A Desolate Situation Met by a Savior

She had found herself in a desolate place, a deep pit, crying out, but feeling as if no one heard. She tried to escape the trial, instead of allowing Jesus to teach and mold her. She considers places where she could run in order to escape. She devised strategies, based on her own understanding, to better deal with her situation. Yet, in turn, her plans crumbled. Finally, she gave up no longer believing that she could obtain help. Yet what appeared to be impossible was soon to be met by a miracle worker—a Savior, who would not only step into her situation, but also turn it around for His glory, and for her good.  Her hopelessness was met by God’s faithfulness.

Throughout God’s word, we read of countless moments when hopelessness was met by miracles.

Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14

Jesus was stirred with compassion for the masses of individuals He encountered. He realized they were like “sheep without a Shepherd.” He spent time instructing the people as well as healing the sick. Jesus desired to minister to those whom He had created. That evening, the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds to the nearby villages to buy food. When Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, they said they had only five loaves and two fish! Jesus then took the meager meal, blessed it, passed the food to the disciples to give to the people. Miraculously, He fed over five thousand people. (Matthew 14:16-32.) What the disciples viewed as desolate and hopeless the Lord turned into an opportunity to glorify God!

What about you? Are you currently residing in what appears to be a “desolate situation?” Does your trial look bleak? Do your surroundings look hopeless?

The Hour is Already Late.

The second point the disciples made was, “The hour is already late.” But some of the greatest miracles that Jesus has performed have come at the last hour. I recall one time when I was in need of a job with benefits. My current insurance was about to end and I needed a miracle. God moved, I was hired, and the new insurance started, the very next day after the other ended.

God’s timing is not our timing. He will come through for you—but in His timing, and in His way. Remember, He sees the big picture, while you only see the view in front of you. Put your watch down and let Him work.

So send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.

Why would the disciples say to the miracle worker, “Send them away?” Most likely, it was because they were leaning on their own understanding of what needed to be done, forgetting that Jesus could bring a miracle anywhere, anytime, even out of a desolate situation.

What about you? Are you currently trying to run from your trial? Are you thinking of “jumping ship”? Have you given up, thinking God can no longer heal your marriage, fix your job situation, or strengthen family ties? Read on, my friend!

Jesus knew the miracle that was about to take place. He reminded the disciples of a very important truth: He was the miracle worker! A change of scenery would not bring the miracle. Nor would a desolate place stop one from happening.

The disciples seem to have focused more on the scarcity of food than on the Provider Himself.

Jesus stated: “Bring them here to Me.”

Jesus listened to the disciple’s plan of action. He let them talk, share, and describe the dire circumstances. Then He stepped in, took over, and made a powerful statement: “Bring them here to Me.”

How many times do we attempt to fix our own problems, question our Savior’s ability to bring forth a miracle, debate and even declare the impossibility of a miracle in our desolate situation? Friend, Jesus is still saying today, what He said to the disciples back then, “Bring it to Me.”

At the beginning of the story, the disciples saw no way to feed the people. However, after placing the situation in the hands of Jesus, they witnessed the miraculous. After the miracle, they saw Jesus! Yet in all truthfulness, Jesus was there the entire time, even when it looked desolate and hopeless.

Point to ponder: The surroundings or circumstances of our situation do not have the final say. Only Jesus does. Desolation does not remove Jesus from the scene. It provides opportunity for a miracle. Instead of telling Jesus how desolate our situation is, let’s declare how mighty He is! Let your hopelessness be met by your Savior.

“Bring them here to Me.”

About the Writer:
O’Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She is the Executive Director of Entrusted Hope Ministries where she loves serving through speaking and blogging. A member of First Baptist Church, Dallas, O’Shea serves with the church’s First Impressions ministry and teaches the Strong & Courageous Sunday School class for single moms. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and is currently working on her D.Ed.Min at Southwestern in Family Ministries.

 

 

 

 

Impossible

God is the God of the impossible. Let’s name the first three impossible things that pop into our minds! I’ll start: 1) counting to infinity. 2) a giraffe riding on the back of a house cat. 3) a virgin giving birth….oh wait…

In Luke 1:37 the angel Gabriel was explaining to Mary (who was at that moment the future mother of Jesus Christ) she will give birth to our Lord and Savior. When Mary asks how this could happen since she was a virgin (a very practical question indeed), part of Gabriel’s response was “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Wrong Side of the Tracks

Mary was a poor girl from a poor town; she admitted that she was quite ordinary. She had doubts, fears, and other shortcomings. There was nothing she had done to deserve special treatment or earn the right to be called to a service opportunity of this magnitude. To be used by God in this way seemed impossible. But God, the God of the impossible, said otherwise and He chose her to be a part of something that would mark a turn in history.

Read verse 37 again, and this time notice the emphasis I place:

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Did you catch it? Gabriel says “will be” as in, not just then at that moment, but also in the future. God, the God of the impossible, is not done yet. He’s not done in you.

The God of the impossible will take your impossible inadequacies and turn them into something more than adequate. He will take your inability and make you more than able, if you let Him.

Notice Mary’s response after she was told these things by Gabriel in verse 38: “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’” Mary uses the word “bondslave” to describe herself. A bondslave is ownedby their master. Mary chose to completely surrender to the Lord and thereby let Him do His work. Her life was not her own.

Despite what seemed to be impossible inabilities and inadequacies to Mary, she had the faith that God, the God of the impossible, would do what He said. Not only did she have the faith that He would do it, but she also had the humility to accept whatever happened to her along the way.

