Pastor Ben Haden relates that Fannie Howell had been teaching college for 21 years in the Los Angeles area. She taught English. In a class of 100 college students Fannie Howell said, "I want you to take down the following words: ‘It is Christmas Eve and fog holds to the tarmac at Lindberg Field (tarmac meaning the road, the surface, the runway).’"
Professor Howell then went on to say, "This is going to be a collaborative effort, I want every five of you, every five in this class, to pair off and to finish the story begun with the words I have just given to you."
She later related that only a very few of the stories written ended in what you would call "Happy." She put quotes around happy – by happy she meant that the problem raised was solved. Rather, all the other stories ended in violence, without plot, without sense, and without hope. And with no problem solved! With no one to make a way where there seemed to be no way. Every story was totally Godless! The "Divine Waymaker" of the Bible nowhere to be found. The Red Sea never parted!
She said, “To read the stories that my students have written, you would think that all they have known is rape, violence, murder, unconcern, indifference. Some of it is psychological, but most of the violence is physical. There is never a hero. Never anyone that you can elevate! Never anyone you can look to! The only people these students admire are all dead – or living entertainers and athletes they can see. Those are the only heroes they recognize.”
She went on, “I will never forget one of the stories – the computers were down, all the planes were grounded, all the people were crowding around and suddenly there was a massive explosion – a bomb went off and everyone died.”
Crisis! Chaos! Carnage! But no solution! In fact, SOLUTIONLESS and CYNICAL! Professor Howell relates about the bomb story, “My class laughed, because they felt that the bomb had been fixed ingeniously to go off. The wiring of the bomb is what they admired.”
Frankly, most of the people in crisis that I have met in over 42 years of ordained ministry have not only needed a solution, but a miracle solution. “Can God help me,” they have asked over and over again? They have been morally bankrupt. They have been homosexuals. They have been lesbians. They have been adulterers. They have been alcoholics. They have been drug addicts. They have been pornography addicts. They have been in broken marriages. They have been atheists. I say "Have Been," because they found their miracle solutions in Jesus Christ. Not all, but several. I grieve over those who have not to this day.
I have been graciously allowed by God, not only to witness His solutions, but His powerful miracle solutions over and over again in people’s lives. I have seen the dead raised! I have seen the “sick unto death” healed in a moment! I have seen the homosexual become a whole and healthy heterosexual! I have seen drug and pornography addicts set gloriously free! I have seen the adulterer-sex addict become a purified and faithful spouse! I have seen the hopelessly demon possessed totally dispossessed and Christ indwelt!
Dear God, thank you for allowing me to see your miracle solutions before my very eyes, as well as in my own miraculously polio-healed body as a teenager!
And yet we have those today who go around preaching and believing that we are past the age of miracle solutions. Some of these nay-sayers are reputed theologians and Biblical scholars. And in an age when the world needs more than ever miracles for otherwise miserable and unsolvable crises, they tell their listeners that there are none to be found.
1. THE GOD OF MIRACLES
When we say that God is "The God of Miracles
," we are simply declaring that God performs supernatural acts called miracles! He works miracles! He does miracles! Or as the old saying goes, "God Is The Miracle Worker
At the very dawn of creation and the beginning of time, God bared His miraculous arm and carried out those stupendous acts of His creative genius. This is when God first sovereignly chose to unleash His creative and miraculous power. Quite a debut! He reveals Himself in the very first sentence of the Bible as "The God of Miracles
." We read in Genesis 1:1,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
Then God said in Genesis 1:8,
"Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and
let the dry land appear.
From the very outset of history, God was making a statement. It was as if He was saying, “Hello
, allow me to introduce Myself. I am "The God of Miracles," and you had better get ready for lots of miracle action, for this is my modus operandi
.” From that opening miracle moment on, the Word of God is the revelation of God’s omnipotence in a never-ending display of miracle after miracle.
