God works in our lives through seasons- transforming us over long periods of time. Think about Joseph from the old testament. After he was sold as a slave he spent years serving Potipher, leading how to lead & be an administrator & also learning how to choose God’s way. Then he spent years in prison where he also became the administrator- all to prepare him for being second in charge of the nation of Egypt & be an administrator over the resources of a nation.
God works in our lives through seasons- transforming us over long periods of time. Think of David who spent years tending sheep in the wilderness getting to know the good shepherd, becoming a warrior fighting lions & bears. It all prepared him to fight & defeat Goliath. Think of the years he spent being persued by Saul, learning perseverance in God’s way & seeing in Saul an example of what it was like to move away from God. All this prepared him to be an enduring king.
God is at work in our also lives through seasons- in work situations, family life. God teaches us through faithfulness in church membership & the teaching & service we receive & give there over the years.
Yes, God works through seasons over long periods of time, but He also works in minutes, in moments, & in the twinkling of an eye.
Tonight I want to focus on how the Lord works in moments in the bible- God Moments. God can change us in a moment, in minutes. I’ve already said how we are being transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord. Simply looking at Him, singing His praise, worshipping Him. Let’s look at other God moments in the bible where people were changed & taken to another level in their walk with him in minutes, seconds & the twinkling of an eye.
Nearly all of the healings & deliverances that Jesus & His disciples did in His Name were done in minutes or a moment. There are also examples of people hearing the word & responding in repentance to salvation calls in a matter of minutes, as when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and also when God moved people to respond to the apostle Paul’s salvation calls on his missionary journeys. Even the Old Testament is full of miracles that God did in a moment or a matter of minutes, such as Naaman being healed of leprosy, the widow of Zarephath’s son who was raised from the dead, bitter waters being made sweet, water coming out of a rock etc, etc. God moments in the bible can be described with words like immediately, instantly, suddenly. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost the bible says “2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.” They were filled with the Spirit in moments.
What I would like to do is look at some examples of God moving in a moment, instantly, immediately to see how we can have our hearts & minds positioned so we can see the Lord moving in this way tonight & more often in our lives. We will answer this question- How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments?
Please turn to Mark 5:24. This is about a woman who had a medical condition for 12 years, a very difficult season in her life. But you know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. She not only had a season with God over those 12 years, but she also had a God moment with Jesus.
Mark 5:24 A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once (or immediately) Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
She was unclean so she was not supposed to be around people let alone touching them while she was unclean. What she was doing was disobeying the law of Moses. She risked being caught, exposed & punished for doing this. I can imagine her wrestling with this risk in her mind as she approached & saw the crowd around him. “There’s a crowd around him, do I wait until another time when there are less people around? There’s probably people around Him all the time & it’s difficult for me to move around with my condition. There may not be another opportunity. I have to push through” The bible says that later she was trebling with fear. But she didn’t let this law of Moses or her fear of what other people would think of her prevent her from receiving from Jesus. Her sickness, suffering & poverty made her desperate. And she pushed through the crowd & pushed through her fears to receive. In a God moment the bleeding stopped.
Sometimes a need we have may be embarrassing, or we may worry about what other people may think of us like this woman. If others are not responding to calls for prayer, do I sit & wait? I don’t want to embarrass myself. What will other people think of me? Being desperate for God can help us overcome these things. And when a lot of people are desperate for God it increases the experience of His presence & power. This is what happened in in Luke 6:19- And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. I am reminded of what an Australian pastor once said when he was ministering in India. He said that during the altar call, there were so many people rushing forward so quickly for prayer that he was afraid for his safety. There was a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit at that meeting in response to the hunger & desperation of the people.
This woman was in a desperate situation. But we don’t have to be in desperate situations to be desperate for God. The sons of Korah lead a very sheltered life. The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary. They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lamp stand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use. These men never had to risk their lives holding shields & wielding swords in battle. These men never had to worry or be desperate about their crops or business being successful so they would food to eat. They were provided for by the temple offerings. Their sheltered life meant they didn’t have to be desperate for God because they had desperate circumstances. But they managed to stir & maintain in themselves a desperation for God, a hunger for Him.
The sons of Korah wrote in Ps 42:
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
and in Ps 84:2 they wrote
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
I know many of you would have come from desperate circumstances in other countries, where perhaps your family struggled to put food on the table & your family’s desperation helped maintain that desperation in you for God. But now that you are in this nation where we are sheltered by social security & relative safety as we travel & move around even at night, I would encourage you to stir & maintain that desperation for God, just like the sons of Korah. Let’s be desperate for God no matter what our circumstaces are.
Jesus said to the woman “Daughter, your faith has healed you”, your desperation to receive from Me has been answered.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments?- By being desperate for God.
