Feeding of the Five Thousand

Next week in our chapel services, I will be sharing from Mark chapter 6.  This passage records for us how Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 by multiplying five loaves and two fish.  Jesus had been teaching and preaching all day to a large crowd.  When supper time rolled around the disciples asked the Lord to send the crow away into the nearby towns so that the crowd could get something to eat.  How surprised they must have been when Christ told His disciples that they should feed the crowd.  The disciples replied to His command, “We don’t have hardly anything to give them and we certainly can’t afford to buy enough sandwiches for a crowd this big!”  Christ urged His followers to see what resources they did have and to bring those resources to Him.  When the disciples brought forward five loaves and two fish, Christ took these meager resources, blessed them and miraculously used them to feed everyone – with 12 baskets of leftovers remaining after everyone had eaten!

I love this passage of scripture and the lessons it provides.  I love how it demonstrates to us the care and compassion of our Lord as well as His power and His provision  to meet our needs.   Just as He did with those first disciples, Christ also instructs us to be involved in meeting the needs of others.  He invites us to do hard things, impossible things – things we cannot ever do on our own.  But if we give ourselves to Him, if we place our meager resources into His hands, He will bless all that we bring to Him and miraculously use it bless others.

Posted in Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, faith, Help from God, Mark 6: 35 - 42 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God is Able

I was helping with a chapel service the other day at the hospital where I work and one of the songs we sang was “God is able.”  It was a beautiful song and a great reminder of the faith and trust that we can have in the Lord.  The song reminded me of the closing verses of chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  Paul writes:

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

In this chapter, Paul reminds the church of the amazing grace of God the Father who sent His Son to be our Savior.  Paul speaks about the calling God has placed on his life to share the gospel, a calling he cannot do in his own power.  But Paul knows that God is able.  God is able to equip us and empower us to do all that He asks us to do.  Paul then offers up a prayer for the church.  He prays that they would be strengthened by the Lord to walk and work in faith.  Paul prays they would begin to grasp and experience the depths of love, care and compassion the Lord has for them.  Paul prays that the church would know that God is able…able to work in them and able to work through them in a far greater capacity than they could ever imagine.  Our God is able.  To Him be the glory now and forever and ever.  Amen.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Encouragement, encouraging others, Ephesians 3:20, faith, God will help you, God's Strength | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pass It On

I was talking with someone a while back and they shared with me about a very difficult season they endured in the past.  This person testified the only way they survived that season was because the Lord brought them through it.  And while they acknowledged that their faith grew during that season, they said there was an even better result.  That difficult season taught them to have more empathy and show more grace to others who are in a difficult season.  As we spoke, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the church in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4,

2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I love that verse and I love the promise of God’s faithfulness.  Even in dark and difficult times, we can trust the Lord to walk with us, strengthen us and comfort us.  We can trust that He will bring us through those times.  And we can trust that the Lord will use those times to help us grow in our faith and prepare us to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from Him.  We truly serve a loving and gracious God.

Posted in 2 Corinthians 1:3, Christianity, Don't give up, encouraging others, faith, God will help you, God's comfort | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Beautiful Reflection

I love pictures of a calm, serene lake reflecting the beautiful and majestic scenery that surrounds it.  In such pictures, the calmer the water, the more beautiful the reflection.  I believe the same principle holds true for us spiritually.  The more calm and serene our spirit, the better we can reflect the beauty and majesty of the Lord.

Perhaps today your spirit is far from being calm and serene.  Perhaps today the waters of your life are troubled and tossed about.  If so, this would be a good day to turn to the One who can still the waters and quiet the storm.  Allow Him to calm your spirit so that you can once again reflect His beauty and majesty.

Posted in ambassadors, Christianity, Church, faith, Faith during hard times, God's Peace, God's Strength, reflection of the Lord | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord Bless My Family

Lord bless my family,
Be with them today;
Walk close beside them,
Lead them on their way.
Hold their hand in every valley,
Help them climb each hill;
Guide them and protect them,
Help them do Your will.

And while You’re watching over them,
Please keep Your Hand on me,
Help me be the person
That You have called me to be.
Don’t let me ever forget
That my strength comes from above,
May I ever praise You,
For Your mercy, grace and love.

So as we walk along life’s path,
And become distracted by things in our land,
May we remember that You are with us,
That you are always holding our hand.
For the power that binds us together,
Is not based on our strength or what we do,
The power that unites us and keeps us close,
Forever resides in You.

Posted in Being Blessed, Christianity, Church, Count Your Blessings, Draw close to God, Encouragement, faith, family, following Christ, God Answers Prayer, Poem, poetry, prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Flight

Today I have been reflecting on a quote from Maya Angelou.  She says, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

I love that quote and I think that is a great reminder for all of us.  We love butterflies.  We marvel and offer praise when someone is at that stage in their life where vibrant colors are shining and they can take flight easily and effortlessly each and every day.  We acknowledge the beauty of those moments and of those people.  We esteem the butterflies of this world.

But in the midst of that beauty, we often fail to acknowledge the transformation that took place in someone’s life.  We fail to properly esteem the changes, the struggle, and the time spent inching their way along day by day until finally, they made it to that season of transition.  Too often I fear, we fail to appreciate and esteem the caterpillars.  We fail to appreciate and acknowledge that everyone is a work in progress.  We fail to recognize that there is beauty and potential in everyone we meet, not just the ones who shine bright and fly.

Today, I hope that you will shine bright.  I pray that you will fly easily and effortlessly.  And I pray that God will bless you with the capacity to see the worth and value of others, not just those who shine bright and fly easily but also those who are still a work in progress.

