The other day I was talking to a friend who was sharing about the home group her pastor had started for the people in his neighbourhood. He had reached out to his neighbours knowing full well that some would never darken the threshold of a church, but were comfortable enough to listen to him share the truth of God’s Word in a home environment. After one of the evenings, where the pastor had shared about the Person of Jesus and His kingdom way of life, one neighbour approached him. With such sadness weighing down on his heart he looked the pastor in the eyes and said, “I want to believe in a good and loving God, I really do, but with all I have seen in this world, I just can’t.” Do you know that is the most common response to the Gospel that people in the world present to the church? The darkness and evil the devil has lorded over this world has so dominated, influenced and blinded the hearts of the unbelievers to the truth of Who God really is. He has deceived them into being ignorant of God’s power and ability; even His willingness to redeem them, set them free, heal them of their physical, emotional and mental pain, and then fill them with Himself, empowering them to overcome and fill this earth with His glory.
The greatest problem the church is facing today is not the overwhelming evil, because Jesus has already given us the authority over it. No, our greatest threat is our ignorance concerning the power of God that is in us and available to us to effectively and supernaturally win the lost to Jesus. That power is also here to activate, encourage, build up and empower the church to raise a mighty standard against the enemy and usher in the greatest influx of souls into the kingdom of God this world has ever seen. The tragedy is our apathy and reluctance to know and experience the Person of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Can you even imagine what this world would look like if we all chose to yield to the Holy Spirit and make it our priority to remain in tune with His leading in our individual lives? Imagine the church working as a body, perfectly in sync with the Spirit of God, to get the job done, while the devil unleashes all He has on the earth… All the evil he has is no match to the power of God in full display and operation in the church!
Well, when we see how divided the church is, it seems like a hopeless task doesn’t it? But, when we look through history, any life surrendered to the Lord, is a powerful tool for the miraculous! Gideon’s small group of men was a match for the armies that outrageously outnumbered them, but God miraculously gave them an overwhelming victory! The fortified walls of Jericho collapsed without one battering ram; Queen Esther and Abigail turned the hearts of kings to save countless, innocent lives. The Prophet Elijah heard the deepest military secrets of the enemy and singlehandedly marched them into the Israelite king’s hands. In the New Testament, people were healed and delivered when Peter’s shadow fell on them as he walked through the streets. Hundreds of people were added to the church daily as believers operated under the power and unction of the Holy Spirit. Today there are countless testimonies of missionaries in China and lands forbidden to preach the Gospel, where the miraculous, supernatural hand of God moves mightily on their behalf and in their midst.
All it takes is one person to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and obedient to His voice to see the supernatural power of God impact lives and change atmospheres all around the world. If you and I do our part, there is no limit to what the Lord can do in and through us. So where do we begin? 1 Corinthians 12 has three powerful words that have really impacted my life recently. They are: “don’t be ignorant”. Obviously Paul was teaching the church of Corinth about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And quite frankly, he’s teaching us too isn’t he! Operating in partnership with the Holy Spirit is exactly what we are meant to do. If we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit and remain fine-tuned to hear and obey His promptings and leading, the powerful gifts will flow more readily in our lives. No matter what gift seems more dominant at a particular time, the other gifts are operating alongside it, supporting and complementing it. All the while we are developing sensitivity to the flow of the Holy Spirit in all the gifts, simultaneously. What a marvellous and exciting privilege for every believer to enjoy!
We can live every day expecting the miraculous!
These spiritual gifts are not only to strengthen and encourage the church; they are powerful tools to win the lost to Christ too. We have been briefly exploring these gifts. In fact, we’ve touched on what we call the three revelation gifts: the gift of a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, and the discerning of spirits. Then we started speaking about the power gifts, being the gift of faith; and today, we are going to speak about the gift of working of miracles!
