Trina Bedlington is a woman full of joy, zeal, vivaciousness and humor. She has been on the Collide team for several years and I absolutely adore her! One minute she is busting out in some 80’s dance and the next minute she is using her beautiful voice to invite us in to sing praises to Jesus! I not only love her as a friend, but admire her faith. I love that this woman from Chicago still holds tightly to the faith that has been passed down to her from her grandma Fran! May your hunger be fed as you read Trina’s story of the good ol’ bread box! -Willow
My grandmother, Mary Frances VanVoorhis, is a 93 year old that still enjoys her Folgers coffee, drive thru hot fudge sundaes, and weekly visits to Goodwill. For those that know me and my fondness for thrift stores, you see that I come by this trait naturally. Oh, how I loved spending summers with Grandma Fran at her Illinois farmhouse. I have learned many things from this strong woman who withstands the hardships of life and STILL finds her hope in the many promises of God. She continues to endure, knowing that some day the Lord is going to make good on His promise to bring her home to live for eternity with Him in heaven.
You see, in that farmhouse in Illinois sat a Daily Bread Promise Box on top of the old piano in the living room. It was shaped like a loaf of bread and held scripture verses inside; verses that told of the many promises that God gives us in his living word, the Bible. Promises that He makes to each and every one of us, we just have to be willing to take hold of them.
I hadn’t thought about that Daily Bread Promise Box in years. It wasn’t until my mom had called asking if there was anything I would like from Grandma’s house, as they were starting to pack things up in preparation for her move to a place with more assistance. That is when the image of that loaf of bread popped into my brain. Would Grandma Fran possibly still have it?
My answer came in a package a few weeks later. There it was, the loaf of bread that I used to run my pudgy little fingers across, with its colored verse strips sticking out the top. I pulled one out, “…I have called you by name; you are mine” Isaiah 43:1. A flood of memories came rushing in, memories of Grandma reading those promises from the Bible over my life. As I continued to reminisce over the memories associated with this little ceramic bread box, I was reminded that Jesus called himself the Bread of Life in the Bible and I started to ask myself what Jesus really meant when He gave himself this name.
Now, I consider myself a true connoisseur of all things bread. I love sweet rolls, loaves of bread with big hunks of butter, muffins, bagels, and just about anything else with a bunch of carbohydrates and white flour, but I knew that Jesus had something quite different in mind. I started to dig deeper and study what it was that Jesus was telling us when He referred to Himself in this way. Through my study it became clear to me that Jesus, the Bread of Life, was essential for ABUNDANT LIFE. We could survive for quite some time on bread alone, but Jesus was referring to eternal life, not our physical life. You see, physical bread perishes, but spiritual bread brings an ETERNAL LIFE that is spent with Him in a place He has prepared for those who love Him.
In John 6:35, Jesus goes on to say “…whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus, whose name in Hebrew means “the Lord saves” is the only way we can truly be satisfied. We are all born sinful and through God’s great love He sent Jesus to be sacrificed as atonement for our sins. Jesus made it possible through this sacrifice for us (sinners) to be made one with God. All barriers are removed between us and God and as a result of this loving act; anyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus on their behalf is covered by His blood and is therefore saved. Yes! Jesus, the Bread of Life, is essential for LIFE.
The day the Promise Box arrived, I spent quite some time reading through the many promises from God’s word that were written on those scripture strips inside the tiny loaf of bread. Over and over again, I was reminded of His unfailing love for me and the promises that I forget to grasp onto in times of doubt, fear, unrest, hopelessness, and sorrow. Go ahead, read some for yourself and know that whatever you may be enduring in your life right now, there is a promise just for you right there in the Bible.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls”…. Matthew 11:28-29
“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
“For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of the all.” Psalm 34:19
“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
The Daily Bread Promise Box has found a new home on my kitchen windowsill. I now read those same promises over my own family and am reminded of God’s unfailing love and sacrifice for me. As Easter is approaching, I am so very grateful for the reminder of God’s great promise of salvation to those who believe. I encourage you to take time to meditate on what that promise holds…eternal LIFE with the one true God who loves and knows you more than anyone. He longs for you to know Him, REALLY know Him and the promises that He has for you.
I know my Grandma Fran has been holding tight to that salvation promise for 93 years. She will just continue to drink her Folgers, eat her sundaes, shop at Goodwill, and cling to God’s promises until the good Lord says, “Well done Francie, come on home!”