Tag Archive | miracles

Expect Opposition and Miracles

Sounds contradictory a bit, opposition and miracles.  Our sermon this morning was AMAZING and God was definitely working on me through our pastor’s words.  We’re in the middle of a series called Paradox and today’s paradox was “If you try to keep your life, you’ll lose it.  But if you give your life to God, you’ll find it.”  The overall message was that obeying God’s agenda rather than my agenda brings the good life, the great life, the best life.

Several things stood out to me.  First, “obedience usually triggers opposition”.  If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience, then you’re not ready to be used by God.  Ouch.  The enemy is trying to stop whatever God is trying to start in your life.  And I should worry when I’m not experiencing opposition because that maybe means that I’m not that much of a threat to the enemy.  Double ouch.

There is an area in my life in which God is asking for my obedience.  I’m experiencing the opposition that comes from doubt and fear. I’ve not fully thrown my heart over the bar in this area. Instead, I’ve been protecting my heart a little bit.  Not in a healthy way, but in a defense-mechanism way.  God showed me that this morning.  I really need to be on the offensive in the battlefield of my mind and heart.  My fear of failure rears its ugly head far too often.  I was reminded that when fear of failure is front and center for me, it means that I am way too focused on myself.

Second, “when you obey God’s agenda, it often releases God’s miracles”.  The Scripture we were working from this morning was the story in Acts where the apostles were thrown into jail for preaching in Jesus’ name.  An angel of the Lord came and opened the door to the jail and told them to go back out and do the same thing for which they had just been arrested.  Opposition and miracles.

Third, “obedience to God’s agenda always requires faith”.  Often when God asks for our obedience, we want to see not just the next step or 2, but steps 4, 5, and 6 down the road.  Like, “give me the details.”  And God replies, “if you saw too far ahead to what I have planned, you couldn’t handle the details!  Just take me at my word.”  In Psalm 119:105 it says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet.”  A lamp only illuminates the path immediately ahead, it’s not a floodlight.

Finally, “the more that you obey God, the more you begin to recognize his voice.”  I’ve found this to be so true.  I’m quicker to respond with obedience the longer I’ve walked with him.  I don’t want to miss out on God’s best for my life by delaying obedience (which is really disobedience).  I will choose faith over fear, no matter how often I have to consciously do so.  Even when opposition comes.  I will expect miracles.  Stay tuned!

Not Normal

Yesterday we finished up a sermon series at church called Ri-dik-yu-lus, which I loved.  The central message was, “if you want want normal people have, do what normal people do.  If you want what few people have, choose to do what few people do.”  Pastor Steve talked about normal vs. ridiculous prayers yesterday.

The thing that stood out to me the most was this: the way you pray reflects what you believe about God.  He used an illustration of a “normal” family facing an issue in their lives.  They talk to their friends, do everything in their power to solve the problem, come to the end of their rope and decide “well, all we can do now is pray”.  How often is that true of us?  I think God wants us to pray while we act.  Not sit around waiting for him to answer and not do anything, but “push and pray” as Steven Furtick says.  He tells of the day when his wife was in labor with one of their children and things got a little dicey at the end.  The doctor and nurses went on high alert because the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and she needed to push that baby out!  He talks about how he was glad that the medical team didn’t just gather around the bed and pray for everything to turn out right.  They took action!  Push and pray!

Normal people pray normal prayers, safe prayers.  Don’t go out on a limb.  What if God doesn’t answer the way we want him to– let’s not make God look bad or get our hopes up, only to be disappointed.  Here’s the thing.  When you pray and God doesn’t do what we ask in the way we want him to do it, it doesn’t have to rattle our faith.  We can choose to believe that God is sovereign, he is a good God, and he is in control. 

My final insight from the sermon was this question: if God were to answer all your prayers from this past week with a yes, just stamp them all yes, how would the world look different?  In other words, are you praying ridiculous prayers or normal prayers?  Just for those closest to you or for more than that?  A related question might be, if God were to answer all your prayers with a yes, would you have asked for more?  This isn’t presumptuous– it’s bold!  Pray with boldness and for boldness.  Pray for miracles to happen.  You won’t manipulate God.  But don’t underestimate him either!