However, let this not be a surprise that leaves you in disbelief, but rather one that strengthens your faith. As we reflect on Mark 6, we see how Jesus fed over 20,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, an incredible miracle that defies explanation.
March 20, 2023
The blessings of the Lord shall come upon you and surprise you. (Deuteronomy 28:2)
However, let this not be a surprise that leaves you in disbelief, but rather one that strengthens your faith. As we reflect on Mark 6, we see how Jesus fed over 20,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, an incredible miracle that defies explanation. As the disciples collected the remaining baskets of food, Jesus withdrew to pray, while the disciples continued ahead, filled with amazement and gratitude for what they had witnessed.
In Mark 6, we read about how the disciples embarked on a boat while Jesus stayed behind to pray. However, the boat was caught in a fierce storm, making it difficult for them to navigate through the night. Meanwhile, Jesus walks on water and approaches the boat. Imagine the disciples’ reaction when they saw someone walking on water in the dead of night. Terrified, they mistook him for a ghost and cried out in fear. As we read in
Mark 6:49, “But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out.”
Nevertheless, it was Jesus himself who had come to them, and he spoke to them immediately, telling them to take heart.
In Mark 6:51, Jesus tells the disciples, “Do not be afraid.” As soon as Jesus got into the boat with them, the wind ceased, leaving the disciples utterly astounded. This shows that the moment Jesus enters your life, peace prevails, and fears dissipate. However, verse 52 seems out of place in the story. It says, “For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” What did they not understand about the loaves? It was a simple story: Jesus miraculously multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 20,000 people. The disciples did not grasp the magnitude of this event, and their hearts were hardened, indicating that they were unable to perceive the spiritual significance of Jesus’ actions.
The reason the disciples were utterly astounded to see Jesus walking on the sea was that they did not understand the previous miracle, and their hearts were hardened. Let me explain this with an analogy. I used to be a very serious person, but since I got married to Betty, my life has changed. She is a fun-loving person who loves pulling pranks on people. Over the past six years, we have been married, and I have come to know her as someone who enjoys having fun and playing practical jokes on people. Now, when people come over and she pulls a prank on them, I am no longer surprised because I have six years of history with her. Similarly, if the disciples had fully understood the previous miracle of Jesus feeding the 20,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish, they would not have been astonished at seeing him walk on water. However, their hardened hearts prevented them from comprehending the spiritual significance of Jesus’ actions.
If you find yourself still surprised by what God is capable of, it could mean that you don’t have a personal history with him.
You may not have fully grasped the magnitude of his previous blessings in your life. In the passage, it states that the disciples did not understand the miracle of the loaves because their hearts were hardened. I believe that “rather” is a better translation of “but” in this context. This implies that their hearts were not only closed off to understanding, but also to receiving the blessing in the moment. They were unable to fully embrace the miracle because their hearts were hardened.
Now, why am I saying this? To confirm Alvin’s prophetic word that your life is not moving towards an uncertain future. If you’re uncertain about your future, it’s because your heart is hardened. You may still be trying to figure out if Jesus has actually stepped into your boat. There should be no uncertainty. While you may not know what tomorrow looks like, you can have absolute certainty in the goodness of Jesus. The moment he steps into your life, things get better. Don’t put your faith in your faith or your spiritual practices, put your faith in the goodness of Jesus who has stepped into your life.
And when you take a moment to reflect on all that God has already done in your life, isn’t it marvelous? So why do we still find ourselves complaining about the things we lack? You cannot simultaneously be grateful and complain. I want to teach you how to cultivate gratitude even for the things you have yet to receive. But to do that, you must first learn to be grateful for what you already possess. If you don’t train your heart to appreciate what you have right now, you will always be fixated on what you lack.
God has given you dreams, visions, and promises, and that is truly amazing. However, if you constantly focus on what you lack, your attitude might be one of complaining. It takes great maturity to recognize and correct this behavior. When you catch yourself complaining, take a moment to be grateful for what you do have. Gratitude is like an explosive bomb that spreads beyond its original target. Once you start giving thanks for small things like shoes, you’ll find yourself giving thanks for a lot of other things as well. Gratitude has a ripple effect. If you can start being thankful for what you have right now, things that you can touch and testify to, it will overflow into gratitude for things that you have yet to receive.
