The Misery of a Miracle

Understanding The Struggle Of Misery Before The Miracle

James Greer
Nov 22, 2020    30m
Before we experience of the joy of a miracle, we often experience the misery that causes us to call out to God for a miracle. But by abiding in God and trusting in Him, we can persevere through our misery because God will be by your side and He will turn your misery into a miracle. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer (00:02):
Amen. Yeah, I loved it. I had the privilege to go to him in that doctor's meeting. I wanted to go because his wife wasn't there and I was going to record it. So I got to record that and send it to his wife. And I'll never remember the doctor kept saying, yeah, you know, you have an aneurysm and Mike was pointing to his neck and the guy, I remember the doc said, no, in your brain.

James Greer (00:22):
But I also can remember the day he went to New Orleans, the calling the staff together. I drove up and we're going to pray against the report. And I wish I had time to teach you how to pray against the bad report because I believe that God can take bad reports and turn them into good reports. Amen? Hey, I believe not only is it a month of miracles. I believe the miracle has started today. I've never seen the 8:30 service so excited. That's a miracle in itself. So I'm excited about that. I'm excited about the message today because I never realized that so many times, there's misery before a miracle. In fact, every miracle I think that I've ever experienced in my life, I had misery before it ever came about. I believe that some of you come in today, some of you here at the church, some of you that are online are going through a miserable time in your life, but you may not realize you're just in the making of a miracle. Sometimes it takes misery before we're ready for a miracle in our life. The sad part about it is some people don't learn from their misery and they go back and live in their misery. I hope today that you'll learn from your misery and you don't continue to live in your misery.

James Greer (01:40):
The fact that sometimes misery is the makings of a miracle. Most of the time there's misery before a miracle. It's like today, you could talk about the parting of the Red Sea. But before the parting of the Red Sea, there's a misery of the children of Israel. They were in bondage. And after they were in bondage, there was the fear of the Pharaoh's army gonna destroy them before the Red Sea was parted and they went through. There's an issue, the woman that had an issue of blood for 12 years before she touched the garment of Jesus. She was in misery for 12 years before the miracle. There was a man that was paralyzed at 38 years by the pool, by the Bethesda before Jesus touched him. So he was in misery for 38 years. I could go on and on. But what I'm telling you, even in my personal life, most of the time there was misery before there was a miracle. I look back today. And this morning I was thinking about the misery of being betrayed and embezzlement and being broke before the miracle being restored and the rewards that came afterwards.

James Greer (03:04):
I thought about the bad health. I thought about even recently, I went through six to eight months sleeping on the floor. I couldn't even get in the bed. The real reason I started sitting in a chair. I don't have to sit in the chair anymore. Oh, praise God. But what y'all really don't know for six to eight months, I couldn't sleep in the bed and I couldn't even walk from here to the back. It hurt so bad I would have to get help. And I didn't want anybody in church to know. I didn't even want the staff to know because I didn't want them to worry. So I just get them to bring this chair and I would sit here. Then one time Cecil was sitting on the front row and I got off and it hurt a little bit. And I went to the back. He said, did you have a stroke or something?

James Greer (03:47):
And then one time, only one other time, Dr. Hunter was watching and he sent Darrell a message. And he said, go ask Pastor James, what in the world is wrong with him. But it was the health. And like I said, after eight months, I finally got to the doctor and he did a little surgery. And then what y'all don't know, I was up here and underneath, I had a brace and I would sit here with the brace. I'd never sit up that straight in my whole life. After the first surgery, after the first surgery, remember, I got one of our guys told me where to go in Baton Rouge and I went down there. The first night I got to sleep in the bed again. You never know how nice it is to sleep in the bed until you sleep on the floor for eight months. And then there was a miracle of being healthy and happy and Holy again.

