The Miracle Doer

Miracles do not happen every day. But they did in Jesus’ day. He made it a large part of His ministry during His life on earth. And He did so because of His great compassion and love for human beings. Many came to Him knowing that a simple touch of His hand or from His kind commanding voice would leave them whole again. He never made a big show of it, nor sought fame in return, unlike many pretenders today whose sole aim in ministry is to popularize themselves and pad their wallets; instead Jesus commanded those that He healed and delivered from Satan and death itself to tell no one, seeking nothing for Himself but sought to glorify God. Charlatans, frauds, liars and faith healers whose fortunes are built on the back of desperate and unfortunate lives, come a dime a dozen these days who put on a show of compassion and power and supposed great love for souls all a facade. They are fakes and frauds.

Benny Hinn is one such fraudster. Hear the account of William Vandenkolk of Las Vegas. William’s blindness remains with him to this day,  now 25 years old, though at the age of eleven was told by Benni Hinn that he was healed at a faith healing crusade. Los Angeles Times reporter:

Sitting cross-legged in front of a big-screen TV, the 11-year-old squints through Coke-bottle glasses at a Miracle Crusade video made more than two years ago in which he starred as a boy who miraculously recovered from blindness. “I liked it at first because I thought I was being healed,” says Williams in the living room of his aunt and uncle’s home. On the screen, Hinn bends down to William, his hands on the child’s face. “Look at these tears”,  says Hinn, peering into the child’s eyes. “William, baby, can you see me?” Before more than 15,000 people in a Las Vegas arena, William nods. In a small voice, the boy says, “As soon as God healed me, I could see better.” Hinn, an arm wrapped around William, tells the audience that God has told him to pay the child’s medical expenses and education. People weep. Today William is still legally blind and says his sight never improved, and that his onstage comments were wishful thinking.” Incidentally, the family has yet to receive any of the promised money for medical or educational expenses. (Apologetic s Resource Center: Faith Healers or Fake Healers).

Jesus raised the dead and gave sight to those born blind and lame. Many instances exist both from what we read in Scriptures and in documented occurrences today. It is from these many supernatural interventions into dire circumstances and conditions whose wreckage leave casualties in despair and   hopeless now because of God’s Son have been restored to newness of life which happened often during Jesus time on earth. That is why the special needs of others may be something to commit to Christ in prayer.  May we pray not only where our eyes may see, but beyond to where our minds and hearts may take us. Jesus only has to say the word and the miraculous becomes a reality. We are all broken and in need especially in our desolation from Christ. When was the last time you prayed in His name? We are given an awareness of His heavenly power from every miracle He accomplished, and the effects of the miraculous runs beyond the first century to our day. We are assured that this same divine help then is present for us in our current time of need. Put aside the greedy actions of dishonest peddlers of religion, consider Christ compassionate dealings with sinners.  Go to Christ in prayer and ask for cleansing of your sins and His matchless grace to help you start afresh as His disciple. See for yourself how a prayer soak life can make a difference in this world. A poem by Sandra Goodwin reminds us about the effectiveness of prayer that is felt beyond our own lives to that of others in places never before seen by any of us.

Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas.
I didn’t go by ship or plane
I travelled on my knees.

I saw so many people there
In bondage to their sin,
And Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.

But I said “Jesus, I can’t go
To lands across the seas.”
He answered quickly, “Yes, you can
By travelling on your knees.”

He said, “You pray, I’ll meet the need.
You call, and I will hear.
It’s up to you to be concerned
For lost souls far and near.”

And so I did; knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease,
And with the Savior by my side,
I travelled on my knees.

As I prayed on, I saw souls saved
And twisted persons healed,
I saw God’s workers strength renewed
While laboring in the field.

I said, “Yes Lord, I’ll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I’ll heed Your call and swiftly go
By travelling on my knees.”

What Do You Believe?

    When it comes to decisions and convictions the state of the contemporary mind may be less inclined to critical thinking and problem solving today than ever before. Studies reveal that thinking through issues for yourself is rare in college classrooms. Clearinghouse on Higher Education (1995) documented the following disturbing patterns: “Faculty aspire to develop students’ thinking skills, but research consistently shows that in practice we tend to aim at facts and concepts in the disciplines, at the lowest cognitive levels, rather than development of intellect or values.” Too little thinking on matters, not enough conceptualizing, and acceptance of public opinion is not uncommon these days. Why is this a concern? Because critical thinking is necessary to effectively solve problems. By stepping back and weighing out the evidence, evaluating the situation and standing for what you believe is right, without being unjustly swayed by others is needful to veer clear from simply accepting conclusions mostly by default, because of a lack of personal understanding. Too often individuals accede to the popular stand of others in forming their understanding. That is no more evident then when people are asked about the identity of Jesus. A June 2002 Gallup survey reveals that 80% of U.S. adults consider themselves to be part of the Christian tradition. However, further insight into their profession find that very few actually follow Christ, they only give lip service. Many churches today are inundated with nominal Christianity These same people know next to nothing about true holiness and Biblical Authority in their lives. Theirs is not the Christianity the Bible depicts. When asked about following Jesus and believing that the Bible is the literal Word of God accurate in every detail, their response was much less positive. We can toss many statistics about to demonstrate the falsehood of those professing to follow Christ, but most anyone with a basic knowledge of the Bible would seriously question whether these nominals who see themselves on the same “team” as convictional Christians, could legitimately be called Christians. The question is this for you today. Who do you believe Jesus is?

    The question was before Peter (Mark 8:27-30). He could have chosen from several options to answer Jesus. At that time, popular opinion had Jesus as either John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other prophet. These were preparatory figures for the on-going purpose of God, whose appearances in history were forerunners paving the way for Messiah, whose entry would be announced to be the Son of God spoken about in the Old Testament by these and others. So what should Peter answer Jesus? Should he go by the numbers and accept the prevailing attitude of religious leaders, King Herod, and the common man of Palestine that thought Jesus was someone other than what He claimed to be? At that time too, in the Roman world Caesar was considered divine. How would you react considering the many circulating views about Jesus?

    Afterwards, Jesus taught that faith in Him meant that His mission involves suffering, so too would His followers suffer since acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God would require them to share in His afflictions. This is not the Christianity so often popularized in our Churches today, is it? In today’s religious market we are offered better health, and prosperous living, where our felt needs” are met, and good people meet together. Yet, Jesus speaks of bearing one’s cross, so what do you think about Jesus now? Is He the Christ and are your ready to follow Him, or not? Jesus is calling His disciples to make a not-so-easy decision when you consider that a confession of faith in Him meant a life of suffering. Are you clear enough in your thinking to accept Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God? What will you do at this very time in your life? The apostles had no anticipatory signal from Christ about His intention to call them to a decision. He did, however, make it easier for them to accept His claim to deity. Behind His claim of being the long sought after Messiah, He had provided many supportive proofs. Countless miracles, prodigious teachings, even God’s own words both at Jesus baptism and later at His transfiguration which attested to the fact that Jesus is God’s divine Son.

    I hope you will answer the question for yourself regarding the identity of Christ and arrive at the same conclusion that the apostles did, and that you will seek out a Church this Sunday that teaches what it really means to be a follower of Christ.

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” Mark 8:29