Monday, January 27, 2014

The Truth About Miracles



In grade school, I learned that a miracle is “something only God can do.”

Maybe you’ve heard this simple definition.

Maybe there’s been a time when you’ve watched Him do what only God could do.

Maybe you’ve hoped again and again He would work a miracle.

Maybe you’re praying for one now.




The nature of miracles is that they don’t often occur until everything else has been tried.

·         “A certain woman . . . had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had . . . (Mark 5:26)

·         “Simon said to Him, Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net . . . “ (Luke 5:5)

·         “I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” 
       (Matt. 17:16)
               

When God does something only He can do, He works these miracles in response to our toiling, our trying, our fears, and our last ditch efforts.

When there’s nowhere else to turn, that’s when miracles happen.

·          “He said to her. . . Go in peace and be well.” (Mark 5:34)

·         “They caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” 
       (Luke 5:6)

·         “Jesus rebuked the demon . . . and the child was cured.” (Matthew 17:18)
               

God does what only He can do when He knows we will recognize that only He could do it.

That’s the truth about miracles.




God isn't a mercenary, a fundraiser, a sounding board, or a last resort.

He's the Mighty God, and nothing is too hard for Him.

Let’s watch with anticipation for what only He can do.


The men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, 
that even the winds and the sea obey him! (Matt. 8:27)



Monday, January 20, 2014

God is Satisfied



Put a sticky on your bathroom mirror.
Plaster it on your refrigerator.
Etch it into your doorposts.
Stick it on your forehead.
Memorize it.
Think about it.
Frame it.

GOD IS SATISFIED.


We stand confused.
                He is not.

Circumstances spin out of control.
                He’s right on schedule.

Life aches.
                He has a purpose.

We fret.
                He is calm.

God is not pacing the floors, wondering what’s going on, biting His fingernails, or dissatisfied with our lives and the world in general.

He is often grieved, I’m sure. But He’s never surprised. Never caught off guard. Never strategizing to see how He’s going to smooth out what’s been made crooked now.

His perspective is different from ours.

His ways are higher.  God’s at peace.

And He’s satisfied.

One Puritan writer explained it this way. Our lives seem like a jagged race—a fretful sprint from pillar to post. But at the end of the race, we will turn around and look back.

And all we’ll see is a straight line.

God is satisfied.

Rest in this peace-giving truth.


Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, 
but you will know after this’ . . . Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. 
Do not fret. (John 13:7; Psalm 37:7)



Monday, January 13, 2014

. . . but there is God.



Distressed by a multitude of burdens she was carrying, a young woman sought out the wisdom of a godly, older woman.  She hoped to find comfort—something to cheer her on her way.

Expecting to find sympathy, she poured out her troubles on this woman she loved and respected.

Instead of words to ease her pain, her complaint was met by silence.

Assuming she had been misunderstood, she continued to list her needs and emphasize the extent of her pain.

When the young woman finished, her godly confidant spoke.

“Yes,” she quietly answered.

“But there is God.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------

When your “needy list” grows long and your shoulders ache from your burdens, remember . . . there is God.


He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was a great calm (Matthew 8:26).


** Based on a story told by Hannah Whitall Smith in “The God of All Comfort.”



Sunday, January 5, 2014

When God's Ways Seem Strange



Life is laced with the unexpected and unwanted and unhoped for, and we often wonder. . . why are God’s ways so strange?

A dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer four days before her daughter was scheduled for a mastectomy for her own breast cancer. Why, Lord?

He puts blessings in our paths, and then takes them away. Why?

His timing, His ways, His commands often don’t make sense.

His ways seem strange.




Then, I read about the beginning of time before the world broke, and He planted a tree.

A tree in the middle of a perfect world—one that was “good for food and pleasant to the eyes” like all the other trees. 

But Adam and Eve couldn’t have it.

The difference between that tree and everything else in the garden was a command.

Adam and Eve were called upon to trust the heart behind that command.




All of life is a journey in learning to trust that heart.

Learning to trust a heart bigger and kinder than we believe sometimes. Trusting His loving heart behind everything He does.

I don’t know why He allows sickness, strange timing, and disappointments.

I do know He is wiser and kinder and more loving than I will ever comprehend.

When God’s ways seem strange, trust His heart.


As for God, His way is perfect . . .
He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18:30).