When Crumbs are Enough – M. Laycock

Our Bible study group pondered over one of the
miracles of Jesus the other night. It’s a passage in Matthew 15 that describes
how the crowds followed Jesus to a remote area, bringing the lame and blind and
demon possessed before Him. And he heals them – thousands of them. Then the
passage says that he had compassion on the people because they had not eaten
for three days. So He told His disciples to find food for them. Food for 4,000
people. In the middle of nowhere. No restaurants nearby, no caterers ready and
willing to serve, not even a village where they could get a few vegetables and
bread. 
 

Of course the disciples are nonplussed. They tell
Jesus what He already knows. They don’t have the means to feed so many. Then He
asks them a simple question. “How many loaves do you have?” (Matthew 15:34) We
can imagine the disciples showing him the seven loaves and the few small fish.
Then Jesus tells them to have the crowd sit down. I wonder what they thought
then. Did they think there was going to be a riot if they did not provide food
for so many? Did they think Jesus was foolhardy to make it seem that they
could? Why was he expecting so much of them?
The miracle that occurs then showed them, and us,
that he was not foolhardy. Neither was he expecting too much of them. He knew
exactly what they had and what they were capable of. But this was the God of
the universe, the one who created those few loaves and fish. The miracle that
occurs then showed them, and us, that even a small offering was enough, when it
was put into the hands of a mighty God.
When I published my first devotional book, Spur of
the Moment, I thought it would be a very small local effort. I was nervous about
ordering 500 copies and I was amazed when they sold out quite quickly. I was even
more amazed when I saw that little book travel to some very far away places –
places like India and England, Mexico and the South Pacific. Then God started
to show me what He can do when a small thing is put into His hands. 
I began receiving letters and emails and
even a few phone calls telling me how that small book had changed their lives.
God had a plan. It was not my skilful inspiring
words that can change someone’s life. It was God’s Spirit that moved the hearts
of his people through the words in a small devotional book. And sometimes he
does it through a mystery or a romance or a fantasy novel. God has a plan to
heal and restore, to instil a renewed faith and to bestow joy beyond our
wildest dreams upon the lives of His people, through our words.
So, how many loaves do you have? Does it
seem like only a few crumbs in the face of a great need? Be encouraged. Jesus
will take those crumbs and make them enough. In fact, He will make them into an
abundance of blessing as they are fed to those who hunger for them.
So offer them up. Then stand back and
watch.

****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website

 

A Quick and Simple Task

I have never been an early riser. It was always a
struggle for me to get out of bed in the morning when I was young. My
sluggishness likely had a lot to do with the fact that I hid under the blankets
with a flashlight reading until the wee hours. As the morning sunlight lit my
room my mom would call several times before my toes would finally slip over the
side and touch the floor. Then it took a long time in the shower to really wake
up before heading downstairs for breakfast. And when I got to the kitchen the
refrain was always the same. 
“Did you make your bed?”
I’d groan and trudge back upstairs, knowing there
would be no breakfast until that small task was done. One morning I asked my
mother why she always insisted that I make my bed.
“It’s a good start,” she said. “It means you’re
ready for the day.”
I couldn’t help but think about my mom’s words this
past Sunday as my husband preached on Acts 9 verses 32-43. It was verse 34 that
triggered the memory. Peter had stopped in the town of Lydda where a man named
Aeneas, a paralytic, caught his attention. He stopped long enough to heal the
man, saying, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your
mat.” 
That last sentence made me sit up straight. Why did Peter tell him to
take care of his mat? Was it in the way? Was it unsightly? Or was Peter saying
something more to Aeneas? I wondered if perhaps he was saying, get ready
Aeneas, a new day is beginning, things are about to happen and there’s a
purpose for you in them.
And that made we wonder about the purpose of the
healing, the purpose of the blessing. God does not act randomly or without
reason. His actions, and most especially his blessings, always have purpose.
That made me think of all the blessings I’ve been
given in my life. It’s a long list and the realization that it all has purpose
made me begin to think about what God intends me to do. He’s given me wealth so
I should share it, food and a home to open to others. He’s given me health so I
can do His will on this earth. He’s given me family that I might raise them to
go into the world and bless others. He’s given me the talent of writing so that
I might glorify His name through story. All of his blessings have an outward
slant, none are intended to be hidden or hoarded.
My mother trained me well. Making my bed is still
something I do each morning. It makes me feel that the day has started and I’m
ready for it. This morning, as I did that quick and simple task I wondered what
God had in store for me today. What am I to be ready for? Ready to hear his
voice, ready to move when he says “go,” ready to speak when His Spirit directs.
Yes, all of these things and more. I’m to be ready to receive His blessings and
use them for His purposes.
What about you? Have you made your bed?
****
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 
Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website

The Promise of Christmas

Chaos reigned supreme. That’s how it seemed as we rehearsed our Christmas play. The first rehearsal didn’t really happen. The second one was only a bit better, and three quarters of the cast didn’t make it to the third. Those of us who were supposedly “in control” wondered if we were going to have a play at all.