God from the opening bell in all of His diverse methods of carrying out His acts and purposes never departs from His miraculous super-intendency over the affairs of the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is always "The God of Miracles.”
2. THE EX-GOD OF MIRACLES
Many churches still today say that He was, but that He is no longer. Some say that He did, but that He does no longer. I was brought up with this "Has-Been God
" and "Once Did God
" of antiquity and His used-to-be miracles. I knew as a boy most of those miraculous "Bible Stories
" from "Bible Times,
" but always in the context of this ancient, bearded God and His long-gone miracle legends in a miraculous age long past!
I mean, what is more devouring than hungry lions, and yet God restrained their voracious appetites, turned them into mere pussy cats so that they would not so much as salivate over a Daniel. Or, what is more ravenous than the ravens, and yet they of all birds parted with their food on behalf of an Elijah. However, they were always viewed by me as ancient characters of a never to be recaptured miracle age of some distant yesteryear.
Thank God that shriveled theologies cannot shrink God or extinguish His acts. Theology is what man says about God. The Bible is what God says about God. I choose to believe the latter. Yet we are told by certain tradiction-bound theologies (tradictions – theological traditions that contradict the Bible) of modern Christendom that God is no longer "The God Of Miracles."
In fact, we are left with the dismal prospect that God no longer breaks into the constant, uninterrupted course of natural causes and effects with His supernatural acts. If you need a miracle, you had better look for another god, for the God of the Bible has closed up His miracle shop. The miracle door of Heaven is locked, and no matter how hard you pound (pray) on it, it will no longer be opened.
If you will
, they tell us that God has changed His modus operandi,
and no matter what you tell these anti-miracle religionists about the miracles of God happening today, they will write them off as luck, chance, coincidence, fate, fortune, science and a host of other incredible things which take more faith than for the real miracles themselves. More than that, as you listen to them talk, somehow the works of man always have their way of poking their heads above the works of God. This is the "Age of Man
," even in many churches, and is no longer the "Age of God
." That is why these days have produced restatements of faith in the modern church. It used to be that people would stand up an state, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." Today the creed is, "I believe in myself."
In fact, the very man in my first church who God brought back from the dead told me not to tell the congregation for they would think that both of us were nuts. How tragic! I should have had him come forward on a Sunday morning and give testimony to what God had done for him and showed to him. It was thrilling! But I didn’t and he wouldn’t, knowing that it would have started a war. I am reminded of the events after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as we read Luke 11:10,
“But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus
to death also.”
Such anti-miracle religionists also remind me of the words of Father Abraham in Luke 16:31,
“… neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”
They remind me of a candle saying to the sun, “You are not shining.” Those who in themselves can do nothing by themselves telling God that He can no longer do some things! How pitiful! God met those very same people in Isaiah’s day when He says of them in Isaiah 5:12,
“…But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, nor do they
consider the work of His hands.”
In the meantime, every year in America there is more erosion of faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While theologically and doctrinally moribund religion no longer believes in His miracle works as contemporary, the world less and less pays attention to His resurrection. Whenever a magazine like Time
features Jesus on the cover around Easter time, it is always to attack the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They speak of Him as being redefined, or revisited, or doctrinally reexamined, but never resurrected.
The miracle-denying modern religionists have strengthened the world’s non-faith in the resurrection of Christ. As a matter of fact, their doctrinal sermons and theological exactness has no more impact on the world than the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. Musty "Queen Theology" has replaced "King Jesus" in Protestantism just as in Catholicism the "Holy Mother" has replaced "God’s Son." American atheists scream that there is no God. Some churches are even more convincing. Listen:
"IF AMERICA WILL BE MADE TO LISTEN TO THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, THE
CHURCH MUST ONCE AGAIN BELIEVE IN AND PREACH
THE MIRACLE CHRIST OF THE GOSPEL."
