THE EFFECTUAL WORKING OF MIRACLES

           I once had a pastor who didn’t care for doing any counseling. He stated this from the pulpit. He didn’t like sitting down with people from his church and going over the usual problems. He once stated that the devil “can only get you in so many ways,” meaning, of course, that the devil had a limited repertoire of mayhem-causing temptations. In this regard, we often hear preachers list the same relatively few things we, as Christians, must deal with, and they, as pastors, must attend to with counsel, and they say this because it’s pretty much all they ever hear. The short tabulation usually involves the following:

(1) Money problems

(2) Relationship problems

(3) Health problems

         I don’t fault that former pastor. I am pretty sure one of the reasons he cared little for counseling is because many people do not respond to it in a positive way. There are often solutions to the above three legitimate and often overwhelming difficulties put forth in Scripture that are rarely applied and this can frustrate a counselor, in that they give good advice designed to assist but the advice is not taken. It is not respected. Counselors know that much of the time people only want to talk. They need someone to talk to. That’s what they really want. They don’t necessarily want to do the work to eliminate the problem.

         The Lord is the greatest of counselors. Isaiah called Him a Wonderful Counselor. But even the Lord probably gets somewhat tired of hearing prayers when He knows we will not apply the solutions. So, in that light, I am going to dedicate the rest of this post to those of you who want to do whatever it takes to fix whatever the problem is.

A MIRACLE WAITING TO HAPPEN

         I stated at the end of my last post the very words of the Lord Jesus when He said that with God, all things are possible. This is obviously a true statement. The truth of the matter, however, is that there is a whole lot of stuff between the problem and His relatively straightforward solution. It should not be this way. I think we often make it far too complicated, which messes up the process.

         For example, in the case of Scriptural miracles, our eyes may glaze over as soon as someone brings them up, because we have heard them countless times and they do not appear applicable whatsoever to what we may be dealing with at the moment. But at that time the solution was clear-cut:

        There was Peter and John seeing a lame man who had been there for decades. Thousands and thousands had seen this man there over his lifetime. He always asked for money. Some would give him money. Most probably ignored him. He had a great problem and had it since birth and people were tired of seeing him. What could they do about it anyway?

          Well, in the case of Peter and John, they had just been gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit. They were charged up with the power and authority of the Lord. With their new status came a ton of spiritual boldness. So the next time they saw that man Peter had a completely different attitude. He suddenly had a solution to the lame man’s problem. He didn’t simply look at the man as usual and think, “Sorry. I feel bad for you but have no answer. Later.” Instead, this is the way it went down:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

         But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

         But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”

         And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

HOW IT WAS DONE

First of all, Peter would be the first to say he was nobody special and that the Lord did the work. In fact, he did say that. But let us not forget that Peter experienced Pentecost. He was one of the 120 gloriously filled with the Spirit of the Lord. So that is the main condition here. But the infilling was not limited to the apostles or the 120. It was limited to no one. It is still not limited to anyone, provided one fulfills the conditions of Acts 2.

Second, Peter demanded the man look at him. He demanded the man’s full attention. 

Third, Peter used the powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above every name, and the Name with full authority over all things, including an otherwise impossible-to-cure medical condition. 

Fourth, Peter reached down, physically grabbed the man’s hand, and pulled the man up! Peter was fully confident in everything he did because he had plenty of faith and confidence in the Lord, His Name, and His spiritual power.

         But what about the lame man? He also had conditions to fulfill. He had to respond to counseling correctly. He had to obey Peter’s counseling or the miracle would never have happened.

First, when Peter demanded his full attention the lame man looked directly at him and shut everything else out.

Second, the lame man did not object to the use of the Lord’s Name.

Third, when Peter took hold of his hand and began pulling him up, the lame man never fought against him, but allowed Peter to do all he did with no opposition of any kind.

         From this we know that miracles are always the result of a collaborative effort.

