Posts tagged Goodness
Jesus is Lord of Every Miracle {Team Journal}

 Today's team journal was written by our Team Lead, Natalie Herr.

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For the last month or so, I’ve been looking for Jesus in the gospels. I’ve been asking myself two questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “What does it look like to follow Him?” I’ve taken note of many answers to these two questions, and one thing the gospel accounts make clear is that Jesus is Lord, and that following Him requires us to come under his lordship.

At the very end of the book of John, after Jesus has resurrected and appeared to the disciples a few times, John tells us the story of one more appearance on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (John 21). John is the only gospel author to include this story, and it seems to me it’s because it had special significance to him.

John sets the scene: it was early in the morning, and Jesus (unrecognizable to them) was standing on the shore while several disciples were fishing in the sea. They had been at it all night and hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus called out to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” Spoiler alert: they didn’t. So, Jesus told them to throw a net out on the right side of the boat - they’d find some there.

Can you imagine being one of them? You’re out on the sea, fishing all night, pulling up empty net after empty net - and some stranger (who’s probably not even a fisherman!) is calling you a child and telling you what to do. This whole scene could have been a recipe for disaster. But for some reason, the disciples obey, and are suddenly unable to haul in the insane amount of fish that appeared out of nowhere. Things just went from 0 to 100. Empty to abundant.

He is at work; always at work.
The morning will come and He
will show up on the shore.

Now here’s my favorite part: The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved (most likely John himself) saw this and immediately said, “It is the Lord.” It is the Lord! What a declaration to make! He could have said, “Look at all those fish!” or “Wow, we are eating good tonight!” or something else. But, no. John knew instinctively that only Jesus could produce such a miracle. Only Jesus could make something out of nothing. John recognized the wild and wonderful work of Jesus and immediately gave Him credit. He knew then that the man on the shore was the Lord, and because of his proclamation, so did the others.

So the question in my heart is this: do I respond to the work of Jesus like John did? Do I recognize that he is responsible for the wild and wonderful things happening in my life? Do I immediately point that out to others and help them to see the Lord?

Now, I’m no fisherman. (The last time I caught a fish was probably 20 years ago in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.) It’s not likely I’ll see any miracles on the deck of a fishing boat anytime soon. But when I think about witnessing miracles in my own life, I think about my youngest daughter, who struggles with delayed development. Months and months of physical therapy with little progress has felt a lot like a long night of fishing with empty nets. But whenever she has a breakthrough, even a small one, I have the opportunity to proclaim like John, “It is the Lord.”

It is the Lord!

He is the miracle maker. He is the change agent. It’s not my daughter, it’s not me, it’s not her therapists. It’s not time, or coincidence, or the accumulation of a lot of hard work. It’s the Lord.

The Psalms tell us more than once to ascribe glory to God. To pay Him what he is due. To recognize Him and praise Him for His work and to tell others about it.

 

“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
 ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
 worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:1-2)

 

My friends, when you see Jesus do a miracle in your life, tell someone as soon as you can. Tell your neighbor. Text a friend. Put it on Instagram Stories. Yell it out loud! Throw up some confetti! Tell the world that it is the Lord.

And if you aren’t seeing any miracles and life feels like an empty net, look a little closer. He is at work; always at work. The morning will come and He will show up on the shore. There are miracles happening every day and we get the opportunity to use them to proclaim his goodness.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


Natalie Herr is the founder and team leader of Dayton Women in the Word. She is a servant of God, a wife, a mom of four and a God-sized dreamer. She loves teaching and equipping women with God's Word. 

Utterly Surrounded {DWITW 365}
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Have you ever felt utterly surrounded? Surrounded by burden - whether it be physical, financial, or relational? Surrounded by the daily stressors of life? Or, surrounded by threats and lies coming from the enemy?

At times, life in a fallen world can produce moments, even seasons, where we can feel utterly surrounded by hardship. These moments can press in on our doubts, our shame, and our unsaid fears. At times, well-meaning people can make it worse. And we, ourselves, can also make it worse by choosing to wallow in it all. But, what else do we know to do in our flesh, other than wallow? To me, the most shocking times of feeling utterly surrounded by hardship can be when we are just leaving a season of blessing, one where the Lord has done great work in and through our lives. This season of hardship surrounding us can then feel confusing, aggravating, and downright exhausting.

King Hezekiah can relate.

The Chronicler describes his story in 2 Chronicles chapter 31. King Hezekiah of Judah had just come off of an intense season of purification and restoration in the land. He had cleansed the temple, reinstated Passover, gotten rid of all the pagan idols, and was overall aiming to do what was right in the sight of the Lord. So, he should have received blessing and protection from the Lord, right?! Well, similar to our own lives, trouble was brewing just one chapter later.

