God of Miracles: 101

We love and serve the “God of Miracles”.  There is nothing too hard for Him and our impossibilities are His specialties.  The miracles of God leave us in awe of Him with no doubt of His existence and absolute assurance of His great love for us.

Through this series, we are going to increase our faith and find a new hope as we learn about the miracles of God. 

Today, we’re beginning with a bit of a miracles 101 teaching.  We’re going to review the fundamentals about miracles so that we understand them more fully.

To start, what is a miracle?  Miracles are events that undeniably occur, but for which we have no natural explanation for how. 

It’s important to recognize and remember that not every miracle is an act of God.  We’ll look into that a bit later, but for now, speak generally of those that are.

After encountering a man who refused to give up his money to follow Him:

Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Jesus was referring to one of the greatest miracles that all of us are invited to experience; His salvation.  However, this is an incredible definition of a miracle: That which is impossible, humanly speaking, but entirely possible with God.

What is the purpose of miracles?

Miracles bring us into a personal encounter with God.  We get to experience His nature and character through them.

We can say that God is our healer and quote scriptures to defend that belief.  We know that God can heal, but we don’t know God as our healer. 

Say, however, that we face an illness for which the medical community gives us no hope for healing.  We turn to God and pray for Him to heal us.  God answers our prayers and totally heals us.  We go back and confirm our healing through the medical community.  That is a miracle and we now know God, our healer!

Miracles give us an experiential way to know God personally in ways that we could not otherwise.

Miracles bring more revelation to ourselves and others about God than decades of theological studies can provide.  It proves God’s existence, His sovereignty over His creation, His great love for us, His faithfulness to fulfill His promises, the fullness of His salvation, and so much more!

Miracles provide observable evidence of God’s intervention for all to see.  Miracles are like literal, physical signs that point to God.  They turn our lives into living altars and monuments that testify to what God has done.  They point to God through us. 

Miracles do not necessarily indicate anything about our own spiritual condition.  The ability to perform miracles is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:11, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 12:28).  However, just because one can perform miracles does not necessarily mean that they are spiritually mature or even living a life that honors God. 

Gifts of the Spirit and fruits of the Spirit are distinct from one another.  Gifts are simply that – the grace of God given to an individual.  Fruits are grown and are dependent on our choices and character. 

Likewise, being the recipient of a miracle does not necessarily indicate our spiritual condition.  Jonah sat with a hard heart far from God’s own looking over the nation of Nineveh longing for it’s destruction when God miraculously provided a shade tree for him.

Some also misuse the gift that God has given them for selfish gain.  For example, God gave Paul this ability at one point in his ministry:

Acts 19:11-12

11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.

Today, people claim to have this same gifting, and they very well may possess it.  However, they sell those handkerchiefs for money.  They sell the gift of God for financial gain. 

In Acts 8, we find a man named Simon who thought that he was something great who also wanted to buy the ability to fill people with the Holy Spirit and was rebuked for this same motive.

Miracles indicate the faithfulness and goodness of God and point to Him, not to us.  They are to make His name great and not ours.  Miracles are all about God and His mercy and grace toward sinful humans like you and I.

God’s intent for miracles is also to cause us to chase after the miracle worker, not the work of miracles. 

It’s to pursue relationship and not experience.  A relationship with someone exists as life-transforming moments and forever-remembered experiences together, but far more so of everyday, mundane routines together.

As we develop a healthy relationship with God, we’ll begin to see His miracle-working hand in big and small ways.  We begin to cultivate a supernatural lifestyle. 

After all, it is just as much a miracle to us when the Holy Spirit reminds us where we left our keys as it is when He gives sight to a blind person.  Miracles are intended to draw us closer to God and not to miracles, themselves.  Keep this serious danger in mind a little later on.

Jesus actually wants His miracles to cause us to turn away from sin and into relationship.  After all, it is our sin that separates us from God as we run away from Him and toward our fleshly desires. 

Miracles are intended to result in the salvation of unsaved people.  It furthers the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost, not necessarily to better and comfort the lives of His followers.

Matthew 11:20

Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God.

As awesome as miracles are, there can be a dark side to them.  Being in a position to receive a miracle and to be brought into this awesome, personal encounter with God means that we’re likely in serious trouble.

