Friday, November 20, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 19, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Miraculous Power

Bishop Eric Menees

As we’ve been working through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit - as listed in First Corinthians chapter 12 - verse 10 specifically mentions “Miracles.” Let me ask you: “What comes to mind when you think of a “miracle?” For many it is the last minute “hail Mary pass” to win the Super Bowl; or the Cubs making it to the playoffs. Often it is described as being miraculous when a person is ill and finally begins to respond to medical treatments.

The Menees definition of a miracle is as follows: “The suspension of natural law for the benefit of man and the glory of God.” Scripture is full of examples of miracles. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the man with Leprosy: “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)

Clearly this is an example of a Miracle of Jesus, who suspends natural law to heal Leprosy - an incurable disease at that time, which still leaves many people around the world permanently disfigured. Clearly the healed man benefited from this miracle, and God was and is glorified! Not able to contain himself, the healed man spread the word that Jesus had healed him and restored him to wholeness – mind, body, and spirit!

Now you might say: “Well yes, but that was Jesus – these things don’t happen now.”  Ah, but they do – daily!  God grants the gift of miracles to different individuals so that man may be benefited and God may be glorified. These miraculous events seem to happen regularly in the mission field, but they happen here in our present context too. I’ve witnessed several such miracles.  

As a young man, I participated with a group of faithful Christians who walked from Santa Barbara to Tijuana to raise funds for a ministry known as Los Niños. Once in Tijuana, a group of us spent the morning making sacks of food – peanut butter and honey sandwiches and a piece of fruit – to give out to people who lived in the garbage dump, picking through trash looking for food and recyclables. That morning we made two hundred bags of food, confident that we had plenty. When we arrived there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. I turned to one of the nuns who worked with us and said, “We do not have enough food.” Her response: “Sure we do – we’ve never run out before, and we won’t today.” After about an hour of handing out food to well over five hundred people, we still had dozens of bags left – those were brought back to the orphanage that we worked with. This was clearly a miracle of multiplication. Were the laws of nature suspended? YES! Two hundred bags of food were miraculously multiplied. Was man benefited? YES! These people had a nutritious meal. Was God glorified? You bet your sweet bippy God was Glorified! And in telling this story again, God is glorified again.

Keep your eyes, mind, and heart open to the miraculous and I promise you that you will see God’s hand at work. Ask God to use you as His instrument for the miraculous and act accordingly and you will both be blessed, and be a blessing to others!

I pray you all a truly blessed Lord’s Day!

Catechism Questions 186 - 190

186.    For what personal blessings does the second half of the Lord’s Prayer teach you to ask?
As a loyal child of God I pray first for God’s honor, Kingdom, and will; then I pray for my own needs of daily bread, pardon for sins, and protection from evil.

187.    What is the Fourth Petition?
The Fourth Petition is: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

188.    What does “our daily bread” mean?
Daily bread includes all that is needed for personal well-being, such as food and clothing, homes and families, work and health, friends and neighbors, and peace and godly governance. (Matthew 6:8; Luke 11:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

189.    Why should you pray for bread daily?
God wishes me to trust him every day to supply my needs for that day. (Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:6)

190.    Why does God give you daily bread?

God gives me daily bread because he is a good and loving Father, and I should thank him for it morning, noon, and night. (Psalms 81:10, 16; 103; Daniel 6:10)

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