See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
I’m choosing this week not to move from the story of the five loaves and two fish. Yes, it is a powerful story of God’s miraculous provision to not just ten or a hundred people but five thousand. Even if we were to try to calculate that mathematically it just would not make sense. But the thought that comes to mind is the fact that Jesus got them ready to receive! He told the disciples to instruct them to sit on the ground in groups (Mark 6:39). They obeyed but they still saw no food sufficient to feed them. Sometimes, we just have to obey, not because we are seeing any sign of provision or help coming, but if God says to sit, then sit, it means His provision is on the way!
Unfortunately, too many times we may miss God’s cue because we are not seeing or hearing what we want to see or hear. Change is still not happening, and we feel stuck where we are. God has given us an instruction but we’re still seeing the same empty cupboards, maybe finances are still too low to pay that important bill or to purchase what is needed. It’s hard, it’s depressing, it’s discouraging. Maybe before the change can manifest in the physical it has to take place in our minds and hearts. Maybe we need a mental, emotional, psychological change to take place in us. We may need to stop being negative, stop anticipating the worst, stop giving in to feelings of depression no matter how warranted they may seem. God may not be able to do anything until a change takes place inside of us … with our attitude. Last week, I encouraged us to keep praising, keep trusting. Let’s face it, God may be ready to bless us, to deliver us, but we may not be ready to “receive” it.
I’m also reminded of the story of the prophet Elijah who was believing God for rain to end the drought Israel had been facing for years. He told king Ahab to “Go up, eat and drink for there is the sound of abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). King Ahab obeyed even though he saw and heard nothing, but the rain did come. Well, it’s the same with Jesus. He gave the instruction for the people to sit when all they had was a meagre lunch. He did not perform the miracle first then tell them to sit – at least then they would have had something to believe in! He told them to get ready to eat when they couldn’t even see the food. They obeyed, and food was provided!
What instruction is God giving you today? It may seem foolish. Everyone around you may also think it’s foolish. But will you obey God’s instruction or your feelings, or even what your eyes can see? God’s miracles usually don’t make sense and His instructions that go along with them don’t make sense either. Maybe we just need to focus on the instruction God is giving us. The people had to take their eyes off the five loaves and two fish and look to Jesus instead. King Ahab had to take his eyes off the cloudless sky and obey Elijah’s instruction instead. What do you need to take your eyes off of? Whatever it is, focus on the instruction God is giving because He may simply be preparing you to get ready to receive. Praise when you feel to complain. Trust when you feel discouraged and it doesn’t make sense. Only God can and will do it and He will always do it the best way.
I was recently listening to a sermon on the five loaves and the two fishes. As the preacher spoke, different thoughts started going through my mind. The story reminds me of a post I’ve written before on realizing the value of the little you have when you put it in God's hands. But I’m seeing this from another angle now. When Jesus told the disciples to feed the people the disciples immediately put up protests. The crowd was about five thousand people. They were a mere thirteen men – twelve disciples and Jesus. They were not rich and could in no way feed a crowd that size. In the Gospel of John, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, brought to them a young boy who had five loaves and two small fish (John 6:5-13). Chances are those loaves were small enough to feed the boy alone. But here is what catches my attention. Food was provided but it was not enough.
How many times do we ask God for something but don’t quite get what we expected or hoped for. Now don’t get me wrong. There are times He gives us exactly what we ask for – the house is exactly as we pictured it; the car is exactly what we wanted; the promotion is everything we dreamed it would be. But it doesn’t always work out like that. Sometimes God’s answer seems to fall short, seems “insufficient” for the job.
At times, God only gives us so much because He wants us to depend on Him. If He were to always give us exactly what we wanted and asked for we would take Him for granted. He would be like an ATM machine. Somehow, I don’t believe God wants to be that in our lives. He wants to be so much more. He wants relationship. He wants us to prove His Word not for His sake but for ours. You see, the more we prove His Word, the more we trust Him, the more we depend on Him, the more we will appreciate Him not just for what He can give us but for who He is. Maybe all He has given is a vision or a dream of the actual thing. While we wait for the manifestation of that dream, we may have to keep trusting, keep believing, keep declaring His Word again and again. All of this is simply developing spiritual muscle; it’s developing backbone in us. It’s building our faith and it’s keeping our communication with Him and our relationship with Him alive – and well. God is more interested in relationship anyway than in being our vending machine.
So, maybe you need to be more thankful when God gives you less than what you expected. Maybe that less is His best for you and you will be way happier with His provision than with your expectation. Or maybe it just means that you have to “wait.” Maybe you need to start thanking God for what He has provided in anticipation of what He will supply. Either way our attitude is important. Keep praising, keep believing, keep trusting, keep hoping because at the end of the day, it’s going to have to be ALL GOD not you!
