Monday, September 17, 2018

Miracles and Discipleship

Many of us look for a miracle. We look to be healed, freed, enriched, find success, change relationships, friends and relatives. We may couch it in prayer, "wishes," a trip to Harrah's Casino or lottery ticket purchases. We may try a get-rich-quick business, getting all our friends to buy or give for us, or even using guilt to get what we feel we want or need. We may take a pill, a smoke or something else to help us get to the point where we get what we want or need, or can live with not getting it.
Don't get me wrong. I am a Nazarene pastor. We believe in miracles- I mean, we just saw a category 4 hurricane hit Charlotte as a tropical depression! More than that, I have seen people miraculously healed of disease, addiction, depression and sickness. I am not even close to understanding that, but I keep preaching and praying about it.
But I also think we need to differentiate between a miracle and not doing our part. I think we too often look for a miracle when what we need is to be obedient to God and God's word, and/or to work hard. We would probably see more miracles today if we had more people who gave themselves completely to God then did the things the Bible tells us to about how we live.
Steven Furtick talks about the Joshua 10 moment- when God's people marched all night, fought all day, then watched and prayed for God to work. Too often, we seem to march a few feet, complain a little, and expect God to answer our prayers/wishes immediately. I think our lives lived for Christ are a big part of our witness and "a righteous person's" effective prayers for God to work.
I love football. Part of what I love is that it rewards those who are talented, but even more rewards those who take what they are given, work together and put out their best effort. Alabama Coach Bear Bryant once said that if he could get an "85%" player to play above his level, he could probably beat a "95%" player who did not. That is the truth, and Bryant and Coach Nick Saban, among others, have proved it for years.
This Sunday's truncated message at Eastside was on Proverbs, which is basically a guide for disciplined living as a response to God's grace. I feel we need to truly ask and believe for God to work, but we also need to make reasonable, healthy choices with our lives.
A Nazarene colleague gave this perspective.: "If someone wants to be healed. I recommend you quit drinking pop, eat a clean diet and stop sitting around and start exercising. In three months, you'll feel like a new person. You can heal yourself from all kinds of ailments and prevent new ones. Just listen to your body and take some good medical advice. I just saw a young couple in my church healed from obesity and sleep apnea because they have lost a combined 160 lbs pounds by exercising and cleaning up their diet. I can talk about healing, I just think it comes through a variety of means... "
Are you looking for miracles, or giving your all to God, doing your best, and asking God to do what's needed?
Excuse me, I need to get on my knees and then get to work...

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