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.

GOD CAN USE YOU JUST AS HE DID REHAN

A Pakistani teenager has reportedly led his entire tribe to embrace Jesus, a remarkable story shared this week by Mission News Network (MNN).

A 17-year-old going by the pseudonym “Rehan” for security reasons was working as a waiter when he met Safdar, a truck driver, and partner with a missions group called Foursquare Missions International (FMI).

Safdar gave Rehan an audio Bible after they met, and the teen listened. Then, he started meeting with Safdar to talk about God and the Bible. Soon, he became a Christian and was baptized, according to Missions Network News MNN.

Rehan soon shared the Gospel message with his family and community members. Considering the sweeping and intense persecution Christians face in Pakistan, these actions were dangerous and, without a doubt, courageous.

Pakistan (MNN) — In Pakistan, a 17-year-old boy led his entire tribe to follow Jesus.

At first, Rehan’s parents, who were receptive to the Gospel, were scared. But he reportedly forged on.

A man named Nehemiah, who works for FMI, explained that Rehan wasn’t dissuaded. He invited missionaries to minister to his tribe and share the Gospel – and the results were incredible.

Rehan’s 60-person tribe reportedly stopped participating in Muslim prayer and turned toward Jesus.

“One evening, he gathered all the tribe’s members under one big tent. First, Rehan showed a movie about Jesus,” Nehemiah told MNN. “Then, an FMI partner shared a 15-minute devotion about new hope in Christ. That day, a 17-year-old boy led his whole tribe to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, the missions groups ask for prayer for this tribe and others in the region.

This story is especially remarkable, considering the hostile arena in which Rehan boldly shared the Gospel. As Open Doors USA’s “2022 World Watch List” notes, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian. The nation ranks eighth on the list, with Islamic oppression serving as the primary form of persecution.

“In Pakistan, Christians are considered second-class citizens and are discriminated against in every aspect of life,” Open Doors reported. “Church leaders can be arrested if they don’t abide by the authorities’ wishes. These arrests act as warnings to the Christian minority and intimidate them further.”

Regardless, God is at work as Rehan’s story demonstrates it just requires willing workers that God can use.

GOD DOES HEAL PEOPLE MIRACULOUSLY TODAY

God is in the healing business. He provided you with your immune system. It heals your body of disease. However, on occasions, as this atheist cancer doctor discovered God does answer prayer with miraculous healing.

This article published in USA Today: Cancer Doctor Was an Atheist but Now Has ‘Profound Faith’ After Investigating Power of Prayer to Heal.

A longtime cancer doctor believes prayer can be powerful and effective at healing the afflicted, sharing in a recently-published USA Today opinion piece how his investigation into invocations (the act of calling upon God (Holy Spirit) for healing) led him from “being a scientifically based ’empirical’ atheist to someone with a profound faith.”

Dr. Gary Onik said he has “encountered at least one terminal cancer patient who was healed by a worldwide prayer effort on his behalf,” and shared his journey of investigating how prayer can help the afflicted.

It was the aforementioned case that led Onik to think deeper on the matter.

“Rather than dismiss this miracle as inconsistent with my empiric and rationally based training, it made me consider how the new scientific knowledge of quantum physics and human consciousness might support the idea of prayer-facilitated healing,” he wrote.

Onik spent a decade looking at how prayer and science might coalesce, and then found himself facing his own terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. Like many others, he had a choice: to seek prayer — or not.

Based on Onik’s research, he said he “knew that prayer had to be a major component” of his own treatment. He decided to seek prayer, so he posted a video and people from all over the world — and from a diversity of beliefs — reached out to offer invocations.

Onik decided to avoid surgery for his cancer, which had spread to his lymph nodes and bones, and instead relied on prayer and a special immunotherapy regime he created.

“It is now three years since my diagnosis,” he wrote. “Prayer combined with immunotherapy treatment has left me free of metastatic cancer and potentially cured.”

Onik’s not sure he would have been healed without prayer, but there’s one thing he is certain of: prayer is important, especially when it comes to cancer.

As Faithwire previously reported, the benefits of faith continue to be shown in scientific studies. For instance, a new Gallup poll found better mental health trends among Americans who routinely attend worship services.

Christians, though, know the power of prayer, as the Bible repeatedly implores believers to seek the Lord in this way. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is what Francis Chan had to say about prayer and miraculous healing on a mission trip to Myanmar. His experiences of the miraculous with his wife and family have changed them. They could never go back to the old life regardless of how comfortable it was.

“There’s no way I can communicate to you how much peace I felt,” Chan stressed. “I am sharing the Good News with a village of people who have never heard of this before. I can’t tell you how right it felt.”

Later in his message, Chan revealed that while in the village he asked God to help him heal those suffering. 

