Just Ordinary People

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 104

TRANSCRIPT

Just ordinary people podcast

Pastor Max Lucado says that God takes ordinary people, puts His extra on them and they become extraordinary people. I wonder how many of the people we read about in the Bible had a clue how God empowered them to do extraordinary things in the Kingdom of God. In today’s podcast we are going to look at some of the people we consider superheroes in the faith.

I’m Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations and I welcome you into this Hope Healing and Freedom podcast. Have you ever wondered what it was like for the people we read about in the bible to do some of the amazing things they did? I know when I read the bible stories about one of the men or women in the bible, I tend to make them into a superhero in my mind. Surely these were people who never experienced fears or doubts, right? Yet they were just ordinary people like you and me whose faith didn’t always remove their fears, but their faith gave them the courage to do what they were doing in spite of their doubts and fears. In this podcast I want to take a look at a few of these heroes of the faith in an attempt to encourage each of us as we live out of walk with Christ on a daily basis. You may have some of your own favorites, but in this podcast, you will hear about some of the bible characters I admire for their faith and courage.

The first guy that blows me away because of his courage and faith is Noah. Try and put yourself in his sandals. The story begins in Genesis 6:5. It says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” Sounds strangely familiar to things going on today, doesn’t it?God decided to blot out these men and women and their animals for it says in verse 7, “for I am sorry that I have made them.” But God found one man whom He could trust. It says in verses 8-9 “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”  Noah is minding his own business and staying out of the corruption that is going on around him. He is raising his three sons in righteousness and the fear of the Lord. Here is where I have a hard time putting myself in Noah’s sandals. God asks him to build this huge boat because God is going to destroy the corruption that is in these people. This is no ordinary boat. This boat is 510 feet long. To put this into perspective a football field is 300 feet long, so this boat was almost the length of two football fields. It is 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. There is a life size replica of Noah’s Ark at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. We visited this replica a few years ago and the size of this boat is overwhelming. If I was Noah I would be asking, Really God. A boat bigger than a football field? Big enough to house 2 of every kind of animal. This replica in Kentucky shows the waist removal system they must have had to manage the waist from two of every kind of animal. It was a brilliantly designed boat. I would recommend going to see the Ark Encounter if you ever get the opportunity. Back to Noah. But can you imagine the ridicule that Noah and his family had to endure. These wicked people would have made fun of him until…. until the rain began to fall.

I have to believe that during the construction of this huge boat, which must have taken years to build by Noah and his three sons, there must have been some very interesting conversations around Noah’s dinner table. “Noah are you sure. This is a huge boat. Why not build a smaller boat, it will take less time? What if you misunderstood God’s plan?” I believe that Noah had to have seasons of doubting what he was doing as well. Noah was just an ordinary guy who God called to do something extraordinary.

Another guy that I would love to have a talk with would be Daniel. The story is found in the book of Daniel, and I am going to pick up the story found in chapter 6. It says that “Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit”. The other commissioners and satraps didn’t like the fact that Daniel was raising in power and distinguishing himself, so they set out to trap him. They said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him regarding the law of his God.” So once again here is Daniel who is a righteous man who God has put a special anointing on to govern. As the scripture says he had an extraordinary spirit.

Let’s back up before telling this story and look at where Daniel and his three friends had come from. They were Hebrew boys who were taken into the service of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. They were basically slaves who were being trained to serve in the king’s palace. Rather than eat the rich foods offered them by the king, they made an appeal to let them eat only fresh fruits and vegetables for 10 days and then compare their health to the health of the other boys who ate the rich foods. That took some courage to go against the wishes of the king. After this ten-day trial the Hebrew boys were in better shape than the other boys. The next test that came their way was to not bow down and worship the image of gold created by the king. Their decision to not worship the image made of gold got three of the boys thrown into a fiery furnace which should have burned them to death. Instead, the king looked into the furnace and saw three men in the fire and the fourth man was like the son of the gods, in other words probably and angel or even Jesus Himself. I would love to interview these three boys to find out what they were going through while they were being thrown into the furnace. But that is for another time. Let’s recognize that these were ordinary teenage boys who served God with an extraordinary faith.

