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Let me just begin by saying that we all need a miracle. And that’s because we all have problems, and every miracle starts with a problem. All of us, young and old, sick and not so sick, healthy or not healthy, employed or not employed, persecuted or well liked, we all need a miracle.
As I began to contemplate today’s message, that is, how to live a miraculous life, I realized that this could easily be a chapter in my last book on “Wells of Living Waters,” because this is easily a doctrine that Satan has covered up in the church.
Satan has got the church in the Western industrialized nations, in which America is a part of, believing that we do not need miracles, because we are far more educated than they were in Bible times. He has us believing more in modern medicine and science than in God and His word.
Yet, those who live in other countries are seeing miracles, because they don’t have all these other things to distract them from the truth of God and His word. Instead of going to doctors, which are scarce, they turn to God and God honors their faith, and we see healings and miracles happening on a daily basis.
We see such lives in the stories of King David in the Old Testament, and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
After God had anointed David to be king, Saul, who was the king, sought to kill David. And so David was constantly on the run. When he was hiding out in a cave he penned this psalm.
“I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me.’” (Psalm 142 NKJV)
David not only needed a miracle right then and there, but as we look at David’s life, he lived a life full of miracles. He lived miraculously.
The Apostle Paul also lived miraculously, saying that it was through the power of God that such a life is available to us.
He said, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NKJV)
So how can we have such a life, a life of miracles? First we need to look at what is a miracle.
What is a Miracle?
Webster’s defines a miracle as “An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, and an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.”
And so as believers in Jesus Christ we can say, “Miracles are those acts that only God can perform, usually superseding natural laws.”
A miracle happens when God gets involved and intervenes performing what the world would call impossible. And we believe God can do this, because we know that with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
We can see this when blind eyes are opened, those who are deaf now can hear, the lame and paralyzed can walk, and the dead are raised to life.
A common word used for miracle in the New Testament can also be translated as a “sign.” A miracle is a sign that God uses to point to Himself; the same way we follow signs that tell which way to go, and which way to turn.
Probably you know of or have experienced such signs. I have seen miraculous healing where cancer totally disappeared in one man, which was confirmed by the doctors when they retook and reexamined the man’s X-Rays, and I’ve seen others as well who have been miraculously healed, myself being one of them.
When we went to men’s camp several years back, one of the men with us was healed. He hobbled into the sanctuary with a walker, and after we prayed for him he started to walk down the aisle, and by the end of the service he was walking and leaping and praising God. Also, at that camp, a man who was legally blind had his eyes healed and now he can see perfectly, and I was also told of someone who had a hearing problem was healed.
But I’ve also seen miracles that defy the laws of nature. The one that stands out the most was around 30 years ago. Two pastors and myself went to Korea. At one of the smaller cities there was a girl’s school that wanted to honor us with Korean dance. That morning, however, it was cold and the sky was completely cloudy with a light drizzle coming down.
Along with the local pastors, we were huddled around a space heater praying for God to intervene. We saw the girls filing out covering their heads with books and chairs. One of the pastors I was with started to quote Elijah and his prayer, and continually had me going over to see if there was any breaks in the weather, and I remember that I began praying that God would split the sky above the school like He split the Red Sea for Israel.
After the girls had finished filing outside, we followed. As we turned the corner of the building we saw that there was one place in the sky where their were no clouds, and that was right over the field where the performance was to be given. Over the field the sun was shining. Then we saw the clouds split apart from East to West until the sky was completely clear.
When we got back and told our story, one of the associated pastors, who just so happened to be a meteorologist and who worked for the government, said that what we saw and experienced was impossible according to science, and thus a miracle.
Well, he didn’t have to convince me, I was there, and people came from the surrounding areas to see what was happening, and then one of the local pastors declared on the P.A. system what we had been praying for, and God got all the glory.
But when it comes to miracles, we must understand that they are secondary to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
Miracles, therefore, reinforce the message of the Gospel, and that God is real, and that He works through those who believe in Jesus.
In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said, “‘And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.”
Miracles, therefore, are for today. In his first letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul said that God appointed for the church apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, administration, and different tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28).