“I’m going, ‘God, please, please hear,’” he recalled. “People started coming forward for healing.” “Every person I touched was healed,” “I have never experienced this in 52 years. I’m talking like a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We laid hands, she starts crying and smiling. These are not Christians who have even heard about Jesus, and she’s freaking out. We lay hands on her little brother, we lay hands on him, and he starts hearing for the first time.” Chan admitted that the entire process was out of his “comfort zone,” adding, “This is stuff I’d read about, but I’m going, ‘Man, it happened. It happened.’ Stuff left and right.” “I thought I had faith, but my faith was at another level, and I think there are some things that contributed — some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally,” he declared. 

There is no doubt in my mind that in these “last days” before Jesus returns that if we step out in faith and do what God is calling us to do that we will see God’s miraculous power at work just as Francis Chan did, whether it is healing or any of the other eight gifts of the Spirit.,

Are you a spiritual foodie? Chan challenges.

GOD USES SUFFERING

God often uses suffering for His purposes, even Christians, to purge sin from our lives. The suffering causes us to stop and re-evaluate our lives. Holy Spirit conviction comes upon us and we realise we have grieved Him and quenched His work in our lives, This invariably leads to repentance and make us realise how dependent we are upon God’s grace. It will also lead to a lot of other good things in our lives, greater discernment, greater sensitivity to things of the Spirit, transformed minds, wisdom, expanded hope, increased desire to spend time in His Word and to know the truth, teach us to give thanks in all circumstances, increased faith, strengthened character. Hopefully, when we see God transforming our lives in these ways we will come to the conclusion that the suffering was worth it.

Quadriplegic painter Joni Eareckson Tada shares ‘life-changing’ words on anniversary of her diving accident

Not all of us have had to suffer like Joni Eareckson Tada but she wrote in he book When God Weeps: “Before my paralysis, my hands reached for a lot of wrong things, and my feet took me into a lot of bad places. After my paralysis, tempting choices were scaled down considerably. My particular affliction is divinely hand tailored expressly for me. Nobody has to suffer ‘transverse spinal lesion at the fourth-fifth cervical’ exactly as I did to be transformed to His image.”

How about Nick Vujicic born without arms and legs. He tried to take his own life at age eight in four inches of water. Thank God he was unsuccessful, hundreds of thousands maybe even more will be in God’s Kingdom because of the testimony of this man.

SCRIPTURE NEEDS TO CHANGE OUR LIVES

Another life changing message from Francis Chan about how Scripture needs to change our lives. He explains how it has and is changing his own life. Francis is now ministering in places such as Myanmar to the poorest of the poor and he and his family are happier now than they have ever been. For most of his ministry Francis says, he did not believe in the supernatural, that has changed dramatically now as he ministers in places where they have never heard the Gospel before. Now! everyone he touches are healed. The power of God is evident as he goes where God leads. Is it any wonder why Francis is happier now than he has ever been.

GOD IS ON THE MOVE

End of September, Torben and the Last Reformation team drove to Washington D.C. for the prayer march 2020 organized by Franklin Graham. Over 100.000 people were there to pray for the nation. They recognised that America is at a critical time, a tipping point, when its Judaeo Christian heritage (In God We Trust) could be discarded.

Torben said, “We went there with a desire in our hearts to see America get Born again, as the scripture says “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again out of water and the Spirit” We had great expectations from the beginning and we saw how God moved as we were preaching the Gospel and healing the sick. People got set free from pain, sicknesses, anxiety, demons, etc. A demon was cast out of a woman who considered herself a Christian. As we walked through the crowds singing the missionary anthem, many were touched and opened the ways for us to pass. It was truly a special moment.”

This is a video of some of the highlights that took place in those days.

POWER OF PRAYER TO RELEASE GOD’S POWER TO ACHIEVE HIS PURPOSES

Great testimony from a pastor, Jason Hubbard. He admits the church he led was not a praying church until God stopped Jason in his tracks and challenged him about whose church it was. Did Jason truly believe the church could function as God’s church without prayer? That was the question God put to Jason. Listen to the transformation that occurred when Jason confessed his folly to the church and they obeyed God and became a praying church.

HOLINESS IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE MIRACULOUS

Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan they consecrated themselves. Before the Israelites took Jericho they circumcised the men. Before they defeated Ai they cleansed the sin from their camp. Holiness was needed for God to work the miraculous.

Ezekiel has a vision where the holiness of God pours out from the temple like a river, revitalising and purifying all the land it comes into contact with. Isaiah has a vision, where he enters the temple impure but is purified while he is there by a burning coal – a physical embodiment of God’s holiness.

The holiness of God is a term used in the Bible to describe both His goodness and His power. It is completely unique, and utterly all-powerful. In fact, the Bible gives us examples showing God’s holiness is so overwhelming it was perilous to approach Him.

