Publication: Pastoral Letter, October 2016
Dear Friend in Christ:
I believe in miracles and believe that I have personally witnessed some miracles. I am taking into account that you probably would say the same; at least I hope so. Oral Roberts, a prominent evangelist of the last generation, often said, “Expect a miracle!” I believe that under his ministry, miracles happened. William Branham, also a healing evangelist, often saw miracles happen as he gave special “Words of knowledge” to those for whom he prayed. Smith Wigglesworth, another evangelist, also saw many miracles as he preached a powerful faith.
Beginning in the late 1940s, there was a fresh emphasis on miracles. One can go online or YouTube and see examples of those and many other miraculous results. Of course miracles have occurred throughout history, but there seems to have been seasons of fresh emphasis and great results. I pray that there is one yet ahead. Do we need to see miracles in our lives, in the Church, and out in the world? I believe the answer is yes!
We know that the term is used very loosely. A great sports play may be called a “miracle” such as “the miracle on ice” when the American hockey team defeated the seemingly superior Russian team in the 1980 Olympics. Or a great catch may be called a “miracle.” Sometimes an event may certainly look supernatural. But the loose use of the term miracle only obscures what a true miracle is.
I have read many definitions, but for our purpose here, I will say that a true miracle is a Divine effect that transcends natural processes; it’s supernatural. Miracles by their very nature are unexplainable undefinable. Therefore, those who believe attribute miracles to God and glorify Him. Those who do not believe will say that there is an explanation but we just do not yet know it. Sometimes that may be true. But there are times when the normal process is transcended, invaded, and there will never be an adequate explanation.
Miracles happen in many forms. Sometimes medicine and God’s hand work together. Sometimes miracles are instantaneous; at other times, progressive. Sometimes a miracle comes by God revealing an answer. Anytime that the Spirit of God is involved in a situation, it could rightly be termed a miracle.
Should we expect miracles? Definitely, if we pray in faith. “The prayer of faith shall heal the sick” (James 5:15). That verse also promises forgiveness to the guilty if we pray in faith. So we should pray for those who need both a miracle of healing and the miracle of complete forgiveness. We are simply asking and believing for God to intervene.
Because the natural mind received not the things of the Spirit, our intellect views some situations as impossible (see I Corinthians 2:14). The spiritual mind believes that all things are possible with God (see Matthew 19:26). Our Western culture has been dominated in recent centuries by a naturalistic view of the world. Science is useful but “scientism,” or the belief that science and nature hold all the answers, has affected both the culture and the Church. We have come to expect natural answers, not miracles, and have fewer occasions to glorify God. I wonder if God therefore has said, “Okay, you work it out.” So, we devise means to solve all our problems, failing to trust God or seek His help when, if we sought Him, He would help.
I have recently written about Gideon who, when told by the angel that the Lord was with Him, asked, “If God is with us, where are the miracles done in the days of our fathers?” That is my question. Should we not ask the same? Some say, “There are no miracles.” Others say, “There were, but not for this age.” Some believe in miracles, but continue on their way as though miracles were not available. The latter is, in reality, unbelief.
Does all of this matter? It matters to the person who is never “born from above.” It matters to the person in who is never delivered from the evil one. It matters to the person who dies, but could have been healed. It matters to the bankrupt person who could have prospered. It matters to the attorney who lost a justifiable case. Yes, it matters! When secular intellectualism wars against the Holy Spirit, it matters and often affects the destiny of entire nations!
Do We Need God’s Help?
Given the state of our world, it should be obvious that we need God’s help! Given the state of so many people, to question that infers ignorance. As I read the scriptures and history, my question is, where would we be without miracles?
Where would we be without God’s intervention in human affairs? Benjamin Franklin is said to have been a “Deist”. But he quoted Daniel 4:17 to the Continental Congress, “God rules in the affairs of men,” and suggested prayer. Where would we be if that diverse and contentious group of leaders had not prayed and God had not intervened time after time?
Where would we be without God’s help? What impact would Jesus have had? Would there even be a “Christianity” or a Church? And what about the apostles? I have recently read the book of Acts again. It should properly be called, the Acts of the Holy Spirit. There are all kinds of miracles listed that changed lives and nations. From Jesus to John in the Book of Revelation, it is all about the Lord’s involvement in history!
