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Posts Tagged ‘miracles’

Courage and Fear

January 2nd, 2017

Courage and fear are mutually exclusive

 “Jesus came to them, walking on the water.” Mark 6:48 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are about “courage and fear.”

Life involves some frightening moments. A new year may include new uncertainties, challenges you must navigate with faith rather than fear. Or you may carry concerns with you from the year just concluded. A change of calendar does not exempt you from the same or similar concerns. And a new year may introduce problems you do not anticipate. There is good news for either possibility.

Mark records an instance of miracles on either shore of the Sea of Galilee, as well as a harrowing night of panic, fear, and despair of survival between those miracles. Read Mark 6:45-56 NLT. In the first miraculous event, at the end of a day of teaching and ministry Jesus fed a crowd of thousands with just a boy’s small lunch. In the second, Jesus healed many of the sick and suffering who were brought to Him. Between these two exhilarating experiences was a perilous, night time journey across about four miles of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus had sent His disciples ahead of Him while He remained to pray. In the dark of night in the middle of Galilee, the disciples encountered a life-threatening storm – too far to return to where they were safe, yet too far to journey on to where they would be safe. Men, well acquainted with the sea, despaired of survival. Mark described them as, “in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves.” I love the description of Jesus’ arrival, “Jesus came to them walking on the water . . then He climbed into the boat and the wind stopped.” Who walks on water except God? Who commands the wind and sea and they obey?

I observe two things. The wind and waves that threatened and frightened them were exactly the elements that carried Jesus to them. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV. When Jesus comes, the frightening elements are calmed and profound peace displaces fear. You can face any storm with Jesus alongside.

The Psalmist knew the only Source of true peace, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Psalm 61:2-3/23:4 NKJV. In His presence, you are always safe.

In whatever circumstance, now or in the unforeseen days ahead, you will discover Jesus alongside you. What frightens you today? World events? Health issues? Marriage challenges? Family concerns? Job insecurity? Inadequate finances? Uncertain future? God will come to you, even in the turbulent waters that threaten. Courage and fear are mutually exclusive. Fear will overwhelm you unless faith displaces fear with courage.

Today, I pray for you to discover a new courage in whatever you encounter on your journey.

Christian Communications 2016

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 3

February 5th, 2016

NOTE: This is the third and final segment of my thoughts and applications about Joshua and the miracle at the Jordan. If you have not read the previous devotionals – “Obstacles and Opportunities”

Part 1 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9027

Part 2 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9036

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“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT.

God works miracles beyond the
comprehension or capabilities of men.

My thoughts and comments continue today about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have been sharing about the miracle at the Jordan river that allowed Joshua and Israel to cross over an impassable river and utterly destroy an invincible city blocking their entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:1-17 KJV. You also will confront circumstances – though much less than theirs – that will oppose your desired progress. There are two truths to remember: (1) Never limit God to your present circumstance. Read Ephesians 3:20 NIV. (2) God always has more than you can see from where you are. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV.

Sometimes, the problem is inward, requiring that you exercise discipline and self-control. At other times, the problem is beyond your cause or control, when you will need the kindness and assistance of others. God weaves people into your life for His purposes. But you will confront a few situations where and when only God has the resources and power to help you. With God, such an obstacle includes unforeseen opportunity.

God works miracles beyond the comprehension or capabilities of men. Those miracles require your conviction that, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. There are sovereign acts of God and miraculous interventions by God. Miracles have both divine and human elements. Miracles occur when God requires you to provide trust, faith, and obedience; then with you, He accomplishes what you cannot.

In the miracles of Jordan and Jericho, multiple human elements were required of Joshua, the Priests, and the people. God gave Joshua clear instructions, which depended on the specific obedience of any and every one involved. Holman, a dear friend and elderly minister, often encouraged me with Isaiah’s promise, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.” Isaiah 1:19 NIV. Joshua was to prepare the people and instruct the Priests. The Priests were to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the swirling waters where they were to “stand in Jordan,” until they “stood firm on dry ground.” Joshua 3:8/3:17 KJV. The people were to wait for the waters to recede and then follow the Priests across the dry river bed. An element of faith and obedience was uniquely required of each.

In every miracle, there is a crowd willing and waiting to see what God can do. But first, God has to have a leader who is clear about the will and Word of the Lord. Then God needs a few priests who will step out with courageous faith and stand in steadfast obedience. Read Joshua 4:10/18 NIV. As I studied this Bible passage for a recent weekend of ministry, I felt the Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Alone in my room, I wept as I understood that the priests stood bravely in those threatening flood waters for more than their personal safety and future. In faith, they stepped into the waters and stood firm on behalf of others who could follow them – their wives and children, friends and neighbors, and a nation whose immediate fate and ultimate destiny depended upon their willingness to do so.

I may not be a leader like Joshua, but neither am I willing to just stand safely in the crowd. As for me, I choose to be a priest standing in faith and obedience for those who will follow after me. The Bible is clear; “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV.

