5 loaves of bread, 2 fish, 5 questions, the ministry walk

5 loaves

Send the multitude away …

You give them something to eat!

We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:12-13

Jesus and His disciples had tried to withdraw from the crowds after learning of the beheading of John the Baptist, but the crowds followed.

Jesus had compassion on the crowd and turned His focus on the crowd of 5,000 men; the women and children were not numbered. All day, He spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed all who needed healing.

Late in the day, the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away to get something to eat and find a place to sleep.

You give them something to eat!

We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:13

Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each. Luke 9:14

Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people.

And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. Luke 9:16-17

This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. We see Jesus in all the Godhead and in all His humanity. In this miracle, we see the walk, emotion, the power, the seasons, and the impact of those in ministry.

5 questions

  1. Time for renewal. There is a time to minister and a time to be renewed. Jesus is our Sabbath, our rest, and we need time alone with Him. Do you know a person in ministry who takes time to be alone?
  2. Time for compassion. Although Jesus and His disciples wanted to be alone, the people looked like sheep with no Shepherd,and Jesus had compassion on them. He put aside His desires to be alone. Compassion, for Jesus, had priority. Jesus later withdrew to pray. Have you put aside your weariness, your grief, to minister?
  3. Time for teaching and healing. Everywhere Jesus went, He taught and He healed. Miracles and teaching. That’s the way Jesus taught His disciples to reach out to people. The church teaches. What if today’s church believed that it was empowered to couple miracles with teaching on the massive scale that Jesus, His disciples, and the early church did?
  4. Time for preparation. The disciples had seen miracles before; they had even performed miracles … healing sicknesses and casting out demons. God always prepares us for the next lesson. Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5,000. Do you suppose that Jesus would have empowered them to multiply the five loaves and two fish if they had chosen to do what He told them to do?
  5. Time for blessing. Jesus looked up to heaven, He blessed the bread and fish, He broke it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Jesus pointed the people to God. Jesus said that “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28 What if today’s Christians looked toward heaven and did everything on God’s initiative?

My prayer for you:

Father in heaven, we look to You as our Provider, our Shepherd, and our Teacher. Drench our every thought with the knowledge of You. Pour out Your Spirit on us. Give us the wisdom that only You can provide. Nudge us to step out in Your power and possess the world for You. We give you the glory. In the name of our compassionate Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen

A mother’s 3 words that guided this woman’s life journey

PietaPatience, Pluck, and Perseverance … the mantra of Mama, and my guiding path as I walked, ran, skipped, stumbled, and climbed through my childhood, teenage years, and early adult years.

My eyes rolled when I heardPatience, Pluck, and Perseverance.”

Later, I came to understand the wisdom in those words, and without realizing it, I adopted the concepts … just gave them different words: wait for the Lord, possess His promises, walk in His power.

As I studied the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, I was reminded of the great love a mother has for her children. I stood there and wept as I remembered that

… Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35

I know that there were times when Mama’s heart was pierced through when we were growing up, either by things we did or by things we experienced. Yet, as Mary, she stood by her children and served them. Patience, pluck, and perseverance.

I’m remembering the many afternoons that she sat with me in the hospital and the times that she sat with my brother in a small hospital in Weleetka, Oklahoma.

I’m remembering how she cared for Daddy in all his illnesses.

Mama’s life’s journey has been one of service, and like Mary, she has shown that her:

soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; …. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.”  Luke 1:46-49

The concept of those words carried Keith and me in the trials, walked us through the challenges, and pushed us towards the mountaintops. Patience, pluck, and perseverance … Waiting, possessing, and walking, step-by-step through the crooked, uphill, downhill, sometimes overgrown path that Keith and I have chosen as our life journey.

My prayer for you

Majestic Father, You have blessed us with mothers who have shown unconditional love to their families, neighbors, and communities. Thank you for our mothers. May we bless them and show them how much we love them. Amen.

May this day remind you of the many way that you have been blessed by your mother and the patience, pluck, and perseverance that your mother has shown in her service to her family and community. Won’t you tell your mother that you love her today?

Surrender all, possess your inheritance, your healing

I surrender all

Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.

My son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. Luke 15:29-31

Jesus told a parable to demonstrate His statement, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 It was the parable of the Prodigal Son.

The younger son demanded that his father divide his wealth between the two sons and give the younger son his portion, instead of waiting until the father died.

The younger son left the family and squandered his wealth. When he found himself in a pig pen longing for what the pigs were eating, he realized that his father’s servants were better off than he was, and he decided to return to his father and ask to become a servant.

The father saw the son in the distance and ran towards him, embracing and kissing him. The father put a robe and ring on the returned son and called for a party.

The older son heard about it and confronted the father.

Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him. Luke 15:29-30

That would be my retort.

My son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. Luke 15:31

The older son already had the fattened calf. He could have killed the calf and celebrated with his friends any time, but he did not take advantage of what he had.

