you fame or the material fortunes you think you need for happiness, but it will bring health and healing to your spirit, soul, and body.  It’s not magic.  It’s not luck.  It’s not a tricky charm that you can manipulate for personal gain. 

It is a gift given of pure Love.  Pure Grace.  Pure Truth.  Pure Life that has the power to transform you from the inside out.  Seek it out.  Treasure it above everything else.  Eat it and share it regularly as you stand firm until the end.  Meditate on His beauty throughout the day, keeping your mind too full and satisfied to consume anything contrary.  The blessings and victory crown are surely yours, dear Athlete of Christ. 

Prayer: Oh Lord, please reveal Sweet Jesus as I feast on Your Word!

“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8 NLT

“Praise the LORD, my soul… Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2,5 NKJV

“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” Isaiah 25:6 ESV

“He successfully refuted the Jews in public and proved by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 18:28 ISV

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 ESV

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 NIV

“Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.” Acts 13:43 NLT

“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:1 NIV

“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:17 NLT

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.'” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB

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