Someone is looking to you for your example and encouragement. A priest stands between God and man – before God on behalf of men and before men on behalf of God. Will you be a royal priest who stands steadfastly upon God’s Word for others? Step out from the crowd and assume your priestly responsibility on their behalf. “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. 

Here is a word for someone today, “Do not be afraid . . you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT. Be encouraged in God and an encourager to others.

Today, I pray for you to stand firm in faith for the sake of others.

Christian Communications 2016
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EDL Pix stormy sea

If you have not watched the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

 

 

 

 

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2016

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

With God, there is more than you can see from where you are.

My comments today continue about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

Obstacles are natural events the devil uses to restrict you to the past or impose limits today. Every obstacle also presents opportunities. Opportunities are Godly provision that encourages you into a better and greater future, just over the horizon from where you now are. You fail to progress in your faith if you only see the obstacles but not the opportunities.

The Bible records two similar yet distinct miracles. Moses and Israel’s miracle at the Red Sea was to redeem Israel’s history. Joshua and Israel’s miracle at the Jordan River was to release Israel’s destiny. Allowing God to deal with your history allows entrance into your destiny. There never could have been a miracle at the Jordan if there had not been a miracle at the Red Sea. As with Israel, God sovereignly deals with your past as prelude to entering your blessed future, a place, “with flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV.

But first, Israel faced two insurmountable, natural barriers – the impassable, swollen Jordan River at the worst possible time of year and the formidable, menacing city of Jericho – a sentinel guarding the Jericho valley and entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:10 NKJV. As you read, notice God’s two purposes for the miracle He would provide. (1) assurance of His abiding presence among them, and (2) His guarantee of unfailing victory until every enemy was vanquished before them. If God could dry up the waters of Jordan, He could collapse the walls of Jericho. From what God has done you learn what God can and will do.

The priests, bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, were to step into the surging flood waters first and, “stand still in Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8 KJV). It required obedience to step into those surging waters and even greater faith to continue to stand there. Read Joshua 3:13-17 KJV. As promised, the miracle began when the priests stepped into the water, but not where the priests stepped into the water.

Miraculously, the waters stopped many miles upstream beyond where the priests stood and could not yet see. As the rushing waters receded, the priests, “stood firm in the middle of the Jordan on dry ground while all Israel completed the crossing on dry ground.” There will be times when your miracle is still upstream and unseen. With God, there is always more than you can see from where you are. In such times, “In prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. “And having done all to stand, stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to stand strong in the truth of God’s Word at all times.

To be continued . . Part 3

EDL Pix stormy sea

If you did not already watch the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Christian Communications 2016

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Fragments

December 1st, 2014

“Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” John 6:12 NKJV.

God is very good with fragments.

My thoughts and comments today are about “fragments.”

There are not many things, if any, that are truly unbreakable. Things break. Some broken things can be repaired; some can be replaced; some cannot. People experience broken plans, broken dreams, broken hearts, broken marriages and families, or even broken lives. Some things can be fixed; others cannot. Life can be fragile. Lives can be left in shambles, frequently by one’s own mistakes but occasionally as the result of another’s words or actions. More than you may notice, hurting people are waiting, even longing, for someone to gather their broken pieces and restore healing and wholeness. That’s what God does all the time. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

From years earlier, in my heart I can still hear the voice of my friend, Kenny, singing a touching song, “He’s the Healer of broken hearts; He will mend your shattered dreams. He will pick up the threads of your broken life and He’ll weave them together again. To your soul He brings peace and rest. A friend indeed He’ll always be. For He’s the Healer of broken hearts. This Jesus of Galilee.” My thoughts today rest on a few words, simple but profoundly true. “God is very good with fragments.” Consider those words. Fragments are what remains when your life seems to fall apart. God is genius at putting lives back together again. Be assured, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” Psalm 34:18 NKJV.

One of my favorite miracles is the feeding of the multitude along the shores of Galilee. See John 6:1-14. A crowd of thousands followed Jesus to an isolated place and listened late in the day to His teaching about the Kingdom of God. In concern for the people, Jesus miraculously multiplied the five small loaves and two fish of a young boy’s lunch to feed 5,000 men, besides women and children, until “they were filled.” Jesus can do more with what you lack than you and I can do with all we have. John writes, “Jesus said, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost’ . . they filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” John 6:12-13. When God works in your life no fragments are wasted, no pieces missing. “God is very good with fragments.”

The Bible is full of the stories of men and women whose lives were just broken pieces, people left with only the fragments of their shattered hopes and expectations. A woman of Samaria was drawing water at Jacob’s well at the unlikely time of midday when Jesus paused on His journey through Samaria to Galilee. Read John 4:1-18. It was providence more than geography that brought their lives together that fateful day. Jesus touched the brokenness of her life and everything of the past was changed. Vs. 19-30.

