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.

Does God Perform Miracles Today?

Does God Perform Miracles Today?

I’ve spent some time online recently reading published articles about whether God performs miracles today or not—in 2017.  What concerns me gravely is that many Christians who love God are of the decided opinion that miracles are NOT being performed now!  I want to read what the Bible has to say.

Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.  (Acts 15:12)  Barnabas and Paul reminded the multitude that GOD worked the miracles and wonders—not man.  Yes, He worked through the apostles, but God is named as the Miracle Worker.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  (1 Cor 12:7-10)  This passage of the Bible names spiritual gifts given to the church by God.  The spiritual gifts given to believers names “the working of miracles.”  I don’t see a time limit on this nor a statement saying that this would only occur in a certain age of the church.  Notice that this passage opens with the statement that these spiritual gifts are given to individuals for the profit of ALL.  So, clearly the spiritual gifts are a blessing to the entire church.  Why would anyone desire that miracles stop?

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”  (Gal 3:2-8)  In this excerpt from the Bible, the Lord reminds us that He supplies the Spirit to us AND He works the miracles among us—all in response to faith on the part of human beings. 

Shall we who trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior now abandon faith?  Faith is clearly a prerequisite for the operation of any miracle.  Since God Himself, the Ancient of Days, is the One who performs miracles, who are we to dictate in what era He may  or may not perform them? 

I personally have experienced quite a number of miracles from my loving God.  I have seen the Lord perform miracles right in front of me, and I know other believers who have also received miracles from the Lord Jesus Christ.  I can say from my own knowledge and experience that the Lord does indeed perform miracles today.

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!