3. THE MIRACLE GOD
We must at this point understand that simply saying that God is "The God Of Miracles
" by itself does not capture the primary and essential truth of God or God’s Word. Nor does it change the minds of those who are dead set against Divine miracles in the 21st century or any other century since the 1st century. We must first come to grips with and embrace a priority truth which is this:
“THE MIRACLE GOD.”
It sounds like we are simply rephrasing the same thing, but in fact we are not. It can best be explained in this way:
“THE ‘GOD OF MIRACLES’ DEALS WITH HIS ACTIONS, BUT THE ‘MIRACLE GOD’
DEALS WITH HIS ESSENCE.”
If you will:
“THE ‘GOD OF MIRACLES’ DESCRIBES WHAT GOD DOES, WHILE THE ‘MIRACLE
GOD’ DESCRIBES WHO GOD IS
Stay with this now! What is a miracle? One way to define a miracle is this:
“A MIRACLE IS AN ACTUAL EVENT OR OCCURRENCE THAT EXCEEDS THE
POWER OF ANY NATURAL AGENT OR CAUSE, AND IS THE RESULT
OF SUPERNATURAL CAUSES.”
“A MIRACLE IS AN ACTION THAT EXCEEDS ANY NATURAL CAUSE,
FORCE OF POWER
You see, miracles come from "The Miracle God
" who Himself infinitely transcends the natural. God doesn’t first do miracles! God is miracle! God is supernatural! God Himself is the very essence of miracle. He defines miracle!
Only "The Miracle God” could be "Three Persons In One Eternal God!"(Matthew 28:19) "One Almighty God In Triplicate!" Explain that if you can. Give a clear account of that if you can. There is nothing in human reason that can understand it. You might just as well try to stuff a mountain into a molehill. You might just as well try to pour an ocean into a thimble. The fact is:
"THERE IS NOTHING IN HUMAN REASON ABLE TO REFUTE GOD, FOR THEIR
IS NOTHING IN HUMAN REASON ABLE TO COMPREHEND GOD
So Unitarians have invented a much more simplistic, far less miraculous God. Sorry! The God of the Bible is "Trinitarian" and not "Unitarian." You cannot have it both ways.
Because God in Himself is essentially inexplicable, should it surprise us that His actions are inexplicable too. Should we be at all surprised that the mystery of the Trinity should be manifested in continually manifested and multiplied mysteries? Should we be all that mystified that the "Three In One God" should create 5000 meals plus from five loaves and two fish? Because God is bigger than life, His actions are bigger than life! What else would you expect from "The Miracle God?"
If you will, God’s supernatural being is inclined to and at home with producing the supernatural (miracles). Supernatural actions (miracles) are far more in agreement with His supernatural being than natural actions. So much so, that for God not to perform miracles would be the greatest miracle of all. Miracles have nothing to do with historical dispensations, but everything to do with God’s eternal essence. Because He is the forever "The Miracle God
," He is always "The God of Miracles
." In short:
"FOR THE MIRACLE GOD NOT TO BE THE GOD OF MIRACLES IS TOTALLY
INCONSISTENT WITH HIS MIRACLE BEING."
“TO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF GOD’S MIRACLES IS TO DENY THE
EXISTENCE OF THE MIRACLE GOD.”
“TO DENY GOD’S MIRACLE ACTIONS IS TO DENY HIS MIRACLE ESSENCE.”
These cannot and must not ever be separated. Listen:
“FOR GOD TO CEASE BEING THE GOD OF MIRACLES IS FOR GOD TO CEASE
BEING THE MIRACLE GOD.”
4. THE ALMIGHTY GOD – THE GOD OF MIGHTY ACTS
We can illustrate all of this in another most powerful way. We read that God introduced Himself to Abraham, the father of all believers, in this way in Genesis 17:1,
“I Am God Almighty.”
What an introduction! Wham! Let’s cut to the chase! Hello Abraham, I am God Almighty, good to meet you! God could have presented Himself to Abraham in many ways. He chose only one – God Almighty
! That is how God primarily wanted the father of all believers to think of Him, for that is Who God is. Law of first mention.
Or if you will, “I Am Almighty God!” God is speaking to Abraham, at that time Abram, not just about His omnipotent acts, but about His omnipotent being – His omnipotent essence. He did not say, “I Am The God Of Almighty Acts.” He rather said, “I Am The Almighty God.”
God is addressed as “Almighty” 60 times in the Bible. It would be ridiculous to speak of God without ascribing to Him all power. They go together! They are inseparable! That is what being God is – Almightiness! God is limitless in His power. God doesn’t have all power. God is all power! You can’t have fire hot or cold. You can’t have water dry or wet. Fire is hot, water is wet, and God is all power. You can’t have God without all power. When it comes to God and not God, it is all power or no power at all.
This means also that God is never not all-powerful! Not only that, He doesn’t lose any power when He exercises His power. Not in the least little bit! “Almightiness” means that His power is inexhaustible not only, but also that it is never in the least bit lessened. That is why we read in Isaiah 40:28,
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator
of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired….”
If you will, His omnipotence is never in short supply, and God is never exhausted or in need of a breather. He never needs to be renewed or rejuvenated. He never has to regain His title of "The Almighty Champion Of The World." He never has been and never will be the ex-Almighty God. We climb a steep hill, and while going up two steps, we fall back one. While we climb the hill, the hill climbs all over us. Our climb is always made longer because with every step we are made weaker. Never so with God, for He doesn’t climb hills, He made them!
"The Almighty God" is always overpowering. He never has to exert Himself to be overpowering. It simply overflows out of Him. No, it does not overpower Him, or overflow Him. God cannot overpower or overflow Himself, for that would be for God to be outgoded! For Him not to produce any longer the miraculous, the supernatural and the overpowering would make Him a natural, underwhelming and underpowering god amidst all of the other dud gods of world history.
And now hear this too:
“BY THE MERE EXERCISE OF GOD’S SOVEREIGN WILL, HE BRINGS TO PASS BY
HIS LIMITLESS POWER WHATEVER HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH.
“WHATEVER GOD WILLS TO DO, HE HAS THE POWER TO DO IT.”
Actually, for God to will and for God to do are the same. For what He wills, His power does! For when God says, “Be,” then “It is!” For God to will is the act accomplished. We read in the creation account over and over again, “And God said, ‘Let there be,’ and "there was.’” That is "The Almighty God."
None of this registers with us, because we can’t conceive of the fact that whatever He wills, His power produces. Why? Because we can will a million things and still be frustrated a million times, because we don’t have the power to effortlessly and instantly accomplish what we will! I may will to have a house, but I need a body to build it, or the bodies of others to get the job done.
God wills and it is so! Man wills and it isn’t so! That is why we have the word “Wish” in our vocabulary, because we are men and not God. There is no wishful willing or wishful thinking with God, only with man.
“ONLY GOD HAS POWER OVER HIS POWER.”
Got that? We don’t have power over His power, for if we did, He would not be all powerful, we would! His miracle power cannot be manipulated or jerked around by man, though man and especially religious man tries to manipulate it. Certain segments of modern Christianity believe that they can flip the switch of omnipotence on and off as they so desire. However, man has no control of or power over God’s power! Nada! Zilch! Zero!
How in the world could the finite ever begin to control the infinite? Only the infinite God controls His infinite power? No one tells Him what He can and what He cannot do. No one tells Him when He can and when He cannot do. No one tells Him what He must and what He must not do." To think so begs the question, "Who are we kidding? Only Ourselves!" God is not jerked around by power-happy preachers who think that they can shout down God’s power from Heaven, and who are convinced that:
"THE MORE THEY EXERT THEIR PREACHING, THE MORE GOD MUST
EXERT HIS POWER.
Next and this is critically important:
“GOD’S POWER IS NOT A BLIND POWER.”
