E43: Do you believe that you can experience miracles?

PODCAST: God is a God of miracles. Have you experienced personal miracles in your life?

  • E43: Do you believe that you can experience miracles?
  • The God of miracles!

    We know that God is a God of miracles. In Isaiah it is written that His name is “Wonderful!” But what does a miracle look like? What is the miracle that God can do for you? Have you experienced personal miracles in your life? Kathy and Julia discuss these questions in this episode of “Living the Gospel.”

    Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 43: Do you believe that you can experience miracles?

    Kathy: Today we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s been supporting our podcast by listening and watching and sharing over the past nine months. It means so much to us to have you along with us on this journey. To help us improve for the next season, which is starting in the summer, we really want to find out what’s working and what’s not, and we want to hear what you think. So we’re posting a link to a short survey in today’s episode description, so if you could take some time to complete this survey and let us know what you think, we would appreciate it so much. It’s just in the episode description. Just click; it should take you about five minutes to fill it out and we’d be so grateful.

    This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.

    Julia: Hi everyone! Welcome to another episode of “Living the Gospel.” I’m Julia.

    Kathy: And I’m Kathy.

    Julia: So, today’s episode is about miracles. So I guess the first obvious question would be, do you believe in miracles?

    Kathy: I think that anybody who’s read the gospels, and has read the new testament, believes in miracles, right? There is so much written there about the miracles that Jesus and the Apostles did. And Paul writes about it, that to do miracles is also a gift of the Spirit, right? And we see the instances where Jesus turned water into wine – I think that was … wasn’t that actually His first miracle He did?

    Julia: His first miracle, yeah.

    Kathy: Yeah, and then, you know, blind men who could see and lame men who could walk and things like that, right?

    Julia: So, today we’re going to do something a little bit different. We actually haven’t done this in a while, but we’re going to start by listening to something.

    Kathy: This is a message that was given by Elias Aslaksen at a Brunstad Christian Church New Year’s conference, way back in 1964/65.

    Julia: If you don’t know who Elias Aslaksen is, we’ve put a link to a little bio about him in today’s episode description, so you can find out a little bit of who he was. You will not regret it. He was a great man of God who preached in such a way that he brought faith and hope to many people. So, the message that we’re going to listen to, he obviously spoke in Norwegian, so we’re just going to read parts of the English transcript.

    Kathy: Right. And this particular message is about miracles. So, here it is:

    “God is called the God of wonders. He’s got many names. Many descriptions. And this is one of them. He does wonders. He performs miracles. ‘Miracle’ is good. It’s a glorious word. There’s no doubt about what it means. To perform miracles. But what good does it do if God performs a miracle in my body – or anywhere else, turns stones into bread – what help is that if I’m wretched on the inside? And so wretched that I can even fall away from God and go into the blackness of the world, after having experienced His wonderful and merciful works. And then we can quite easily understand that if God can perform miracles within us, in our inner man, then all other miracles are as nothing compared to that. They’re not nothing. Of course not. But in comparison to that, they are nothing. And now, I would therefore like to remind you of this. Believe in the God of wonders. Believe in the God of miracles. Believe in wonders and miracles within you! There are miracles, things that surpass all understanding and comprehension, things that are beyond all human calculations. Believe in miracles regarding salvation in the depths of your heart! It’s fairly common, after a person has worked with something for a long time, that there is still very little progress. Believe in miracles! And when it is like this that you’ve been working and working for such a long time, who would believe then that anything is every going to come of it? God is the God of miracles! And think about such a miracle. One who was so wretched … I don’t know how I’m going to express it. But such a pathetic creature, which we all are, because of the fall, and especially, as we’ve heard, beings who are full of unrest. What a miracle to come into God’s rest while we are here in these mortal bodies and in this evil world. What a miracle! Rest when all the devils are loose! When everything is upside down. Rest, God’s rest, rest as Jesus had it when He was sleeping in the back of the boat. What would you call that? I call it a miracle above every other miracle! What are these things that aren’t so good; how can we possibly be saved in big things or in small things? By faith in God, by faith in the God of miracles! Our reasoning says one thing. And other people say the same thing. That you’ve been going on for so many years, and it’s still no better than it is. ‘Nothing will ever come of you!’ No, not unless God performs a miracle. And it won’t. But He gladly does perform miracles, especially that miracle! He Himself is a hundred, thousand, million times more interested in such a miracle than in the miracle of changing stones into bread! His name is Miracle, or Wonderful. His name is Miracle, or Wonderful. His name is Wonderful. His name is Miracle. And a name, in the Biblical sense, expresses how one is. It isn’t like Hansen or Peterson, which are just labels. Biblically speaking, the name expresses the content of the person who bears that name. His name is Wonderful. And that means that’s what He does. He performs wonders. Miracles.

