Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Miracle Path, Part 2
Pastor Steve Schell
Hebrews 13:21
God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts and His ways aren’t our ways (Isa 55:8), and the longer I live the truer those words become. God’s plan for my life is radically different from my plan. When I follow His plan a miraculous dimension enters the process. I begin walking on what I’ve come to call the “miracle path.” Now, a word of warning needs to be spoken at this point: just because it’s a miracle path doesn’t mean it’s an easy path. It still requires a lot of hard work, but it’s a different kind of work from that which I experience when I’m walking on my own path. Now I work hard at doing what He’s called me to do, but I don’t have to work hard at trying to open doors or get needed resources. On this path opportunities and resources are miraculously provided. You might say the focus on my efforts change from “struggling” to “laboring.”

When I stop and look back on my own life I am faced with the fact that almost none of the major decisions I made, when obeying what I believed God wanted me to do, was the path I would have chosen for myself. Almost never did I end up doing what I wanted to do. In fact, at the time, every step seemed to lead in the wrong direction. But now, in retrospect, I see His amazing wisdom. He was always right and I was always wrong. And even though at times I obeyed Him while harboring a bad attitude, His miracle path has taken me places I would never have imagined. And I believe He has a miracle path for each one of us.

When we put our foot on the “miracle path”:
1) He opens doors no man can shut
2) Where He guides, He provides
3) His path leads downward

This particularly seems true if I’m insecure and trying to prove my worth as a person. While I feel an inward drive to climb the ladder of success, God’s will seems to be taking me in the wrong direction, downward, into a life that is humble, selfless, otherly and dangerous. His path appears to lead away from status, wealth, personal safety and idle time. Or if my faith is undeveloped, what He asks seems impossible or to require abilities I don’t possess. I think to myself, “He’s asking the wrong person, I could never do that!” I picture in my mind terrible scenarios of where I’ll end up.

The inner path
1) Initially obedience feels like I’m dying to all my dreams.
• The worry nags me: will family and friends ridicule me, ostracize me and despise me?
2) The “terrible” choice makes me re-examine what I really believe. Am I sure these things are true?
• I’m forced to put my dreams on a cross to follow Him.
• Luke 9:23-26
3) There are times even after I’ve made the initial decision to follow Him where doubts come to mock me telling me I’ve been a fool and have ruined my life.
• Some who chose the world’s path seem to prosper.
• Psalm 73
4) In fact, the pressures of following God’s path become even harder than I imagined, so another choice must be made: either find a way to escape or deepen my dependence on Him until I find the source of power He promised (either quit or grow)
• John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
5) Then a surprising thing happens over the years: what appeared to be a downward path turns out to be an upward path. I discover I’ve been given an abundance of the things that really matter: a spiritual family, love, boldness, purpose, the satisfaction of a life lived well, no longer enslaved to the fear of death, being at peace with who I am, in fact amazed at how fruitful my life has become, the recognition that I please God and a heart full of stories about the miracles I’ve seen God do.
6) When I look around at those who’ve chosen the other path, I see lives that have become small and void of meaning. Some in their old age begin to envy those who have taken the downward path as they reassess what they’ve done with their lives.
7) Somewhere over the course of years I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself and have begun thanking God for His many blessings.
8) I can now look back and realize how misguided my own plans had been, how little I understood myself or what’s really important in life.
9) The spiritual principles we saw earlier (1-8) aren’t even a matter of “faith” anymore. They’ve become “fact” because I’ve seen them work so often I know they’re true.

What do I discover on this path?
1) Who I was made to be (living in the sweet spot where my gifts and God’s anointing work together).
2) I’ve stopped trying to change myself into somebody else. I’m at peace with who I am.
3) I’m much freer from the pressure of trying to impress people (the faces who glared at me in my mind, the voices who criticized my every mistake).
4) I’ve stopped focusing on my weaknesses and focus instead on my strengths.
• Thankfully, in a community, there are others with the gifts I lack.
5) I’ve discovered that my assessment of who I am, and what would make me happy, and what would bring me satisfaction… was wildly misguided. I was desperately out of touch with who I really am.

At every point where I took God’s downward, miracle path I discovered my real gifts, I found God’s Spirit empowered me, I accomplished things that still baffle me as to how it could have happened, and I found some who took the other path envy me as we get older.

First steps
1) Learn to take a Sabbath, spend hours quieting your mind, listening and journaling.
2) Ask: Have I refused to do something because I consider it “beneath” me?
3) Ask: Do I trust Him to provide where He guides?
4) Ask: Am I willing to risk looking foolish by knocking on an impossible door?
5) Be patient with yourself. Faith is a divine work that God must place in the heart.

Questions
1) Have you ever seen God open a “door” which had appeared hopelessly closed? Tell us the part you had to play in the process.
2) Name an area where God is now pressing you to step beyond your comfort zone. What do you think has held you back (fear, pride, shame, criticism by others, too busy, too tired)?
 


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