EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES

Acts 19:11,12 – God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. Because of this, people took Paul’s handkerchiefs and articles of clothing, even pieces of cloth that had touched his skin, laying them on the bodies of the sick, and diseases and demons left them and they were healed.

“Miracles of no ordinary kind, i. e. extraordinary miracles.” This is what Adam Clarke said about the astounding outpouring in Ephesus. Luke had seen all sorts of miracles in his travels with the Apostle Paul but what they were seeing in Ephesus was unprecedented. Nothing like this had ever been seen by Luke before. Obviously the Lord had big plans for the church in Ephesus. I find it quite interesting the way these miracles were described. Luke said that pieces of cloth that had been part of clothing worn by Paul were sent out to the sick and the afflicted. Apparently the anointing that was flowing from Paul was collecting in his clothes. How else could you explain what was happening here? This is reminiscent of the garment that Jesus wore. Often times people would touch the fringe of the Lord’s clothing and healing would flow into their bodies.

Next, Luke describes the effect these clothes had on demons. Apparently, these clothes would be attached to individuals being tormented by evil spirits. The result would be that the spirits would leave and the people would be made whole.

What Luke was describing was a regional outpouring of the Holy Spirit characterized by signs, wonders, and miracles. It started with twelve men in a Bible study and progressed to daily meetings in a rented facility. After two years of these daily meetings there appears to have been an explosion of miracles that effected all of Turkey.

Is it possible for these types of things to happen in our modern world? Maybe we need more of a focus on saturation in the Holy Spirit if we are to see outbreaks of the power of God. Think about what happened here; daily meetings with Paul for two years. Maybe that is why unprecedented things began to happen. In our modern world of social media and smartphones it wouldn’t take much for our world to be turned upside down. Unprecedented miracles would surely get the attention of the world. Maybe its time for another outbreak of signs, wonders, and miracles.

“Let Him touch your coffin”

MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS-

“Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak” Luke 7:11

I find it interesting that Jesus touched the coffin instead of the boy. He touched the box or the container that held him. Death bound the boy and his life was taken from him. There was no exchange between the mother and Christ, there was no request made or favor sought. It is a wonder the mother even saw Christ coming up behind her. He comes to touch our coffin of dead things. We all hold containers of loss, dreams shattered, lives wasted away. We put a lid on our horror stories of our sad serenades of long ago days. You have to allow Him to touch that coffin because he comes to make all things new again. He does that ; you know-changes what we think it will be. We box it all in, stuff it way down but He who knows the stars by name comes to tell a different story over you. There are songs yet to be sung, war stories yet to be told and children that will dance again. Christ comes with his basketful of gifts every ready to arrest and halt the places where hope dies. God’s love flows out of its own expansive and endless nature for there is no shadow of turning with our father of lights. His great love is at work among us and that is to stop the march of death that tries to silence our song! Christ steps up to our coffin every time with his word STOP! Stop reliving the lies of the past, the failures of yesterday, stop not forgiving yourself, stop the anger that wants to bury you once again. Allow Christ to touch your coffin, allow Christ to collide with the negativity that has engulfed you. Allow Christ to come into the small compartments, the cramped damp and dark places where shame multiplies. The boy spoke and the mother no longer wept over yesterday for her world would never look the same! The Greek word “splanchnizomai” is the word the Bible uses to describe the compassion Jesus had for this scene. There is no greater word in the Greek language to describe the depth of emotion Jesus felt for this widow over her loss. Go ahead and let him come touch your coffin!

THE ROCK WAS CHRIST

1 Cor.10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

Every season of God is special and unique. The things we often take for granted are amazing daily blessings that come from the Lord. In the case of the Israelites they had daily miracles right in front of them. From the day that they passed through the Red Sea there was a cloud literally guiding them along the way. This cloud covered them from the heat, directed their paths, and had a fire in it for warmth at night. They also had forty years of daily provision of food. Manna from heaven formed on the ground and sustained them for an entire generation. In today’s verse Paul spoke of the Rock that followed them and provided water for them every day. Whether the Rock literally followed them is debatable. The fact remains, over a million people were supplied with water for forty years in a desert. Here is how Adam Clarke describes this miracle.

