Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thanksgiving Week 2009: Look For Your Miracles, Part 1
I originally was looking for Newsong’s version of the song Miracles when I found this gem on YouTube from the NewSong Irvine Worship Team. I hope you enjoy the song as you read the article.
As you’re reading this, realize that it is the week of Thanksgiving 2009. It was this week one year ago that I began writing One Man Revival articles on MySpace and would soon be moving over to the preferred format of Blogspot on December 3, which I consider the true anniversary of the writing.
It has been a fun year, this year of 2009 so far. This week we’ll be giving thanks to all the blessings of our lives. Some of them may seem small, but many are minor miracles that have happened. I honestly think that we don’t give some of the blessings of our lives the credit of miracle that they are. I consider it a miracle that I have three loving children, even when their dad is not always the shining example of love that God wants him to be. They teach me so much every day being home with them. They are the Jesus’ of my life. They inspire the good in me.
I have a friend back home in West Virginia that has a car that has had everything go wrong with it. I consider it a minor miracle that this thing is still on the road only because he and my former brother-in-law are able to fix it over and over again. Yes, I still love my ex-brother-in-law not only because he has taken in my friend and his family in his time of need, but he is sincerely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He has a servant spirit that I wish were contagious with a lot of people I’ve met in life. He just has a great heart for people.
I’ve often asked myself why we don’t get excited and celebrate miracles in our midst. Part of it is that some of the really cool miracles happened two thousand years ago by the hand of the man named Jesus. Most of us just aren’t that good. We don’t believe that we can turn water into wine or even walk on it.
As we read the Gospels, we see Jesus over and over again perform miracles. I think one of his best was raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary. We meet Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Mary is preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples and others present. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, learning from him. Martha had gotten upset with Mary because she was not helping out, but Jesus rebuked Martha and told her that Mary was where she needed to be.
But in John, they have sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill. Now Jesus said at the time that this would not end in death (John 11:4). In verse 17, we find out that Lazarus had been dead (DEAD!) for four days when he arrived on the scene. The sisters were understandably distraught. Even then, Jesus told them that he would rise again. Unless you know the story, you are thinking, “Jesus, dude’s been dead for four days. The only way he is rising is at the second coming when the saints go to heaven.” Jesus wouldn’t hear of it.
At verse 38, Jesus tells the people to roll the stone away. I know what you are thinking. Even CSI watchers know that brother man is going to stink something awful because he has been DEAD for four days. Jesus has that glimmer in his eye. It’s almost as if he is saying, “Wait for it!”
We come to verse 43, which is one of my all-time favorite verses. I always love how Jesse Duplantis explains it. “Jesus says ‘Lazarus come forth!’ You know why? Because if he had just said, ‘Come forth!’ they would have all come forth. This ain’t no zombie movie. Lazarus came forth to live again.” And he did. But right before he calls him out, Jesus reminds us in verse 40 why miracles take place in our lives. Jesus says here, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the GLORY OF GOD?”
Get that in your heart, church. Miracles happen for many reasons, but the greatest reason of these is for the glory of God. Jesus didn’t perform miracles as parlor tricks. The miracles always had the point of getting people to understand God in their lives and in the lives of others.
Do you think miracles stopped because Jesus isn’t here in the physical today? I said earlier that they happen every day. We just have to be smart enough to see them.
Do you think that Jesus was and is the only person able to perform miracles? The answer is an emphatic, NO! In Jesus’ time, he taught the disciples that they could heal and perform miracles. If you read the book of Acts, you see the disciples at work again and again doing great feats in Jesus’ name, for His glory.
But do you realize that the disciples failed too? Of course you do. Why? Because they weren’t Jesus, but it was more than that. This story was told in three separate Gospels, I think because Jesus wanted us to understand completely why the disciples, and us as well, fail. Most of the story is best explained in Mark 9:14-28.
