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God’s Hands

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“Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds” (Matthew 14:19, New English Translation).

Matthew 14:13-21 relates the familiar story of Jesus feeding the five thousand with five small loaves of bread and two little fish. We may even consider this a “kid’s story” because we learned it as a child in Sunday school. While it teaches a great lesson for children, it also holds some important truths for us big kids.

This new teacher spoke words like nothing they had heard before. Stories of miracles He performed spread from one to another.  No wonder crowds followed Him across the countryside. On this particular day, the crowd was large—5000 men plus women and children—and the people lingered, even as the day grew late. There were no options for them to get a quick meal—no fast-food hamburger, deli sandwich, or even a gas station hot dog. The disciples said, “Look, Jesus. It’s late, everyone’s hungry, and we’re in an isolated place here. We’d better send everyone away so they can go buy something to eat.”

In Their Hands

The disciples did not expect Jesus’ response. “They don’t need to leave. You can give them something to eat.” What? They had already looked for alternatives, but all they’d found was a little bread and a couple small fish. That wasn’t enough for this crowd. But it was when blessed by the Lord. The bread and fish went from His hand to theirs, and from theirs to the multitude. The disciples became part of the miracle when Jesus placed the food in their hands to distribute.

When I look at everything happening that day—the multitudes, the barren surroundings, the need, the sacrifice of one—there’s one thing that stands out. Jesus involved the disciples in making the miracle happen. At first, they didn’t see the possibilities. They only saw the impossibility of the situation. Then Jesus put the bread and the fish in their hands and used them to feed the masses.

What Do You See?

There may be times when we only see impossibilities. The work God has called us to do seems so great, and the resources we have seem so small. Yet, it’s not what our eyes can see; it’s what He has blessed and placed in our hands. We become part of the miracle when we allow God to use us. Every believer is empowered to do the miraculous.

“I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12, New English Translation).

Hold out your hand. God wants to use you to fulfill His work on earth. If He calls you, He will also equip you to do greater deeds than you can even imagine.

Prayer: Lord, help me to look beyond what seems an impossibility and grasp hold of Your promises for the miraculous. I realize that all power comes from You, but with Your blessing upon my life, I can do great things for Your kingdom.

 

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, New King James Version).

One of the unpleasantries of summertime travel is the detours around road repairs. Oh, road repairs are necessary, but who has time to sit in long lines of slow traffic as we work our way around plastic cones and various pieces of construction equipment. Not me!

One summer my route to work was blocked for several weeks as the city replaced a deteriorating bridge. It wasn’t a large bridge and it wasn’t a major thoroughfare, but it was where I needed to travel every day. I could have allowed the detour to start my day with stress. Instead I decided to enjoy the view of the new route. I noticed the bright, blooming flowers surrounding some homes, watched the progress of a house being renovated, and observed the various styles of homes I passed. I turned an unpleasant detour into a pleasant morning routine.

Life sometimes takes detours as well. All will be going smoothly until we suddenly face a barricade across our path. We are forced to divert onto unfamiliar side streets. Our detour may be a serious illness, a job loss, family discord, or other life-disrupting event. It is difficult to see any good coming from the situation, and our stress levels rise. We do not enjoy this new route our life is taking.

We may struggle with the problems life brings and wonder what good can possibly come from them. Perhaps we have faced a situation for a long time and see no end in sight. But on the other side of the detour, we will be able to see God’s hand was sustaining us all the time. As you go through this detour around the “normal” of your life, realize that He is there with you the whole time, guiding your every move.

Prayer: Lord, sometimes life seems so difficult and I can’t see around all the detours and roadblocks along my way. It’s easy for me to feel lost and alone at such times. Thank You for the assurance that I’m really not alone. You are there protecting me and guiding me around each obstacle. You will bring me safely through.

Devotion by Mary Loudermilk

 

handshake“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;” Ecclesiastes 9:10, KJV

 

I recently dreamed that I was trying to play a song on the keyboard for my son-in-law to sing.  Now I don’t even know how to turn a keyboard on, let alone play anything on it.  If course, if I had the music in front of me, I might be able to pick out the top line and give him a key to sing it in, but that is the extent of my musical ability.

 

As I pondered on this dream, I realized that when my daughter was little, I had a good job and was able to pay for her to have piano lessons.  Now she is an accomplished pianist and is very capable to accompany her husband as he sings.  That was my contribution to help her develop her musical ability.

 

God gives each of us different gifts, skills and abilities.  All He asks is that we give ourselves completely to Him, and use those talents wisely.  He knows the future and will direct our steps. He only expects us to use what He has given us.

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you that you look at us all as individuals, you know the gifts and talents that you have given us, and we desire to give them all back to you.

 

Devotion by Anne Johnst