Jesus Is All the Provision We Need

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (John 6:6)

Jesus already had in mind what he was going to do. (John 6:6)Jesus already had in mind what he was going to do. (John 6:6)

Is this the way we come to our work? Do we already have in mind what the outcome will be? Or are our efforts simply based on hope and a vague prayer for blessing from God?

Prior to his big promotional tour, Jesus gathers the Twelve around him and gives these instructions. “Preach the kingdom of God.”

Good advice. Stick to the message. Don’t get distracted with trivial matters that have nothing to do with the task at hand. When it comes to our book promotional efforts, keep the main thing the main thing.

You have a book. You want to make it known to new readers. Focus on its core message, its benefits to readers (Novelists, entertainment is a benefit.) Explain how your book is a blessing to its target audience.

“Take nothing for the journey,” Jesus said. “No staff. No bag. No bread. No money. No extra tunic.”

Not only will we lose focus if we become distracted by trivial matters, but we will also become frustrated and worn down by doing too much and carrying too many items into the harvest field. Let Jesus provide for our daily needs.

Oh sure, some may advise that you produce a launch calendar, list milestones, hit the right influencers at the right time, posts on other blogs, run ads, pay for promotional services. All this can be great advice if you keep Jesus first. Let him lead. Listen to his Spirit within you. “Travel light,” is his advice to his disciples.

“Find a welcoming home in which to rest and to remain in that home until you leave.”

Spend time with those who believe in you, who welcome you. Along the way you’ll encounter plenty detractors and doubters. Better to be nourished in both body and soul by good food and encouraging words than to hop from person-to-person in search of affirmation and validation.

When the Twelve returned Jesus gathered them to himself in a remote place.

We may think that after we’ve pushed through our first book launch it becomes easier, that we’ve made it. But often Jesus walks us into remote places. The Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness. We should expect a version of the same. In remote places our faith grows. In remote places we learn to rely on him alone. Unless we spend time with Jesus in his remote places, we may find that our next launch, our next book release is more tiring and difficult. Let us treasure our time with Jesus in remote places.

 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to Jesus and ask that he send the crowd away.

The Twelve still relied on their natural eyes, not their faith eyes. They had not yet believed that Jesus was their provision. Have we?

Now that we’ve mastered some of the tools of book marketing, of launching a book or series of books, do we view Jesus as all the provision we need? Or are we relying on our own efforts, friends, finances, influencers, publisher, promotional person?

Days earlier the Twelve went out to draw crowds to Jesus. Their promotional efforts worked so well that people packed the hillside in anticipation of seeing and hearing Jesus.

And now the Twelve are sending crowds away from Jesus.

Too often this is us. The work is too much, the crowds too demanding. With success comes expectations and expectations add stress. If we feel stressed about our success then we have placed our faith in the wrong person—ourself.

“You give them something to eat,” Jesus replied.

At this command our spirits sink. Tapped out, worn out, we’re down to our last giveaway book, last ad dollar, last blog-tour-post. Without a miracle our book will flop and fail. And at that moment what does Jesus asks of us? All that we have.

“But we only have a few small fish and small barley loaves. How far will that go among so many?”

Phillip and Andrew offer rational observations. Nothing wrong with a frank assessment of our situation. But do we catch the inflection in their voice? Onlysmallhow farso many

Our words betray us. The things that come out of the mouth come from our heart (Matthew 15:18)

Phillip and Andrew only saw five small rolls and two small fish and a huge crowd. Jesus saw what he was going to do.

Jesus already had in mind what he was going to do. (John 6:6)

Do we only see the present? Or do we see our future quickened in our spirit by Jesus?

Watch how Jesus turned the present into a future of miraculous multiplication.

Jesus looked up to heaven, the source of all provision.

I lift up my eyes. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1).

Jesus gave thanks: thanks for what he held in his hands—thanks for what would be.

In every thing give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Jesus blessed what he held.