Purchased

There was an impossible price to be paid for us to live in happiness and bliss forever in Heaven. One that we couldn’t come close to paying off on our own. Thankfully, the God of the impossible orchestrated that His Son Jesus would pay that price for us by dying on the cross for your sins and mine. Because He has done this, He says we are “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Jesus died on the cross to pay off our sin debt and as such we are now, as Mary was, His bondslaves.

Ponder for a moment…what is the impossible thing the Lord is asking of you? What is your response? Are you a bondslave or not?

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

A Baby Changes . . . Everyone

Jesus. . . Just listen to His Name again: Jesus. . . .

The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’ Luke 1:30-33

When I think of Christmas and Christmas characters, my mind thinks about the nativity scene and each individual piece. Typically depicted are a stable, a manger, cows and sheep, Mary and Joseph, an angel, wise men and shepherds, heavenly hosts, the star, and THE baby Jesus. Some nativities come with the baby and the manger as one piece and others with two separate pieces. One with two separate pieces allows a person to hold just Jesus. Let’s hold and look at this character for a moment. I can’t take my eye off this baby. He is the One person that changes everything for us as Christians and is the reason why we celebrate Christmas. . . Jesus was born. This is the baby we are talking about today.

Let’s think, for a moment, about babies in general. Now I have never had a baby, but I have seen what a baby does to the mom and dad. The body of a mother-to-be changes over the course of 9 months. For parents, their time goes from being theirs to the baby’s.  Their finances go from spa days and anything-they-want days to pink or blue blankets, onesies, diapers and more.  Their relationship changes from a “couple” to a “family,” with new holidays to create new memories of their own…everything changes for the better.

This baby not only changed the lives of Mary and Joseph, but Jesus came with an eternal purpose, one that affects you and me to this very day! He came to save you and me from our sins! He would grow up not only to be Mary’s son and a carpenter, but to be the One Luke and others wrote about in the scriptures. Luke records the angel appearing to Mary saying,

You shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. (Luke 1:31-32)

He was the Son of God, born to pay for the sins of this world: my sins and your sins. He was born to a virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. It was not a fancy manger, but a trough for pig’s food—dirty, smelly, and not fit for a king, much less the Messiah. But, still, He came because God loves us and sent Jesus to die for us. He is called Wonderful, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) Emmanuel, God with us—Us! He came for us! He came, to change the life of not only one family, but every family!

A baby.  This baby. Jesus!  He not only changed Mary and her story, but changes everyone who encounters Him.  This baby came to change everyone!  May this holiday season you share spotlight this little baby in the manger, Jesus!
About the Writer:
Jourdan has been a member of FBD for 11 years and sings in the Celebration Choir. She works as a full-time physical therapist and has a heart for medical missions. She loves encouraging others in the Lord and smiling. 

Why do I Have to Wait?

People think I am a naturally patient person. I’m not, especially when it comes to God’s timing.  Even when I know He knows better than I do I often get ahead of Him.  Waiting is hard.  Doing something feels better, and certainly helps me feel more in control.  Even when I know He has plans, I have a hard time stopping and allowing His timing.  My favorite verse in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11:

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’

I claim that verse daily; I have it on my refrigerator.  I have seen over and over how God’s timing is perfect, and yet I hate the waiting.  It’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel natural.  Waiting certainly doesn’t fit in with today’s busy lifestyle.

Elizabeth is one of the best examples in the Bible of what it means to wait.  We don’t know how old she was, but we do know she was advanced in age, which likely means she was past her childbearing years.  Can you imagine praying and waiting for decades for a child with no answer?  And yet, He had plans for her.

This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.  Luke 1:25 

She became the mother of the man who would baptize Jesus.  She became the one woman who could be there in a real way for Mary.  God blessed her in His perfect timing.

Father, help me wait for your perfect timing. Help me rest in your presence, knowing the waiting is important, too.

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

Christmas Traditions That Point to Jesus

Many Christian moms strive to make sure the Christmas season doesn’t get swept away in commercialism, but is truly a time of joy. What an opportunity we have to celebrate with our family the greatest miracle the world has even known!  God coming to earth as a baby named Jesus to rescue us from the curse of this world is worthy of jubilant celebration. Christian moms know this and desire this for our families, but cutting through the expectations of the season and getting to the heart of Christmas can be difficult. What’s the solution?

There is no formula. What works best for one family doesn’t create a mandate for others to do the same. Some mothers excel at and relish in Pinterest-worthy advent projects.  Others find doing simple things like reading stories that point to Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament best for their family. I humbly share a few things our family does with our young children to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps one of these strikes a chord with you or gives you an idea all your own.

  1. Our girls love playing the “Star from Afar” game. My husband and I move the star every night, and the girls wake up each morning to search for the star. Upon locating it, they move the wise men under the star as they follow it on their path to meet the new King! When my girls wake up Christmas morning the star is over the manger and they along with the wise men find the Savior!
  2. We host an annual Happy Birthday Jesus party, normally on Christmas Eve. It’s small and simple. We have a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. We sing a few Christmas songs and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The children put on a play of the Christmas story using things we have around the house like sheets, sticks, and blankets as costumes.
  3. We snuggle on the couch and watch a YouTube video of Joy Williams song “Here with Us” set to scenes from The Nativity Story.

Children thrive on rhythms and routine. Having a few traditions in your family that clearly point to the wonder and awe of Jesus’ birth will seal in the lives of your children the miracle of Christmas. Celebrate and rejoice!

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.