Category: Faith

We serve a God of Miracles

A Thought for Today | We Serve a God of Miracles

A while back, I read a Facebook comment where the writer said she didn’t believe in miracles.

This stopped me scrolling through Facebook.

How could she not believe in miracles? The New Testament is full of them. She did have a reason. It wasn’t one I’d heard before, but that wasn’t what got me thinking.

What got me thinking was: do I believe miracles?

Yes, I do. Lots of miracles.

I believe in everyday miracles.

There is the miracle of birth, of a baby coming into the world. The miracle of germination, of putting a seed in the ground, and it turning into something I can eat. (I will clarify that. My husband put the seed in the ground, and I eat what comes up. I have a black thumb. In case you’re wondering, that’s the polar opposite of a green thumb).

There is the miracle of pollination. Of bees buzzing around collecting pollen from flowers to make their honey, and in that way allowing the flowers and vegetables to produce fruit. Which produces food. Without bees and pollination, humanity would be in big trouble. Isn’t it a miracle that our survival depends on something we often consider a pest?

And there is the miracle of salvation. Gods plan makes no sense to many people. We need a miracle to accept His word is true. Every person who accepts Jesus as saviour is the outward demonstration of an inward miracle.

I believe in small miracles.

There are small miracles, miracles of healing, of finance, of health. These might not always seem like much to the outside observer. Many people will try and explain them away through logic. But they are miracles to the recipients.

I’ll give you an example.

I used to work with an evangelist who had a healing ministry. Attending his meetings was eye-opening. He’d pray for hours in preparation, asking God to show him the people who would be at the meeting, and their health problems.

During one of the last meetings he held before Jesus called him home, he prayed for a woman who had a problem sitting without pain. She couldn’t. She was only in her forties, but she couldn’t sit down without it hurting. After he prayed, he asked her to sit on the hard stage.

She did. I could see her apprehension in her face … then the surprise when she sat and it didn’t hurt. She sat down several times, each time harder and harder, until she was practically bouncing up and down on the hard wooden stage. Look on her face was unforgettable. She emailed the following week, saying that was the first time she’d sat without pain in years.

That is, to me, was a miracle, and it was a miracle for that lady as well.

After the evangelist died, a thick book was compiled, of all the testimonies the evangelist had received over the years of the miracles God performed through him. It’s called Miracles in Aotearoa (New Zealand, for those of you who don’t speak Maori).

I believe in big miracles.

These might not be big miracles like Jesus performed. He didn’t turn water into wine. He didn’t raise anyone from the dead. But they were miracles all the same.

But I’ve heard stories of big miracles from people I trust, people who have no reason to lie to me. Their stories encourage me to believe in a God of miracles. As Christians, we believe in things seen and unseen. A God of miracles.

It struck me that if I didn’t believe in miracles, I would be placing limits on God. I would be saying God isn’t omnipotent. And I believe God is omnipotent. To believe anything else is believing in a lesser God.

Do I want to serve a God who can’t perform miracles? No. I want to serve a God who can. A God of miracles.

Do I demand that I see those miracles? No. I accept by faith the words of those who have seen them. And I give thanks for the everyday miracles, the small miracles, the big miracles. And for the God of miracles.

After all, we’re about to celebrate Christmas, the time when we remember the birth of Jesus our Saviour. If that’s not a miracle, what is?

Law or Mercy

Law or Mercy?

It’s Throwback Thursday! Law or Mercy previously appeared at International Christian Fiction Writers on 13 July 2016.

I recently had the opportunity (if that’s the right word) to serve my local community as the member of a jury, one of twelve men and women charged with determining whether a local man was guilty of robbery (spoiler: we agreed he was).

I found the whole process fascinating, and not just as a long-time fan of legal thrillers (and I’m pleased my jury service was nothing like Demi Moore’s, in The Jury by John Grisham). Our defendant, predictably, pleaded not guilty.

By the end of the trial I was convinced of two things:

  1. He was guilty
  2. He genuinely believed he hadn’t done anything that warranted a court appearance, let alone a guilty verdict.

I see the same thing in society: non-Christians who genuinely believe it’s enough to be a “good person”. That when the day of judgement comes, they’ll be on the high side of the scales of justice.

I won’t go into why I and the rest of the jury decided our defendant was guilty: It’s a requirement of jury service that we don’t talk about the case except in general terms, and that we don’t discuss the debates conducted in the privacy of the jury room. But I will comment on my perception of the defendant’s beliefs, based on what he said.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

The defendant believed he was innocent because he didn’t know New Zealand law considers the person who aids or abets or influences to be an equal party to the crime as the person who actually commits the crime. It didn’t matter that the defendant wan’t the robber, because the law gives no mercy.

In the same way, God’s law applies whether you know the law or not. Break God’s law, and we’re guilty.

But with God, there is mercy.

The defendant believed he was innocent because he knew nothing about the crime actually committed. He thought they were going to do a big robbery, not a small one. But he knew a crime was going to be committed, and the law gives no mercy.

In the same way, God’s law doesn’t take the severity of the sin into account. Break God’s law, and we’re guilty.

But with God, there is mercy.

The defendant believed he was innocent because the intended victim was a rival criminal, as if robbing a criminal is somehow less of a crime than robbing an innocent member of society. But the defendant intended to commit a crime, and the law gives no mercy.

In the same way, God’s law applies whether the sin was intentional or unintentional. Break God’s law, and we’re guilty.

But with God, there is mercy.

The defendant believed he was innocent because he hadn’t participated of his own free will—he was coerced. But he did participate, and the law gives no mercy.

In the same way, God’s law applies whether we are forced into sin or we walk into sin with our eyes wide open. Break God’s law, and we’re guilty.

But with God, there is mercy.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, his standard. That if we fall in one area of the law, we are guilty of all. It’s guilty or not guilty. Black and white. Judgement is not a set of scales— being on the high side of the scales isn’t enough.

But the Bible also shows us a way out: Jesus. He has taken the punishment for our sin whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we accept it or not.

All we have to do is acknowledge we have sinned and repent, believe Jesus paid the price for that sin, and accept His sacrifice in our place.

Hallelujah!

(As an aside, isn’t it an interesting contrast that in court, a defendant gives his testimony in an attempt to prove his innocence, but as Christians we give our testimony to our guilt and God’s forgiveness!)

Have you ever sat of a jury? What was your experience?