Posted in can't go on, Christianity, Church, Encouragement, Give it your best, God is doing a new thing, God's Strength | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Power of Proper Thinking

This week, the power of positive thinking and how it shapes our planning, our efforts and our expectations has been on my mind.  I have had a lot of coaches over the years who have shared their favorite quotes and impressed upon me the benefits of positive thinking and believing that you can succeed.  One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Henry Ford.  He is reported to have said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  In other words, our attitudes and our presuppositions really impact the success or failure of the endeavors we undertake and the dreams we pursue.  If we are expecting success, then we will push through some obstacles and seasons of difficulty that otherwise would have made us give up.   In Proverbs 23:7, Solomon said it like this:

Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

Both of these guys had it right.  It is true; our thoughts and our attitudes really do shape how much effort we place into our tasks and as a result, our thoughts and attitudes impact the results.  Thoughts, whether positive or negative can become self-fulfilling prophecies.   How we think we can shape our desire to persevere, our willingness to keep going and push through obstacles and setbacks in life.  But positive thinking alone isn’t enough.  We need to have proper thinking.  I love the counsel found in Joshua 1:8

Joshua 1:8  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

It’s not positive thinking that makes all the difference; what we need is proper thinking based on the principles and precepts found in God’s word.  That’s the key to perseverance.  That’s the key to overcoming obstacles and achieving success.

My prayer for you today, is that you would dream big, think positively and properly and persevere in everything you do.   I pray that you would let God and His word direct your thinking and your actions.  I pray that you would let God equip you and empower you for all the tasks that He sets before you.  May God bless you and keep you.

Posted in Abundant life, Church, Do Your Best, Don't give up, faith, God's Strength, God's Word, inspirational, Joshua 1:8, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is the Day

One of my dad’s expressions that has stuck with me over the years is “Wherever you are, be there.”  He said it in the context of playing basketball or baseball.  He was trying to encourage me to stay focused, to stay in the game and not dwell on the last shot I missed or the last time at bat when I struck out.  “If you think too much about what just happened or worry too much about what might happen, then you won’t be a part of what’s happening now.”

I’m grateful for those times of playing catch or shooting baskets in the driveway with my dad.  I’m even more grateful for the words of advice and encouragement.  “Wherever you are, be there.”  Yesterday is in the past and tomorrow may not get here.  If we focus too much on either one of those days, we’ll miss out on what’s happening right here, right now on this day.

My prayer for you is that you will embrace today.  Yes, we should learn from the mistakes of yesterday.  And yes, we should plan for tomorrow but we should never let yesterday or tomorrow keep us from focusing on today.  Wherever you are, be there.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Do not dwell on the past, Do Your Best, God loves you, Rejoice | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friends that Don’t Go Places

Friends that Don’t Go Places
(to the tune of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places”)

You can tell by our roots
We still telecommute
And yes, we do our own hair.
Meeting on Zoom,
Alone in our room,
I wear a nice shirt and my underwear…

Lines under my eyes,
From those N95’s
And my ears are both numb from the pain,
I don’t know about you,
But I’ll be glad when we’re through,
But you’ll never hear me complain….

‘Cause I’ve got friends that don’t go places
Unless it’s the grocery store
With masks on our faces
Stayin’ six feet away,
So, we’ll be okay.
Yeah, we’re not big on hand sanitizer
So we’re signed up now for Moderna or Pfizer
‘Cause I’ve got friends that don’t go places.

Well, I hope I’m not wrong
That it won’t be too long,
Until things are just like before,
But in the meantime,
I’ll keep going online,
And have deliveries sent to my door.
Hey, I don’t mean
To cause a big scene
But I need your Netflix password again,
And I’ll sit on my behind
For the very next hour,
And we’ll start to binge…

‘Cause I’ve got friends that don’t go places
Unless it’s the grocery store
With masks on our faces
Stayin’ six feet away,
So we’ll be okay.
Yeah, we’re not big on hand sanitizer
So we’re signed up now for Moderna or Pfizer
‘Cause I’ve got friends that don’t go places.

Yes, I’ve got friends that don’t go places
Unless it’s the grocery store
With masks on our faces
Stayin’ six feet away,
So we’ll be okay.
Yeah, we’re not big on hand sanitizer
So we’re signed up now for Moderna or Pfizer
‘Cause I’ve got friends that don’t go places…

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Good Friday

Today, as I write, it is Good Friday.  It is the day we commemorate the fact that Christ was crucified and would rise on the third day, just as He had promised.  One of my favorite Good Friday scriptures is found in the Old Testament, in

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

As Christians commemorate “Good Friday” we recognize that Christ willingly gave His life as Atonement for our sins.  He was nailed on the cross after having been beaten and mocked and suffering through a sham of a trial.  As John says in his gospel, Christ came unto His own and His own received Him not.  He was rejected.  He was crucified and gave His life on “Good Friday” as the punishment for our sin.  I started to say we “celebrate” Good Friday rather than “commemorate” Good Friday.  In some ways, I am not so sure if that word celebrate applies.  I have so many emotions that go through my heart and my mind when I contemplate what occurred on that day.  I am saddened by His suffering and humbled by the knowledge that my own misdeeds and sins made His very sacrifice necessary.  Celebrate?  In some ways that word does not seem right.  Yet, in another sense, I celebrate that God commended His love toward me in that while I was still a sinner Christ died for me.  In the midst of my rebellion, in the depths of my unbelief, before I ever knew Him – Jesus went to the cross for me.  He gave His life and rose again on the third day.  He died in my place.  He is my Savior.  His sacrifice has brought me peace with God.  In that sense, it is a Good Friday indeed.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, Easter, faith, God's Grace, God's Love, Isaiah 53:5 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment