Now that’s a miracle!

 

I attended a talk over Christmas about the true meaning of Christmas and why the birth of a baby was so significant.
The talk included different philosophers on how Jesus was historically a real person and that there are many different sources accounting the miracles.
At the end of the talk someone asked how we can relate to this today as we don’t have miracles.
In response to this question I was eager to reply that we do have miracles. But it wasn’t my place at the time.

I would like to share that we do in fact experience miracles today in the same way that Jesus performed them when we was with us on earth.
These miracles are personal miracles. We can call them Mini Miracles. They might not be to the same extent as feeding the 5,000.
But that miracle affected 5,000 people individually. Their own mini-miracle of being fed. They experienced it. Just because lots of people experienced the same mini miracle at the same time doesn’t belittle the mini miracles that people experience in their daily lives through the Holy Spirit and God’s omnipresence. God created the earth. He was performing miracles before Jesus was on the earth and he’s performing them after, even right now. In the same way that the people witnessed and experienced mini miracles of their own through Jesus, we can witness and experience them today.

What do we class as a miracle? Something that happens that is seemingly impossible.
Taking this recognition into account let’s look at some examples. The first being the -flame above the disciples heads – meaning that they can speak to everyone about Christianity in different languages, automatically. Acts 2:1-12  This was a miracle. A miracle for the disciples. And this would result in mini miracles for the people who they spoke to. But this was after Jesus had physically left them.
So after Jesus had gone to heaven, miracles could still occur.

We hear of many different miracles, the more dramatic such as healings, people speaking in tongues or visions.

But I think we often miss out  those miracles such as Churches running food banks which in some community’s sustain and help those in the most need. Doing all of it in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Young person who in this 21st century of  rational thinking and a hatred of all things religions, dares to be different and choose to live a different life.

Now these miracles may seem a lot like good deeds and the more “miracles” you do in your life leads to your salvation. Well I want to categorically deny that is not what I’m saying. these mini miracles which I have mentioned as the miracles that were experienced in the Bible  were there to point to Jesus. To his divinity, to the salvation that can only be obtained through him. Pointing to the remarkable miracle that God sent His only Son to die on the Cross and rise again to defeat death and open up the gates so that we may walk free of the grasps of death and hell.

Feel free to comment if you would like to share some experiences of miracles. A testimony of how God has moved and worked in and through your life, It might act as ministry/evangelism to your friends or have a think about events in your life that you could consider to be a miracle. I hope reading this and other comments will encourage you.

God Bless

Gareth

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Listening for the Gospel

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Are you one of those people who sits on long train journeys with headphones in, music blaring, in your own little world?

On a recent journey I took with my headphones in I found myself in my own little world I realised that I was not doing anything good for the gospel. See, in life we see the gospel throughout the world, through what we see, in what we do and what we hear.

As we go about our days rushing from one place to another you can’t help but notice things in other people’s lives like the phone conversation you overhear, the homeless person sat in the cold rain and the joy and love of a married couple strolling together. But what should these things that we see do to us?

These things that we come across in our day to day lives should remind us of the gospel. When we see people in distress or struggling alone this should stir in our minds the story of the gospel. As we see people in these situations it should also draw us to think why we need the gospel.

Let’s break this down.

Recently on a train journey I came across a lady on the phone. The phone conversation did not appear to be going very well and by the end of the phone call she was in tears. Then like every morning I walked past several homeless people shivering in the cold after another night on the streets. What do these sights and sounds show us about the need for the gospel. They show us that this world is a fallen world. That this world is a broken and imperfect world. When we talk about the gospel and when we talk about the good news of Jesus Christ we cannot and should not avoid the reality that the world in which we live in is not the way it should be… I am regularly drawn back when I think of the fallen state of our world. God knows this problem and in fact God has fixed this problem. Jesus knows how difficult life can be with the loss that we can encounter. I am drawn to John chapter 11 where Jesus loses Lazarus, Mary blames and accuses Jesus, saying, ‘If only you had been here.’ When Jesus sees the troubles, the pain, the anguish as the scriptures say he was moved deeply and it greatly troubled him. The gospel, the good news tells us that this world is not perfect. However, the gospel also tells us that our God is moved greatly and deeply at the site of the troubled state we are in. That means only one thing… hope.

