23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. — Mark 11:23, 24 NLT
These are two well-known and often quoted verses from the Bible. Of course, we know the basic principle of God answering prayer is true. But, can we just randomly pick a mountain, ask God to cast it into the sea and watch it immediately happen? Of course not. We might not like the mountain where it is but there might be a million other people who love it and perhaps even God Himself might like the mountain where it is. If God has told us to pray that prayer about a specific problem, then that mountain will be moved. But the important thing for us to notice and remember with these two verses is the fact that they are the meat between two slices of bread. We can’t just have the meat, we have to eat the whole sandwich. Look at the principle in verse 22:
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.”
There is a requirement that God has laid out for us before we ask Him to move the mountain. And then verse 25 gives us another requirement that we must fulfill before we ask God for anything:
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
And there are some veggies that need to be eaten as well, Have we determined that what we are asking for aligns with all the Scriptures, not just our favorite ones? If we have met the requirements for God to answer our prayer — believing (being completely convinced that it will happen), forgiveness and alignment with His will, then the mountain will move.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? – John 9:30 NLT
This blind man that Jesus had healed had become very bold. He tells the Pharisees and the religious leaders that it is strange that they, of all people, would not know something about this man. After all, they were the teachers of the law, they were the shepherds that were supposed to lead and take care of the flock. How could they possibly not know anything about a man who could heal people? He also tells them that God is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. Only a man sent from God could do that. This angered the leaders even more, to the extent that they cast him out of the synagogue, telling him that he had been born in sin. At least, they got that part right.
At this point, the former blind man might have been wondering why the leaders had so many questions and so few answers. He was probably feeling like he needed a friend. But, as always, when we need a friend, Jesus shows up. He is still showing up today. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. And, yes, He is still asking us the same question He asked this man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! — Daniel 3:27 NLT
Shadrach, Meschah and Abednego had refused to bow to the ninety foot statue of Nebuchadnezzar. They, instead, chose to remain faithful to their God. They told the king that whether God chose to deliver them or not, they would always remain faithful. For their faithfulness, they were thrown into a fiery furnace that burned so hot, the soldiers throwing them into the furnace were killed. Rather quickly, Nebuchadnezzar learned that his plan to destroy the three men did not work. God joined them in the furnace and delivered them so completely that their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them. An amazing miracle! So, amazing that even the king gave the praise to the God of these three men. He also quickly promoted them to a higher position in the government. They were saved from the fire because they had more work to do here on earth. Contrast this to the deaths of the apostles whom God chose to deliver in a totally different way. He allowed them to die and to come on home to heaven. Their work here on earth was finished. I wonder which of the two methods of deliverance the three men in the furnace would have chosen, if the decision had been left up to them. Paul might have wondered the same thing.
3 They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm
and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
for you loved them. — Psalm 44:3 NLT
Israel was the smallest of all nations (Deut. 7:7). Had they been left to themselves, they would not have been able to leave Egypt and safely cross the desert to get to the Promised Land. But God chose them and fought their battles for them. He gave them manna from heaven and water from rocks to sustain them in their journey. When they complained about the food, God gave them manna and quail to eat. God gave them victories over every enemy that attacked them on their journey using miracle after miracle to defeat the attackers. He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River bringing them into the Promised Land at harvest time. God gave them a great victory over the ancient, walled city of Jericho and they ate crops that they had not planted and drank from wells that they had not dug. Why? Because He chose them and loved them. Why does He give us spiritual food and water in a spiritually dry and barren land? For the same reason. He has chosen us and He loves us. They were to bear His standard and carry His name throughout the known world. Just as God called them out of Egypt, He has called us to come out and be a special people and a royal priesthood. Just as He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, so He will bring us safely out of this world and to the new heaven and new earth. Not because of who we are but because of who He is and His promises to do so.
20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect. — Acts 19:20 NLT
Acts 19:11-20 NLT
We are told in verse one that “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.” In verse twenty, we see the reason for this was to spread the Good News about Jesus and the redemption story. The spreading of the Gospel always has a powerful effect on all those that hear. To those that hear and believe, it brings new life. To those who hear but refuse to believe, it brings death. Anytime the name of Jesus is spoken those that hear it must make a decision right then and there. Either they will believe the Good News and receive life or they will refuse to believe and earn their way to hell. When the name of Jesus is spoken with the intent to glorify God, it contains all of the power that was present at the resurrection of Jesus. But when the name of Jesus is spoken with the intention of self-glory or for the mere purpose of gaining wealth, the result is confusion and chaos. Just ask the seven sons of Sveca. God is a God of miracles and miracles are still being performed today. Not all of us are given the power to perform miracles as Paul was. God gives different gifts to members of the body of Christ so that it can be whole and bring glory to Himself. God doesn’t perform miracles on a whim or on demand. Each time we witness a miracle we know that God has a purpose and a plan that requires a miracle to complete the plan. Miracles always affect more than one person. The person receiving the miracle is not the only one touched. Those seeing or listening that are already believers are encouraged and those who do not believe will be drawn to God.
6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” — Acts3:6 NLT
God has a plan for each of us and following that plan, we will intersect with the plans He has for others. Every minute detail of every plan is laid out and weaved into the patterns of our lives. The lame man was laid by the Temple gate every day. No doubt, Peter, John and even Jesus had passed him before on their way to worship in the Temple. Why did God choose this particular day to demonstrate His power? We could say that we don’t know the specific reason and that would be true. But we can assume without doing any injury to the Scriptures here that there was at least one person present in the crowd that day that needed to see this miracle occur. Probably more, but at least one, needed to see a lame man made whole. God doesn’t waste miracles. He has His reasons for when, where, and why. We have no idea of how big the impact of this particular miracle became as time passed. When reading the Bible, it is important to remember that the acts we read about are only a small sampling of what was going on at the time. One of the people in the crowd may very well have become a church founder or maybe just a missionary to his own family. Either way, it was necessary for this miracle to happen at this exact moment on this day in front of this crowd. God excels in doing the extraordinary in ordinary places and times. Listen for the small, still voice. He is asking some of us to allow Him to take our ordinary lives and do something extraordinary with them today. At least one of us, maybe more.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. – Romans 12:1 NLT
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.–Eph. 1:18-21 NIV
It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the power that is available to each of us through Jesus Christ our Lord. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that assures us of our hope of eternal life. If our hearts were totally in sync with God’s heart that we might see through His eyes and hear through His ears, the difference we could make in this age would be immeasurable. This is the truth that Jesus wanted us to get hold of when He said:
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.–John 14:12 -14 NIV
We can grasp a part of the truth of this statement when we realize that it is still God doing the works and miracles today. . When our only motive becomes to glorify God and His Son, Jesus and we believe that the dunamis power of God, His Holy Spirit, resides in us, then I believe that we will begin to see those miracles occurring today, just as they did when Jesus and the disciples walked the earth.