These examples of God’s holiness purifying impure things all lead up to Christ. Christ, who is God’s holiness in human flesh, goes out into the land, healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons – all of which are examples of God’s holiness now purifying the things it comes into contact with. God’s holiness is a powerful force that must be treated with the utmost respect.

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Jesus casting out demons from Jesus Film Project

In Hebrews 9 and 10 it tells me that the sacrifice of Jesus, the blood of Christ, is what sanctifies and makes me holy – once and for all.

 Not only do I need Jesus, His blood sacrifice and the Holy Spirit, I also need the Word of God. Jesus, in His prayer to His heavenly Father in John 17:17 said, “Sanctify them, make them holy through Thy truth. Thy word is truth” (paraphrased).

Ephesians 5 says that God wants to cleanse and sanctify the church by the washing of water of the Word. It is the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses.

At the same time, God’s holiness is a gift, able to heal a broken and impure world. Best of all, as followers of Christ, the Father has now sent the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit, to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter. We can’t be holy without the Holy Spirit. He enables us to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, we are told, we often grieve Him, and quench the work He wants to accomplish in us and through us.

Do you want to serve God? Understand, we need holiness to serve Him.

“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, [Whatever you do.] because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Is there some filthiness in disposition or attitude in your heart? Is there some bitterness or resentment or complaint? God says, “You clean it up.” Is there something that we are doing in our lifestyle that is demonstrating the lust of the flesh? Clean it up! We are to walk in holiness, fearing God, recognising our accountability to Him.

Among believers there is to be a practical holiness where we cleanse ourselves, where we get right with God. There is nobody who is going to cause you to stop sinning but you. There is nobody who is responsible for sinning but you. You will be tempted and baited and enticed by the enemy, but if we sin, we need to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, on an on going basis, to keep our relationship with God intact. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

We ask God to forgive us not to be re-justified but to walk before Him in confidence that Christ has paid it all.

2020 – YEAR FOR DISCIPLE MAKING MOVEMENTS

Joseph Mattera joins the list of Christian leaders in the USA that recognise that God is bringing about radical change in His church. It is imperative that believers have truly died to self and live life directed by the Holy Spirit.

He says in an article in Charisma News entitled Five Ways God is Reforming His Church in 2020. “I believe 2020 is the year when more and more leaders will attempt to build “disciple making movements”. The corporate business model of doing church—which took off in the 1980s—has proven that, irrespective of the crowds they garner, they usually fail at disciple making. Jesus proved that focusing on disciple making was the key to building the largest and most effective movement the world has ever seen.

This will be the year when disciple making will gain the traction needed to eventually challenge the assumptions of the “CEO convert driven” model of church.

Image result for pictures of home group church

Luke called his historical narrative “the book of Acts” (or the book of Action), not “the book of theology or philosophy.” The Scriptures were written to tell the story of our missionary Father/God, who loved the world and gave up His only Son to save every tribe, nation and people. Those who are truly hearing the heart of God will read the Bible with a missional lens and desire to demonstrate the power of God to a lost and dying world!

In the context of the church, they will live to empower disciples for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12) and in the context of the world, they will desire to manifest His power in a way that proves Jesus rose from the dead. Consequently, many new evangelists will begin to arise (as we saw in the “voice of healing” movement in the 1950’s) and some will eventually fill stadiums, proclaiming the gospel and praying for the sick. (In the past decade, we have only seen a trickle of what is to come!)”

May the reformation of the church that started in the 16th century continue until the Lord Himself comes back for His bride. May all who read this post have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His Body!

BY THE POWER OF GOD, JEWS COMING TO JESUS

 Rabbi Eric Tokajer says the Good News of Jesus is beginning to spread throughout Israel, and it’s important for Christians to continue to support that effort.

The founder of Brit Ahm Messianic Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida, and the publisher of The Messianic Times, Tokajer, who conducts tours in the Holy Land, says the growth of Messianic ministries in Israel proves God’s hand indeed is upon that land

“Years ago, when I became a Jewish believer, there were only a handful of Jewish believers in Israel,” Tokajer told Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of Greenelines on the Charisma Podcast Network. “Now there are thousands, probably somewhere around 10,000 that are Jewish believers born in Israel. There are others that came from outside that live there, but when I became a believer, there were almost none.

Now, there are hundreds of groups that meet together around the land that are sharing the Good News, which is part of end-times prophecy being fulfilled as God is re-grafting the natural branches into the olive tree.

“A lot of the Christian world never hears those stories. But if they go to Israel, they will actually see what’s happening where the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and people are preached to in prison.

The Jewish people are discovering the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of Yeshua. And by the power of God the Good News will continue to spread in Israel.”