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Many would question whether or not miracles are even real. Then if they are real do they all come from God?

Another question Christians ask is: Do babies go to heaven? This and other topics are addressed here.

 You can click on “A defense of miracles” below to start reading at the beginning or use the page index to jump to the topic that interest you most.

Overview of content in this section is as follows:

Page Index

A Defense of miracles
Do all miracles come from God?
A glimpse into the heart of God
Do babies go to heaven?
Who do you envy?
Why read the Old Testament
Are you a self centered person?

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Page Index (Are Miracles Real?)

A Defense of miracles

“If we admit God, must we admit miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it.
That is the bargain."
C.S Lewis

People often reject the Bible because it mentions things like God, judgment and miracles. But the Bible has been confirmed time and time again to be historically accurate. The parts that we can look to for verification are in fact confirmed. Countless archaeological digs have confirmed much of the history of the Bible. Not only does history confirm the Bible, but details in science provide evidence as well. For example Job 26:7 tells us that God “hangs the earth on nothing”. Space exploration has shown that the earth is indeed suspended in space. Job lived long before space exploration, though; in fact, he lived a few thousand years before Christ. So, how did he know that? Throughout history, critics have attacked the Bible because of its claims and failed to disprove it. Concerning that fact I would like to share a quote with you.

  • Time Magazine Dec. 30, 1974: "After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the bible has survived and perhaps better for the siege even on the critics’ own terms. Historical fact, the scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalist began the attack."

When we consider miracles, it is obvious that Jesus performed more public miracles than anybody. Jesus said that these works or miracles were in fact proof of His claims of who He was.

John 10:24-33:
24        The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."
25        Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me.
26        But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.
27        My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28        and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
29        My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30        I and the Father are one."
31        The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
32        Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?"
33        The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (NAS)

John 14:9-11:
9          Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10        Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
11        Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. (NAS)

Here we see that Jesus offered His works, or miracles, as evidence of His identity. Are we to now say that miracles are not possible when Jesus offered them as evidence? Jesus and the New Testament writers taught of good moral values and truth. It would be a huge contradiction if those who taught that we should be moral and not lie were in fact very immoral and spreading lies about miracles themselves.

The Bible is interlaced with history, and miracles that some still question has been confirmed true. It is not logical to disbelieve the Bible based on a preconceived notion that “miracles are not possible”.

Some argue against modern day miracles because the event in question only happened once, and cannot be repeated. They say, "I did not see it happen, and it cannot be repeated, therefore I do not believe it." By that logic we could say the person extending that argument does not exist —Did you see them born? Can that rare event be repeated? No! The same can be said for the formation of the universe — it only happened once and cannot be repeated — yet here we are.            

There is one point concerning the numerous miracles that were performed publically by Jesus that should not be overlooked, and that is the Church itself. Consider for a moment where and during what time period the Church was born. It was born in the same area and during the same time frame as the miracles that were performed by Jesus. The Gospels and the accounts of the things that Jesus did were being circulated among the same cities that the events and miracles actually took place. You would think that church growth would be impossible if the incredible stories contained in the Gospels were just fabricated lies!

For example — imagine that someone today started spreading news articles stating that the President was performing public miracles in Los Angeles, California. Furthermore, the articles themselves were spread all over Los Angeles, California. How many people in Los Angeles would believe these stories if there were no eyewitnesses they could talk to? How many of them would be willing to die for this belief? Thousands of people in the geographical area and during the same time when Jesus performed public miracles believed. These same people were persecuted for their beliefs, and many died martyrs for their faith in Christ. We have no writings from anybody during that time period that claim the miracles never happened. If reports of miracles were all fabrications, then you would think there would be written documentation of the fabrication. On the contrary, it was only years later (after all of the eyewitnesses were dead) that people began to claim that the miracles never happened!

What does all of this have to do with us today? First, it shows us that the Bible is true and reliable. The same Jesus who performed miracles is our Lord and Savior. He can, and still does, perform miracles today. Granted, we do not see numerous public miracles today, but at that time, He was offering them as evidence of who He claimed to be. This is evidence that we can still look to ourselves when considering His claims. There are many periods throughout Biblical history when there were not public miracles. Just because we do not see numerous public miracles, does not mean that they do not happen.  This is something you may want to remember as you kneel before the Lord in prayer.

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Do all miracles come from God?

People have often given an account of some miraculous event as the reason for their faith in a particular church or doctrine. By using miraculous experiences to determine truth people have joined false religions and believed false doctrines. We must not interpret the Bible by personal experience. Rather we must interpret our experiences in light of the Bible. We can show this truth in the Bible by examining two points.

  • The Bible tells us that we should test the spirits to see if they are from God.
  • The Bible tells us that not all signs, wonders or miraculous events are from God. Satan is out to deceive people to lead them away from the truth. He is more than willing to use his own power to trick people into believing a lie.
  • The Bible tells us that we should test the spirits to see if they are from God.

