The Purpose of Miracles

What is a miracle? Several years ago, a man told me, “If you can explain it, it wasn’t a Question Markmiracle!” I found that rather humorous; but because the man was serious I didn’t want to insult him by laughing. However, that is not a criterion for miracles.

I find two basic types of miracles, with several variations of the theme. 1) Supernatural: God works above, against, or outside the laws of nature. 2) Natural: God uses natural phenomena or natural laws; but inexplicable timing is the key element.

The Veritas Bible commentary says,

Miracle may be defined as that which takes place by Divine power outside the ordinary course of nature. Miracles are not an end in themselves but are intended to show either the truth of what is taught or the presence of God in the person who teaches. The object of Christ’s miracles was to prove His Divinity so that men might come to salvation.

I agree. The purpose of miracles is to glorify God, although mankind does benefit from them.   Let’s address the supernatural element first; and I want to start by saying that LIFE is a miracle.

The first miracle I find in Scripture is creation. A long-standing scientific principle says, “Matter can be neither created nor destroyed; but can merely change state.” That is: change from solid, to liquid, to gas, and (temporarily) to plasma. You and I create things out of stuff that exists. That is fabricating, but isn’t a miracle. God, Who exists outside time and space, created stuff out of nothing. That’s a miracle.

So, if matter cannot be created, but it exists – and matter cannot spontaneously appear from nothing – we know there is a God Who has always existed outside time and space. God is the great “I AM” – the eternal, self-existent One; the first cause of all things. (Remember that phrase because nothing can happen without a cause. That is also a scientific principle.)

Another above- or outside-nature miracle is raising the dead to life. Stated very simply: PICT0122man can neither create life nor restore life; but God – Who is outside time and space – can. Physical healings are sometimes miraculous. And, of course, one of the greatest miracles is exemplified in our eternal salvation. Looking at a baby reveals the miraculous power – and love – of God. But (don’t think I’m beingIMG_1439 funny here), watching an egg hatch also reveals the miraculous power of God. Think about it: man cannot instill or create life.

Now, for miracles in the natural realm.

An example (inexplicable timing) of the second type of miracle is found in Joshua 3:14-17 where the Jordan River stopped flowing at flood-time for the Israelites to cross over. DSCN4904Verse 16 says, “the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. (NLT)”

A supernaturally-timed land-slide temporarily blocked the river’s flow. When the nervous priests reluctantly, yet obediently, stepped into the flooded Jordan River, they didn’t know the water level was about to recede. Then, after more than a million people with all their animals crossed over, the temporary earthen dam gave way and a tsunami of water, rocks, and mud came crashing down the Jordan River. God caused the heavy landslide at the right time which blocked and contained the water until the right time. The timing was miraculous.

The Bible records about 37 miracles performed by Jesus, and He said in John 14:13, “If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son.”

THAT is the purpose of miracles: that the Father’s glory will be manifested, and that His purposes will be fulfilled on earth and in heaven.

Miracles are not for our self-aggrandizement or to puff up our reputation. They are not even primarily for our benefit. This is where many in the Church make their mistake: they focus on the miracle or on what they think they did through “their word” or by “their faith.” We must face the fact that, although man does benefit from them, miracles are for the purpose of exalting God.

Jesus said in Luke 10:20, “Don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven.”

So, don’t brag about your faith or your prayers. Learn to align yourself with God. Pray, act, and speak in concert with God’s will, in Jesus’ name, and allow God to receive the credit. He’ll bless you for it.Bible.docx

Just remember: The Bible lets us know that the purpose of miracles is to glorify God.

Wait for What?

Have you ever been told to “Wait!”? As a kid I waited for my sisters and walked to school with them. At mealtime we waited for everyone to get to the table before we could startPICT0070B eating. As a teenager I had to wait to get my driver’s license. With five sisters and four brothers, even with two bathrooms in the house, we had to wait – sometimes with great apprehension – until it was our turn. Waiting was not always pleasant.

But my parents made it more complex. We were raised in a Christian home, and one of the more frequent exhortations I heard was, “Be patient now; you must wait on the Lord.”

Wait for what? I could neither see nor hear God. I had a hard enough time waiting for people I could see.

One day I decided to check it out. Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) says:

“Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Studying those verses presented quite an eye-opener and I found three possible applications.  

1.                  Sometimes we are emotionally and physically tired. If we push ourselves too long and too hard we wear out and can get sick, but God wants us to rest and rejuvenate our strength. He wants us to physically take care of ourselves.

2.                  Without waiting for God’s timing or for His direction, some folk require, expect, or demand God to bless their decisions. And when things don’t work out, they incredulously ask, “I had faith! What happened?”

3.                  However, upon further study, I discovered another concept. In a restaurant DSCN7919the host says, “Your waiter will be with you soon.” Then the waiter or waitress asks the customer, “May I bring you something to drink?” Upon returning, he asks, “Are you ready to order?” Later, he asks, “Is the meal to your liking?” or “May I get you some desert?”

Do you see it? The waiter is serving the customer. He doesn’t wait for, but waits on the customer – therefore, his title: waiter. This provides the most appropriate application of the passage.

By the way, although seniors may receive discounts at certain restaurants, there are no discounts in heaven. We all are judged by the same criteria: we must live to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now read Isaiah 40:28-31 again. God is the infinitely understanding Master or Customer, and we are the finite servants or waiters. We often don’t know what God wants. That’s why we wait on Him to find out. It’s equivalent to asking the Lord, “Are You ready to order?”

What does God want? He wants what is best for us. We don’t know what we want or need; but God does. And if we wait on God – tune in to His desires by praying to Him and serving Him – then He will assure that we receive timely guidance. He will let us know what He desires, and our needs will be taken care of. He will help us make proper decisions.

As we wait on the Lord, the instructions He gives us include everything we need for living a healthy life. We’ll fly high above the problems in life. As we “run the race” that the Apostle Paul mentions, we will not become weary, and we will not quit.

As we cooperate with God we will be physically strengthened, depression will not be a factor in our lives, and we will add joy and inspiration to those around us.

So how do we wait on the Lord? We start with what Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, obey my commandments”; and in verse 21, “Those who obey my commandments areBible.docx the ones who love me.” The two commandments mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 (love the Lord your God, and and love your neighbor) encompass “The Ten” presented to Moses; and those Ten encompass all of life. So we wait on the Lord by obeying Him. We take His order.

Please note: NEVER give God an order; God is not your waiter.

Joyful obedience is the purest form of worship, and through true worship – a lifestyle, not music – we build the kingdom of God. Waiting on the Lord is not a chore; rather, it brings us into the presence of a loving God where there is fullness of joy.