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Rooted

Colossians 2:6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

I love the bright yellow of my Moon Cactus. The only issue that I have had with it is that it leans over. Why? After some research, I found that the Moon Cactus has a short life span because it’s roots are shallow. The roots of the Moon Cactus will never grow deep enough to allow the cactus to stand up straight. I have tried to bury it deeper in the soil, but it still leans pathetically. In my research I found that the only way for the Moon Cactus to grow deeper roots is for it to be grafted into another plant with deep roots (the example given was a dragon fruit). If it shares the roots of another stronger plant, it will flourish and stand strong.

It reminds me of us as Christians. We are the Moon Cactus. Our roots will be shallow and we will lean over if we are not grafted into something with a deeper, stronger root.

John 15: 1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:1-8 tells us that Jesus is the true vine. In order for us to stand strong, in order for our roots to grow deep enough to withstand the storms of life, we need to be grafted into the one true vine, Jesus. If we want deep roots, we must remain in Jesus.

How do we remain in Jesus?

  1. Study God’s Word- We need to know the Bible. Even the Devil knows the Bible and he will use it against us any chance he gets. In order to remain grafted into the Vine, we need to study and meditate on the Word of God, so that we can defeat the Devil before he defeats us.
  2. Pray- We need to be in continual prayer as we go about our day in order to withstand the spears that will come against us in the course of the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually. Prayer is a conversation with God. When we enter into prayer on a continual basis, we become as one with God. Praying continually brings intimacy with God (Jesus) and we find that it is easier to remain in Him as we live our lives in this world of chaos.
  3. Give Thanks- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. We are not to just give thanks when our lives are going great and we are on top of the world. We are also to give thanks when we have hit rock bottom and our lives are falling apart. If we want to remain in Jesus, we must find the good in the bad. We must thank God for the trials that work to make our faith stronger and our roots deeper.
  4. Build Community- We need the fellowship of other Christians to keep us strong and standing tall. We need to be active in a local body of believers in order to be fed the Word of God and to be watered by the support and community of the Church. When we serve others and allow others to serve us we will find ourselves growing a deeper relationship with Jesus and the end result will be deeper roots.

I don’t want to be like the Moon Cactus with it’s shallow roots and short life span. I want my roots to be deep enough that I can withstand the storms of life that threaten to take me down. I want to stand tall in my faith, knowing that because I am grafted into the Vine I can withstand anything. I want to remain in Jesus, so that Jesus will remain in me.

Challenge: As you go about your life this week, I want you to dig into God’s Word. I want you to pray as you go about your daily activities. I want you to give thanks in the good and the bad. I want you to find a local church that you can build community with. You will find that as you intentionally make the effort to remain in Jesus your roots (and your faith) will grow deep enough and strong enough to withstand any storm.

I remember growing up watching those movies and T.V. shows where there is a definite theme of good vs. evil. I would pretend I was Wonder Woman or one of Charlie’s Angels chasing the bad guys. I cheered on Daniel LaRusso in the original Karate Kid and rooted for the girl being bullied by the mean girls. Unfortunately, this theme of good vs. evil isn’t just a topic picked to make movies more interesting. It is an issue that we live with on a daily basis in real life. We choose on a daily basis good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell, purity vs. sin, or God vs. Satan. It’s a choice that we all have to make. Will we serve God or will we serve the world (Satan)? Will we have a relationship with God or will we have a relationship with the world (Satan)? There is no escaping this decision, because when we die we will either go to heaven or we will go to hell. 

I was raised in church and even when I was young I never really considered a life separate from God. I was baptized when I was nine and although I didn’t always live according to God’s will, I always knew that I wanted (I needed) a relationship with God. When I compare the characteristics of God to the characteristics of Satan, the decision is easy. 

The characteristics of God:

God is love (1 John 4:8)

God is peace (Ephesians 2:14)

God is joy (Nehemiah 8:10)

God is compassionate (Psalm 116:5)

God is forgiving (Daniel 9:9)

God is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18)

God is our refuge (Psalm 46:1)

The characteristics of Satan:

Satan is the evil one (1 John 2:13)

Satan is the deceiver (2 Corinthians 11:14, Genesis 3:13)

Satan is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11)

Satan is a murderer (John 8:44)

Satan is a liar (John 8:44)

Satan is wicked, violent and proud (Ezekiel 28:14-18)

Satan tempts us to sin (1 Corinthians 7:5)

In this life, we have to choose God or Satan. We have to choose to have a relationship with the God of the universe who loves us or the deceiver of the world who causes chaos and violence. John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life in heaven with Him. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us that our enemy (Satan) prowls around looking for someone to devour. 

