miracle: an act impossible with man, but possible with God
There were people in the bible who were in some type of bondage for 400 years (children of Israel), 38 years (impotent man at the pool) and 12 years (woman with the issue of blood, but God freed them all. He transformed their lives. He changed their story.
One of the reasons why some of us haven’t seen the same transformation in our lives is because of unbelief. When the woman with the issue of blood heard about Jesus (Mark 5:27), she believed what she heard and she acted on what she believed. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
Another reason is because we don’t want to give up anything or let go of what we have to get what Christ has. It was November 2008. I had been having problems with my car and I was searching for a new car, but I couldn’t find what I wanted at a reasonable price so I became discouraged and stopped looking. Then one day, my pastor said something that made me ‘look again’. A few days later, I saw the car I liked, but it wasn’t the color I wanted. I didn’t want another black car, but I saw in red letters the word, ‘reduced’.
That Friday after work, I called the dealership and the gentleman told me that the car was still on the lot and he would be waiting for my arrival. When I got there, he got a copy of my license, but he didn’t offer to ride with me. He just told me to test drive the car. When I returned, he got all of my personal information and helped me empty the contents that were in my car. He then told me to take the car home and return the following day. But before I left, I remember that he and another gentleman asked me where I had been as this car had been on the lot for weeks and no one would purchase it. When I think about it now, this car wasn’t meant for anyone else. It was for me. God wanted me to have this car, but He was waiting on me to let go and trade my old car for this new car. He was waiting on me to accept the change.
Before a miracle was performed at the wedding, Jesus asked the servants to give Him what they already had. There were six (the number six is symbolic of man) waterpots there filled with 20 to 30 gallons of water, but they weren’t filled to the brim. They were used for the washing of hands, but now Jesus wanted to use them for another purpose. He wanted to do something inwardly that would be displayed outwardly for everyone to see.
If we want Jesus to change us from water to wine, we must first become like the waterpots and allow God to completely fill us (with His Spirit) so that He can use us as His vessels to pour into the lives of others and to meet their needs.
Have you ever met a person who told you about their past and you found it so hard to believe their story? They didn’t look like what they went through. They didn’t look like they were once a drug addict or mean or promiscuous or sick. To me, that’s a miracle.
Now, let us become a miracle for those who need a miracle.
Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, Draw some out and take it to the governor of the feast (John 2:7-8).
After Jesus was finished praying, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). He taught them what we know today as The Lord’s Prayer. Before He asked for anything – before He said ‘Give us’ (Luke 11:3), He prayed, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear many believers making that request in their prayers now as I did when I was a child. Maybe the reason why we don’t pray that part of the prayer often or at all is because we are afraid – afraid that God is going to tell us to do something that we really don’t want to do.
And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
He might ask you to forgive your cheating spouse. He might ask you to go back to someone you wronged over ten years ago and make it right. He might even tell you to apologize first even though you don’t feel you did anything wrong or that it was your fault. Maybe you are struggling with obeying all of His commands, but if you love Him, you will obey Him.
Another reason why we may not pray that prayer is because we really don’t trust God. Be honest. You don’t believe Him like you used to. You’ve been disappointed so many times that you don’t believe that this time will be different. Your problem is that you want God to do it your way, but your ways are not His ways and His plan is better than your plan.
Jesus told the disciples God’s plan – that He must go to Jerusalem, that He must suffer many things and be rejected (by the elders, chief priests and scribes), betrayed, mocked, scourged, spat on and killed, but the good news is He would be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 18:22-23, Mark 8:31, Mark 10:33-34). Even though He knew all of this, Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times. O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.
It doesn’t matter how many times you pray the same prayer. In the end, you still have to make a decision and I’m so glad that Jesus chose to do what was best for us and not what was easy for Him. At any time, He could have asked the Father to send more than 72,000 angels on His behalf, but He didn’t. But do what You want and not what I want (Luke 22:42, CEV). He loved – with action. He willingly laid down His life for us because He loved us. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). If you see that your brother or sister has a need, but you don’t do anything, that’s not the love of God.
It didn’t feel good for Joseph to be separated from his father, to be sold into slavery by his brothers, to become a servant or to be falsely accused and put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. That wasn’t his will. His feet hurt from the fetters and his neck was in an iron collar (Psalm 105:18). What he was in wasn’t comfortable, but it humbled him. When he was stripped of his coat of many colors, he was also stripped of pride. But there was a bigger picture – a bigger plan and it was bigger than just his family being fed in a famine. Something was missing in his brothers’ lives. You couldn’t see their fetters, but they were in chains also. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him (Genesis 37:4).