Thanksgiving is a doorway that leads you to an overflowing sense of gratitude that leads to faith.
Even if you don’t start with faith, that’s perfectly fine. But if you can be grateful for what you have today, you can move towards faith. Living a lifestyle of faith means giving thanks for what you don’t have yet. It’s a struggle we all face. You can choose to either be grateful for what you have or complain about what you lack. However, if you choose gratitude for what you do have, it can lead you towards thanksgiving for the things you don’t yet have.
Sometimes, just hearing a promise or having a dream placed in your heart can be frustrating. You may question if you heard the Lord correctly. God placed this dream in your heart, and it has not yet come to pass. It’s been 20 years, and it can be really frustrating. So how do you continue on this journey? By seeing what God has already done. If you can be grateful for what God has already done, you can move towards gratitude for what He is going to do.
Psalm 65:11 says, “You have crowned this year with your goodness, and your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.”
This verse affirms that this year is a year of overflow. However, it’s important to note that whenever there’s an overflow, there is usually a challenge to overcome. So, we must be prepared for any challenges that come our way.
That’s why, since the beginning of this year, we have encountered many obstacles because if our destiny is to possess a land overflowing with milk and honey, we must first drive out the giants who already occupy it. So, while it may have been a challenging year from a natural perspective, spiritually we have experienced an abundance of God’s goodness. If the promise is an overflow of God’s goodness, we cannot be ignorant of the giants we must face. The land flowing with milk and honey must be conquered, and the giants must be driven out to possess the houses that they have built. Giants do not dwell in small houses.
So don’t be intimidated by the challenges you face, whether it’s sickness, relational issues, or chaos at home. These challenges are opportunities for you to step into overflow, but you need to have the right understanding of God’s word to have the strength to fight the giants. If you stay rooted in God’s word, it will be easy, but if you don’t, you’ll end up expending all your energy and getting burnt out. A burnt out Christian is a clear indication of not standing rooted in the word.
If you’re feeling burnt out, don’t condemn yourself. Instead, see it as an opportunity to go back to the Word and feed yourself on God’s goodness. Remember that God prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies. When the enemies come against you, you must learn to eat, and the way to fight them is by feeding on God’s Word.
Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
So, if you’re facing enemies and feeling scared, anxious, or worried, it’s okay to have those feelings. But don’t let them dictate your life. Instead, use them as an indicator that it’s time to turn to God’s word and feast on it. Too often, Christians let their feelings become a dictator, allowing fear or anxiety to take control. But by using your feelings as an indication, you can feed on God’s word and be prepared to face your enemies with strength and courage. So, don’t let your feelings dictate you, let them indicate and guide you towards the source of true strength and power.
When you step into an overflow, be prepared to face your giants. So when we declare this year as a year of overflow, it’s easy to feel excited and think of all the great things that could happen. However, don’t be ignorant of the fact that you will have to fight the giants and drive them out. I once heard a story that captivated me. There was a boy who heard the Lord tell him to go to a hill and push a boulder of rock. The first day he pushed with excitement, but nothing happened. The Lord told him to do it again the second day, and the third day he did it again. He continued to push for 10 days with no visible change, but his perseverance in what the Lord had told him to do was a miracle.
And even though the boulder didn’t move, the boy’s obedience to God’s word made him stronger. It’s easy to misunderstand what God is telling us, but if we stay rooted in God’s word and obey it, that’s success. We may not see the bigger picture, but when we trust and obey God’s word, we will be surprised by the results. Like the prophetic word, “In you all nations shall be blessed,” we may not fully understand what that means, but when it comes to pass, we will be amazed by God’s faithfulness.
I know of a mentor who received the same prophetic word that you shall go out to nations and be a blessing to foreigners. He got married to a lady in Britain and was living in London. He became really frustrated with God because he felt like God had promised him all these things, but he wasn’t seeing them come to fruition. He was complaining about it and looking out of his window, seeing all different kinds of people passing by. Suddenly, it hit him that he was standing in his destiny, but he couldn’t walk into it because he was still holding onto a specific picture from that prophetic word and complaining about what hadn’t happened yet.