I John 4:1-3 (all underline, bold, and italic emphasis in this chapter mine): “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

Here we are told that we can recognize these deceiving spirits by what they say about Jesus Christ. So what did John mean when he said that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? Well this same writer tells us what he meant, in the Gospel of John — John 1:1 and 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (Verse 14) “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word was God and God became flesh, and dwelt among us. In other words those who deny that Jesus was God in the flesh are teaching the spirit of the antichrist. Let’s say a person in a false church that denies this truth experiences some sort of miracle within this false church. Does this show that the person belongs to a true church? No, of course not, because not all miracles are from God. We should examine any church or person performing miracles in the light of what they teach about Jesus. (See also 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Acts 17:11, Proverbs 14:15, Romans 16:17-18, 2 Peter 2:1.)

  • The Bible tells us that not all signs, wonders, or miraculous events are from God.
    • Deuteronomy 13:1-5: "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.”
    • Exodus 7:10-12: “So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.”
    • Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
    • Matthew 24:24: "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
    • II Thessalonians 2:8-9: “And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; {that is,} the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.”
    • Revelation 13:12-14: “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”
    • Revelation 16:13-14: “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”

In summary, if we do not want to be deceived we must interpret all miracles from personal experience or otherwise in the light of Gods' written word (The Holy Bible). We must test the spirits to see whether they are from God.

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A glimpse into the heart of God

I would like to share one of my favorite verses that I believe shows us a little bit of the heart and nature of God.

Ezekiel 33:11: "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'”

Now we know that God is a loving God, but we also know that he is a God of justice. By His own nature He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Notice He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. However to let sin go unpunished and unrepentant is not an option. We are told He would rather have people turn away from their wicked ways so that they could live. Why would God rather have us turn from our wicked ways? Because He really cares and would rather love us, then punish us! Notice also that He repeats himself — "Turn back, turn back". It would seem that He is pleading for us to turn so that He does not have to punish us. Think about that for a minute. We are talking about the Creator of the universe here. We have an all-powerful God, pleading with mankind. Why? Because His love is real. Next we read, "Why then will you die?" He is also trying to reason with us. What reason can we give to not turn away from certain destruction? At the same time, turn to a God that loves us so much that He Himself paid the penalty of our sins, purchasing the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28,  John 3:16-21).

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Do babies go to heaven?

 Parents who have lost a child are often understandably plagued by this question. They realize that to go to heaven you must make a conscious decision accepting Jesus Christ. So what about the child who was not old enough to make a decision such as this? We can find the answer to this in a story in the Bible, 2 Samuel 11:2 - 2 Samuel 12:23. This is the story in which David lusted after Bathsheba, who was the wife of Uriah. David had Uriah sent off to war, on the front lines so he would be killed. Then, David felt he could take Bathsheba for himself. David's plan succeeded. He married Bathsheba and had a child with her. After this had taken place, David was confronted by the Prophet Nathan. He was told because of this awful thing he had done, the child born to him by Bathsheba would die. The child then got very sick and David began to fast and pray hoping the Lord would let the child live. When the child died he quit fasting and the servants asked him why? David responded, "Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." David knew that the child was not old enough to consciously acknowledge God. Still David expected to be with him after he himself died. David was told his sin was forgiven even though he would still suffer consequences because of it. So it is reasonable to also say David still believed he himself would go to heaven. In order for David to go to be with the child, the child would have to be in heaven. So yes, babies do go to heaven. We know not everyone goes to heaven, so it would seem, there is some age at which we become accountable. The Bible, however, does not tell us what that age might be.

 BABIES

Babies are God’s special gift
some people tell me of what I missed
a little child I wouldn't mind
but there is a reason to this rhyme
I don't need a child of my own
if my heart’s not made of stone
there are children everywhere
with the need of love that some don't share
I don't need a child of my own
I need a heart not made of stone.

By Robert Kiser

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Who do you envy?

I would like to share with you a lesson that the Lord once taught me. I found myself wanting to model myself after others that I saw in Christian ministry, and at times found myself even a little bit jealous of them. As Christians, we know that we are not to covet anything that anyone else has. But secretly, when one has nothing, it is easy to sometimes look at others who seem to have been blessed with everything, and ask, “Why not me?” I am not perfect and I have had moments like that. On one of these occasions I shrugged it off and began reading my Bible. The following passage is one the Lord used to get my attention.

  • Mark 12:38-44: “38) And in His teaching He was saying: ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39) and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets, 40) who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation." 41) And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42) And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43) And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44) for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

I read this and paused for a moment, and pictured this lady in my mind. I saw an older lady dressed in worn shabby clothes. Even in the text you can see she was poor. Now an older lady who was a widow in Jesus' day would not receive very much attention. In fact women in general were not given a lot of respect. So here is this poor lady dressed in rags coming up to put money in the temple treasury. She comes up quietly with her head down low and puts in a cent which really amounts to nothing. She is someone whom the compassionate would pity. As I visualized this in my mind, I felt as the Lord interrupted my thoughts to ask me a question. The question that my thoughts were interrupted with was this. "In the times that you have envied others or wished that you were in their shoes, have you wished you were like her?”

