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Posts Tagged ‘miracle’

The Power of the Resurrection

May 26th, 2014

“God raised Jesus from the dead . . to be seen . . by witnesses whom God had already chosen.” Acts 10:40 NIV.

The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is believable to others when the effect of His resurrection is visible in your life. 

My thoughts and comments are about “the power of the resurrection.”

Jesus’ resurrection is God’s assurance to you that nothing is hopeless, no circumstance is final, and no distress if unchangeable. I believe: the resurrection of Jesus is the most powerful, sovereign act of God since creation. The Apostle Paul wrote, “. . of first importance: Christ died for our sins . . was buried . . raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and that He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers . . last of all He appeared to me also.” Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-10 NIV.

Do you think it strange that Jesus did not make public appearances after His resurrection, except selectively? I would assume Jesus would appear to Pontius Pilate, the powerful Roman Governor, or wicked king Herod, or the Jewish High Priest and the Sanhedrin council, or the crowd who adamantly insisted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him; we have no King but Caesar,” choosing Jesus to die, rather than Barabbas.

Peter preached, “We are witnesses . . God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen.” Acts 10:36-45 NIV.

The disciples saw Jesus’ cruel and public death, watched his lifeless body buried, and the tomb sealed and guarded. Their dreams and hopes died and were buried with Jesus. A few visited an empty tomb to remember what used to be. Others felt too lost to go anywhere or do much of anything yet, sharing their confusion and disappointment while huddled behind locked doors. (John 20). Some headed back home with hopes crushed (Luke 24). Some returned to their former life and pursuits (John 21).

On every occasion, the resurrected Jesus – without natural limitations and with more glory and unlimited power – appeared to them. Immediately everything about their lives changed. Jesus was alive! Their past made sense; their future was secure; their lives now had a grand purpose; they were eye witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. 

The personal reality of the resurrection changed their cowardice to courage, their confusion to conviction. The resurrection, as they now understood it, infused them with courage to live fearlessly, willing to suffer, even sacrifice their lives, for the truth of their irrefutable, personal experience of Jesus, “alive for ever and ever.” Revelation 1:18 NIV. These same men and women – once disheartened, discouraged, and confused – were suddenly world changers, fearless and bold to preach to everyone everywhere. It was said of them, “They saw their boldness and recognized they had been with Jesus . . They that have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 4:13/17:6.

The resurrection was transformative. They were fearless, were courageous, risking their lives, fully persuaded. No ocean was too broad, no country too far, no task too difficult, no sacrifice too costly. They lived in the present reality and power of the Jesus’ resurrection.

Until the resurrection of Jesus makes a difference in your life, you will make no difference in the lives of those around you.

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I have spent much time writing this, but I have a better idea. I want to share a video of my teaching on this topic at the Cathedral of Faith, San Jose, CA.

Click on the “vimeo.com” link below, or copy and paste it into your browser, or go to the EDL website: www.allenrandolph.com, and scroll down the right hand column to beneath the Calendar, and under “Church Websites” click on “The Power of the Resurrection” which will take you to the sermon video. I hope you will enjoy and experience God’s invitation to “know the power outflowing from His resurrection.” Philippians 3:10 AMP.

http://vimeo.com/93172840

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The Miracle and Mystery of Healing

January 29th, 2014

“Prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well.” James 5:15 NLT.

The essential elements of healing are the grace and sovereignty of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the miracle and mystery of healing.”

Few things present more unanswered questions and opinions than healing through prayer and faith. It would be easy to struggle with the questions: if healing occurs, how healing occurs, and why healing occurs, or more commonly, why it doesn’t. The reality is that many of us have more questions than answers in this very real area of spiritual life. Wisdom is not letting answers you don’t have dissuade you from the answer God gives. The Savior that has the power to forgive sins also holds the power to heal. Read Mark 2:1-12 NIV/Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV.

God’s Word is clear, “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well.” James 5:14-15 NLT.

Is that true? Of course it is. God’s Word says it is, providing many examples of healings in both the Old and New Testament, and through the ministry of Jesus, as well as others. Anyone willing to look honestly into God’s Word will find the promise of healing as well as its successful practice. Across history, and yet today, there are many such testimonies. Whatever else you question, you are not left to wonder if healing is promised in God’s Word. Don’t wait until you understand all of God’s mysteries; simply be available to God’s miraculous power and divine possibilities.