    “It can look dark; it can look impossible. Then there’s no other option than a miracle! But think, that is an option! How fantastic! There’s no other hope. I can easily relinquish every other hope as long as I have this option. Say you’re on the verge of starving to death and there’s no possibility of getting food anywhere. It can be difficult to imagine, but all of us are born with quite a bit of imagination. So then food comes floating down from heaven in a plastic bag. What a miracle! But what help would that be for my inner life? I remain as grumpy and ill-tempered as I was before. It’s because we are human beings. Because we’re such pathetic wretches that we think that that is very great. And we can say that it’s great. But it’s not very great. Can anyone tell me something that’s very great? I’d like to get an answer. Is there anyone here who can tell me something that’s really great? Yes, right. There was at least one man, and that’s enough. That was plenty. He does miracles in our mind and being. In our heart, in our thoughts, in our words, in our actions. So they become divine. Think, divine nature in such creatures! If anyone thinks this way, and there’s no doubt some people do – at least have thought this way: ‘Now I don’t know what else I could do. Now I’ve really tried. I’ve really made an effort, I’ve tried for many years, as well as I could, so now I don’t know what else to do. There’s really no hope for me.’ There is one single possibility left for you. You. Are you there or aren’t you there? Are you off somewhere else? There is one possibility left for you. Yes, one possibility remains. And that is: a miracle. He is the God of miracles. Let’s believe in the God of miracles. Let us expect miracles within. Suddenly, bang! It happens! What’s happened now? A miracle has happened! A miracle has taken place! It’s Biblical that God is the God of wonders. Believe that. Hold fast to that, and walk with a living faith in that. Hold onto that in all your ways. The thing that most people tend to believe, if they believe anything at all, is that they, through laborious striving, can eventually accomplish something. But it’s difficult to hold onto that faith, because they experience that it doesn’t work. No, we must believe in God’s work. We must believe in the God of wonders; the God of miracles. Shall we add anything to the belief that we have? Shall we? We’ll add one more point in our confession of faith. What’s that? That it looks hopeless? Yeah, it really does, that’s true, it really looks hopeless, pretty much for everyone. But a miracle can happen! Isn’t that hopeful? Isn’t that comforting? Isn’t it? ‘There’s no way for me,’ they say. Yes! There is a way. There is one solution left. And that’s a powerful way. Praise God! Praised be the God of wonders and miracles!” *

    Julia: So that was just actually an excerpt from his whole message. We didn’t read the whole thing …

    Kathy: Right. It would have taken us quite a bit longer to read the whole thing.

    Julia: But it’s tremendously good.

    Kathy: I really wish that I could have been sitting in the hall when he gave this message. Like, just the spirit when you listen to the message in Norwegian – the spirit that is in it is life-giving. It is so full of hope and power.

    Julia: Well, and you can hear, he repeats some of these sentences over and over again, because he’s getting so excited about it while he’s talking.

    Kathy: Yeah, like where he says here, over and over, “His name is Wonderful; His name is Miracle! Miracle!” But, the thing that for me is so hopeful about this is that we don’t have to be anyone special for this, right? It’s not like I have to have a special gift or a special ability or anything. I just have to be …

    Julia: Willing to go to work!

    Kathy: Willing to go to work. Exactly. And I just have to have that faith, that it doesn’t matter who I am. Like it says here, I see things in myself and I see how, for example how stubborn I am. How lazy I am, by nature. And it can be, like he said here, that you see these things in yourself, and you know it so well, you feel it’s so deeply ingrained in you. And you’ve struggled with this for so long that you think, “There’s no way I’m ever not going to be a stubborn or lazy person!” Right? But that’s when it comes down to this faith, that it’s not me, I’m not going to do anything, I’m not anyone. But I have this faith that God, who is a God of miracles, is just looking for that willing heart in me. That I want to be finished with this stuff. And I’m willing to go the way so that I can overcome it. And then He is going to do that miracle in me. He’s going to give me everything I need for that.

    Julia: Because if it was a requirement that I have some special gift or talent in order to be transformed into the image of Jesus, then how would God get the glory?

    Kathy: Right.