Simon Peter was shattered by his denial and betrayal of Jesus, until he found Jesus waiting for him on the seashore. See John 21:1-17. Peter and friends fished all night and caught nothing, until Jesus told them to cast their nets on the “right side of the boat.” A miraculous, almost unmanageable, catch resulted. Once ashore, Jesus took the fragments of a broken man and with the affirmation of Peter’s confession of love restored a broken man with tenderness and compassion. Isa 42:3 NASV. “God is very good with fragments.”

If there ever were dreams that were lofty and noble, they were my dreams at the start. And hope for life’s best were the hopes that I harbor down deep in my heart, but my dreams turned to ashes and my castles all crumbled; my fortune turned to loss. So I wrapped it all in the rags of life and laid it at the cross. Something beautiful, something good; all my confusion He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife; but he made something beautiful of my life.” Bill Gaither.

What do you do when your world falls apart, when your life is in shambles, when your heart is broken, when your faith is shattered, when your future seems lost, when your sins overwhelm you? You pick up the pieces, bring them to Jesus and then watch the miracle begin. “You are complete in Christ.” Colossians 2:9-10. Read Hebrews 13:20-21/ Philippians 1:6.

The Kingdom of God is all about fragments and baskets; baskets are required to contain the abundance God brings out of your fragments. “God is very good with fragments.”

I have included a Link below of an inspiring Music Video of Fred Hammond at The Potter’s H0use. His comment in the video that, “God is very good with fragments,” prompted my thoughts and comments today. Enjoy!

Fred and Donnie Hammond at The Potter’s House

Today, my prayer for you is to know the faithfulness of God to make you complete in Christ.

Christian Communications, Inc.

You pick up the pieces, bring them to Jesus and then watch the miracle begin. “You are complete in Christ.” Colossians 2:9-10. Read Hebrews 13:20-21/ Philippians 1:6.

 

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Miraculous Moments

September 3rd, 2014

“Whatever Jesus says to you, ‘Do it.’” John 2:5. NKJV.

Ordinary things produce extraordinary results when done with faith and obedience.

My thoughts and comments today are about “miraculous moments.”

In the course of one’s life, there will be times when you won’t know everything you need to know or have everything you need to have. In those uncomfortable times, you will need access to knowledge, wisdom, abilities, or provision that God alone can supply. In just such a circumstance, Jesus began His public ministry. Read John 2:1-11. In both celebrations and complications, life is best when Jesus in invited and people of faith are included.

You are probably familiar with the miracle of Jesus changing ordinary water into extraordinary wine. At Cana, a wedding celebration was almost spoiled by unintended and unforeseen lack. We are not told the cause of the insufficiency, but the unthinkable happened; their joyous celebration ran out of wine. The host must have felt embarrassed as well as helpless. At moments, life may feel like that to you or someone you know and love. Life doesn’t happen the way you plan, but miracles happen when you believe. Your material as well as emotional resources can become inadequate, leaving you depleted and your joy marginalized by events. At such times, God is your answer. In every situation, God’s Word has wisdom and direction for a miracle of provision when and where needed.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, provides a pattern for such moments. Mary brought the problem to the One she knew would care and could help. Life is not as complicated when you include God. Without explanation, she simply said to the servants, “Whatever Jesus says to you, ‘Do it.’” In response, Jesus instructed the servants, “’Fill the jars with water,’ so they filled them to the brim.” John 2:6-7 NIV. To their credit as servants, without explanation they did exactly as Jesus directed. In every situation, that is also and always your best recourse, “Whatever He says to you, ‘Do it.’”

In a recent conversation about this, my friend, Amos, asked an interesting question. “On the occasion in Cana, when did the actual, transformative miracle occur turning water into wine?”  Though I do not claim to know more than what John wrote of the story itself, I found my friend’s question intriguing as regards the nature of miracles. Though my understanding is partial, miracles involve both divine and human elements. Obviously, a miracle requires the sovereign providence and power of God, foremost and utmost; man’s efforts are insufficient. Still, the simple faith and obedience of an individual is usually required.

There seems to be two possible times when this wondrous miracle could have occurred. Jesus gave the servants two clear instructions: (1) fill the water pots with water, and (2) serve that to the host. To me, the one that required the greatest faith seems most likely to have produced the miraculous moment. To fill the water pots required obedience but not any particular measure of faith. Read John 2:8-10 NIV. Serving the host of the feast what minutes before they had known to be only ordinary water, that takes courage; such obedience requires courageous faith, though faith and logic rarely align.

Ordinary things produce extraordinary results when done with faith and obedience. In my estimation, the miraculous moment more likely occurred when the servants were willing to pour into the host’s glass what Jesus had blessed. The servants’ obedience to do so without any prior assurance is remarkable. Miracles await servants who are willing to obey and able to believe. What was the result? “You have saved the best for last!” Your God does the most with the least and saves the best for last. I call such times miraculous moments. God has such moments for those who obey.

Today, my prayer for you is to discover that God’s best awaits the simplest faith and obedience.

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