What I’m trying to say is that God does not tempt us, and we often want to blame the devil for our temptations. However, James 1 tells us that we are tempted by our own lustful desires. So when we feel frustrated and dissatisfied, it’s not necessarily because a prophetic word has not come to pass, but because there’s a gap between our own desires and God’s plan for us. Instead of living in a fantasy and being drawn by our own desires, we should focus on living in the goodness that God has called us to.
The key is to stay focused on God’s goodness and let His word transform the desires of your heart. Sometimes we can receive a prophetic word, but if we’re still holding onto our own lustful desires, it can distort the picture and lead to a wrong interpretation. It’s important to be willing to let go of our own desires and trust in God’s plan. When we hear from God, it’s important to remember that our own thoughts and beliefs about Him can influence how we interpret His message. So, we need to align our thoughts with His word to better understand His will for our lives.
So the reason for our frustration is often rooted in our own lustful desires. We can hear a prophetic word and attach our own desires onto it, without realizing that Overflowing with Blessings | Experiencing God’s Abundant Goodness Ps. Samuel Thomas | Lighthouse it’s not necessarily what God intended. When the prophetic word comes to pass, but our desires are still unfulfilled, we can become frustrated. However, the problem is not with the word or the power of God, but rather our attachment to the picture created by our own lustful desires. To avoid this, we need fellowship and guidance to help us understand and interpret God’s word correctly.
Let me give you a practical example to make this more concrete. People who are addicted to pornography often create a distorted image of what intimacy should look like. They become fixated on a fantasy version of intimacy, and when they enter into real-life relationships, they become frustrated and dissatisfied because their expectations don’t match reality. The same principle applies to receiving a prophetic word while being drawn by lustful desires. The prophetic word may not be able to satisfy you because your distorted image is still based on fantasy, not reality. It’s essential to let go of those lustful desires and align yourself with God’s truth, so you can experience the fullness of what He has for you.
So there is a need for us to renew our minds and repent from these wrong pictures and fantasies that have been ingrained into our lives through lustful desires. We can do this by staying focused on the goodness of God, as it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, as Romans 2:4 says. God has so much goodness in store for us, and if we can constantly stay focused on His goodness, we can reprogram our inner being to align with His word and receive the accurate picture that the word of God gives us.
If a person has been addicted to pornography for a long time and has taken pleasure in it, encountering real intimacy may not be as satisfying because they are living in a fantasy world. They may need therapy to renew their minds and change their desires from something inferior to something superior. Pigs, no matter how clean their environment, will always return to filth because it is in their nature. But cats will always clean themselves because it is in their nature to be clean. Similarly, God created us as new creations, no longer bound to our old nature. We are like cats who recognize that our nature is no longer to stay in filth but to stay clean through the renewing of our minds.
Despite having received a new nature from Christ and being completely purchased by His blood, many of us still struggle to move on from past events. The devil can use our memories to make us doubt what God’s word has already accomplished in our lives. That’s why we need constant renewal from our old, lustful desires to transform our inferior delights into superior ones.
Even though we’ve been saved by Christ and set free from sin and sickness, we can still be held back by memories of the past. The devil uses this to make us doubt God’s work in our lives. That’s why we need to constantly renew our minds and change our desires from inferior to superior.
Delight in the Lord, and He will fulfill the desires of your heart. However, simply being in the presence of God does not guarantee that you are delighting in Him. Delighting in the Lord requires intentional effort and practice. Sometimes, the desires of the flesh can be so strong that even though you are in the presence of God, you may not be able to delight in Him. This is because you have become accustomed to finding delight in other things. Just as your taste buds can become accustomed to certain foods, you may not find something appealing even if it isgood, if your taste buds have become used to something else. Similarly, until you learn to enjoy the things that are not of God, you will not appreciate the taste of what is good and pure.
Changing your taste and learning to delight in good things requires time and effort. It is a process that cannot happen overnight. If you constantly switch between things that are good and things that are not, it becomes difficult for your mind and body to adjust. For instance, if you have been eating junk food for weeks and then suddenly switch to healthy food, your body may have trouble adjusting. It’s because you have been conditioned to like the taste of unhealthy food, and when you switch to healthy food, it is a new experience for your body. Therefore, changing your taste and learning to delight in good things requires consistent effort and patience.
