Note: The following is my detailed account of Pastor How‘s message over the weekend of 4th & 5th December. Pastor Tan Seow How & Pastor Cecilia Chan, more affectionately known as Pastor How & Pastor Lia are the senior pastors of Heart of God Church – my spiritual home.
Miracles – we all need them.
Be it in the small or big things, we find ourselves constantly hoping for miracles to happen. That sickness, that result slip, that crush. Haha whatever it is, considered legitimate or not, these “miracles” are a part of our lives. In fact for some, being alive every single day is a miracle by itself. But away with our own concept of miracles. It’s time to know what the Bible says about them.
Pastor How takes the stage the very weekend he’s back from a short break. And literally the first thing he says blows my mind:
“Church is a place where our family become our friends
and our friends become our family.”
Wow okay, what does that mean? Simple. Today, you may be part of a family and yet not feel any affection for those human beings living under the same household as you. On the other hand, you could have a bunch of friends you love so much, you wish you could live under the same roof and enjoy their company everyday! It’s the same on the flip side.
Maybe you belong to a family that is so closely knitted together like best friends, yet have a bunch of friends that are more like acquaintances. You wouldn’t share with an acquaintance your problems, dreams or secrets, would you? You get the idea.
But seriously, when I mentioned all of the above, it must have clicked with some of you. Because if it did, you know what you need in that relationship you have in mind – a miracle. It could be a relationship with a parent, a child, a sibling or a relationship with a co-worker, a schoolmate, a partner. No matter if it’s a relative or a friend, there is good news.
With Christ, there is a chance of reconciliation for any broken relationship. He is the God of redemption and restoration, the God of miracles – the Miracle Maker. If you need a miracle today, look no further than to Jesus. Don’t look to your left or to your right to the people around you. Worst of all, don’t look down on yourself. Instead, look up to Him and believe, for your miracle is on its way.
In Luke 8:40-56 of the Bible, we can clearly see that Jesus is indeed the Miracle Maker. He performs 2 miracles in these verses alone and I recommend you to refer to it as you read this article. If you’re looking at it right now, have a quick glance at what kind of miracles Jesus did. But more importantly, look at how willing He was to do so.
You would start to realize that Jesus not only can, but wants to give us miracles! It is possible to live in a zone of miracles in our lives. This does not only apply back then in the days when He walked the Earth. It applies today, tomorrow, forever! Why? Because Jesus has always been and will always be the same God that He is. The iPhone can go through multiple changes. The climate can go through multiple changes. Even the church can go through multiple changes. But the character of God stays constant.
‘8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ – Hebrews 13:8
So if you’re reading this today and need a miracle or miracles in any situation, meet the Miracle Maker. Just like how you would go to a baker for bread, a tailor for an outfit, and a jeweler for jewellery, you would need to go to the Miracle Maker for miracles.
Using Luke 8:40-56, Pastor How further explains the process in which miracles are attained. First things first, we got to welcome the Miracle Maker.
‘40 So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him.’ – Luke 8:40
1) Welcome Jesus
There is something in this verse which the multitudes did that we ought to learn to do every single day. And that is to welcome Jesus. Not just when we need Him or have something to request of Him; but every day, in every area of our lives. Well that is, if you’re already a Christian. If you’re not yet a Christian, you got to first welcome Him into your heart.
Now I know what some of you always think. “I will believe in Jesus after He has given me a miracle.” But it’s obvious in this verse, that’s not how it works. Pastor How gives a few analogies.
Imagine you’re a girl today (assuming you’re not). There is this guy that really likes you and has just confessed his love for you. And you sort of have a mutual feeling for him too. But because there are so many “good choices” out there, you answer him with this, “Okay. I sort of like you too. But I don’t want to go into a relationship with you yet. Unless… unless of course, you first buy me an expensive diamond ring?”
How do you think the guy would react? I think whatever liking he had to you previously would be destroyed because you’ve just shown yourself to be such a gold digger! You find this ridiculous, you find this funny. Yet this is the message some of you are sending to God. You see, the order is wrong. If you want the gift before the giver, chances are you won’t get your gift because the giver sees no genuineness in your relationship with him.
So in this case for the guy, he would see no point in buying you the diamond ring because that’s what you want, not him! I mean would you buy a gift for someone, knowing that he or she doesn’t really love you but just wants to use you to satisfy their own desires? No!
