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You Can't Survive On A Diet Of Miracles Alone
 
Some people want to live their spiritual lives off of the miracles or supernatural experiences of others. God did not create us to live this way. In fact, the Lord Jesus made it plain and clear in Matthew 4:4 and John 15:4-5 that spiritual survival is based on a personal communion with God in the study of His Word and prayer -
 
"But He answered and said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  
 
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing."
 
In this message, the Holy Ghost wants to take a specific incident in the Gospels and teach us a valuable lesson from it. The incident we are referring to is a very familiar one. It is the one where a storm suddenly arises on the Sea of Galilee...the disciples are fearing for their lives...and Jesus is asleep in the boat. 
 
Matthew 8:23-27 gives the following account. Please read it as though it is your first time in doing so -
 
"And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose; and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him!"
 
It is very important before examining this story to rehearse what went on before this incident. In fact, the Apostle Matthew starts off Chapter 8 - giving an account of a day in Jesus' and His disciples' day. They went from one miracle to another. And this was not uncommon. Rather, this was the norm.
 
Jesus started the day by teaching the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 -7). In Chapter 8, we see Him coming down from the mountain with "great multitudes following Him" (Matthew 8:1). A leper came to Him desiring to be cleansed of his leprosy. Jesus touched him...spoke the word over him - "I will; be thou clean" (Matthew 8:3)...and he was immediately cleansed of this horrible disease. Wow! If you have ever seen a picture of a leper and saw the horrendous damage this disease brings to the human body, you would immediately have to acknowledge that this was a mighty miracle of God's restoration to health and wholeness. 
 
Jesus' next stop was Capernaum where he met a centurion whose servant was "sick of the palsy, grievously tormented"  (Matthew 8:6). This man - being a man under and in authority - demonstrated a remarkable understanding of it - releasing "great faith" (Matthew 8:10) in the Lord Jesus on behalf of his servant - "...speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed"  (Matthew 8:8). Consequently, this servant was "healed in the selfsame hour" (Matthew 8:13). Here we have a miracle that occurred as a result of the spoken word of authority. Jesus simply gave the command, and the miracle took place. 
 
The next stop was Peter's house (Matthew 8:14). As Jesus entered the home, He instantly saw Peter's mother-in-law lying down - "sick of a fever" (Matthew 8:14). Verse 15 says - "And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them." Here we have Jesus showing up and changing the whole course of events. The one who needed ministry ended up being the one who did the ministering afterwards. When Jesus shows up, He changes everything.
 
The evening drew near. The multitudes began to bring unto Him "many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick" (Matthew 8:16). Imagine being one of those who followed Jesus up until this point of the day. You witnessed one miracle after another. Could it get any better than this? Now, the ones needing ministry multiplied in number. "Many" of the possessed received deliverance, and "all" of the sick were healed. Could you imagine what kind of meeting this was? Everywhere you looked, people were either being set free from demonic spirits or being healed of every imaginable disease and sickness. No one in this crowd was left sick or ill.
 
Up until this point, we would all have to admit that this was quite an eventful day. Imagine how you would be feeling right now after witnessing such miracles...basking in the Presence of God all day long...and no doubt feeling the "raw" Power of God all around you. 
 
All of a sudden, Jesus changes the plans. He orders the disciples to get into a small open row boat with sails and gives them the command to "depart unto the other side" (Matthew 8:18). We have to remember that this is the same Jesus Who spoke to the leper and he was healed and Who gave the command for the healing of the centurion's servant and he was healed. Now, He gives the command for all to depart unto the other side. The disciples followed Him into the boat. They were following Him all day long. What would make this trip any different? They had witnessed miracles every where they went. What would make things change now?
 
However, no sooner did they start to sail when a sudden, unexpected, and violent storm of wind - caused by the cold air of the mountains rushing down into the heated depression of the lake - arose in the sea. The lake went from being placid as a molten mirror to shaking as though a hurricane or tornado took hold of it. "Icelaps" - a particular kind of wind - suddenly whirled upwards and downwards producing a whirlwind effect. The results? "...the ship was covered with the waves..." (Matthew 8:24). The billows dashed against the ship - fast filling it so that it was in danger of sinking to the bottom. While this was all going on, Jesus "was asleep" in the stern - the hinder part of the boat. He had had a very busy day and was actually feeling "spent" from all of the ministry. Hence, He slept calmly and serenely - fully aware that He was in the hands of His Father. 
 
In spite of all that the disciples saw throughout the day - a leper and the centurion's servant being healed by the authority of Jesus' Word...Peter's mother-in-law being healed by the touch of Jesus' hand...and the demon possessed being delivered and the sick healed by His Word - "...and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick" (Matthew 8:16) - in the time of crisis, they panicked. Here they were in great consternation, distress, and terror. When this storm arose upon them, they saw no escaping of sudden death. They totally forgot Who it was that was in the boat with them. They also failed to remember the power and authority that He has in the Spoken Word. They saw it displayed all day long, yet, in the moment of crisis, they gave place to their fears - "Lord, save us: we perish" (Matthew 8:25).
 
Jesus awoke when He heard their cries for help. Once again, He displayed His power through the spoken Word by "rebuking the winds and the sea" (Matthew 8:26), and the Bible says - "there was a great calm" (Matthew 8:26). 
 
Immediately, He looked upon His disciples and asked the question - "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26) In other words, what He was asking them was - "Why are you so timid, O you of short-lived faith?"
 
It wasn't that they didn't have a measure of faith. They certainly knew Who to call on when they were in trouble. However, their faith was very short-lived. It only lasted as long as the last Miracle lasted. 
 
In this message, we want to make it perfectly clear that we are not saying that witnessing, reading about, studying, or watching others experience the Miraculous Power of God cannot in some way benefit you or your faith. It surely can help to build you up or strengthen you - spiritually speaking.
 
However, if you make this a replacement for you personally spending quality time with the Lord in the study of His Word and prayer, you will find that in the time of crisis, you will react just as the disciples did - with a short-lived faith. You will panic or be filled with fear.    
 
Let's repeat the Scriptures that the Holy Ghost gave at the beginning of this message -
 
"But He answered and said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  
 
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing."
 
Faith is a gift of God's grace. The Scriptures tell us that it comes through reading, studying, and meditating on His Word - "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17) and through prayer - through developing a relationship with God whereby you learn His ways and character. Watching others receive a miracle does build up one's faith but it is only short-lived. Nothing can compare to the personal time spent alone with God.   
 
Do not forfeit your "quiet times" with the Lord - even to watch others receive their miracles. Nothing can build you up and give you that long-lived faith - that you desperately need - like spending quality time alone with Him - learning His ways and allowing the Holy Ghost to mold your character into His.
 
You can't survive on a diet of Miracles alone
 
                                                                                  
May God Bless His Word.
Connie
 
COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved
 
                                                                                       
 
COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved