YOUNG EARTH AND DISTANT STARLIGHT (PART 1)

Creation Week entailed a series of miracles.

Throughout the account in Genesis 1, the Bible says that God spoke things into existence—eight times, “And God said … ”. And after He spoke, it is often concluded with, “and it was so”. The New Testament tells us,

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

The word of God brought the universe into existence from something that is not visible, something, unlike ordinary visible/tangible matter and energy. This is consistent with the scientific conclusion that the matter and energy that comprise the universe cannot be eternal. Thus, the cause of the universe must be supernatural.

And so the Bible describes the Word of God as powerful:

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

The New Testament tells us that this agency of God, the Word by which He created everything, was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1–3)

Genesis 2 tells us that God made the first man and woman. He took dust and made the man, Adam (Genesis 2:7), and took his rib and fashioned the woman, Eve, the mother of all.

I have never had anyone demand that I explain to them how God made a man from dust. And yet there is this demand that we explain how God could have created the stars such that we can see the light from distant stars.

Distant star cluster

The Genesis account makes it clear that the creation of the heavenly bodies was just as miraculous as the creation of the first people:

And God said, “Let there be lights … And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.” (Genesis 1:14–16).

Was this any less a miracle than the creation of the man from dust? And yet there is a demand for a naturalistic explanation for how God did this! This seems to me to be quite inconsistent and unreasonable to demand such a thing as a condition of believing the Bible’s account, especially the timeframe.

It’s also interesting that the timeframe of six days with the seventh day of rest—the basis of our 7-day week (Exodus 20:11)—underlines the miraculous nature of God’s actions. And that is part of the problem for those who don’t or won’t believe the timeframe, such as theistic evolutionists and long-age creationists. When they refuse to believe the timeframe, they then tend to think of ‘creation’ in a naturalistic way, over billions of years. And then secular ideas of how things came to be take precedence over the Bible’s clear account. Thus the miraculous nature of Creation Week takes a back seat and so we have this demand for a naturalistic explanation for how we can see distant starlight.

The bottom line: Creation Week involved a series of miracles, one after the other. Thus, these are things for which we can provide no natural explanation. We do not know how God could speak the stars into existence, and thus we cannot know how He created things in such a way that we can see the light from celestial objects millions and billions of light-years distant.

In other words, the question tacitly denies the supernatural nature of the Creation Week events. In doing so it robs God of His omnipotence and limits Him to work only in ways that we can understand. This results in a very diminished view of God. In effect, those who do this are constructing a god compatible with their own limited understanding, which is a form of idolatry.

Go to http://www.creation.com for the entire article.

MIRACLES TODAY

Craig Keener’s new book: Miracles Today: The supernatural work of God in the modern world. is not about miracles that took place in the first century (see his outstanding two-volume tome Miracles for that); this book is about miracles that occur today.

Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021

Keener is not one to throw ideas against walls to see if they’ll stick. Keener is one of the best-known scholars of the Bible and early Christianity in the world today. He is careful with his research and documents everything. The point of the book, as the back-cover states, is to demonstrate via examples “that miraculous works of God, which have been part of the experience of the church around the world since Christianity began, continue into the present.”

This stated goal is admirably accomplished by Dr. Keener. He commences the book by addressing a few preliminary questions. What is a miracle, anyway? Why do some people assume that miracles don’t happen? Do many people witness miracles? Do only Christians report Christian healings?

He then launches into the main portion of the book in which he briefly relates the details of hundreds of well-attested miracles, but especially healings. This middle section comprises about 75% of the book proper. At the end of the book, Keener addresses a few more key questions people often wonder about miracles. Why don’t we see more miracles in the West? What is the role of faith? What about when healing is temporary? What does the Bible say about non-healing?

Let us not be tardy in praying for the sick but be on time in step with the Holy Spirit.

I appreciate Keener’s candid honesty in acknowledging that most blind people who have received prayer are still blind, and most dead people prayed for are still dead (pp. 137, 202). He comments, “What we call miracles are still the exception rather than the rule,” (p. 221). But his main point is that whether you or I have personally witnessed a dramatic miracle or not, many significant and verifiable miracles have occurred and still occur in answer to the prayers of God’s people all around the globe.

One other thing I appreciate about this book is Keener’s acknowledgment that more dramatic miracles occur more frequently on the frontlines of Christian evangelism than they do where the church is well-established (pp. 31, 33 135, 183, 201, 203). He still affirms, however, that such dramatic miracles sometimes happen in the West, too (pp. 151, 203).