Let’s turn our attention now to another God moment- the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda:
John 5 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,[a] having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.[b] 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
This man was in this condition for 38 years. He was in the right place for the opportunity, but he wasn’t able to find a way to take advantage of it. Imagine what it was like seeing others go down & be healed year after year while he missed out. I believe he lost hope & even the will to be healed. If I was in that same situation after so long I probably would have had the same attitude. 38 years is a very long time. He was totally preoccupied with the blockage. So much so that he didn’t even answer Jesus question “Do you want to get well”. He spoke out of the blockage, the negative. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” One thing he had in his favour was he addressed Jesus respectfully “Sir”, he honoured Jesus. This paralysed man was lying these so he would have been looking up to Jesus. The Pharisees on the other hand would often would not address Jesus & just went straight to asking questions, or they would call him this man, this fellow. I can’t recall any examples from scripture where a Pharisee, a person who disrespected him was healed. Indeed in Jesus home town He could do no miracles there because they had no honour for him. The other thing that helped this paralysed man be healed were that he heard Jesus command & he responded. Jesus words can break through our negativity. 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments- By respecting & honouring Jesus & by hearing & obeying what He says.
You may be here tonight & perhaps you have lost hope for something changing in your life. Maybe the problem seems too big, or you may have prayed so many times & have not received what you’re are asking for; you might believe God can do it but don’t have confidence God will do it for you. You are in the right place tonight. Jesus is here. I would encourage you to lift up your eyes, respect & honour Jesus, listen to what He is saying, respond & obey.
The paralysed man begging at the gate called beautiful was in a similar situation. But he was lame from birth. A healing probably was not even on his map. He probably never even started to hope. Peter & John were on their way to the temple- at the time of prayer 3 in the afternoon. The temple was a place where people gathered with a common purpose. When there is a group of people gathered with a common purpose, an atmosphere is created. The time of prayer was when they had a break from work to meet with God. They had God on their minds. They were preoccupied with God. The man begging asked Peter & John for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. I believe at this point they sensed something in the Spirit. God was about to do something. I can sense the presence of God in this place tonight. He wants to touch people’s lives, minister to people. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Most people looking at that man would have said “He has nothing to give”. The man begging had nothing to give, but he found something to give- his attention- he gave them his attention. You may have come tonight & feel like you have nothing to give God, give Him your attention. Focus on what he is saying. Listen to the sound of His voice. He was also expecting to receive something from them. Expectation is fertile soil for faith. Let’s come to meetings with an expectation that God will move. He was expecting one thing but he received something else he probably never dreamed of. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly (Here is our God moment) the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Heb 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments?- Give God our attention, seek Him & expect to receive something from him.
Please turn to Luke 8:26 We have seen God moments of healing. Let’s look at a God Moment of Deliverance where someone’s life was changed in moments.
26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes,[a] which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn[b] no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29 for Jesus[c] had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons[d] begged Jesus[e] to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed.37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes[f]asked Jesus[g] to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus[h] sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Imaging what it was like for the people in this area. Matthew says “so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.” Everyone in that area would have known about him. Mark says “ Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains”. They would have heard him screaming in the distance as they sat down to eat, as they went about their work. If they work up during the night, they would hear him screaming in the distance. They tried to subdue him & keep him under guard, but he broke not only ropes but chains. He broke chains, the most powerful thing that man could come up with in those days to restrain him. They would have been very afraid of him. They saw in him a power, but that power was malevolent- having or showing a wish to do evil to others. They would have had an association: supernatural power = supernatural evil. So when they came & saw this man sitting, clothed & in his right mind they were seized with great fear- not a a bit , not some but great fear. I believe they thought “if Jesus drove out the powerful demons, he must have even more power than what was in this man- greater supernatural power = greater supernatural evil. Not only was this man in bondage but the people in that area were also in bondage to fear because of a strategy of the devil. I believe the devil is still using this strategy today to keep people from God. But Jesus & God of course are good. John says God is light & in him there is no darkness at all. So when we see God’s power at work, we know He is doing good. I believe also that as unpleasant & fearful as this man was people became used to it. That was their status quo- there’s the demoniac screaming again. They became comfortable in their pain. Their fear & desire to keep the status quo caused them to not only ask Jesus to leave, but they pleaded with him to leave.
Let’s not be afraid when we see God’s power at work, let’s trust that He is good & allow him to change the status quo- change the way things are.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments?– By trusting God’s goodness, by not being afraid of His power, & by allowing Him to change the staus quo.
Please turn to Luke 19 now. We will look at a God moment that Zacchaeus had.
Luke 19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Like Zacchaeus I had a little disadvantage when I was younger. When I was at school I was interested in rugby league. But I was a lot skinnier than I am now. All the others who played rugby league had a lot of meat on them. So my physical limitation held me back from that sport. But I did well when we used to play hide & seek, I didn’t have to find somewhere to hide, I would just turn side-on & disappear. I eventually found a sport where you did not have to be beefy- cricket & did well in that in school. I am still trying to convince my beautiful wife of the virtues of cricket, but she hasn’t repented yet.
