Monday, December 8, 2008

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A Big God

"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

In his book, When Heaven Invades Earth, pastor Bill Johnson relates the story of a miraculous healing that happened in a service that they were involved in at a church in northern California.  He says:

"One notable miracle happened to a three-year-old boy named Chris, who had clubfeet.  He had sores on the tops of his feet where they would rub on the carpet in his effort to walk.  When those in attendance were released to pray for the sick, several from our team gathered around this child.  Immediately, God began to touch him.  When they were through praying, they put him down on the floor.  For the first time in his life his feet were flat on the ground!  He stared in amazement at his feet, reaching down he touched the sores.  One of his little friends whispered to him, 'Run!' 

He suddenly took off and ran in a circle exclaiming, 'I can run!'  Needless to say there was much rejoicing in the house that night. 

We returned home and watched the video of that evening over and over again.  We were so thrilled with the miracle that it took us awhile to notice that Chris was intently trying to tell us something.  My wife, who was holding the camera, had asked him, 'What happened to you?'

Looking in to the camera, he answered saying, 'Jesus big!  Jesus big!'

In our excitement, we unknowingly changed the subject and asked about his feet.  Those who saw the miracle gave us the details.  But as we watched the tape, we heard his testimony, 'Jesus big!  Jesus big!'  The only thing we can figure is that he had an encounter with Jesus who came and healed him."

I love that story.  Not just because someone was healed.  That was wonderful.  And I want to see more of that.  But I love that story because of the testimony of this three-year-old.  Jesus big!  Wonderful things happen when we meet with Jesus and when we get a vision of God.  That is a taste of heaven on earth.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Years ago, in the middle of worship, my wife looked over at our youngest daughter, who was probably only 4 or so at the time, to see her weeping.  As a concerned mother, she asked what was wrong?  My daughter's response was that nothing was wrong, God just got too big!  Now, there were adults who were crying too!  Wow!

John the Baptist said, "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).  Isaiah, the prophet, says of the Lord, " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.  'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts' " (Isaiah 55:8-9).  I have talked about the life-changing impact of a vision of God (see the November 1/08 Faith Challenge), but I want you to think of the bigness of God.

"Consider this:  we could travel off of this planet in any direction
at the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second, for billions of years,
and never begin to exhaust what we already know to exist. 
All of that rests in the palm of His hand. 
And it is this God who wants to fill us with His fullness. 
That ought to make a difference!" Bill Johnson

The little boy, Chris, met a big Jesus and his feet were healed.  My daughter was changed inside through her encounter with a big God.  Have you and I met this big God that can make all the difference, or are we more like the people mentioned in Elton Trueblood's book, Your God is Too Small?  When God is small in our minds, which is probably just another way of describing little or no faith, nothing can happen.  When God is seen for who he really is, all things are possible!

We so often focus on that with which we are struggling.  And the result is that those things tend to become bigger not smaller through our attention given to them.  In that place, God is too small.  And our disease or debt or problem or whatever else is too big.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face," said hymn-writer Helen Lemmel, "and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace."  When God increases in my mind, not only do I decrease, but so do all of my problems and struggles and issues.  God comes.  Everything I was struggling with must leave.  There is no room for small things. 

Let God increase.  See him for who he is.  Invite God to overwhelm you and overcome all of your troubles today.  Get the big picture.  It is no accident that Paul's prayer for the Ephesians was a big prayer, the kind of prayer than can make all the difference:

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen" (Ephesians 3:14-21).

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