Tag: miracles

Is It Really God?

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“And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:11-14 ESV)

There’s some talk these days about whether certain supernatural manifestations are of God, or not. I wonder if anyone present when the Temple was dedicated wondered the same thing?

They witnessed something no one in their generation had ever seen. The priests had probably studied the manifestations of old in their Pneumatology 101 class. They may have heard stories from some of the old timers; those passed down from generation to generation.

But to witness, first hand, up close and personal, supernatural manifestations is something entirely different.

One thing for sure; questions don’t bother God. The fact that we either understand or don’t isn’t a real issue with God. At least every now and then.

When he’s pleased, he lets it be known. When he’s torqued, well, he’s not afraid to show it. Of course we should all be thankful he tempers his manifestations, just giving us a glimpse, or a little dab, of his glory. We can’t take too much. We just can’t handle it.

The spirit world, where supernatural occurrences are natural, is a world that’s beyond comprehension. Sure, we can understand some things, as the Holy Spirit instructs us through the Word of God; but there will be some manifestations that are beyond explanation and, thus, comprehension.

Every so often the spirit realm cannot contain the move of God. I mean, when God is worshipped and exalted simply because he is good and his mercy endures forever, he really gets excited! And when that occurs, guess what? We just may have questions.

But let’s not doubt God. Let’s not wait until we understand something before we believe and give God glory.

In John 5, the man waited by the pool; waiting for the water to be stirred. Could he understand it? No. But he waited all the same.

Until the one who made the water stopped by. And when Jesus stopped by, I can almost hear him tell the man, “You want to be well? Then look to me, and not the manifestations. You’ll never have to wonder about me; for I’m the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

But no matter what takes place, let’s “…not quench the Spirit…(and) not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 ESV)

Test everything? “When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” So let him. If it’s God, he’ll let you know. If not, well, he’s not bashful or afraid to speak the truth. Let’s just not be so rigid that we can’t hear what he has to say.

After all, he’s said in his Word, over and over, “Behold, I do a new thing.”

And what if he does, again?

I Tried To Ignore Him

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For as long as I can remember, my wife and I wanted a daughter. We used to walk through the moonlit streets of Capernaum, late into the night, hand in hand, discussing names we’d like to give to a daughter. That is, if God would bless us with something so precious.

Now I’m not what you’d call a religious man; never heard much about religious things growing up in Antioch. It’s not that I had anything against religion, no, I just didn’t have much time for it.

My wife and I married at a fairly young age, big wedding and everything. Family, friends, neighbors; seemed like the whole town turned out to celebrate with us.

Things were looking good in our little world, that is until trouble started brewing in Judaea.

About three months after our wedding, my wife and I boarded a ship and sailed to Tyre, and from there caught a slow donkey ride to Capernaum. Forty miles of dust, bumps and bruises. We were ever so glad to get a glimpse of Lake Tiberius, meaning home was a mere ten miles away.

Capernaum. The little city by the sea, with a population of around fifteen hundred. Friendly little fishing village with less than its share of Jewish Patriots. Like those Jerusalem troublemakers.

Capernaum. Our hometown for the next fourteen plus years.

Little by little we grew familiar with the Jewish customs and traditions. I guess you’d say our hearts were at least a bit softened toward religious discussions, though I didn’t understand much about it. I did, I suppose maybe a couple of times, help the local synagogue with their building fund. Hey, I had a good life, these people were my friends, so, what the heck.

I had recently learned that the whole Jewish nation was becoming wild with anticipation which began as word spread from Jerusalem about the Lord’s Messiah. Apparently this man named Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God’s Son, the promised One. There were a lot of mixed discussions about him.

But I never thought much about him. I thought, eh, whatever. As long as he stays down there in Jerusalem and leaves my peaceful little world alone.

Oh no, I almost forgot to tell you about our little princess.

Our daughter was born just about twelve years ago. A little one, barely six pounds; but full of life, smiles, and shiny, black hair. Eleanora. Shining light. It’s the name my wife and I chose late one night while walking hand in hand; the moonlight caressing our shoulders and illuminating our path, while silently listening to us dream about having a little girl.