The trials and tests Joseph endured revealed what was in his heart. They taught him how to forgive, how to show compassion and how to love and these were the very things that his brothers needed (whether you think they deserved it or not). Yes, it was good for them to have a sack of money to spend and food to eat, but what they really needed was love, forgiveness, and salvation. Everything Joseph went through wasn’t for him. It was for them.
We may not understand what God is doing or why He allows certain things to happen in our lives, but according to Romans 12:2, we do know that the will of God is good, acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect. His plan, His choice and His will is to prosper you and not to harm you and whatever the Lord has purposed, planned, decided or willed for you, He is going to do it.
Not my will, but Your will be done.
Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, AMP).
Jesus spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why cumber it the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it and dung it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9).
Like this tree, you were planted on purpose – for a purpose. The owner picked this tree, but he didn’t plant it. The dresser planted it for him and he was responsible for taking care of something that didn’t even belong to him. It belonged to another man. The bible doesn’t tell us how many times in three years the owner examined this tree, but he was a very patient man.
Just like God has expectations of us, this man had expectations of this tree. He expected it to produce fruit. So it was very disappointing to keep looking, but never finding any fruit on the tree especially when he knew what this tree was able and capable of producing. There should have been fruit by now. He, along with other people, needed what this tree could produce, but they never got the opportunity to eat from it and enjoy it.
When he picked this tree, he didn’t pick it for nothing. He didn’t pick it so that it could look good in his vineyard while taking up space. There was a reason why it existed yet it wasn’t fulfilling its purpose. So after three years of finding no fruit, he told the dresser to cut it down. He never called it useless. It just wasn’t useful. Cumber means to be in the way or to be idle or inactive. The tree was just taking up space, using up all the soil. He could be using that ground for something else.
But the dresser said, Lord, give it another chance. Yes, he interceded on behalf of the tree. Have mercy, Lord. Let me do this one thing. No one is saying that the dresser was lazy or that he wasn’t working, but sometimes what we’re doing is not productive. Either we’re not doing the right thing or what we are doing just isn’t enough. We can always do more.
Isn’t it interesting that the owner didn’t have to tell the dresser what to do? He already knew exactly what he had to do. Some of us know what we should do, but we don’t want to do it or we are afraid to do it or we don’t like change. To see change, that man had to change what he was doing. He had to do what he wasn’t doing before. That’s what repentance is. It is change. The dresser’s words revealed repentance, but his actions following his words revealed true repentance.
Every tree (believer) has leaves, but not every tree (believer) has fruit. Producing fruit is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I’m examining my life and I know there should have been – not just fruit, but much fruit by now. I’m in my forties and I’ve been saved since I was a teenager, but this has nothing to do with age. This has everything to do with growth. Whether it’s the fruits of repentance or the fruit of the Spirit, someone should be able to see it, eat from it and enjoy or benefit from it. If we’re not bearing fruit, then that means there is something we are refusing to do during the process. It’s not the Dresser’s fault. It’s not the soil’s fault. We are the ones refusing to grow in certain areas of our lives.
But I thank God. Someone prayed for us. Someone didn’t give up on us. Someone didn’t leave us nor forsake us. Someone is pleading on our behalf. God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy and He chose to have mercy on us. He spared us. He gave us space to repent and He has given us grace to do this year what we haven’t done in past years.
God is longsuffering to us. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So let us repent of laziness, procrastination, unfaithfulness and disobedience. The only time I hear believers talk about their assignment is when it comes to the church, but your assignment is beyond the four walls of the church building. The family God gave you is your assignment. That job God gave you is your assignment. That neighborhood or that city you live in is your assignment. God has given us many things and He is looking at how we are dressing and keeping what He gave us (Genesis 2:15).
Some of you may see yourself as the keeper of the vineyard and some of you might see yourself as the tree, but however you see yourself, do what you were placed on the ground or in the ground to do. This parable was really about repentance and I just want us to examine our lives, see where we’ve come short (not anyone else) and repent of our sins.
We will not be the tree that God cuts down, but we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in season (and out of season). Our leaves shall not wither and whatsoever we do shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).