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$/Loaves and Fishes

Loaves in Tabgha Church in Israel, Mosaic: four loaves and two fish,

Recently, my LORD gave me a prompting when I was praying about some personal financial matters. A big bill is coming due, and I do not have enough in my account to pay it. Though I resist the thought to dip into my meager savings, I really have no other recourse.

This choice was disturbing to me. For I would prefer to manage my money without having to depend on my dwindling savings. Yet as scanty as it is, I feel the reassurance of its existence is threatened when I have to use it. The fiery dart of fear edged closer. Attempting to catch me in its trap as it has so often done before. And fear typically brings with it its cohorts of anxiety, and doubting God’s provision, right!

Now that’s the backstory for the prompting I received this morning during my prayer time.

So often during my prayer time, God will remind me of truths that apply to the situations I bring to Him. This morning, He brought to me the story of the loaves and fishes.

When evening came, the disciples approached Him and said, “this place is a wilderness, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

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

“But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him.

“Bring them here to Me,” He said.

Then He commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces! Now those who ate were about 5,000 men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:15-21 HCSB

It was as if God was having a conversation with me. He directed my thoughts to the 5 loaves and 2 fish. And pointed out to me where I fit in this biblical reference. Like the disciples, I felt my skimpy savings was insufficient. I felt this way, having ruled out God’s provision.

God reinforced my trust level with a couple of truths from His word:

Philippines 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

Philippines 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.

(Allow me to interject this tidbit of interesting truth, “there were more than 5,000 people fed that day. Notice the wording “besides women and children!” There is no limit when it comes to what God can provide.)

In addition, thoughts of God’s provision and the peace that would guard my heart and mind was much preferable to the disturbing thoughts of fear, anxiety, and doubt my fleshly sin nature was promoting.

So, this is just an example of the effect of becoming familiar with what God has to say to us in His word, the Bible. By becoming familiar with His truths, in times of need, God will prompt us with what we have stored in our hearts. And my caution to us all, if God’s truths are not stored there, then our fleshly sin nature will get the upper hand. And instead of allowing a difficult situation to teach us more about how to trust God, Satan will use it to steal God’s work in our lives. We do have a choice, you know.

Money or Faith? What do we need more of?

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   It’s the end of the month. You hold your breath as you juggle the figures to see if you are going to be able to keep your head above water. For many this scenario plays out on a monthly basis. 

   Thoughts (or fiery darts) such as despair, fear, and panic have the potential to sap us of any hope that things will get any better. We avoid looking into the future. It’s just too scary!

   All this negativity makes us hard to live with. It’s difficult to focus on anything but our dire financial circumstances. We anger easily, and patience with those we love is in short supply. Worry is our constant companion. 

   In our personal attempts to find relief, we too often fall flat on our face. Even if we achieve that financial relief we are desperate for, it can too often be at the expense of relationships that depend upon us. 

   What I’ve just described is how it goes down for those of us who are ruled by fiery dart thinking. This kind of thinking blinds us to what our greatest need is during a financial crises. Which is:

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FAITH!

   It’s life changing (and not natural) to face a financial crises and say to yourself, “What I need here is more faith!” 

   Admitting we need more faith in a financial crises, will direct our thoughts to verses like the following:

Luke 12:24

Matthew 6:31, 34

Philippians 4:19

Psalm 34:10

   These are some examples of the Truth thoughts that should be ruling our thinking during financial difficulty. Every time a fiery dart thought attempts to take root, reject it and replace it with Truth thoughts (p. 93, 3rd edition FD’S)  like the ones mentioned above. 

   The result will be to give us a new focus, a hopeful focus. We won’t be afraid to look into the future.

   Hey, I know it’s easy to read these words. And I also know that its no easy task to deliberately and persistently reject natural thinking fiery darts with Truth thoughts. 

   But if we do, God will begin working out His plans for us and our money problems will find their solutions in Him. It’s hard to believe this but it’s true! Our greatest need in a financial crises is to trust God with it.