Hezekiah was aiming to do what was right in the sight of the Lord, and yet... the enemy still came!

The King of Assyria decided that he was going to invade and pick a fight with Hezekiah and the rest of Judah’s inhabitants. The Word says he “intended to break into [the fortified cities]” (32:1, HCSB). He maliciously and selfishly sought to bring Hezekiah and all Judah down. Can we stop right here and acknowledge the unfairness?! Hezekiah was aiming to do what was right in the sight of the Lord, and yet... the enemy still came! Can you relate? I feel like that has been a description of the past year for me, I have intended to do what was right, and yet...the enemy has still come. It’s been taxing, confusing, yet also fortifying to my faith. I have come to understand like Hezekiah did, that there are always two choices: 1) Sit down, pout, doubt God’s goodness, and just plain quit...or 2) To get up, fortify the walls, and arm yourself for the battle ahead!

This second choice was what Hezekiah wisely selected! Similar to Nehemiah, when all the circumstances seemed to be against him, he did not choose to shirk responsibility, but instead chose to strengthen his position by rebuilding the wall. And after he got his defenses in place, he took up the offense against the enemy as well by preparing an “abundance of weapons and shields” (32:5). He wasn’t caught off guard. He didn’t sit down and just take it. He didn’t look inward, and he didn’t doubt Yahweh. He looked his situation right in the face and was ready to fight!

He even says to his people: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged before the king of Assyria or before the large army that is with him, for there are more with us than with him” (32:7, HCSB). At this point, I’m sure the people are thinking, “what, do you mean there are more with us than with him? Hezekiah, have you lost the ability to count?!” And Hezekiah would probably say, “No, friend, I have not. I just have perspective!”

My question is this: How is he able to be this bold? How is he so ready to fight?

The answer is found in what he tells the people in verse 8: “With him [the king of Assyria] there is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (AMP). Did you hear that? An arm of flesh versus the Lord our God! He calls it out for what it is! Just flesh. As a word-lover, the thing that really caught my attention about this verse was the preposition “with.” This is the hinge of the contrast that Hezekiah is drawing out. With the Assyrian king is simply flesh, while with Judah there is the God of Yahweh who made the heavens and earth. The word “with” literally means to be ‘accompanied by.’ So, while the Assyrians were accompanied by a lot of fleshly, earth-limited bodies, Hezekiah knew he was being accompanied by Yahweh-Sabaoth (the Lord of armies), El-Elyon (the Most High God), Jehovah-nissi (the Lord our Banner). Hezekiah had read the histories and believed that this God would be with Him in the midst of the battle.

Hezekiah knew what Paul knew - that this was not a battle against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12), but that there was a spiritual battle being fought! He knew, like Abraham and Jesus, that while the cards looked as if they were stacked against them there was a much bigger story being played out. And he also knew like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that God would ultimately have the victory, even if they lost the physical battle. He knew that God would be WITH them either way.

In this moment, Hezekiah chose not to quit, but to allow his past dealings with Yahweh to inform his current circumstances.

The same is true in our worlds as well. There is always much more going on that what we can see with our finite minds and eyes. In this moment, Hezekiah chose not to quit, but to allow his past dealings with Yahweh to inform his current circumstances. He also disallows the father of lies to get a foothold over his heart and the hearts of his people. He rejects the lie that says that God is not good in this moment, or that He was not caring for them. Instead, Hezekiah chose to believe God’s character was good, that He was WITH them, and that He would help them fight their battle.

So what about you and I? Are we choosing to play the long game of faith and trust our good God is with us? Or, are we sitting down, doubting, and resigning ourselves to the sidelines? Personally, I want to be on the winning side of battle-fighting, and I want to know God better in the “with-ness” of life with Him! Yes, it’s messy and hard. It’s exhausting, at times. Sometimes, my flesh wants to give up because I feel utterly surrounded...yet, I know that God is with me. As a worship song has recently reminded me, I must choose to believe that although it may look like I’m surrounded I am surrounded by God’s good care for me - this is my declaration to the enemy! “Satan, you have no hold here because my God is WITH me!” I pray that you, too, would play the long game of faith by remembering that our good God is with you, ready to help you fight your battles!

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 Bekah Brewer wants to live in a world where travel is quicker & cheaper, people are wisely vulnerable, and where discipleship is not just a concept but a thriving heartbeat of the whole Church. When she’s not editing for DWITW or her business (Words Redeemed), you can find her playing soccer, pouring into friends & family, or planning out more times of fun, rest, and growth. Her favorite Scripture is Philippians 1:27a: Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (HCSB)