James Greer (04:37):
You're going to notice that about every eight weeks now, I'm going to take a Sunday off. I never did that before. Did you know that we have a condo in Natchitoches and Natchitoches has a parade every year in the last five or six years. You know, I would never even take off from church. I'd never missed a Sunday. I've never seen the parade. That is crazy. I'm going to take off this year. I learned after being unhealthy for about eight, nine months that better enjoy life a little bit. Amen? I'm 68 years old. I don't know that though. I feel that way, but I did for a while. But what I'm telling you until I was unhealthy and was in misery for a little while, I didn't know what it was like to have the miracle of being healthy and happy again. Amen? Until I went through this unbelievable oppression and depression years back to where it was so bad, I didn't even know how to get out of the bed. I wanted to hide under the desk. I didn't know what it was like to have a miracle, to have deliverance and freedom.

James Greer (05:44):
And what I'm trying to tell you is that sometimes you have to go through misery before you can experience the miracle. What's the real shame is the people that go through the misery and don't to experience a miracle and keep living in misery. See, I never believed that's God's plan. I believe it was God's plan never for Him to leave you in the misery but take you through the misery to the miracle where you can experience the power of God. Amen? So man, in Genesis 1:1, it said in the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. Man, I believe it. If you believe that one statement, you ought to be able to believe in miracles. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ, He is the same today, yesterday, today and forever. Do you believe that? Say amen. See, the children of Israel, they had been in bondage for 430 years. That's a lot of misery. Looks like the miracle's never going to come. We're going to look at the misery of a miracle, but a lot of it was self-imposed misery. The real reason that they were in bondage, the reason they were allowed to go into slavery, because of sin, because rebellion, because of stubbornness, because of a dollar tree. God still loved them though.

James Greer (07:14):
Many times misery is self-imposed, not every time but sometimes. Exodus 3:7 says, and the Lord, the capital LORD, the one in charge, the ultimate authority, the one that all armies obey, He has surely seen the oppression. And sometimes oppression goes before depression. Of my people, the children of Israel. But they were really God's people who are in Egypt. Not only He has seen it, He heard their cry 430 years later because of the taskmaster. Remember that word. For I know their sorrows. Now what I want you to know that I don't know what you're going through, but God sees it. He knows the condition that you're in. He not only sees it, but if you're crying out to God in prayer, He hears you. God sees it, He hears you and He has the power to change it. Amen? But wow. Sometimes it takes the taskmaster with the prodigal son. It was the pig pin in our lives before we're willing to ask for help or to cry out for help. Man, y'all the taskmaster, the word means the master of burdens, the master of burdens that you can't get out from under. It means the master of burdens that was appointed by Satan and allowed by God.

James Greer (08:55):
He's appointed by Satan. He's allowed by God to bring about a burden, toil and great weariness of oppression. The hidden purpose of many of miseries, the purpose of a taskmaster is to crush the spirit of pride, is to crush it and bring us to the point of misery mentally, emotionally and spiritually till we cry out to God for a miracle. And we're really ready to change. We're not just sorry we got in trouble. I've never known anybody that got put in jail that weren't sorry they were in jail. Amen? Every time you're in jail, every time you get picked up, every time you get a ticket, every time, I mean I am so sorry. There's a difference in being sorry and ready to change. Amen? And this meant that they cried out now, hey, man, we're not only sorry for what we did, but I'm ready to change.

James Greer (10:07):
See, if you're miserable right now, God might be saying, hey, I hope you're ready to change. God might be saying, I'm wanting to do a miracle in your life and I hope you're humble and you're ready for help and you're ready to change. Verse 8 tells us the purpose of misery. And God says, look, I've come down to deliver them, to set them free, deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians. Not only do I want to deliver, first of all, God says, listen, first of all, I want to deliver them to set them free. But not only do I want to deliver them, not only do I want set them free, I want to bring them up from the land to the good and the large land. See, he said, I want to take them from something bad and I want to give them something good. I want to bring them to the land flowing with milk and honey from the Canaanites and the Hittites and all the other -ites.

