What Good are the Miracles of Jesus?

His touch makes the difference
His touch makes the difference

But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 

–John 10:38

The healings Jesus performed boldly attest to his claim to be God.  When we read about them, as recorded in the Gospels, we cannot doubt their supernatural flavor.  A normal person cannot give sight to someone who has been blind from birth.  I cannot raise a dead person, it’s simply not in the realm of even remote possibility.

Jesus performed hundreds and hundreds of healings, many not recorded in the Scriptures except through a vague and veiled reference to them.  There were not just healings, but he also did miracles over natural laws.  Water turned into wine, walking on the Sea of Galilee, feeding 5000 people with a little boys simple lunch.

You would think that the presentation of each miracle would bring a person to faith.  But that is not the case.  We assimilate them, and then process them to the point where we can nullify them.  “Sure Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead,” we say— but we inoculate ourselves against the truth of it.  We deafen ourselves, and silence the miracle. We roll right over it. How many miracles have we seen on any given day?

I need, I must re-visit these supernatural events again and again.  They are a tonic to my jaded soul.  These miracles require that I pick them up by their handle and make them my own.  Jesus Christ is waiting for us to accept him as supernatural, because that is what he is.  Does your Jesus work miracles?

“Remember the wonders he has done,
       his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,”

–Psalm 105:5

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What I Must Have

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Our lives can get quite complicated. This goes for our Christian walk as well. It seems what is simple is what is lacking, and we entertain a bedlam of confused priorities and misguided principles. It seems a wonder that we are still walking with Jesus at all. The clear wisdom of the first commandment is as true as it was when it was spoken:

 “You must not have any other god but me.”

Exodus 20:3, NLT

Things go quickly awry when we violate this. We get lost in anxiety, worry, ego, and envy when we seek other things before we seek the Lord.  The Church in Ephesus was a blessed church. Paul seems to set them apart in his dealings and pastoral care. The letter to the Ephesians is ‘the crown jewel’ of the entire New Testament. Revelation 2 are Jesus’ words to his special ones:

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.”

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”

Revelations 2:2-5

There were two sisters. Martha and Mary. Martha was the busy one, she busied herself with making a special dinner for Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, sat at Jesus’ feet and hung on every word. It so exasperated Martha that she brought her complaint to Jesus. (You can read this in Luke 10).

” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41

We do well if we keep this in our minds and our hearts.

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The Ugliness of Self-Pity

pity

14 “Yet I curse the day I was born!
May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
“Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17 because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
My entire life has been filled
with trouble, sorrow, and shame.”

Jeremiah 20:14-18, NLT

One of our most common battles is with the sin of self pity.  I looked “self-pity” up in the dictionary and found the following definition: “A self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes.”   When we view ourselves, we will engage things that are hurting us, and when we dwell on those things we are saddened and depressed.

Believe it, or not, our pride is at the center of self pity.  When we start to dwell on our hurts continuously–whether they are real or imagined–we start to push out the Holy Spirit.  For years I have been victimized by pain, and hurt.  I perceived the “slights” from people to be worth dwelling on to a morbid degree.

I live in Alaska, and one year, I went commercial fishing for halibut.  It was very hard work.  When we made it back to port, the captain cheated me out of  some of the wages that I was due.  I was so angry, I felt I would explode.  And this man professed to be a believer!  Even though it was only $400.00, I carried an anger and a resentment over those stolen wages. I was hurt and bitter, and things festered.  I tried to forget, and forgive but things only grew worse.

Our hearts are like a ball of soft wax.  They get “rolled” around through the dirt, and the gravel.  They pick-up things that are embedded quickly, and the clean wax becomes full of dirty ugliness.  This was never the intent with the Father.  And rather than clean up we choose to be hurt, dwelling over all injuries that we have absorbed.self pity

Full of self pity, we feed on ourselves.  And we have a voracious appetite.  The prophet, Jeremiah turned on himself.  Afflicted, and miserable he wanted to die.  Everything inside was filled with misery.  A few years ago I went through an exceptionally dark time.  I had this mental picture of a huge fountain in a city square.  Rather than flowing with fresh water, it spewed out filth.  It was a “feces fountain.”  A sewer bubbling in a beautiful place.

That is how I once pictured myself, full of stink, the feces fountain.  Bursting out a stream of sewage.  So much of this is based out of self pity.  I was dealing with many morbid feelings and thoughts.  I would dwell on the past, and combined with present issues created a nasty concoction.

Self pity is evil, it is a form of self-destruction.  We come to the place where we can’t imagine forgiveness.  To be forgiven means self-acceptance.  And we simply can’t accept ourselves.  We are way too evil, we are filthy, and we seem to want to be forever filthy.

Self pity is pride.  Humility is repentance.  We honestly need to move through this, and start liking ourselves.  There is no question we have operated out of ugliness and our personal sin.  But all of a sudden in the midst of our evil, faith steps out and we must believe that every sin is hidden by the blood of the Lamb.

 

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Exam Time: Psalm 138

“God, examine me and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 24 See if there is any bad thing in me.
       Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”

Psalm 138:23-24,  NCV

 

“Examine me |  Test me | See me | Lead me.”  When we think about an examination, we are never happy or relaxed about it.  In our thinking an examination could mean the exposure of weakness.  And that is exactly what we want to avoid.  Funny though, the psalmist puts himself under the microscope.  He invites full disclosure, he anticipates God’s x-ray machine.  He wants it.

But his life isn’t perfect or complete.  There are fears, and anxieties laying deep inside his heart.  Many times this would divide us, and split us from Him.  Anxiety will often become a strong wall, that would grow into an issue of some significance.  The psalmist moves into God’s presence.  So much in him had to be extracted.  Understanding that the Father is incredibly aware of us is only the first step.

Examine me |  Test me | See me | Lead me.  Four words that we must get to know.  The Christian life “pivots” on these four words. The four brought together, get dynamically linked into our hearts.  These four concepts will become quite critical as we come closer to Him.  There is a synergy, when the elements of discipleship are mixed together.  For example, if we extract “the examine me” part of this equation, we will not be able to conclude the situations we face very effectively.

I once made a couple loaves of bread where I mistakenly substituted sugar instead of flour.  I was frustrated because the lump of dough, was not responding.  So what did I do?  I added more “flour” which was really powered sugar, from the unmarked canister.  Later, what I buried in the backyard was a big lump of something that would never, ever work.   Not even if I wished it very hard.

Discipleship must always be intimacy at its a basic level. 

That takes God examining my life, full disclosure of everything.  We need to be intimate, by being astonishingly open to Him.  The things we share will be confidential.  And it will also be essential. “May it be the real me who encounters the real You.”

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