Heirs of the Inheritance

  1. God’s children are heirs of His kingdom. Both sons were heirs. The younger son chose to leave the father, take his monetary inheritance with him and squander it. The older son chose to stay with the father, work in the estate, and build it.
  2. In His presence, God’s children can possess all that the Father hasThe older son worked hard for the Father, serving him. The older son does not speak of the joy of remaining with the Father, of experiencing his inheritance.

Possessing the Kingdom

Before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I meditated on these Scriptures and wondered about my inheritance.

Was my inheritance a life filled with pain and fatigue?

What if I were like the older son in the parable, thinking of my life with the Father as a life of hard work and service rather than basking in the presence of the Father?

But we had to be merry and rejoice,  for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found. Luke 15:32

The younger son spent his inheritance, but he began to live  when he realized his hopelessness and returned to his father, asking to be treated as a servant. That’s when the celebration began, and he entered into the joy of the father. He surrendered all.

Broken, destitute, empty. No hope within the younger son, himself.

No hope within me. The doctors could no longer help me, I had run out of magical cures and ideas of what I could do to make myself better.

The Father healed me when I came to Him as a completely broken woman, telling Him that all I wanted was more of Him, more of His presence.

In His presence is fullness of joy, the fullness of the inheritance of the kingdom.

My prayer for you

Heavenly Father, may we enter Your Presence with abandon. We want to possess all that You have for us. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and guide us as we serve You with gladness and joy.

Won’t you share how you are possessing your inheritance in the Kingdom of God?

3 Christmas verses for you

Nativity

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people Luke 1:68

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:14

My prayer for you:

May our glorious God fill you and your family with awe as you think on the love He has bestowed upon His people. May you be filled with His love to overflowing; may you abound in His peace that passes all understanding; may you bless others widely as you live out the hope that is in you. God bless you. Merry Christmas!

Miracle Rejoicing … Peace Living

“As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: ‘BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” Luke 19:37-38

The people rejoiced that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem because of all the miracles that He had performed. They thought He was coming to Jerusalem to become the political King of Israel.

I rejoice in the miracles that I have seen and have heard of. I have seen friends healed of cataracts and hearing loss, and I have been miraculously healed from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in 2010.

Jesus was about working miracles, and He is about working miracles today. However, I have found that I have sometimes focused upon those miracles instead of the One who performed the miracles. The crowd was focused on seeing more miracles; they were focused on Jesus becoming their King on earth and releasing them from their challenges with the Roman government.

But He had something greater than that in mind. Before He descended the Mount of Olives, He stopped and wept over Jerusalem and said, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42

The things that made for peace included His death on the cross to pay for my sins and for the sins of the world. He would spend three days in the tomb. He would rise and He would promise to give His disciples His peace. The Holy Spirit would descend on the disciples, and empower them to be witnesses of the true miracle .., the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the victory over death and sin … all for you and me!

My prayer for you:

Our great Father, may You fill us with awe and a double portion of the Holy Spirit as we contemplate the true miracle and promise that You have given us. May the Passion Week fill us with a passionate hunger to draw nearer to You and understand in a deeper way what love You have bestowed upon us.

The Lord waits on you

Waipoi Valley in Hawaii

“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15: 20

We know the story. The younger son asks the father to divide up his estate and give the younger son his portion … NOW! What if your child asked you to sell your estate and give him what he would get when you passed away? This father divides his estate and gives his son his inheritance.

The son leaves the family and goes off into a far country and squanders all the money and becomes destitute, eating the food that the pigs are eating.

Scripture says that he comes to himself and realizes that he would be better off in his father’s house as a servant. He decides to return to his father, ask for his forgiveness, and ask to be a servant in the household.

As he returns, his father sees him and runs to him, hugs him and kisses him. He was waiting for him to return.

That’s what happens in our lives. The Lord is always there, waiting for us to approach Him, to shoot up a prayer or say a quick “Thank you.”

He’s there in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. He was there when I had fibromyalgia. Many nights were filled with pain, but those were some of the sweetest times, when I was truly alone, in the silence, in the dark, pouring out my heart to the Lord, reading the Psalms, and feeling His presence.

He is so patient as He waits on you. Our waiting on the Lord is for His perfect timing; it’s entering into His rest.

But the Lord is waiting on you to return to Him, to practice His presence, and in that sweet communion, He empowers you to live in the fullness of His promises, in the fullness of His healing.

Is the Lord waiting for you to return to Him?

A prayer for you

Oh patient Father, thank you for waiting on your children to return to You. Gracious Father, in the silence You are there; in the pain, You are there; in the darkness, You are there, and when we return to You, You run to us, embrace us, and kiss us. May these visitors be empowered to practice Your presence and walk in the fullness of Your promises and in the abundance of Your healing.