Miracles Lead To Belief?

I’ve heard many people say “non-believers need to see miracles, then they will believe”. I agree to some extent, but it is not absolute truth. See Jn.11:45-46 for instance.

“Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”

The Jews saw the miracles Jesus did, MANY BELIEVED BUT SOME WENT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT JESUS (these ones obviously didn’t believe). Have you not met people who have experienced God’s miracles and power at work in their lives but still didn’t believe in Him or after believing for a short time, walked away from the Lord? I have. So what is it that could secure a man’s soul forever? It’s the grace of God essentially. However, having been saved by the grace of God does not mean we do nothing to grow in His grace. 2Pet.1:5-11 makes it clear…..

“For this very reason, MAKE EVERY EFFORT to ADD TO YOUR FAITH goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities IN INCREASING MEASURE, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, MAKE EVERY EFFORT to CONFIRM your calling and election. For IF YOU DO THESE THINGS, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:5-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What Repentance Really Is

Wow what a powerful statement on repentance:

“Repentance, metanoia (Greek), does not mean feeling badly about one’s sins, kicking or shaming oneself for one’s wrongdoing. Instead, repentance means CHANGE, and without change, without deep, thorough-going change, one could not enter and participate in the kingdom.”

– Lee C. Camp,

Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World

The More We Mature, The More We Be Changed

The more you and I mature and grow in the Lord, the more spiritual we become. The more we know God’s Word, our character should be more transformed. We should no longer behave the way we did in the past. As we mature, the more we should PUT ON Christ-like attributes and PUT OFF ungodly ones. The natural outcome of one who has faithfully followed Christ is a transformed life. It should surprise our old friends, colleagues, family members and relatives. It should make them ask, “What happened to him or her?” If not, all the years of growing spiritually and digging deeper into God’s Word, all the biblical knowledge we gained are nothing but futility.

Col.3:8 But now you must PUT THEM ALL AWAY: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another…. 12 PUT ON then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

There Are So Many People Hurting

There are so many who are hurting for so many reasons these days. Maybe that’s why so many worship songs today are about how good God is and how much He loves you and me. We read in Jn.11 about Mary and Martha hurting and mourning because their beloved brother Lazarus had just died. Verse 30 tells us that before Jesus entered the village, Martha came to meet him and that was followed by Mary. They were mourning but yet when they heard that Jesus had come, they left their home where Lazarus was and went to meet Jesus outside the village! Whether they knew that Jesus was headed for their home or not, their leaving Lazarus unattended, which was against Jewish tradition, and going out to meet Jesus demonstrated faith that Jesus would do something good, in particular raise Lazarus from the dead. And Jesus was also emotionally moved by the death of Lazarus, wept, even though He was going to resurrect Lazarus shortly demonstrating the compassion of Jesus for them who were hurting and mourning. When we are feeling hurt, we must remember at the same time that our Lord knows our pain and identifies with us. Even though He is going to do something about our situation, yet He is still moved in His heart when He sees our suffering. Jesus will always do something about our pain because He loves us. What He does may be exactly what we want Him to do, but sometimes it may be different. What’s important is that we trust Him with our whole heart knowing that “sometimes God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves” (Steve Estes). Let me end with the chorus of the song, Trust His Heart by Newsong, I shared recently on my FB timeline. “God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind. And when you don’t understand, when you can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart!” As God’s people, we should learn to go beyond our immediate circumstances, look up to the God of hope and know that He is still in control, that He is still sitting on the throne. That’s how we can live victorious lives in spite of what the enemy throws our way.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2Cor.‭4:7-10‬ ‭‬‬

Ministry and Love For Christ in Paradoxical Tension?

We must be careful not to allow our strong pursuit of ministry and sense of mission to replace our love for Christ. Henri Nouwen cautions us, “Nothing conflicts with the love of Christ like service to Christ.” As I examine my own life, I can see how this has been a reality from time to time. On the other hand, we also need to be alert and not allow our love for Christ to lead us into a laid-back, cozy and comfortable Christianity that is void of service. Our Lord Himself loved His Father. He spent an immense amount of time in prayer and communion with His Father, while saying at the same time, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (Jn.4:34) Because this is what the Lord desires for us, to love Him deeply and offer Him service that stems from devotion and love for Him, the devil works hard to get Christians to either serve the Lord with fleshly passion and self-glorifying goals minus love for Christ OR bask in God’s love excessively without a sense of ministry and mission.

Sing, Don’t Just Listen

Worship songs are so important as a means to strengthen our love for God and our faith in Him. Singing songs of worship daily, regularly beyond corporate worship in church is therefore an important spiritual discipline that leads to a lively and engaging faith in God. Be careful of the desire to merely enjoy listening to worship songs instead of singing it. If we are not careful, worship songs can easily become mere Christian entertainment that means little more than providing ambience at a party and something to fill unbearable quietness when we drive.

He Is With Us Even When We Don’t Feel It

It’s really important that our faith in Christ is anchored on fact and not feeling. The Bible tells us that God is with us – so that settles it, He is with us always even when we don’t feel it. When we rely on feelings, we lose faith easily and we become easy targets for the enemy. But when we rely on biblical truth and fact, no weapon formed against us will prosper!