Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘miracles’

To hear this Morning Devotion, please click Big lessons from small blessings

.

.

It’s not always the large and expensive Christmas gift that says the most about a relationship.

Sometimes it is the little, surprise blessing of fixing a wife’s cherished broken necklace or sewing a button back onto a husband’s favorite shirt or the touch-up painting of scratch on our teen child’s new used car.

These unrequested, yet greatly appreciated favors send a clear message about the heart of the one serving.

God is the master of providing surprise blessings, of course.

Last week, I was with Lori in Atlanta. She has started a new job with the Veterans Administration as a clinical dietitian and was in training sessions during the day. I stayed at the hotel and worked on the computer, attending to a number of ministry tasks.

On Tuesday morning, I drove her to the VA Medical Center east of Atlanta and dropped her off. When I returned to the hotel and exited the car, I noticed that one of the wheel covers was missing.

This was doubly discouraging since I had just bought a new set of wheel covers for her car. One of the previous wheel covers had either fallen off or been taken off and, because it was of a somewhat unique design, the cost of replacing that one was more than buying a new set at the auto parts store.

Now I was back to square one.

Geez…. I can’t believe this!” I said as I got back into the car.

I realized that the chances were almost nil for finding a non-smashed, single wheel cover along the side of six-lane, city streets and then along I-85 roads.

But I had to try. If I found the cover, I’d save myself $40.

So I drove down the streets, hugging the curb to get a close look, yet I saw no wheel cover.

Then it occurred to me where the most likely place would have been to lose the wheel cover. It was where the hard-left turn would occur from an eight-lane road onto the entrance ramp for I-85.

That’s where the wheel’s shape would be most likely distorted ever so slightly because of the left turn while heading uphill at the same time.

My physics- and metallurgical hunch were right.

Just a 100 yards or so up the ramp, in the midst of all sorts of garbage and grass on the outside edge of the shoulder, I saw a wheel cover.

“Wow! I wonder…..” I said as I pulled off the ramp and onto the shoulder.

Turns out that it was the lost wheel cover with no damage whatsoever. That’s amazing because of the hundreds of cars that had used the ramp between my trips there.

More amazingly, the wheel cover on the right shoulder had fallen off the left side of the car. Hmmmm….

The story gets better, though.

Though I had the wheel cover in my hand and was glad of it, it still couldn’t be put back on the car because the spring tensioner that holds the cover onto the rim was missing.

Halfway back to the car and wondering how I could jury rig some way to re-attach the cover, I saw the shiny, circular spring lying amidst empty water bottles, snack food wrappers and tire retread parts.

I quickly saw why I had lost the wheel cover — the spring had snapped where the ends had been welded together, making it useless.

Just as quickly as I thought I was heading to the parts store to spend another $40, I saw something I couldn’t believe.

Three feet from the broken wheel cover spring was lying another circular wheel spring of the exact same design. And this one wasn’t broken.

I’m telling you the absolute truth.

There was no other wheel cover in the vicinity that I could see. Yet there was the clone of the broken wheelcover spring just one step away.

I was nearly overwhelmed as I walked back to the car, snapped everything back into place and headed down the highway back to the hotel.

There is no way to calculate the statistical unlikelihood of what had happened and I didn’t need to. It was an undeniable blessing from God.

Dear friend, when God steps into your life with undeniable blessings that border on statistically impossible, make sure that you tell others about how our Father in heaven cares for His children even when they least expect it.

It’s just the kind of loving Daddy that He is.

As always, I love you
Martin

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

To hear this Morning Devotion, please click A dangerous trap

.

.

It is one of the most dangerous traps that we Christians face.

Its lethalness is veiled by our innate desire to experience the supernatural.

What am I talking about? So many people fall prey to the religious quicksand of a “Wow! Got any other tricks?” mentality.

Truth be told, we’ve all wandered at times into the mindset of attaching our measure of faith in God to the measure of His supernatural demonstrations of material provision, of physical healing, of restoring emotionally scarred relationships, of ex-jock strong guys ripping phone books in half while preaching, etc..

Such moments are magnificent and often thrilling.

Such moments also carry the risk of becoming pre-conditions of our loyalty to Christ.

Of course, few believers would acknowledge having a “What have you done for me lately?” attitude toward Christ.

For such an attitude is the epitome of selfishness and borders on self-worship.

Yet, if our loyalty to faith ebbs and flows based on what’s in our spiritual cupboards or of what’s happening up on the platform, then aren’t we as immature children with worship based not on who God is but instead on what we possess?

Of course, we know better.

And as we worship and serve God because of His holiness and majesty rather than because of the latest show of power, then our faith is where it needs to be.

You’ll recall that one of the most faithful givers in the Bible was a poor widow who gave two pennies at the temple.

Jesus affirmed her because she worshipped passionately without respect to supernaturally supplied earthly blessings.

It’s such a powerful picture for us that should become a permeating presence in our faith.

I share this topic today because of what I read in the One-Year Bible from John 6. Jesus had one day earlier miraculously fed thousands of people from a kid’s lunch basket. It was amazing. The next day, the crowds tracked Him down on the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee and asked Jesus to tell them what works of life that God requires (verse 28).

Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”

How did these people respond to Jesus? Remember they had just seen Him feed thousands and thousands of people from a single basket lunch.

They said they needed another miraculous sign in order to believe Jesus was divine. After all, they said, their ancestors were given manna in the desert.

“What will you do?” they asked Jesus.

Tragically, this episode ended with a number of people rejecting Jesus as the Messiah as they grumbled about His being a local kid from parents they knew.

Why did they grumble and reject Jesus? Because He wouldn’t put on another show for them.

I trust that your faith is not of the “What have you done for me lately?” variety.