Miracles should therefore be commonplace amongst God’s people today. It is what the Foursquare Church, in which Living Waters is a part of, proclaims as its signature verse, one that is found in every sanctuary; that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Why then don’t more people believe and pray for miracles? God hasn’t changed. The same Lord is with us, as was with them, and we have the same promises as they had, and God is more than able to do it again.
Now, as a special note, can I say that often times the miracle we’re seeking may not be the best or the miracle we want. We serve a God who knows a lot more than any of us, and knows us better than we know ourselves. Therefore, God may give us something completely different or opposite of what we’re praying for, because He sees what the future holds, and what is best for us.
Consider Hezekiah, king of Judah, who God revealed through Isaiah that he was going to die from his ailment. And so Hezekiah sought the Lord in tears that his life would be extended. And so God extended his life for an additional 15 years. But in those 15 years Hezekiah foolishly showed the treasures of Israel to emissaries from Babylon, and the Lord revealed that because of this Babylon would carry Judah into captivity. Hezekiah also had a son during those 15 years, Manasseh, who did great evil in the sight of the Lord, thus hastening God’s judgment.
But what I can say is that all of us are the recipients of the greatest miracle of all time, and that is Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, and because of that we have salvation, which is the greatest miracle we can ever experience, where the old is past away and all things become new in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
It is where we who were dead in our trespasses and sin can be made alive again.
The Bible says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV). And “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).
And so, in this great miracle we can be thankful, and it is in this great miracle, and with a heart and attitude of thanksgiving, that we can now make our prayers and requests to God, and His promise is that He will hear and give us His peace (Philippians 4:6-7)
But, we also need to be careful, because we have an enemy that can lead us astray through false miracles.
Let me just says that not all miracles are from God. Any miracle that takes glory away from God, and in another direction, is from Satan. In some of the cults and religions we see that while there may be power, it isn’t God’s power, and while they proclaim miracles, it is not God’s miracles. This is just a sign that we are in the end times.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, we read that the Antichrist will come working Satan’s agenda with all power, signs, and lying wonders, that is, miracles.
We can see something like this back in Acts 8:20; Peter had to rebuke a sorcerer who had endeared himself to the church, and Peter rebuked him because he tried to buy the power of God to use it for his own glory.
There is a danger that I have been seeing lately, and that is where people are praising those who call themselves prophets, because they’ve raised the dead and healed many. Now, I cannot categorically state that they are false prophets, since I have never heard what they have said, or what they teach, but when people are proclaiming their names above the name of Jesus, then it gives me pause.
Miracles that come from God either bring glory to God or confirm His word.
How Do We Access God’s Miracles?
Well, if you haven’t guessed it by this time, it is through prayer.
Prayer is one of the mightiest weapon God has given His people; just like His word, which the Bible describes as the sword of the Spirit. Yet, just like God’s word, prayer is far too often neglected and looked down upon. Therefore, prayer, like the reading of God’s word, is seldom accessed.
In James’s letter to the church, he said, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:16-18 NKJV)
Two aspects about miracle producing prayer.
First, is praying with one another, seeking out the elders of the body that they may lay hands and pray.
Earlier James said, “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.” (James 5:14 NKJV)
The aspect of confession is a hard one, but what James said is that it is necessary if we are going to live in the miraculous. But it isn’t just anybody, but to those God has called, that is, the elders of the church.
The second aspect is perseverance. Elijah persevered in prayer. He didn’t give up at the first disappointment, but continued to pray until a miracle happened.
Prayer with Fasting
Jesus healed a young boy who was demon possessed, where he would have seizure like symptoms, ones that would throw him into fire and water to either burn him or drown him.
Now the disciples had been at this for some time, but with no results. And then Jesus came down from his Mount of Transfiguration experience, and seeing what the demon was doing to this young man, and hearing his father confess that while he had faith he also had his doubts saying, “I believe, help my unbelief,” Jesus cast out the demon.
Now look at what He said to the disciples.
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’” (Matthew 17:19-21 NKJV)
Why fasting? Because fasting intensives our prayers, it opens us up to hear from God, and allows God, often times, to work through us because we’re more in tune with the Holy Spirit.