Exactly a week ago our peaceful little fishing village was turned upside down; and so was my world. Jesus had arrived in town with his entourage of disciples, women who helped prepare meals for his team, along with a large and cynical group of Pharisees and Sadducees. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups so I just referred to them as skeptics.

Jesus wasted no time in stirring up the multitudes. I wished he had never come to town, at least for the first few days after his arrival. I hadn’t worked so hard in years. Crowd control, pick pockets, petty crimes, a few assaults; just a lot of extra work because some religious guy came to town.

People invited me to attend some of the meetings, but I politely turned them down. Hey, it’s alright for them. I’d rather not be bothered.

But yesterday I happened to walk into the area Jesus was ministering. As soon as I heard his voice I became captivated, unable to move, as if I was suddenly glued to the ground. I listened to him speak of his father’s love and compassion. I heard him tell a story about a farmer planting seeds. Then I saw him heal two men who had born blind.

“Hey, I know those guys!” I exclaimed. Apparently loud enough for Jesus to hear me, because his eye caught mine. And he smiled.

I finally began to work my way out of the crowd, toward home, when our neighbor boy ran up to me, gasping for breath.

“Your wife sent me to tell you to hurry home. Something’s happened to Eleanora; she is delirious with fever and her breathing is very shallow!”

I began running, but my mind quickly outdistanced me. It kept racing back to the crowd where Jesus had been. Could it be? Is it possible? Could I trust a man I didn’t know?

Yet the way he looked at me, as though he knew me and my family…

I stopped dead in my tracks. “God help me”, I whispered.

My very first prayer.

I ran as fast as I could back to the mob. Pushing my way through the crowd (I was glad to be wearing my uniform) I finally came face to face with the one called Messiah. I didn’t know much about that, but I had witnessed the healing of a couple of blind guys. I knew he was my answer; the answer to my short, inaugural prayer.

“Jesus, my little girl is dying. Please come and lay your hand on her and she will live.”

At once we began walking together, my faith growing with each step.

All of a sudden I discovered I was walking alone. Jesus had stopped. Some woman had crawled on her hands and knees, pressing through the crowd, just to get to him. Good for her.

Bad for me.

Real bad.

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from my home. They told me, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” (Mark 5:35 NLT)

No! Not my princess!

Like a lighting bolt, Jesus’ words pierced the darkness of my doubt and despair.

“Don’t be afraid. Only believe. Keep on believing.”

I really don’t remember much after that moment. I know we made it to my home, met by the mourners who had already begun planning the funeral. I remember Jesus mentioning something about my little girl sleeping.

But I’ll never forget the joy we all experienced when my little shining light was presented to us completely alive and perfectly whole.

In just a few days time, my world was changed forever by someone I tried to ignore.

How about you? He’s still the same today as he was back then.

I realize I combined a couple of stories from the bible – Jairus a leader in a synagogue, and a certain centurion. The centurion wanted his servant healed, Jairus, his daughter. But you know what? This could have happened. After all…

“Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 NLT)

Up The Creek

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“Up the creek, without a paddle in the rainy season.”

A well known phrase; one that depicts frustration and dire circumstances rendering very little hope.

But did you know that up the creek is the place where miracles happen?

Believe it!

“So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:14-17 ESV)

God told Joshua to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan river, during flood season. He let them know the river wouldn’t stop flowing until the priests set their feet into the water. But as soon as they did, the miracle up the creek happened.

12 miles up the creek.

Too far up the creek for them to see the water become a huge wall, as though it was held back by the hand of God.

Up the creek.

Up the creek is where God was, performing the miracle his children needed. They obeyed his word, following his command to step into the water. God had obligated himself to do the miraculous, for he said, “when your feet get wet, I’ll make the waters stand in a heap.”

Just how wet are your feet? Are you obeying the word of the Lord?

He provides the miracle when we obey his word.

He’s up the creek, when we need to cross a river. He’s on top of the walls, when we need them to crumble. He makes the sun stand still, when we’re prepared to enter into his warfare. He multiplies the oil, and the fish and bread, when we give him all we have.

When we fix our heart on him, he’s able to make all grace abound toward us, never leaving us or forsaking us. Though he’s not always easy to see, he’s always faithful.

And even when we feel like we’re up the creek, we’re never alone.