God determines your identity...
A few weeks ago, I made a note to write a post on Mephibosheth, king Saul’s grandson. After his father and grandfather died in a war against their enemies, his maid grabbed him up and ran with him, in an attempt to save his life. Unfortunately, in the process, she accidentally dropped him and he became lame in his feet from that day (2 Samuel 4:4).
For many years he remained hidden but safe. He grew up, got married and had his own family but could not accomplish much because of his handicap. One of the things I find interesting with this story is that he was handicapped, he was hidden and he was anonymous. He seemed useless, destined to accomplish nothing or be anyone of importance. All the cards seemed stacked against him, until one day he found himself being summoned before the new king, David, and being told that for the sake of his father, Jonathan, he would eat every day at the king’s table and that all that had belonged to his grandfather would be restored to him. He did not have to do a thing to receive this blessing … except be himself.
You see, his identity had not changed because of his negative circumstances. He was still royalty. He was still a prince’s son, he had nobility running through his veins. The fact that his father and grandfather had died and none of his family were able to ascend the throne could not change his identity. The fact that he was lame in his feet and considered an outcast in society could not change who he was. The fact that he saw himself as and called himself “a dead dog” (2 Samuel 9:8) could not change his identity. He was who he was and there was nothing he could do to change that. He was the son of Jonathan, king David's former best friend, and this entitled him to be favoured by him.
As children of God, we too are who we are, we can’t change that. We may mess up, possess more flaws than we care to confess, but all these don’t and can’t change the fact that we are a child of God. It doesn’t even change God’s opinion of us. He has said what He has said about us and that will never change.
Think of king David. When the prophet Samuel came to his house to anoint a new king, his own father did not see it fit to let him be a part of the event. He had to remain with the sheep. No one, not even Samuel, could foresee that this insignificant shepherd, would become the new king. Like Mephibosheth, he was hidden and anonymous. Yet God called him out. God knew exactly who he was and what His purpose for this young man’s life would be. No one could stop God’s purpose for his life. No one and nothing can stop God’s purpose for yours either.
You are who God says you are. God’s opinion of you will never change, He will never stop loving you (Romans 8:35, 38-39). So, at the end of the day, no matter the negative circumstances that may come your way, no matter how much you are rejected by others, no matter how much you reject yourself, as God’s child, you can’t change His opinion of you, you can’t change who He says you are, you can’t even stop his purpose for your life. Let’s face it, whether you accept it or reject it, God still has the final say about you!!!
Speak to your heart...
During the week I was fortunate to hear an interesting story about someone who had undergone open heart surgery. The patient’s pastor was allowed to witness the surgery and it turned out that the surgeon performing the operation was also a member of the church. The surgeon removed the heart, repaired it and put it back into the patient. He massaged that heart and did whatever he could to get it to beat but nothing happened. Now, get this, the heart was fixed, in good working condition but refused to work. Finally, the doctor went and whispered into the person’s ear and told them that the surgery was successful, their heart was repaired and made a simple request. He said: “Tell your heart to beat again.” Somewhere, deep inside that person, they seemed to get the message and their heart finally started beating.
As the person telling the story started to use this to minister God’s Word to his hearers, I found myself getting pretty emotional. I felt that person speaking directly to me; God, in fact was speaking directly to me. Let’s face it, we all go through tough situations, situations that seem designed to break you and completely destroy you. At those times you may even feel as if you will never get over it. Yet, God is saying, you will live again, you will love again, you will get over it and through it. The challenging part is that even though God has “fixed” our heart, He has done His part, we have to do ours. We have to CHOOSE to live again. We have to CHOOSE to love again. We have to CHOOSE to try again. But I guess many times we simply CHOOSE not to.
The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and maybe sometimes our “tongue” is saying the wrong things – it’s speaking death instead of life and we may not even realize it. It may be speaking the reality of the situation instead of the TRUTH of God’s Word over that situation. The situation may seem dead but instead of confessing death we may need to speak life into our situation. There have been times when I have found myself speaking life into and over dead situations in my life. I refused to accept what my natural eyes and senses were seeing and feeling and instead chose to speak life, chose to speak God’s Word over and into my situation.
So, maybe today you need to speak to your heart. It may “feel” dead, hopeless, lifeless, helpless. But guess what? If by Jesus’ stripes you are healed, then it means that your heart is healed. You can live again, you can get up and try again. You will survive. You will make it. Once you’re alive IT’S NOT OVER! Don’t let the devil dictate life or death for you. You speak life, you declare that it’s not over and that you are going to make it. Give your heart to God and He will fix it. But after He does His part, you will have to do yours and speak to your heart and tell your heart to beat again!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.