When my Dad was a teenager, my grandmother was diagnosed as, “terminal.” At the invitation of a neighbor, she and my Dad visited a small church in Buffalo, New York, where she was prayed for. Never having been in a church until he was seventeen, he accompanied his mother who was prayed for and miraculously healed that Sunday night, living several decades longer. The Randolph family came to faith through her miraculous healing, her story reaching across generations to our family today, and our children, our grandchildren, and hopefully to their children as well.

Years later as a pastor, married, and with a two-year-old son (that was me), my Dad was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever, severely affecting his heart and leaving him debilitated for six months, requiring constant help for the simplest activities of every day care. Like his mother years earlier, he was prayed for and miraculously healed. Those stories and others wondrously filled my childhood. Some may try to reduce James’ words to a formula to force God to work at their will. Others wrongly assume that unless everyone is healed, then no one actually could be.

Healing is both a mystery and miracle. I confess I do not know how healing happens, nor why healing does not always occur for the most desperately needy or apparently most deserving. But unanswered questions must not dismiss the answer given in God’s Word. The Bible is true; “Prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well.” James 5:15 NLT.

Of this be certain, healing is the Lord’s doing. Prayer and faith – your own or another’s – are significant components to the possibility of healing, but the absolutely essential elements of healing are the grace and sovereignty of God. You can neither make healing apply as you wish, nor should you dismiss healing as a wondrous possibility for your life.

My prayer for you today is: believe in and expect the power of God every day.

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The Christmas Mystery and Miracle

December 23rd, 2013

“Great is the mystery . . God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV.

No word from God is incredible, if no work of God is impossible.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the Christmas mystery and miracle.”

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, mysterious and miraculous in every aspect. The living, eternal God came into our world – at the most unexpected time, after four hundred silent years; to the most unlikely place, a stable in Bethlehem; in the most unlikely form, a baby. You don’t have to explain the mystery; God invites you to simply embrace the miracle. Paul described this incredible but true Christmas miracle this way, “Without controversy great is the mystery . . God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV.

The heart and reason for Christmas is best expressed in the most familiar of Scriptures, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16-17 NIV. Bethlehem’s cradle foreshadowed Calvary’s cross. Isaiah prophesied, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV. Christmas is when the Father gave us His Son; the Cross is where Jesus gave us Himself as our Savior. See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV.

John described this history-changing moment with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men . . He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him . . The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Read John 1:1-17 NIV. The “Word” that John describes so eloquently is none other than Jesus, God’s Son. The mystery is that Jesus “became flesh;” the miracle is that He “made His dwelling among us.” Accept the mystery; believe the miracle. Jesus is, “Emmanuel . . God with us!” Matthew 1:23 NIV.

Let me remind you of the already familiar story of how this came about. Read Luke 1:26-38 NLT. An angel appeared with a startling announcement to Mary, a young, devout, not yet married, Jewish girl. Understandably, she is described as, “confused and disturbed,” by the angel’s words. Those would be normative emotions. She had questions because the miracle was wrapped in a mystery.

The angel’s cryptic answer was simple, “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” Luke 1:36-37 AMP. Read again the verse above; the Amplified Bible accurately translates the Greek words used by ancient translators. Simply stated, the Angel assured Mary – and you and me – no word from God should be thought incredible to you, when no work of God is impossible to Him. Incredible, but true! See Isaiah 55:11 NIV.

Jesus is the embodiment of the Word of God and the Word of God is the faithful expression of Jesus.“Search the Scriptures . . which testify of Me.” John 5:39 NKJV. The power of God flows from the word of God, then and now. While Jesus lived among us, He spoke to nature and the wind and waves obeyed; He spoke to disease and sickness departed; He spoke to sin and forgiveness flowed; He spoke to spiritual oppression and demons fled; He spoke to death and life returned. No word from God shall be without power nor impossible of fulfillment – spoken to Mary or to you!

My prayer for you today is that you never fail to see the miracle because of a mystery.

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Contrast of Realities

May 26th, 2010

“Naaman . . was a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” 2 Kings 5:1 NKJV

“God will do for you what you cannot, when you will do what you can.”

My thoughts today are about “a contrast of realities.”

