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Faith story: Redefining passion

News | January 24, 2019

Editor’s note: Emma Tews is a senior in high school. She recently shared her faith story during Sunday Night Live.

If you know my family, you know that I have two sisters and we look and act very similarly because we are so close. I grew up as my older sister’s sidekick. I was her little pet horse or do, ever her little reindeer named Antlers when she would play Mrs. Claus. I grew up thinking that following in her footsteps was the right thing to do. She was well-liked, and everything she did or made was beautiful, and I wanted to be like that. She was involved in dance, volleyball, band, tennis, and worked hard in school. So, I began dance classes at the age of 3, I joined volleyball, I took tennis lessons, I played the flute, and I worked hard in school.

But then I realized that this wouldn’t help me create my identity. I wanted to be noticed, and I wanted people to know Emma as someone who was more than Marah’s little sister.

One day my mom compared me and Marah to the right and left sides of the brain. If you know anything about psychology, the right side is more creative, the more colorful side (Marah), while they left side is the more logistical, disciplined side (me). I embraced this difference and decided that disciplining myself in literally every aspect of my life would help me stand out.

With music, I decided to try out for an honor band in 8th grade, and made myself practice every single day. I vividly remember my dad coming into my room one day to drop something off as I was practicing. “There’s the daily scales,” he said.

With dance, I perfected every movement and focused on the dance part more than being a part of the community of friends.

With school, I gave 110 percent effort for all of my projects, even if it was just a simple brochure in health class about what a healthy lifestyle looks like.

Yes, all this hard work did pay off. I was accepted as the second chair into the band, I received my studio’s inspirational dancer award this past year, and I maintained all As in school. The feeling of accomplishing something I had worked so hard on felt good, but only for a moment or a few days. The work that I was doing was more draining than it was fulfilling. There was an evident lack of self care. I was always sleep deprived, and didn’t have a clue about what a healthy mental health routine looked like. But my attention wasn’t focused there. I strove to make my difficult lifestyle look effortless. I didn’t want anyone to see how overwhelming it could be, and how thinly I was stretched.

I haven’t even brought up God once yet, but that’s because I don’t believe that God was really present at this point in my life. As a little kid, I believed God existed, but didn’t form a strong bond with God. Same with confirmation. Then all of this was going on through the early years of high school, and I left God out of the picture.

God re-entered my life when God knew I reached the breaking point. It was a Wednesday night. Let me tell you about my Wednesdays in the spring of junior year. It was a time when three sports (tennis, dance, and volleyball) overlapped. I woke up at 6 a.m. to go to early bird weightlifting, then would go through school, then tennis immediately after school, then headed to volleyball, then dance, and then arrive home at 10:30 p.m. But of course I couldn’t go to bed without studying and playing my flute. I would say a quick “hey” to my parents, shower, study, play my flute, and go to be around 1-2 a.m., sometimes even 3.

I was caught up in this relentless cycle, and my body finally tapped out and said “I’ve had enough.” During this Wednesday night, I looked over my to-do list, and my body just said no. All of the reminders written down started repeating themselves in my head, and I started to shake, and couldn’t take a deep breath, and the tears started coming, and it was all too much. I started thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to do this anymore, but then I was afraid that people would see me as weak, and that I was slacking off, and that I would lose my only sense of identity.

I looked up above my bed and saw this picture that Marah, my older sister, made for me when we redid this room. On it, was a quote. I finally understood its meaning.

I finally understood there was help, that this is how I form a relationship with God. God created heaven and earth together, and they are within one another. God meant for people to build real relationships, and to be happy with their lives, and to not be perfect all of the time. This picture brought Marah back into my life, but I know used her difference (being artistic) to help me with my difference (being overly disciplined). In that moment, I found a release of stress, and tension, anxiety, and realized that there was a different way to live life.

I realized that before, I was just skimming the surface of life, even though I was dedicating my whole self to every activity. If you imagine the floor of a desert, I was just trying to cover as much land as I could to reach an oasis/relief. But now, I realize that you’ll only find the sweetness of life within its cracks, like the relief the cracks of the desert floor bring to something trying to escape the intense heat of the sun. I finally understood the definition of grace, being lenient when you’re pushing hard. I realized that I needed to incorporate real passion into my life and not focus on being so disciplined and rigid.

Now, I’m still doing the same activities, but I find it easier to live in the moment, and appreciate the art of music and the art of dance, and the relationships I build with each one. I’ve redirected my energy to make life meaningful, and slowing down rather than just trying to accomplish and perfect every little thing. In doing so, I’m not drained, I get energy out of socializing with others and out of feeling proud of how beautiful something is, not necessarily how difficult it is.

While creating these more meaningful relationships in the communities that used to be the foundatino of my stress – school, dance, and band – I realized that people will love me regardless of what I achieve or don’t achieve. I know that yes “I look to the mountains, but my help will always come from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”

4 Comments on “Faith story: Redefining passion”

  • Joan Bruce

    January 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Oh, Emma, how beautifully written is your testimony. I can relate to so much of what you expressed. I found your words to be very inspirational and comforting. You possess so much insightful wisdom for such a young person. Thank you for sharing your beautiful end quotation.

  • Lynda Gradert

    January 25, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, Emma! I’m still drying my eyes after reading your testimony! It was so heartfelt, and by telling it with such transparency, I’m convinced that the ripples will be used by God in someone else’s life in a most amazing way! Your sharing blessed me! 😊

  • Nancy Hultquist

    January 24, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    I loved reading your story, Emma. You are a beautiful child of God with so much potential and gifts to give to this world. I’m very proud of you!