The answer to the question, “Where would we be without miracles?” is that far too many would be exactly where they are. Far too many are not asking the Gideon question, “If God is with us, where are the miracles?” Far too many have exhausted their means and have not sought the Lord. We should all do our best with what we have but what do we do when our best is not enough? Is there help beyond us? What then? I am not implying that we should seek miracles. Jesus rebuked Israel for seeking signs (see John 4:48). Signs are not the substance; they only point to the source.
My late friend Ern Baxter, who now with the Lord, used this analogy: When a sign advertises a restaurant, you cannot stop and eat at the sign. The food is at the restaurant and the sign only points to it. Miraculous signs should point to Jesus, not just the one the Lord used. To be sure, signs demonstrate God’s power and can draw people, but they are designed to draw people to Jesus, meet needs, and glorify God.
Are there false signs or demonstrations that are used to glorify the flesh? Of course; look up “Simon the sorcerer” in Acts 8 or Jesus’ statements about false messiahs in Matthew 24:24. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9 as it warns against false signs. The magicians in Egypt did false signs. The difference between true and false signs is, to whom do they point?
Jesus always pointed, not to Himself, but to the Father (see John 5:17-47; 8:28-29). In Mark 16, Jesus said, “These signs shall follow those that believe.” He did not say that believers should follow signs. Those that are used of God to work miracles should be the first to know that it came from the Lord, not themselves. That should cause humility and the awe of God.
We should not seek miracles but seek the Lord of miracles and all power. However, neither should we deny the miracle power of God and “snatch away” the only hope for those in need of a miracle (see 2 Timothy 3:5). Imitations do not negate the real, they only confirm it. Counterfeit money is useless unless it imitates something that is authentic. There are many who would never deny the power of God to work miracles but in practice never see miracles or acknowledge them. That is a more subtle form of denial. As Paul writes to Timothy, “Turn away from forms that deny power.”
Signs I See
I see many signs that are telling us to seek the Lord. Our secular culture is failing to point us to God, the only cure. Drugs are destroying thousands daily. The enemy has so many under his power! Families are being decimated; pastors are discouraged. Violent opposition to the Gospel is challenging us and too many political leaders are blind and naïve in regards to the seriousness of the opposition. The crime rate in major cities is scandalous and devastating. I could go on but you probably already know that and more.
I also see signs of hope. It is darkest before the dawn. Isaiah 60 begins, “Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” When does the glory of the Lord rise upon us? When does our light come? Verses 2 and 3 continue, “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples, but the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light….”
Great revivals come when darkness is prevalent and when God’s people begin to seek Him. That has always been the case. Complaining about the darkness will not bring light; seeking God does. When God responds, then miracles happen. I saw this in the 1960s when tragic assassinations happened in America and the “Cold War” raged abroad. Vietnam consumed the thoughts of many and over 50,000 U.S. soldiers were killed. Then, revival came.
Yes, Jesus did speak of evil signs and destruction, but He also spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit and all nations hearing the Gospel of His Kingdom. It’s okay to see the negative events, but all of that is simply more signs that we should seek the Lord and His power. “Doing the usual” will not prevail. But we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (see Romans 8:26-39).
Affecting the Age
Make no mistake, it will take the love, grace, and miracle-working power of God in order to affect this age. We cannot in ourselves do this task, but with Him, all things are possible if we believe. I pray that believers will gather with close friends who also believe to seek God for His power and glory.
As you pray, would you also pray for CSM? This ministry reaches worldwide with the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and we are taking new steps to reach the emerging generation. Your prayer and financial support make this global outreach possible. We are in a most critical juncture in U.S. and world history; we need the wonder-working power of God to meet us in these days. Please prayerfully consider a special financial gift this month to partner with us in proclamation and demonstration of Christ’s Kingdom.
Also, I want to give you an early invitation to our May 9-11, 2017 CSM Gatlinburg Leadership Conference. Our theme will be “Living Cells” and our guest speakers will include Larry Kreider and Dr. Michael Peters. We are excited to fellowship together and discover keys from the New Testament Church that will be especially effective in the challenging years ahead. For more information, visit our website at CSMPUBLISHING.ORG or call our office at (251) 633-7900. You can also “like” our Charles Simpson Ministries Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter @CSMinPublishing.
Thank you so much for your friendship, prayer, and support! Have a blessed
Scripture Reference: James 5:15; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Matthew 19:26; Daniel 4:17; John 4:48; Matthew 24:24; Acts 8; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; John 5:17-47, 8:28-29; Mark 16; 2 Timothy 3:5; Isaiah 60; Romans 8:26-39