Waste Nothing

3910415397_5974dca644_z“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’” John 6:12 NIV

Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 is one of the most well-known stories and miracles recorded in the Bible.

We remember the massive crowd of people who followed Jesus to a remote area. We remember the worry expressed by the disciples over how to feed such a large crowd. We remember the boy with five loaves and two fish and how Jesus gave thanks for the food and then had the disciples distribute it to the people. And we remember the twelve basketfuls of food that were amazingly left over. But do we remember what Jesus said (as recorded above) when everyone had had enough to eat?

Jesus said, “‘Let nothing be wasted.’” We don’t know exactly what Jesus had in mind with this instruction to his disciples. Maybe he wanted to provide the people with a powerful visual of his abundant provision and power as the leftovers were placed into baskets. Or maybe he wanted to teach his disciples to fully use all that he provides.

Whatever the full intention of Jesus’ instruction that day, we can apply the lesson of “let nothing be wasted” in our lives today, can’t we?

On a physical level, we can all use a reminder to be good stewards of God’s provision. Unless we’ve known poverty and extreme hardship, most of us occasionally—or even regularly—waste the resources at our disposal. Food gets tossed out, water goes down the drain (literally), electricity flows when not needed, and money gets spent on foolish things at times. So yes, we need this reminder today.

Let’s also consider how this important “let nothing be wasted” lesson can apply to other aspects of our lives as well. What about trials? Let’s not let the hard things in our lives—the pain, losses, disappointments, challenges, injustices, etc.—be wasted. Let’s learn from them or grow in character. Let’s be moved to some positive action.

And what about the blessings in our lives? Let’s not waste an ounce of the goodness God lavishes on us. Let’s fully enjoy and utilize and share them. And let’s continually give God praise and glory for all the wonderful things he does for us.

So friends, whatever comes into our lives, whether good or whether bad, let’s heed that same instruction Jesus gave to his disciples so many years ago: “Let nothing be wasted.”

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14a NIV

*When have you grown through a trial? How have you fully used a blessing God has given you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. I feature a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by K.Hurley, Creative Commons License

One Perfect Way to Pray for Those in Crisis

img_7208“‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:42-43

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest crisis of his earthly life—his impending crucifixion—God showed him his love.  The scripture above allows us to be witness to that tender display.

As Jesus plead with the Father to take his cup of suffering away, yet submitted to God’s will at the same time, we see the Father reach out to Jesus in love by sending one of the very angels of heaven to minister to him. And when God did this, when God showed Jesus his love, it strengthened him.

So when we watch others go through times of great difficulty or crisis—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—one perfect way we can pray for them is by asking God to show them his love. And as God tenderly finds personally tailored ways to do just that, those hurting and struggling will experience God’s loving touch. Those in crisis will be strengthened.

Do you long to help loved ones and others in crisis today? Get down on your knees in prayer and cry out, “Lord, show them your love!”

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*How has God shown you his love in a time of crisis?

*My photo

Midweek Morsel: Staying in Lonely Places

girl-491623_640“ . . . Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places . . .” Mark 1:45

Jesus knows what it’s like to be forced to stay in lonely places. Early in his ministry after people began to hear about his healing powers, crowds began to seek him out any time they caught news of his whereabouts. Jesus was no longer free to stay wherever he wanted. His growing popularity brought new limitations into his life.

Some of us may find ourselves in a situation or season of life that makes it necessary for us to stay in lonely places. For whatever reason, we’re not free to do what we want to do or go where we’d like to go. This new season, this new situation, has brought new limitations.

Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus understands our disappointment and frustration, our grief and loneliness when we lose our freedom? Let’s not face time like these alone. Let’s turn to Jesus. He understands.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28

*What’s one of the lonely places that life has found you in?

*CCO Public Domain Photo

Find Me Leaning on Those Everlasting Arms

3635592950_bd7def414d_zSuch riches, such comfort, such joy can be found in the hymns of yesteryear. Those of us who can still remember the old hymns—or have churches that still incorporate hymns into their worship services—have great blessings at our disposal.

When I was feeling in the need of some extra strength not long ago, the Lord brought one of the old hymns to mind. I needed to lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus so I did. I started singing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, and oh, the comfort and peace that flooded my soul. I immediately thought that I needed to share it with you all.

So whether you’re reading the lyrics of this song for the first time, or if you know it so well you can sing along, be blessed today, my friends, by leaning on those everlasting arms!

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain:
Leaning, leaning,
safe and secure from all alarms;
leaning, leaning,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

(Refrain)

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
leaning on the everlasting arms.”

(Refrain)

—by Elisha A. Hoffman

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”Deuteronomy 32:27a

*What’s one of your favorite old-time hymns? (By the way, if you don’t own a hymnal, I highly recommend getting your hands on one!)

*Flickr photo by Luigi_Alesi, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Short but Powerful Words from Jesus

6774808573_ca3a759623_z“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.” Mark 11:22

Jesus was known for using stories/parables in his teaching, but sometimes his instruction was short, direct, and power-packed. The above exhortation is one example.

These four short but powerful words from Jesus—have faith in Godcame from him after one of the many times amazement was expressed over what he could do, over the power he held. But Jesus doesn’t want us to be surprised when he acts in power or does what he says he will do. His response here shows us that he wants us to have faith, to believe.

Do any of us have a special need for this message from Jesus today? These words he spoke so long ago are for us, too. Let’s hear and heed his words. Let’s have faith in God.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

*Is there something in particular you need to trust God in faith for today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Khanah Hmoong, Creative Commons License