Gestating A Miracle

In John chapter 11 we read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

I think I’ve read this chapter 100s of times. I often ask the Lord, ‘What chapter should I read?’ More often than not He says ‘John 11’.

That could get frustrating, to just keep reading the same chapter, often getting something, but today was different.

I saw the gestation of a miracle.

I saw from the time Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick until he spoke the words, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ There was a time of gestation. Like being pregnant with a child, you are called upon to bring forth something into the earth. Jesus was bringing a miracle into the earth.

Jesus loved Lazarus, but He was confident in his revival. 

What did Jesus do as soon as He heard that Lazarus was sick?

NOTHING!!!!!!!

Can you imagine?

How could you do nothing if you heard your friend was sick?

Hearing this news was not his trigger for action.

Getting direction from God was His trigger for action.

If we live in our intellect then we will respond to what we hear with a thought pattern then make a decision about our actions based on what we come up with in our thinking.

Jesus was not living in his intellect. He was not controlled by his intellect. His guidance system was not his intellect. He was intent on only obeying God, only following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

If you feel an internal obligation to respond to every stimuli that comes your way, then you will easily be led by the circumstances not by God.

How do you make a decision about what to do?

Do you just reason it out?

God gave us an intellect, He wants us to use it! Right?

Thank God for our intellect; our ability to reason and to think things through with the knowledge we have in store and the wisdom we have been granted. But if we realize that our intellect is finite and our storehouse of knowledge might not have all the information required to make decisions. Then we realize we must ascend above our intellect. A higher level decision making process is required.

It is a humbling thing to think that we might not know it all. Intellect wants to reign. It wants to be in charge. It often thinks itself almighty. But if we humble ourselves and yield to the One above… If we acknowledge that we might not have all the answers and that the decision before us could be more than we are equipped to make…then we can have access to the Greater Mind, the Higher Intellect, yes, the wisdom of God!

Decisions are important. They set the course for the future, not just for us but all those around us as well.

So, why did Jesus not immediately respond when he heard the news about his friend?

He was waiting for instructions in his spirit not his intellect.

He was waiting for peace on the inside

Miracles aren’t always immediate.

Even this miracle wasn’t a microwave miracle.

We see Jesus going through a process to bring this about.

He was waiting for signals every step of the way.

Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit. Twice it mentions this. You can tell that he was more in tune with his spirit/the Spirit than he was with his intellect. His brain wasn’t running the show. It was yielded. It was looking. It was watching. Waiting for the signals, the guidance, the leading that comes from the Spirit of God dwelling within.

When you need a miracle, don’t get in a hurry. Being in a hurry is definitely where your intellect will want to take over and run the show.

If you’ll pull from the Spirit you’ll get heaven’s results not the intellect’s.

The Main Thing

Gardeners are amazing! They keep watch over their plants and over everything in their garden to make sure that it is in order and working right. One thing that they are very careful to watch out for is if anything is dead. They’re checking to see if there’s any brown leaves on any of their plants. If there’s brown leaves, that means something has died. When they see that something has died, they trim it off.

In your life are there any brown leaves? Are there any places that aren’t bearing fruit the way that they should be?

Proverbs 29:18a “Where there is no vision, the people perish”

This passage of scripture states clearly why there might be death in some of the things you are doing.

Let me illustrate.

I love playing guitar. I’ve written several songs and recorded a few CDs. I love playing at parties and in front of people and at church. My wife especially loves my playing. She wants me to go back out and play in the restaurants like I used to, just because she knows how much it blesses people.

But I have so much on my plate. It’s very difficult to choose what I’m supposed to keep my eyes on. I am the pastor of a church, I run Joseph Barlow Ministries, we have 7 children, we have a home group on Wednesday nights, we have healing class on Saturday morning. We are trying to manage a very busy schedule and there is a lot going on. Rest is sometimes something that you have to steal; at least it seems like that.

So what about the guitar playing? My guitar has been sitting in its case.

I haven’t played it in a little while. It feels like a brown leaf sometimes. I want to write songs I want to go back into the studio. But I’m letting too much get in the way of that.

What is happening?

I am letting the vision dissipate. I’m letting it lose its appeal in my heart. Sometimes you have to stir yourself back up. You have to stir up the vision. When you stir up the vision, the desire gets stronger. You have to imagine what it would be like if your desires were coming to pass right now. Is that something worth working for? Maybe!

You, like me, need to make some decisions. We better decide what are the visions we want to keep in place in our life that will motivate our actions and drive our plans forward. So list the things you want to do. Then list the things you have to do. How well do those two lists intersect?  It’s time to start trimming. It’s time to reestablish vision. If we don’t do the trimming then disappointment and the clock will do it for us.

Let’s make the main thing the main thing.

But, for you, what is the main thing?

What is it you were sent here for?

Are you doing it?

A Time Machine for Decision Making!

Most of you have seen some sort of show about a time machine. So, you probably know that if you go into the past and change something it could change your current world dramatically or even affect your very existence.

But what if you or I could use a time machine to look ahead? See beyond a decision that we are about to make? What if we could go into the future and see the outcome of choosing an option A vs. option B? What would the world look like? What would it feel like? Is it desirable? Do I want the world to look like that?

If I could use a time machine for that, I would use it a lot! I could choose the best possible future.

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me to, “Swing like you can’t miss!” He’s referring to me playing baseball and being at bat, standing there ready for the pitch. With each pitch I have to make a decision. I could let that ball pass by or I could give a fair attempt at swinging; maybe an attempt that others would say “He tried.” Or I could swing at that ball at just the right time, with all the force I can muster and if I connect with the ball- it is definitely out of here.

So, which of those three possible futures do I want? Do I want the future that happens after I don’t swing? How about the future that happens after I make a feeble attempt? Or do we want the future that happens after I knock the ball clean out of the park?

So, where’s my time machine? I want to know the answer! There could be good in each of those scenarios because I don’t know all the variables. Let me take three trips in my time machine, one trip to each of those possible futures. I’ll look around a bit in each scenario, then I’ll come back and make my decision about how hard I want to swing this bat.

Well, my friend, I am happy to inform you that you already have a time machine that can do this.

Uh, Joe, either I’m crazy or you are! I don’t have a time machine!

My friend, yes you do! It is your imagination! You have the ability to look ahead. Imagine the outcome of each decision. Paint the picture in your imagination with as much detail as you can. Follow through each of those possible decisions. Spend time imagining what the world would look like if you choose option A. Take time and look around a bit in that imagination. Describe it the best you can. Do you like it? Do you love it?

Now dial your time machine back just before the decision. Imagine option B. Now follow it through. Imagine the outcome of that. Does option B create the world you want to live in?

I believe imagination works quite well as a time machine! So go for it. Look into the future. See the world you want to live in. Then make a decision and swing like you can’t miss!

Welcome to your future. The one you chose, because you were already here in your time machine.

Making decisions is going to be fun now. Use that powerful time machine you’ve been given:

Your awesome imagination.

copyright 2016 Joseph Barlow