Tag Archives: miracles

Joshua 9-13; Mark 6

I almost missed the miracle. Early in the reading, I notice how the Israelites did not consult the Lord–and they were deceived. Immediately, my mind is inundated with every worst case scenario facing me in this season, and I reach out to the Lord and wonder, “I don’t want to do this without you. How will I know what to do?”

A little further down, and Joshua finds himself facing war.

So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you (Joshua 10:7-8, NLT).”

My head churns on the stresses ahead of me, and I try to focus on the words, but they are streaming past my eyes, and my worries are louder than the words in front of me. But something catches my attention, and I back up. I almost missed the miracle.

13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day (Joshua 10:12-14, NLT)!

I start over and read again, because this isn’t the only miracle by my God of Miracles. He delivered kings and armies to Joshua, 31 battles listed in this book. Thirty-one victories. And in the New Testament, Jesus feeds 5,000. He walks on water. He stops the wind. He heals those who seek him.

Self: don’t miss the miracles.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief (Mark 6:4-6, NLT).

And

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in (Mark 6:50-52, NLT).

Lord, your truth strengthens me. It reminds me of who you are and what you can do. I love your reminder to the disciples: “Take courage! I am here!”, complete with exclamation. You know how to get my attention. Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.


33 But Moses gave no allotment of land to the tribe of Levi, for the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised that he himself would be their allotment (Joshua 13:33, NLT).

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Genesis 16-18; Mark 6

16 Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.

17 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18 “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” Genesis 18:16-19, NLT, emphasis mine.

The Lord lets Abraham in on his plan (Abraham–imperfect, impatient, faithful), and Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom.

God doesn’t need help to do anything. But I wonder, does he let us in on his plans to see what we’ll do?

Jesus tells the disciples to go out without provisions.

Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes. Mark 6:6b-9, NLT.

They go out in faith, for faith, and they will be fed. God provides.

The numbers of people seeking Jesus grow.

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.” Mark 6:35-37a, NLT.

Miracles in chapters of God’s promises and provision and this verse lands at my feet with a thud.

You feed them.

The disciples protest: “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” Mark 6:37b, NLT.

Could they trust in God’s provision for themselves, but not see how God could use them to care for others?

38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”

They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed. Mark 6: 38-44, NLT.

Does he let us in on his plans to see what we’ll do?

I feel overwhelmed by the need around me. I can’t do much with my little loaves, and I forget how God multiplies. He can take something small (ten righteous people to spare a sinful city … five loaves and two fish to feed a large crowd … the life of his son to save the world) and he can do big things. He is El-Shaddai—God Almighty.

Jesus performs miracles. He’s walking on water, and the disciples are afraid.

50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in. Mark 6:50-52, NLT, emphasis mine.

Lord, you are at work softening my heart. Are you waiting to see what I will do? I pray that I will step out and answer your call, even with my little loaves–you do great things. God almighty.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

1 Chronicles 11-13; John 9:1-23

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7

I have been blessed to have witnessed and been a part of a host of miraculous healings, both in the United States and in India. Some of them were observable healings, like large, visible tumors shrinking to nothing, blinded eyes clearing, the lengthening of limbs to heal lopsided gaits, and restoration of life in dying bodies. Some of the healings were physical, yet internal, later confirmed by doctors, like cancer vanishing, clots melting back into the blood stream, heart failure reversing, and women considered barren baring children. Some of them were psychological healings, certified over time, like people with mental disorders returning to their families fully functional and others given freedom from demonic possession.

It is amazing when a miracle occurs, when a life is restored to normal functioning, or sometimes even better. And, it is an honor to be used by my heavenly Father as an instrument in several of these testimonies.

I will admit, when I am asked to pray for people, I often wonder what their back stories are. What happened in their lives to bring them to this point? Is their problem a consequence for sin in their lives? Is it a result of holding onto unforgiveness? Or is it an opportunity for them (and me) to press into God?

The story of the man blind from birth helps me remember that ultimately the circumstances are less important than the demonstration of God’s glory. God desires to show Himself to the world in every way that He can and will use all situations to reach hearts. And, what I have been learning throughout the past few years is that God is able to reveal who He is whether what we call a miracle happens or not. God uses everything that happens in our lives to draw us closer to Him.

One testimony of this is of my Aunt Lynn. Around five years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer; her prognosis was grim. After fighting the disease, through prayer and chemo and radiation, she succumbed a week after the birth of my first born. Her life was a miracle and a testament to God’s goodness, despite the fact that she was not healed on this side of heaven.

During this trial, rather than asking ‘why’, she focused her trust on God. She pressed into Him for peace, for grace, for strength. She drew closer to Him, nestling her head in the comfort and safety of His arms. She showed the world around her the righteousness of God and how truly beautiful relationship with Christ can be when we rely on Him. God was displayed through her experience.

Yesappa , Thank You for Your healing power and Your goodness to Your children. Thank you for the miracles that You do on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for using the circumstances that the enemy has meant for evil, to accomplish Your purposes. Thank You for drawing me close to You during trials and holding onto me in the midst of less than pleasant circumstances. Thank You for showing me how beautiful you are and for helping me show the world Your face. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

This is a song that my Aunt sang before her death. Though this version is not her performance, the song speaks to my heart about God’s goodness and how I can show His beauty to the world.

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Deuteronomy 29-30; Mark 16

So that (you) would know he is the Lord your God.

“You have seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to his whole country— all the great tests of strength, the miraculous signs, and the amazing wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you minds that understand, nor eyes that see, nor ears that hear! For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other alcoholic drink, but he gave you food so you would know that he is the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 29:2-6, NLT.

Moses tells the people. He reminds them of what God has done for them.

Provider.

They stand as a witness to family and foreigners.

10 All of you—tribal leaders, elders, officers, all the men of Israel—are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God. 11 Your little ones and your wives are with you, as well as the foreigners living among you who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here today to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant, including the curses. 13 By entering into the covenant today, he will establish you as his people and confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 29:10-13, NLT.

Even those far from the Lord, who return to him, will experience his mercy. A witness of his goodness.

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14, NLT.

A risen savior. The women were witnesses of an empty tomb. Filled with fear and bewilderment, they went to tell the disciples what they encountered. Jesus shows up too.

15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Mark 16:16-16a, NLT.

Even those far from the Lord, who return to him, will experience his mercy. A witness of his goodness.

19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. Mark 16:19-20, NLT.

So that (you) would know that he is the Lord your God.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

Genesis 27-28; Matthew 9:18-38

…a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples…When the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. (verses 18-19; 25)

…a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (verses 20-22)

…two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David”…and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened… (verses 27-30)

Matthew 9:18-30

I believe that the stories in the gospels are only tiny glimpses of all the miracles that actually took place during Jesus’ life. And yet, the testimonies that were written down for history stand out not necessarily because they were ‘bigger’ miracles than any other wonders He performed, but because these people were willing to do whatever it took to get what they needed, regardless of how other people might judge them.

A powerful man, a ruler who would have typically sent a servant to do his bidding, humbled himself before Jesus believing for his daughter’s life. An ‘unclean’ woman, one who bled for 12 years reached out, grabbed Jesus’ clothes trusting that a simple touch would heal her. Two blind men cried out, loud voices shouting relentlessly for mercy, contending for sight.

Need motivates a willing-to-do-anything attitude; it offers a dose of faith, an ounce of hope. It bolstered boldness and gave these individuals courage to approach the Throne of Grace set before them. God’s response was to choose these people, to say ‘YES’ to their needs. He blessed them, healed infirmities, and redeemed their lives.

But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 3Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing…” Genesis 27:35-36

Generations before, Jacob also acted out audaciously. Though his dealings with Esau are typically viewed as cunning and dishonest, presented opportunities enabled him to receive inheritance and blessing essential to the fulfillment of his destiny. And rather than chide him for his deceit, God’s response was to show himself to Jacob in a dream. God chose to re-establish the covenant He first made with Abraham. God promised Jacob the land and spoke increase over his offspring. God assured Jacob that through him (by Christ’s eternal blood sacrifice), all of the families of the earth would be blessed.

And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:12-15

I look at my own life and I can honestly say that my experience of relationship with Him is most transformed when I seek the person of Christ with desperation. Those times when I come boldly before Him, I receive the grace and mercy I need most in all circumstances.

When I take time to put my focus directly on Him, when I stop multi-tasking God and single-mindedly pursue His heart, He blesses me abundantly. When I shower Him with gratitude, praise, and worship, He gives me beauty for ashes and replaces my sadness with joy. When I do whatever it takes to have more of Him, He strengthens me in times of weakness, He heals my infirmities; He liberates me from bondage and offers me true freedom in Him.

Yesappa, Thank You for saying ‘Yes’ to me, for meeting me wherever I am, whether I come to you every day or I come to you in the midst of juggling responsibilities. I ask for an extra measure of boldness in approaching Your throne, as a daughter and as a co-heir. Help me carve out more time to seek Your face, to focus solely on You without distractions. Increase intimacy in our relationship and make all our time together quality time that touches Your heart and does miracles in mine. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Genesis, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalms 104

Elijah approached the people and said, “How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.

Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here, but there are four hundred fifty prophets of Baal. Bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose one bull and kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood, but they are not to set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull, putting the meat on the wood but not setting fire to it. You prophets of Baal, pray to your god, and I will pray to the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to his wood is the true God.”

All the people agreed that this was a good idea.

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you, so you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”

So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon, shouting “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.

At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “If Baal really is a god, maybe he is thinking, or busy, or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping so you will have to wake him!” The prophets prayed louder, cutting themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed, which was the way they worshiped. The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act like this until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard; Baal did not answer, and no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered around him, and Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one stone for each of the twelve tribes, the number of Jacob’s sons. (The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel.) Elijah used these stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the Lord. Then he dug a ditch around the altar that was big enough to hold about thirteen quarts of seed. Elijah put the wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the meat and on the wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it the third time. So the water ran off the altar and filled the ditch.

At the time for the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah went near the altar. “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” he prayed. “Prove that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant. Show these people that you commanded me to do all these things. Lord, answer my prayer so these people will know that you, Lord, are God and that you will change their minds.”

Then fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” 1 Kings 18:21-39 (NCV)

Elijah played a vital role in God’s strategy to reveal to the people of the time His glory and His power. God used Elijah to send a message to the men and women of Israel. God placed Elijah in the center of a miraculous event designed to challenge the status quo of those who had chosen to worship false idols, to definitively prove that He was, is, and will always be the ONLY Living God.

Elijah’s faith in the reality of God’s power gave him the ability to step out in boldness to proclaim the truth and confront the priests of Baal and the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. He gave them an experiential demonstration of the uselessness of putting their trust in counterfeit gods, the hopelessness of rituals intended to convince a statue to relieve suffering and provide for needs.

Daring the believers of Baal to authenticate their god, Elijah goaded them with taunts of a deity too busy to listen, too preoccupied with thinking or traveling or sleeping. It didn’t matter how loud the priests prayed, how hard they danced, or how much blood they let flow from their bodies, an imitation with no eyes to see or ears to hear would never be able to ease their desperation. Elijah allowed the priest to expend themselves in the futility of calling on a fake.

When it was Elijah’s turn to take part in the competition, he upped the ante, asking the on-lookers to pour twelve buckets of water over the altar he had rebuilt, soaking the sacrificed bull and drenching the firewood. A simple, yet fervent prayer – “show us who You are Lord” – called on God to take the impossible, and make it possible.

I have seen first-hand the fruitlessness of rituals, the worthlessness of worshipping a stone or a tree or an animal or money. I have heard the stories of men and women and children who have no hope and no peace. I have looked in desolate eyes that are seeking a savior, but were never told of Jesus. And, I have encountered the desperation of hearts seeking the joy of salvation without even knowing what they were searching for.

My whole being, praise the Lord.

Lord my God, you are very great.

You are clothed with glory and majesty…

I will sing to the Lord all my life;

I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.

May my thoughts please him;

I am happy in the Lord. Psalm 104:1, 33-34 (NCV)

I have also experienced the faithfulness of God. I have felt His Father arms wrapped around me, offering hope, giving a second chance. I have surveyed the wondrous cross, His sacrifice, partaking in Christ’s Blood and in His Body, my sins cleansed. I have been comforted by the assurance of Holy Spirit, convicted in the certainty of my Savior. I have witnessed His power to make the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see. I offer testimony to His miraculous works.

It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (MSG)

Like Elijah, like you, I am an integral part of His story, of God’s plan to establish His Kingdom on the Earth. I was created to exhibit Truth, to reveal His goodness. I was born to carry mustard seed faith, hope in the One, True God, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing. I was called to walk in boldness, receiving courage from Holy Spirit to exhort the undecided, the complacent to make a choice between false idols and the Genuine Article. I was sent to carry His love, His grace, and His mercy to my family, to my neighborhood, to my city, and to the outreaches of the world.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

P.S. Thank you for your patience with the delay in this post…we had a full day shut down, no electricity for 8 hours, no internet access for 8 hours. Helps me remember the blessings of living in America. 🙂

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Deuteronomy 10; Psalm 94; Isaiah 38; Revelation 8

I read of being chosen and loved. Deuteronomy 10. And I know I am loved. (But getting to this point were some pretty unlovely years. I think that was so God would let me know HE loves me.)

I read of his justice. Psalm 94. And I know he is just. (And getting to this point? Repetitious wounding and lives that went on happily-ever-after. In the hindsight of years, God shows me the truth.)

I read of details revealed so the message is clear–it’s from God. Isaiah 38:4-8. (This week I stepped into specific prayer with wild detail, and he met me there.)

And of anguish that passes through his hands, perhaps to spare of something worse.

15 But what could I say?
    For he himself sent this sickness.
Now I will walk humbly throughout my years
    because of this anguish I have felt.
16 Lord, your discipline is good,
    for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health
    and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me,
    for you have rescued me from death
    and forgiven all my sins. Isaiah 38:15-17 NLT

Father, thank you for unmistakable signs this week. From prayers answered in unexpected detail, a message in my inbox, and a study that had me look back at the year and see your powerful hand in my life, to these very chapters today that remind me: I am loved by you; you are just–nothing escapes you; and that you are not wasteful–you put every moment to good use.

17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. 19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. Deuteronomy 10:17-21 NLT.

Courtney (66books365)

 

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan