The Miracle of Courageous Trust in God

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Awhile back, I was at a public pool and an amazing scene of courage played out right before me. It was a group of elementary school age boys, all gathered around the steps to the high dive. They were all excited, but apprehensive to take the stairs and face the dare and dread of jumping off the high dive. The first to go seemed to have confidence of one much older than himself and swaggered up the steps as looked and waved to a group of girls all sitting on the pool deck with their feet playfully dangling in the water. They were all smiling and exchanging glances with one particular girl in their little group. The brave boy reached the top, looked down at his mates, and with a nod to the girls took a bounce, launching himself into the air forming a perfect cannon ball tuck and made a huge splash to the delight of the girls. The next few guys took their turn, some trying to match the leader, some a bit more cautious, but all enjoying the thrill of the daring feat. One last boy was left. He was the most cautious. You could see in his face that he was fighting back fear. The leader of this band of brothers noticed the last boy’s apprehension, and leaving the group of girls that he had been talking with, went over to the last jumper. I am not sure what he said to him, but the hesitant boy looked more confident, almost every step the two made eye contact. Up on top of the diving board, the tentative boy did not look around but kept his eye on that other boy now walking away from the diving board so the one up top could see him. With an exchange of a smile and nod the boy took one last look and jumped!

 

I was impressed, not only with the last boy’s courage, but with whatever that other boy said to him that gave the other the courage to go on. It made me think about how much in life we feel like that kid at the bottom of the high dive. We don’t feel ________ enough. I’m sure, at one point in your life, you have put different things in that blank: I’m not talented enough, I’m not old/young enough, I’m not good/pure enough, I’m not confident enough, I’m not experienced enough, I’m not skilled enough. What’s in that blank today? Sure that little kid did not have the experience to be like the first guy, but the miracle of courage allowed him to enjoy the thrill of it all.

 

There are a number of biblical characters that seemed like that little boy at first. One was Moses. In Exodus 3:1-22 God called Moses to go to Egypt where he was banished as a murderer. God told Moses to tell the Pharaoh to let their slaves, Israel, go (not a real popular ask!). Moses is apprehensive:

Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Moses lacked the courage, but was clear that God would come along side him and would be with him (see Exodus 3:12). Moses chose courageous trust in God, stepped up to the challenge, and a nation was forever changed.

 

Joshua of the Bible also took a huge step of courage following in Moses’ footsteps to lead Israel. God challenged Joshua to step up in courage.

Joshua 1:6-7 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

The challenge to step up with courageous trust in God continues:

1 Chronicles 28:20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Psalms 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

 

I am not sure what you are feeling “not enough” in, but listen to the truth of God that He is with you. Place your trust in Him and see the miracle of courage take you to new and exciting adventures. Sure, they will be scary, but God has His eyes on you.

 

Church is a great place to gain confidence in God. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We are continuing our teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of God’s miracles.

 

Seeking to have courageous trust in God together with you,

 

Mike

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The Miracle of a Life Well Lived

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

 

This week we have the honor and privilege to celebrate the extraordinary, miraculous, yet ordinary life of Ioan (pronounced E-wan) Dambeanu. Ioan was a Romanian refugee to the United States, escaping the then communist régime of Nicolae Ceausescu. Ioan told me he had a price on his head and actually escaped death a number of times. Through God’s amazing grace he was able to relocate to Southern California and lived on seeking to be all that God created him to be. See, Ioan had come to a faith in God many years ago and sought in all he did to be a faithful servant of the Lord.

 

I met Ioan as our church custodian and maintenance man. He was incredible. There was nothing he could not or would not do, from painting, to carpet cleaning, to fixing holes in the wall made by rambunctious students. He actually loved fixing those accidental holes because he was glad those students were coming to church! He lived by that old Proverb:

Proverbs 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

In other words, if you have a thriving student ministry or active church, the church facilities are going to need to be cleaned and a busy church is a good thing! Ioan loved his job and not only kept the place reflecting the beauty of the Lord, but also donated his time to build tables, kneeling benches, and our simple but useful podiums. If we needed it, he would try to make it. He was amazing at woodworking.

 

There are so many stories I could tell where his kind words encouraged me, or his passion for God inspired me, or his humble spirit was an example to me, or his consistent hard work motivated me, or his dedication to please God moved me. I could fill pages of the stories of this miraculous, well-lived life, a life of faithfulness. Ioan’s faithful life was not handed to him or even part of his DNA. Ioan lived a miraculous life because he chose to live life God’s way.

