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Monday, January 17, 2011

Gift of Miracles

Where is the Gift of Miracles

I have been on an active search for several years now for someone with the spiritual gift of miracles and cannot find one anywhere. I think I last posted about this over 2 years ago (The Spiritual Gift of Miracles) There are some who say they know somebody who knows somebody in an overseas nation some place but I can't seem to get closer than 3 degrees of separation from someone who reportedly has the gift of miracles and no one in the US.

When I refer to the spiritual gift of miracles I am referencing I Cor 12:10. In verses 1-11 St. Paul gives a discourse on spiritual gifts, listing nine manifestations (i.e. spiritual gifts): wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. We also see lists of gifts in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

Of particular interest to me is the catalog of gifts in 1 Cor that lists "miraculous powers" separately from other gifts that we would consider miraculous. Performing a healing is obviously a spectacular miracle. The ability to communicate divine revelation through words of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy or tongues are also pretty impressive miracles. Yet "miraculous powers" is listed separately as if it refers to something different or more than healing or revelatory related gifts.

Maybe the gift of miracles refers to someone who has both healing and multiple revelatory gifts. But maybe it refers to miracles that are similar to the kind that Jesus performed that were not healings or revelation: turning water into wine, walking on water, casting out demons (though I suppose that could be considered a healing), weather control (calming of the storm), feeding thousands with extremely limited resources, putting money in a fish's mouth, withering of a fig tree or miraculously providing large catches of fish. I suppose it could also be considered miraculous when he slipped out unharmed from an angry mob that wanted to seize him (John 10:39).

The Bible is replete with numerous other kinds of God's miracles: like parting the Red Sea or Jordan River, Elijah doing similar feeding and weather related miracles to Jesus, Jonah's deliverance from the fish, Daniel & friends surviving incineration, Moses' curses against Pharoah, the sun standing still and many others. Perhaps the spiritual gift of miracles refers to those kinds of non-healing, non-revelatory miracles.

Yet the question remains: why is the gift of miracles absent from the church, particularly in the US? Even if it was overseas in Thailand, India, Africa or some other exotic location wouldn't Nightline's Martin Brashirs or some US media person found him/her by now and outed them? I haven't seen it.

I'm trying to think of some non-healing, non-revelatory miracles I could use right now: a miraculous repair of my van, a miraculous provision of money or resources (though that one actually happens to me), a miraculous fix of some parts of my home that are in disrepair that I can't fix or afford to fix, or a miraculous wave of salvations of my friends and family.

Maybe I want miraculous powers like the "The Force" that Yoda and other Jedi's have, or stealth Ninja-like translocation powers, or magical Harry Potter like skills -- all used for kingdom purposes of preaching the gospel, protecting the weak and fatherless, or feeding the poor and hungry.

I wonder if I could be trusted with such things. I'm sure I would do some good but I'd likely be playing practical jokes on people and using the force for my own gain and protection. Having those kinds of powers would truly require having a godly heart and character.

Do you know someone with the gift of miracles? I would be so grateful if you would post a comment and give some details about their miracles, how they exercise that gift and how the church has affirmed that gift in their life. Thank you.

1 Corinthians 12 NIV

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

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