Practical Miracles

Posted on 01/29/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Praise The Lord Iam suffering I have no proper job. Iam waiting for results bank clek job. This job was very very need of my life because my family was poor family.And I struguled finance problems. Please pray for my job and finance problems. Thanking you
- K.VIJAYA LAKSHMI BAI



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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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A REASON TO REJOICE

I have a reason to rejoice
I have a reason to clap my hands
I have a reason to lift my voice
and sing praises to the great I Am

I have a reason to move my feet
and take the Gospel into the street
I have a reason to lose my will
and let Jesus take full control


For you have set me feet to dancin'
You have filled my heart with joy
You have freed me from my passions
and filled me with the Holy Ghost

You have set my heart on fire
Fill my soul with your desire and
Melt me Lord 'til only you remain!


YOU ALONE

I will bow down
hail you as king
I will serve you
give you everything

I will lift up
my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise


FOR WHO YOU ARE

Standing here in your presence
thinking of the good things you have done
Waiting here patiently
just to hear your still small voice again

Holy, righteous, faithful to the end
Savior, Healer, Redeemer and friend

I will worship you for who you are
I will worship you for who you are
I will worship you for who you are
Jesus

My soul secure
Your promise sure
Your love endures
Always


I WORSHIP YOU

I worship You Almighty God
there is none Like You
I worship You O Prince of Peace
that is what I want to do

I give You praise
For You are my righteousness

I worship You Almighty God
There is none like You


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Last week we talked about miracles, and Mariposa read about several of the miracles written about in the Scriptures.

The title of today's message is "Practicle Miracles, and today, I'd like for us to take a closer look at miracles, examine some of the technical aspects of things people do to encourage miracles to happen, and then consider what we can change to invite miracles to happen in our lives.


I'd like for us to begin today by considering miracles outside of Christianity. Now, I realize this can be a touchy subject, because it tends to make us really uncomfortable to consider there may be valid miracles outside of Jehovah. But just hang in there with me, and you'll see where I'm going with this.

First, let's consider what a miracle really is. The World English Dictionary's first definition of "miracle" is this: "An event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause."

What would be a supernatural cause? Well, "super" means above, so something supernatural is anything that is above or beyond the natural world. This would involve anything in the realm of the spirit or the soul. The natural laws are considered those laws of the material universe which we can understand. So if some force was is work that would not fit in with what one would find in a secular scientific text book, that force would be considered in the realm of the miraculous; or, more likely, it would be considered to be either someone's imagination or a misinterpretation of something normal taking place in the material universe.

Praying for someone and seeing them get up out of a wheelchair, receive sight to their blind eyes or hearing to their deaf ears, or receive a bill of health from their doctor, would be considered a miracle, and rightly so. It is something that operates outside of the physical universe as we know it, and then has an observable response on the physical world that cannot be satisfactorily explained by physical laws.

Skeptics generally dismiss these types of miracles as staged hoaxes or imaginations running wild.

But miracles don't always happen like that. Let's consider one of Jesus' miracles, found in John chapter nine.

John 9:1-7 (NKJV)

9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.
2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.
7 And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

If a miracle like this were to be uncontrivertably proven to have really taken place today, the skeptics would probably come up with theories about the mixture of saliva and the particular clay Jesus used. It wasn't a "presto-chango" type of miracle, and is actually not the type of miracle we generally see. The man had to go do something.

It's also worth noting that there is much more to this miracled than meets the eye, pardon the pun. Someone who was born blind and suddenly is able to see wouldn't know how to process the images. Studies have shown that there would be a long time required for the newly-sighted person to learn how to know what they were seeing. But this says that he went and washed, and came back seeing. So Jesus performed not only a miracle which healed his eyes; Jesus also perfomed a miracle that instantly placed knowledge and understanding into the man's mind.

But while this miracle covered both body and mind, it also required more than many of the miracles we see: it required obedience.

We don't know if someone led him there, or if he made his way there by himself using a walking stick. This passage doesn't say. But we do know that there was more effort involved than there would have been for someone who could see and was in generally good physical health.

And of course Jesus realized this. And He made this interesting statement, starting in verse three:

3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

First Jesus says that the fact this man was born blind would serve the purpose of revealing the works of God; or, in other words, so that people would SEE God working in the world.

Then He says that the night is coming when no one can work. And what does the night have to do with sight? Well, it's much more difficult to SEE when it's dark, isn't it.

Next He said, "I am the light of the world." What does light do? It enables us to SEE. And as soon as He said those things, He made clay and annointed the eyes of the blind man; and then He told the blind man what to do. And you know what? I'm convinced that if the blind man had not obeyed Jesus' words, He would have remained blind -- He would have remained in darkness.

Generally speaking, blind people of that time were beggars. They didn't work, because there wasn't much they could do. And what had Jesus said? "The night is coming when no man can work."

That's something for us to ponder. If we want to both see and understand what's in the light, we must obey God. Until we do, no matter how much light is around us, we will be in the night, and we won't be able to do the work God has for us to do.

We can also remember the story of the man with leprocy in the Old Testament who was told by the prophet to dip in the muddy Jordan River seven times. It was only after he fully obeyed that he received his miracle of healing.

So this is the first thing we need to put into practice if we are to live lives full of miracles:

1. We must obey God, and then walk in His light.


Let's look at another passage which talks about miracles.

James 5:14-15 (NKJV)

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

And this give us our second point for living a life of miracles:

2. We must be part of a body of believers.

There are too many Christians today who have rejected what they refer to as "organized religion". They stay at home or go walking under the trees instead of going to church. They completely reject any personal involvement in the structure present in a church body. But this passage says that if anyone is sick, this is the way for them to find healing: "Let him call for the elders of the church."

Another thing I'd like for us to see from this passage is that there is not only one kind of miracle mentioned here. The person might be asking for prayer because they have terminal cancer, for example. And they can receive a miracle in their physical bodies. But it doesn't stop there. Verse 15 says this:

"And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."

So the miracles from submitting to the order God has put in place in the church body are not limited to the physical; there is a non-physical "bonus" if you will: this passage promises not only a miracle of the body, but also a miracle of the spirit and soul. "If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."

Of course we are promised forgiveness if we only confess our sins. But this is an interesting thing to write in this passage. It reminds me of the times Jesus said "your sins are forgiven" before He healed someone. It's almost as though He was clearing away some sort of blockage between the sick person and God, so that the healing miracle could flow.

And this gives us our third point today. Three: To live a life of miracles,

3. We must live a life of repentance.


Okay. So I said we were going to take a look at miracles outside of the Christian church.

First, let's consider some principles that have been used by people of many different religions whose proper use have resulted in miracles.

One with which you're probably all familiar is the spoken word -- the positive affirmation. Whether it's in the area of finances, health, relationships, or anything else in life, people outside of the Church have seen miraculous things happen as a result of changing the way they speak, and speaking with authority and conviction into their situations.

Why do you suppose this is true? Is it demons? Well, I'm sure that happens in some situations. Is it the placebo effect? I'm sure that often plays at least a small part. But I submit to you today that God doesn't tell us to do things only because He will directly act in the situation when we do. Rather, God has created every single dimension of reality, everywhere from that which is in the realm of the spirit, to that which is in the natural, material world, and everything in between.

People have observed something happening when someone else speaks with authority and conviction -- something in a higher realm. And this shouldn't come as a surprise. We were created in the image and likeness of God. And He created us to operate not only in the physical and the spiritual, but in those places in between.

Just hang in there with me, and you'll see where I'm going with this.

Other methods people from other religions have used to bring miracles to pass include visualization and ritual. And these things often work, many times producing tangible effects we would consider miracles.

I personally believe this is because of the laws God put into place to govern the higher realms, and the way in which the realms of the spirit, soul, and body interact.

Perhaps that's why we see the power of the spoken word, the meditations of our hearts, and taking certain actions which could be considered rituals, mentioned throughout the Scriptures. Many of the laws concerning cleansing the body and the preparation and consumption of foods have practicle purposes in the physical world even for unbelievers. We shouldn't be surprised that this would hold true for other things as well, as they relate to non-physical matters.

So just keep that in mind as you consider how your life can change to bring you into the realm of miracles.

Speaking with authority and conviction has an effect in the unseen realm, which then directly affects that which can be seen. Jesus tells us this in Mark chapter eleven, and then He shows us how this relates to prayer.

Mark 11:20-24 (NKJV)

20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter, remembering, said to (Jesus), "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

How often do we wish something in our life would change, but we never speak with authority and conviction into that situation? Along with this, of course, working on our heart so we truly believe? Jesus points out here the power in the spoken word. And please note here that even if we lack belief in a certain situation, the spoken word strengthens our belief.

And then Jesus says this: "Therefore I say to you," or in other words, "This is why I say to you, that whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Jesus is pointing out that prayer involves more than just a request that either God directly answers or doesn't get answered at all. He is telling us that HOW we pray is important, because there are laws in place that make the authoritative, belief-filled spoken word very powerful. And when that is combined with direct intervention by God, then truly NOTHING will be impossible.


Now I realize this might sound strange to some of you. But this is the same principle as saying that if you are having symptoms of some sort of mental disorder, a trip to the psychiatrist might be in order. Sometimes a mental problem can be helped tremendously with the right medication. Of course a miraculous healing would be much better, but we are responsible to do what we know to do, and then to trust God to work through that and to take care of all the rest.

The same holds true for physical conditions. We may need to have surgery, or have a broken bone set, or, in my case, take insulin injections every day to keep my blood sugar at a safe level. But while doing these things, we should still put our trust in God, not in the things we or our doctors are doing.

This also applies to provision. Perhaps we work for someone, and at the end of every pay period, that person gives us a check, which we use to pay our bills and put food on the table. Even in this, it's easy to put our trust in our job, or in our boss, or in our own ability to work. But here too, we should put our trust completely in God. He may not be directly providing by having manna fall from our rent-free house floating somewhere high in the clouds. But He is INDIRECTLY meeting our needs through the laws of finance that He has put into place.

So realize that seeing good things happen is important. Keep in mind that speaking good things with authority is powerful. Remember that having some sort of ritual can be very effective. And it's okay to know that there is power in these things themselves, just like there is power in going to work every day. But at the end of the day, we should remember that, as James 1:17 says, every good and perfect gift comes from God, whether He gives it to us be a direct miracle through the spirit, or it comes through the laws of the soul ream, or it comes through the laws of the physical universe or the laws of finance. God created all good things, and so all good things come from Him. Amen?

Our jobs can fail us. The economy can fail us. Our understanding and use of positive confessions, rituals, and mental conditioning can fail us. But God will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us until the very end.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, and ministry.

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