 

Ioan chose not a self-centered life, but a God-centered life. He chose to put his faith in Jesus Christ and did the best he could to know Him and follow Him.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

It was an everyday choice to put Jesus at the center of his life, to hold Him as Coach, Leader, Boss, and Lord. It was also a choice to align his life to Jesus’ way, not his own. He discovered this by reading his Bible and seeking do what Jesus did.

 

Ioan’s choice to be faithful was also a choice to actively love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, that we are to love God and love our neighbors. This teaching was taken from the Old Testament Bible book of Deuteronomy 6:5-6. The ‘love’ talked about in both these passages is an active love. It is not just saying ‘I love you’ but to show that love in honor, respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, care, doing our best, striving for excellence, obedience, diligence, perseverance, and more. Ioan loved actively.

 

Ioan also expressed his faithfulness to Christ by the choice of humility.

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

No task was beneath Ioan. He humbly served. The word humble in these two Bible verses means ‘to place ourselves under’. Ioan saw himself, yes, under Christ, but also humbled himself under those in authority and truly saw that his sin, like all our sin, makes us no better than anyone else. Ioan used to call himself ‘Bad Boy’, and I never liked that name because it can describe someone who is defiant, with an edgy pride on doing what every we please. Yet, for Ioan, ‘Bad Boy’ was a reminder of his humble, sinful state where because of his sin, he deserved NOTHING and was NO BETTER than anyone.

 

Oh, I could go on…Ioan’s choice to be a faithful servant was also a choice for joy, a choice to focus on God’s goodness over what he did not have, a choice to persevere and not give up. The point is…he chose. So the question comes to us: What choices are we making in life? Will we make the choices that when our time comes, when there is a memorial service for us, it will be said: ‘A miracle life well lived’?

Ioan loved church, for that is where he not only served God, but grew in faith. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We are continuing our teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of God’s miracles.

 

Seeking to follow Ioan as he followed Jesus,

Mike

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God’s Miracles in Medicine and Science

Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

 

This past week I had a medical procedure done on my eye to see if I have certain eye problem. I have been fighting issues with my eyes and the doctors are not sure what is the cause of my problems. As I was in the eye doctor’s office, I was amazed at all the incredible and specialized equipment around me. There were special scopes to see into my eye and an instrument that tested my eye pressure. How did people think up and manufacture all this stuff?!? Before that, I was given a few drops to numb my eye. How amazing is that?!? How did they discover that, and wow, what a blessing for me. The procedure I had was to scrape my eye to get enough tissue for a biopsy. Ouch! It did not hurt initially. The amazing doctor put some miracle drops in my eye that completely numbed it to where I did not feel (but I did see) the scalpel removing tissue from my eye. Sure, it started to hurt as the numbing wore off. But then some other miracle meds were available, and the pain has been tolerable. Through all this, I have been amazed at our miraculous God, who holds all wisdom and knowledge and moves people to discover medical and scientific wonders.

 

God miraculously gives people wisdom and understanding to develop the medicines and the scientific know-how to build the medical machinery we have today, and will continue to give insight and tenacity for medical breakthroughs in the future.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!

‘Unsearchable’ meaning we will never exhaust the depths of all that God knows, yet He continues to miraculously inspire people to learn and use that knowledge to help people.

Romans 11:36 For from Him (God) and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.

 

Just after Daniel, the man of God, miraculously revealed to king Nebuchadnezzar his dream and it’s interpretation (see Daniel 2:1-49), Daniel said this about God…

Daniel 2:20-22 Daniel answered and said “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.

God does stuff like that. God moved Dr. Alexander Fleming in 1928 to invent the first antibiotic. God moved Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895 to accidently invent the x-ray. Every year, more and more, God is inspiring brilliant minds to find even more medical breakthroughs. All by the working of our All-knowing God…

Isaiah 40:13-14 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows Him His counsel? Whom did He consult, and who made Him understand? Who taught Him the path of justice, and taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

Psalms 147:5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.

 

God is amazing and miraculously gives knowledge and understanding so we all can be blessed. I know I would not be here if it were not for God’s miracle of medicine and science. Sure, I wish I never had to face a medical procedure, but that’s not reality. We live in a fallen world where sickness, disease, and medical problems happen. But praise God, He has raised up and inspired people to make medial breakthroughs and be doctors, nurses, and medical workers. I am very thankful for God’s miracles in medicine and science.

