The same Jesus that fed thousands, raised the dead, restored sight, healed the sick, cursed the fig tree, cast out demons, rebuked the wind and spoke to the waves is in you.
He is in you and you are in Him.
What He did is what you can do also – and even greater works because He, along with the Father and Holy Spirit, will do it through you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12).
I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Some years ago, I asked God, Why?
Why did YOU allow this? Why didn’t YOU stop it?
Not only did I blame God for the things that people did to me, but I blamed him for the things that I did to myself. I thought that this shouldn’t have happened and that shouldn’t have happened. I was upset and hurting.
And when I was finished speaking, God spoke.
I would never hurt you.
I was reminded of the man who was blind from birth. It would have been one thing if he had been born with sight and then one day he lost it, but he entered the world in that condition. Sounds unfair, huh? The scriptures didn’t mention his age, but he wasn’t a child anymore. He was now a man. Therefore, he had been in this state for a long time. I’m sure he probably thought that because he was born this way that he would always be that way.
He didn’t see Jesus, but Jesus saw him (probably begging). And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth (John 9:1). The disciples immediately thought that either the man did something bad or his parents did. Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? They were looking for someone to blame because it had to have been someone’s fault.
But Jesus told his disciples that the man nor his parents sinned, but this was allowed so that the works of God and the power of God could be displayed. God wanted to show others what He can do. He wanted to show others what it looked like to be free.
I’m not telling you that I understand everything, or that I have things figured out, but I do know this. Even if it was my parents’ fault or my fault, God is still going to get the glory out of what I’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what that woman did or what that man did because there is a man called Jesus.
In the very near future, God is going to show others (through you and me) that what they thought was impossible is possible. It is possible to be free from habits, addictions, sicknesses, wrong thinking and even people that you thought you could never get free from. God’s plan for you is good and people will know His goodness by what they see Him do in you. It is going to build their faith. It is going to give them hope. Some won’t believe, but some will and they are going to ask, How did it happen? And then they will know that they can be made whole, too.
The neighbors and they who before had seen him that he was blind said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. Others said, He is like him. But he said, I am he. Therefore, they said to him, How were your eyes opened?
He answered and said, A man called Jesus.
[Scripture reference: John 9:1-11]
change: to do things differently; to become something else; to transform
God had many prophets, but He sent Jonah to Nineveh. Their wickedness had come up before Him and He was sending Jonah to preach against it. I don’t know if Jonah disobeyed God because he was afraid of his enemies’ faces or because he didn’t think they deserved another chance. When you read Jonah 4:1-2, you can hear what was in Jonah’s heart – pride (thinking he was better than others), self-righteousness, and discrimination (unfairly treating a group of people differently from other people). It sounds like Jonah didn’t want his enemies to have what God had just given Him – grace, love and salvation. Yes, Jonah was called by God. Yes, he had the gift of prophecy, but he lacked one thing – love.
Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord. One version of Jonah 1:3 tells us that Jonah went to the dark hold of the ship to hide, but where could he go from His presence? When he was in the lowest part of the ship, God was there. When he was in the belly of the fish, God was there. Another version of Jonah 1:3 tells us that he made himself comfortable in the hold of the ship. That was the difference between Jonah and the people of Nineveh. When God sent His word to Jonah, he sought comfort, but when God sent His word to Nineveh, they sought change. When Jonah couldn’t find comfort – when there was no peace, he cried out to God. Not only did he thank God for sparing him and protecting him, but he told God that he was going to pay the vow that he made to Him. He was going to do what was required of him – and he did. Jonah obeyed God and preached in the city of Nineveh, but after God repented of what He was going to do to Nineveh, Jonah became angry.
What happened to the man that spoke all those beautiful words in the belly of the fish?
Here we see another distinction between Jonah and the people of Nineveh. Words versus works. God heard Jonah’s words, but He saw Nineveh’s works (Jonah 2:2; 3:10). When God said He was going to destroy the city in forty days, the people believed Him. They (from the king to the animals) immediately went on a fast and cried unto God. The moment they turned, God turned away from His fierce anger.
The people of Nineveh changed their ways, but Jonah held on to some of his ways. Sometimes we do enough just to get out of the ‘belly of the fish’, but we don’t do everything we need to do to stay out. I know what it’s like to run from what God said. I know what it’s like to cry and tell God why I can’t do what He told me to do only for Him to come back to me – the second time. The scary thing is I don’t know how many more times He’s going to keep telling me the same thing over and over.
When you disobey God, disobedience will take you places that you don’t want to go. A good example of this is found in John 6:66. The moment many of Jesus’ disciples decided to walk with Him no more, they went back.
I know a lot of times we tell people not to ‘go back’, but I can remember when God told me to go back. I was living in Charleston at the time. I had plans, but things weren’t coming together as I thought they would and I was too ashamed to return home. I felt like a failure and I was doing everything I could to make things work in Charleston. It seemed like doors were tightly shut. I couldn’t even find employment. I prayed less and less and when I did pray, I didn’t know what to say to God. But I could still hear his voice – and He told me to go back home. I acted just like the prodigal son. I fought it. I fought Him. Then one day, I got tired and I cried out to God. I surrendered. Immediately, doors (not one door) began to open for me. And you know what? The very thing I feared didn’t even happen. In fact, it was as if I had never left home. God took care of everything, but I had to trust Him. I had to leave my ways and try it His way. I had to change.
Remember when I told you earlier that Jonah was seeking comfort, but couldn’t find any? What you and I are seeking can only be found in doing the will of God. Until then, you will find yourself unhappy, unfulfilled and frustrated. Until you do what God tells you to do – until you change your ways – until you fulfill the will of God, fulfillment will not come to you or to those who are counting on you.
Someone is waiting on you to do what God has sent you to do. May God put His desires (especially the desire for change and to change) in our hearts.