Sea of Galilee

Play Dough Faith

Play Dough

I used to love playing with play dough. It was great. I mean, first off, the smell of play dough was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Secondly, it felt good to play with because it was so soft… unless you left the lid off the play dough, then it became hard as a rock… and, well, that wasn’t good.

Thirdly, you could make almost anything out of play dough… and with the right colors, you could make food like eggs look legit… well, to a six year old.

When I was growing up, we had a play dough set that, with the right colors, you could make what looked like fried eggs. So one day, as I was playing with the play dough set, the neighbor boy came over to see what I was playing with and told me he was hungry. I told him that I was making eggs and that he should try one.

After a bit of selling him on the idea that these were in fact real eggs, he tried them… he took a bite, started to chew and then spit the bite of play dough right out of his mouth. He obviously hated the fake eggs that he ate.

Yes. I fed the neighbor boy play dough eggs. I don’t know why he actually took a bite, maybe his vision was blurry.

The next day, when I told him I could make him bacon and pancakes, he simply walked away without saying a word.

I didn’t have compassion on this kid at all. It was about me.

There’s another feeding that took place. This one, much bigger than the feeding of the play dough eggs… check it out:

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. - Matthew 14:13-21

You see, Jesus had just lost his cousin… his friend, John the Baptist, because King Herod had just given the order to kill him. Yet, even though Jesus left to be alone, once he saw the crowds the Bible tells us that he had compassion on them. He originally went across the sea to get away, to be alone. Instead, He had compassion on the people and healed their sick.

Hours later, in the evening as it was getting late, the disciples wanted to send these people away to have them find their own supper. But Jesus says something they weren’t expecting…

“They don’t need to go away, you give them something to eat.”

The disciple’s responded by telling Jesus that they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. So Jesus told the disciples to bring them to Him. It’s like the disciples were saying, we can’t get this to work Jesus.

As a parent, when our kids couldn't get something to work, my response was... "Here, give it to me. Let me take a look." And immediately I got it to work and gave it back to them because the father knows what he's doing.

Jesus, then takes the loaves and the two fish, looked to heaven and gave thanks. Jesus knew that His father knew what He was doing and made those five loaves and two fish work.

This act of feeding these more than 5,000 hungry people was another display of compassion. It would have been easy to dismiss these people to find food on their own. But Jesus was filled with compassion.

When Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, he in essence was saying, “have compassion” on them. Don’t send them away hungry. Feed them.

Compassion. It’s an interesting word. It was also part of Jesus’ character. The origin of the word helps us grasp the true breadth and significance of compassion. In Latin, “compati” means to suffer with. Compassion means that someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Someone else’s suffering becomes your suffering. Another’s hunger becomes your hunger.

The Bible tells us over and over to be compassionate.

Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

1 Peter 3:8 - Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Zechariah - This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another…

True compassion changes the way you live. It’s not a once-in-a-while event. It’s a lifestyle. Having true compassion means having true faith in a true God… it’s not play dough faith. It was part of who Jesus was and is. And with the help of Jesus Himself, the Father and Holy Spirit, it can be a part of our character as well.

So the question is, how, in our own life, can we be compassionate with others? How can we show compassion and to whom do we need to show compassion to? God will give us opportunities, it’s up to us to be in a place to be able to see those opportunities and act.


Not Yet

Coffee

It’s the one drink that I HAVE to have in the morning. Brewed. With caramel macchiato creamer… latte… and in the summer time, cold brew.

With the hot coffee, other than a few minutes, I can start drinking it almost right away. But with cold brew, I have to wait. You see, with cold brew, it takes approximately 24 hours to make. From the time I put the grounds in the cold-brew pitcher, to serving time, is 24 hours.

This last batch, Morgan wanted some. So when she asked if she could go get it from the fridge , I said, “Not yet.” It wasn’t ready. It still had time to brew left.

Life can be like that too.

“Not yet,” God says.

You had life all planned out. Your dreams all dreamt up. Maybe from the time you were a little kid…

The type of job you’d have. The type of guy or girl you’d marry. The amount of money you’d make. The family you’d start.

Dreams. Plans. Ambitions. Goals. And… then… God says,

“Not yet.”

Our dreams. Our plans. Our prayers. They’re often what we live our lives by. But too many times, what we are living… our current reality… is far from what we’d wish it were.

“Not yet.”

These aren’t words that I wanted to hear as a kid. And still, as an adult, these are not the words that I want to hear from the lips of God either. Our goals. Our plans. Our dreams. Our desires. We want them now… because we really believe that we are ready for them now.

To become the leader. To start that business. To build that ministry or career. To get married and/or to start a family. We want all of these things so badly… right now. And in the quiet, even dark-like moments God says, “Not yet.”

And you’re left wondering… “Why?” “Why God?”

There was another guy who I’m sure felt the same way. Joseph, in Genesis chapter 37, he had a couple of dreams… dreams from God. And he told his brothers,

Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine. Genesis 37:5-7

And like any great brothers would do, they said, “So you’re going to boss us around!?” And the Bible tells us that they hated him more than ever because of his dreams. Not taking the hint, Joseph told them another dream. This one he said that he dreamt that the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His brothers became more jealous and after he told his father, his father reprimanded him.

These dreams that Joseph had… to be a leader of a great nation. A dream from God. What did God say?

“Not yet Joseph.”

Joseph’s dream was put on hold. He had to wait. Not only did he have to wait, he had to do it in a cistern first after his brothers threw him in there. Then he had to do it from a jail cell. Year after year after year after year Joseph had to wait.

“Not yet”

From 17 to 30. Joseph had to wait. God had a different road for Joseph to travel. It wasn’t a road that Joseph planned on taking. It wasn’t one that he ever prepared for. Joseph could have lost hope. That would have been the easier option. But Joseph didn’t lose hope. Instead, he persevered and served God. And when he was able to face his brothers, the very people who sold him into slavery, he said,

“So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.”

Even though God said, “Not yet,” Joseph still held on to the hope that God offers. God’s “Not yet” aren’t meant to crush our dreams… our hopes… no, His “Not yet” allows us time to grow more before we have what it takes to fulfill them.

God’s “Not yet” isn’t there to discourage us from our hopes and dreams. It’s there to make us depend on God and develop our faith in times of unknown and struggle.

Joseph came out stronger, more humble and with greater faith because of God’s “Not yet.” He was tested and tried before his dreams were fulfilled. And God does the exact same for you… for me.

It’s never easy when God tells us, “Not yet.” But that doesn’t mean that we should lose faith… that we should lose hope. Instead, we can do the three things that Joseph did…

Continue to Wait on God and His timing. (Psalm 27:14)

Continue to Trust God and that His timing is better than ours. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

And Stay on the right path that God has for your life. (Psalm 17:6)

Just like the cold brew I make, if we take it out before it's ready, it isn't as good as it could be if I would have simply waited the appropriate time. God's plan for our lives is the same. He says, "Not yet," because He wants us to be fully ready for the blessings He has in store for us.

Don’t mistake God’s patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and His presence is constant. He’s always with you. Deuteronomy 31:6


We Didn't Start the Fire

I've literally typed up three different blog posts for today. Non of them do any justice to what's happening in the United States of America.

So today's blog will be a virtual moment of silence...

What our country needs, is not more outrage... our country needs more brokenness.

Brokenness about racism

Brokenness about hate

Brokenness about violence

Brokenness about looting

Brokenness about destroying businesses

Brokenness...

When our country and people are broken about these injustices, then true change will come about. That's my prayer going forward, God make me broken for the injustices in our country and use me to help make real changes.

If you choose, feel free to use the comment field to write your prayer below...