READ: Matthew 14:13-36
THINK: Have you ever experienced a tough time or tragedy and afterward felt like you just needed to get away for a while? Jesus' friend and forerunner, John the baptist, had just been executed, and Jesus needed some private time, likely to spend in prayer with His Father. But the crowds, as usual, did not allow Him the alone time. How would you have felt in Jesus situation? Would you have had the same compassion for people as Jesus did? Or might you have been tempted to resent the crowd for not giving you a break? Notice how Jesus responds to the challenges "inconveniences" presented by the action and attention other people.
RESPOND: What spiritual principles can you learn from Jesus' miracle of feeding the crowd of thousands with five loaves and two fish? (See 14:19 note.) What does this tell you about Jesus' ability to do great things in and through your life? Throughout His time on earth, Jesus often looked for time alone to pray. What does His example mean to you? (See 14:23 note.) What can you learn from Peter's experience of walking on the water (vv. 28-31)? What do Jesus words, "Don't be afraid" (14:27) mean to you personally? (See 14:27 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you the patience and compassion He had for people, even when they seem too needy, too demanding or too inconvenient. Thank Jesus for His miraculous power--for the fact that He can do very much with very little. Pray for a greater awareness of His presence to keep you from all fear.
ACT: Go out of your way to show compassion to someone who may be hurting or simply in need of a friend. If you've been wanting God to do something extraordinary, look at what you have "in your hand" right now. It may not seem like much, but if you're willing to let Jesus use it, you may soon experience the miracle you've been waiting for. Take some extra time to spend alone with God today.
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