Remember, up the creek, with or without a paddle, is where miracles take place.

Hands

Hands

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them (Acts 19:11,12 NKJV)

Ordinary hands. Unusual miracles.

Not your ordinary, everyday, common, plain, typical type of miracle.

“…so that EVEN…” Unusual miracles PLUS!

All of this extraordinary stuff through the hands of a guy who said he was “chief of sinners.”

Hands that once held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death.

Hands used to carry letters, authorizing him to find and imprison believers in Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it amazing what hands can do after the heart has been changed by Jesus?

Just think what God does (and has done) with His hands:

-Formed the dry ground
-Formed man from the dust of the ground
-Held Adam’s head while He breathed into him the Breath of Life
-Placed Adam in The Garden
-Measures the size of the universe, and the waters of the earth
-Delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage
-Upholds all who trust in Him
-Defeats His enemies
-Feeds His creation
-Works truth and judgment
-Leads His people
-Opens blind eyes and deaf ears
-Heals the sick and raises the dead
-Holds the keys to Death and Hell

“His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden.” (Habakkuk 3:4 NLT)

“Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Romans 6:13 NLT)

Just think what God could do with your hands; your “instrument of righteousness”, if you’d let Him have your heart.

I believe I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “I’m a Christian! He has my heart.” Okay, I’ll buy that.

But is there a bit of fear in your heart? A fear of allowing God the freedom to use you in unusual and uncomfortable ways? A fear of letting go of your dreams and desires, and taking His plans into your hands? A fear of embracing those whom society has simply discarded, abandoned, and left for an eternity separated from the God of Love?

Is fear present in your heart? A fear that you’ll fail if you start obeying God’s voice, His leading? Do you fear God won’t answer or confirm His word with an accompanying sign, after you’ve laid your hands on the sick?

You don’t need to fear! Remember His hands? They are pointing you in the direction you should go, AND they are upholding you AS you go. His hands are protecting and empowering you, so release the fear and allow faith in God to rule your heart.

Your heart, my heart, isn’t different than anyone else’s, including Paul’s.

Neither are your hands.

Ordinary hands.

Hands God can use to work unusual miracles.

Biblical, Spiritual Elders

Elders

Biblical, Spiritual Elders

“Doing” church these days can be kind of confusing. Trying to understand terminologies, such as bishop, deacon, head deacon, minister, pastor, elder, and so on can really be overwhelming. Discussing such a topic as Kingdom Leadership can be as challenging as discussing the Holy Spirit’s ministry in a cross-denominational discussion forum. Wide variety of opinions, interpretation of scripture, and personal feelings sometimes find their way into the discussion.

Understanding that dynamic, let me say up front that, though I hold my opinions expressed in this article to be true, I do not, for a minute, believe I have full and complete revelation on the matter. I simply want to share truth as I see it, submit it to other Kingdom Leaders for review and dialog, and continue to grow in Kingdom Leadership effectiveness. And I wouldn’t be surprised to have people write and tell me I need to get a life, or something.

I do not want to “split hairs” with this subject. The Kingdom of God is not in word only, but in power. It’s not what we call ourselves that really matters. Yet we need to understand how Kingdom leadership works, how we submit to it and function in it.

Biblical, spiritual elders. Paul said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:27 -28 NKJV) Overseers – elders. The term, Elder, is not just a New Testament term. It was used a lot in the Old Testament when referring to the leaders under Moses, those Joshua appointed, as well as other men and women of God.

Basically, a biblical, spiritual elder is someone ordained and anointed by God, and recognized by other leaders, to help equip, exhort, and encourage the Church. Theirs may not be a widely known ministry , or, they MAY be well known throughout the Body of Christ. They link with others, either on a local scale, such as a local fellowship of believers, or on a much broader scale, such as city-wide, regional, national or even global scale. Point is, they link together for the purpose of governing and directing the Church to enable it to fulfill its divine destiny. Whether their ministry is “small” or “large”, it is indispensible.

