During his personal ministry upon the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, also known as the Word and the Savior of mankind, performed numerous miracles in the presence of many people to confirm his power as the Son of God. He continually referred to the scriptures that he had given to Old Testament prophets to write when he was the Spiritual Jehovah, and presided in Spirit-form over Adam, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, and the Hebrews, his chosen people. As the Apostle John wrote, in John 1:1-14 (NIV), "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." As Jesus repeatedly reminded his apostles of the divine promises he had made to his children from the very beginning of creation, we should also, today, remind ourselves and others of those same divine promises, and the miracles that they hold. And it would seem that the promises he repeated over and over, from the advent of Adam, would be the ones upon which we should focus and give the greatest regard. God almighty has told us, his mortal children, over 800 times in the Holy Bible, to be happy, to rejoice, and be grateful unto the Lord for the blessings that he has bestowed upon us. He has also instructed us over 1,000 times, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, to obey his commandments without regard for the consequences imposed by other human beings who oppose us in doing so. Accompanying these prophetic admonitions and exhortations are his comforting words repeated in scripture over 365 times verbatim, and in context, not to fear when we do his will; that he will stand by our side to support and sustain us during all of our conflicts. It's good to remember the 23rd Psalm, where David, the chosen of God, sang, "... Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me... " When David had total faith in the power of the Lord God, and followed his divine instructions completely, he feared no evil, for the Lord was with him. But David fell from his close contact and dependence upon God through disobedience and loss of faith, and thereby lost his strength; as Sampson lost his strength when he disobeyed the commandments God had given him, and when he allowed himself to be beguiled and shorn by Delilah.
The promises that Jesus has made to Christians in the 21st Century are the very same promises that he made to Abraham, Moses, and David. Miracles, in this day and age, are the direct result of taking the Lord's promises seriously, trusting in his power to keep his promises, and doing the Lord's will; that is a combination of faith and obedience. Does Jesus speak to his disciples today? Of course he does, and the main thing to remember is that he can speak to us, or intervene in our lives, in any manner in which he sees fit to do it. He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change, nor has he ever changed the doctrines and commandments he has given to his children. But he is unbound, and has no limitations. As an example, Jesus can intervene directly in our lives, as he did in the life of Saul of Tarsus, while he was on his way to Damascus, resulting in a veritable miracle, the making of the Apostle Paul, the great lion of God. Or Jesus can come to use in dreams or visions, as he did with the Apostle Peter when he was told, in no uncertain terms, that Cornelius, the gentile Roman, was to become a Christian. Hence, God has all power in heaven and on earth to make his will come to pass. The Bible says that there is one God, and that the devils know it; and because they know the reality of God, they fear him, and they tremble.
So, Jesus has commanded us to be happy and to rejoice. Why? To put it simply, he has all power to make us happy. And how do we stay happy? Simply put, by having faith in Jesus' power to deliver us from all evil and to perform miracles in over lives, and by doing his will. Yet, according to Shakespeare the bard, that is the persistent rub. While many Christians don't see the important connection between faith, works, and miracles, I believe that the Apostle James was saying something very vital to Christians when he wrote, "faith without works is dead." You see, James had clearly seen his fellow Apostle, Peter, walk on water, until Peter started fearing the waves of the stormy Sea of Galilee much more than he trusted, and had faith in, the power of Jesus to keep him walking. And James clearly remembered the Lord's admonishing words to Peter, "Oh, ye of little faith." As the turning of water into wine, by Jesus, at the marriage at Cana was a miracle, the Lord's first of many, so was Peter's brief, but sure, walk on water. It was a short-lived miracle during the time Peter had sufficient faith in the Lord. Simply put, Peter lost his faith, and sank in the water because of fear. So Peter's successful work of walking on water died when Peter's faith died. Yet, after Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter's walk with the Lord, and the miracles that came into his life, were abundant because Peter had become converted to the fact that with God all things are possible if his followers have faith and don't fear.
Many Christians, and many more unbelievers in Christ, continually wonder why they fail in accomplishing important things in their lives if there is a real God who wants all of his children to always to be happy. Some of these Christians meet with fellow Christians, every Sunday, and during that time act and talk as though they have all faith in Jesus; but when they go home and begin another busy week on Monday, their actions and behaviors don't show that they have the same enduring faith that they had professed on Sunday. Surely, only God knows the content of a person's heart and mind, but true inner faith is shown and demonstrated by a person's outward devotion to God, just as devotion to God is predicated on inner faith. As such, when bad things happen to good people, such as the lingering, painful death a small child, or a major business failure, or the inability of a married couple to have a baby when they want one so badly, is it God's will that these unfortunate, and very sad, things happen? Or is it because of a lack of faith in God's power on the part of the believer? We are told not to judge others in such situations, but to love them, and pray that their faith in Jesus will increase. For we are promised, in no uncertain terms, that if we have the pure faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Now, of course, the unbelievers will rebut this promise of God by asking, "Where was the last mountain that was moved? Show me" Perhaps the answer to this sarcastic question and demand lies in an understanding of God's holy will. Those things for which we wish or, rather, our priorities in life, determine how we use our time and energy. Jesus knows what is best for us, even when we don't know, but pridefully think we do.