To experience the miracle of healing, we’re wounded or sick.

To experience the miracle of deliverance, we’re bound.

To experience the miracle of provision, we’re in need.

To experience the miracle resurrection, we’re dead.

There are, of course, exceptions to this.  Jesus turning water to wine, walking on water, filling a fisherman’s boat with fish,  calming the storm, tax funding in a fish, the fig tree withering, etc.  Not every miracle of God requires calamity on our part.  Sometimes, He just likes to bless us.

When do miracles occur?  Well, that can be the most challenging part of faith.  The woman with the issue of blood waited twelve years for her healing.  When Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake that he shook into the fire, it happened instantly.  The woman bent over and crippled waited 18 years for her healing.  A disabled man waited 38 years for his healing.

Every circumstance is unique, the cause for the need for a miracle varies, our chosen response to situations is different.  The key is to turn away from sin, toward God, and to pursue Him.  As Jesus said in the parable of the persistent widow:

Luke 18:1;7-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Jesus defines miracle-bringing faith as one who cries out for it day and night.  I’ve always been confused by this language and, to be honest, I still don’t fully understand it.  Jesus says that if we cry out to Him day and night that He will respond quickly.  It reminds me of that opposing paradox statement to “hurry up and wait.” 

What I read is that it happens quickly from His perspective, but not so much from our impatient point of view.  When our miracle quickly comes, it will be well worth the wait and pursuit! 

It’s much like a woman who waits and labors for 9 months and then quickly gives birth.  It is a process that is slow, but quick. 

James likens it to a farmer waiting on their field to yield their crop.  Weeks of waiting, but when the harvest does come, it happens quickly! 

God is at work during the waiting season.  His promise will be fulfilled, your miracle is on its way, but it is going to happen at just the right time.  Trust God and His timing.

Last, a warning about miracles regarding the “who”.  Not every miracle is performed by God.  You may recall a few warnings given earlier.  This is precisely why we need to pursue God and not miracles.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4;7-9

1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction.

4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles.

Revelation 13:3;13-14

3 I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast.

13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. 14 And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world.

There are miracles performed by God and there are counterfeit miracles.  As the end of days draws nearer, it is amazing to me how easily God’s people can be deceived.  They are drawn to teachers and prophets that quote God’s word, but say what they want to hear.  Didn’t Satan do the same even to Jesus? 

They chase after men and women who perform miracles.  They give thousands of dollars to them and invest themselves by following ministries from city to city, conference to conference, even nation to nation. 

There is a fine line between doing this in the pursuit of a healthier relationship with Jesus, to be more effective in ministry to others, and simply for selfish gain or the thrill of experiencing the miraculous.

There are those who have the gift of performing miracles in the body of Christ and they are needed and valued.  If we need a miracle, it is right and not wrong to seek after their ministry. 

However, our ultimate pursuit should be the Lord and not people and their giftings.  In fact, not every gifting is from the Lord, even the ability to perform miracles.  Not all those who quote God’s word and claim to do things in the name of Jesus are His followers nor acting by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is in this very way that many will follow Satan being fully convinced that they are following God.  Do not be so easily deceived.  Pursue Jesus and follow Him alone as He is the performer of miracles and the provider of all that we need.

I close this miracles 101 introductory message to this series with one of my favorite miracles in the Bible.  This miracle reveals these basics about miracles. 

They are events occur and have no natural explanation.

They happen because of the goodness of God and not our own spiritual condition or ability.

They point people to Jesus and not to man.

They result in salvation, turning away from sin.

They often happen suddenly after a long waiting period.

If they are doing these basic things, then they are very unlikely counterfeit.

Acts 3:1-10

1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 4:3-5;13-22

3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. 5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

As we look to the God of Miracles, let faith arise and dare to find a new hope. 

Take time right now to think about an area of your life that you could really use a miracle in.  Something that has begun to look hopeless that you may have started to just accept as a part of your life.  Think of a situation that you know does not line up with the promises of God.  Now, picture this:

Matthew 19:26

Jesus is looking at you intently and saying, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Believe again. Trust again.  Hope again.  The God of Miracles is able!

Also, please send a recording of your testimony of such a miracle that you have received at some point in your life my way. I can’t wait to hear your testimonies and to share them with the world!