 

Church is a great place to grow in our own understanding of our miraculous God. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We are continuing our teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of God’s miracles.

 

In awe of our miraculous God,

 

Mike

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God’s Miraculous Protection and Provision

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

I was in elementary school up in Alaska. We lived in Fairbanks up in the university faculty housing (my dad taught mechanical engineering and thermodynamics). It was winter and the snow was at a light, but steady, fall. It had been a week of very low temperatures, on and off around 50 below zero, cold enough to have to stay indoors and at 50 below they closed the schools for the day, but now it was a balmy 10-20 below zero. Needless to say, I was a little stir crazy, and my mom was ready for me to have some outside time. So I borrowed a sled from my friend and went to sled down the neighborhood hill. The hill was a fun, slightly steep grade with just a few trees to avoid, and the grade leveled off to a mostly flat field. However, over to the far right, the flat field curved down into a natural run off area then sloped into the forest. It was well known that once you cleared the trees, to steer to the right so you did not get taken down into the forests and have to hike back from all the way down there, unless you wanted the adventure! So there I was at the very top of the slope so I would get maximum speed, being the fresh snow tends to slow you down. My borrowed sled was not one of those with metal runners, nor did I have the traditional toboggan. My sled was small and boat shaped where you gripped the upper sides and leaned to maneuver your direction. I set the point of the sled between the trees, took a running start, jumped in and propelled the sled down the grade. I was flying! Going a lot faster than I had imagined and being the sled was so light, it was a bit squirrelly. I leaned hard to the right to keep away from the trees. And that’s all I remember.

 

I woke up briefly while lying in the sled mostly covered in snow. It was also getting dark and I was being pulled home by a couple of cross-country skiers. I was taken to the hospital where they sewed up a section of my left ear that had been torn away from my head! I still had no idea what had happened. My guess is I could not steer the sled enough to totally miss the trees. I must have grazed it with my left side, whacking my head hard enough to partially rip my ear from my head. So here is where God’s provision and protection came in. First, my mom had made sure my parka was tight around my head and most of my face so I would not get frostbite. That tight hood saved my ear from getting torn off completely. Next, I must have been knocked out and fallen into the boat-sled and the natural grade had taken me down into the forest where it would be tough to see from the street or even if walking along the flat field. It was also snowing and I must have been nearly buried. By God’s miraculous provision and protection, two cross-country skiers felt compelled to telemark down the slope and head left to go up a back trail. They just happened to spot the fur of my parka sticking out of the snow. My winter school bus tag (with my name on it) ‘just happened’ to be connected to the zipper of my jacket and they knew where Professor McKay lived. God miraculously provided rescue and protection for what would have been certain tragedy.

 

God does stuff like that. He provides help just in time and protects many times when we don’t even know it.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Psalms 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

 

But the reality is, accidents happen, so do tragedies. Sometimes people do mean and bad things, or you have cancer, or another medical condition. The world is an uneasy place. Jesus said in John 16:33 that “in this world you will face tribulation.” Yet God is right there, miraculously providing protection and provision.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Psalms 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You (God) preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me.

 Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.

I know God protected me and provided for me. Sure, my ear still hurts every now and then, but it is a reminder of God’s miraculous protection and provision, and I actually have joy in the pain. God really does provide and protect, so lean into Him, trust in Him. This path of trust opens wide the opportunities of God’s miraculous protection and provision.

 

Church is a great place to grow in trust of God. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We are continuing our teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of miracles. It might be of great encouragement to you.

 

Seeking to trust more in God’s miraculous protection and provision along with you,

 

Mike

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Be Someone’s Miracle

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

 

When my wife and I were first married, we were struggling students. I was going to college, working at a pool supply store, and interning at our church. The pay was not great and medical insurance for the likes of us was not even an option. Kristi had finished her student teaching and had just started teaching in a private school that did not offer much in the way of benefits. Well, Kristi had to have a root canal so we sought out a dentist we knew from our church, knowing we would be paying off this debt for along time. The procedure was completed and when we went to pay, the receptionist said, “Ok you are all set, have a nice day.” Kristi, a little numb in the face said, “Yes, but what do we owe?” The lady looked back and with a warm smile again said, “You are all set!” Kristi maybe not thinking clearly from all that time in the dentist chair, said, ‘No, we have to pay for the root canal!” The receptionist leaned over the counter, getting close to Kristi so no one else could hear and said, “ Someone has paid your bill.” She held up the bill and it was stamped ‘PAID.’ “See,” she said. Kristi and I were blown away! Who would do such a thing? How did they know we couldn’t really afford this? We went to our car and with tears of joy and thankfulness we praised God for sending someone to be a miracle for us.