Back to Daniel. Due to their jealousy the other commissioners and satraps set Daniel up to have to choose to obey the king or obey God. They manipulate the king into signing a decree that any man that worships any other God besides the king will be thrown into the lion’s den. These evil men knew that Daniel prayed three times a day inside his home. They brought this fact before the king and because the king had signed this decree, he had no choice but to have Daniel thrown into the lion’s den. This is where I would love to talk to Daniel about what he was going through as he was thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel was human. It would be normal for a human being, even one with great faith to struggle with fear at the prospect of being torn to pieces by lions. I know Daniel went into the lion’s den trusting God with his life, but he had no idea what was going to happen in that den. There are many stories of missionaries who went in obedience to minister to unreached tribes in Africa only to be savagely killed by these tribes. Serving God does not mean that we will not be harmed. On a recent trip to Israel, someone asked me if we were concerned about the potential dangers involved in traveling to Israel with all of the terrorism and conflict. I could honestly reply that if I am going to die and go home to be with Jesus what better place is there to go from than Israel. Daniel had to have some fear, but God gave him the courage to not bow to the king. As a result of Daniels night in the lion’s den king Darius made a decree that all the kingdom was to worship the God of Daniel. And by the way, the men who set Daniel up and their wives and their children were all thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel was a normal young man who obeyed God and did extraordinary things.

There are many other people found in the New Testament who were just ordinary people that God used to do extraordinary things. People like the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. She was just an ordinary sinful person whose life was changed by an encounter with Jesus. Then she became one of the greatest evangelists in history. By the way, what was her name? We don’t know. Or what about the guy who was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. We know his name, Simon, and that he was from Cyrene. Other than that, we know very little about him. I would love to know what he was thinking as he was carrying Jesus’ cross. Some say this cross was an 80-pound piece of wood. This was not an easy task. Did he talk to Jesus as they walked? Did he know at that time that Jesus was the Messiah? Yet this ordinary man has gone down in history for the part he played in Jesus’ life.

The guy I want to finish this podcast talking about is Peter. Peter is the epitome of ordinary. First of all, he was a fisherman by trade. Fisherman in that day would be comparable to a slimy used car salesman today. I know used car salesmen because I was one before I went into ministry and worked with some pretty slimy salesmen. Fisherman were usually gruff and rugged men who were not known for their social graces. In fact, they were not always accepted in social settings thus they tended to hang out with other gruff and rugged fisherman. One thing I love about Peter is he responded to things immediately. Peter would jump first and think second. Peter acted often before thinking through everything. When Peter and his brother Andrew met Jesus, it says that Jesus said to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they dropped their nets and began following Jesus. Not much thought given to leaving the only job they had ever known and following this wandering teacher. They just dropped their nets and followed. I am pretty sure they did not even know what they were getting into following Jesus, they simply recognized the anointing on Jesus and followed. Peter was also the only disciple who walked on water. Why? Because Jesus told him to come to him and Peter responded without much thought. That is an amazing quality. All was going well on the water until Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and put them back on his circumstances. Right there is a great lesson for us as well. Life will go much better for us when we keep our eyes on Jesus and not on our circumstances.

Peter’s denial of Jesus on the night He is betrayed and crucified is famous. He denies Jesus three times even going so far as to curse and say that he never knew Jesus. That sounds like something we could do, doesn’t it? In the face of an angry crowd who was looking for the blood of this teacher Jesus and His disciples, Peter caves into his fear and denies Jesus. Yet four months later, 120 days in the upper room and a heavy dose of the Holy Spirit, Peter is the guy who stands before the crowd and preaches one of the greatest sermons of all time. He becomes the Rock that the new church is built upon. This ordinary gruff and rugged fisherman became extraordinary as he walked in the calling that God placed on his life.

I love the Chosen TV series based on the life of Jesus because it shows the humanity of the disciples. They were just ordinary people like you and me. They experienced doubts and fears. They wondered why God would choose them. I’m sure they had to fight through thoughts like “who do you think you are to do anything great”! Yet these ordinary people did extraordinary things.

I want to challenge each of us to move beyond the fact that we are just ordinary people. I challenge us to fight through the messages coming at us like why you think you can do anything great. The fact is we are created for greatness and our enemy knows it, so he works very hard to steal that greatness from us, causing us to believe less of ourselves than our Father God thinks.

I know that some of you listening today are sensing the Holy Spirit is telling you that He has more for you. If that is you, please don’t hesitate. Go to our website restoringthefoundations.org right now and respond to His calling. For some of you that will mean scheduling personal ministry to clear away some of these lies that are holding you in bondage. Click on the Get Ministry tab and find a minister in your area. For others it will mean getting trained as an RTF minister to bring healing and freedom into others’ lives. Click on the Minister Training tab and start your training. For others it might mean supporting the work of RTF with a monthly financial gift. If that is you, you will find a Donate tab at the top of the page.

PRAYER

Father God, you use ordinary people, people as ordinary as me, to do extraordinary things. Father, would you give hope to those who are listening to this podcast that are saying, No, I can’t do anything extraordinary. Would you give them the courage to step out and let you put your extra on their ordinary. In Jesus Name!

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.