An elder can operate as an Apostle, Prophet, or any of the “5-fold” ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. However, in my opinion, they don’t have to be defined or confined by one of the 5 mentioned, to be an elder. They may preach, prophesy, pray, teach or lead worship. Or, they may not be used of God for any of those specific purposes. Or, the opposite may be true. True Apostles, Prophets, etc. are elders, but not all elders are apostles. Peter made a statement in 1 Peter 5:1, “now a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder…as a fellow elder I appeal to you.” (NLT)

It was explained to me, when I asked someone why the word “pastor” isn’t used much in the New Testament, that when the church was first formed the Apostles went around to different fellowships and appointed “elders” – those older, more experienced with life and how to deal with it, to help the younger ones. All were young in the faith. So, it was told me, God had a plan to help the Church grow until more people could be trained to lead.I believe most of that line of reasoning. What I’m not sure about is why the Church has, by and large, dropped “elder” from its lexicon. Now there are people in churches who wear the title of “Elder”, but that’s not what I’m referring to. An old mule could be called a kangaroo, but watch it long enough and you’ll know it’s not a kangaroo.

Biblical, spiritual elders, were established by God as far back as Adam. He was to rule, govern, under the authority of God Almighty. Things got messed up, but that didn’t take away Adam’s calling under God. God helped restore him and, I believe, poured into Adam truth that would affect generations to come. Study it out and you’ll find Adam living long enough to pour truth into many generations! When Adam died, though, people fell further and further from the Truth. Noah, Abraham and sons, Moses. These were all biblical, spiritual elders. They would help govern God’s people, and defend God’s righteous cause. They were people others could go to for counsel and support. People anointed and trusted to uphold truth in the spirit of love. The ones God anointed as judges, they also functioned as elders. The children of Israel did well as long as the judges were around, but when they died, each one did what was right in their own sight.

Reheboam, Solomon’s son, was asked a question pertaining to his new role of leader. He consulted his elders for advice. They told him to loosen the fist of leadership from around the people and they would follow him forever. That’s what the elders said. But he didn’t follow their advice. He followed the advice of his peers, his drinking buddies, who told him to tighten his fist around Israel. That advice split the Kingdom.

It’s good to have peers, partners, people who will agree with your every decision. But God has established elders in the Church. They are to help keep the Church from splitting and falling by the wayside. Even the great man of God, Moses, couldn’t fulfill his calling without the help of elders. Think about this. God used someone not “in the church” to help Moses see that truth!

The church has had elders for a long time. So why are there so many issues and divisions in the church today? Could it be that 1) the church hasn’t paid any attention to elders, not knowing those who labor among them, and 2) the church has paid TOO MUCH attention to them, idolizing them to the point of unsure footing? Unsure footing? Standing on man-made “truth” mixed with God’s Word. Shaky ground.

Use a concordance and look at the references for “Elder”. You’ll discover these truths about biblical, spiritual elders:

1. Elders have authority and responsibility to shepherd the church (see Isaiah 40:11)

2. Elders can carry on kingdom work even if the leader is absent

3. Elders are aware of “the times” and act appropriately.

4. Elders will follow the lead of spiritual authority, obey the placement (around the tabernacle), and receive the same spirit as their leader.

5. Elders witness transactions / deals made. They sit at the gate to rule, judge, and determine who enters, who trades and peddles, and see to it that justice and mercy work hand in hand.

6. Elders’ experience, as well as their spiritual insight, help them govern.

7. Elders have a direct bearing on the spiritual condition in the land.

8. Elders identify with the spiritual condition left them by previous generations and seek to rectify or build on the condition.

Whichever term you decide to use when referring to God given, God anointed, spiritual leadership, don’t forget their place in the Body of Christ. Remember James, “anyone sick…let him call for the ELDERS of the church…”? Elders. Might be a pastor, might be a prophet. Might be…but should be an elder.

I believe the Lord is saying He is “raising up people who will function in the Church, and in the world (Moses “communicating” with Pharaoh) as biblical, spiritual elders. Unknown by many, not wearing a particular title or badge, but walking in heaven’s authority. They will function as elder’s of old. Fire will fall from heaven as they speak heaven’s word. Miracles will multiply and Jesus will be magnified. Man’s “High Places” of idol worship will be distinguished between My place of True Worship. ”

“The end is close. The work is great. The Anointing of Jesus more than adequate! Be who you were made to be – recognize your place and others in the Body of Christ – and understand the Body functions as ONE.”

Elders. Not just a name.

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