“I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

If we have the Spirit of Christ within us, we have the authority of Jesus. We can bless or we can curse. We can forgive or withhold forgiveness. We can bless God, bless others, bless ourselves, bless our books, bless our seed, bless our children, bless the works of our hands. We can bless! We do not need to wait for God to bless us. Bless now!

Jesus divided what he held into smaller bites.

Though perhaps small and in short supply, what we have is always enough when we have Jesus. Divide what you hold and give to others. This is key to kingdom work.

Elijah said, “Bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” the widow replied, “I don’t have any bread. I only have a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me. Then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry” (1 Kings 17:11-14)

If we hoard, we starve others—and ourselves. When we give all that we have, we receive back more than we ask. This is the way the kingdom of God works.

Jesus distributed to the Twelve.

Delegate. Distribute. Allow others to share in your joy.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Allow others to witness the miracle of multiplication.

Five loaves fed five thousand men in groups of fifty. 5.50.5000. Imagine the scene. The Twelve disciples direct the crowd of men to sit in groups of 50 (one hundred groups of fifty men plus women and children). And the food never ran out.

At the conclusion of the event the Twelve gathered twelve baskets. Have you ever wondered what might have happened if Jesus had a team of not just twelve, but twenty-four, forty-eight, seventy-two? Would the remains have filled seventy-two baskets? Perhaps the limitation of provision came not from the five loaves but from the number of workers gathered to help Jesus.

A short while after this feeding Jesus sends out the Twelve again. It’s as if he is saying, “Okay, team. You’ve seen how this works. Let’s try once more.” Two by two they went to every town and place where he was about to go. “Do not take a purse. Do not take a bag. Do not take extra sandals.” His instructions are the same as before: travel light.

Jesus concludes his instructions with this: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Do we understand this kingdom principle?  It’s as if Jesus is saying to us: “I will feed, I will heal,  I will teach, I will reach groups of fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a million if only I can find enough workers to help gather the harvest.”

Pray with an attitude of desperation for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field (Matthew 9:38). If your book reflects his glory, truth, love, hope, good news, then your book is one of those workers that can be sent into the harvest field.

Send it. Bless it. Expect your book to gather others to Jesus.

 

Lord, I bless the works of my hands. I bless my books. I name each one and pray blessing upon blessing upon them. I thank you for the opportunity to write. For the words you give me. For the time you provide. For the ideas. For the encouragement I receive. For those who believe in me and my writing. For the readers who read and write reviews: even the ones who criticize my “baby.” Lord, you are all the provision I need. You are the only marketing manager, press release person, promotional advisor I need. You call into being things that were not (Romans 4:17). I declare blessings upon blessings upon my books. I look with expectation for the vision you’ve placed within my spirit to bear fruit. Amen.

 

May None of Our Words Fall to the Ground Without Bearing Fruit

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (1 Samuel 3:1-21)

May None of Our Words Fall to the Ground Without Bearing FruitSamuel was lying down where the ark of God was. (1 Samuel 3:3)

O Lord, may I lie down next to you. May I arise by your side.

In those days the word of the Lord was rare. There were not many visions. Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. (1 Samuel 3:1,7)

Lord, may your words be plentiful, not rare. May you give me vision after vision of your glory, your will to come, your work to be done. May I know your voice and hear your voice above all others. 

“If the Lord calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:9)

Lord, call upon me. Speak my name. Open my ears that I might hear.

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew. The Lord let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. All recognized that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to reveal himself to Samuel through his word. (1 Samuel 3:19-21)

    1. Samuel lay close to God, right beside him. May we also remain so close to our Father that we feel his breath against our cheek.
    2. At first Samuel did not know the voice of God. May we spend so much time in our Father’s Word that when he speaks, our ears instantly burn with the excitement of revelation, vision, and inspiration.
    3. When we hear God speaking may we reply, “Speak, Lord, I am listening.” And may we then give our full attention to the revelation he gives.
    4. Like Samuel may we expect our Father to be with us at all times.
    5. May the Lord let NONE of our words inspired by our Father fall without bearing fruit.
    6. May we watch for the Lord to reveal himself to us through his word.
    7. May we expect the Lord to honor us.
      Those who honor me I will honor. (1 Samuel 2:30)

Lord, be with me as I go and grow today. Let NONE of the words you speak through me fall to the ground without bearing fruit. Reveal yourself to me through your words. Honor me in order that you may be glorified. 

