Ultimate Joy

Posts Tagged ‘heaven

Do you believe in miracles?

I’m not talking about ones you can brush off lightly, but real life-changing, stop- you-in-your-tracks type of miracles.  Not ones you’ve heard about happening in someone else’s life; someone’s mother who was miraculously found free of cancer. I’m asking you if you deeply believe that miracles can happen in your life?

Miracles require impossible prayers.  Do you have any of those?  I did and still do.  Mine were pie in the sky, through the roof kinds of prayers, but relied heavily on a God that regularly does the impossible in the world.

One of my impossible prayers was for Osama bin Laden.  The Bible says to pray for your enemies and I prayed that bin Laden would come to faith in Jesus Christ.  To my knowledge, that never happened.

Another of my life-changing, impossible prayers was to move to California.   God answered that prayer.  At times I thought it would never be answered, but in His timing, my expectations were surpassed beyond belief. Every day I get to drink in the sweetness of a seemingly impossible, but answered prayer.

There is a very real enemy to mind-blowing prayers – balancing the heartache and tension of not seeing any movement.  Powerful prayers take time and over time, we abandon the worthiness of our prayer.  Powerful prayers demand you never give up; that you become a warrior…in no way hardening your heart when a miracle doesn’t immediately follow the prayers.

Good thing, Jesus occupies my heart.  When I lift powerful prayers to Him, He gives hope when I would probably lose it and faith when I feel like abandoning them.  I prayed, for example, bin Laden would overcome his anger and come to truly know the One who gives life and love.  I prayed he’d move closer to the only Person who could rescue him from the depths.  It was tough to pray for Public Enemy #1, still I continued to plead bin Laden would finally know the One who could bind up his broken heart.  The only One who could give him an identity that said, “You are loved, my son.”

And even though that miracle didn’t happen, it hasn’t led me to abandon my belief that everyday, life-changing miracles are still ahead. This impossible prayer wasn’t answered, but it hasn’t soured me on all impossible prayers.  It’s easy to believe in miracles if every time you prayed, one happened.  While miracles are wonderful, it is the prayer and faith – the increased dependence on God while asking for an impossible dream – that’s where the true miracle takes place.

I believe in miracles – not just for the ones that have happened in my life, like getting to live in California, but I also believe because of the ones that didn’t happen.

Praying and having faith in impossible prayers declares to everyone that we have a God that is greater than “impossible.”

If you have an impossible prayer, don’t stop believing in miracles. Don’t stop praying. Have courage, put yourself out there and trust your God.  Believe in the impossible because we serve a God who can do all things.

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I admit it:  I’m an Olympic junkie.  For two weeks during the Vancouver Olympics, I sat transfixed in front of my television set watching sports that I only watch once every four years.  (Can you say “skeleton?”)

The human interest stories capture my attention.  The skater, Joannie Rochettte, who skated to a bronze medal despite her mother’s death a few days before the competition started.  The Georgian team performing admirably even after a team member’s tragic death.  Or the American bobsled team, who won gold at the hands of a driver suffering such severe eye trouble that he brought along his own eye doctor!

Every athlete participating in the Olympics has disciplined their bodies and mind.  Careful exercise routines and diets are laid out for them by their coaches.  They spend hours and hours practicing; beating response from their bodies because events are won or lost by fractions of a second or less than a point.

That dedication never fails to nudge me to be more dedicated, more faithful to God.  The Olympic athletes train years upon years, putting in hundreds of hours for the chance to shine on the world stage, to possibly win gold, silver or bronze.  But there is another reward even greater than those medals and I cringe in horror at the times when I realize I rarely match the time these athletes practice for a shiny piece of metal.

In II Timothy 4:7-8, Paul explains our reward.  He writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge – will award me on that day – not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Paul knows, just like the Olympians, that he has been in a battle, not against the clock or each other, but against Satan.  We are at war, but we also know the outcome.  God wins, Satan loses.

But what about us?  Sharing in God’s victory, we will receive the crown of righteousness if we remain faithful like Paul.  But do I work as hard as an Olympic athlete?  Do I pray daily?  Do I open my Bible and study it every day?  Do I always treat others with care and compassion?

Sadly, I have to say no to all of those questions.  Does that mean my crown of righteousness means less than an Olympic gold medal?  Definitely not!  It is just so easy to put off heavenly pursuits because the prize is unseen.  Yet, they seem so little to ask given the majestic glory of God’s heavenly kingdom.  Every day, I must remind myself that God will crown me with righteousness for what I exhibited here on earth.

The choices we make every day exercise our will the same way a treadmill exercises our muscles.  They determine whether we grow spiritually strong or remain spiritually weak.

I pray each evening that I can give a positive response to one very simple question:  “What have I done today that will make heaven different?”