Lent: Blessings and Miracles

I’m not splitting hairs here.

There’s a real and massive difference between Receiving a Miracle and Living in a state of Blessing.

At some point in our daily walk with Jesus we will need a miracle. I’ve never met any Christian who hasn’t. Whether it’s healing, finances, free time, rest or work we all need a miracle from time to time.

A few years ago I needed rest, time to reconnect with my wife and get away from the pressures of our life at that time. It was impossible. We couldn’t afford it, our diaries were booked months in advance and we were at breaking point. So I asked God to do the “impossible” and provide us the finances, time and venue to get away from everything for a few days.

His answer was a wonderful place called Jongensgat about 3 hours or so from our home in Cape Town. There is no cellphone reception, no television and no visible man-made light other than the light from the cottage itself after dark. There are 2 log cabins on the beach and the only sounds are the waves on the ocean and nature around us. It was miraculous as we suddenly received finances, time freed up and were able to walk into it within 48 hours of praying and asking for help.

Specific help.

I used to “pray” in terms of what is referred to as an “arrow-prayer” by some people. Just look up and shout “HELP!” Now in all fairness perhaps it’s not crazy, but that kind of praying seems to be like shooting a shotgun into the air and hoping to hit a duck. It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely to find the mark.

I’m not saying you can’t pray quickly, but every prayer Jesus, the Prophets or the Apostles is recorded as praying is specific. No exceptions – correct me with chapter and verse if I’m wrong in the comments.

Miracles require specifics. Pray for finances. Or Time. Or whatever you specifically need as a miracle. As I wrote in my last post, sow what you need to reap, but in this instance we need to ask for what we specifically need. Don’t ask for bread if you need milk. Don’t ask for time if you need money. God wants to give good things to us, but He says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

Incredible. Jesus actually says And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:29-34) 

Yes, there is conditional structure here. Not asking for ourselves, but trusting for our needs. But ask for more than we have to be a Blessing to others. Set our hearts on Heaven and see what happens. That’s moving into the realm of living in the Blessing yourself and instead of asking for a miracle, asking to be the miracle. Ask to have enough to be able to provide God’s miracle supply to others when He tells you to. But most amazing in this statement and teaching is the concept that it gives God pleasure to give to us. We give God pleasure by letting Him give to us – and through us as well.

It’s a higher realm to live in a state of Blessing than from Miracle to Miracle. It takes more effort to live bouncing between miracles too. Stress is increased, and it’s not God’s best for us. We have the opportunity to fear if we are constantly looking for the next miraculous supply. We have a choice to panic or trust.

Trust is a higher form, and it requires a deeper relationship. It’s what Jesus is talking about in Luke 12. Living in a Blessing, not miracle to miracle. Yes, He will give us miraculous finances, but it’s better to be in such a relationship with Him that our finances are blessed like Abraham’s. Jesus provided “miracle money” to Peter to pay the Temple Tax. But the disciples carried a purse and worked with money for the poor. Paul worked as a tent maker but received offerings from churches to aid him in his ministry. And logic tells us Jesus had money. For 3 years he travelled the country with 12 men. That costs money. It wasn’t thought unusual at the Last Supper when Jesus told Judas Iscariot to go out and do what he had to do. Judas was the keeper of the purse. It infers that Judas leaving (with the money) was not unusual. Jesus gave and instructed His disciples to as well.

In the Old Testament we see men of God with immense wealth. Abraham was thrown out of nations because the lands could not support the flock of the nation and the flock of his household. Solomon was wealthy beyond out imagination. David gave what would be the equivalent of billions of dollars of gold and precious stones for the temple – and still had left afterwards. 

Living in a state of Blessing requires a deep relationship with God. Not that relying on Him for a miracle to pull your skin out of the fire doesn’t, but there’s a deeper relationship for a Blessing. Kind of like the difference between your dad and the banker. Your dad will bail you out any time. The banker, not so much – and it may require much pleading before your miracle comes through. One wrong tick on the form and it gets rejected.

Now obviously it’s an imperfect analogy, but you get the point.

The deeper the relationship, the more inherent the trust we place in God to provide our daily need. Once that is consistent we deepen the relationship and begin to trust more for being a supply of other people’s needs. As the relationship deepens we can trust for bigger and bigger projects – and we can never out-give God!

That, ultimately, is the key. God’s heart is to give. If we can align our heart to His, then we can emulate Him in a spirit of generosity. That generosity comes from relationship, which leads to life in a state of Blessing. We still need miracles as the unexpected happens and the enemy fires his darts at us, but the relationship is the key. Its depth will determine the level of trust we can place in God, and the depth of the Blessing He can give us.

We need to remember that in His hometown, Jesus could do no mighty works because of the people’s lack of faith. If we can find it in ourselves to trust Him, we will reap a mighty harvest and move into a time of Blessing greater than we can imagine.

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