Posts Tagged ‘miracles’

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17)

I was dealing with some mistakes that I had made, thankful for God’s conviction that caused me to stop and consider my impetuousness and impatience. I just really want to do what is right and not fall prey to my own lusts, pride, and selfish desires. Thank God that we have the Holy Spirit to keep us in line.

And then I thought about how that much of humanity probably feels exactly the same – we want to do what is right and pleasing to God (or our idea of some higher power). Everybody thinks that his or her view on reality is correct, while everyone else is slightly out of step. Some a bit more than others.

So what separates truth from fallacy? How do we determine which one of us is actually correct? Church of Christ members won’t associate with the Baptists across the street, Pentecostals feel sorry for everybody because they aren’t as enlightened as they are, the Methodists are clueless of whoever is around them, the Episcopalians are buried in their liturgies, and lets not even talk about the Mormons, Catholics, and Jehovah Witnesses. We call Muslim extremists radical, but to themselves, they are just on fire for their God and are trying to do the extreme righteous thing, even if it means breaking the commandments of God to do it. How crazy is that?

Where does it end? It doesn’t, because we are determined to grip onto our designated belief system in the face of all others. Why? Because we believe that is the one way for us to get to Heaven.

So how do we figure out who’s right? Surely everyone cannot be right, otherwise there would be no wrong, and by extension, no truth, no reality, and no great underlying meaning for life. As Einstein once quipped, “God does not play dice with the Universe”. There has to be something that shows us what the right way is.

There is. It is the power of God.

Paul wrote that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation – not the theory, doctrine, theology, idea, or calculated reasoning, but the power.

Is there the evident, palpable presence of the power of God in your church? Can you feel it, or do you just hypothesize that it is there? I am so tired of hearing that Jesus must be in the midst of us, “because the Bibles says that where two or three are gathered together in His name …” Pul-lease! Is that all you got? I want to FEEL the presence of God, not make believe!

Whatever happened to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on your services? Do you even know what that feels like, or do you just talk about it as something that you imagine? When you step inside the front door of your church, can you feel that electric feeling of the power of God? Do you feel like you are stepping into a cloud of holiness, and the chilling fear of God comes over you because you feel like you are right in the presence of God?

No, I didn’t think so. If there were, there’d be a whole lot more going on at your church. You wouldn’t be able to keep the crowds out.

What about the miracles? Gideon’s response to the angel in Judges 6, when he was being told that God has chosen him to deliver Israel, was that talk is cheap. If everything the angel was saying was so true, THEN WHERE ARE THE MIRACLES OUR FATHERS TOLD US ABOUT?

When is the last time you saw the blind receive their sight, the cripple walk, and the deaf to hear? Please don’t hand me that weak response about how God is going to guide the surgeon’s hands. C’mon, if God is so powerful that He can stop the sun, why can’t He heal the sick anymore? I’m not talking about gradual, osmotic healing – I’m talking about immediate, miraculous, in-your-face, supernatural power right now. What’s the matter? Don’t you believe in that anymore?

Something is missing, and it is the power of God. “These signs shall follow them that believe.” You are supposed to have real, tangible Holy Ghost power, and when you don’t, you are no better than anyone else out there. Actually, you’re worse, because you’ve been given this gift to distinguish you from the rest of the world, but you have squandered the grace of God and let it slip through your fingers.

So how do we figure out who is right and who is wrong? Through the power of God. It is the one thing that we have that no one else does, and God gives it to us to show the world that He is God. (Isaiah 43:10) But it is not free; neither is it cheap. If you are not wiling to crucify your flesh, break your spirit and dive into the Spirit of God, then you will come up empty-handed.

Talk is cheap.  When the real power of God is working in your church, there is no question.

And when it is not, there is no answer.

“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”  (Joel 2:17)

Brother Dale

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Did you ever wonder about prayer lists?

I get lists of prayer requests emailed to me every day. Sometimes it feels like the lists are so long that they seem endless and almost overwhelming. You wish you could just snap your fingers and everybody would be healed, everybody would get saved, and everybody would be happy.

Yesterday in particular, I got one in which there was so much desperation and anguish that it choked me up. Instead of taking a moment out as I usually do to add my instant prayer for the daily list, I looked up and asked God why. Why is there so much suffering and so many unanswered prayers?

Ask any pastor why God heals some people and not others, and he will probably tell you he doesn’t know. There are purposes that God works out in our lives in many different ways that are hard for us to understand on this side of Eternity. God uses trouble as a tool to work out those purposes just like He uses valleys to shape us and make us into something that we would not do ourselves.

That’s a good answer – and it’s true – but it doesn’t satisfy a desperate soul.