         The Lord does His part, which He is always faithful to do, and the recipient does his or her part. This is why a person acting properly on faith and correctly obeying the Lord’s counseling completes the circuit.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

         The Lord put the healing of the lame man miracle right there in the very beginning so anyone and everyone all through the centuries could look back at it and see that all things truly ARE possible with the Lord. It was also a great miracle at the time for the members of the early Church to look back on to build their faith and act on their faith. They saw that the Lord’s miracles could be worked through them and not only by the Lord exclusively, as in the gospels, or through a chosen few, such as the apostles. This is extremely important. As a result, greater numbers of people had their prayers answered and more life-changing miracles were performed by the Lord working through countless Spirit-filled believers the world over. This expanding dynamic continued as well by involving onlookers as witnesses, which further spread the news of the miracles and produced faith in the Lord, salvation, and more disciples.

         And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. [Acts 3:9-10] [1] 

          © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Posted on September 4, 2017, in Real Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Two things. Yesterday I spent some time in the company of a young man who shared his salvation experience with me. He called it a miracle, and he recounted how the power of the Holy Spirit worked in his heart, mind, and body to change him overnight from a drugged alcoholic to a humble young man who has changed completely and wants nothing more than to serve God. Miracle? You bet!

    Second, you know I am a counselor. You are right that many times people just want someone to talk to, and are willing to pay for the service. Over the years I have learned that almost every difficulty can be solved IF: 1. The person recognizes the lies of Satan that fill his mind with negative automatic self-talk (please pardon the psycho-babble). 2. He learns to replace the lies with truth from God’s Word. 3. He learns to recognize triggers/events that put his negative thoughts into action. 4. He realizes and accepts that he cannot trust his feelings (follow his heart–a phrase I have come to despise) to be the truth. Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above all things, and incorrigibly wicked; that we can’t even know the depths of our own depravity. Why would anyone want to follow a heart like that?

    I have seen truly miraculous changes in people who grasp these truths. I have also seen deeper depression and bitterness in people who feel I have done nothing to help them.

    At that point, all I can do is pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten their eyes.

    Like

    • Thank you Linda. You have brought much glory to the Lord by letting us all know in no uncertain terms that the Lord has solutions for all problems we incur regardless of scope even to the point of the miraculous. I thought of you when writing about counselors and knew you had much experience to see both sides—those who take advice seriously and fully submit to the solution regardless of the difficulty and discipline involved, and those who do not. There is so much straightforward information and wisdom in your comment.

      For those who reject solutions, it is telling what happens to them afterward. Since the context in my post references Scriptural miracles as examples, it is also telling what happened to all those members of the Lord’s people who rejected Him. When He came, what remained of His nation became divided just as He said it would, between those who acknowledged Him as Messiah and Savior and those who did not. The latter group indeed grew more bitter and angry and became blind to truth while the former reached a level of spiritual release and joy and were no longer captive.

      The way up into the Lord’s Kingdom is down into repentance and surrender to the Lord’s program. Those who obey His counseling enter the miracle realm where all things are possible and the outworking of His grace results in real life solutions which in time will eliminated former problems.

      Thank you again. Great blessings to you and your work, and I hope you are feeling better!

      Liked by 1 person

      • RJ,I am a new woman! I’m close to 100% pain-free, thanks to the God Who used the skilled hands of an innovative surgeon. I know there will be more difficulty down the road, but for now I am comfortable. I’ll return to work tomorrow.

        Thinking about what you said concerning those who reject good counsel. Don’t you think that at the bottom of that refusal lies a selfish desire to get the problem fixed, but only in the way that individual WANTS it fixed? Selfishness, pride, obduracy; their own truth being the ONLY acceptable truth.

        How small we are. How little we know.

        Like

        • Praise to the Lord for your good health! I know it must have been very difficult. I’m glad you are now able to go back to work.

          Regarding your second point, it is why the wisest decision anyone can ever make is to give one’s heart to the Lord Jesus without reservation and obey what He says to do. There is no better possible outcome in our lives than the will of the Lord.

          Though He is God, He showed us how it is done by the life He lived as one of us. And though His will may appear counterintuitive and too costly at first based on our selfish and incorrect thinking, it always works out to greater benefit long term. As you stated, it’s about removing ourselves from the throne of our lives so He can be there.

          Liked by 1 person

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