As we continue through John 11 we realise that this deep and troubled feeling on Jesus is what stirs in Him action. This is also true however with the salvation of mankind. Back in Genesis when Adam and Eve committed the first sin God cast them aside, He sees them separated from Him and is moved deeply. God threatens the evil one that He has a plan of salvation to rescue His people, His beloved people, from the grasps of Satan. This is the hope mentioned earlier. This is the hope of Jesus Christ. In this broken world where we encounter pain and suffering we know that Jesus came to change all of that. He encountered pain and suffering himself taking on pain and suffering that he did not deserve. Jesus came to fix this broken world. Jesus came to walk alongside everyone, including those who have lost, those who are lonely and those who sleep in the cold. God cares. So how should this have any impact on the good news? What should this mean for us when we are evangelising to those who do not yet believe.

It should encourage us that we do not need to start by telling people where they are going wrong and just shout ‘repent!’ at them. We need to, like Jesus, see what is wrong and walk alongside those who are in pain and suffering. As we do this we will be moved greatly and we will be affected by what we see and in doing so we will react with action. An appropriate action will help bring the good news to that person to point them to the Lord Jesus.

My prayer for you is that as you go about your day, meeting new people and enjoying your old friend’s company that you look into their lives and look for any trouble so that you can walk alongside them. I hope that you can help them through their troubles, weep when you need to weep, allow yourself to be moved greatly and deeply so that you will be able to most effectively tell of the good news of Jesus.

If you have any other questions and you’d like to get in touch with me please do not hesitate to comment below or Message the Facebook page OR send an e-mail to wordtolife_gareth@outlook.com

God bless.

Gareth.

 

Poverty, Ignorance and Total Depravity.

 

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My recent trip to South Africa has opened my eyes to issues such as Poverty, ignorance and the theology of Total depravity.

I’m going to look at these three things briefly today and look at them in more depth in the next few blogs.

So why look at these things? Why care?

Well let’s start with Poverty.

First off Poverty is a big problem. Fact. Some people will quite often try to dismiss claims poverty worldwide and locally is on a decline. Quite often in England they will release statistics suggesting that poverty is decreasing when in reality all they do is lower the poverty line so less people are included in that bracket. Mostly single parent households with large families are now being drawn to food banks and relying on hand outs to survive. This is the same problem I encountered in South Africa. But worse. Living conditions, health care even relying on local government all worse.  In South Africa you rely on the goodness of those who are willing to help. Who regardless of their situation are willing to help, regardless of the conditions that you come to them in, those seek to help only because the love they have. Driven on by the Love of God and the peace he brings to the hectic and unpredictable life in South Africa. These people are like the Care workers at the care points. These amazing ladies are driven to care and love the children and their carers by the love of God. For them Poverty is a reality even for some of them themselves, but they continue to volunteer to help make other peoples lives better. They help to in still the hope of God in peoples lives. More about them in the blog post on Poverty.

Moving on to ignorance.

You may wonder what this section will be about. Well for me this is a section all about our ignorance. Before I went to South Africa I think I had a selfish heart, an ignorant heart, that some one will help the people stricken by poverty, afflicted by famine and disease. I soon realised after arriving in South Africa that poverty is everyone’s problem. That it should be everyone’s concern. We particularly in the west are ignorant to the fact that someone else is helping out. On Facebook or Twitter we see someone else has been to Africa to help so therefore I don’t need to or an advert on the TV so someone else will donate. But we can not allow this to go on. We must let God open our eyes to our own ignorance and the ignorance not just of the western world but also of those who live with poverty all around them. We do this in England and because of my visit to South Africa it has opened my eyes to the poverty in my own country.

Now finally Total Depravity.

You may wonder why the first point of Calvinism has found it’s way into a post on South Africa and Poverty. Well it all came about after a fellow team member and I had a conversation. You see when you are in a place of so little and yet you come from a place of plenty. When you then realise that across the world we live in plenty alongside those who have little, we walk by, we don’t blink and eye and instead complain about our own lives, we only choose to see the problems in our own lives instead of helping others. Now there will always be poverty, the Bible makes that clear but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t walk alongside those who live through it. Pride, Ignorance and sins of omission prevent us from helping stem the flow of Poverty. Our totally depraved state is how poverty is at the state it is. In the UK, the US and Africa.

I will over the next few weeks be going into these three topics in a more in depth way.

God bless

Gareth