Zacchaeus had a limitation that held him back from seeing Jesus. Because he was short he couldn’t see Jesus above the crowd. He was very successful in other areas- financially he was very wealthy. And like most people, I believe Zacchaeus wanted security & significance. Like most tax collectors & wealthy people living life their own way without God, he probably found security & significance in his wealth. His wealth would have been his God. He would have found security because he would have seen the wealth providing for him- food on the table, a home to live in. And his wealth would have protected him if he got into trouble, he could buy his way out. He would have found significance in the respect from the other tax collectors- he was a chief tax collector & more wealthy than most. But like the woman with the issue of blood, he was also an outcast, but for a different reason. Tax collectors had in a sense betrayed their own people to side with the oppressive Roman regime & collect taxes from their own people which would go to the Romans. They would often extort more than they were supposed to & take it for themselves. Zaccaeus may have done this himself. But Jesus had a reputation of being a friend of tax collectors & “sinners”. And Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. Like the account of the paralytics 4 friends who dug a hole a roof, he found a creative solution to his problem. But he had to perform the undignified act of climbing a tree. Children climb trees, not dignified rich people. He had to humble himself to do this. But he had his God moment. Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus house and Zacchaeus repented, he changed direction from the way he was going. Instead of going along with the normal things tax collectors do, he chose God’s way. It took humility for Zacchaus to climb the tree & humility for him to admit he was going the wrong way & needed Jesus.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive in God moments?– By humbling ourselves & admitting that we need God,.
Like Zacchaus I used to live my own way without God. But instead of money, music was like my God. I had worked in the music industry professionally & I was studying at the conservatorium of music. I too found security & significance, but in music instead of wealth. I believed that if I could become a skilled enough musician I would earn a good income from it. Music would provide food on the table, a home to live in & money in the bank- security. I was also looking for significance – I wanted the respect of my peers & if I became a skilled enough musician I would gain that. But while I was doing well in music other parts of my life were a mess. My marriage broke down & eventually resulted in divorce & I was gratifying myself in immorality. But God had mercy on me. One of the musicians at the conservatorium of music shared the good news of Jesus with me. He also told me he would burn his saxophone if it had to for the sake of his marriage. His priorities were in a different order to mine.
One day he asked me “Have you said sorry to God for living your life without Him, turned from living your own way, trusted in Jesus death & resurrection for forgiveness & received Jesus as Savior & Lord or ruler of your life. I said “No” & thought about it for a few days because I knew this would change my life. Then one night lying in my bed I did this- asked God’s forgiveness for living my own way without Him, trusted in Jesus death & resurrection for forgiveness & asked Him to come into my life & be my Saviour & Lord. After I did this, I had a mental picture of God holding me in His arms like a little baby. At the time I did not know anything about being born again. But this is what happened. I was born spiritually that night. That was a God moment for me. Now instead of trusting in my abilities as a musician for security & significance, I trust in Jesus. I am secure because He has promised to meet all my needs, and I am significant because the living God who created the heavens & the earth gave His son so I could become His child. Amazing Grace!
Maybe you are reading this & recognise that something or someone other than Jesus has been your Lord- it might be money like Zacchaeus, it might be your work, or some gift your have. It might be your boyfriend or girlfriend, your children – you would do anything for them to the exclusion of all else. It might be partying, maybe you just live to enjoy life above all else- sex alcohol or drugs with a line of heartbroken women or men or children. Jesus came to give us life to the full & that our joy might be complete. But Jesus life is a healthy life that will be a blessing instead of a damaging to others. Maybe you once made a commitment to God but you have drifted away, or you realise your commitment was lacking- you didn’t give yourself fully to the Lord.
If you are in any of those situations tonight & you recognise you have been living your life your own way without God, I believe God is calling you tonight. This is a God moment for you. He wants to invite himself into your home & your life like He did for Zacchaeus. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20- behold I stand at the door & knock, if anyone hears my voice & opens the door I will come in & eat with Him & he with me. You like Zacchaeus have to open the door of your life & let Jesus in. Will you do this right now? If that is you, & you have never made a commitment to God, you have drifted away or you were not fully committed, I would like to lead you in a prayer to fully give your life to Jesus.
Just pray- “Lord Jesus thank you that you gave your life on the cross for me so that I can be forgiven. Thank you that you were raised from the dead never to die again, so that I too can have eternal life. I give my life fully to You tonight. I receive you as Saviour & Lord. Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer from your heart, you have become a Christian & there is rejoicing in heaven over you. We would like to help you in your next steps with Jesus. Please Contact Us and we will help you find a church where you can hear the bible faithfully preached & grow in your faith.