#2099 –  Your Miracle Begins Today! (30 May 2010)

The Message

Jim Penner

Special Guest

Producer Martha Williamson
Martha brought Touched by An Angel to television and will share with you tips on bringing God into your marriage:

“The sheriff in the local city there had chased a fugitive off the freeway, right up into the canyon and they dead ended right at our wedding tent. So he jumped out, he had guns, we had cops”

Special Music

Hymn / Anthem:
Joyful, Joyful
Medley – All Creatures of our God and King / God of Wonders
To God be the Glory

Choir / Solo
Fullerton College Concert Choir – Psalm 104, Praise His Holy Name
Britt Nicole – Walk on the Water

The Message

My question today for you is in the bulletin you saw the title and the title of the message is “Your Miracle Begins Today.” And somebody here would say that’s an audacious title. Can you guarantee that? And I can absolutely stand here this morning and say I can guarantee your miracle begins today. The question is would you recognize a miracle if you were standing right in the middle of it? If you were living in a miracle right now would you recognize it? Now somebody here would say well absolutely. If there’s a miracle it’s obvious that I’m living in a miracle. Now I’m not quite sure that’s true and I’m going to point that out by saying very early in the morning there was a pastor in a small town. There was a horrific thunder storm overnight and he got woken up far before dawn. And he had had a revelation from God and he shook his wife awake and he said, “Honey, hurry before it’s too late. We’ve got to go now!” and he grabs his wife and gets her out of bed, they get dressed, they jump in the car and pretty soon they’re on the edge of town before the sun even comes up and he’s holding up a big sign. And the big sign says “the end is near - turn around now.” That’s his sign, “the end is near - turn around now.”

Now the first car to come by is Bernie and Bernie is the local bar fly and he’s been drinking all night. And he comes by in his car and he sees that sign and he sees the pastor and he says “hey Pastor Jake leave me alone! I’m not turning around for you or your God.” Bernie races on by and around the next bend the pastor and his wife hear the screeching of tires and a loud splash and crunching of metal and the pastor’s wife turns to her husband and says “Do you think it would be better if we held up a sign that says ‘the bridge is out’ instead?” Instead of turn around now the end is near, right? Bernie missed the miracle. God gave him one. He was living right there. He could have just slowed right on down and he would have been fine. He missed the miracle.

How many of us miss miracles that are happening in our lives right now? II Corinthians 5:7 says we are to “live by faith and not by sight.” Live by faith and not by sight and sometimes to recognize miracles we have to live by faith and not by sight. Now what does that mean? To live by faith and not by sight you have to learn the three T’s of a powerful faith, the three T’s of a powerful faith. And the first T is take your eyes off your circumstances. Take your eyes off your circumstances. If your eyes are fixed on your circumstances and not on God you will never, ever see the miracles unfolding around you. All you will see are your circumstances. And the case in point; I love the story from Exodus. Exodus 14:22 - the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground with a wall of water on their left and on their right, right? You can all picture that image from Cecil B. DeMille’s film the Ten Commandments used to air every Easter time. We’d always see that movie on television and you would say we can look back what three, four thousand years and we can say it’s obvious that was a miracle. The seas parting and the people walking through.

Okay now forget Hollywood for a minute. Now stand there on the edge of the Red Sea and you’re in that situation. Here’s what you see. You see the Egyptian army bearing down on you and they want to kill every one of you because their first-born child just got killed a few days earlier because of your God. What’s in front of you is a canyon of water as high as the organ, maybe as high as the Cathedral and maybe higher and you’re staring at that. And your human brain is telling you I’m going to die by swords or I’m going to walk halfway across this sea and I’m going to drown because those walls of water are certainly not going to stay up for me. That’s what you would say and you know I’m right because you say that every day in your life when a miracle is happening around you. There’s no way those walls of water are going to stay up.