The prophet Daniel, when he understood God’s word that the seventy years of Babylonian captivity was now over in accordance to Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 29:9-10), set Himself to some serious prayer saying, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3 NKJV)
Yes, God promised to deliver the people through Jeremiah’s prophecy, but then He said through Jeremiah a couple of verses later, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13 NKJV)
You see, fasting is not just about giving up food; it is an attitude of repentance, of obedience, and of humility. It makes us more pliable to the will and way of God.
Why don’t we see miracles when we pray?
The Bible says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14 NKJV)
It’s all about why we’re asking. Is it for God’s glory or for our own selfish desires? God has filled us with Holy Spirit power, along with the authority to use that power. But when we pray we need to make sure that it is for God’s glory.
Consider Jesus and the miracles He provided. He had all the power of heaven and yet he said that only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19).
Therefore, let’s check our motives for asking, along with having the right attitude.
Right from Wrong
Second we’re working from the wrong paradigm.
The church is so confused that it really doesn’t know who it is suppose to be, and when I say church, I mean all those who are believers in Jesus Christ.
We don’t know the difference anymore between right and wrong. The church and many believers are now saying that homosexuality, fornication, and other deviations from God’s word are okay. That it’s okay to live with someone else as long as they love one another.
How can we possibly expect God to honor and hear our prayers when we don’t honor Him or His word? What we see today is what the Bible says will happen when we take God out of the equation.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV)
Why the “Woe to?” It’s because of what we see God going on to say. “As the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord is aroused against His people” (Isaiah 5:24-25a NKJV)
While we are living under the grace and mercy of God, let’s not be fooled thinking that God is okay with what is going on in His church. He is not. And one day all these things are going to be dealt with in His judgment, either here on earth, or up in heaven.
The next two reasons have been so misused by those who are apart of the faith movement that I am somewhat hesitant to share them, but the Bible talks directly to them.
These are a “Lack of Faith,” and “Unconfessed Sin.”
The Bible says that prayer offered up in faith will heal (James 5:15), and we see that Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith (Mark 6:5-6).
We are also told in James’s letter to the church that if we want a healing we have to confess our sins (James 5:16).
And so let me just say that if we’re looking for a miracle then we have to believe in Jesus Christ, and be willing to confess our sins, because as the Bible says, He is always willing and able to forgive (1 John 1:9).
We need a miracle, especially here in America.
Abortion has filled our land with blood to the tune of 61 billion children since Roe vs. Wade. And as I sat and looked at these statistics there was a screen that showed that there had just been 1,346 abortions in America over the past 12-hour span, and counting. We are also seeing daily reports of parents molesting and abusing their own children, some of them babies. The youth today are now completely out of control, not being able to think for themselves, but accepting what social media tells them to think. And new diseases are spreading across the globe.
Evil is getting worse and sin is increasing in number and intensity. Hell has literally enlarged its borders, and Satan and his hoard are becoming emboldened by the willingness of humanity to accept his philosophy and ways.
And may I say that it is even worse than many of us think, as the doctrine of demons, as the Bible explicitly states, has now invaded the church, as believers are giving heed to their teachings. How else can we explain the rise of homosexuality and its acceptance in the church, or how it is okay to live together outside marriage, or where that which was once called evil and sin is now accepted as being normal and good, while that which is righteous and holy is now being proclaimed as intolerance.
Let me end by saying that if we want to live in the miraculous then we have to open up to God and His power in our lives. We can do this by daily being in His word and prayer.
Next, we have to do whatever God tells us. Signs and wonders followed when the people not only believed, but also obeyed.
And then, we have to believe that God has a miracle for us. It is only when our focus is squarely on Him, and that He is God, and we’re not, that we will see God move in the miraculous. We will see the miraculous through the singular belief that God is trustworthy and that we can trust Him with the results, even when they aren’t exactly, or even close, to what we prayed for.
And finally, we need to give Him the thanks He deserves.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
So let’s get busy and start praying in earnest. We need to pray doors open, or pray that God shuts them. Elijah, who we are told is no different than any of us, prayed earnestly, and he kept praying and waiting until the Lord answered.
I truly believe that miracles are for today, and that God wants us to live in the miraculous, or living miraculously.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study