“How could the rock follow them? It does not appear that the rock ever moved from the place where Moses struck it. But to solve this difficulty, it is said that rock here is put, by metonymy, for the water of the rock; and that this water did follow them through the wilderness. This is more likely; but we have not direct proof of it. The ancient Jews, however, were of this opinion, and state that the streams followed them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys, and that when they came to encamp, the waters formed themselves into cisterns and pools; and that the rulers of the people guided them, by their staves, in rivulets to the different tribes and families.”

How about us today? I have daily bread that comes down from heaven. Every time I open my Bible I feast on the Living Bread. The Cloud of Glory also falls on me everyday. Do I see a cloud like the Israelites did? Maybe, sometimes. Regardless I have the anointing of His presence falling on me everyday. The water from the Rock is also with us everyday. If anyone is thirsty He is right there to give us drink. So everyday our world is full of miracles. Maybe everyone isn’t aware of them but they are here nonetheless.

BEFORE THEY FINISHED PRAYING HE ANSWERED

Acts 4:30,31 – Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”

At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.

What a picture of God’s readiness to answer prayer. The words were still in their mouths when the building they had gathered in was shaking under the power of God. God hears and answers our prayer, that is an amazing benefit of being a son of God.

Isaiah spoke about God’s readiness to answer prayer in Isa.65:24 – “Before they even call out to me, I will answer them;

before they’ve finished telling me what they need,

I’ll have already heard.”

The amazing thing about this is that it is true for us today. The Lord hears our prayers and answers sometimes before we can even get the words out of our mouths. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this characteristic of prayer.

“God will anticipate their prayers with the blessings of his goodness. David did but say, I will confess, and God forgave. The father of the prodigal met him in his return. While they are yet speaking, before they have finished their prayer, I will give them the thing they pray for, or the assurances and earnests of it. These are high expressions of God’s readiness to hear prayer; and this appears much more in the grace of the gospel than it did under the law; we owe the comfort of it to the mediation of Christ as our advocate with the Father and are obliged in gratitude to give a ready ear to God’s calls.”

Too many time we try to handle all of our stuff by ourselves. Too often prayer is just a last resort. If it is true that God is good and that we are His sons and daughters then He really can’t help Himself. He is always listening and ready to work on our behalf. The real secret is being intimately connected to what matters to Him. In this story the disciples were praying for boldness to preach Christ. Before they got the words out of their mouths they were filled with power to preach Christ with the added bonus of signs and wonders.

TONGUES, PROPHESY, AND MIRACLES

Acts 19:6,7 – And when Paul laid his hands on each of the twelve, the Holy Spirit manifested and they immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:10,11 – Every day for over two years, he taught them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, which resulted in everyone living in the province of Asia, Jews and non-Jews, hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul.

The prayer language is seen all throughout the book of Acts. At the birthing of the church in Ephesus Paul lays his hands on twelve men who all began to speak in tongues and prophesy. There is a close connection to the prayer language and the other vocal gifts. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“They spoke tongue by tongue and gushed out prophecies.” The impartation of the Holy Spirit and his gifts are here being transferred from Paul to these believers. Jesus taught that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is to impart power for our lives and ministries.”

Paul spent two years teaching these new believers and the growing church in Ephesus. The power and gifts of the Spirit increased through those daily saturation meetings. The whole region was impacted. Here are the Passion Notes on Acts 19:10,11.

“This “school of ministry” exploded as many came to hear Paul and then went out to preach, expanding the reach of the gospel into all the “province of Asia” (Asia Minor). The province of Asia would have covered no less than one-third of Turkey. Many multitudes heard the gospel in the two-year period when Paul taught in Ephesus. The teaching of the apostles resulted in the expansion of God’s kingdom realm.”

I believe an emphasis of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit is desperately needed and I also believe there will be an increased restoration of these gifts in the days ahead. In vs.11 Luke described unusual miracles breaking out in Ephesus. Maybe that is what it will take to break open this generation to the gospel, unusual miracles. I say its time to focus on the power of the Spirit. Speak in tongues for extended times, soak in worship music, meditate on scripture. Before you know it unusual miracles will begin to follow after you.

