21 November 2013

Show Me the Miracles!

Scripture: Matthew 9:33-38 NLT

So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed. But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.” Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” 

Observation: Jesus healed so generously. So frequently. So completely. And He said His disciples would do greater works than He did.

Application: Where are they? Where are the miracles? I have seen so many more in the last six months than I have in my entire life before . . . but Christianity at large lives in such a state of near-stupefaction when it comes to the Holy Spirit.  Something Annie Dillard wrote comes to mind:


On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of the conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake some day and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.
  ~Annie Dillard

Moroni had a little something to say about miracles in Mormon 9:
19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.

 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

 22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

 23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

 24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

 25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

 26 And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.

 27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

 28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
Verse 26 really stood out to me today: when we despise the works of the Lord, we find ourselves in the conditions of stand against His works, deny His sayings, rise up against the almighty power of the Lord, and despise the children of Christ.

I think our state is much more dire than most comfortable Christians (LDS included) would like to believe. We are comfortable, pleasant, and well-intentioned.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. ~Revelation 3:15-16

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for Your grace and your mercy, and the overwhelming love which has changed my life from night to day.  Equip me with Your Spirit. Pour into me strength to do Your will, to follow You, and take You at Your word. I want to walk in Your ways, to see with Your eyes, to hear with Your ears, to serve with Your heart. I know something of loneliness, of illness, of condemnation, of sin. And I just want to set the captive free.  Oh, please.  Just let me help You. Whenever, however, whatever.  In Jesus' grace-filled and glorious Name, so be it.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!