Many people believe that God withholds miracles. They think God only dishes out miracles as He wants to, when He wants to, or when we’ve done everything perfectly. And this kind of incorrect thinking prevents God from moving.
The miracle already exists. Healing already exists. Prosperity already exists. Freedom already exists. But we push it all away through our own doubt and unbelief.
It reminds me of electricity. It has existed since the beginning of time, but we didn’t figure out how to receive it until the 1800s. Before then, people doubted its power. They were scared of it. So they didn’t use it.
Adam and Eve could have used electricity to light and cool their tree house. Electricity was available to them, but they had yet to figure out how to use it.
The promises of God are the same way. He promised you healing. He promised you protection. He promised you prosperity. If you don’t have these things in your life, it’s because you haven’t figured out how to use His promises.
Quit blaming it on God. He’s not withholding these things from you. It’s your own fear and unbelief that keeps you from receiving the things He’s already provided for you.
In Mark chapter 11, we read a story about Jesus and His disciples getting up one morning to travel to Jerusalem. And Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree that looked really good, kind of like how the McDonalds sign looks good when you’re really hungry. I imagine Jesus’ mouth even started watering a bit.
When He walked up to the tree, He found there was no fruit on it. This would be like pulling up to the McDonalds drive through, looking through the window, and seeing no food in sight. You’d get a little worked up, wouldn’t you?
And Jesus got worked up, even though it was too early in the season for fruit. Like, McDonalds wasn’t even open yet. Even so, Jesus said, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples just kind of stared at Him.
When they got to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus must have been hangry because He started turning over tables and chairs. He was upset at the people who were in the temple selling animals for sacrifices.
It’s interesting to me that He was so upset. Selling animals for sacrifices was normal activity in the temple back then, so Jesus had been there many times while this was going on, but I guess this was the last straw.
Here’s what Jesus said to them:
Mark 11:17 NLT – “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
Most people read this and think that Jesus was upset about people buying and selling in the temple. But that’s not it at all. People had been buying and selling animals for sacrifice because of the law of God.
So, why was Jesus so upset? Well, let’s go back to the scripture Jesus was talking about to gain more understanding:
Jeremiah 7:9-11 NLT – Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!’
Oh… They were thieves because their sacrifice didn’t mean anything. They were stealing the lives of these animals to pay for sins that they had no intention of stopping.
They came to the temple, killed the animal as a sacrifice to get forgiveness for the sexual immorality they committed yesterday, but then left the temple only to engage in more sexual immorality.
It’s not that God expects us to live perfectly. But He does expect us to tap into the power Jesus gives us to be free from sin. It’s a simple choice. Some people just don’t want to leave the sin behind. What a bummer.
The religious leaders at the time didn’t appreciate what Jesus had done. I mean, they probably raked in quite a bit of money over these fake sacrifices. And it was recurring revenue for them if they didn’t confront the sin issue.
That’s another story for another day, but I am walking you through this story of Jesus because I want you to know what led up to the part of the chapter that we are going to focus on in this series.
After this dramatic event in the temple, Jesus and his disciples head back to where they are staying at the time. The next day, they get up and take the same path and find that the fig tree withered from the roots up.
The day before it was full leaf and beautiful. And just one day later it is dead. Of course, the disciples remembered how Jesus cursed the fig tree for not having fruit and they were shocked that it actually died.
Y’all, these are the disciples. They had been with Jesus watching miracle after miracle. Blind eyes opened. Leprosy instantly healed. Demons cast out. And now they are surprised that the fig tree died at the command of Jesus?
I don’t know about you, but if I were Jesus, I would have knocked them all upside the head about now. I mean, how many miracles does Jesus have to do for you to believe that He can truly do anything?
Yet, here we are. We have the privilege of reading all the miracles of Jesus. We can go to YouTube and watch miracles being done by the power of God and we still struggle to believe that He can do a miracle in our own life.
I am done with this unbelief. At what point are we, as the people of God, going to stand up in faith and trust that God is willing and able to do whatever we need Him to?