Amen

Expect God to Work for Your Success

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (2 Chronicles 32:1-23)

Expect God to Work for Your SuccessHezekiah assembled his military officers before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words:

“Be strong.”
“Be confident.”
“Be courageous.”
“There is a greater power with us than with our enemies.”
“Our enemies only have the arm of the flesh.”
“The Lord our God who is with us helps us fight our battles.”

But the king of Assyria said:

“On what are you basing your confidence?”
“You remain under siege.”
“Your king is misleading you.”
“You will die of hunger and thirst.”
“How then can your god deliver you from my hand?”

Have you reached a point in your book marketing where you lack confidence? Do you feel as if you’re trapped without any way to move forward, any reason to keep trying? Have all the marketing pitches and promises left you bitter and cynical, doubting that your books will ever sell? Out of money, time, and ready to give up? Do you doubt that even God will help you?

If so, let’s look at how  King Hezekiah devised a strategy for success that depended solely on God.

  • King Hezekiah cried out in prayer to heaven. Turn to God. Lift up your eyes. Look to heaven for your help. Do not look to the past. Our God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living (Mark 12:27). He has plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • The Lord sent an angel who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. Ask God to send his mighty angles to defend you. Ask God to destroy all barriers to your success.

    The Lord our God will command his angels to guard you. (Psalm 91:11) (Luke 4:10)
    The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him. (Psalm 34:7)
    The angel of the Lord delivers them. (Psalm 34:7)
    “I tell you that your angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)
    All angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. (Hebrews 1:14)
    I will send an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way. I will bring you to the place I have prepared. (Exodus 23:20)

  • The Assyrian king withdrew to his own land in disgrace. Expect the obstacles to your success to withdraw and melt away.
  • Some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword. Expect the obstacles to your success to be cut down and cast away.
  • The Lord saved the people. Confess that the Lord saves. Through Christ we are saved. In Christ we have the promise of abundant life. Your faith in Jesus brings victory.
  • He took care of them on every side. Rest in peace with the knowledge that nothing surprises our Lord. He protects your flanks and back. Advance with confidence.
  • Many brought offerings for the Lord and valuable gifts for the king. Once you begin to see success, bring your best to the Lord as an offering. Praise him. Proclaim his name. List the ways he has helped you achieve success.
  • From then on Hezekiah was highly regarded by all the nations. Once the Lord has established you, embrace the title of victor. Stand tall. Stand firm. With quiet confidence and in humility accept the mantle of best-selling author in order that others may be encouraged to put their trust in Jesus.So it will be for everyone who places their confidence in the Lord our God. (Romans 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 49:23, Psalm 25:3)

What lessons can we learn from this story of having confidence in the strong arm of our Lord?

  1. Assemble your people, your “tribe,” those committed to offering help and who believe in you and your books. Give each a task and follow up to make sure they execute their work. Feel free to delegate this supervision task to one “officer.” Ask each member to recruit one more person to your team.
  2. Receive courage from the Lord. Jesus says:

    “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
    “Daughter, take courage. Your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22)
    “Take courage, stand up! Jesus is calling you!” (Mark 10:49)

    We do not need to muster up false courage. Jesus is on our side. Jesus on our inside. We are inside him. He is our courage.

  3. Believe a greater power is with you. This is your VISION for victory and success.
  4. Declare and believe that your adversary only has the power of man.
  5. Ignore the words and signs that sow seeds of doubt.
  6. Look beyond your circumstances and trust in the vision.
  7. Pray to the Lord.
  8. Do all within your power to achieve success, then expect, watch, and wait for God to act on your behalf.
  9. Bring offerings and praise to the Lord.
  10. In humility accept the high regard God has for you.