 

See God works His miraculous hand many times by encouraging others to be someone’s miracle. We are instructed to do good…

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age (rich meaning not in poverty), charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

In the ‘good work’ of being someone’s miracle, we encourage people’s faith.

Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Kristi and I were encouraged because it was clear God orchestrated the blessing. God miraculously does things like that. Maybe even some of you have been nudged by God to send a note of encouragement, call a friend, go talk to someone, give a gift, or anonymously give help to someone or pay someone else’s bill. You are part of someone’s miracle!

 

Now sure, some people are more inclined to be creative in helping others, but all of us can follow Scripture and seek to be that encouragement in another’s time of need.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

 

How fun that would be to be part of God’s miracle in someone else’s life. Maybe that could be you! Maybe even today! Who is someone that you know who needs a miracle? How could you be part of that miracle? It could be God is stirring in you right now and wants you to be someone’s miracle.

 

We have an idea who paid our dentist bill, and I know they were blessed because they followed God’s lead. What about you?

 

Church is a great place to learn of needs and be a part of God’s miracles. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We are in the midst of our new teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of miracles. It might be just what you are looking for.

 

Seeking to be part of God’s miracle among others along with you,

 

Mike

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When Miracles Don’t Happen

We love stories of miracles. Those miraculous events, brought about by the power of God where His power is revealed, where, at times, the occurrence makes no scientific or human sense, and where the normal order of things is temporarily interrupted. It’s miraculous, and we love those stories. Like the Bible story of Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-27) where this valiant warrior is healed of leprosy by the famous prophet of God, Elisha. We also love the humbling twist as proud Naaman almost misses the miracle of healing because he expected the miracle to be done in a certain way, with actions that equaled his desires. Naaman’s unmet expectations seem almost foolish for as heroic as Naaman was, who was he to tell Almighty God how this miracle should happen, let alone feeling entitled, expecting God to do what he asked. Nonetheless, we love the miracles recorded in the Bible and are intrigued by them.

 

We are also captivated by stories of God’s miraculous action in present day. Like when we hear of someone who was struggling with a difficult medical condition and either immediately or over time they are healed. Now, sure, the more immediate the better, because not only were many of Jesus’ miracles immediate (here is a list of a few: John 2:1-11, 4:43-54, 5:1-15, 6:1-15, Mark 1:21-34, Luke 5:1-26, 6:6-11, 7:1-17, 8:22-25) but, well, though we don’t want to be presumptuous like Naaman, it feels more miraculous if it happens immediately or at least within our time frame.

 

So, what happens when God does not do the miraculous, when God chooses not to answer our heartfelt earnest prayers, even our desperate prayers? I know many people who have struggled greatly with faith because of unanswered miracles. They stretched out and placed their hope in God and He did not grant their desperate desire. Their disappointment and disenchantment with God due to the lack of miracle brought about a choice to walk away from belief in God. Some even turned vindictive or indifferent towards God, thinking either there must not be a God or if He does exist, He must not share the same value, so why be connected to Him? The truth is God does not always miraculously heal, help, fix a desperate situation, provide the needed funds, mend a relationship, or stop death. I know I have been greatly disappointed when God chose not to miraculously act. Even more disheartening was I know He was capable of doing the miracle, and it seemed to me to make great sense for Him to act in the way I desired, besides, that action was even in line with biblical truths. Yet, He did not act as I had hoped and yes, that is a bit discouraging.

 

There are no easy answers when we are disappointed when miracles don’t happen. There should be much discussion as we process through the emotions around desired and desperate miracles that don’t happen. If that is where you are, please seek out help and connect with a qualified counselor, or a wise and godly pastor. I know in my struggles when miracles have not happened, it really helps to talk it though with godly, wise people. I have also found great comfort as I have thought through some solid truths of God from the Bible.

 

One foundational truth to dwell on when miracles don’t happen is that God has a deep love for us.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Psalms 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and

faithfulness.

God’s ‘steadfast love’ is His loyal love, His favor-giving love, His faithful-without-condition love, His kind and good love. It is an active love that God has chosen to bestow on us. So regardless of what happens in this world and irrespective of requests for the miraculous, His love is constant! We may not always understand this kind of pure love, but it is sure, real, and deeper than we can imagine.

When miracles don’t happen it helps to remember God is sovereign and He has plans greater than our understanding.