Well, Jesus didn’t knock his disciples upside the head (even though they deserved it). Instead He corrected their wrong thinking. Which brings us to the core scripture for this series:
Mark 11:22-25 NLT – Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
In this short lesson from Jesus, He gives us four things that determine our ability to receive miracles from God:
- Have faith in God.
- Speak your faith.
- Remove the doubt.
- Forgive others.
We are going to focus on one of these each week during this series. And I believe, over the next four weeks, you are going to discover what is blocking you from receiving the miracle you need from God.
Let me say it again. God is not withholding the miracle from you. You are blocking the miracle because you don’t yet know how to tap in to and receive the power of God that has always been available for you.
So let’s dive into this first one.
Have Faith in God
Of the four, this one probably seems the most obvious. Of course, I have to have faith in God to receive a miracle from God. But the question I am going to answer today is, what is faith exactly?
We all agree that we should have faith in God. Yet, we don’t really have faith in God. If we truly had faith in God, we wouldn’t get worried when we experience symptoms in our body. We wouldn’t worry when we lose our job.
We wouldn’t worry about anything because, when you have faith in God, you know that no matter what it looks like or feels like or sound likes, God is going to come to the rescue each time.
This year, I’ve noticed that a majority of Christians have abandoned faith. The coronavirus exposed everyone. You either responded with fear or you responded with faith.
I’m not here to make you feel bad if you were one that responded with fear. I only bring this up so that you can recognize it and move yourself on over to faith. Living by faith is way better than living by fear.
Many people make fun of faith because of the people who ignore things in the name of faith, thinking that if they ignore it long enough, their miracle will show up.
But that’s not faith at all. Faith is not denial or ignorance. Faith is substance. It’s assurance. It’s real. Let me show you:
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In this scripture, we see two definitions of faith. Faith is substance and faith is evidence.
If you just read over this quickly, you probably miss what it means by the word ‘substance’. To help us understand, I looked up the original Greek word translated to substance:
Hupostasis – that which has actual existence, steadfastness of mind, resolution, confidence
Wow. So faith is knowing that whatever you’re hoping for already exists and you’ve already decided in your mind that this is how it is going to be. You’re confident, and nothing is going to shake you.
Didn’t that bring so much more clarity? Let me sum it up this way:
Faith is confidence in God’s Word.
It’s when you get to the point that you notice a symptom in your body and your first thought is, “Trespasser! Get your tail out of here.” And it doesn’t matter how long it takes for the symptom to leave, because you know healing exists in the spiritual realm and it will manifest in your body.
It’s when you get laid off from your job and your first thought is, “Alright. This means God has something better for me. Everything I need has already been provided, and I look forward to seeing how God pulls it off this time.”
How do we get this kind of confidence in the Word of God? The book of Romans has your answer:
Romans 10:17 NKJV – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing. Notice it doesn’t say reading. It says hearing. So if you are reading silently, let me encourage you to go ahead and read out loud.
This is why it’s so important for you to come to church as many Sundays as you can. Because we’re dedicated to help you hear and hear and hear the Word of God.
But Sunday is not enough. If you want to be confident in the Word of God, you need to make a point to hear it every day. That’s why we post short videos for you on Facebook almost every day.
And let me be honest with you, there is no excuse for not hearing the Word of God every day. Here we are, in 2020, and you can listen to an endless supply of teachers and preachers on YouTube. You can even have the Bible app read to you.
Come on guys, stop making excuses. Make a point to hear the Word of God every day as if your life depended on it. Because if you want to live the abundant life Jesus already gave you, it does depend on it.
So Hebrews 11 shows us two things. First, faith is confidence in God’s Word. Here’s the next one:
Faith is evidence of things we can’t see.
This seems weird to a lot of people when talking about having faith in the promises of God. Yet, everyone believes in things they can’t see.
Our WiFi signal is all around you right now. But just because you are not connected to our WiFi doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s always there. You just don’t see the evidence of it until you connect.
There is TV signals all around us right now. The fake news is all over this room. But there is no evidence of it until you plug in a TV and adjust the little antenna to pick it up.