James Greer (11:04):
All the way to the Jebusites. I mean God said, listen, God can do anything, can He not? Amen? Well, yes and no. God has put God given boundaries around Himself. He put boundaries around Himself. God is not going to bless you continually to be rebellion and stubbornness. God just put it in His nature. God says, I am not going to bless continued stubbornness and bless rebellion. He won't do it. But He said, now they've come to the point, 430 years later, they're crying out to me. Within God's boundaries, He's also said, when you confess in for sake, your sins, He's going to forgive you. That's within God's nature. But it's also, listen very closely, it's very important that we continue to ask God to search our heart, to know our ways and to see if we had miracle blockers going on in our life.

James Greer (12:05):
Do you not think if they'd been in slavery for 430 years, if they had been under great oppression, if they had really searched their heart, that they would have said, oh God, please forgive me. I'm ready to change my ways. Do you know that I believe there's many people that are living miserable lives because they won't search their heart, admit their faults, admit their rebellion, admit their stubbornness, allow God to set them free? Number two, Pharaoh had a wrong use of the misery, the wrong use of misery and missed the miracle. And he talks about it in Exodus 12:30. Pharaoh rose in the night. God has sent plagues after plagues after plagues. This is number 10 And the servants and all the Egyptians and there was a great cry in Egypt for there was not a house where there was not a dead one in the Egyptians. Really what happened that night is Pharaoh's firstborn died and he rose up and he cried out. There was 10 plagues and really every plague was a miracle. But this one was a death of his firstborn.

James Greer (13:34):
The misery calls Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. It's really God's people. God's purpose was accomplished. But Pharaoh still didn't turn to the God of God and the Lord of Lords. Can I tell you it doesn't matter, you can continue to live in rebellion and stubbornness. God's purpose is still going to be accomplished. It's only going to hurt you. I hear people that are mad at God. You can be mad at God. You can continue to blame God. I've done it before. I've been there before. It only hurt me. It didn't hurt God. God's purpose is going to be accomplished. Pharaoh had to suffer misery and loss of a child and still missed out on the miracle. Verse 31, he then after the misery and after the loss of a child and after 10 plagues and after 10 miracles, he called for Moses and Aaron by night. And he said, rise up and go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. Y'all go and you serve your God. Go and leave. Go leave as you said.

James Greer (14:45):
Listen to this, you also take your flocks, your herds, as you have said and be gone and bless me. Now listen, now Pharaoh, he not only wanted them to leave, he wanted to be blessed by their God. There's a problem. You can't have the blessings of God without having God. See, that's the way people are today. I want the blessings of God but I don't want to serve your God. I want the blessings of God but I don't want to go through Jesus Christ to get the God. You can't have the blessings of God without God. And that's what he wanted, but you can't have it. Amen?

James Greer (15:22):
Listen, please don't be a Pharaoh. Don't go from misery to misery and miss out on the miracles. That wasn't God's plan. See, Pharaoh could've turned to the God of God and the Lord of Lords and he could have change the world. Misery before the miracle, number three, don't complain about the miracles. God had just performed 10 of them. We call them plagues. I call them miracles. God had caused so much misery in Pharaoh's life, he said, hey, Moses, Aaron, y'all come. Let the children go. Now Pharaoh changes his mind. He misses out on the miracle. Now he's mad. Can I tell you something? Mad and misery go hand in hand. Have you ever known people just stay mad all the time? They're mad and they're miserable and they miss the miracle. Mad, miserable people miss miracles. That was Pharaoh.

James Greer (16:40):
Pharaoh decided to go after the children of Israel. He was mad. He drew near the children of Israel and they lifted up their eyes and behold the Egyptians marched after them. And so they were very afraid. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Now, huh, and in verse 11, it says, and they said to Moses, and we're going to talk about this next Sunday because there was no graves in Egypt. Have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us this way and bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not in the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, let us alone. Let us alone that we could have served the Egyptians. Well, that was great. You're a slave, you're miserable. For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than die in the wilderness. I don't really think that would've been better. The children of Israel went from, listen, they went from misery to miracle, to a miracle and they were talking themselves back into misery again.