Even though I was raised in the Church, I came to a point where I had to make the decision for myself, who I would serve. It was never a question for me who I would serve. I knew enough of God’s goodness to choose to serve Him always. God has blessed me in so many ways over the last 21 years as a single mom. Is life always perfect? Absolutely not. There have been dark days when I thought that God had left me. He had not. When I focus on Him and not on my situation I feel His presence and His peace. God loves me. Satan wants to destroy me. Why serve someone who wants to destroy me? I believe in what the Bible tells me. I have felt the love of God in my life. I have seen God answer my prayers and I have the faith to believe in what I can’t see. I also see the hatred, the anger and the violence caused by the Devil. I see the fighting in the streets, the division of God’s people, and the killing of innocent lives. This is all at the hands of Satan. Why would I serve or be in a relationship with someone like that? Why would you? I choose to serve God. I choose to be in a relationship with God. 

Who are you currently serving (God or the world (Satan))? Why?

Reflect on the characteristics of God and Satan. 

Does knowing the characteristics of both change your mind in either direction? Why?

Now that you have a different perspective on serving God or Satan, what are your thoughts?

If you have been in a relationship with the world, I want you to reflect on how that has been for you. 

Are you struggling with sin? 

Are you trying to fill a void that nothing on this earth can fill?

Are you willing to give God a chance?

If you do not have a relationship with God or do not believe in God, I challenge you to give Him a chance. Pray and start a conversation with Him. Open the Bible and let His word breathe His LIFE into you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

God’s Miracles

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Psalm 33:6

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 90:2

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Revelation 5:13

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Psalm 95:6

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

John 1:3

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

1 Corinthians 8:6

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

When I took the picture shown above, I started to reflect on creation and how AWESOME God truly is. The perfection of the flower and the bee left me in awe of God’s goodness and power. Read the scripture verses above and let the goodness and AWESOME power of God sink into your spirit.

My best friend and I took an 8.5 hour road trip to North Carolina last weekend and the Holy Spirit used the experience to remind me how some common events on the road can be lessons in our relationship with God:

Wrong Turns– I remember in the early days of the GPS when a wrong turn was taken and I would hear the GPS say, “re-calculating.” There are times in life when we take a wrong turn and need to re-calculate. Those wrong turns take us away from where God wants us to be and we need to pause in prayer and figure out how to get back to where God wants us. The lesson: Wrong turns are inevitable. We need to know how to re-calculate and get back on God’s path.

Speeding– I have to admit that out on the open road, I will speed. I realized though, that when I go speeding past everything, I miss seeing the beauty that is around me. It is the same way in life. When we speed through life, we miss the beauty of building relationships, seeing the goodness of God in the world, and growing roots right where God has placed us. The person who speeds through life will not grow roots. They will not have strong, intimate relationships. They will not build that community with other believers. They will end up alone. The lesson: We need to learn how to slow down and enjoy the blessings and the beauty that surrounds us. There is so much goodness in this world, but in order to see what God wants us to see, we need to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Roadblocks– Roadblocks are part of a road trip. We will come across accidents, speed traps, construction work and other inconveniences that will slow us down or make us stop altogether. There are times in life when we will come to a roadblock or obstacle that may slow us down or stop us altogether. Sometimes that roadblock may be from God for our own good or they could be from the enemy to keep us from fulfilling God’s will for our lives. Roadblocks can be physical or they can be feelings, such as, fear. Prayer is the only way to handle a roadblock. Praying boldly and trusting God to help us in our time of need. The lesson: Instead of whining or complaining when we encounter a roadblock, we need to use the time to kneel in prayer and stand strong in faith, trusting that God will work all things out for those who love Him.

Road Signs– Road signs tell us important information. They tell us the speed limit. They tell us where gas stations and restaurants are located. They tell us where tourist attractions are located. They tell us when construction workers are present. They tell us when our turn or highway is coming up and they give direction. Road signs are important on a road trip and they are equally important in our life. Our body tells us when we are getting sick. We may see road signs when our job is coming to an end or we are in need of a change. The Bible can be considered God’s road sign to us. When we read it, we read God’s warnings of living in sin and we can read of His promises when we live according to His will. The lesson: We need to pay attention to the signs around us that give us information. We need to read and meditate on the Bible in order for us to understand God’s road signs that guide us in our lives.