Now if that isn’t a big enough example that was just one miracle in this story. Let’s go back a little bit. The Egyptians were killing every Israelite, every Hebrew baby that came along because the Israelites were growing in numbers, the Egyptians were worried that they were going to be taken over because of the growth of this group so Pharaoh orders the first born child to be killed of all the Hebrews. Moses is born, his mother puts him in a reed basket and sets him out on the Nile. Do you think that felt like a miracle to Moses’ mother? Picture putting your child, your baby three months old in a basket, closing the lid and letting the basket go adrift on the Nile River with every peril imaginable about to befall him. Would you picture that as a miracle? That certainly did not look like the first step in God saving an entire race. Did it?  That’s miracle number one. She didn’t recognize it.

Moses when he grows up, grows up in the household of Pharaoh. That turned out to be a miracle, but he sees an Egyptian guard beating one of the slaves and he kills that guard and ends up having to flee for his own life. How is this the start of a miracle that’s going to liberate a nation? Moses is now gone having to flee into the desert. God sends Moses back forty years later and He doesn’t send him with the Marines from Camp Pendleton, He sends him back with a staff in his hand. So here’s the Egyptian army all standing around and the liberator comes in the form of Moses with a robe and a staff. Doesn’t exactly look like a miracle. But the miracle was walking through the gates of the city nobody recognized it. Correct? Now what happens next? Moses says to Pharaoh “let my people go.” Pharaoh says in Jim Penner’s version, you’re nuts go away and fact is your slaves are laboring. I’m going to make them make bricks without straw. Fact is they can go in the fields and gather their own straw. Their labor got worse. Does that sound like a miracle? They send a liberator and it gets worse? The situation gets worse and not better?

Have you ever prayed for something and your situation gets worse and not better? That’s happened to all of us. And fact is Moses even said in Exodus 5:22 Moses returned to the Lord and said why Lord why have You brought more trouble on this people? Is this why You sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble on people and You have not rescued Your people at all. Isn’t that what we say? Just what Moses said? We don’t recognize God’s plan because our eyes are on our circumstances and not on God. We are not living by faith, we are walking by sight.

Then the plagues start to come. Now the Israelites for the most part are being spared but this is what they are seeing; locusts and gnats and hail and all of these plagues that are coming and they’re saying this doesn’t look like a miracle. And you know looking back from today it looks like miracle but it didn’t look like it back then.

And then a night of terror. A night of terror as the angel of death descends. Now God promised the Israelites that they would be spared, right? He promised them that, but you’re in that home and here’s what you’re hearing: screaming and wailing as your neighbor next door watches their son die and you’re staring at the crib at your son saying is my baby going to be spared? God promised it to me, but you’re hearing the emotional cries of people right outside your door. How much faith did it take to say I trust God with His promise in the midst of that? They were living in the middle of a miracle. Think of the fear that they would have been going through and what faith it took to make it through that night.

Then a miracle happens: God releases them. Pharaoh let’s them all out, six hundred thousand men plus women and children so probably a million and a half, two million people doing what? Wandering out into a desert. No water out there. No food out there. Completely having to take their eyes off their circumstances and relying on God. Then they get to the Red Sea where we started this little part of the message staring at those walls of water. They actually make it across; they get to the other side. The Egyptians are taken care of. God’s taken care of the Egyptians, now what? Now you have a million and a half to two million people wandering through the desert and what does God do? He gives them manna every day. What do the people do? They complain every day because they’re getting manna every day. No meat, no eggs, all the stuff that we like to eat. You know if you have eat manna every day it starts to get old after a while. But they were living in the middle of a miracle but they were complaining about it.

Would you recognize a miracle in your life today? With something God is doing in your life today would you recognize it? You won’t if your eyes are on your circumstances. Take your eyes off your circumstances. God didn’t bring you here by accident today. You needed this message. You needed to be able to go out here with your faith bolstered and to bolster the faith of your neighbors. You need to be ministers in your own community. Take your eyes off your circumstances.

