a God of miracles

We serve a God in the business of miracles.  I don’t mean like creepy whatever, I mean like real miracles.  Like we pray and get on our knees, and God provides.  We are left at a dead end, and he does something.

Like raising a knife to kill your son because you believe so strongly that even if your son was to die, God would raise him.

Like becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

But, I want to talk about real life miracles, that happen even today.  Two women in particular who live by faith, and have seen God provide in miraculous ways, even through difficulty, extreme difficulty.

My friend, (I’ll refrain from using names) #1, I have known now for 2 years, and she is amazing.  I have no other words.  She has faced her worst fear over these past few months: pre-cancerous cells found in her body.  “Stage 0” breast cancer.  This person is one of my heroes, but her miracle came in a not so unexpected way: modern medicine.  She is incredible, and went through surgery, a single mastectomy.

I sat there, looking at her just today and thought, I can’t believe it.  She is 30 years old, never married, no children, and she just went through an incredibly huge life change.

Miracles.  God provided those doctors, who have provided a miracle, and she will live a long full, cancer-free life because of this.  And it takes faith.  Faith to know you’re making the right decision.  Doing the right thing for the future, even though you cannot perceive what lies ahead of you.

Now, #2, I’ve known now for about 4 years, she and her husband were unable to get pregnant for 8 years, and finally 3 years ago, resorted to spending thousands of dollars to get pregnant by in vitro fertilization.  God gave them miracle number one: a healthy (and SUPER cute) baby boy.

But they just felt like the weren’t done having children.

In the midst of this, the other two frozen embryos, from the previous treatments, were found not viable.  So, they would have to start all over again with fertility treatments, saving thousands more to go through the entire process again, without even the guarantee of being able to actually get pregnant again.

By a miracle, somehow, someway, they conceived, on their own.  After all the pain and tears, they now have a beautiful baby girl, who I just got to hold tonight, and is now one month old.  My friend sat and teared up, even again about it all, how God answered their prayers for another baby.

Miracles.  Prayer.

We all have our mountains we face, you know exactly what your mountains are, I know mine.  But, do we actually trust God with these things?  Do we trust him that if he wants, he can intervene in just a moment, and everything could completely change?

Let’s face it, we don’t always know best for ourselves.  But, when we face these trials, they are to grow our faith, and these stones of remembrance become a testimony to the world: we serve a LIVING God who delights in his people, who loves to bless us, who desires our attention and worship.

I think of the book of Daniel, I read recently.  Do you believe we serve this same God?  Who can protect us from being burned in the furnace?  Not only that, but walks with us in it?  Or the God who shuts the mouths of lions, protecting our lives?  We can never know all the ways God’s hand of grace and mercy is spread wide over our lives, but we must trust.  What else can we do?  Where else would we go but into his arms?

I hope and pray my life will be the same testimony as these women, that I will stand firm in my faith, even as trials come my way.  We serve a God of miracles.


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miracles and the holy spirit

Jesus Christ performed many miracles while here on earth.  Let me say that again, JESUS CHRIST PERFORMED MANY MIRACLES WHILE HERE ON EARTH.  

Are we numb to the idea that the Son of God, while present and with us here, worked MIRACLES?

My suspicion is that if he were to be here, living among us today and performing miracles, we would seriously question who he was getting his power from, and perhaps even think there was a demonic presence in him.  That’s what we do today when anyone claims they’ve seen or experienced a miracle.  One of the “joys” of living after the ‘Age of Reason’ I suppose.  We as humans have become so logical that we can’t even accept that it’s a miracle that we wake each morning.

We as Christians have also become so logical that we doubt even the truest of intentions and heart when we pray to see revival… which will also bring about miracles.  

Though true, in Matthew 24 we are warned that false prophets will perform many signs and wonders. Every situation should be approached with a logical/intellectual mindset, we should also be aware that miracles were the “staple” if you will during Pentacost.  

“But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you….” it says in Acts chapter 1.  Power?  YES, POWER.  POWER FROM GOD!  

 

*I’ve been thinking about this after some friends and I had a long taxi ride back to GES the other day… if y’all are reading, thanks for the conversation, it’s really had be thinking the past several days…*

After the Holy Spirit comes, in Acts 2, the first thing was there was a thundering sound that filled the room, and each of them began to speak in other languages.  <If you are a Baptist you tend to skip over some of Acts 2, or simply have another interpretation that doesn’t address the issue of tongues.>  The other languages were for the purpose to proving the Holy Spirit’s power, but also so that the people in the room from other areas could all understand one another.  

