The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

A Miracle From The Inside Out

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “miracle”?

Do your thoughts immediately turn to Jesus, recalling one of the miracles that He performed while He was here with us? Maybe His first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana? Raising Lazarus from the dead? Making the crippled man walk? Restoring the blind man’s sight? How about feeding the five-thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread?

I want to “set the table” for this post by asking you to try something for me; a warm-up, if you will. I’d like for you to recall the first of Christ’s miracles that you just recalled; the very first one that came to your mind. It doesn’t matter which one it was; there’s no right or wrong selection. You may have even thought of one other than those that I mentioned. Got yours? Are you ready to try this?

Let go.

The first thing that I’d like for you to do is to close your eyes and ask God to give you an open mind, clearing your thoughts of all of the day’s clutter. Take a few deep breaths, and as you do, let go of all of your worries. Okay, for some of us, letting go of everything is a tall order! Just do the best that you can. I want you to allow yourself to step outside of the mental “box” that confines many of us. Allow your feelings to overrule your thoughts.

Now, I want you to think of the miracle that you have in mind, and put yourself in it. I’m not talking about envisioning yourself you reading about it in the Bible, or watching it in a movie. I want you to see, in your mind’s eye, that you are there, clothed in the garb of the day. You’re at the wedding feast, having a great time with your family and friends. You’re one of thousands sitting on a beautiful hillside watching a glorious sunset as the end of the day draws near. You’re in a crowded room as a man is lowered on a stretcher through a hole in the ceiling by his friends.

Jesus is there…

wherever you are; at the wedding…on the hillside…in the crowded room. You can see Him. You can hear Him. You feel His presence. You are with Him…the Son of God…the Word become flesh. You stand in awe, overwhelmed by what you are witnessing…Jesus performing a miracle!  Amazing, isn’t it? Hold onto that feeling because…

Jesus is here. Now.

And He’s still working miracles. We see them every day.

Some we take for granted, like the human body. Have you ever stopped to wonder how your heart beats? I mean, what is it that makes it work? There’s no battery, or fuel source…it just starts when we enter this world, and stops when our time here is done. How about the gift of sight? Or hearing? Or our amazing minds? All God’s handiwork.

Other miracles are more obvious, and we associate them with, well, with miraculous events! A young child being spared in a passing tornado…people walking away from horrific traffic accidents…a tumor that has seemingly “vanished” just prior to surgery for its removal.

There’s one more miracle

that I’d like to share with you. I don’t know that this miracle is unique. In fact, I imagine that this miracle has unfolded countless times. I just don’t know for sure, and I don’t really know who to ask…

The miracle that I’d want to tell you about is the one that God performed in me. No He didn’t make a tumor vanish, or let me walk away from a horrible crash, or bring me back from the dead. In other words, my miracle is nothing that you would find in the news…

When you open your heart to the world, you shed the shackles of fear, resentment, doubt, and loneliness. In doing so you open your arms to embrace all that God and His magnificent universe has to offer you, and you realize that it had been there all along, but you were blind to it. A closed heart is accompanied by eyes that do not see.                          

The miracle that God gave me was that He allowed me to open my heart the day I got my tattoo in August of 2006. Look, I know I’ve told you about my tattoo, so I’m not gonna do that again today.

I will, however, reiterate once again that my life hasn’t been the same since that day. Perhaps this is because I haven’t been the same since that day. The moment that I gave my life to Christ my perspective on life changed. The change wasn’t immediate; it was a gradual process, one that continues even today. And I believe that with each additional sunrise that I see, that change will continue.

Look, a fifty-three year old man doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to change not only the way he lived his life, but the very essence of who he was…and then do it! He needed help. I needed help. And God gave it to me.

Perhaps it was part of His plan for me all along. Perhaps He was just waiting for me to ask for help. Perhaps I just had to reach that particular point in time when I was ready to receive Him. Fully.

Everything.

Every facet of my life changed…the way I saw other people…the way that I dealt with life…the way that I reacted to certain situations…the manner in which we ran our business…the priorities in my life…the way in which I looked at myself. Everything changed.

And here’s the funny thing: when all of this was going on, I thought that it was the world that was changing! There was beauty in nature that wasn’t there before, a calm during storms that I’d never felt before, and a uniqueness and special quality in every person (even my perceived enemies) that I’d never noticed before. Lack was replaced by overflowing abundance.

Well, I realize that it was me that was changing, not the world. Again, I don’t know that it was or a conscious decision that I made, or the work of God, but I was allowed to dump all the garbage that had accumulated in my mind for years. In doing so I was opening my heart to the world, and more importantly, to God.

"…just fill me from the inside out, Lord."

That’s a snippet from a song that we sing at Church of The Highlands from time to time. And I’ve gotta tell you, every time we do I realize that God has done exactly that in me. I opened my heart to Jesus and He has absolutely filled me from the inside out.

People who have known me for years have marveled at the amount of change that has taken place in me. If they could only see and feel and know the amount of change that has occurred. If they could, if only for a moment, take a look from the inside out… 

 

See you next week!

 

 

 

Comments

Donna wrote on 11/23/09 8:18 AM

At a seminar I attended over the weekend, Ray Vander Laan reminded the audience that God gave directions for the building of the tabernacle and for the temple. In each case, when man followed His instructions, God made His Presence known. He filled up the place! If we obey God and make a space for Him, He will fill it! Now we are His temple. Yes; that's a miracle. What a privilege to be a part of the miracle!
Amy wrote on 11/23/09 7:11 PM

Happy Thanksgivng to you and your family Sam. I am thankful to read such encouragement!!!
Mel wrote on 11/24/09 12:59 PM

As His change continues to take place in your heart and manifest itself in you, your change will reflect His outward Love for this world. You were right, the world doesn't change; our perception of Him changes our view of this world. Keep doing the work and feeding His sheep, Sam. You are allowing Him to polish what we, so often, want to tarnish. The world sees. Be richly blessed.
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