In verse 14, there is a crowd around some of the disciples trying to heal a demon possessed boy. They were struggling. Why? Two reasons. First, Jesus was not with them yet. Secondly, since Jesus was not with them, other teachers of the law were arguing with the disciples while they were trying to do the work. How many times have you tried to do something good and have one or even a larger bunch of people being “Negative Nellies” going, “You can’t do that!” It’s hard enough to try to do good and have to take baloney while doing it. Makes the job that much harder. Military people, police officers, firefighters, you all know what I’m talking about. By the way, thank you guys for the hard work you do and the sometimes lack of appreciation you get.
So in verse 15, Jesus comes on the scene and what does the crowd do. “Hey look, it’s Jesus! We know He can get it done.” The disciples know this is true and while this is ego blowing to these guys, they step aside and let Jesus in. That’s right. They let Jesus work. I have to admit, sometimes I’d rather do the work and try to look good, only to fail, and look downright silly. Let me “Amen!” myself!
In verses 16-17, the man asks Jesus to help his son and his son goes into a fit almost immediately. In verse 18, the man even calls out the disciples and tells Jesus that he asked them to do heal him and they failed. That is a shot to a hard working man or woman. Makes you feel about an inch high. Maybe that’s just me.
Jesus gets a tad upset in verse 19 asking the people how long they think he’s going to be around to do the work. Jesus is trying to help the disciples’ confidence and the crowd is shooting that work in the foot. But Jesus relents telling them to bring the boy to him. In verse 20, the boy fell into another convulsion. Jesus asks the man how long the boy has been dealing with this demon. The man answers since childhood.
The important thing here though is the second half of verse 22. The man says to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Part of me shoots up here and asks, “IF? Do you know who you are talking to?” But the incredible part of Jesus is that he never takes offense. His response in verse 23 is quite soft, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” If I were Jesus, which this guy and many others are probably glad I’m not, I’d almost feel indignant, like “Fool, I’m the Savior of the Universe. Does this mean anything to you?” I’m a tad sarcastic. I’m confessing this to my brothers and sisters reading this. Help my sarcastic side, Lord.
Verse 24, the man instantly understands from Jesus’ cool response and goes, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” The man is totally honest. I believe in You, Jesus. It’s that realistic, life living side of me that says once somebody is so far gone, they stay that way. Over the next three verses, the demon gets the eviction notice. It ain’t no 30 days. It’s go, right now! And it is gone!
That Jesus sure is awesome. You know that is what everyone thought. But those disciples, they are still bumbling fools. They can’t even help this one boy. Jesus pulls his brothers aside, like a great mentor. The disciples ask why they failed. He gave them answers.
In Mark 9:29, Jesus responds that these demons are so tough that they only respond to one thing, prayer. You find out who your prayer warriors are when people are sick. These are the people in your life you look at and go, “Man, I wish could pray half as well as them. When they pray, people get (fill in the blank, whether it be healed, saved, changed, whatever).” The disciples were still learning. Like I said earlier, if you look at the book of Acts, you know the disciples got their act together and changed lives after Jesus.
I want you to see the other answer that is recorded that Jesus gave. It is in Matthew 17:20-21. Jesus says here, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Do you hear that? Faith small as a mustard seed. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot? So why do we still fail? Truthfully, I think it’s not because our faith is small, it’s because it is none at all. We just simply don’t believe that our prayers, our requests, our work for the Kingdom makes the difference.
In part two, I want to share the inspiration for this first piece. It is the miracle that not only changed my life, but changed my home church’s life. If I had an award for 2009 Miracle of the Year done by One Man Revival, this is where it would go. I want to be honest. This isn’t my miracle, but I can promise you that it has so changed my belief in them, that I can’t contain myself on the joy of watching it come to pass, even though the miracle healing hasn’t been so much in front of me. You remember how the woman at the well went and told everybody how Jesus had changed her forever. Hearing the stories from those nearest to it has made a church stronger, more loving and dedicated, and just a super, joyous place to be. I can’t wait. Yeah, I am typing it next.
I love you guys!