Now, when it comes to God’s perspective on life, the miraculous is not unusual at all. It’s actually an everyday occurrence when we open our eyes to what He is doing in the earth today. Pastor Neal Reyes describes this gift as the supernatural power of God operating in a way that goes beyond our natural laws. For instance, in 2 Kings, Isaiah told King Hezekiah that the shadow of the sun would go back ten steps as a sign that God would heal him. In Joshua 10, we are told that Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still until the Israelites won their battle, which lasted almost an entire day. In both these instances the law of nature was interrupted and violated by the supernatural. It was miraculous. Moses parting the Red Sea and Elijah parting the Jordan River were again miraculous demonstrations that defied the laws of nature. In the early church, the Bible says in Acts 8:4-8 that when Phillip preached, the people were in one accord and heard and saw miracles that left them full of joy. In Acts 19:11-12, we hear that God performed unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.
Miracles are the supernatural intervention of God in the impossible circumstances of man. Apostle Maldonado made a statement that without the working of miracles, Christianity is just another religion; we have nothing of real significance to offer people; no power to break them out of the bondage of the enemy. It’s miracles, signs and wonders that separate us from all other religions.
How do we flow in this powerful gift? To begin with, Apostle Maldonado speaks about us cultivating a constant expectation for the supernatural. Understanding – and this is so important – that miracles are a mark of the love of God; an visible and tangible extension of His love for people.
Now take note of this statement: “To say ‘we don’t need miracles today’ is a sign of a lukewarm Christianity that has no desire for the tangible manifestation of God’s power and love.” That’s because miracles are God’s sign language. A miracle happens when God dominates the atmosphere with His tangible power and love.
In Mark 16:15-20, we are told that miracles, signs and wonders followed the preaching of the Word. The full gospel is preached when signs, wonders, and miracles confirm what has been preached. They give the Word tangible substance for unbelievers and believers to grasp and believe the Word of Truth.
Apostle Maldonado explains how miracles can happen sovereignly, or by the working of our faith. When they happen sovereignly, it’s without the touch of man (where someone lays hands on someone to receive a miracle). God just does it as the individual opens his heart in faith to receive. However, the working of miracles involves exercising our faith. For example – and I have seen this with my own eyes – when someone comes forward for a specific miracle, like standing up out of a wheelchair and being able to walk unassisted after being unable to do so before. In many instances, that person will exercise their faith and begin to do something they were not able to do before. In other words, they will begin to stand up, then they begin to take one step, and then another, and keep working that miracle until they are running full strides around the auditorium, or up and down the length of the room. Sometimes it doesn’t happen the first time.
Apostle Maldonado said he once prayed for a woman who put her faith out with his and attempted three times to leave her wheelchair before she stood up and began to walk unassisted. I’ve seen people who I know couldn’t move their arms above a certain height because of an accident or injury; as they put their faith out, they would keep moving their arms higher and higher until they could swing them around, up and down, with ease! I’ve seen people who have had back injuries and couldn’t bend down, begin to exercise their faith after being prayed for, and they would begin little by little doing what they couldn’t do before until they were stretching down with ease – even touching their toes! Oh my, I have cried and laughed and rejoiced with so many people who have experienced the working of miracles in their lives and experienced the overwhelming love of God in such a tangible way. What a wonderful, glorious way to experience the touch of God like this!
As we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit and cultivate an outrageous expectation to have Him work in and through our lives in this gift, I have no doubt that is exactly what we will experience. One key way to do this is to frequently expose ourselves to the atmosphere of the supernatural. There are churches that operate in the supernatural manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit all over the world.
Now remember, you have the Spirit of God living inside you, so you will immediately discern if it’s the Spirit of God at work in those services or not. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a church that worships the Lord Jesus Christ, preaches His Word and operates in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating signs, wonders and miracles. Then, as you constantly expose yourself to that atmosphere that is charged with faith, you will find those gifts begging to develop and flow in and through you too.
Until next week, begin to develop an expectation for the miraculous in your life!
All my love,