His perfect power is always manifested in accordance with His perfect wisdom. Ephesians 1:11 calls His wisdom the
“The Counsel Of His Will.”
of all, God doesn’t have to will anything or do anything. Second
, He only wills and does those things which are consistent with His perfect being, sovereignty and wisdom. He is the only wise God! (I Timothy 1:17) God’s acts will never contradict His wisdom. Everything He does will be wise, holy, just, righteous, and good, for that is the way He is.
God does whatever He pleases, which may mean that whatever He does may not necessarily please us. He does all things according to His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:11), and not according to our selfish pleasure. So we read in Psalm 115:3.
“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
Returning to my boyhood no-miracle creed and church, how in the world can anyone decide or declare what infinite, Divine power can and cannot do, when that same anyone doesn’t and cannot understand or comprehend that very power to begin with? How do you set boundaries around that which is infinitely unbounded as to where it can go, where it must stop, and where it can go no further, when the very one setting such boundaries is all bound up in finitude? What kind of nonsense is this? In short, is there anything more absurd than for:
“THE LIMITED ONES TO SET LIMITS ON THE UNLIMITED ONE?”
Recently Ed Young Jr. began a powerful and timely sermon series on his Ed Young TV program entitled “Politicked.” I know exactly what he is saying and how he feels about the state of government and politics in America. I agree with him completely, for I am also “Politicked.”
But I can and must carry it a step further, for when it comes to the state of the modern church, I am also “Ecclesiasticked.” Ecclesiasticked on the one extreme at those who are playing gods and think they can co-god with God in the modern church, as well as at those who will not allow God to be God and dictate to God what He must and must not do, and what He may and may not do! The modern church is in so many instances so full of baloney, and what is even worse, their pastors are putting the baloney on ecclesiassticks and feeding it to their people in their Sunday morning baloney roasts.
Or again, because He is "The Almighty God," He is and forever will be "The God Of Mighty Acts." How could anyone allege that His mighty acts have ceased, and that what He now does is no longer commensurate to or in keeping with His “Almighty Essence?” That is to deny God’s “Almighty Being” as well as His “Almighty Actions.”
We read again and again in the Bible about God’s “Mighty Acts.” Of course! What would you expect? Not only that, but also that we are commanded to praise Him for His “Mighty Acts.” Such as Psalm 150:2,
“Praise Him for His mighty deeds….”
It doesn’t say that we are to praise Him for His past mighty deeds. No! Praise Him for His mighty acts – all present tense! God is the now "Almighty God" of "Almighty Acts!" The entire Bible is about the now God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
5. THE SUPERNATURAL SEVEN – THE NATURAL SIX
The following account can be found in II Kings 5:8-14. Naaman was a general. He was head of the army of Syria. He was the favorite in the court of the Syrian King and was a valiant warrior. However, Naaman just happened to have leprosy. And LEPROSY was as feared in that day as AIDS and CANCER are feared today. Those with leprosy were separated and isolated. In his present condition he was therefore in reality general of nothing and no one.
Naaman had a young girl who had been captured and enslaved. She became a servant to Naaman and his wife. This girl said to her master one day, “There is a man of God in my country – in Israel – who is a prophet. He could cure you.” You don’t get to be a general by being dumb. Naaman went to his king and told him what the girl had said. The king said, “By all means, go.” So Naaman loaded up with silver, gold, and 10 changes of clothes. Changes of clothes were used during that time in place of money.
When Naaman delivers his king’s letter to the king of Israel, the king of Israel was distraught. He tore his clothes and said, “Am I God to kill and make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy. But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me
He then receives a message from Elisha saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let the leprous man come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
General Naaman came and stood before the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger out who relayed his instruction to the leprous man: “Go wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.” Naaman was furious. After all, he was a general. And more than that, there were rivers in Damascus that he thought were better rivers than the Jordan. He also thought that Elisha would at least come out to him, call out to his God, wave his hands over him and heal him. But go jump in a foreign river seven times? Are you kidding? He went away enraged.