For example, if a Christian's specific goal in life is to win a million dollar lottery, and actually prays to God to win the money, that person might actually believe that God is going answer his prayer by providing him with the winning ticket; and, by not winning, might think that God doesn't hear his prayers. Yet, if that Christian, the next day, receives a letter from a long lost friend saying that he has found Christ and is coming for a visit, he, or she, might not equate the letter with the value of a lottery ticket; for isn't the worth of a soul much greater than a million dollars? Of course, Jesus might not bless people who gamble as much as people who don't. Or, let's say that if a person wants something bad to happen to a truly bad person, and believes that he, or she, has the necessary faith in Jesus for it to happen. Is this something that is the will of God? Did not Jesus tell us to do good to those who despitefully use us, and to love our enemies? Or, getting to a much more sensitive issue, let's say that the parents of a five year old child, with terminal leukemia, continually spend great amounts of time on their knees praying to God to heal their child, but that the child dies anyway. The atheistic unbeliever might say, looking at the result of such earnest prayer, that there is no God listening. I have, nonetheless, always believed that there is a reason for everything that happens, despite the fact that human wisdom is hardly sufficient for an understanding of those reasons. The reason for death and the reality of life after death are hardly understood by mortal humans, though thousands of books have been written by supposedly wise human beings about those two realities. Jesus has said that it is appointed unto all men, women, children to die, as though a specific appointment with death has been made for every person born on the earth. If this is true, how is possible for the wisest human to understand the will of God about these matters? Reading and studying the Bible, God's word, and fervent prayer does hardly ensures that Christians know and understand the mind of God, for that is impossible. But we can know God's will, for Jesus has promised that he will reveal it unto us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We, as Christians, frequently, and vainly, ask God for specific things, much like a child asking Santa Clause for certain gifts on Christmas. Why, therefore, would a person ask God to move a mountain, if there is no need for moving it? What if the removal of the mountain would cause effects on the earth that the person, wishing it to happen, hardly realizes? In other words, Christians frequently demand things of God that are not good for them, instead of saying in their prayers, "your will be done." For example, let's say that a Christian farmer knows that his house and farm are going to be flooded by a mighty river that runs adjacent to his land. A mountain juts up beside the river forty miles from where the farmer lives. The Christian farmer prays hard to God for something, in the Lord's infinite wisdom, that will save his farm, but says in his final words, "your will be done dear Lord, one way or the other." Five hours later, the mountain suddenly and mysteriously crumbles and falls into the river creating a natural dam, which causes no other human beings to be injured or killed, and restrains a flood from occurring. Was it a miracle that caused the mountain to move? Was it the will of God? The unbelievers will claim that the mountain crumbled because of geologic conditions, but the believing Christian farmer, who humbly prayed for "something" to happen knows quite differently that it was the will of God. Living in accordance with Jesus' commandments, not fearing the impending mortal crisis, letting-go of human pride, and trusting, and having complete faith in the Lord to work in his life gave the farmer the miracle from God.
Dedicating our lives to Jesus requires a firm commitment to regard the will of God as infinitely more important than our own will, to let go of worldly concerns that fuel our pride, and to let Jesus take over and rule in our lives. Such dedication requires daily nurturing and fervent prayer to God in order for it to stay alive and well in a Christian's life, and for it to engender miracles throughout that person's time on earth. Ideally, true dedicated Christians will continually hope that the commitments they have made to be Christ-like will endure the earthly afflictions that will inevitably come upon them; and that one day those miracles, both large and small, which have have occurred in their lives because of their enduring faith, will cause them to proclaim the words spoken anciently by Job, "I know that my redeemer lives."
Christians who truly devote their lives to Jesus Christ may see their professions and their avocations blossom with productivity and success. This is because total devotion to Christ is a firm admission that all things that are done, and achieved, on this earth are under the dominion of God. Starting every earthly effort undertaken by Christians with prayers of praise to God for whatever end-result occurs is the only sure way of approaching happy success. For miracles to occur in the lives of all sincere Christians, who have freely accepted the redeeming blood that Jesus shed on the cross, an acceptance of the will of God in all pursued endeavors is necessary, along with an understanding that what sometimes doesn't happen in accordance with human desire is the ultimate will of God, and the greatest miracle.