Why does it seem like there are more miracles in third world countries?

In China, where the Church is experiencing phenomenal growth, miraculous claims are commonplace. Edmond Tang, a researcher in Asian Christianity at Birmingham University says, ‘According to some surveys, 90% of new believers cite healing as a reason for their conversion.’

Heidi Baker, with her husband Rolland, has spent many years as a missionary in the bush land of Mozambique, South East Africa. Heidi (Mama Aida to hundreds of her beloved children) not only delivers aid and education through the charity Iris Global, she also claims to see miraculous events on an almost daily basis.

Do we in the west limit God with our lack of expectant belief?

Psalm 78:40-41   How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Hebrews 11:6   And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Mark 6:4-6  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Another reason may be our motivation. There are a lot of reasons that we ask God for miracles. But, do we pray for miracles primarily so that the Father may be glorified through the Son?

John 14:12-14   Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

 

Battling the Blues?

For the Christian, praise and worship can be one of the most effective ways of battling depression, loneliness, disappointment, etc on a daily basis.

Here’s how it works:

As a Christian believer we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us because of our faith in Christ Jesus. When we choose to take the time to praise and worship God, we connect our souls with hope eternal. When we deliberately choose to praise God, especially with thankfulness, we create a healthy relational bonding between our soul and the Spirit of God within us. In doing so, we are able to connect with and partake of the peace and joy that are continuously emanating from the Spirit of God.

Admittedly, praise and worship can be difficult to initiate when we are unhappy. It seems like it is sometimes, truly, a “sacrifice of praise” to even begin to praise and worship the Lord. One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to think about anything that you can be grateful for and begin to give thankful praise about that.

But remember; it’s not really about “feeling” like it, anyway. It’s about focusing on truths about God, about your salvation, about your eternal future and about all that God has been, is, and will be to you, forever and ever. This diminishes our focus on the temporary effects of this world and re-connects our thoughts and emotions to the unchanging hope, love and peace that originate only from God.

Phillipians 4 : 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Purpose”

This word is coming to me by the Spirit repeatedly this week. We are beings that were created to live with purpose. Without purpose we become sluggish and our lives seem aimless.

It is important to understand that our purpose is not our own. It belongs entirely to God and can only be revealed through a lifetime of relationship with Him.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Our life’s purpose is like a rolled up map that is very slowly unfurling on a tabletop before us. We gradually see more and more of the map until at last we go to be with the Lord who then reveals the entire map to us.

1 Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Meanwhile we are required to trust Him with many of the particulars of our life’s purpose. Though we cannot in this life, grasp the entirety of God’s purpose for us; according to His word we can be assured that no matter how bad things may appear to be, in every area of our lives, God has a purposeful plan that is working for our good.

Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

And if we are submitted to God’s will, our purpose is one with God and it is impossible for our purpose to be overcome by evil.

Job 42:2  “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

And finally, we can look to the psalms to understand the deep intimacy of God’s love regarding His plans for us.

Psalm 139:13-16  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

The bottom line: People believe what they want to believe.

Watching even a small amount of the national political conventions on television recently has served to remind me that some people’s minds will never be changed.  The reason their mind will never be changed is because they will not allow their heart to be changed.

These same people may express belief in great moral truths and even be living relatively moral lives. They may testify to heartfelt concern and empathy for others. But neither morality nor empathy are the same as holiness. A moral person may hate sin while also hating grace just as much as sin, because grace reveals that they will never be justified before God based on their own works or merit.

Therefore, they cannot receive the redemptive grace of God which transforms the heart and mind. Instead, they will always believe whatever lines up best with their self-sanctifying delusions. Such are the politics of humanism.

Why can’t they just be themselves?

Why do so many Christians who become popular change their way of speaking to mimic other popular Christians? Why can’t they just be themselves?

They begin to use drawn-out accentuation – God becomes Gawd. And all the ends of their sentences have an extended, over-accentuated flourish. Is this supposed to represent that they have a special anointing from God? Personally, I am immediately wary of any representative of the Lord who is using heavy verbal showmanship in the presentation of his message. I feel as though they are trying to both impress me and manipulate me to believe that they are Holy Spirit-anointed and appointed men and women of God.

I believe that this is frequently an indication of a religious spirit infiltrating christian ministry. What may have begun with all humility and sincerity is slowly replaced by religious performance and theatrical display. The Holy Spirit may very well be moving powerfully through them; even doing miracles. But, I also believe, that in many cases they have chosen to believe that they must place a garment of performance over the cloak of their Holy Spirit anointing in order to be perceived as “anointed” by the people. This is a prideful religious delusion that is more about man’s acceptance than God’s approval.

Matthew 23:5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long…

 

 

 

The Divine Transcendence

Far beyond the lofty heights of the soaring eagle,
beyond earth and sky and unfathomable space,
veiled from the eyes of mortal men by clouds of impenetrable mystery,
Here is the dwelling place
of the Most High and Exalted One.

He is beyond the din of the day
the shroud of the night, the winding of the seasons.
His boundaries are inscrutable,
the sum of His ways, incomprehensible.

He is not measured within the confines
of creaturely definition.
His measure is infinitude.
His dimensions are goodness, mercy and love.

He is quantity without capacity,
for capacity implies a limit.
His limitlessness,
the garment of His divine transcendence.

All power to be, is the power of He
who is omnipotent.
Life, love, and every energy
is formed through the conduit of His Sovereignty.

He has no helpmate,
For He is sufficient within Himself.
Yet from within Himself,
He spoke His present company into creation.

The bull does not charge, the heron does not fish,
but that He has decreed it.
His commands order the establishment
of cause and effect.

His self-existence insures
the perpetuation of our own eternity.
That He changes not,
grants us hope to endure the ravages of time.

The High and Exalted One, who is above all else,
reduces time and space to a habitation for His omnipresence.
…the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?”