MIRACLE SIGN – LAMB IN A MANGER

Lk.2:11,12 – For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!

I love this verse in the Passion Translation, “You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!”. The birth of Christ in an animal’s feeding trough is called a miracle sign. When you think of miracle signs you think of things like raising someone from the dead, or calming a storm, or maybe walking on water. Those are obviously major miracle signs but this infant birth in a manger has to be the biggest sign of all. The Creator of planets and solar systems, galaxies and black holes, and gazelles and amoebas took on the body of a baby human and was born in a feeding trough for farm animals. Absolutely mind boggling!!! Here are some comments on this verse from the Passion Notes.

“He entered the world as a lowly baby, and though he is the mighty God, he lived his life on earth in gentleness before all. The shepherds that night were possibly near Bethlehem at Migdal Eder, “the [watch] tower of the flock.” This would fulfill both the prophecies of Mic. 5:2 and Mic. 4:8, which say, “to you it [he] will come, your dominion [kingdom] from old will arrive.” It was at the lower floor of the watchtower (Migdal Eder) that the birthing of the Passover lambs would take place…. After the birth of the lambs, the priestly shepherds would wrap the lambs in cloth and lay them in a manger lined with soft hay to prevent them from hurting themselves…. The miracle sign for these priestly shepherds would be a baby boy lying where the Passover lamb should be—in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. It was at the cradle of Jesus Christ that the kingdom from ancient times arrived on earth.”

So He came to this earth and was born among temple sheep. These sheep’s very existence, as sacrificial lambs, had been calling for Him for hundreds of years. He is the lamb of God. His miracle birth in a manger was prophetic, speaking of His sacrificial death.

HEALING LOVE

Matt.14:14 – So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd.

This phrase, moved with compassion, is often used in the gospels when referring to Christ observing and ministering to hurting people. The phrase means to be moved in your inner organs. In other words, it is the strongest possible description of feeling the pain someone else was going through. Jesus felt the pain of human suffering in the depths of His being. As a man Jesus understood what suffering felt like. He became one of us in order to effectively help us. In this instance the Lord is moved with compassion for those who were physically sick in the crowd. The word sick in this passage is quite descriptive. It is the Greek word arrostos. It means weak, sick, invalid, or having a lingering ailment: really sick and worn out. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this scene.

“The sight of a great multitude may justly move compassion. To see a great multitude, and to think how many precious, immortal souls here are, the greatest part of which, we have reason to fear, are neglected and ready to perish, would grieve one to the heart. None like Christ for pity to souls; his compassions fails not. He did not only pity them, but he helped them; many of them were sick, and he, in compassion to them, healed them; for he came into the world to be the great Healer. After awhile, they were all hungry, and he, in compassion to them, fed them.”

His compassion could not stay bottled up, it was released in a flood of healing. The power of God flowing through the Lord is the anointing which is the love of God which heals the sick.

But what about today? Maybe you or someone you know is suffering today. Maybe you can identify with the people in the crowd that day. Maybe you are weak, sick, invalid, or have a lingering ailment. The good news is this; Jesus is still a man. Today, He sits at the Father’s right hand as our Heavenly High Priest. He is touched deeply by the feeling of your sickness and suffering. His compassion cannot stay bottled up. Look to Him for healing. Before you know it you too will be wrapped in His healing arms of love.

“OPEN THE FISH’S MOUTH”

MERRY WEDNESDAY -by Parris Bailey

“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matt. 17:27

I read the other day from an author that said the fish probably swallowed the coin because fish go for “shiny objects” and God would have foreseen this and he doesn’t commit forgery. (?) This is almost fun to play out. Someone was walking by the lake and either used a coin to watch it skip along the water, or maybe he went swimming and forgot about the coin in his pocket and it fell out. Then at some point this particular fish saw the shiny object and swallowed it and of all the fish in that lake, Peter went fishing, caught it and opened that fish’s mouth. To me that is more of a miracle and actually is fun to see how God works all things out for his glory!