Your body, soul, and heart all take time to adjust to new things. Therefore, changing your desires from lustful desires to delighting in the Lord’s word and goodness requires time and effort. It cannot happen overnight. If you have been accustomed to finding pleasure in worldly things for a long time, suddenly shifting your focus to God may not work. What we need is to develop a habit and discipline of delighting in the Lord consistently. This way, our entire being can learn to find pleasure in God. The more we immerse ourselves in God’s word and goodness, the easier it becomes to resist temptations and find contentment in Him. Even if we slip and fall into old habits, we will eventually realize that it’s not worth it because our taste buds and desires have been reprogrammed to find true delight in the Lord.
Staying in the goodness of God is crucial. As you step into a year of overflow, you will face challenges and giants. Don’t be afraid. Instead, rely on God’s goodness. Don’t let your feelings dictate your life. Rather, let them serve as a signal that you need help to stay on God’s word. To do this, you need to dedicate enough time and energy to stay connected to God. Otherwise, your default setting will be driven by your past memories and lustful desires. Intentionally choosing to stay close to God is necessary to change this default setting. You have to move from discipline to delight.
Isaiah 55:11 – so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
What is God saying? He is saying that every word that He releases will accomplish its task and purpose, and it will not return void. Therefore, what you need is God’s word. You should change your prayers from solely asking God to change your circumstances to asking Him to release His word into the circumstances so that they can be changed. The word of God has the power to create, restore, and destroy realities. For instance, the word of God can destroy the reality of sickness, create a new kidney, or restore a lost relationship. Therefore, all you need is the word of God. So change your prayer from asking for a change in circumstances to asking for the release of God’s word because when His word is released, you know that your circumstances will be changed.
But in order for the word to be released, there is a prerequisite. What is it? Let’s read Isaiah 55:1. It says, “Come everyone who thirsts.” This is not for those who are not thirsty, but for those who are thirsty. “Come to the waters, and he who has no money, come buy and eat. How can you buy without money?” Then it goes on to say, “Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” So God is asking for something in return to release His word, but it’s not money. So what is it?
God requires something from us before He releases His word, and that is our diligent attention. In Isaiah 55:2, He asks, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” God’s word cannot be bought with money, but it can be obtained through our diligent attention and hunger for it.
When we incline our ears to what God is saying, His word will be released, and it has the power to create, restore, and destroy realities. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that everything is held together by the power of His word. This includes our relationships, future, life, marriage, children, and everything in between.
Therefore, we must pay attention to God’s voice and ask for His word to be released in our lives. As we listen diligently to Him and delight ourselves in the rich food of His word, our souls will come alive, and He will make an everlasting covenant with us, just as He did with David. So, let us come to Him with expectant hearts and ask Him to speak to us, for His word is all that we need.
Now, there are three obstacles that can prevent you from receiving God’s word. Are you ready to hear them? The first is pride, the second is familiarity, and the third is offense. These three things can harden your heart and prevent you from being open to receiving God’s word. Remember the story of the disciples who could not understand the laws? It was because their hearts were hardened. So, how can you tackle these obstacles? According to Solomon in Proverbs 9:10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Understanding the fear of the Lord can help you overcome pride, familiarity, and offense and be receptive to God’s word.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? It’s not the fear of punishment or judgment, but rather a profound sense of honor, worship, and humility that leads to awe. When we fear the Lord, we acknowledge that He is so good that we cannot predict what He will do next. We are uncertain of His goodness in the sense that we cannot fully comprehend the depth of His love and mercy. This uncertainty creates a sense of reverence and respect that is rooted in the recognition of God’s greatness. It is this kind of fear that can transform our lives and lead us to a deeper understanding of His will for us.
The fear of the Lord is a powerful tool to overcome the hardness of heart caused by pride, offense, and familiarity. It is a deep-rooted honor and awe of God’s goodness that can attract His grace into our lives. The beauty of God’s grace is that it has no qualifications, and we only need to fear Him to receive it. Let us pray for God’s word to be released in our lives, for it has the power to change circumstances. When we hear His word and confess it, circumstances have to change.