God is broadcasting all His power and blessings 24/7. We can’t see it, but it is all around us. He’s just waiting on us to tune in. He’s waiting for us to connect.
When we ask God for something and don’t see it happen immediately, most people question God, “Are you here? Can you actually do it? Will you do it for me?” They assume because they haven’t seen anything yet that it’s not real.
We need to have more faith in God than we do in a television station. We know that anybody can access free TV if they just tune in, yet we believe the lie that God’s blessings are not for everybody. Ridiculous, don’t you think?
There is a great illustration of this in 2 Kings 6. The Syrians were at war with Israel. Over and over, the Syrians would gather their troops and create an ambush trying to defeat Israel.
But every time, the prophet Elisha would tell the king of Israel exactly where the ambush was. Then Israel would go and surprise attack the ambush.
This happened over and over again, so the Syrian king was a bit upset. He assumed one of his own was leaking information. As he was trying to figure out the source, he found out it was Elisha and decided to attack him.
In the middle of the night, the Syrian army went and surrounded the city where the prophet Elisha was staying. Here’s what happened next:
2 Kings 6:15 NLT – When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
When Elisha’s servant saw the troops, he freaked out. And you probably would too. I mean, they were surrounded by warriors who were upset at Elisha for continuing to leak their plans. They were in trouble. But look at Elisha’s response:
2 Kings 6:16 NLT – “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”
I bet Elisha was sounding a bit crazy at this point. They weren’t even ready for battle! They had just woken up. People who don’t believe anything exists beyond our five senses would say Elisha was lying.
You’d think he was just hopeful. Saying something that wasn’t true hoping that it would eventually come true. But that’s not what Elisha was doing. He was actually speaking the truth because he knew there was an unseen army.
The key to understanding this is to realize there is another realm of reality beyond our physical world. If all you pay attention to is your five senses, you will always struggle with faith.
But if you open yourself to the spiritual realm, faith is going to come alive.
And honestly, it’s quite humorous that we even have a hard time with this. Our physical world was created by the spiritual realm. Do we really think the spiritual just disappeared after that happened? No, it’s very much still here with us.
Let’s see how this story ended up:
2 Kings 6:17 NLT – Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
This guy was already looking around with his physical eyes. So it’s not like this was some kind of physical healing where his blind eyes were open. No, this was God opening his spiritual eyes so he could see what you can’t see with your physical eyes.
Something similar happened to me a few months ago. I was out walking around my neighborhood at dusk, just trying to calm myself down after a long day so I could go to sleep that night.
While I was walking and watching all the weird shadows caused by the street lights, I started to pray and said out loud, “God, it’s a bit scary to walk around at night. I don’t know if I am going to do this again.”
Immediately after that left my mouth, my spiritual eyes were open and I saw two massive angels walking with me. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like this, but I know it’s true because of this scripture:
Psalm 91:11 NLT – For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
I didn’t see the angels with my physical eyes. I saw them with my spiritual eyes. It’s kind of like imagination, but your spirit knows that it is real.
With human imagination, you know that what you are daydreaming about may or may not come true. But with your spiritual eyes, you still envision it with your mind, yet you know deep down that it’s real.
One more thing I want you to notice about Elisha’s servant is that when his spiritual eyes were open, the Syrian army didn’t disappear. There was still a physical problem. It just wasn’t scary anymore.
True faith doesn’t deny physical truth; it refuses to let physical truth dominate spiritual truth.
I mean, how silly would it have been for this guy to still be afraid of the Syrian army after seeing what was taking place in the spiritual realm?
When we only pay attention to the physical realm – our symptoms, the bills that need to be paid, our broken relationships – we cower down and beg for God to show up and help us.
But when we open our spiritual eyes, we see that Jesus already defeated sickness. The windows of heaven are already open and pouring out blessings. God’s already given me wisdom on how to nurture relationships.
This is what moves you into faith. So, when you experience a symptom in your body, you don’t act like it’s not there. You simply respond with peace. Jesus already took care of this. I don’t have to fear or spend hours on WebMD. I can rest knowing that this will not overtake me.