James Greer (17:46):
Why do people do that? I see it in church all the time. God delivers you. He sets you free. He saves you. He washes your sins and you just go right back into misery again. Way too many people are going from misery to miracle back to misery because of your rebellion and your stubbornness. That's not what God meant to do. But let's look at the miracle of Moses in spite of their misery. Moses said to the people, thank God for Moses. Moses is a type of a couple of things. Moses is a type of the leader. Moses is a type of cry. Moses is a type of the spiritual leader that we should be at church. Moses said to the people don't be afraid. Can I give a message for Journey Church and those online? Quit being afraid! Amen? Be cautious, be aware, but stop being afraid.

James Greer (18:43):
We've never lived in a time in society where there's so many people that are miserable and afraid. And I've got a message from God. Stop being afraid. Be still. See the salvation of the Lord. See the deliverance. See the protection of God. God's still working. Amen? Which He'll accomplished for you today. I look for God to work every single day. I see Him working through the virus. Amen. I still believe He's working. For the Egyptian, the enemy who you see today, you're never going to see them again. Let me tell you about Pharaoh who got mad, stayed in his misery, who missed the miracle. Guess what? He just brought more misery on himself because all his army was destroyed.

James Greer (19:29):
The Lord, He's going to fight for you. You shall hold your peace. Man, I love it. Man, Tell you what, when you get right with God, let Him fight your enemies, I mean really and truly. See, Moses obeyed God because he believed God. Moses stood up for the people even then they would not stand up. See it does matter who stands up for you. See, I believe it matters where you go to church. I believe it matters whose authority you're under. I believe it matters that your leader and your pastors and your small group leader, I think they need to stand up for you even when you don't stand up. I believe your church needs to go forward even when you don't go forward. I believe you need to have church when everybody else says shut the church down. I believe we got to go forward when God says go forward no matter what everybody else says. I believe that.

James Greer (20:22):
I believe even when the rest of the world is afraid, I believe we got to see the salvation of the Lord. I believe the Lord is going to deliver us. I really do. I believe that we're going to get to see it. I believe that God's going to bless us for going forward. I believe that God's still in the miracle working business. I believe that whether you're here or whether you're online, if you're in misery, I believe that God has a miracle for you. You got to understand the miracle of maturity. Most people don't understand what the miracle of maturity is. The miracle of maturity is you really don't need anything else. See, immature people think they always need something else to have a miracle. Immature people always look for other things, other people and other places before they can have a miracle. Immature people are always blaming other people.

James Greer (21:30):
See, the children of Israel at this point, they were so immature, they were blaming Moses, they were blaming God. They were immature. Mature miracle, a maturity is allowing God to use what you already have. Verse 15, I love this. And the Lord said to Moses, why are you crying to me? There's a time to pray. Amen? There's a time to stop praying and get off your butt and do what God told you to do too. Amen? There's sometimes people just crying and crying and poor me, poor me, poor me, poor me, God, God, God. And God said, listen, I'm trying to answer it. You do your part. Man, tell the children of Israel to do what? Go forward. How are you going to go forward? Moses, lift up the rod. Use what you've already gotten. Use what you've already got. Listen, God's got to word for you. God's saying, listen, I've already given you everything you need. Lift up the rod, stretch out your hand over the sea and it'll divide. And the children of Israel shall go over dry land through the midst of the sea.

James Greer (22:53):
See, God actually said, Moses, why are you crying? God's asking you, why are you living in misery? God's saying, don't you think it's time to go forward in your life? Don't you think it's time to stop complaining about your past? Don't you think it's time to stop blaming your enemies or your boss or your past mate for your problems? Why don't you just get up and go forward? Why don't you let God take your misery and give you a miracle? In closing, the same God that created the Red Sea that looked like it was a problem, it's the same God that parted it. Amen? When the enemy was coming to destroy them, the Red Sea looked like it was a problem. Boy, y'all ready? God told Moses use what you've got in your hand. And God's telling you, He's given you whatever you need. And He parted what they thought was a problem and opened it. They crossed it. And what looked like a problem was the miracle that destroyed their enemy.

