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Posts Tagged ‘loaves and fishes’

Holy multiplication

As I spoke to that mom, on Christmas Eve, she shared her own loaves and fishes story.

Things had been tough financially … really tough. Every cent was going into bills, mortgage, fuel for the vehicles and groceries … and the New Year was not looking much better.

Oh, corners could be cut, and pennies could be pinched, but providing the usual Christmas trimmings for the kids was looking impossible to this mom.

As I stood facing her, on the 24th of December, her smile was wide, and a magical light emanated from her eyes.

Generous gifts of money had been sent from the grandparents to be divided among their adult kids and grandkids. So, the mom set to work, spending the expected amounts on the kids, from the grandparents. What remained, that which was intended for she and her husband, she used to buy stocking stuffers and gifts.

In her heart and mind, Christmas was saved, by the generosity of her the grandparents, as well as by God, who from her perspective, orchestrated the provision of every penny. Her words to me were, “I didn’t even have any loaves and fishes, yet my nothing was multiplied in the most miraculous ways.”

Oh, there was nothing under the tree for this mom and her husband, but her mother-heart was full of excitement and joy, that nothing in a gift bag or shiny paper could fulfill. She knew in her heart that what she had received :

  • came from a God who cared even about stocking stuffers
  • was the gift of giving

The model of giving was provided by God … He gave. As Christ-followers we are to follow His example … we give.

And so we are encouraged to share, to give …

not from our excesses,

from our want, and in the anticipation of God’s provision.

It’s a thing of faith, not of sight.

“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
John 6:5-14

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The other day in my post, The Gateway to the Soul , I wrote about our eyes being the lamp of the body. Today I am focusing again on eyes.

In our household we have a variety of eyes. There is our ‘faux son’ (an International student who we parent while he is here) from China whose eyes are a deepest brown, almost to the point of black. My oldest daughter, son and hubby all have blueberry eyes, simply the bluest blue I have ever seen. My younger daughter and I have eyes that, although are blue, can change color, depending on our moods and what colors we are wearing.

There is not much sweeter thing in life, for me, than to look into the eyes of those I love, and see them staring back at me … of course if we are in the midst of battling each other we are still eye to eye, but it is not so pleasant.

Looking into another person’s eyes is truly an intimate act.

In the Bible’s story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, we get to see the power of eye contact.

So, the disciples are out in a boat, after attending to more enormous crowds who had come to see Jesus … and they didn’t pack a lunch! But Jesus had compassion on them, and worked His magic, and voila … from two loaves and five fishes, a meal for five thousand!

Back to the boat …images

Jesus sent His twelve out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and he climbed back up to hill to pray, and be alone with His father (aka. Father-Son time), saying He would meet up with them later. I have to say, I really wonder how the twelve thought that He was going to meet up with them? Surely they did not expect Him to come prancing on top of the water? What were they thinking?

Later that night, they see a really bright light out on the Sea. Remember this is before lighthouses, so this was not a normal sighting! They thought it was a ghost, a spirit … something not good.

Jesus identified himself. Then Peter, oh Peter, said something like, “if it’s really you, tell me to come to you,” so Jesus invited him to catch some waves.

Peter stepped out of the boat, and was actually doing it, he had heard Jesus words, looked to where He was, and stepped out of the boat, “but when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30). Peter could not have “seen” the wind if he had not taken his eyes away from those of his Savior. His little faith was not in his fear, it was that he moved his eyes off the one who could calm the storm inside of him.

How often do I take my eyes off the one who can keep me afloat? In my relationships? My finances? My future? When I keep my eyes fixed on my only hope, I stay afloat. Bad things still happen, but I have the constant reminder that if my eyes are on Jesus, I will not drown.

When we can look into the eyes of another, we are trusting our view to the other person, we are in a sense making ourselves vulnerable, giving our time and attention to the other person. Looking into another person’s eyes is truly an intimate act.

images-2

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Nicholas Winton

Sometimes we hear a story of one person, doing one thing, which gets multiplied much like the Biblical story of the loaves and the fishes.

This is the case in the story of Nicholas Winton.

Nicholas Winton was born and grew up in London, England to German parents, of Jewish background, who had converted to Christianity.

In 1939 there was war in the air.

At the end of 1939, Nicholas traveled to Prague to assist a friend in the refugee camps. This was just weeks following Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), when Nazi soldiers and German citizens attacked the homes, businesses and synagogues of German and Austrian Jews throughout the two countries. Many people were injured, killed or taken to concentration camps. The Final Solution was underway, and Winston’s eyes were opened to where Hitler’s plans were certainly going.

With the help of a handful of friends and family, Winston quickly set up “The British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Children’s Section.” This group raised money, found foster homes, and did all of the footwork to move children, by train, to the safety of families in England and Sweden.

As I was reading about Winston, and this horrific time in history, I found myself wondering how parents, how a mother, could hand her child over to the hands of a stranger. Then I realized what Winston and the parents of these children must have also realized … there was no hope for the future if you were in Czechoslovakia, and Jewish, at that time. Still, imagine the tears as final farewells were said …

And so, working from a hotel room, parents came, the arrangements were made for their children to be taken away to another land, to unknown foster parents. Six hundred and sixty-nine children were given safe passage to their new homes, their new families.

The largest number of children sent at one time was on September 1, 1939 … the day Hitler invaded Poland, all German-controlled borders were closed. The train, carrying two hundred and fifty children, left the station in Prague … the two hundred and fifty foster families awaiting their arrival in Liverpool waited … never was any child from that train heard from again.

Books have been written and movies have been made (one, Nicky’s Family, was just released this year) about the story of Mr. Winton. In June of this year, at the age of one hundred and four, Sir Winston said in an interview, “if the people lived by the fundamental ethics of goodness, kindness, decency, honor … the world would be a different place.”

In that same interview with Mr. Winton, he stated that his family now numbers about seven thousand …

loaves and fishes … a great miracle happened here!

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