Just like the scripture said, faith is evidence of the things you cannot see. To make it even more clear, you could say that faith is the spiritual evidence of the things you cannot see.
Faith is when you open your spiritual eyes and see that what has been done in the spiritual realm is more powerful than what is currently taking place in the physical realm.
This is about the point where some of you are thinking, “Kade this isn’t normal. This is weird. You are such a practical guy, I can’t believe you are even talking about this kind of stuff.”
Well, you’re right. This isn’t normal. But if you wanted normal, you wouldn’t be here at church investing your time to get closer to God. So you might as well let go of what’s normal because you don’t want it anyway.
The Apostle Paul explains this really well:
1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT – People who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
If you are struggling today thinking all this is foolishness, all you have to do is ask God to open your spiritual eyes so you can understand. He wants you to understand. He’s just waiting for you to stop being so stubborn.
Living by Faith
I want to end by making this practical for you. I want to show you what a life of faith looks like in the year 2020. But first, let me show you why it is so important to go on this journey of faith:
Hebrews 11:6 NLT – And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Faith is absolutely essential if you want to get close to God. You can’t receive anything from God without faith. So let this motivate you to dive in and start living your life by faith starting today.
You can do this. If you can have faith that your text message will travel through the air to the other person’s phone, then you can have faith in God, the One who created you.
Let me give you four ways to actively live by faith:
1. I will believe God even when I don’t see it.
When you get on a plane, the flight attendant goes through a long list of things you need to know before the plane gets in the air. It’s pretty boring, so most people just put their headphones on and ignore it.
But if this is your first time flying, trust me, you are listening to every word. There’s a point where they say, “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. Place the mask securely on your face. Even though you don’t see it, oxygen is flowing and it is safe to breathe.”
At this point, all the people new to flying get up out of their seat and yell, “You’re telling me to put my trust in something I can’t see? Get me off this plane.”
No, that’s not what people do. We simply think, “Oh okay. Sounds great. Thanks for looking out for me.”
But when God asks us to believe Him for things we can’t see, we throw a fit. “God, if you really loved me, you’d do this right now. How can you expect me to trust you for healing when all I see is sickness?”
Uh huh. Caught ya. Caught myself. It’s laughable how quick we are to believe a person who tells us to believe in something we can’t see, but we put up a great resistance when God asks us to believe in something we can’t see.
If you want to live a life of faith, then you have to decide that you are going to believe God even when you don’t see it.
It seems crazy until you realize you believe in things you can’t see every day. Now it’s time to start believing God even when you don’t see it. Here’s the next one:
2. I will praise God even when I don’t feel like it.
We talked about this in detail a few weeks ago. This is called the sacrifice of praise because you have to take your feelings to the altar, kill them, and choose to praise God whether you feel like it or not.
Y’all, this is faith. When you choose to praise God even when your circumstances suck, it’s because you’re living by faith, not by sight.
You know God will come through, so you praise Him even when you’re hurting. You praise Him even when you don’t see it. You praise Him even when you don’t understand it.
God honors this kind of faith. Often, we are just one sacrifice of praise away from our miracle. It’s right there. God’s already provided it. He’s just waiting on us to receive it through faith. And praising when you don’t feel like it pushes away the unbelief and activates your faith.
I hope somebody is getting this. We need to make a habit of praising God even when we don’t feel like it. Here’s the next one:
3. I will give to God even when it’s inconvenient.
Growing up, my parents made me tithe on my birthday money. No joke. I hated it. And in case you don’t know what the tithe is, it is a Biblical principle where you give the first 10% of your income to God.
So, 10% of my birthday money, right off the top, had to go to the church. And you know, when you’re a kid, you don’t have a lot of money. So that 10% totally messed up my plans for what I wanted to buy.
But this practice of tithing carried into my adult life, mostly out of obligation if I’m honest. And I remember writing that tithe check when Beth and I didn’t even have a real grocery budget.
We were making casseroles, dividing them up into eight sections, and only eating one each per meal. No seconds. Because that other square of casserole was another day’s lunch.
