Are Miracles Real?

Are Miracles Real? Is God still in the miracle-working business? What is a miracle? What do I do if I need a divine intervention?

He Still Does Miracles  Hawk Nelson

Are Miracles Real?

I have a very special interest in the answer to our question today: “Are Miracles Real?” I have been praying for a miracle for Grant. I have asked others to pray for a miracle. I’m still waiting for a miracle to happen that will restore to Grant what was stolen from him.

A miracle would really help build my faith. I confess I am skeptical. Jesus said
"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” Matt 10:16 (MSG)

Be cunning as a snake. Don’t be na├»ve. Don’t be gullible. I guess that has fostered some of my skepticism. I feel like I am a graduate from the Apostle Thomas School of Faith.

John 20:24-25 (NIV)
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

Are Miracles Real?

One of my favorite deceased atheists is Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens coined the axiom “what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
 Hitchens, Christopher (20 October 2003). "Mommie Dearest". Slate. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
It’s a very convenient axiom for an atheist because miracles by definition defy scientific explanations. Therefore they are unprovable and if unprovable do not exist.

In a naturalistic understanding of the Universe, miracles do not happen because by a miracle is “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). That divine intervention idea really messes with some folk’s rationalism and pragmatism. Hitches went so far as to say that belief in miracles is both irrational and immoral.

I can understand irrational, but Hitchens’ reasoning concerning the immorality of miracles escapes me. Of course, Hitchens most likely believed that all religion is immoral. I stray.

Are miracles real? Do miracles happen today? Is God still in the business of miracles right now?

Two weeks ago the God Clue of who or what is the first cause of creation was found. Last week the God Clue of why do human beings have a moral code was uncovered. Today we’ll uncover another God Clue as we make an exploration into the nature and purpose of miracles, consider those mysterious God interventions. For your amusement, I will offer you my conjecture as why interventions don’t always happen. Finally, we're going to pray for supernatural aid if you need it.

A miracle is an event that cannot be explained by natural processes or phenomena and which requires a supernatural agent to perform it.

When you study the miracles in the scripture there are four characteristics that they all share in common.

The first characteristics all miracles have in common are miracles happen to prove something, they provide evidence. They are demonstrations of the existence of God and to validate the messenger of God and the message of God (1 Kings 18).

Miracles in the scripture occur to prove something. For example, Jesus’s miracles established the validity of his claim of being the Son of God (Mathew 11:3-5).
Miracles confirm the authority of those sent by God and to testify to the truth of the revelation they bring.

The second characteristic of a genuine miracle is that the miracle is not an arguable proposition. Thus when a miracle happens you know it as such. Miracles are not God Clues, they are God events. The enemies of Jesus never disputed the fact that a miracle (Matthew 12:22-24; Mark 2:1-2; 3:1-6; Luke 8:42-48). The effects of the miracle could still be observed, the blind seeing, the lame walking, a crippled hand restored. That which happened is beyond a naturalistic scientific explanation, but nevertheless, something real indeed happened.  The miracles of Jesus were never denied during the apostolic age. When a miracle happens there is no other possible explanation for the occurrence.

The third characteristic of a miracle of Biblical proportions is that they generally occur in the presence of credible witnesses often in the presence of hostel observers (John 6:10ff; Acts 26:26).   Validating miracles did not occur for a select few in a private place. They happened for the entire world to see.  Multiple reliable sources are a good indicator that the miraculous has occurred.

The fourth characteristic of a miracle is its immediacy (Mark 10:52; Luke 8:42-48, John 5:1-18; John 11:38-44; Acts 3:7). Genuine miracles were not slow, progressive processes; rather, they produced instantaneous effects. Whereas natural events take a certain amount of time, miracles happen instantly. Medicine heals over time; miracles happen all at once.

Those four characteristics of miracles are providing evidence validating divine Truth, they are beyond explanation, they occur in front of a credible audience, and they occur immediately. One little side note, no miracle worker in scripture made money off of performing a miracle. It just might be a dead give-a-way that a miracle isn’t happening if there is a financial profit for the miracle worker.

Noting those four characteristics, folks comprising the Church might be too quick in naming something to be miraculous in nature. I do think when a person finds their faith accepted by God and are transformed into a new person, that this is a great miracle. As I study the scripture the next miracle that we should expect is the Second Coming of Jesus.

Mark 13:26 (MSG)
"And then they'll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it!

I just tipped you off to my own speculation about miracles. I am really with the Apostle Thomas when it comes to miracles occurring today. I am for the idea, but not sure the many reported miracles I hear of today actually are.  Still, that doesn’t prevent me from believing that miracles can happen today. Noted Atheist Dr. Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago is quoted as saying “It would be a close-minded scientist who would say that miracles are impossible in principle.” God, can make exceptions to the general order of things if and when he chooses He can interrupt and suspend the natural order of things when it fits His purposes.  W.L. Craig, op cit., p.134 This section is summarised from W.L. Craig Reasonable Faith – Christian truth and apologetics Wheaton: Crossway, 1994, pp.127-155 

Do miracles happen today? The answer is yes.
I just want to put my fingers in the holes in His wrists and feet and into His side.

