Posted by: Heather | June 13, 2010

Eat Real Bread and be Satisfied – Jesus!

Isaiah 58:10-11   And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:  11  And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Satisfaction is something we all long for and need as human beings.  It is the constant quest for satisfaction that leads us to do things, whether good or bad, to fill that void.  Although satisfaction is necessary to living a contented life, it’s probably the thing that eludes us the most.  Even Christians as a whole seem to spend a lot of time pursuing it.  Many run to and fro to programs, seminars, etc., seeking to gain information on how to live the life of their dreams, and be satisfied.

One way humans can seek satisfaction is through the food they eat.  I know that most of us, whether we actually enjoy eating it or not, have heard things about the benefits of whole grain bread.  We know grains are good for us.  Unfortunately, the way grains are marketed to the general public is not a true picture of these life-giving foods.  There is little, if any grain on the grocery shelf that has not been highly processed.   Labeling laws are such that a manufacturer can put only a small amount of whole grain in their product, and still call it whole grain.  The majority, if not all, of the bread we see on our supermarket shelves is white bread with a little whole grain and caramel coloring thrown in to make it look brown.  I do realize there are a few companies that are doing as well as they can, and are better than the majority.  But, even with these, the bread still can’t be considered real whole grain.  The reason is because the most nutritious part of the grain is also the most fragile part, and goes rancid easily.  So, in order for bread to be shelf stable for a period of time, the most nutritious part of the grain has to be removed in order to make a product that can last.

In our local stores, we can find ‘real’ foods of all descriptions…meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.  But, unless you know of a little store that brings in bread baked locally from freshly milled flour, or visit a local farmer’s market, there is usually no real bread to be found.  (Ezekiel Bread is one that seems to be the exception…it is sold frozen in some stores.  But, many don’t like its texture, as it’s a quite dense bread.)  Why is this so important?  Well, physically it’s important, because we buy things with an expectation of what we can get from them, and store-bought bread doesn’t deliver.   We might think we’re buying something really good and nutritious for our bodies, when in fact, it’s not very nutritious at all.  Secondly, because the picture we’ve been given about bread isn’t totally clear, it gives us a very skewed view of the spiritual meaning of Jesus being the bread of life.

Although bread can be made out of several different grains, wheat is the primary grain we use to make bread.  It’s one of the most nutrient-rich grains there is, containing 40 of the 44 main nutrients our bodies need to function.  Each kernel of wheat is made up of 3 general parts;  the bran, germ, and endosperm.    The endosperm is the food source of the grain.  If the kernel is planted, the sprout will feed on the starchy endosperm until it’s large enough to receive its nutrients from the soil.  The endosperm is the part that is kept to make white flour.  It makes up over 80% of the volume of the seed, but only contains about 15% of the nutrient value.  The bran and the germ are the two fibrous parts of the grain, and are stripped away in the milling process to leave the endosperm (white flour).  In ‘wheat’ bread we find at the store, some of the bran is added back to the flour, although generally very little.   The bran is the hard outer shell that protects the nutrients inside until the grain is milled.  The germ is the part the sprout comes from if the wheat is planted.  It is the most nutritious part.  Even though it only takes up about 3% of the volume of the wheat kernel, the germ contains about 80% of the nutrition. It’s also the most fragile part, so it is removed completely in order to make a shelf-stable product.

When I make bread for my family, I put wheat kernels in my wheat grinder, and it grinds the grain for me.  This flour includes all of the parts of the grain, and all of the nutrients.  It gets used immediately to make bread while the nutrients are still intact, so all of that nutrition is locked into the bread with the baking.

The first, and most immediate effect I saw when I began making bread from freshly milled flour is that it was so satisfying.  You eat it, and it stays with you for several hours, because of the fiber content of the bran and germ.  It keeps you from getting hungry, so you need less food.  And, another interesting thing I found is that, when eaten daily,  it largely removes my cravings for any unhealthy foods.

How accurate is Jesus’ description of Himself!  A daily portion of His Word and prayer will keep us going through the day, and help us stay strong in the face of temptation.  When we get close enough to Him, temptations seem so much smaller and less inviting.   In Isaiah 58 (part of which is in the passage above), we’re given a picture of the ‘fast’ that God chooses for us.  It has nothing to do with selfish, worldly pursuits, and everything to do with being more like Jesus…doing the things that He did while on earth.   He mentions loosing the bonds of wickedness, setting the captive free, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked, among other things.  True satisfaction comes when we become more like Him.  Everything else in this world that tries to compare itself to this ‘bread’ simply pales in comparison.

Contentment cannot be found in the worldly things we’re constantly trying to obtain.   It’s found only through relationship with Christ.  If we can become content eating the bread of life, and in turn feeding this true bread of Jesus Christ to a dying world, we will find all the satisfaction we could ever hope for.

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