Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

Share Your Testimony

Share Your Testimony

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”  (Mk 5:19)

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.  (Ps 66:16)

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”  (Joh 4:29)

These passages all have one thing in common—they pertain to sharing your own testimony of what God has done for you.  We need to remember that our testimony is important.  We each have a testimony of how we came to accept Christ as our Savior and Lord. 

We also have additional testimonies of answered prayer—some of which are clearly in the realm of signs, wonders, and miracles.  We must be bold to joyously share the great things that God has done for us.

Why?

  • Your testimony is unlike anyone else’s. The honesty and reality of it will be used by the Holy Spirit to move in people’s hearts.
  • The Bible tells us share our testimony. (1 Pet 3:15-16)
  • All people love to hear stories. This is the age of superheroes, so introduce people to a true Hero—their Savior.
  • Your testimony strengthens the faith of all those who hear it—and will even strengthen and encourage your own faith as you remember what God has done for you in the past.
  • It will encourage other people who may be going through a similar situation. In this way, you may be able to help them carry their burden.  (Gal 6:2) 
  • Every time you retell how you came to know Christ as your Savior, you revive your experience of it. It helps to keep you connected and plugged into your first Love.  (Rev 2:4)
  • Your testimony gives glory to God because it points people to the Savior Jesus.

How Should I Pray for a Miracle?

How Should I Pray for a Miracle?

When faced with great need, either for ourselves or for others, we should begin by humbly seeking to know God’s will in the matter.  Jesus listened to the voice of His Father, and He watched Him. 

We serve the God of signs, wonders, and miracles.  (Heb 2:4)  Jesus demonstrated many miracles, signs, and wonders while He was on earth.  He is our example.    

This is an area where imitating Him will not only bring Him pleasure, but it will bless all those who receive answers to prayer, signs, wonders, and miracles!  And Jesus will receive all of the glory and honor for the miracles in which we are instrumental.  Praise God!

Ask the Lord to reveal His will to you, and then base your prayer upon the answer.  Praying for a miracle is welcoming a gift of the Holy Spirit to manifest.  When His will is to work a miracle, He’ll witness that to your heart.  Then you can ask Him to perform the miracle that you know He wants to bring about.

It’s often crucial to exercise a key to the miraculousthe spoken word.  God has given us authority over disease, demons, sickness, storms, and finances.  (Matt 10:1; Lk 10:19) 

He calls us to use His authority by using divinely empowered speech.  We may declare that authority in Jesus’ name:  we may command needed funds to come to us; command a storm to be stilled; command a demon to come out; command an affliction to leave; and command a sickness to depart. 

Jesus said in Mark 11:23 that we must believe in our hearts that it has already happened!  With the anointing of faith that God gives you, speak it out.  But remember that miracles come by faith in God’s present power, not by a ritual or a formula of human works or willpower.  God is the miracle worker.  Never lose sight of that!

Our faith in God is based upon the Word of God.  (Josh 21:45; Jer 1:12; Rom 10:17)  The Bible states that:

  • God’s Word stands forever (Isa 40:8);
  • That His Words do not pass away (Mat 24:35); and
  • That His Word is alive and powerful—and able to discern thoughts and motives of the heart.  (Heb 4:12)
  • That faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  (Rom 10:17)

Test the Bible for yourself. Ask God to speak to you through his Word. Encounter the Bible on your own. You can’t inherit somebody else’s experience. You’ve got to have an authentic experience for yourself. 

Romans 1:16 reminds us that the GOSPEL (or the preaching of it) is the power of God unto salvation!  And Acts 14:3 announces that God worked with the apostles by bearing witness to the gospel by performing signs and wonders.  The Good News (gospel) and signs, wonders, and miracles have always been a dynamic combination in furthering the goals of the Kingdom. 

Study God’s Word and familiarize yourself with it as deeply as you can.  The more that you know the Word, the more that your faith will grow—especially, faith for miracles and wonders.  Launch out into the deep and believe God for miracles today!

Authority & Power

Authority & Power

Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is!  For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”  (Lk 4:36)

So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  And immediately she arose and served them.  (Lk 4:39)

When Jesus ministered to people while He was on earth, He ministered with authority and power, according to the verses shown above.  Jesus performed miracles and healed hundreds of people because of the authority and power in which He walked.

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.  (Mk 16:20)

We know that the disciples of Jesus also had authority and power, because they performed signs and miracles.  (See the verse above.)  We understand that they had power and authority because of what is stated in the following Bible passages:

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.  (Mt 10:1)

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.  (Lk 9:1)

 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  (Acts 5:12)

The Lord does not change.  (Mal 3:6)  Jesus is the same now as He was when He was on earth, ministering love and healing to people.  (Heb 13:8)  God is still endowing His people (us) with authority and power so that we may have signs and wonders following us!

The reason that He wanted us to have authority and power was so that we could perform signs, wonders, and miracles so that we would bring glory to God.  He wants us to represent the Kingdom of Heaven accurately—showing God’s love and mercy to humanity.

Go ahead and share the Good News of salvation with friends and loved ones. You will have given them the best gift for which they could ever hope!