Greetings, Dear Friends!
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. This week I'm posting late Monday night because I'll be out of town for the next few days. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So leave a comment, share a story or insight, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!
This month I promised to give away not only a Starbucks gift card but also, a copy of my book, "Balance That Works When Life Doesn't."
And the winners are:
Lisa Wilson, you're the winner of a copy of my book, "Balance That Works When Life Doesn't"
Heather Holterman, you're the winner of the $10.00 Starbucks gift card
Congratulations, girls! Just email me your mailing address and I'll get your treats in the mail sometime in the next week (email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org) Blessings!
Two quick announcements:
In celebration of my newest release, Growing Grateful Kids, I'm giving away a 4G-I-pod Shuffle to someone who posts a book review on Amazon (only one month left on this promotion!). Go to my Facebook page, click on the Free I-pod! tab for more information.
My new radio show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson launched several weeks ago (airs noon to 1:00 CST every Saturday)! My guest this Saturday is bestselling author and minister Larry Christenson. What a wise and godly man he is! We had a great conversation about his new book, "The Mantle of Esther"; we talked much about the power of prayer. Be sure to listen in! For more information, go to: www.Faith900.com
Now, on to my topic...
I'm on the road right now, heading back home from a whirlwind trip in St. Louis. As I prayed about what to share today, this is what the Lord impressed upon my heart:
Remember the scene in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, when Jesus fed four thousand with seven loaves of bread? He had compassion on the crowd of people who forsook their physical hunger just to be with Him for three days. He miraculously multiplied the miniscule resources available to meet the vast need of hunger before Him. Verse eight says that after everyone ate and was satisfied there were seven basketfuls of broken pieces left over! Pause and think about that for a moment.
Jesus and the disciples started with seven loaves. They fed a massive crowd by divine multiplication. And then ended up with seven basketfuls after it was all said and done. We serve a more-than-enough God.
In the next scene the Pharisees meet up with Jesus and demand a sign from heaven to validate Jesus' claims that He is Lord. Jesus' response? He sighed deeply, confronted their motives, and refused to jump through their hoops.
Then Jesus and the disciples got back into the boat and headed to their next destination.
While en route the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them.
They forgot the bread. They made a mistake. Oops.
During their trip, the disciples focused on one thing, Jesus on another. Jesus was still bothered by His encounter with the pharisees and therefore cautioned His disciples about becoming rigid and religious like the pharisees. He said, "Watch out for for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." Watch out! Jesus is saying. Do not let your faith walk stray from a living-breathing faith to one of demands, rules, and regulations. This was an important teaching moment.
And yet, the disciples were self aware at that moment. And so, their minds instantly connected Jesus' comment about the yeast to their mistake about forgetting the bread.
How quickly we do the same thing!
Though our choices are significantly important, they are not everything. When we love and follow Jesus, He forgives our sins; He makes provision for our weaknesses and missteps. He wants us to focus more on His goodness than on our badness. He wants our faith to rise up because of His sufficiency. And yet, we so often lose faith because we are constantly aware of our own insufficiency.
How did Jesus respond to the disciples' earth-bound thinking?
"Why are you talking about having no bread??? Do you STILL not see or understand? Are you hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Twelve" they replied.
"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Seven" they answered.
Then He asked, "Do you still not understand?"
Now let's jump back a couple of chapters. Look at chapter 6 where Jesus feeds the five thousand (with 12 basketfuls left over). In the next scene the disciples are in the boat without Jesus and a storm hits. He walked out to them and the winds died down. The disciples were completely amazed by His power because they had not understood the significance of what He had just done with the miraculous feeding of the multitudes. In fact, verse 52 says, "For they had not understood about the loaves; for their hearts were hardened."
It wasn't enough for the disciples to be wowed by Jesus power. He wanted them to possess an inner knowing that they possessed everything they needed because they had Him.
Okay, I know I'm keeping you a bit too long today, but there's an important message here:
When faced with a storm in life. Have faith! We must discern God's ability to not only carry us through our current circumstances but to show Himself powerful on our behalves. And how do we do that? We consider the significance of what He's already done.
The disciples had too quickly passed over what Jesus had done in their midst. They should have pondered it; remembered it; considered its implications on a much deeper level in a way that altered their core beliefs. Jesus is our divine supply. He is our divine deliverer. He is not subject to the laws of nature; they are subject to Him. We follow the King of Kings. And He will intervene at just the right time with just the right solution.
Jesus is not after a perfect performance in us, He is after our absolute faith and trust.
He forgives our sins - thank the Lord!
He makes up where we lack - thank the Lord!
He knows where we are weak and forgetful - thank the Lord!
He cares when the winds threaten to overcome us - thank the Lord!
He is our God and we are His beloved ones. Thank and praise the Lord!
To stand strong in our current circumstances, we must remember the significance of what God has already done in our midst. He is faithful and He will be faithful again. We have suffered, and we will suffer again. But right in the midst of our heartache and trials, God's power will emerge, His promises will be our treasure, and His provision will more than deliver us.
Have faith, my friend. Our God - right in the midst of where we live - is mighty to save.
~Until next week.