Summary: People need to know that God is real and that He is sufficient for all their needs and desires. And the only way that will become a reality for them is when it becomes a reality for us - and we begin to carry out the two-fold ministry that Jesus began...w
TURNING TROUBLES TO TRIUMPH
Today we will be looking at the subject of miracles...a subject we all would probably say we believe in, and yet one in which we have little faith to believe in when it comes to God performing the miraculous through us.
But this whole excursion into the supernatural power of God is useless unless we can make it practical...unless it is something that can actually be realized and become a tool for reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ...which is why it is available in the first place.
Miracles and healings and all the other miraculous signs and wonders are to be a visible demonstrate of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are to confirm the Word so that others will believe and be saved.
But the biggest hindrance to seeing, experiencing, and even being used as God's instrument in the miraculous is the doubt and unbelief that Satan so cleverly deceives us with. And this doubt concerning the power of God so often comes from all the many troubles and situations that seem to continually bombard us.
By yielding to the pressures Satan brings against us, we can allow adversity to break our spirit and destroy us...or at least destroy our effectiveness as Christians. And that is so often the case. We just get overwhelmed by circumstances and situations to the point that we no longer expect the truly miraculous to happen. We just do our best to get by...and are satisfied with that. AMEN?
The hard times make some bitter...and others better. Some have allowed past problems to draw them closer to God, while it may spoil the faith and effectiveness of others. And it seems that there are people who experience what seems to be much more than their share of difficulties.
And whenever they face a new challenge, all they can think of are the problems of the past. And that is not only a horrible way to live...it's also very unnecessary!
Gideon must have been like that. Most of you know a little about Gideon, and the miraculous victories God worked through him. But he was far from a textbook example of faith in God...at least at first.
The Midianites had invaded and brutally dominated the children of Israel. And like many people today...Gideon had difficulty believing that the God of miracles was with them because of all the troubles they had encountered. READ Judges 6:11-14
The occupation of the Midianites had its purpose in the discipline of the children of Israel. There was a purpose and a reason for their difficulties. But it was also an opportunity for Gideon. If Gideon was to be used of God in a miraculous way...he would first have to forget what was behind and move ahead in faith. He had to quit nursing the problems of the past!
Gideon had to learn that troubles can be your servant...or they can keep you from the making of a miracle. They can be your stepping stone - or your stumbling block. They can make you better - or just bitter. It's up to you!
God can solve any problem we'll ever face in a thousand ways. When you look at the obstacles in that frame of mind...He'll reveal to us one of those solutions. Some good advice would be - "Don't consider your problems until you have the faith to see them from God's perspective."
I preached a couple of weeks ago that the battle is primarily fought in the mind. That is where it all begins! You need to take your thoughts captive...before they take you captive. And this is so important because you never come to be something or someone - that you didn't first become in your thoughts.
Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." Who you are is a direct result of what you think and believe. That's why low self-esteem is so destructive. If we think we're incapable or untalented we're likely never strive for...let alone achieve any measure of success or fulfillment in any of those areas. And those feelings usually come after running into some type of trouble.
If we spend all our time licking our own wounds, we can't help to heal the wounds of others. So we have to make a conscious and determined decision to let go of our hurts and anger so that we can get on with our real reason for being.
Vindication is certainly nice...but it's not necessary. But it is important for us to take our eyes off the rearview mirror and put them on the harvest all around us. I read a good illustration of how to respond to difficult situations...and it takes us back to the cross and the example of Jesus in His last moments of suffering there. Matthew 27:33-34 READ