I also love the pictorial image of Peter opening the fish’s mouth. The fish had a message and Peter was aiming to find it. The shiny object was given up and paid to Ceaser.

To others this miracle speaks of divine resources given to the sons of God. Wherever we go in life the Ceasers of this world want their payment but “lest we offend them” God has hidden resources in the mysterious places. We can count on the unlimited supply of resources God gives us because he gives to all men liberally. You will never lack the more you tap into your sonship, your inheritance and who you are in Christ.

Who knows Peter may have hated paying taxes and buckled under the Roman rule in his fishing business. And here is Jesus showing him that all is always provided. Just like the lilies always stayed clothed and the birds always are provided for.

The Bible says, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal. 4:4–7)

So its “really not that serious” in life. Coins are in fish’s mouths, axes swim, water comes out from the rock, rainbows whisper promises and meals get multiplied. God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts so that we truly may live abundant peaceful happy blissful lives.

MEN LIKE TREES WALKING

Mk.8:23-25 – So Jesus led him, as his sighted guide, outside the village. He placed his saliva on the man’s eyes and covered them with his hands. Then he asked him, “Now do you see anything?”

“Yes,” he said. “My sight is coming back! I’m beginning to see people, but they look like trees—walking trees.”

Jesus put his hands over the man’s eyes a second time and made him look up. The man opened his eyes wide and he could see everything perfectly. His eyesight was completely restored!

The miracles of Jesus are all so unique and carry the power and authenticity of the gospel. This healing of this particular blind man is different from all the others. If we look closely, we can see the beauty of God’s work in this powerful physical healing. Jesus had used His saliva before on ears, eyes, and even a tongue. The difference in this miracle is in the way this man’s sight was restored. At first he saw a blur that appeared like walking trees. After another touch from the Lord his sight was perfectly restored. Matthew Henry describes this miracle like this.

“Thus Christ would show how, and in what method, those are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind; at first, their knowledge is confused, they see men as trees walking; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Let us enquire then, if we see aught of those things which faith is the substance and evidence of; and if through grace we see any thing of them, we may hope that we shall see yet more and more, for Jesus Christ will perfect for ever those that are sanctified.”

I love Henry’s description of the work of Christ. Just as this man began to be gradually bathed in the natural light of the sun, after the touch of Christ our eyes are opened and the light of His grace began to bring clarity into our darkened world. The light of the glory of God heals our spiritual vision bit by bit so we are no longer walking in darkness. At first, we may see those around us like trees walking. After that second touch we begin to see our world differently through the light of His grace.

FOUR GREAT MIRACLES

Luke Chapter 8 contains four great miracles performed by the Lord. He displays His power over nature when He stilled a storm, authority over demons by freeing the tormented man in Gadara, His ability to heal those who are desperately sick when He healed the woman with the hemorrhage in her body, and His authority over death itself. Check out these four miracles.

I. POWER OVER NATURE

LK.8:24,25 – So the disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, Master, we’re sinking! Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

With great authority Jesus rebuked the howling wind and surging waves, and instantly they stopped and became as smooth as glass. Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful? Have you lost your faith in me?”

Shocked and shaken, they said with amazement to one another, “Who is this man who has authority over winds and waves that they obey him?”

II. POWER OVER DEMONS

LK.8:34-36 – Then the people of the region came out to see for themselves what had happened. When they came to where Jesus was, they discovered the notorious madman totally set free. He was clothed, speaking intelligently, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. They were shocked! Then eyewitnesses to the miracle reported all that they had seen and how the demonized man was completely delivered from his torment. After hearing about such amazing power, the townspeople became frightened.

III. POWER OVER DISEASE

Lk.8:47,48 – When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”

Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing. You may go with my peace.”

IV. POWER OVER DEATH

Lk.8:54-56 – Jesus approached the body, took the girl by her hand, and called out with a loud voice, “My sleeping child, awake! Rise up!” Instantly her spirit returned to her body and she stood up.

What kind of a miracle do you need today? He rules everything from tornadoes and earthquakes to heart problems and cancer. He knows the challenges you are facing and He is more than able to drive back every enemy and to bring life to your soul as well as your body.