It was inconvenient to tithe, but I believed the Word of God. I believed that if I was obedient to tithe, the windows of heaven would open and pour out a blessing just like Malachi 3:10 says.
Year after year, we kept tithing but there was no evidence that the windows of heaven were open. We were still eating casseroles. I was still driving a car that smelled like cat pee and had squealing belts.
But we continued to believe God even though we didn’t see it. We continued to give even when it was inconvenient. And eventually, years later, we saw the results of our faith.
I’m baffled at how much God has blessed my business endeavors. He gives me the secrets to generating income. And honestly, they seem weird at first, but I do it anyway and the results are, well, God-given results.
I don’t believe any of this would have happened if I didn’t give when it was inconvenient, year after year after year.
If you tithe for a few weeks, or a few months, and then give up because you don’t yet see the results of it, you weren’t giving in faith. Because faith holds on regardless of how long it takes.
Faith says, “I don’t need to see immediate results because I trust God. His Word is true so I know the windows of heaven are open and I am going to stay consistent because the results are already on the way.
So I will give even when it’s inconvenient. Here’s the last one:
4. I will trust God even when I don’t understand.
Have you ever noticed how God doesn’t always respond the way we want Him to, or when we want Him to? Especially not when we want Him to. You guys know what I mean.
There’s some things in my life right now where I think God should be moving a little quicker than He is. Like He’s shown me some things He is going to do in my life, but they are not here yet. And I think they should already be here.
But how many of you know that God’s way is better? That God’s timing is better? He has the full picture and He even knows the future. Surely we can trust Him to answer our request the right way at the right time.
Faith is what enables you to stay at peace in the gap between when you release your faith and see the result.
When we ask God for something, we know we’re in faith when we believe it’s already been done. Sure, there may be a gap of time between when I prayed and when I actually saw it done here in the physical world, but I never doubted it was going to happen.
It’s kind of like when you send a text message. You don’t press send and then wonder if it was done. No, you know it’s going to hit the other person’s phone after a period of time. Sometimes you wish you could take it back though.
This is a great picture of what it looks like to operate in faith. You send out your faith and you know it will produce the result. It may be immediate, it may be in a few minutes, a few hours, or many days.
No matter how long it takes, you trust God. No matter how He gets it done, you trust God. This is faith.
If you’ve been asking God for healing every day for the past five years, that’s why you haven’t seen the result. You haven’t been operating in faith. You’ve been hoping.
And hoping is not a bad thing. It is actually the precursor to faith. But don’t get stuck in hope. Move on over to faith and trust that it is already done and you are going to just rest in the Lord all the way up until you see the result.
Actually, when you are in faith, the result doesn’t even surprise you. Because with your spiritual eyes, you already saw the result. It was already done. So when it actually happens, you’re just like, “Duh. I already knew it.”
Y’all getting this? We’re going to keep going next week. Engage with this series and think about it throughout the week. It’s time for the church to do what Jesus instructed us to do. He said miraculous signs would follow all who believe.
The Bible says that heaven throws a huge party every time someone says yes to Jesus. There must be a never-ending party going on up there. Heaven is going to be a good time, no doubt about that.
I want to be real with you though. Saying yes to Jesus is more than a prayer you say one Sunday morning. It’s more than the emotions you feel after a sermon that touches your heart.
Saying yes to Jesus is saying goodbye to your old life and yes to new life in Christ. Some of you have been in church for a long time, but you’ve yet to do that. Well, heaven is blowing up balloons now to get ready for your party.
It’s time to say goodbye to me, myself, and I and say yes to Jesus. Yes, I will follow you. Yes, I will do what you Word tells me to do. Yes, I will choose joy.
If that’s you, I want you to have that conversation with Jesus right now. Between you and Him, make that commitment.
Salvation Next Step
If you just prayed that prayer, we want to support you along the journey that’s ahead. But we can’t support you if we don’t know. So we set up an easy way for you to tell us. Simply text the word Jesus to 918-373-9883.
We’re not going to bug you. We’re not going to spam you. We are just going to help guide you through your next step. We’re here for you. So please, go ahead and send that text.