Another answer is that we are in a time of spiritual drought, just as the Bible has prophesied would come. There are outpourings and healings here and there, just as it was prophesied in Amos, but a flood of spiritual power has not really been seen in generations. Where are the local Faith Healers on your block? Any in your church? Your community?

There are basic principles that must be applied to receive that kind of powerful anointing, and modern Christianity has not had the guts, the drive nor the desire to pay that kind of price. We’re too satisfied with church as usual.

Well, that kind of answer explains a lot, spiritually speaking, but it doesn’t do a lot for a person who is in anguish for a miracle.

What does it take to get a miracle from God?

There have been times when I prayed over someone and the answer was instantaneous. No work, no sweat, no hand-wringing, no wrenching of the soul. Just lay on hands and pray, and they were healed.

And then there’s other times, when you work your guts out in prayer, but see no results. You may feel the Spirit come down, and you know that God has heard you, but you didn’t get the healing you prayed for.

Hope and Faith are sisters, but Desperation is sometimes only a distant cousin. Real faith cannot be turned on like a light switch — it is something that you build through hearing and walking in the Spirit of God over time. Faith incorporates Hope, but travels far beyond it.

Hope, on the other hand, comes from Faith, but it may be the very last thing you have when everything else is gone. It will, however, keep the door of Faith open to the very last crack.

Although Desperation retains the same family resemblance, it doesn’t come from the same seed. We may be desperate for an answer from God, but if we are not walking in the same principles that build Faith and Hope, it remains an empty cry.

And yet, there is mercy with God.

Desperation can re-ignite Hope, which can rebuild Faith, and God does hear such cries of the heart. Faith when it does come, however, dissolves Desperation because it initiates a broken submission to the Will of God. If you have real Faith, you will trust in Him all the way in all things. No longer is it about what you want, but Faith turns the focus on what God wants.

And in that lies the real miracle.

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“And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants …”   Nehemiah

I know how you feel, Nehemiah. It’s been so long since we’ve had a real outpouring of the Spirit that we don’t even know what it is like anymore.

How long has it been since you’ve gone to services knowing that the presence of the Holy Ghost would be there in such an electrifying power that the very air would be alive with the glory of God? You would literally be beside yourself, caught up in the Spirit so much that you would feel like you weren’t even on the face of the earth anymore. Today, I see people in church doing what I call the “Pentecostal Bounce” in an attempt to make it happen, but I remember when the Holy Ghost would pour down so hard that it would literally “set your feet a-dancing”.

I remember.

Can you remember a time when souls would be flocking to the altar night after night under the over-powering conviction of the Holy Ghost, just dying to get saved?

I remember.

When we talk about healing, do you think back to when the power of God would come down like a bombshell and people would be instantly, supernaturally healed? Or has it been so long since you’ve seen something like that that you don’t really believe it anymore, and are content with a “gradual healing”, little more than settling for crumbs under the Master’s table.

When someone tells you that the Lord spoke to them, do you figure that it was nothing more than some ethereal hint of an idea or some kind of a “strong thought”? Or do you know what it is like to actually hear God speak?

Can you remember back to a time when the supernatural seemed natural? Or does it just seem like a tale that is told?

I remember.

But when I look around, I see Christians debating about points of doctrine and how THEY think things should be, fighting like kids in a schoolyard. I see Pastors subscribing to videos and books and Lesson Plans in an attempt to ignite a resurgence of the Power of God in their church. I see basket socials and basketball games to make church look more fun to the unsaved.

And all the while, they are missing the glory of God.

I am told that you can’t go by feelings – that you have to go solely by the Word of God. (Of course, that assumes that you agree with what they think it says.) Maybe they have just never felt what the real power of God feels like. If they did, they’d know what it is like to be under the Anointing, and experience that feeling that is more real than real. I would remind you that the Bible says the Spirit and the Word are one.

My little girl asked me today if God did miracles today just like He did in the Bible. My answer was yes, He still does. Why then, she asked, do we not see them anymore? Well, for that, you have to go to Isaiah 30:1. (I’ll let you look it up for yourself if you’re really looking for an answer.)

I know that many will read this column and think I’m just on some trip.  Some of the old-timers, however, will remember back wistfully, to a time when the Glory of God flowed through our churches, and sigh with regret, wondering if we will ever see it again.

But there are others, especially you young people, who will see the promise, the possibility and the hope, and will cry out to God with all your hearts like Nehemiah for a restoration of what we have been missing for so long.

Let me tell you that the promise is sure and the possibility is enormous, but the hope must spring from your heart.

The first step to revival is to realize that you don’t have one. The 2nd is to want it more than life itself, and be willing to believe God for it. Our churches, sadly, have forgotten both.

But I remember.

And I still believe.

Brother Dale

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