Jesus Feeds five thousand. (Luke 9: 10-17) This is a very familiar passage in scripture. It is one of the few miracles that Jesus did while on earth. (share the story) If you aren't familiar with the passage, I encourage you to take time to read it for yourself.
There are a few key takeaways from this passage. I want to focus on three.
1.Give thanks for what we already have.
In verse 16, Jesus takes the loaves and fish, looks up to heaven, and gave thanks. Simply put, He thanked God for the food he already had in his possession. He gave thanks before the miracle was performed, a behavior we should model. Sometimes we can become so focused on the problem or what we lack, causing us to overlook what is already in our possession.
2.Operate in faith. Move/act like it will happen.
In verse 14, Jesus had the crowd sit down in groups. He didn't put them in groups based on those he thought would get food and those that might not get food. Jesus had faith that all would eat; He didn't doubt. He also didn't wait until the miracle was performed or happened to prepare the crowd to receive. He prepared them in faith. Are you waiting on God to do something before you take action? Are you ready to receive what you are asking for? Should God do it today?
3.Our Blessings don't just impact us.
Once Jesus said grace and the disciples distributed the food to the people, they later found that it was more than enough. Once the crowd left, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were leftover. They went from not having enough to having more than enough. The crowd was fed and satisfied, and so were the disciples. The results of the miracle speaks to the character of God and how he can work in our life. He is gracious in that we ask for something, and he provides more than we ask for-overflow. We may not have enough at the moment, but when we thank God for what we have and give it to Him to use, He can multiple it. In some cases, we have leftovers. Again overflow! We can't hold on to our stuff too tightly. When we hold on too tightly, it can be difficult for God to multiple what we have. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. If we hold on to things tightly or don't like to give, we can eliminate ourselves from blessings and overflow.
Not only do you benefit from God's blessings, but those around you also do.
Questions to consider:
We are moving right along into the 2021 year; however, since we aren't too far into the year, 2020 isn't yet a faded memory. I honestly don't think 2020 will be forgotten, just like 9-11. Only being a few months into 2021, we can recall all if not most of 2020. As 2020 began to come to a close, I started to reflect on the year. I went into 2020, saying, "20/20 vision." It would be a year of clarity on somethings in my life. That indeed did happen. I thought it would be clarity on my organization Purposed for a Purpose. Nope, I was wrong! It was clarity on the relationships in my life. It was a challenging year in this area as God grew me, strengthen friendships, ended friendships, and repositioned other friendships. While it was a challenging year in that area, it was all with purpose. The relationships in our life significantly impact and influence how we move, the direction we move, and if we move towards our purpose.
2020 was also a year; I believe that God was calling his children out of the darkness and into the light. It was as if He was asking, "Will you truly follow me?" Amid racial and social injustice, will you follow me? In an election year, will you follow me? Even if "your person" doesn't win, will you follow me? In a pandemic, will you follow me? When there is uncertainty in jobs and the economy, will you still follow me?
2020 wasn't for God. He knows who is truly following Him. God has 20/20 vision. We don't always utilize our spiritual vision, causing us to become comfortable and rely heavily on our physical vision more than we should. 2020 felt like the threshing floor in Matthew 3:12. It was God taking His winnowing fork and clearing the floor. Those who were genuinely following Him in obedience and surrendering (not perfect, but genuinely trying) and not just going through the motions and offering lip service remained. Because when things get tough and the storms of life rage, how you respond is a reflection of your heart, loyalty, and foundation. Amid the things listed above and many other things that took place in 2020, how did you respond? Like a follower of Christ, or did you mix in with the world? In 2020 God was calling us out of the darkness and into the light. He was exposing areas of our life that needed attention in order to be better followers and ambassadors. Before I go any further, let me say this. God doesn't expose areas in our life that need attention, only to leave us to figure out how to fix it by ourselves. He exposes it, and then He graciously helps, if you ask.
If 2020 was about clarity, helping you obtain clarity or clarity of vision, what is 2021? I will be honest and tell you that I can not say what it will be for you, but I want to share what God has given me.