Practically, this book reminded me to stay expectant when I pray. In any way He chooses, and at any time He chooses, God may do something momentous to display His glory and help those who witness His mighty acts of mercy to trust Him more fully.

WHEN GOD’S DISCIPLES GO MIRACLES FOLLOW

Missionaries working with Southern Baptist Convention (IMB) reported baptisms were up 81% from 2019 to 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available), and salvation testimonies continue to pour in.

The increases are particularly significant in a denomination where many cite missions as their reason for joining and staying.

Typical Testimony: A 53-year-old Thai man with chest pain went to see an IMB medical missionary outside Bangkok. The man collapsed in the clinic and regained consciousness only after the IMB missionary, a physician, performed emergency medical procedures.

As they waited for an ambulance, the man prayed to receive Christ, prompting the doctor to ask, “When did you start to become interested in God ’s story?”

National IMB missionary preaching to Thai congregation

The man pointed to the place on the floor where he collapsed and said, “Right there. Before that, I had never been interested at all. But when I collapsed, I heard God call my name three times, and I knew he was warning me.”

That wasn’t an isolated incident, according to IMB reports. The evangelistic surge, missiologists say, is attributable to the fact we are there (obedient to God’s call), the pandemic, and the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Several years ago under David Platt, IMB transferred ministries from missionaries to national partners.

“We have seen the Holy Spirit working across the globe in mighty ways,” said Wilson Geisler, IMB director of global research. One missionary team “saw the first believers among an incredibly tough-to-reach people group.” Another “saw more people coming to faith in 2020 than in the previous three years combined.

Jesus promised that in the last days before His return the GOSPEL, the GOOD NEWS, the only good news in a time of tribulation will be proclaimed throughout the whole world. Do you want to be part of the team proclaiming the GOOD NEWS? You can be like David (“I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” Acts 13:22), just obey the indwelling Holy Spirit.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24: 14

IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM AND PUBLIC TESTIMONY

Singer and actress Jana Kramer was baptized Sunday, and offered a touching proclamation on her Instagram page, writing that she has found “healing” in Jesus and now realizes she was “never alone.”

“I don’t have the words yet…I will…but for now… ‘In the name of Jesus, there is healing,’” Kramer wrote in her initial post. She then shared an emotional video of the baptism. You can find it on Instagram.

Christian celebrities and fans responded with encouraging and touching affirmations.

“Praise the Lord,” actress Candace Cameron Bure wrote. “And all the angels sang in Heaven and rejoiced! Praise His holy name!! A step in faith reaps an eternal reward.”

Former “Bachelor” star Ben Higgins added, “Amen.”

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The Great Commission

Afterward, he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. “And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18

LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

Another amazing video from Torben. This video is of Torben’s last week living for Christ in Florida. Letting the Holy Spirit guide his steps. This is how we all should live the Christian life.

You will love this video! Watch the first minute, and you will want to see more!

Torben’s message:

“Our heart is that people out there will experience Christ, get born again, and then start to live this amazing everyday life led by the Holy Spirit. They will see miracles! This is for you. If you don’t know where to start, then visit http://www.TheLastReformation.com/ start and watch some of the movies, or go through the online Pioneer School. Read our book The Last Reformation about how we need a reformation of the church back to this life. Don’t stop before this is your life!”

Blessings Torben Sondergaard

SUPERNATURAL HEALING MIRACLES

An upcoming documentary film examines medical evidence of miracle healings to challenge sceptics and close the gap between the hard sciences and the supernatural.

The “SEND PROOF” documentary by filmmaker Elijah Stephens explores the ways in which miracle claims can be corroborated by looking at X-rays, MRI scans and other follow-up medical examinations. In the film, he interviews evangelical scholars and some of the most prominent voices in Pentecostal and charismatic Christian circles.

Stephens worked closely with the Global Medical Research Institute and interviewed board-certified doctors, scientists, an atheist medical historian who believes in miracles, and some of the leading sceptic and atheist voices who assert that, when examined closely, miracles never withstand empirical scrutiny. 

