Positioning Yourself To Receive From God
A friend of mine was sitting in the living room one day when his cat dragged in a little “gift” in its mouth—a dead animal of some sort. Taking a closer look, he was dismayed to recognize the dead animal to be a bunny that belonged to a little girl who lived next door. Her name was Bonny. My friend felt terrible, believing his cat had killed little Bonny’s bunny.
My quick-thinking friend came up with a plan. Removing from the cat’s mouth the dead animal, which by now was a dirty mess, he put it in the kitchen sink. With a little warm water and some shampoo, he tried to clean up the dead bunny as best he could. Then he took a hair dryer (a “hare dryer” actually) and blow-dried the bunny until it looked pretty good. Finally, he took the dead bunny out to the neighbor’s rabbit hutch and placed it back in the cage. He kind of fluffed him up so that he looked very natural there in his little box.
The next morning, my friend looked out the window and noticed a crowd of people gathered around the rabbit hutch. Everyone seemed to be talking and pointing. My friend decided to go over and act like any normal curious neighbor and find out what was going on.
When he got there, Bonny’s mother said to my friend, “You won’t believe what has happened! It’s a miracle! Bonny’s bunny passed away a few days ago, and we buried that little bunny right over there....”
What’s your idea of a miracle? Your bunny was resurrected? Your older sister was healed of her halitosis? You finally got an A in Spanish? Your best friend won the lottery and he’s going to split it with you? Your little league team wins the state championship? What do you think a miracle is? (allow answers)
II. Defining Miracle
Miracle (’mir-i-kl) n. 1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs 2 : an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
A miracle is what happens when the supernatural gets involved with the natural. Divine healing – blind eyes can see, deaf ears can hear, paralyzed man can walk, dead man lives.
The Bible is full of miracles, many of which happened during Jesus’ time on earth. The first miracle that Jesus performed occurred at a wedding, let’s check it out.
John 2:1-5 “1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
4Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
5His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."”
There is a marriage feast in Cana. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was already there, getting her groove on at the reception. And then Jesus and all his homies stroll in to the wedding feast. Then they run out of wine, “OH, NO!” And of course, Mary immediately goes to Jesus with the problem. No one else would have went to Jesus, because he hadn’t done any miracles yet. He was just a carpenter to everybody else. But Mary knew his secret…Mary knew he was God’s son. It’d be like Martha Kent giving Clark a call when someone’s in trouble, before everybody knew about Superman. Because she knows about his power. Well, Mary knows that Jesus has some power, so she goes to him with the need. And how does Jesus respond? “Here I come to save the day! This looks like a job for Godman.” No. He’s like, “So there’s no more wine, what’s that have to do with me?” “Moms, it’s not my time yet.”
Well, momma knows best, and she’s rounding up some servants. “Hey, you, come here, and bring the rest of your crew. This is my son, do what he says.”
John 2:6-8 “6Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it.”
Well, Jesus looks around, sizing up the scene, seeing what he has to work with here. And out of the corner of his eye, he spots these huge stone water pots, so he says to the servants, “Fill ‘em up with water, boys.” And they did it.
These men did what Jesus told them to do even though it probably didn’t make sense to them. So, they come back after they filled them up, and then Jesus says, “Pour some of that into a glass and take it to the father of the bride.” And they took it. Now, I can picture these servants. “Pour some water in a glass and take it to the boss, huh?” You know as he’s walking up to the boss, talking under his breath, and then it happens, he sees the water change color right before his eyes. “Hmm. Am I bleeding? Did I drip into the cup? Oh, well, take it to the boss.” He gets to the boss, “Here you go, boss, drink up.”
John 2:9-11 “9When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
11This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
The boss drinks and doesn’t taste water, but the best wine he’s ever had. Nobody knew where it came from except Jesus, his mama, the disciples, and the servants. But the only ones that experienced the miracle, the only ones that saw it happen, were the servants, the ones who did what Jesus told them to do, even when it didn’t make any sense to them.
To see miracles we have to do what Jesus tells us to do even if it doesn’t make sense to us sometimes.
III. I’m Having Fish Tonight
Luke 5:4-7 “4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
5But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." 6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”
These fishermen had worked all night, yet they did what Jesus said, which didn’t seem to make sense to them. But what happened? They caught more fish than they could ever imagine. All because they did what Jesus told them to do, they were in position to receive a miracle.
How do we know what Jesus has told us to do?
We know what Jesus tells us to do through God’s Word, by praying in the Holy Spirit, and by asking God for wisdom and guidance.
IV. Jesus Said What?
Mark 11:23 “23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
Ok, so here Jesus is, with his disciples, months after the whole wedding incident where he told those servants to do something crazy. And he’s saying some more weird stuff. “Speak to a mountain? C’mon Jesus. Speak to a dog, maybe and he’ll move, as long as you’re loud, but a mountain? A mountain can’t talk, a mountain has no ears, a mountain is inanimate, it doesn’t move.” Well, the disciples may have said something like this, if they hadn’t seen what had just happened. Let’s go back a few verses.
Mark 11:12-14 “12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it.”
Here’s Jesus, a day earlier, talking to a tree. His disciples overhear him and they’re like, “Oh, that’s just Jesus, he’s a little weird sometimes.” And they think nothing of it. Now, a day later, some dim bulbs brighten.
Mark 11:20-24 “20Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."
22So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. 23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Now, the disciples’ real response…we don’t see it in the Scripture, but if we did, it’d probably go something like this.
Mark 11:24.5 “And the disciples’, with mouths gaping wide, stared at each other blankly. Then Peter said, “You mean, I speak to this mountain, like you spoke to that tree, and it has to do what I say?” And Jesus, in his most respectable tone of voice, said, “Duh!”
Then they got it. And years later, let’s look at Peter, using what Jesus had taught him that day in Bethany to perform miracles himself.
V. The Miracle Continues
Acts 3:1-7 “1Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." 5So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Peter, the same guy that saw Jesus speak to the tree. The same guy that saw the tree that Jesus spoke to had withered. The same guy that heard what Jesus said about speaking to the mountain. He says to this lame man, “Get up and walk.” But he doesn’t just walk pass the lame man and wait a day or so to come back and see if he’s walking. He goes a step further and reaches out to help him up, expecting, believing that at that moment he spoke, things changed. A miracle occurred.
Acts 3:7-10 “7And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
Peter went from being a man that Jesus did miracles for, to being a man that saw Jesus perform miracles for others, to being a man that performed miracles himself. And why? And how? Because he did what Jesus told him to do. You can receive miracles. You can see miracles. You can perform miracles. Let’s pray.