Psalms 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It also helps when miracles don’t happen to remember that God is eternal (He always has been) and He sees our whole story, and yes, He has good plans for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It does come down to trust and belief. I know for me, I have chosen to place my trust in a miraculous God, and who am I that I know better than God? Sure sometimes that trust is difficult and requires humility. Yet, for me, there has been miraculous peace and a settling deep down in my soul, even when what I hoped for did not happen. It comes down to trust. Will you trust in a miraculous God, who does His will in His time?

 

Church can be a place of help when miracles don’t happen as hoped. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. You also might enjoy our new teaching series called “Living Proof”, a biblical study of miracles. We would love to connect with you.

 

Trusting God even when miracles don’t happen along with you,

Mike

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The Beautiful Mess of Miracles

When you think of miracles, what comes to mind? When some think of miracles they think of an extraordinary shot in basketball, a superior feat in athletics, an incredible win in sports, an amazing rescue, a near miss in an accident, an unscathed escape from a tragedy, a unexplained healing, or a radical life change. The source or generation of these miraculous occurrences can be messy. Some define these incidences as rare, yet naturally and scientifically explainable, others look at miracles as divine intervention. Have you ever experienced a miracle?

 

The reality is there are more and more happenings that are extraordinary, amazing, phenomenal, astonishing, and even inexplicable. The beauty of these miracles is more and more people are seeing the power and love of our miraculous God. They are seeing miracles as they study the Bible being the Bible is packed full of divine interventions. As well, many people believe they have experienced modern day miracles, though some doubt that miracles happen today. Regardless, whether a miracle is heard of, witnessed, or experienced, the happening brings a beautiful, great hope in an all-powerful, loving God.

 

I know my wife and I have experienced a few miracles over the years. One was when we were on a trip to a missionary school in Africa. I was invited as a guest Bible teacher for a week of inspirational meetings for the junior and senior high school students. Prior to the meetings, we had the joy of joining the students on a trip to show the “Jesus” film to some remote villages. As hundreds of people gathered from numerous villages, the event began. However, some of us noticed an oncoming rainstorm rolling towards the open plain of the event. This rain was not a little sprinkle, but I was informed that rain in this part of Africa is a deluge that results in flash floods and can even pummel you to the ground! The organizing missionary of the event asked us to pray. Many of the students stood facing the oncoming rain and prayed. The rain kept coming. We kept praying. The rain could now be heard and the wind that preceeded it began to be felt. The people enjoying the film were getting antsy. They were encouraged to enjoy the film. The rain kept coming, but something miraculous happened. The rain actually parted and went around the plain where the film was being shown. I could, and did, actually stand on the dry ground with no rain hitting my body, yet could stick my arm out into the rain as if I was inside a building and checking rain outside! Was it just a freak of nature or a miracle of God? I believe it was a miracle of God!!!

 

Lee Strobel, in his new book “The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural” Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018, agrees with the definition of miracles from Richard L. Purtill, professor emeritus of philosophy at Western Washington University, where a miracle is “an event brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history” (page 27). Strobel’s book walks through the skepticisms of miracles, the biblical reality of the miraculous, and miracles today, leaving the verdict up to the readers. The truth is this whole area of miracles is a bit messy, but there is a beauty in that they can point us to an all-powerful, loving God.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

Job 5:8-9 As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.

See God is amazing, the Creator of all existence. He is the one who set up the natural laws and orders of all the systems like gravity, entropy, cause and effect, life and death, sound, time, and such.

Colossians 1:16-17 For by Him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

The Lord is the One who is over all creation and has the power to interrupt these systems to accomplish His purposes. He can cause an immaculate conception Luke 1:26-38 or a resurrection John 20:1-29. Yes, there is a beautiful mess around miracles. Beautiful in that they point to a miraculous, Almighty God that has intense love for each of us, messy in that they stretch our mind and challenge our typical way of thinking. Why not do a bit of investigative research of your own and read up on some of the miracles of the Bible like these: 1 Kings 17:1-24, 2 Kings 5:1-27, Daniel 3:1-30, John 9:1-38, John 11:1-44. There are way more, so pick up a Bible and read on! It will give you hope.

 

Church is a great place to learn more of miracles of God. Actually, at Cypress Church and at our Los Al Branch we have just started a new Bible study on miracles called Living Proof. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We would love for you to join with us in this study.

 

Enjoying the beauty of the mess of miracles along with you,

 

Mike

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