James Greer (23:56):
The same God that allowed misery in their life is the same God that turned it into a miracle. I don't know what the misery in your life is, but God can turn it into a miracle. Some of the misery is self-imposed. God still loves you, God can still deliver you and God still will. Search your heart. God says, search your heart and know if there's any wicked ways in our lives. God, begin to search our hearts right now. What miracle blockers are in our heart? What's stopping the miracles? Is it unforgiveness? Is it rebellion and stubbornness? Is it idolatry? Am I worshipping something other than you, God? Don't go year after year after year after year. Next week, we're going to be teaching about do you want a 42-day miracle or do you want a 42-year miracle like it took them?

James Greer (25:07):
I'm going to ask you here in just a minute when I close in prayer, would you ask God if there's something in your heart that's blocking the miracle. Would you ask God to forgive you for it? Would you remove it? Is there somebody that you need to ask forgiveness of, that you did to them? Somebody that they did it to you? Would you confess your stubbornness and your rebellion? Would you stop complaining? See, Moses, you know, was a type of a deliver. Hey, man, he was just a type of Jesus Christ. Jesus is a great deliverer who died on the cross and rose on the third day. Jesus Christ is the one that can deliver you and forgive you and give you a brand new start. And He wants to. Help focus on the miracle. If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, you've got a miracle. He wanted to bring the children of Israel into the land of milk and honey, and God wants you to make sure you're going to Heaven one day. And if you hadn't done that today, it's a day to do that. There's only one person that can stop a miracle in your life. There's only one person that can stop you from living in a misery. And that's you.

James Greer (26:29):
Would you stand, let me pray with you and pray for you? God, I thank you for your Word. I thank you, God, that we serve the great deliverer and His name is Jesus Christ. God, I pray if there's anybody in here that's never accepted Him as their Lord and their Savior, that they would do that today. God, if there's somebody here today that's been fighting a battle, I pray today that they'd let Him, the Lord, through your son Jesus Christ, that they'd let Him fight that battle. Just like Moses stretched out the rod and the sea opened and the enemy came through and he shut it and destroyed them, drowned them, Jesus fights your battle and He'll take care of the enemy. In fact, the enemy's already been defeated. He was defeated at the cross. So just relax. Some of you are in misery right now, and God says, I never want you to look at misery the same again. From now on when you start going through misery, I want you to start looking for the miracle. God, I pray for those right now that need peace. God, you said that you have a peace that surpasses all understanding. Help us to focus on that peace that surpasses all understanding.

James Greer (27:56):
God, when I see them going through the sea that was parted, it reminds me of baptism. If there's anybody here that needs to be biblically publicly baptized, like we're going to start the third service today. We have three people and you may want to join them. Fill out the next step card and you can do that third service today or you could do it next week. Maybe you're here and you want to join. You can take that next step card. You can fill it out and you can join. If you want to go to that marriage retreat, it's going to fill up real quick because we're going to limit it. You better do it today. You have a good marriage. Why not? Don't you want to have a better marriage? God, whatever it is, if there's a financial need, you're still in the miracle. Working emotional, physical, whatever need it is today. God, maybe they need to write it on the miracle card. God, whatever's blocking the miracle right now, God, touch our hearts. Show us what's blocking the miracle. Give us clean hearts. Give us miracles. It's in the precious name of Jesus we ask. Amen

Darrell Ingram (29:15):
On behalf of Pastor James, we're so glad you joined us in worship today. If you still want to pray with someone, we have people right now on standby that want to pray with you and for you. There are some great events happening here at Journey Church. Our first one is our children's Christmas Pageant. That is Wednesday, the 16th of December. We want you to come and enjoy our children in their pageant. Also, Pastor James is going to be leading in a marriage retreat and we want you to be a part of it. That's happening January 22nd and 23rd. Come and be blessed. See you next Sunday.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360