Okay what’s the second T? Turn your circumstances over to God. Turn your circumstances over to God. And I love this bible verse. I love this bible verse from Matthew. Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives and those who seek find and those who knock the door will be opened. Now here comes the practical part. Which of you if your son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish will give him a snake? If you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him? Now a lot of times this bible verse is associated with our salvation and absolutely right. It’s a powerful bible verse for our salvation. But this is practical. Jesus is talking about practical gifts here and now when He talks about who of you if your son asks for bread would give him a stone, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you? It’s practical. You need to take your eyes off your circumstances and then turn your circumstances over to God. Jesus said it, ask.

Now as men we don’t like to ask for directions or anything, right? Low and behold before I’ll ever ask for directions. Well my wife comes home one day and she brings in a box maybe about the size of this piece of stone right here and it had a nice picture of a desk on it and she goes you won’t believe this great deal. I think she got it at IKEA or something. She goes you won’t believe this. Paige needed a desk for school so I got her a desk and it had a picture of it and she goes, but some assembly is required. And I knew that meant me but she goes you can put this together and I says yes I can put it together. I hauled it up to Paige’s room and started putting it together because I emptied the box, took the instructions, don’t need those, put those in the box and started assembling the thing. It’s just three sides, a top and a couple of shelves. This ought to be easy until I figured out, half way assembled I figured out that there were four different sizes of screw in this box. But the size difference was so small you would have never really realized that there were four different sizes of screw that, that, that and that. Some recent graduate from Cal Tech decided this desk was so important he wanted four different sizes of screw.

So as I’m starting to disassemble what I had assembled, my wife comes in. How’s it going? Oh it’s going pretty good. Well she didn’t believe me. She goes you need some help? And I thought to myself, help, help? I don’t need any help. I’m doing just fine. And I said no honey thank you very much. And she did that wife walk, you know, where you kind of look like this and headed out of the door and closed the door and not quite sure if she wanted to leave or not. But eventually I got this desk together because what did I do I was humbled and I pulled the instruction book back out so I could figure out the sizes of these screws. 

But that’s what our life is about. We have to be willing to ask. Humble yourself before the Lord. Ask for your needs. Give Him praise but ask for what you need. That’s what you need to do. Ask and it will be given to you. Take your eyes off your circumstances, turn your circumstances over to God and then the third part is the toughest thing to do: trust God with the results. Trusting God with the results is the most difficult thing that you will do. Because go back to the Exodus, the book in Exodus, the people they were grumbling, they were complaining, they had prayed to God to liberate them. He was in the process of doing it, but they weren’t trusting God with the results. When you pray to God, are you willing to trust Him with the results of your life? And He is worthy of that trust.

You know we just came through the Easter season and I love the bible verse from John 19:30, Jesus’ three final words on the cross, “It is finished.” It is finished. That’s the most powerful words that you can imagine. It is finished. What is finished? His Father’s plan? Absolutely. His Father’s will? Absolutely. But it is finished means your victory is complete. I said in the Good Friday evening service that cross is a victory sign for your life. It’s a victory sign because you don’t need to fear sickness, you don’t need to fear financial hardship, you don’t need to fear emotional turmoil, your victory in Christ is complete if you’ll take your eyes off your circumstances, turn them over to God and trust Him with the results. Because Jesus on that cross, here’s what He did: He signed a contract for your life. He signed a contract for your life.

Now you’ve all signed a contract, a car loan, a house loan, a credit card. You’ve signed a contract, but what does a contract take? It takes two signatures. Christ signed the contract with that cross. Are you willing to sign your name to that contract for it to go into force? That’s the only way it’s going to happen is if you will trust God with the results of your life. Take your eyes off your circumstances. Turn your circumstances over to God and trust God with the results. If you do that, if you do that your miracle begins today. Your miracle begins today.

Let’s pray. Father we love You, we praise You. How awesome it is to think that You created the heavens and the earth yet You sent Your son to die for us. Who are we that You would send Your son to die for us? That’s how much You love us. Father, today we are going to take our eyes off our circumstances. We’re going to turn those circumstances over to You and we’re going to trust You maybe for the first time, somebody out there maybe for the first time is going to trust You with the results. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen. Thank you, thank you very much.




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