    Julia: Then it would be me, right? But if I’m just humble enough that God is able to do a complete work of transformation in me, then all the glory goes to Him. As it’s intended.

    Kathy: And that’s actually the only way it’s going to work. If I want some honor for myself, or if I think that there’s something that I’m doing to accomplish something, then it isn’t going to work, actually. It is 100% up to the God of miracles to be able to do this in me.

    Julia: And then I become like it’s written in – is it Romans 8? That I become an instrument in His hands. So it’s not just that I sit there and wait for this miracle to happen. But that I go to work and be this instrument, in and through whom God is going to perform a miracle.

    Kathy: And to say that we believe in miracles, it doesn’t mean we just sit back and wait for this – boom! I’m completely different in one second, right? It means that I have to get to work. I still have to, when I’m tempted, I still have to say no, right? And I still have to be willing to deny myself and take up my cross. But now, because I have this faith that God is going to do this for me, where previously I’ve given in and I’ve fallen, now God will do this miracle for me! And I thought about that verse in 2 Corinthians 2:14, where it says: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” So, it’s God who is leading us in triumph. It’s not myself doing anything great.

    Julia: And that’s the only way we’re going to triumph at all, is if God is leading us. And I thought too, he makes it so incredibly great here, that all these amazing miracles that we read about, that literally our minds can’t fathom, scientifically they don’t make sense, right – like turning stones into bread and water into wine and making a blind person suddenly able to see again – that all these things are actually nothing compared to the miracle that He can do inside me. Like you said, taking someone who is completely lazy by nature, and changing them, so that by nature they become somebody who is quick to action and quick to be obedient when God points something out to me. Is there any greater miracle than that? To think that the actual core of my sinful nature can be turned into God’s own nature?

    Kathy: And that’s the miracle that I have faith in for myself. That’s the miracle that I want to take place within me. I want that with all of my heart.

    Julia: So if you want to read more articles by Elias Aslaksen we have a lot of them on ActiveChristianity.org. So we’ll put a link for those in today’s episode description. If you need encouragement or hope, it’s absolutely the place to get it. He’s so good at just pointing out the way to go, and he’s so … his excitement and his enthusiasm for becoming like Jesus is so … it just permeates everything that he’s written. It’s so edifying to read.

    Kathy: I think it’s just because it is everything to him and he wants to get it across so that it becomes everything to everyone.

    Julia: You can also download the e-book, “I am crucified with Christ,” which he wrote. And I think it’s life-changing. It’s been life-changing for me. So I would suggest doing that.

    Kathy: So you’ll get those links in the episode description. And now to close today, we’re going to play a song. And this song is called: “Think that God will do a miracle within us!” And there’s an interesting story behind this song, actually. It was inspired by this message that we listened to today. So as you listen to it, drink in that spirit of faith that’s in the message and in the song, and let it light this faith in you too, that you also can be transformed. And that God can do a miracle in you, personally.

    Julia: Alright everyone. Thanks for joining us again this week, and we’ll see you next time.

    Kathy: See you!

    Lyrics: “When the Lord’s elect the joy of hope experience” (“Think that God will do a miracle within us!”)

    When the Lord’s elect the joy of hope experience,
    Songs of praise fill our days.
    Then there’s vict’ry and rejoicing, with a jub’lant sound;
    Living waters we have found.     

    Think that God will do a miracle within us!
    Who can comprehend His majesty and pow’r?
    Think that you and I will be
    On life’s way transformed and free,
    As it’s written—and no doubts have we!    

    Things that happen, be they good or bad, won’t sway me.
    Through them all, big or small,
    I will walk upon the way of life and victory.
    I have faith that this shall be!    

    ‘Tis so happy in the home when there is vict’ry!
    We’re no more cross or sore.
    Filled with thankfulness and patience, nothing troubling—
    There’s a new and blessed ring.    

    Open wide your heart; receive God’s blessed goodness—
    Give your all for this call.
    O you never will regret it; there’s such joy in store.
    You’ll desire more and more.

    Ways of the Lord # 404
    Author: Anna Bekkevold
    Melody: unknown
    Vocals: Carl Henry, Daniel Schapf
    Arranged by: Erik Johnsen
    © Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag 2020

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    * Quotation from sermon used in this episode (translated from Norwegian):
    Aslaksen, Elias. “Tro på underets og miraklenes Gud.” (“Faith in the God of Wonders and Miracles.”) Brunstad Christian Church. Brunstad, Norway. 1 January 1965
    © Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag 1965