Peter then commands order in the room, and makes it clear that no one in the room was intoxicated.  In verse 17 it says, “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy.  Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.  In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants- men and women alike- and they will prophesy'”.  (Perhaps there was a need to say men AND women because of the culture at the time).  “‘And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below- blood and fire and clouds of smoke…. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved'”.

God’s spirit is with us.  Think about it.  Not the “holy spirit” as we call it… but GOD’S SPIRIT.  With us each moment of each day.  And there is POWER in the name of the LORD.  There is POWER in his spirit.  

Something that I’ve been thinking a lot about is the difference between Christians here in the East, and Christians in the West.  Here, there is already some element of animism to the religion.  It’s a very mystical and spiritual experience.. life that is.  Since their religion IS their life.  In the States we tend to separate the “religious” and “life”.  I’m not saying we as Christians should turn completely mystical in our “religion”, but there SHOULD be a huge element of that in our lives, especially since GOD’S SPIRIT dwells in us… in our bodies and hearts.  

If God’s very spirit is in us, then we should be experiencing miracles every day.  Or maybe we do, but we just don’t recognize it.  In Galatians chapter 5, it talks quite a bit about God’s Spirit in us.  The fruit of having his spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  One of my favorite verses is verse 25, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Sprit’s leading in every part of our lives”.  How many of us actually recognize when we have feelings (negative or positive) about a situation that it is the Holy Spirit?  I’m not always thinking that, but maybe we should re-think our every day lives and remember that he dwells within us.  

Back to miracles.  In our taxi ride we discussed that miracles was one of the signs that you had the Holy Spirit.  Across the board; everyone.  

I’ve been experiencing a miracle in my own life, and I didn’t even realize it until recently.  I’m drinking “Pepsi Max” right now.  Seems normal, yea?  Well, some would scold me for drinking pop (or as some call it, “soda”) but the average person who doesn’t know ME wouldn’t think twice.  

For about five years I’ve suffered with IBS.  If you don’t know what it is, Google it.  I struggle with stomach pains all the time, especially while under stress.  I’ve dealt with depression as another piece to the IBS puzzle as well.  BUT.. today, I’m drinking Pepsi Max.  For years, I couldn’t have any pop, or anything carbonated.  I couldn’t have any dairy for about a year.  I couldn’t ever drink coffee.  I couldn’t ever have anything that was fried or had a lot of saturated fat.  

But friends, over the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a miracle, and I was too blind to see it.  I was too busy to see that God has been healing me.  Now, I’m not in perfect health now, and my stomach does still act up occasionally, but going from my condition a couple of years ago to now, drinking CAFFEINE.. that my friend is nothing short of a miracle.

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There’s much more that could be said about the Holy Spirit, and it’s role in our lives.  I think the Church of America often focuses much attention on JESUS, rather than God, “three in one”.  Think about that.. it’s so true.

In 1 Corinthians 12, spiritual gifts are discussed.  We all have a gift from God’s Spirit that is for the purpose of serving the body of Christ.  In verse 7 it says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other”.  So, point number 1, we each have a gift.  Point number 2, it isn’t to boast in our abilities, but rather to HELP ONE ANOTHER.  Discernment of messages is a spiritual gift, but so is speaking in “unknown languages”.  So working together, we can hear from God and discern what he is speaking to us.  We shouldn’t shy away from this either, this is how God can speak to us today.  But of course we know as a continuation of these thoughts and ideas, in chapter 13, everything should be done in love. Love is even greater than faith, and hope.  “Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.  But love will last forever!  Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!  But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless… (12) Now I see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mrror, but when we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13: 8-10, 12).

In John chapter 16, Jesus tells more about this gift that will be given to us.  It says “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgement”.  Then it says “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.  He will tell you about the future.  He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.”  The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide us to truth, not to lead us astray, especially since he’s from God.  Sometimes our discernment and skepticism tends to kick in well before we think something is from the Holy Spirit.  Maybe what we’ve been taught is holding us back from communing fully with God?  Maybe it’s holding us back from seeing more miracles?  Maybe we are holding back the miraculous from happening every single day.

I’m not saying these things to judge the Church of North America, but if we would begin to release ourselves to experience God in a way that may not make logical sense to us, perhaps that’s when we will be released to fully serve God?  We can’t see the full picture now, but soon, we will.  

Walk in his spirit today, and each moment.

Remember that love is greater than anything else we can do or say.

May God’s Spirit guide you.

 

(Sorry, this was much longer than I intended it to be!)