  • Pamela Spear

    January 24, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Congratulations on making changes in your life. It is not always easy. I so appreciated your faith story and the wisdom it exudes. It is very easy for people of faith to get over involved and not take care of themselves. We need to practice compassionate care giving for ourselves and then we are more present to others.

Leave a Reply to Lynda Gradert Cancel Reply

Jeremiah 14:7-22

7“Although our iniquities testify against us,

O LORD, act for Your name’s sake!

Truly our apostasies have been many,

We have sinned against You.

8“O Hope of Israel,

Its Savior in time of distress,

Why are You like a stranger in the land

Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?

9“Why are You like a man dismayed,

Like a mighty man who cannot save?

Yet You are in our midst, O LORD,

And we are called by Your name;

Do not forsake us!”

10Thus says the LORD to this people, “Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account.”11So the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.12“When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them. Rather I am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence.”

False Prophets

13But, “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “Look, the prophets are telling them, ‘You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”14Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.15“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end!16“The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and there will be no one to bury them—neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters—for I will pour out their own wickedness on them.

17“You will say this word to them,

‘Let my eyes flow down with tears night and day,

And let them not cease;

For the virgin daughter of my people has been crushed with a mighty blow,

With a sorely infected wound.

18‘If I go out to the country,

Behold, those slain with the sword!

Or if I enter the city,

Behold, diseases of famine!

For both prophet and priest

Have gone roving about in the land that they do not know.’”

19Have You completely rejected Judah?

Or have You loathed Zion?

Why have You stricken us so that we are beyond healing?

We waited for peace, but nothing good came;

And for a time of healing, but behold, terror!

20We know our wickedness, O LORD,

The iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You.

21Do not despise us, for Your own name’s sake;

Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory;

Remember and do not annul Your covenant with us.

22Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain?

Or can the heavens grant showers?

Is it not You, O LORD our God?

Therefore we hope in You,

For You are the one who has done all these things.

Psalm 46

1God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change

And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

3Though its waters roar and foam,

Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Selah.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;

He raised His voice, the earth melted.

7The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Selah.

8Come, behold the works of the LORD,

Who has wrought desolations in the earth.

9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;

He burns the chariots with fire.

10“Cease striving and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

11The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Selah.

2 Timothy 4:6-18

6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Personal Concerns

9Make every effort to come to me soon;10for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.11Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.12But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.13When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.14Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.15Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

16At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.17But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 18:9-14

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Daniel 7:1-18

Vision of the Four Beasts

1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.2Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.3“And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.4“The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.5“And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’6“After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.7“After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.8“While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.

The Ancient of Days Reigns

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

15“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.16“I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:17‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.18‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’

Psalm 149

1Praise the LORD!

Sing to the LORD a new song,

And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.

2Let Israel be glad in his Maker;

Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.

3Let them praise His name with dancing;

Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.

4For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;

He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

5Let the godly ones exult in glory;

Let them sing for joy on their beds.

6Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,

And a two-edged sword in their hand,

7To execute vengeance on the nations

And punishment on the peoples,

8To bind their kings with chains

And their nobles with fetters of iron,

9To execute on them the judgment written;

This is an honor for all His godly ones.

Praise the LORD!

Ephesians 1:11-23

11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

15For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Luke 6:20-31

20And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.21“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.24“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.25“Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.26“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

27“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.29“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.30“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.31“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

Job 19:23-27

Psalm 17:1-9

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

Luke 20:27-38

Malachi 4:1-2

Final Admonition

1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”2“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

Psalm 98

1O sing to the LORD a new song,

For He has done wonderful things,

His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.

2The LORD has made known His salvation;

He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.

3He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;

Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

5Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,

With the lyre and the sound of melody.

6With trumpets and the sound of the horn

Shout joyfully before the King, the LORD.

7Let the sea roar and all it contains,

The world and those who dwell in it.

8Let the rivers clap their hands,

Let the mountains sing together for joy

9Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth;

He will judge the world with righteousness

And the peoples with equity.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

Luke 21:5-19

5And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said,6As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”

7They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”8And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them.9“When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”

Things to Come

10Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom,11and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

12“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake.13“It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.14“So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves;15for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.16“But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death,17and you will be hated by all because of My name.18“Yet not a hair of your head will perish.19“By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Jeremiah 23:1-6

The Coming Messiah: the Righteous Branch

1“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD.2Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD.3“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.4“I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

5“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,

“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;

And He will reign as king and act wisely

And do justice and righteousness in the land.

6“In His days Judah will be saved,

And Israel will dwell securely;

And this is His name by which He will be called,

‘The LORD our righteousness.’

Psalm 46

1God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change

And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

3Though its waters roar and foam,

Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Selah.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;

He raised His voice, the earth melted.

7The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Selah.

8Come, behold the works of the LORD,

Who has wrought desolations in the earth.

9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;

He burns the chariots with fire.

10“Cease striving and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

11The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Selah.

Colossians 1:11-20

11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

The Incomparable Christ

13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Luke 23:33-43

33When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.34But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.35And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”36The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,37and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”38Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

39One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Offering First Fruits

1“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,2that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.3“You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’4“Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.5“You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation.6‘And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.7‘Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;8and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;9and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.10‘Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;11and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household.

Psalm 100

1Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.

2Serve the LORD with gladness;

Come before Him with joyful singing.

3Know that the LORD Himself is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4Enter His gates with thanksgiving

And His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

5For the LORD is good;

His lovingkindness is everlasting

And His faithfulness to all generations.

Philippians 4:4-9

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

God’s Provisions

John 6:25-35

25When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”

Words to the People

26Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.27“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”28Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”30So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?31“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TOEAT.’”32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.33“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”34Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.