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction.
When we accept Christ into our lives as our Lord and Savior, it begins a life long journey with an eternal destination. When you think about your Christian journey, there is a lot of emphases placed on fulfilling our purpose. I am NOT suggesting that we shouldn't seek God for our purpose and fulfill it. We absolutely should! (I am a supporter of that-hence the name purposed for a purpose.) However, our focus and efforts can become misplaced. We focus all our attention and efforts on fulfilling our purpose, forgoing what's most important, our condition, and transformation as we walk with Christ on the journey.
We can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that our journey is a race. A race by definition is about time, who can get to the finish line the fastest.
A journey is about getting from one place to the next. Unlike a race, we may run in the physical, and we rush to the finish line. The bible does talk about the race we are in (insert scriptures) Our Christian race/journey operates differently. It isn't one that we rush through to get to the end. It would be best if you pace yourself. Why do you ask? Because trying to rush and speed things up to make things happen, often leaves us tired, frustrated, disappointed, overwhelmed, and more than likely making a mess.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for
the evidence of things not seen.
In July, I went in for my regular six-month check-up with my doctor. All of my appointments end the same, with no surprising discoveries and the scheduling of my next appointment in six months. However, this appointment went a little different—by the end of the visit, a fairly major surgery had been scheduled. I was okay with the surgery, trusting that God would take care of me as he did four years before when we found the malignant tumor.
In the weeks following that appointment, God realized to me on two separate occasions that I would not have the surgery! Logically, I couldn't understand how this revelation would come to fruition. With the things that I read online, the physical evidence, and the input of others, mostly contradicted what God had said, it was difficult to understand how I would end up not having the surgery. I knew that God could heal and could perform miracles. I prayerfully petitioned for wonders on others and believed it could happen, but could it happen to me? It came down to what I would choose to believe. Would I believe God, others, or myself and what my eyes could see and what I could understand?
The doctors scheduled my surgery for the first week of September. But the week before the surgery, Hurricane Dorian struck the US, causing all operations to be postponed a least a week. We rescheduled the surgery for October. I had no idea how God was going to move, and I struggled at times with my faith. I wanted a sign that the Lord was operating. Realistically speaking, if he gave me a sign, would it have required faith? Nah! I had to trust God with no indications. Before the rescheduled surgery, I requested an ultrasound. The doctor's office couldn't understand why I needed or wanted it, but they scheduled it anyway. It was at that appointment the reason for the proposed surgery was revealed; it wasn't required! Instead of a significant operation with a 6-12 week recovery, I only needed an outpatient procedure with a week recovery! It was ALL God! There wasn't anything that I could have done to bring about this change. Two days after my surgery, I received a call with the pathology results—EVERYTHING was NORMAL. Thank you, God!
When God spoke to me and said I wasn't having the surgery, he meant the specific surgery the doctor wanted to perform. I spent many weeks trying to figure out what he meant by that. I had ideas and suggestions on how He could make that happen, but the truth is God didn't need my help, opinions, or recommendations. He is God, all by himself. It wasn't for me to figure out, but simply to trust Him based solely on his character and the word He spoke.
There were times when doubt would try to creep in, and I would have a little anxiety because of the unknown. The uncertainty of the details would cause me to become a bit uneasy. In those times, I would respond with, "God said I'm not having the surgery." God's word trumps my fears and anxieties! It all comes down to whether I trust God or not. God does not lie, and His word will not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:11).
If God gives you a word, hold on to it! Things at times will seem not to line up. Logically you may not be able to make sense of it. But hold on to His word. If God said it, then that's all you need to know. The enemy will try in different ways to cause you to doubt, but remind Him of what God says and "walk" away. Don't entertain it. If you resist the enemy, He will flee (James 4:7).
Until Next Time~
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
J.Branch is a wife, mother and child of God. She is passionate about helping others live the life they desire, have fruitful relationships and know who they were created to be and to live a life of purpose.
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