Exhaustion– Exhaustion on the road can lead to accidents and even death. We should not drive if we are too tired to function properly. God wants us to rest. We will not be able to function properly in our lives if we are exhausted. If we keep going we will make ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally sick. Any of those can lead to death. We need to rest in order to continue to stay healthy and serve others according to God’s will. We can not effectively do God’s will if we are too tired. The lesson: Rest! God rested on the seventh day after He created the earth and everything in it. Schedule time every day to rest in some fashion. Schedule time away every couple of months to recharge your batteries.

Sharing The Road– Sharing the road is part of going on a road trip. More than likely there will be other drivers on the road with you. How will you act towards them? If another driver cuts you off, will you graciously give them space or will you angrily flip them the bird? Do you give semi’s room to get in front of you or do you speed up so that they don’t have the room to get over? How you share the road is an indication of how you share your life. God wants us to be gracious, to show mercy and love. We are to be compassionate and make sacrifices if needed. The lesson: We will always have other people in our lives. God wants us to treat others with love. Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love each other. this is the #1 commandment!

The Big Picture– I sometimes get frustrated with the GPS because it only gives one step at a time. It won’t show the big picture. I often like to see the big picture when I am going somewhere to make sure that I am on the right road. It’s that way in life too. God will often only give me one step at a time, knowing that seeing the big picture would most likely overwhelm me and send me running. I am learning to trust in only getting one step at a time. When God puts a task in front of me, I obediently do it and then He gives me another task and soon I see where He is taking me. The lesson: Be content with taking one step at a time. Seeing the big picture can be overwhelming and may cause you to stop in your tracks.

I love how God can use every experience to teach us important life lessons. Even a road trip can be used to teach us how to live a more fulfilled Christian life. If we open our hearts and our eyes, we will see the lessons of God at every turn. I will call it living discipleship. I will call it the Holy Spirit. 

I have shared a little about my financial situation as I step out in obedience to God and start LIFE Single Mom Ministry. I had a full-time job for 8 years and I was miserable. I knew that I was called to do more, but I lived in fear of failing. I had more fear than I had faith. In May of 2019, I left my job and moved to Georgia to live with my daughter, Kiowa, for 10 months. Although, God brought me back to Terre Haute, Indiana the move was necessary. It was a time of discomfort and pruning, but it was also a time of a deepening of my relationship with God and a growing of my faith. It has been just over two years since I left my job and I have not run out of money as I have worked on establishing LIFE Single Mom Ministry. I have lived frugally and I have/am living on the kindness of others. I give and I contribute as God leads. I also pay for all of my own personal needs. In two years I have not been under $1,200.00. God provides as I step out in faith.

I do NOT have an income as I step into the role of full-time ministry leader. I have at times allowed the negative comments of the naysayers to plant a seed of doubt in my mind. Words like, “You can’t live like this” or “It isn’t Biblical” or “You are just lazy” and “You need to get a job and contribute”. In those times, I have to trust in what God tells me and NOT in what those around me say.

In my study of 2 Corinthians chapter 9 this morning, God blessed me with this promise:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

If we give generously, remembering that ALL THINGS belong to God, then the promise is that God is able to bless us abundantly, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that we need, we will abound in every good work. This is the promise that I hang onto.

The other promise that I hang onto is Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

And Malachi 3:10

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

And Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

And 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

And Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And John 15:7

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

I obey God, not man.

I live for God, not man.

I seek God, not the approval of man.

I trust in the promises of God, not in the words of man.

This is my testimony. I will step out in faith and obedience to the one and only God, trusting Him alone.

We can ALWAYS put our trust in the promises of God. Seek God’s Word and know that He will never lie to you!

Are You Married?

As a single mom, the one thing that has always bothered me about the Church as a whole is the focus on marriage. You can walk into any church and know that couples will be accepted more readily than a single person. This makes sense I guess. Through the ages, marriage has been the normal progression of life for the majority of people. But, times have changed. People are NOT getting married as quickly as they once did, marriages are dissolving at an alarming rate and parents raising children alone are now the norm. Society is changing. The Church, however, is not.

There is one church that is trying to change the perspective of it’s congregation and I am blessed to be a member there. This past weekend at Terre Haute First Baptist Church, we met the candidate for our Associate Pastor of Discipleship position. He has experience in working with different age groups and I was very impressed by him. He was giving us some practical advice to carry with us in the week ahead and I was struck by the wisdom of his words.

