Bring Your 5 Loaves and 2 Fish

” ‘How many loaves do you have?’ he asked. ‘Go and see’ ” (Mark 6:38, NIV).

The 16-Day Challenge is when you read the book of Mark for the first 16 days in November. It’s exciting to read Mark again; I’m re-learning a lot of things. Unfortunately, I haven’t been consistent with the days so I read chapter 6 today. When I read the part where Jesus fed the 5000 men (which may really be more like 20,000 people, considering women and children) I understood– more like realized–something: All we have to do is bring what we have and watch Jesus use it for His glory. 

I can hear some of my siblings in the Lord saying, “Duh! You just learned that?!” Well, I thank God for allowing me to learn this. Lets look at what the Bible shows us. Jesus had compassion on the people, He spent time with them and taught them.The best part is that Jesus didn’t send them home because they were filled with the Word! He understood that while we are in these mortal bodies, we still have basic necessities that must be met. What really strikes me is that Jesus could have rained manna down from heaven, He could’ve even turned the stones into bread; but He decided to involve His disciples in the process of this miracle.

I wonder why Jesus asked them how much food they had… because He must have known; they had been together, right? I believe Jesus asked them the question because He wanted them to realize that they didn’t have enough for the great “sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34); they couldn’t feed the multitude by themselves. I also believe that He asked them the question in order to show them that God is greater than the little they had and that He is far greater than the multitude they were facing. The Bible tells us that Jesus took what they had, gave thanks, broke it, and distributed it. And at the end of it, all glory went back to God, which is the way we should live our lives!

Friends, I encourage you today to bring your 5 loaves and 2 fish– watch God feed millions with it! God already knows what you have, and what seems little to you can be turned into something great in the hands of the great I AM! Is it your time? Give it to Jesus. Your money, your plans, your career, give it all to Jesus. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is a lot of work and on our own, we can’t feed the millions of souls out there– I think that the earlier we even realize that we can’t do it by ourselves, the faster the process will be (I don’t have any stats on that, however). So, give your little to Jesus and watch Him do the extraordinary with ordinary people like you and me. Let Jesus take what you have, honor God with it, break and multiply it, and use you to change your community!

Are you willing?

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Even When it Hurts

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“Take this mountain weight. Take these ocean tears. Hold me through the trial, come like hope again” (“Even When It Hurts”, Hillsong).

I woke up this morning with heaviness in my heart. I didn’t understand it because nothing prompted it. So, I did what I know how to do; I prayed. What was supposed to be a regular praying time with my Father turned into a bawling session with my Counselor. I admitted to God that I didn’t even know why I was crying. God being God reminded me of Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (NIV). So, I just gave in, trusting that the Holy Spirit was at work. I was comforted that God knew what each tear represented. Did that make me feel better? No.

Once I start crying out loud, it is impossible for me to stop; I will continue until I am physically unable to cry anymore. As I cried, I kept thinking about the fact that I am hurting. This year has been one challenge after another, and I kept asking God this morning, “When will it end, God?!” I just want it all to end. I want to feel remembered by God. I admit to God that I felt like an afterthought on His list of people to help. I found myself saying, like David in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (verse 1, NIV). Truth is, even while writing this, I still feel hurt. But the question I posed to myself is this: Does that somehow change who God is?

God is constant. When He promises, He fulfills; His words are yea and amen; His thoughts and plans for me are not to hurt me but to give me hope and a future; I am worth the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Him… I can keep going, but it still doesn’t change the hurt I feel. Someone once told me that unfortunately for me, no one can help me or encourage me when I’m feeling down because I know the truth about who God is. I don’t want to be sad or depressed while knowing who God is and what He is about, but I am… Is that sinful? Is that bad? I don’t know.

While having my quiet time I only read Psalm 23, one of my favorite psalms. Verse 4 stood out to me, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). What this verse says to me is that just because I have a Shepherd doesn’t mean I won’t face trouble. The good news is that He is with me. My Shepherd has a rod– it is used to protect me from any evil that may want to come my way; it is also used to discipline me because my Shepherd loves me (Proverbs 3:12)– and a staff– this is used to comfort me and to direct my path. I should be comforted by these truths! I must be comforted by these truths!

I kept crying this morning, asking Jesus why He has forgotten about me– it seems to me as if everything coming my way is somehow delayed– but I had forgotten His promise to me that He will never leave me or abandon me ( Deuteronomy 31:6). What I need to do is get these truths to be heart knowledge. Walking is Jesus is HARD, friends! But if David can say even when– “when” means it will happen– he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he won’t be scared; if David can say this and believe it, then I can too! I think it was Charles Spurgeon who commented on this thought and said that a shadow means there is a light somewhere, meaning that God’s light (Jesus Christ) is ever present, even in the midst of my storms and challenges.

What is the application for me? Well, I need to feed more on the word of God until my very being believes it, until the Word of God becomes my bread and livelihood! I want to be able to praise God even when everything is crumbling down around me! I want to look at the storms in the eye and tell them that they are just fronting because my Shepherd has overcome the world. This is not to say that I won’t feel hurt, but it means that I won’t dwell on that hurt and be depressed all the time. God remains God regardless of what I go through or what I do, and I don’t want anything to cloud my view of Him.

Throughout this day I have been reciting verse 4 to myself, becoming more real to me each time. God is with me and He is for me. So, even when it hurts, even when the storms are throwing me all about, yet will I stand and praise my God whose steadfast love never ceases.

Funny thing, though, is that God laid a song in my heart which says, “You turned my mourning into dancing again. You lifted my sorrows, I can’t stay silent; I must sing for my joy has come!” I wonder if this was the same song David that was in David’s heart when he wrote this psalm.pic