That was nothing new. Every year it seems to happen. Kids run helter-skelter, some don’t show up, some can’t find costumes or those made for them don’t fit. The choir director comes close to tearing her hair out and the stage manager is close to being catatonic. This year seemed a bit more chaotic than usual. But somehow it all came together in the end.

The night of the performance seemed to go well. I say seemed, because I was too busy trying to keep my “cast” quiet and focused, to notice if the play was working. One of the magi discovered he could use one of the shepherd’s headbands as a slingshot to wing the beads off his crown clear across the front of the church. That delighted the kids in the front row who dashed out to pick them up. Mary couldn’t stop squirming because her costume was made of wool, and Joseph kept changing his mind about which robe fit best – right up until he walked out onto the ‘stage.’

I wasn’t sure it had really all come together until the audience stood to applaud at the end. When many congratulated us on a job well done, all I could say was, “It’s a miracle!”

And that’s the promise of Christmas – it all comes together in the end. I’m sure the followers of Jesus, watching the drama of His life and death, felt the same way we ‘directors’ did. To those who thought they were in control, it looked like chaos reigned. From the moment of His birth, He and His parents had to run from those who wanted to kill Him. As He performed miracles, religious leaders plotted against Him. Even the disciples themselves didn’t understand His message. They were disappointed that He didn’t chase the Romans out of the country; He never did set up an earthly kingdom. Then, the cross. It looked like everything they tried to accomplish was doomed to fail. But in the end …

In the end, the stone was rolled away. The baby born in a stable and crucified on a cross was raised glorified, to the glory of His Father.

And there is another promise yet to unfold. As the birth of Christ is overshadowed by the cross, which was blasted away by his resurrection, even that will be outdone by His return. One day, God has told us, “Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength’.” (Isaiah 45:23,24)

It will be a miracle and it really will all come together in the end.

As a novelist there have been many times when I tried to take control and wondered if things would ever turn out the way I wanted them to be. Then God would show me that He was in control and everything would indeed all come together the way He wanted them to be.

Are you wondering? Does it all look like chaos? Don’t worry. God is in control. He’s in the business of making miracles happen, even in the publishing world. And it all will come together in the end.
****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in March, 2012. A collection of devotionals for writers has just been released here. Visit Marcia’s website

How to Build a Ship by Marcia Lee Laycock

Antoine de St. Exupery is purported to have said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them task and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

That quote draws me in, puts images in my mind of the vastness of the ocean, the vastness of our world and universe, the infinite vastness of God Himself. This I believe is what we aim for as writers of faith, to delve into that longing in our own being and to express it in ways that will draw others with us.

Think of a book you read that did that for you. It will live in your heart and mind for a very long time because it goes to the root of your being, your longing to be ever in the presence of God, your longing for truth.

The genius and the gift of art is that it can take us there. I remember feeling it in an art history class many years ago as I stared at the slides our instructor flashed on a large screen. “Just take these in,” he said. I did and was never the same. That art changed me, made me more aware, more ready to receive, even though, at that stage in my life, I had no idea what I wanted or needed. Viewing those representations of artwork wrought centuries before took me a step closer to searching for God.

The frustration of every artist is the limitation of his/her own self that blocks the genius, prevents us from reaching into that longing and embracing it. But there is hope. There is Christ, who always beckons, always encourages, always leads us to Truth because He is Truth. Though we are flawed and incapable, He is able to reach through our words and draw the hearts to Him.

I love the quote from Exupery because I imagine the people, my audience – people whose minds and hearts and souls have been touched by art in a way that makes them want to build and launch their own ships, to begin the journey to God that will take them deep into His presence. And I love the journey of my writing craft, because it takes me there too.

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Psalm 43:3

****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in 2011. A collection of devotionals for writers has just been released here. Visit Marcia’s website