He said (paraphrased):

“When you meet someone new this week, instead of asking, ‘Are you married?’ say, ‘Tell me about your family’.

Something so simple can break down those barriers to building a relationship that God can work through. When I approached our pastor about starting a single mom ministry, I mentioned the apathy of the Church towards the single mom. I mentioned that the majority of single moms do not feel welcome in the Church. He answered that (again I am paraphrasing here) the Church has held tight to the tradition of marriage and has a difficult time accepting anything different.

When a single mom walks into a church with kids in tow, the assumption is that she is married. If you ask, “Are you married?” you will push her away. If you say, “tell me about your family” you will open the door to a conversation. I can tell you this because of my own experiences with the dreaded “are you married?” question. My typical answer now is, “I’m married to God.” This answer is my truth.

The latest statistics say that 85% of the 15 million single moms (raising 22 million children) in the United States do NOT attend church. We need to do more to bring in the single mom without adding shame. Marriage is the ideal for many people, but not for everyone. Without knowing the single mom’s story, that one insensitive question can remind her of the pain of an abusive marriage, a failed marriage, the shame of a one night stand, etc. We need to have compassion from the moment a single mom walks thru the doors of our churches. We need to build a relationship with her. Yes, we may have to confront the sin, but from a place of compassion and love following the example of Jesus.

“Tell me about your family” Gives her the option of telling you what she wants you to know right now. Help her to feel safe in the conversation. The rest of the story will come when she feels comfortable enough to share it.

The Church should NOT treat the single mom as someone to ostracize. She should not be shamed and made to wear an invisible, but still flesh burning scarlet letter. Her children should not be treated as though they are “less than” because they are being raised by a single mom. The Church MUST do better if we are to change the heartbreaking statistics.

Traditions can be changed. Ideals can be changed. Sometimes they must be changed to keep up with an ever changing society. The Church can change, but we must be willing, as Christians, to change our perspectives. We must be willing, as Christians, to embrace other lifestyles that may challenge those long standing traditions of the Church. It can be done. If we are open to showing the love and compassion of Jesus. If we are open to letting go of our own preconceived ideals of what a family should look like.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAMILY

Our pastor recently shared a story that had a profound affect on me. Below is my paraphrased version:

A family was visiting a beach where the young son was happily finding shell fragments. Before long his small hands were full of the broken pieces. A little further down, the family came upon a beautiful starfish that that washed up on the shore. The dad told the little boy to pick up the star fish. The boy looked at both of his hands that were tightly grasping the shell fragments and then he looked at the beautiful star fish. His parents could see the dilemma their son was struggling with. Should he let go of the broken shell pieces in order to grasp the fully intact wonderful star fish? Or should he hold tightly to what he already had and let the bigger prize go?

This story immediately made me reflect on my own struggle to let go of my worry over my finances. This is not a new struggle for me. As a single mom working low paying jobs, I have always struggled with money and I have always been more inclined to keep my money clinched tightly in my fists rather than trust God to work through my obedience. Have I ever gone without? No, I haven’t. God provides as I continue to deepen my faith in Him.

It was easy to trust Him when I had a job and steady income. I knew where my money was coming from. I trusted my own ability to provide through my job. It isn’t as easy when you are working on starting a ministry that God placed on your heart many moons ago and you are no longer employed in the traditional way. God continues to provide for ALL of my needs (and even some of my wants), but I have a tendency to cling to my money. I try to call it being a good steward, but the fear I feel when spending/giving any amount of money says otherwise. I am tightly clinching my money because I am afraid that God will at some point either forget about me or decide to quit providing for me. The idea of either one terrifies me!

God is working on me. I have given to the church and other ministries/family as God has led. I help those in need as God leads. I will admit that there is still that inner struggle as my money passes through my fingers, but I know that if I am giving in obedience to God that I can look forward to seeing that blessing.

In the last several years God has stripped me of many material possessions. I struggled each time I had to let go of a piece of furniture, dishes, a car, and my money. These are the shell fragments that I clinched tightly in my hand. The beautiful star fish in my life is God and the blessings that God pours out on the lives of those who love and believe in Him. I still struggle to some degree with the money. I have yet to fully let go of my grip and trust God to provide. I am getting there. Every day there is progress. Every day I grow in faith. Every day I loosen my grip just a bit. I know that God is patient to wait for me. God loves me and His compassion is unfailing.

What are you holding onto today that you need to let go of?

What are the shell fragments in your life that you are tightly clinching in your fists?

What is God asking you to do to loosen the grasp you have on those fragments?