Stephens’ personal journey through his own doubts and the intellectual journey he took is interwoven in the storyline. At one point in the film, he recounts how frustrated he became with the idea of making the movie even as he felt God calling him to do it. The movie explains how, in 2015, he was at his house and his friends started texting him saying that Shawn Bolz, a prophetic minister who was speaking at Bethel that day called out his name from the stage. Stephens immediately jumped in his car and high-tailed it to the church.

When he arrived, Bolz, who had never met Stephens prior to that day and knew nothing of his filmmaking aspirations, gave him a stunningly accurate word, telling him that the Holy Spirit was breathing on the project and how it was going to impact medical professionals and others. 

For Christians who are hesitant to embrace charismatic theology and practice, the filmmaker hopes that the contributions from biblical scholars like Craig Keener of Asbury Theological Seminary, J.P. Moreland of Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), and Gary Habermas of Liberty University will lead them to reconsider what they believe about the supernatural.

BEST NEWS EVER TOLD

The GOSPEL is the best news ever.in human history. Consider what God, our heavenly Father, did to make it possible for mankind that had rejected His sovereignty at THE FALL to be restored back into a right relationship with Him.

Adam was told that death would be the result of eating from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil> Yet Eve and he chose to disobey God and eat it being deceived by another being, a spiritual being, that had already chose to disobey God, Satan, also known as the Devil. Mankind thus bought death and suffering into a word that was originally created perfect.

God’s plan to restore mankind is beyond our comprehension and it is only because God originally made us in His image to be in relationship with Him does He reach out to us by His Holy Spirit to make Himself known.

The most remarkable part of God’s plan is that He, Himself entered His world in the person of His Son, Jesus to pay the price of mankind’s disobedience – death. It is important to understand Jesus came exactly as prophesied in God’s Word given through His prophets.

God has demonstrated that He wants a relationship with each of us. He has done this ever since Creation by working with individuals that trusted Him. It is why it is so important we know His Word (The Bible) is inerrant, it conveys the true history of this world and of His working with individuals.. Events such as Noah’s Flood, The Tower of Babel, Israel’s exodus from Egypt and above all Jesus resurrection from the dead were all real events. Satan has contrived with strategies that are demonstrably untrue, such that the world made itself via evolution and therefore miracles are impossible and that God’s intervention in His world with miraculous events such as Noah’s flood are myths. In the case of Noah’s Flood this is despite the fact most nations around the world have a flood story in their origins.

Delivering the Gospel, the best news this planet has ever heard should be a joy for us to deliver and we should be anxious to share it with everyone. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. He is also the one who convicts unbelievers of sin so He will direct us to those people that need to hear the Good News if we are available to be led by the Spirit and are saying each day, as Jesus did when He walked this planet, not my will but yours, Lord be done today.

Time is short, brothers and sisters in Christ so let us get about our joyous task of delivering the best news ever told. Your own testimony of what God has done and is doing in your life is an important part of the Good News. So too is Jesus prophesied soon coming return to put things right.

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They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Rev. 20:5

This fallen world will experience the rule and reign of Jesus with the Saints for 1000 years before this world is destroyed by fire. The second resurrection of the dead and the White Throne judgement follows and only then will believers join Jesus and God the Father on a new earth and heaven. Jesus work is complete and He hands over sovereignty of the new earth to the Father. All unbelievers have been relegated to the Lake of Fire, punishment and a second death.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.Revelation 2:11

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

EVIDENCE FOR MIRACLES

Joel interviews Tim Mahoney, creator and director of the Patterns of Evidence films. The most recent being the second of the films in the Red Sea Miracle film series. Tim has been on a crusade to show that the books of the Bible that Moses wrote are true history. Jesus said, “if you won’t believe Moses and the prophets then you won’t believe me.”

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.Luke 24:27

He (Jesus) said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’Luke 16:31

These books are foundational to the Gospel message. Tim understands this, hence his dedication to the Patterns of Evidence series. His first film was The Exodus then The Moses Controversy and now the Red Sea Miracle Series. I believe God has raised up Tim to produce these films for this hour to prove He is the miracle working God that established Israel for His purposes and the Bible is His inerrant Word.

You need to not only watch these films yourself but to promote them as widely as possible both to church members and to use them in promoting the truth of God’s Word.

MIRACLES EVIDENT IN FASTEST GROWING CHURCHES

Church growth in Nepal

In 1951, Nepal reported no Christians in its government census. And by 1961, that number increased to just 458. Today, the World Christian Database ranks the country as the 12th fastest-growing Christian population in the world with 1,285,200 believers, said database co-director Gina Zurlo. The real number might be higher.

