In my walk with God, I have been fortunate enough to serve in places where physical, tangible miracles have taken place and I have witnessed them first hand. This caused me, early on, to make some decisions about my belief system as well as be faced with the task of wrestling with the very different looking, non-miracle affirming church that largely is the western church.
Once you've witnessed miracles in person, there is no longer an option to deny it happened. Instead, you have basically two options:
1) Accept and learn
2) Explain away
We already know that miracles occur largely in the third world church, and I'm not going to get into all the factors that may contribute to this being the case, but I think we can all agree that we've heard about it, read about it, or witnessed it ourselves (like us.) I'm not going to get into all that because it's not the purpose of this post, but what I can offer is that in much if my experience in witnessing the miraculous, God shows up in situations where people want him to show up, need him to show up, and believe that he still shows up. This is not the RULE but it's certainly something that I see a lot.
What's awesome is that we have the word of God which is our guide, and it clearly outlines what sorts of miraculous things the body of Christ can expect to experience post-resurrection/once the Holy Spirit arrived....which is actually now! Surprise! Now, none of these miraculous works are to be taken lightly, but used in conjunction with spreading the Gospel and revealing God's loving character to the world.
What amazes me as that still, even with the word of God that clearly talks about the things we are to see in this time, and even with enough technology to literally stream massive church meetings in other countries, we STILL love to explain it away--and then we wonder why WE haven't seen anything miraculous first hand.
What's awesome is that this isn't a new problem. Jesus deals with this in the best way ever in Matthew 12, and the conversation is still. Happening. Today. Read on:
I'm not going to lie, it's an intense passage, but necessary..and if I could, I would even suggest that the Pharisees, although they had Jesus, did NOT have the bible as we know it! So I mean...I'm tempted to give them some credit in the arrogance department.
We see how Jesus responds to them, and now with all the resources in the world at our disposal, what would he say to us who still do not believe?
One thing I love about the response of Jesus is that he brings up a key factor that we love to overlook- the fruit of our lives! It is impossible for a life devoted to satan and darkness to be marked by the fruit of the spirit. Sure, satan could choose to mask himself for a short period of time because he IS the deceiver, but that's the thing about trees-they take time to develop and they may look the same all the way until the very first bite of fruit- but eventually the distinction IS real and IS noticeable. Is your life marked by goodness and gentleness and peace and self control and kindess and love and joy!? Do people see these characteristics in your life? We can't always be a perfect display of all of these, but they ARE such an important marker of your relationship with God. Jesus said it, not me.
Now, miraculous works can be tricky and even scary considering satan does have power here on this earth..but we saw how Jesus addresses this issue- it's important to look at the work itself, the context of the work, and the fruit of the lives of those involved. We absolutely have to know Gods character as well as satans character (and hopefully exercise God given discernment) so we can distinguish between the works.
Another important thing to do is to go straight to the source of the miracles and align what is happening/what is being taught with scripture. Scripture is our great tool to use, and we are NOT to take what judgmental and unbelieving Christians SAY about miracles and judge that, but rather get acquainted with the pastors and teachers who still witness the miraculous amongst their specific church environments.
To put it simply, if you aren't sure if you are being lead by a Godly pastor; listen to his sermons in full. They should always always always align with scripture. If they don't--well, there's your sign.
Editing is a powerful tool in today's technology obsessed culture..you really need to get exposure to the full picture of a specific church by going straight to the source.
Do you see how this post isn't about if God actually still performs miracles today? You could never ever ever convince me that this is still a topic worth exploring. I've seen it. More than once. I will not have a pharisaical heart but rather will exercise my discernment, wisdom, and most importantly- Gods word, to be my guide in navigating this beautiful and amazing aspect of Gods character.
My prayer for the western church is that there would be a significant increase in faith and open hearts and minds to at least entertain the idea that God still works in this way today. I've seen so many saved BECAUSE God showed up in miraculous ways--and that just fills my heart with joy.
The christian faith is not and should never be focused on signs and wonders. Ever. It should be centered on the entire Gospel and a command to love God, one another, and make disciples of all the nations. But to deny this part of Gods kingdom fully, or to explain it away deeply deeply saddens this girl who has seen the beauty that comes from an aspect of Gods heart that we love to quench in the western world.
If you want to know about the miracles I've experienced, feel free to email me! I love talking about them! But if you do, you'll either have to believe me or call me a liar. ;) Fair warning.
Mine and Chris's heart is for God and all that he is. All that he is includes Jesus. And all that he is includes the Spirit. God teaches us that we should expect to do greater works than those that Jesus did! Greater! Does that blow your mind? Because it should. Above all, Gods heart is one of love, and absolutely of mercy- so if you want to become more aware of Gods goodness as related to this particular topic..as HIM, not google. :)