The fact is that the gift of salvation that became ours when we confessed Him as Savior with our words and baptism is MORE than enough of a reason to worship and serve God for the rest of our lives, regardless of a single, supernatural blessing coming our way after we chose Christ.

If you’re struggling with faith now because supernatural blessings have been few and far between, please read John 6:22-42. It will help you to put things in the proper perspective, I’m sure.

And remember the poor widow. When she put in her two cents, she also gave us an example that is priceless for preserving our faith.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

To hear this Morning Devotion, please click here

.

Even the very faithful people have times when they’re not very faithful.

Including the poster child for Old Testament faith, Moses.

Numbers 11 tells of when Moses couldn’t grasp how God was going to feed the griping Hebrews with so much meat that they would have it coming out of their nostrils.

Even if all the flocks and herds were slaughtered in the Hebrew camp or all the fish in the sea were caught for them, it wouldn’t be enough, Moses said.

It was, to say the least, a tension-filled moment.

God didn’t respond with a lecture.

Instead, He responded with a question.

“Is the Lord’s arm too short?”

Oh my.

Of course, Moses shouldn’t have doubted the God who spoke from a burning bush, who provided all the miracles of the plagues, who parted the Red Sea, who behaved miraculously and powerfully on Mount Sinai, who provided water from desert rocks and etc., etc., etc.

But Moses did doubt.

Partially because he was worn down emotionally and spiritually by the countless malcontents in the camp and partially because Moses was still struggling to transcend his human nature of wanting to control people in constructive manner.

This happens to every Christian at one time or another.

We fall into moments of doubt about the promises of God.

We doubt the length of His arm.

Satan tells believers that the Lord’s arm IS too short and cannot deliver on promises.

And so believers — including ourselves — sometimes resort to lying, to resenting rather than forgiving, to stealing from God’s tithe offering, to cheating on time sheets or school exams or mentally on our wedding vows, or to compromising sexually, or to hoarding, or to all sorts of misbehaviors.

Let’s remember that the Hebrews did end up with more meat than they needed and reached the point of being sick of the meat they so desperately begged for.

The Bible is a record of the Lord’s long arm.

God’s Word has NEVER come up short.

He will reach wherever He needs to in order to keep His promise.

Listen, my friend, the same divine arms that reached around all the quail flocks in Egypt and shooed them to the Hebrew camp can reach His arms around the blessings or strength or mercy that you need and bring them to you at the time they’ll do the most good.

Trust God’s long arms and forgive others so that He will free you from the anchors of resentment.

Trust God’s long arms and trust that any calamity allowed to come upon you is part of a larger, sanctified plan to prepare you for greater blessings, whether only in heaven or perhaps on earth, too.

Trust God’s long arms and give 10 percent of your gross income to ministry work so that God will see your faith in Him and provide amply for your life on earth.

What a great day that will be when your earthly trust in God’s long arms will be transformed into the heavenly reality of God’s long arms hugging you to His chest.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

moses-water

They are among the most dramatic of God’s miracles in the wilderness.

I am referring to those occasions during the Exodus when God’s power spontaneously produced water from desert rocks.

The Israelites were parched, stressed, mad and filled with doubts about submitting to God’s appointed/anointed leader Moses and yet, it wasn’t God’s plan to let them die of thirst.

They would suffer consequences later for their rotten, ungrateful attitudes but for these supernatural moments, God produced water where only dust had existed.

This was amazing.

Water from dust and air.

This is almost as miraculous as producing a living being named Adam out of the dust of the ground.

Yes, God is unfathomably powerful.

What I want to share with you today, however, is that God desires to be unfathomably abundant in His blessings.

It is clear in scripture that He is a loving and generous God who wants to favor His children. It’s just that He does so in the way that most influences us toward a more powerful and PATIENT faith.

Here is a passage that I read yesterday that swept me away with awe for the love of God.

“Those who hate the Lord would cringe before Him, and their punishment would last forever. But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you” (Psalm 81:15-16).

The larger context of this passage is a burdened pleading of God for the repentance of the Israelites before the dual destructions of of the Northern and Southern kingdoms.

You and I know from the Bible that nearly all the Hebrews ignored God’s call for submission and renewal, with the result of near-destruction of all Hebrews.

It was a tragedy of epic proportions, costing millions of lives.

What blew me away yesterday was the fact that God saw the hideous, rebellious sin of His people and yet He STILL was willing not only bless them with miraculous forgiveness, restoration and protection, but that He was willing to pour out supernatural refreshment of their spirits during their times of suffering.

Actually — and this is incredible — He was willing to do more than provide miraculous refreshment for their souls.

He was willing to give these griping, sin-crazed Hebrews a greater blessing than He had provided those ungrateful ancestors in the wilderness IF the latter generation would simply repent and seek God.

He would give them more than water from a rock.

He would give them honey from the rock.

And it would satisfy — AFTER they had filled their stomachs with fresh bread made from the finest of wheat.

Can you believe that God was so gracious?

Gracious in twice providing water from the rock?

Gracious in offering spiritual honey from the rock?

Gracious in offering you and me the Living Water of Christ’s Word and the sweet honey of salvation in the form of Christ’s blood that poured from the Rock hung on the cross?

We serve a gracious God whose desire to show favor is incomprehensibly greater than our ability to comprehend.

Please, dear friend, ponder and pursue the marvelous and merciful heart of God.

He doesn’t just want to refresh you.

He wants to strengthen you.

He wants you to experience a greater blessing than that seen by those in the wilderness. Follow the counsel of Psalm 81:11.

Listen to God.

Submit to God.

Follow His ways.

When the time is right, God will reveal that pot of honey that satisfies every part of your life.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »