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Archive for Miracles

Jan
16

Make Your Mark:: 1

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“So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Seac until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho” (Joshua 3:14-16, NLT).

In the story of Joshua thus far, God had called and commissioned Joshua and the people of Israel to continue His purposes for them: to possess the land. Next, two spies were dispersed to scout the first objective in the new land—the city of Jericho.

Joshua began to mobilize the people on the eastern banks of the Jordan River. It was a massive assembly. Estimates from scholars range in numbers anywhere from 600,000 to 2.5 million people! Before them was the Jordan River, full and flowing as a result of the rainy season.

As they looked at the river, the people could have held one of two opinions. The river could have either been an obstacle or an opportunity. Either way, it would have to be crossed in order to begin the Canaan campaign.

How do you cross a river? How do you lead hundreds of thousands of people across a river? Two options were obvious. They could have worked on constructing some sort of bridge. Or, they could have attempted to swim across. But God had something else in mind: He was going to part the waters so the people could cross on dry ground.

Does that sound familiar? Though few remained in their number who had actually experienced the Red Sea crossing, without doubt everyone knew the story of the nation’s miraculous deliverance. I personally believe that God parted the Jordan River for the Israelites because He wanted to give them their own miracle. The people had been living on their parents and grand parents miracles. Now the time had come for them to have their own first hand experience of God’s power and might. They needed to know that the God of yesterday was still involved in the lives of his people in the present.

How about you? As you evaluate your personal faith journey, are you content to live off of the miracles of yesteryear? Or is there a longing in your heart to see and experience God’s work for yourself? Remember, God has not changed. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever! If you will open your heart to the possibility that God is actively involved in the world today, He will give you your own experiences with Him.

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Unless you are highly unusual, you are all familiar with disappointment. The earliest instance I could recall of being disappointed happened in 8th grade when I auditioned to be the drum major for our junior high marching band. For two solid weeks I prepared for the try out, marching around my back yard twirling a broom stick which served as my makeshift baton. On the day of the audition I performed to the best of my ability. Following the audition the band director announced that he would share the results of the audition the next day. I hardly slept that night, fraught with anxiety over the outcome of process. The next day I went to band and the director called me into his office. He explained that I had a good audition as did the other contestant, but all things being equal, I was a brass player and he was a woodwind, and he needed “my horn” in the band. I was crushed.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve been disappointed with circumstances that didn’t pan out exactly like you’d hoped. And I’m equally sure you’ve been disappointed with people who you thought you could really rely on. You may have even experienced disappointment with God. According to Psychologists, disappointment is the result of some failed or unmet expectation. That may explain why we feel disappointment, but it doesn’t help the hurt.

Disappointment can be tricky, because if one is not careful they can end up living their life defined by their disappointment. Take, for example, the feel good movie Forest Gump. Forest had a difficult childhood, to say the least, but he persevered and began to experience some success. He was an All American football player, then a highly decorated war hero. He became successful in business to the degree that he became a philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to charitable causes. But none of the success he experienced in life mattered to him because the girl he loved from childhood didn’t love him in return.

John 2:1-11 tells a story of disappointment. The setting is a wedding that Jesus and the 12 disciples attended in a small berg called Cana. Mary was there, so it’s possible the wedding was for a family friend, or perhaps Mary had some catering responsibility. Who knows?

We do know that weddings in the first century were multi-day events, sometimes lasting a week or longer. The financial burden of the wedding was on the father of the groom. Like many modern cultures, it was a time for the family to display their wealth and blessings. And, like our modern cultures, they were quite lavish. The family would assume responsibility for hosting the guests for the entire week, providing food, lodging, entertainment, and of course, wine. During the celebration it became evident that they were running out of wine. This would have been cause for embarrassment and humiliation; a grave disappointment to the wedding party who lived in a “blame and shame” culture. In Jesus day, the groom’s family could have been sued for damages, for amounts up to half the value of the wedding presents.

Needless to say, running out of wine would have been a damper on the celebration. One cannot help but notice the irony. Wine in the Bible is a symbol of joy. The wine ran out, the joy also evaporated.
With that backdrop tomorrow I will enter the story and make some observations about belief in the face of disappointment.

Categories : Belief, iBelieve, Jesus, John, Miracles
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