The Big Is in the Small

I have a beautiful oak tree in my front yard, and its wide-spreading limbs seem to span forever. As I look at that tree, it's hard for me to believe that it started from an acorn. All I see is big and majestic, but it had to start as a small seed. That's how God works. He takes the small, and He goes big.

In Matthew 14, a multitude had followed Jesus to a remote place, and He had spent the whole day healing the sick. As evening approached, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away so they could go into the villages and buy themselves food. But Jesus said, "You feed them." They said, "Sorry, but we only have five loaves and two fish." What the disciples thought was small, what they thought they couldn't handle, was not a problem for Jesus. He said, "Bring them to Me." "And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes" (Matthew 14:19). Jesus took the small and let the disciples go big. He let what they had in their hands feed the multitudes.

God wants to increase us, but oftentimes we overlook the small things because we want to go big. We may even think that we don't have to deal with something small because it's not going to make that much difference anyway. It's easy to think that how we're treating our spouse or all the complaining we do about our job doesn't really matter. Perhaps there's a lack of integrity, leaving the office early, thinking the boss isn't looking.

All of that is small stuff, but God says what we believe and our attitudes are very important. The small things matter to Him, and if we don't learn to handle the small, we'll never go big. Perhaps you need to forgive someone or start being on time at work. That may seem small, but it's only through the "five loaves and two fish" that you can go big. You want a great marriage. You want that promotion. You have to do what's right in the small things.

If you will learn to handle the small things in your life, He'll enlarge your capacity for more. The secret is to bring them all to Jesus. Let Him break them and bless them, and He'll go big in your life. The next time He says, "You feed them," just put those small things into His hands.

 

It’s Subject to Change

We all face situations that look like they'll never change. In our career, it seems as though we've reached our limits. When we look at the bank account, it says we're stuck. When we look at the medical report or a relationship, there's no sign of it improving. The Scripture says, "The things we see are temporary, but the things that we can't see are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). Don't get discouraged by what you see; it's not permanent. One translation says, "The things we see are subject to change." Your health may not be good, but it's subject to change. Your dream may seem impossible, but it's subject to change. When thoughts tell you it's permanent, turn it around and say, "It may look that way, but it's subject to change." You can't be moved by what you see; you have to be moved by what you know. God is on the throne. He's working behind the scenes. What He promised will come to pass.

When a caterpillar is crawling on the ground, I can imagine he looks up and sees a beautiful butterfly flying through the air and thinks, "It's not fair. Why can't I fly? I'll always be grounded." When he looks at his circumstances, there's nothing about them that says he's going to get off the ground and fly. If an expert examined his body, they would give him no chance of taking flight. He has no wings. But in its DNA, the caterpillar has been programmed to develop wings at a certain time. One day it turns into a beautiful butterfly and soars through the air.

All your circumstances may look as though you'll never fly. You don't have the training, the experience, and don't come from the right family. Thoughts will tell you, "You'll always be grounded. You'll always struggle in your finances and be addicted." No, get ready. Your wings are coming. Where you are is not permanent. God didn't create you in His own image, breathe life into you, crown you with favor, so you would crawl and go through life struggling. He created you to soar, to set new standards, to take new ground, to go further than you've imagined.

Now quit being discouraged by what you see. It's subject to change. You don't know what God is doing behind the scenes. You may have been grounded, but I have good news. Your caterpillar days are over. I believe and declare that your wings are coming. God is about to take you higher. You're going to accomplish more than you thought possible—acceleration, new levels, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus' Name.

 

Turn on the Joy

I was talking to a friend who had gotten more and more discouraged about some difficult family matters, to the point that I could see her health was being jeopardized by the anxiety and stress. When I went to encourage her toward joy, I reminded her that when God brought the Israelites out from their oppressive captivity in Babylon that He promised they would "go out in joy and be led forth in peace" (Isaiah 55:12). He was showing us that if we're going to come out of dark places like she was in, we have to come out with joy and walk in peace. We have to use joy to deliver us from anxious thoughts, defeat, and discouragement. Joy is the key, and it's inside us.

You may be in a difficult situation today. Perhaps you've lost a loved one or your child has got off course, and you feel sorrow. The key to staying strong in God is through partaking in His joy every day. When Nehemiah was encouraging the people in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under extremely difficult circumstances, he said, "Go home and celebrate with a feast…for the joy of Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). He knew that only the joy of the Lord could sustain them and help them overcome their discouragement and anxieties.

The beauty of the joy that Jesus gives us is that it is not dependent on what is going on around us. Jesus prayed that His joy would "remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). His joy is in us. When you said yes to Jesus, nothing changed on the outside, but He gave you a new heart on the inside and filled it with His joy. He's saying, "I've given you exactly what you need to defeat the power of the enemy and stay strong in this life."

His joy is inside you, but you must cultivate it. It's a bit like my lemon tree. When I planted it, there were no lemons on it. But I made sure the soil was right, and I watered it and fed it nutrients. I cultivated it, and eventually the lemons that were in the tree came out for me to use. In a similar way, you have to tap into His joy. You have to develop it and practice it. The apostle Paul said it this way: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). To rejoice means "to brighten."

There's a light of Jesus' joy inside you. You just have to turn it on.