I already wrote a blog this morning. I’m going to write another, anyway.
I got a newsletter from Gospel for Asia, and I loved reading their first story. They trained a man named Joseph Rao in India for three years, and then he followed a leading on his heart to an unreached area of Maharashtra state in India.
It took two years before Joseph obtained his first convert, but now there’s 25 churches, 28 mission stations (whatever those are), and the seven of those churches that he pastors have over 100 believers.
Now I could tell you that I believe that it’s bizarre to suggest he pastors seven churches and that the work he’s doing is really apostolic and that he needs to be raising up elders to take his place at those churches because it’s elders who really pastor churches; however, it’s hard to imagine the benefit of raising an issue of that.
Instead, here’s the issue I want to raise:
God Hasn’t Changed Since the Book of Acts
America’s boring. We’re full of unbelief, and so we fill our lives with TV, movies, and video games.
In Africa and India and parts of South America where those “ignorant” and “superstitious” people live, they still believe. So they see things that you wouldn’t believe no matter who told you about it.
The article about Joseph Rao says:
Joseph prayed for any who had needs. The Lord was faithful to confirm His Word and healed many from their illnesses, including one woman who had been crippled.
I wonder how many Americans believe that.
I’m Not Charismatic
I’m not charismatic. I left the charismatic movement on purpose over 25 years ago because it was a joke and people pretended to be healed all the time. Lying was a lot more prevalent than healing. A lot more.
However, healing wasn’t non-existent.
And overseas, healing is a lot more prevalent than it is in the US.
That shouldn’t surprise us. The Scriptures say that even Jesus himself could not do many miracles in his home town due to unbelief.
When I was in Germany, I met some Africans who told me stories about things they’d seen in their native Africa. I heard LOTS ofÂ stories. Some were so far out that I assumed they’d just had tricks pulled on them.
Then I met a young man from Surinam. He was a godly, sensible young man who was in college preparing to be a pastor. He spoke four languages. He and I hit it off from the moment we met each other.
When he started telling me the same stories, both about witch doctors and churches, that I had heard from the Africans, I paid more attention.
“How could that be?” I thought.
It was then that I remembered Jesus’ difficulties in his hometowns. God works so much more freely where people believe.
Why? Why would it matter how much we believe? Can’t God do anything? Didn’t he create the world?
I don’t know the answer to any ofÂ those questions. I just know what I’ve seen.
I was in India when we visited a church along with Pastor Daniel of Voice of Gospel Ministries. As he entered a man came running up with a little girl in his arms. He was very excited, and he stopped us, though it was clear Pastor Daniel didn’t recognize him.
He then told us that he had asked Pastor Daniel to pray for his little girl, whose stomach was swollen with cancer, a month earlier. Pastor Daniel had quickly laid hands on her and prayed. He was in a hurry, so it was a short, one-sentence prayer.
When they took her back to the doctor, the cancer was gone.
That’s one of many stories I could tell you. In some I was there to see the prayer or hear the testimony. Others were repeated by people I trust.
God Is Still Real
I don’t tell you these things to get you seeking miracles. I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed miracles. I’ve prayed for a nephew who had gone blind in one eye and seen his vision restored. However, it’s not miracles I’m after.
Charismatic churches pursue miracles. That’s wrong. God is not a miracle dispenser, though prayer for help in time of need is something he prescribes.
God rewards those who diligently seek him, so I want to encourage you to seek God. I want to encourage you to believe. I want to encourage you to know God.
I want you to fellowship with God and think the way God thinks. Miracles happened around Jesus all the time. They didn’t happen because Jesus was seeking miracles. He rebuked people for seeking miracles. They happened because Jesus loved people, and he wanted to help them.
Jesus has a lot more faith and you and I have, but our faith is supposed to be growing. We’re supposed to be trusting God in the middle of the storm, unafraid to pray for the things he leads us to pray for.
So above all, more than believing in answers to prayer, you need to believe that you can know God. You need to believe that you can know what you ought to pray for soÂ that you’re not praying against his will. You need to know what you ought to pray for so that you don’t waste your breath crying out for something that will never happen.
The Book of Acts hasn’t stopped, except in America where we no longer believe. Let scientists study unbelief and figure out how to ignore one-of-a-kind miracles. Christians shouldn’t be so. We should be overcoming unbelief by the belief we have.