Tag Archives: miracles

October 7; The Miracle Worker

Luke 6:17-49, 7:1-17; Matthew 8:5-13; John 4:46-54

Jesus was the miracle worker. He turned water into wine, made sick people well, and dead people alive. No wonder people followed Him around. Even if they weren’t sick themselves, who would want to miss seeing crooked legs made straight, and people being raised from the dead?

Jesus said something in John 4:48 that I’ve always read as a bit of a rebuke. He said to the dying boy’s father:

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.

Today as I read Jesus’ words I didn’t hear a scolding. I heard the fact.

Jesus was a great preacher. He was wise, authoritative, and could hold a crowd’s attention for hours at a time. But He knew that wouldn’t be enough to reveal the fact He is God. So he healed some people to prove he was not just another gifted public speaker.

I know there are people, even some “Christian” movements obsessed with miracles today. There is a great argument in the Church as to whether God even does miracles today, or are we missing something if we don’t pursue miracles in 2019? But I am reminded we have something better, something even more convincing as to Jesus’ godship.

We have the Holy Spirit. God living in us. We know Jesus is who He says He is by the changed life of a redeemed soul. We have His Word in the pages of the Bible. And that is all the proof we  need.

The fact is, Jesus didn’t heal anybody to make them healthy, or raise a dead person so they could live a few more years before they died again. Jesus performed miracles so people would believe in Him.

That’s the fact.

I would encourage us all to stop obsessing about miracles. God never intended for anyone to come to Him because of the miracles. That’s why so often He asked people to not talk about what He’d done. It was never about the miracles.

Do you need to see a healing? Read the Bible. Do you need proof Jesus is God? Give your life to Him. Then you will realize the greatest miracle of all.

 

 

January 21; Something Amazing

Genesis 22-24

I’m going out on a limb here. Scripture doesn’t tell us what Abraham was thinking as he and Isaac made their way up the mountain where God had ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son. Was Abraham sad, resentful, confused, panicked? We don’t know for sure.

Except there is a bit of a hint into Abraham’s heart. At some point, Abraham told his servants to stay put, that he and Isaac were going ahead to make the sacrifice, then “we will come back to you.” (21:5) It sounds like Abraham fully intended to sacrifice his son, then return with his son.

So here’s the limb I’m speaking from today. I wonder, as Abraham and Isaac were heading for the mountain, with all the emotions flooding Abraham’s soul, was there a bit of excitement and anticipation?

Here’s what we know: 1) God promised Isaac would be the father of a great many people, 2) At this point Isaac had zero children, 3) Abraham believed God.

I’m sure Abraham had no idea how God was going to accomplish this. But I think Abraham might have been excited to see God do His thing. Would God raise a dead Isaac to life right in front of his eyes? Would Isaac be sacrificed and somehow not die? Abraham couldn’t be sure about the details. But Abraham was sure he’d be taking a living Isaac home with him when all was said and done. (my thoughts only. Scripture does not say)

Sometimes God asks us to do the impossible. Some of you are going through very tough, impossible circumstances, and God is asking you to trust Him. God might be nudging some of you to change careers, teach a Sunday School class, report a crime, take a stand, and you think it’s too much. He might as well be asking you to sacrifice your only son.

Here’s what I think God would have us consider today: be excited, knowing you are about to see God do something amazing. You can’t see how. But, doesn’t Scripture tell us ALL things work together for the good of those who love God? (Romans 8:28)

ALL things?

What about the debilitating stroke the husband of my friend had last summer? What about the cancer diagnosis another friend has received the second year in a row? What about an unfaithful spouse, or a wayward child, or the loss of income, or the death of a loved one? How can any of that come out for the good?

I don’t know.

But God said it, and if you are His child you can trust it. ALL things.

If you are going through a difficult situation, I’m not going to tell you how to feel. Well, maybe I am. Go ahead and feel afraid, or angry, or hurt, or whatever you have to feel. That’s between you and God.

But here’s my challenge: in the midst of it all, allow yourself to be excited, too. Because you are in a position to see God do something truly amazing.

Heavenly Father, I want to pray for any who are reading this today who are facing those tough situations. I pray for hurting people, people who are mourning the loss of a loved one, people who are sick, weary, alone, afraid. I pray that they will look to You, look forward to whatever it is You are going to do in their trial, because Your Word tells us You work out everything for the good of those who love You. I pray that, even while carrying their burden, they will look forward with excitement, knowing You are going to do something amazing in their lives.

March 23 – Friday Night Lights and Monday Morning Grind

Joshua 1-4

I’m a band geek. I not only played clarinet in high school and college, I became a band director and spent fourteen years of my career helping kids to love making music, too.

One of my favorite memories is of high school football games and half-time shows. Every Friday, I would make sure my white bucks were polished, I’d fluff my plume, put on my blue and gold uniform, and tie my tie. I’d put that hat on my head, fasten my reed to the mouthpiece, then get in a straight line with my fellow band members.

We’d snap to attention at the director’s command. Then the whistle would blow and the drummers would pound out that cadence. We’d march, left, right, left, right, our arms snapping up on the first beat of every measure. Heads high, knees up, backs straight, we’d make our way toward the field, lights glaring and making the night come alive. Fans cheered with excitement. We were on the brink of something amazing.

I don’t care how many Friday nights I went through that routine, every time my heart would start pumping, my adrenaline would kick up a notch. My whole body would tingle with anticipation. I just new, every Friday night, something good was about to happen – and I was a part of it!

The Israelites were standing by the Jordan River. They could see the Promised Land from there. I think I can imagine their excitement.

I was struck by what Joshua said to the people in 3:5. “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

And, if you read these chapters in Joshua, you know God did do a mighty wonder when He stopped the Jordan River from flowing so the Jews could cross into the land that had been promised them so long ago, on dry land!