No one’s life is a single story. We know that our own isn’t, but hold to the idea that others’ are somehow. Every one of us is a collection of realities, some proudly reported and others contrary to our wishes. Naaman was just such a contrast of realities – “commander of the army . . a great man . . highly regarded . . valiant soldier . . but he had leprosy.” NLT. So much about Naaman and his life were wonderfully good, but he had leprosy!

Those who knew him would have said that “he had it all,” but Naaman’s “all” included leprosy. Leprosy was the worst of dreaded diseases – incurable, devastating, and a tragically contagious disease, unrelated to anything he would have chosen or had done to deserve. But his story included that reality.

Initially, this unwanted reality might have been possible to ignore, until he could no longer do so. For a while he may have tried to hide it from others, but soon some would know. Sadly, leprosy was terminal, eventually. A person with it died just a little at a time, slow and agonizingly. Naaman was offered a way to be rid of his leprosy, something that he could not do for himself. He moved in the direction of a miracle. His story takes some interesting twists but concludes with the word “leprosy” being removed form his resume, and from his life! You can read Naaman’s story for yourself. See 2Kings 5:1-19 NKJV.

Let me draw a parallel. The things you should deal with and fail to do so do not go away or simply lie dormant for very long. You know the kinds of things – the not-so-bad things that waste valuable time, unprofitable habits, secrets you keep, guilt you hide, attitudes wrongly indulged, or friendships and activities that lure your heart from God.

Left unattended, they hold the potential to spoil the wonderful story of your life that God is writing. Jesus spoke of Naaman, “There were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, only Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:27 NIV. I want to be that kind of an exception. God will do for you what you cannot, when you will do what you can. See 2Kings 5:9-14 NLT. To be whole, you have to be real.

King David spoke of this contrast of realities, “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14 NIV.

Errors, hidden faults, willful sins, great transgression – such a worsening progression of the soul is inevitable and stands in stark contrast to the reality of a heart that desires every thought of the heart and every word of expression to be pleasing to God. You can make your story different, if you will. See Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you deal with anything that doesn’t fit your profile.

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Good Neighbors

August 18th, 2009

“If you . . believe in your heart . . you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NIV

“The Gospel is simply one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

My thoughts today are about “good neighbors.”

Good news is for sharing. If the news is good enough, you can’t keep it to yourself; you will want to tell someone. When a person finds something new and wonderful, they naturally think of sharing it with a friend. Every business knows that the best advertising is a satisfied customer telling their friends. Every restaurant knows that word of mouth is the best advertising for new business. Every church grows by the testimony and recommendation of its members. I have often heard my stepfather, a minister for over 70 years, describe the Gospel in this way, “the Gospel is simply one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

If you knew something that would save another person’s life, would you share it with them? If you knew information that would make a friend happy, would you tell them? The answers are obvious; then why would a Christian have the greatest good news in the world, and feel awkward about sharing it? “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah.'” John 1:41 NIV. That is a great description of what my thoughts and comments are about today. Tell someone what you know about your salvation – and theirs!

My Dad was seventeen but had never yet been in a church. My grandmother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. A neighbor in Buffalo, New York, invited my grandmother to come to church with her, sharing how God could heal and at her church they believed and prayed for people to be healed. Having nothing to lose, she went to her neighbor’s church one Sunday night and took her teenage son, Ray, with her.

That night the church prayed for her and a verified miracle of healing happened, and she and her teenage son were saved after seeing the power of God so real. “If you believe in your heart . . you will be saved.” That is as true today as it ever was. That teenager would later become my Dad, and much of who I am and what I do is because of what happened years before I was born.

My Dad pastored for more than 20 years, and now I have done so approaching 50 years – simply telling others what God can do. All because one lady took the time to tell her neighbor. Try to imagine how many people have heard Good News since that lady shared Jesus with her neighbor. I would not like to think what the Randolph family history might be if she had not made the effort to share.

I don’t know her name but mine and my family’s destiny were eternally changed because a woman next door shared Jesus with her neighbor. Maybe that is one of the practical ways you fulfill the commandment Jesus gave to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31 NIV.

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A good neighbor simply does for another what they would hope would be done for themselves. To explain what a good neighbor is, Jesus told the story of a Good Samaritan whose kindness and practical help saved another’s life. Everyday you have opportunities to do that in one way or another as a good neighbor to someone else.

My prayer for you today is: prize the gift of life shared with you and give that gift to others.

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