Before you read on, stop right here and ask yourself the same question. Seriously. Stop a minute and picture this poor widow in your mind and ask yourself this question. I did stop and pondered this question and I said, “No, I have never wished I was like her.” Then in my mind the Lord came across loud and clear. “Why not? She received my praise!”

Wow! I felt ashamed! By the world’s standards, we may appear as a failure. We may appear as someone of no significance, but the Lord views things a lot differently than the world does. This lady was at a state of disadvantage in the world's perspective. Yet Jesus used her as an object lesson for his disciples, whom He was trying to teach. Somehow I do not think that she is at any disadvantage now! I do not think the praise from Jesus ended there!

We are to give of ourselves not looking for recognition of those within the Church or anyone else. Consider the next passage and how it ties in with the one we just read.

  • Matthew 6:2-6: “2) When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3) But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing 4) that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 5) And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6)        But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

We are to approach our duty in a quiet humble manner, not looking for the recognition of any person or church leader. Our concern is to be obedient and pleasing to the Lord.

I would like to add one final illustration that I heard about our committing to the Lord and pleasing Him. This illustration I have found thought-provoking. Committing totally to the Lord is like being handed a legal contract which you know that you will be strictly bound to. This particular legal contract will be involved in every single area of your life. It is on a legal form with the law firm’s name stated at the top. There is a line down at the bottom where the one bound to the contract is supposed to sign. The rest of the page is blank.

The Lord hands you the contract and asks if you wish to sign, stating as He hands it to you, "Do not worry about all of the details; I will fill in the rest later!" Do you really trust Him? Will you sign the contract and not worry? Will we be content being looked at by the world as a failure and a person of no significance? Whose praise are we seeking?

Page Index (Why Read the Bible?)

Why read the Old Testament?

I have met Christians who feel that we do not need the Old Testament. They want to refer everything to the New Testament and view the entire Old Testament as outdated. They may make some sort of statement such as that the Old Testament is the Law, and Christ fulfilled the law. We even publish lots of “New Testaments” by themselves, eliminating a big part of God's written Word.

How did Jesus view the Old Testament?

  • John 5:39: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.” (NAS)

What Scriptures did they have when Jesus said this? All they had was the Old Testament — the New Testament had not been yet been written. Still, Jesus said the Old Testament bore witness of Him.

  • Luke 24:25-27: “And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (NAS)

Here we see Jesus starting with Moses and all the prophets to explain things concerning Himself. Since the Old Testament bears witness to Jesus, why would anyone want to eliminate it?

When the Apostle Paul and the disciples were out witnessing to people, they constantly referred to the Old Testament. Let me share a couple of examples of this.

  • Acts 8:30-35: “30) And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31) And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32) Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth. 33) In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.’ 34) And the eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘Please tell me of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?’ 35) And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.” (NAS)
  • Acts 17:11: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.”

These people were commended for accepting what the Apostle Paul said and searched the Scriptures daily to see if the message that Paul gave was true. Again the Scriptures they were checking daily were those found in the Old Testament. The New Testament wasn't finished yet.

  • 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV)

This passage really states the need to study the Old Testament clearly. Think about this a minute. The New Testament was not complete at the writing of this passage. So it cannot only be talking about the New Testament.

God went to the trouble of making sure we had His written Word. There are 66 books in the Bible, and 39 of them are in the Old Testament. It makes no sense to say that as Christians, we no longer need it. Jesus and the Apostles made constant use of it, and so should we.

Page Index (Am I self centered)

Are you a self centered person?

The Bible teaches us that we should put others before ourselves.

  • Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

           
I will never forget an illustration a guest speaker Gayle Erwin used when I was in Bible school. He was talking about things we got angry at. In Ephesians 4:26 we are told, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” There is a difference between righteous anger and unrighteous anger. Jesus was angry when He drove the people out of the temple (John 2:14-17) and yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). The question is, why do we get upset in certain situations? Imagine that you are standing in a line and someone cuts in front of you. Does this upset you a little? You might say, “Yes, but what the other person did was wrong — which gives me the right to be upset.” Let me ask you this: have you ever been upset at someone who cut into line behind you? No? If not, then are you ever really angry when someone cuts into line in front of someone else — or just when someone cuts into line in front of you? Does this attitude reflect regarding others as more important than ourselves?

 

DYING TO SELF                                         Matthew 10:38-39, Philippians2:3-8     

I thought of the words of an Indian
as my heart was dying that day
now these words have struck me
in a different sort of way

a Jewish man said the same thing
2000 years ago
and to this Jewish man
this very life I owe

the words of these men are deep
though their meanings are worlds away
if I follow the words of one, I cannot go astray

these words I must follow
I said to myself with a sigh
the words are simply this
IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE! 

By Robert Kiser

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