However, one of Naaman’s men finally got up enough courage and said, “If Elisha had asked you to do a great thing, would you not have done it? Why not do what he asks?” So Naaman humbled himself by going to the River Jordan just as he had been instructed. He dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, and miraculously, when he came up from the river the seventh time, he was completely cleansed from his leprosy. This healing was for a heathen who had no faith whatsoever, just desperate obedience! God is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145;9)
There are several important points here! First
in the Bible is the number for God. Six
is the number for man. Poor man! He just cannot shake the six-fix! He was created on the sixth day. He is commanded by the Lord to work six days of every week. When he dies they put man “Six Feet Under.” When he is thrown overboard and buried at sea, they call it being “Deep Sixed.”
While right from the beginning God took ownership of the number seven. God of course completed His creative work and then rested on the seventh day. He has declared the seventh day to be a Sabbath Day unto the Lord our God. Man is “The Natural Six.” God is “The Supernatural Seven.”
Second, in the remarkable story of God, Naaman and Elisha, “The Natural Six” had just met his only hope and solution in “The Supernatural Seven.” “The Natural Six” could do nothing about his abysmal condition. There was no solution to the problem in the world of “The Natural Sixes.” He was dying of leprosy and that was all there was to it. He had had it! But by going to and obeying the prophet of God, he had just entered into the world of “The Supernatural Seven.” If you will, solutions and possibilities unlimited!
One might say that there isn’t that much difference between six and seven. In fact today, there are those who present man and God as co-equal sevens. However, there is an infinite difference. It is in fact the difference between simple six and seven trillion. Even that is misrepresentative, for God has no measure. "The Supernatural Seven" is in a different world. In fact, He is another world in Himself.
The infinite distinction is captured throughout Scripture, as for instance in the words of our Lord in Luke 18:27,
“The things impossible with men are possible with God.”
What is man associated with in that text? The impossible! What is God associated with in that text? The possible! The world of “The Natural Six” is the world of the impossible. The world of “The Supernatural Seven” is the world of the possible. If you will, the very things that are man’s impossibilities are God’s possibilities. Quite a difference between the impotent six and the omnipotent seven!
Third, it wasn’t the River Jordan that healed the leper. It wasn’t the prophet Elisha that healed him either. "The Supernatural Seven" doesn’t need the “The Natural Six” for anything. Zilch! Zero! Nada! God in many instances graciously chooses to use His natural six-servants like Elisha in the impartation of miracles. God often acts through His natural six-servants not because He needs them but because He graciously and sovereignly chooses to use them. He allows us by prayer, by the laying on of hands, by anointing the sick with oil to graciously be part of His miracle acts which He could have done without us in the first place. Listen:
“TO EVEN SUGGEST THAT GOD NEEDS US IS A GOD ON WELFARE.”
Some have this notion that if we don’t come to Jesus’ aid, then He has had it! Dear God, You created with nothing and out of nothing to begin with. Since when do You ever need something or someone to do anything? The entire creation stood up out of nothing and became something. That’s the Almighty God. Listen:
“THE MIRACLE GOD’S ACTIONS FLOW IMMEDIATELY FROM HIS ESSENCE,
WITHOUT THE AUXILIARY ASSISTANCE FROM ANY THING OR
ANY BEING DISTINCT FROM HIMSELF
Fourth, never forget that God does require our obedience! He demanded in the case of Naaman that the weak and sickly "Natural Six" bow down to and obey the almighty "Supernatural Seven" by dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times. The fact is that when he obeyed God, he was dipping himself into the number seven. He was jumping from the limited into the unlimited; from the impossible into the possible. He wasn’t really, though he was, dipping himself in a river. He was jumping into the ocean of God’s seven, and found himself way over his head and immersed in "The Supernatural Seven."
(Please Go On To "The Miracle God" Pt. 2)