Until 2008, Nepal was a Hindu kingdom. For Hindu radicals, being Nepali means being culturally Hindu, Pastor Tanka Subedi told CP. Subedi leads Nepal’s Family of God Church and serves as director of the International Nepal Fellowship. Although most Hindus live in peace with Christians, he said some fiercely oppose the Gospel. “The prime minister himself says he doesn’t believe in God but is Hindu,” said Subedi. “State media and government officials [say] Christianity is coming to Nepal to destroy our culture. It’s challenging to evangelize people who have that mindset.”

The pressure and violence Christians experience from Hindus places the country at No. 34 on Open Doors USA’s global persecution watch list.

Despite rising persecution, Christians continue to share their faith, Subedi said, because the government can’t arrest them all. We come from a persecuted background. We were never free. We are used to it, he said.

People feel eager to become Christians because of the reality of the Christian faith and the healings, Subedi added. 

Nepalese Christians Reuters/Shruti Shrestha

Suroj Shakya, a 41 year old church elder in Nepal told CP that he became a Christian at 8 years old after God healed him from food poisoning. When Suroj was 19, his mother Gita Shakya was diagnosed with a painful, paralyzing spinal growth. Doctors told Gita and Suroj, that her best option for healing was a risky, potentially lethal surgery, Suroj shared with The Christian Post. Surgery was expensive, and Gita’s husband, Babukaji, a Buddhist priest, refused to pay his Christian wife’s expenses. Doctors in Singapore gave 19-year-old Suroj two days to decide whether to let his mother live in terrible pain or risk her death.

Suroj prayed, then decided it was best to do the surgery. But he didn’t know what he would tell his family if Gita died, he said. At that time, I felt so alone in Singapore because it was my first visit, and I had nobody to share my problems with besides talking with the Lord in prayer, he added.

Suroj heard a knock at the door. It was a group of local church members who wanted to pray for Gita. After 20 minutes of prayer, a miracle happened, he said. Gita stood up. She kicked out with her left foot, which hadn’t moved for years. She punched out with her left arm. Suddenly, she could move. Gita started to weep and praise God, Suroj recalled. “There was no pain and sadness, which she had before. Her face was changed into joy and happiness,” he said.

Afterward, Suroj said doctors didn’t believe Gita was the same woman. Babukaji didn’t believe his wife had been healed without surgery until he saw she had no scars. Then along with his son, Suman, he became a Christian.

Such stories happen often in Nepal, said Suroj. Despite persecution and poverty, the Nepalese church has grown incredibly quickly. The South Asian country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world. To secular Westerners, it might seem impossible. But the mountains of Nepal have witnessed incredibly fast church growth in part because of miraculous healings.

The church growth is because of miracles, Suroj asserted. “[If] people don’t [get healed] from the hospital, they go to the church and ask for prayer from the church leaders. When the church family and church leaders pray for the sick people, they are getting healed.”

I believe as persecution of Christians intensifies in the West the Christian remnant will be more like the church described in the Book of Acts. Healings and miracles will be normal and an important part of church growth just as it is in Nepal.

GOD USES CATASTROPHES FOR HIS PURPOSES

BAPTISMS, MIRACLES IN MINNEAPOLIS

While many media outlets are focused on the protests and riots in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, something incredible is happening in the same city where Floyd died.

Baptisms are breaking out near the site of Floyd’s death.

Joel Bomberger said, “Baptisms happening right now in Minneapolis! Right at the corner of where George Floyd was killed!”

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Bomberger is a preacher with the grass-roots evangelism organization Circuit Riders®. According to the Circuit Riders® (CR) website, “Circuit Riders is a missional community based in Huntington Beach, California. Since 2011 we have experienced tremendous open doors to reach the lost, revive and encourage the body of Christ and train and empower thousands as proclaimers of the gospel.”

Christian recording artist and CR worship leader Lindy Cofer said, “JESUS IS ALIVE. THIS IS GOOD NEWS: Spontaneous baptisms in Minneapolis and too many testimonies to count!” Cofer added, “I’m at loss for words but I’ll try! We had a Circuit Riders team amongst many others head to Minneapolis and WOW. ONLY JESUS. @alvinmuthoka @instagrahammarshall @yasmin.isabellpierce and so many more.. We thank you for courageously hopping on a plane to simply take Jesus to the streets.”