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.

Musings on Gathering

Scripture: Jeremiah 23:3-4 NLT

But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them.  I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number.  Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again.  Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Observation: 

What a lovely, lovely prophecy this is.  While I'm not currently living in a physical gathering of Saints, I look forward to the day I will . . . even if I have to wait until Christ comes again.  I have long had a feeling that this is a gathering place, this county of ours, and I look forward to seeing what that means to God, and what He plans he will bring about.

Application: 

In the meantime, I will cherish verses like these.  I will surrender and live among my family, and among my friends, in this way.  I don't want a single one to go missing, or be lost.  I want to live in fellowship with the Saints, in unity, in the love of Christ, so His joy can flow among and through us without obstruction.

Prayer: 

Father in heaven, I praise Your glorious and holy name for the gathering you have done in my life; for the precious loved ones I have who have led me to You.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I thank you for the way that I'm beginning to find kindred where I didn't expect, to help and support me--those who understand very well what I have experienced. Lord, please guide me. Help me to know how to love my own, and Your own, and all others, with Your love.  Show me how to raise my children, how to train and teach them, so they can come to know You as You really are.  Put people in their paths--TRUE disciples of Your Son, Jesus--who can show them Your way, and the true nature of God's love.  Let Your love touch those I speak to, those I touch.  And please bless me with a constant desire to do so, and the awareness to recognize when I have allowed the enemy to slip back into my life. he is so, so sneaky, and I don't always catch it before he has managed to make me forget so, so much. In Jesus' name, amen.

Not yet, Lord. Not yet . . .

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:8

[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor's] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day--and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

Observation: Joy, a wonderful, amazing, beautiful and beyond description joy and love will, at the Second Coming, flood those who love and yearn for and live after the manner of Christ.

He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor. (Prov 21:21 AMP)

Application: I really do long to physically be in Christ's presence, and for Him to return to the earth and set all to rights. But at the same time, my heart aches so much for those that don't have an assurance of the remission of their sins, and I don't want Christ to come quite yet. There is so much yet to do, so many yet to reach.

Prayer: Father, let me find all those I am sent to find in this life, and to embrace them in the arms of Christ's love.  Fill me with that love to overflowing, so everyone I touch, everyone I speak to, everyone I look in the eye, everyone who even sets eyes on me, will FEEL Your love, and never be the same again.  I don't want to do any of Your work under my own power or influence--I want to simply be Yours.  Make me Your instrument, so the gentle tendrils of unspeakable divine love may reach out and twine around people's hearts, drawing them inexplicably back to You.  Please.  Let the souls of Your children feel You, and even if they don't understand what is happening, awaken their souls to Christ. In Jesus' name, so be it! Amen.

Life in Christ: So, so good.

The Lord is teaching me, very methodically, through the pattern of my journal entries.  I'm learning to watch for lessons and patterns on a larger scale than before--not just gems in individual verses, but the flow of my entries over the last few days has been very instructive to me.  1) The wages of sin are death & destruction, but in Christ we are saved. 2) The Lord warns His people before destruction comes. 3) How seriously am I taking my spirituality? 4) Destructions are coming, but the Lord will warn me.  5) The Lord is faithful, and He will restore all that ever seems lost as a result of the destructions He sends.

Pretty cool, eh?

And now, onto my LJ entry (which is part of that pattern previously mentioned.)

Scripture: Joel 1:2-5, Joel 2:25-27 NLT

"Hear this, you leaders of the people.
Listen, all who live in the land.
In all your history,
has anything like this happened before?
Tell your children about it in the years to come,
and let your children tell their children.
ass the story down from generation to generation.'After the cutting locusts finished eating the crops,
the swarming locusts took what was let!
After them came the hopping locusts,
and then the stripping locusts, too!
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you wine-drinkers?
All the grapes are ruined,
and all your sweet wine is gone."

The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.
It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
Once again you will have all the food you want,
and you will praise the LORD your God,
who does these miracles for you.
Never again will my people be disgraced.
Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other.
Never again will my people be disgraced.

Observation: The sharp contrast between these sets of verses reinforces what I last posted about--that life in Christ is so preferable to life in sin!

Application: This feels like a benediction straight from the Lord to me.  When I fired up my Bible app this morning, I was a little apprehensive, expecting more death and dismemberment.  But instead, I read this beautiful song in Joel 1-3, and finished with words of comfort and prophecy . . . and an even more awesome bonus: that women are specifically mentioned alongside men as recipients of the spiritual gifts to be poured out upon Yahweh's people:

"Then, after doing all those things,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on servants--men and women alike."  --Joel 2:28-29

(You know, I haven't yet found a place where the Lord himself ever says women are not to be treated exactly as men are--He doesn't seem to make a distinction.  The only verses I've found that proscribe women's behavior have been Paul's own opinion & practice; not "thus saith the Lord". Yes, the Lord has nearly always called men to lead & be the front-line people for His work . . . but I have a personal belief that has more to do with violent times and the fact that in most of the past, women have been overwhelmed with childbearing and childcare.  That's not always true anymore. We have the blessing of being able to spiritually & prayerfully determine our family size, and our times aren't as violent or physically dangerous for spiritual leaders.)

Prayer: Yahweh, I thank you so, so much for the promise of the rich comfort of Your Spirit in generous abundance.  I praise You that You not only extend these prophecies and blessings to nations and groups of people, but on an individual scale . . . that I can lay hold of these promises at any time in my life as I yield to Your Spirit and Your Will.  I glorify Your Name and feel Your Love through the miracle of Your Grace, and do so in Jesus' name! Amen.