If you would like evidence of miracles happening today, especially the healing events, I’ve put two links to websites that provide medical evidence of a miraculous event in your notes.
You may also want to pick up a copy of Lee Strobel’s new book: A Case For Miracles, subtitled “A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural.

When I speculate I like to warn you because my speculations are just my opinions, my current thoughts on a subject.  I speculate that miracles are very rare occurrences, the miracles I expect are salvation experiences and the second coming of Christ beyond that I’m standing with the Apostle Thomas. What I think does happen all the time is  Divine interventions. I think there is a difference between the miraculous and interventions, some folks might think I am just splitting hairs but here’s my reason.

Miracles and Interventions differ because interventions are in the eye of the beholder. Something happens and you interpret the event as the hand of God. That means the event is subject to your judgment. Interventions are not meant to prove something or give evidence to something, interventions are to bless you, to protect you, to provide for you, to guide you. Interventions can be explained away by coincidence or random events or probabilities or even anomaly. Someone can find a naturalistic cause for the event where that is impossible for a Biblical miracle.  Interventions are often private affairs, more personal in nature, and beneficial to you the recipient. Interventions can occur over time, they are not necessarily immediate, they can be like avoiding an imminent car accident, but most often an intervention develops over time. These observations don’t make an intervention any less divine. Interventions are just of a different order than miracles.

Interventions are orchestrations of God to benefit His people. There are just too many cases in which a person feels that an event had the hand of God in it to dismiss the testimony. That’s a God clue friend. Is there fakery, fraud, misdiagnosis, psychosomatic healings, I am sure there are. But there is also the inexplicable that fits into the category of divine intervention.  There are events in my life that I understand as the hand of God moving on my behalf. Conclusive proof of the existence of God? No. But a strong Clue that God exists.

Now, this runs us right into that vexing age-old question.  If God can do the miraculous and if God regularly intervenes why am still stuck in the spot I am in?

There are numerous scriptures that are hard to deal with when you pray when other’s intercede in prayer for you, and things don’t seem to be working out according to the desires of your heart.

Matthew 18:19-20 (MSG)
 When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

Matthew 21:22 (MSG)
Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God."

Mark 11:24 (NLT)
I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

John 14:13-14 (MSG)
From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do.

John 15:7 (MSG)
But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.

John 16:23-24 (MSG)
"This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I've revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he'll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!

James 1:5-6 (MSG)
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

1 John 3:22 (MSG)
We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him.

1 John 5:14-15 (MSG)
And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he's listening. And if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as good as ours.

James 5:14-15 (MSG)
Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet.

These verses have been taken out of context. So you just can’t take them at face value and think you understand them correctly. They have to be read as part of the story being told, the teaching being given, the circumstances in which they were said. They can set us up for disappointment, even to the point of rejecting the faith. But they do encourage us to pray and when we pray God intervenes

Our friend Danny Bohi has witnessed many healing interventions as he travels the country and tells people to believe in God, to be a disciple, to be the church, his messages are validated by healing interventions. Yet not everyone is healed. Danny has been to my home and laid hands on Grant and prayed for healing. When Grant was first injured, our District Superintendent, Rollie Miller, and Pastors Craig Rench and Forest Stone gathered around his hospital bed and pleaded for God’s healing intervention. Pray meeting with other elders in the church has been held in my home asking God, believing God, for Grant’s healing. Prayer warriors have asked for intervention. My closest friends have prayed. There are a couple thousand Facebook friends who pray. Still, that healing gift has not come to pass. This is an active case.

Now I have tortured myself wondering if I lack faith, examining my heart to see if I believe God can intervene, making sure the sin issues in my life are taken care of, I have fasted, I have presented legal arguments to God, I’ve cried, pleaded, begged, bargained. I have questioned myself about lessons I was supposed to learn, disciplines I was to endure, but then a wise friend asked me if I thought this was all about me.  God comforted my heart with the realization that I was not the cause, neither was I the healer. Today Grant still needs round the clock care. The place I have landed is not where I want to be. That place is in the mystery of God. I have absolutely no idea why some receive the intervention they seek in this life, and others do not. Equally puzzling are those who receive interventions after years of suffering and have no idea as to why God healed them. I firmly believe prayers cause coincidences to happen, well not coincidence, intervention. As I wait for Grant’s healing anomaly I feel the presence of God walking me through these days, and I believe that one day I will consider these present problems to be no big deal at all.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (MSG)
These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.

Are miracles real? The answer is yes.

Do miracles happen today? The answer is they remain a possibility while we wait for the next miracle prophesied in scripture, The Second Coming of Christ.

We introduced the idea of interventions and concluded that Divine interventions happen all the time.
We noted that there is a mystery concerning interventions, they either happen or they don’t. The why question, when they don’t, has no answer other than it has no discernable answer, regardless you keep on walking with God. But when the interventions happen you have a God Clue.

Today do you need a divine intervention? Do you need God to take care of business that you can’t? Then I am going to ask you to exercise your faith, I’ll ask you stand if you need supernatural help today and together let's ask God for his healing intervention on your behalf, the behalf of a loved one. When He does its wise to testify to what has taken place.  No fanfare, no moving musical number just stand and ask for God’s help. 


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