Will you obey Him?

Is the sight of the beautiful starfish (a relationship with the one and only God of the Universe) enough to get you to let go?

I challenge you to answer the above questions and to let go of the shell fragments tightly clinched in your hand. God is patiently waiting for you. He loves you and He is compassionate. Trust Him to bless your life as you obey Him. It will ALWAYS be worth it!

I was blessed to be featured in a Single Mom Spotlight for Arise Single Mom Ministries. Arise Ministries is based in Oklahoma where they minister to local single moms, but they also have a national presence through conferences and online Bible studies.

Below is the article I wrote for the Single Mom Spotlight:

As reality sank in and I realized that my marriage was over, I became terrified of the future. I was afraid of having to raise my kids alone. As my dreams of a country house with a white picket fence disappeared, I found myself dreading the days to come. What was I supposed to do now? The future stretched out in front of me like a barren desert, and I felt hopeless.

I’ve been a single mom 20 years now. I understand the road you might be walking on today. Like me at one time, maybe you’ve lost hope for the future or you feel your life will never be the same. Well, the truth is your life will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. In fact, God is doing a new thing!

If you’re finding yourself in the wasteland today, maybe these five truths will jumpstart your journey in a new direction. They helped me, and I know they will help you as well.

1. Forget the former things. This is a direct command from God. Don’t dwell on the past. We’re instructed to let go of the anger, bitterness, hate, and any other negative feelings taking up residence in our hearts. Start looking ahead to the promises the future holds for your household.

2. Have faith. We can choose to believe God wants only the best for us. I can testify that God has shown up for my kids and me in ways that were sheer miracles. He has provided and protected us. He has given me a passion for writing and for serving single moms. This new mission keeps me going when times get tough.

3. Change your perspective. This can be hard, but there are times when we need to make the best of a bad situation and find the good in what seems to be an impossible circumstance. When we focus on the positive, we improve our own mental health and the emotional well-being of our kids. God is providing a new way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The future is a blank canvas, and we get to choose if we want to embrace it.

4. Build community. Community is so important. It can be difficult to walk into a church alone with kids in tow; however, we need a church family to love and support us in our role as a single mom. So don’t give up searching for the right church for your family. Ask God to lead you to the right faith community that will become a village for you and your kids.

5. Create traditions. This new season is a chance to develop new traditions. What a fun opportunity for your family to think of creative Saturday morning activities and new ways to celebrate holidays and birthdays.

Yes, things have changed and the future can look like a wasteland. But remember, God is still at work. This can be the beginning of a new adventure! -Patti B.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18

To learn more about Arise Ministries click HERE

Matthew 14:18-21

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 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. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 15:35-37

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

I love these stories of Jesus feeding the masses, but it isn’t the miracle itself that touches me. It is the simple act of giving thanks. Jesus gives thanks for the miracle BEFORE the miracle happens. He knew how many people needed to be fed. He knew how little food they had to work with. He also knew that His Father in heaven was a miracle working God and that He WOULD feed these hungry people. Jesus had faith in the miracle.

I know what you are thinking. We aren’t Jesus. Maybe that worked for Jesus, but what is the guarantee that it will work for us? There is no guarantee. God does what He wants to do, but Jesus set the example that we are to follow. Giving thanks before the miracle is all about faith. It is all about following the example of Jesus and trusting God to work the miracle according to our faith.

When we give thanks BEFORE the miracle happens, we are building our faith muscle. We are saying to God, “I trust you and I believe that you WILL work in this situation.” When we give thanks before the miracle, we feel the burden lifting and a peace falling over us. God IS at work!

CHALLENGE: Give God a chance! Give thanks BEFORE the healing. Give thanks BEFORE you get the job. Give thanks BEFORE your marriage is restored. Give thanks BEFORE God provides for that emergency need. Give thanks BEFORE your child is saved. Give thanks BEFORE and watch how God works in your situation.

I was blessed with the opportunity to write a guest post for faithcoffeeandakid.com. Chere Williams is the founder of a single mom ministry that hosts conferences, workshops, and podcasts. I was so excited to be able to minister to her single moms through the written word!

I was participating in a single parent retreat weekend in June of 2006 when God ignited a passion in me to serve the single mom. That is where it began and now, here I am 15 years later starting a single mom ministry in my church. FINALLY! It’s finally coming together. I will be working full-time serving single moms and it only took me 15 years! I know! I hear you asking, “what took you so long?” To read the rest of the article click HERE.