God is asking me today if I approach my days like that. Do I anticipate that God is going to do wonders in my life every day? Do I take time to prepare myself for His blessings by praying, by reading His Word, by confessing sin? Do I fellowship with my amazing God before I take my first steps into my day?

Sometimes our days become a grind. Our routines anything but exciting. The cares of the day, the challenges of life are like weights on our shoulders. The Jews knew they were heading toward war when they crossed the Jordan. But I don’t think that stopped them from preparing themselves to witness God’s wonders even in their struggle. If we focus on the weight of our troubles, we can miss the blessings God showers on us every day.

I want to start my days in anticipation. God is doing a great work and I have the privilege of being a part of it. I might be facing some wars, some hardships, some grief. But I also walk with the God of miracles. That makes my heart pump, and my adrenaline kick up a notch.

“Consecrate yourself, Connie,” God seems to be saying. “You don’t want to miss what I have in store for you today!”

Nothing Is Impossible For God

Nothing is impossible for God. (Mark 1:37) To me, that’s a given. He’s God. He can cause a virgin to be pregnant, and her older cousin to have a baby. He can heal diseases, and soften the hardest heart. He can move mountains if he wants, or dry up the Red Sea.

I know some people claim this verse as a promise. I don’t see it like that. If you read this verse in the context it was written, I don’t think you’ll see it as a promise, either. I just don’t see that God promises to give us what we want if we conjure up the right kind of faith, or “claim” a verse.

The fact that God “can” doesn’t mean that he will. The question isn’t, “what’s in it for me?”, but rather, is what I want able to be used to draw someone to the Savior.

My dad fully believed God was going to heal my mom of her cancer, right up to the second she took her last breath. Her death shocked him.

Could God have healed her? Of course. Nothing is impossible for God. But God, being God, took her to be where he is.

Dad thought Mom’s healing would be an amazing testimony of God’s greatness. Think of the people who would be touched by that miracle! Instead, God chose to reveal himself through the mourning of her family, and our steadfast trust in our Savior in all circumstances.

It would have been easy to praise God for healing Mom. But God did the impossible. He gave us the desire to praise him in our loss.

Yes. Nothing is impossible for God.

July 15

Isaiah 37:14-38:22, 39:1-8; 2 Kings 20:1-19; 2 Chronicles 32:27-31

Sometimes it’s hard for me to read things in the Bible like Hezekiah’s miracle. When Hezekiah prayed while on his deathbed, God gave him fifteen more years to live. He even gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign (as if healing wasn’t sign enough) and time went backward.

But as I read on it seems Hezekiah wasn’t all that grateful. When God revealed to him that his children would suffer for Hezekiah’s sin, Hezekiah thought, Oh good. At least there will be peace in my lifetime. Nice.

It’s hard for me to read this because I find myself asking why did Hezekiah get fifteen more years and our Geoff didn’t? Why did my mom die in 1996 when we prayed for a miracle believing God would heal her?

Maybe you’ve been disappointed as well, when a loved one died too soon. Maybe you’ve prayed believing for a healing for yourself or a loved one and the miracle never happened.

I want to encourage all of us today that God is love. As his children his goal is for us to join him in heaven. For the Christian, death is not a punishment but a reward. Their absence hurts those of us who miss them on this earth. But their deaths are not about us. It’s about them in the presence of Jesus. It’s about them free from pain and the worries of this life.

May God encourage each of us who mourn today. May we trust him even when we don’t see the why’s of what happens. And may we be able to rejoice with those who get their miracles when we don’t.

Father, forgive me when I question you. I know that you are trustworthy, that you love me and those I love more than I can imagine. But I hurt sometimes, Lord. I miss those who have joined you before me. Would you give me a sense of your Presence, your Peace, your Comfort. Give me Jesus, Father, as I mourn. I pray the same for all of us who didn’t get our miracle.

June 24

2 Kings 14:7-14, 5:1-7:2; 2 Chronicles 25:11-24

God continues to perform miracles through Elisha. Naaman is healed of leprosy, an axe head floats, a famine ends. But miracles don’t always happen, do they? What do you do when prayers aren’t answered like you believe they should?

My life change drastically one year ago today. A sunny Sunday afternoon turned into the darkest day of my life in an instant. My twenty-two year old nephew lost control of his pickup and was killed, leaving us with broken hearts and a grief that is unspeakable.

We had been praying for Geoff. Some of his life choices concerned us. Geoff was a Christian but ran with young people who had no interest in the Lord. We prayed God would intervene, would bring Christian friends into his life, that he would tire of that life style. His mom prayed that God would bring him through this season of life.

We didn’t get our miracle that day. God didn’t take over the controls of that truck and steer it away from the trees. 

We didn’t get our miracle that day. But Geoff did. We are living with death. Geoff is living life. We grieve. He praises God. We mourn. He rejoices.

We are a family of faith. And I can honestly say that we don’t blame God. We’re not angry that we didn’t get our miracle. We know God loves Geoff more than we ever could. But people of faith still hurt when a loved one dies. That void, that empty chair will always be there this side of heaven.

But we don’t grieve like those who have no hope. Because, one day I’ll see those sparkling big brown eyes again and I’ll see that ornery grin. My hope is built on Jesus and he promised he was preparing a place for us in heaven. Geoff is there because he knew Christ as his Savior. 

Can I ask you to pray for us today? Geoff’s mom, dad and sister, his aunts and uncle, cousins who loved him like a brother. We are hurting today. The memory of what happened one year ago is still so fresh. My prayer is that we will honor God in our time of grief. May we still choose to praise God for the privilege of having Geoff in our lives. I wish you’d known him. You would have loved him, too.