The Value Of Giving Thanks

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I have learnt something very interesting in John 6:1-14 where Jesus fed the five thousand people. I am sure many us may processed the passage like this:

1. 5 barley loaves of bread and 2 small fishes how to feed 5000 people? Like the disciple Philip, we think it is not possible.

2. Philip has wanted very much to keep the portion to themselves (the disciples) and ignore the needs of the rest.

3. How impossible it is to have 12 basketful of leftovers!

4. Jesus created a miracle of multiplication!

It is nothing unusual as we are well acquainted that God is the God of the impossible- He is more than able to create miracles; He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

But, I would like to shed a light to verse 11-13Jesus 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.

Here’s the catch: Jesus GAVE THANKS (emphasis in caps) for the little, and the 5000 people had enough to eat!

(You can also cross reference to Matthew 15:29-39 where Jesus fed the 4000 with just 7 loaves of bread and few fishes- Jesus gave thanks.)

So I have learnt that giving thanks is a key to multiplication! Such is a power of an attitude and heart of thanksgiving in prayer.

Giving thanks:

1. Releases God’s providence- MULTIPLICATION

2. Realigns our perspective on God not on our circumstances- GOD-FOCUS

3. Reminds us about the heart of our Heavenly Father- DEPENDANCE

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:7-11

Having said that, it does not mean God will multiply our material possessions whatever we desire. The miracle of multiplication is meant to advance His Purposes and to display His Glory. If you ask for cell multiplication or more souls to win, the Lord will most surely honour such a prayer. If you ask for a two-fold financial support — not on coveting personal abundance– so that you can run a business that bring Christian values to the world and impact lives for Him, surely God does not withhold?

Instead of focusing on the “little” (whatever that you have or are facing now), be thankful, count your blessings for what you have than what you do not have. Never forget to give thanks for what you are given, and in HIs time, He will bring about something beautiful.

Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, – Ephesians 3:20

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Just Believe

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(Jesus says), ”Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” – John 14:1

A conversation with an ex-collegue who is also a Brother-in-Christ last Wednesday, left me in rumination… “Your job is simply to pray and to just BELIEVE. It isn’t your job to find out what God is doing in your life, nor to question His Sovereignty over why things happened as such… You just have to do your part to pray and keep praying, and simply to believe and take God’s Word as it is. You should pray like you believed!”

I was then led to the verse John 14:1 and a new light was shed- Ever wonder why Jesus repeated, “believe also in Me” when He already encouraged us in the preceding line, “believe in God”, since He is God Himself?

Perhaps to most of us, God seems too abstract a concept to grasp, and He seems like a super-cosmo being that is hard for us to feel or hear Him, let alone to see Him. We have to admit that we are physical being who need to see, feel and touch real things. That is why Jesus has to remind us that He is God in a physical form too- He came in flesh, and scooped down to our level to relate to us so that we can see, hear and feel Him. In other words, through John 14:1B, God is conveying a few key messages:

  1. God in the flesh is REAL AND NEAR so that we know He can emphatise with our present

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; SEE my hands. REACH OUT your hand and PUT IT INTO MY SIDE. Stop doubting and believe.” – John 20:27

God is our refuge and strength, an EVER-PRESENT help in trouble. – Psalms 46:1

  1. God in the flesh arose as an OVERCOMER so that we have the same Hope and Victory

(Jesus says), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” – John 16:33

  1. God in the flesh is the immutable “I AM” so that we can be assured of His unfailing Nature

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM” (John 8:58). “I AM” is a powerful reminder on the nature of God- “I AM” the Almighty God, nothing is too hard for me (Jer 32:27); “I AM” Jehovah-Jireh who provides for your every need (Philippians 4:19); “I AM” the Divine Healer who heals (Exodus 15:26); and the list goes on…

Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) The bible has recorded uncountable miracles that Jesus did in the past, and He will not stop performing those miracles now or in the future. We need to fall back on such history to remind ourselves, forgetful human beings, what God had done and has promised. God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

Last but not least, imagine that Jesus posed a question personally- “Do you finally believe?” (John 16:31), and how would you answer?

Even the Seas, Mountains, Rivers, Hills And the Rocks Obey God!

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I was prompted to turn to Psalms 114. The exegesis of this Psalms is about the Lord’s deliverance for His people:

  1. Leading to a Promised Land (ver 2);
  2. Parting the Red Sea to make way, (ver 3 cf Exodus 10- Fleeing fm the pursuing Egyptians);
  3. River Jordan dried up, (ver 3 cf Joshua 3- Delivering the ark);
  4. Mountains and hills like Sinai seemed to jump like animals (ver 4 cf Exodus 19- the earth shakes and awakens);
  5. God gave living water from the hard rocks in dry places (ver 8 cf Exodus 17- Drawing water from dry rock).

The Psalmist is reminding us of the miracles God had performed- even the Seas, Mountains, Rivers, Hills and the Rocks obey God! Nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 18:27), such is the Goodness and Power of our majestic God. All we need is, a mustard seed of faith (Matthew 17:20) that can command the sea, move mountains and draw and turn water- nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:27).

Roughing out in the pit? Stuck in dead places? Surrounded by insurmountable obstacles? Turn to the Psalms where the psalmists record miracles, deliverance, restoration and comfort of the Lord.

Remember that God is the God of the “mountains” and “valleys”:

“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. and the glory of the Lord will be revealed… and I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” (Isaiah 40:3-5A NLT; Isaiah 49:11 NLT; Isaiah 42:16 NASB)

Who Else But You (The Wonders Of (His) Nature)

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Who alone can set the earth in motion, and the universe be filled, but You. (Gen 1)
Who can command the morning, and cause the dawn to know its place, but You. (Job 38:12)
Who can control the clouds, and flash lightning, but You. (Job 37:15)
Who can still the storm, and hush the waves, but You. (Psalm 107:29)
Who can turn a desert into pools of water, and a parched land into springs, but You. (Psalm 107:35)
Who says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,”and says too to the rain to shower a downpour, but You. (Job 37:6)
Who will oversee the land with its increase, and the trees to yield their fruit, but You. (Lev 26:4)
Who can lift up valleys, lower the mountains and hills; level uneven ground, and rough places a plain, but You. (Isa 40:4)
Who feeds the birds of the air who neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and also provide food for the wandering ravens, but You. (Mat 6:26; Job 38:41)
Who can deliver from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will also deliver from the hand of the Philistines, but You. (1 Sam 17:37)
Who can part the Red Sea and drown all the pursuing Egyptians, and tumble the walls of Jericho to enter the Promised land, but You. (Exo 14; Jos 6:20)
Who can multiply 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes to feed the 5000, or 7 loaves of bread and few fishes to feed the 4000, and much is leftover, but You. (Mat 14:13-20; Mat 15:33-38)
Who opens the door that no one can shut and close the door that no one can open, but You. (Rev 3:7)
Have I not given you the power of life and death by the authority for which you speak and the faith to believe? (Prov 18:21; Mat 10:20; Mat 21:19b; Mark 11:23-24)
Have I not given you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosen in Heaven? (Mat 16:19)
Don’t you not see and realize now? Trust and believe. (Rom 10:11 NIV & NASB)