Molding Miracles

It is an incredible thing to witness a life-transformed. To walk with someone so long that you see them become essentially a different person. It’s also amazing to be the one who’s life is redeemed. In general, it’s an absolute miracle that any of us bring God glory with our lives. Especially given the nature of the human heart.

I used to have a real problem when people would tell me that people are bad by nature. It seemed unfair. Aren’t people just corrupted by their surroundings? When it came down to it, I just didn’t like being told that I had a sin problem that needed to be fixed. I doubt anyone likes being told they are broken in any way. The truth hurts. It’s one reason some people took up issue with Jesus. He confronted people directly with their sin problem.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  Matthew 15:19 NIV

If our hearts are so full of horrible things, how do we have any hope whatsoever? How could a heart like this ever love God or bring Him glory? That’s the point of redemption…of the new creation…of Jesus. Humanity corrupted itself and day after day we add to the problem. We have no one else to blame but ourselves and none of us can ever hope to fix ourselves. The overabundance of self-help books (Christian and secular alike) out there would try to convince you otherwise. The only hope we have is surrendering ourselves to a force that can sometimes be difficult to grasp.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.  Psalm 37:3-6 NIV

Truth is, our desires are all out of wack. Besides those to love and protect and take care of those close to us. But even that can become unhealthy to the point where we value them above God. For the most part, we are the center of our desires. We want health over holiness, comfort over conviction, wealth over wisdom, and prosperity over progress. The things of God are a long shot from our deepest desires. Psalm 37 says the only way to change that is to make the Lord our delight. Not our safety and well-being. Not our career goals. Not retirement or a certain standard of living. Not recognition or personal goals. Nothing and no one can take the place of our greatest delight.

Here’s a convicting question that I heard someone ask a long time ago: would you be willing to give your life if the entire world could be saved? If the answer is anything other than yes, then God is not our greatest delight. The fact is, Jesus demonstrated God’s heart by doing that very thing. He surrendered His life, knowingly and willingly. For Jesus, the endgame is the redemption of a fallen world. For His followers, it should be no different.

My heart will never change until I make Him my number one desire. When that happens, the wickedness stated in Matthew 15 is replaced with a clean, wholesome, loving heart that wants to know God and make Him known more than anything. I’m not there yet, but in the famous words of the apostle Paul, I press forward. How about you?

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Don’t limit God

Since when did the followers of Jesus stop believing in the extraordinary? Why are preachers out there promoting a concept that God doesn’t still perform wonders and miracles? Aren’t we still worshiping the same God who stops the raging storms, heals the broken body, who mends wounded hearts, who redeems wayward souls, and who orchestrates our lives in such a way that cannot be explained otherwise?

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” Mark‬ ‭16:17-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Why are brothers and sisters getting criticized by their fellow Christians for praying that God raise their child from the dead? Did Jesus stay in the grave? Did Lazarus? How about the son of the widow Zarapeth? Or the Shunamite woman’s son? Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son and Jairus’ daughter. And it’s not like it all ended when Jesus ascended into heaven. Just take a look at Tabitha and Eutychus. The Bible is full of accounts where God raised the dead, most of the time using the prayers and intervention of His saints. Yet there are many in the fold who simply don’t believe God does that anymore.

“He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In an article posted in May of 2017 in Medical News Today, the concept of the Lazarus phenomenon is expounded on. Several examples are given of people who are clinically dead come back to life many hours or even days later. There have been as many as 38 reported cases in the last 38 years. That’s just in the postmodern world where these cases are reported. You know it has to be happening in other parts of the world too where we never hear about it.

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” Acts‬ ‭4:29-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The point is. God isn’t done with miracles. Why on earth would we stop asking Him to move in amazing ways? It takes faith to believe our God still opens eyes, unstops ears, and raises the dead. And it takes courage to proclaim it.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.