On the other hand, if you love the guy for who he is and have an awesome relationship with him, the diamond ring(s) will follow! But of course, you don’t get into a relationship with that hidden motive of wanting gifts, but because you genuinely love that person. The same goes for God!
Before we can have the blessings, we must first have the One who blesses. Before we can have miracles in our lives, we must first welcome and meet the Miracle Maker. Matthew 6:33 makes so much sense right now.
‘33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ – Matthew 6:33
It is also for this very reason of welcoming Jesus that the atmosphere in our church every weekend is on the high. If you have visited Heart of God Church before, you may think that the members here are crazy. Haha we clap, we cheer and we respond in our services. To some, we may seem over-enthusiastic. But this is how we welcome Jesus. This is our sign to God that we welcome His presence and His spirit to work in every single one of our hearts. Besides, if we can clap for celebrities, motivational speakers and ministers, how much more should we clap for the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ?
2) Wait for the
The next thing that we got to learn to do if we want to see miracles in our lives, is to wait. We live in a “microwave generation”, where almost everything needs to be instant. We love instant noodles, instant information and Instagram, haha. But when it comes to God, we got to learn how to wait. And it isn’t just passively waiting for God that I’m talking about here. We need to also actively wait on God. So that anytime he releases a miracle, we are ready for it.
If you’re looking for instant miracles that come at the snap of your fingers, then you aren’t actually hoping for miracles. What you’re really looking for is magic. And get this straight, Jesus Christ is not a magician, but a Miracle Maker. Waiting is just part of the process for certain miracles in your life. And even though sometimes it can get pretty frustrating and unsettling, I have to agree with Pastor How that this waiting makes that miracle much more precious. Actually if you think about it, anything becomes more precious when you got to wait for it before getting it.
Let’s take sex for example. God had created it to be something precious to be saved for marriage. But throughout the generations, the Devil has perverted it. The idea of only having sex after being married is nowadays considered too “old-school” or “traditional” for many people. But if you think about it, don’t you agree that waiting for marriage before sex makes that whole experience more precious? It becomes something that God had meant for it to be – an intimate bond that only 2 people who have made a covenant with each other share. Otherwise, it just becomes casual (sex) as we call it.
Going back to miracles, sometimes we just got to be patient and fervent in prayer for them. In church, we always say that praying is like talking to God. But at this point in his sermon, Pastor How also compares it to texting. Now imagine praying as texting Jesus.
You know what that bubble means. You get excited don’t you? Because you know the reply is coming; Jesus is typing – the miracle is on its way. Today, we must imagine ourselves looking at our spiritual smartphone, and seeing the text bubble on the spiritual screen. Our miracle is coming!
Though it may take awhile for His reply to come, Him “typing” shows that He has already “Read” our message! In fact, since the moment we sent Him our message, He has already received and seen it. Look at what the Bible says.
‘12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.’ – Daniel 10:12-13 (NLT)
Since the first day we prayed, He has already heard us! But what’s causing all the delay? Only God knows. Oh I really believe that He knows. And His thoughts are always higher. He knows not just only what we humans know, but everything that we don’t as well. That is why in the delays, I still trust in Him. He will bring forth the miracles in His perfect timing. Besides, delay is not denial.
When it’s in His perfect timing, God will send in that miracle that you need immediately. But this “immediately” only applies for His timing and will, not ours. Pastor How brings us through a few of the verses in Luke 8 once more to illustrate that God is not a God of our “instantly”, but His “immediately”. His thoughts are always higher; His timing always perfect.
Verse 44: “…immediately her flow of blood stopped.”
Verse 47: “…she was healed immediately.”
Verse 55: “…she arose immediately.”
So as you can see, sometimes, God’s timing requires us to wait for the miracle that we want. But it’s in this waiting that His “immediately” is produced. Another example about this can be found in the book of Acts. In chapter 1, before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He appeared to His disciples and commanded them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. That’s cool and all except for the fact that He didn’t give them an exact date or time when this miracle would arrive! They had to wait just like some of us today, not knowing when we would receive our miracles. But guess what? In chapter 2, God fulfilled His promise on the Day of Pentecost.
‘ 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.‘ – Acts 2:2-4
“Suddenly”. We all love that part. But what many of us forget is that our waiting produces the “suddenly”. Yes it may be tough to wait. But just like in the story of Pentecost above, our waiting will not be in vain. As we keep the faith, there will be a sudden breakthrough. We got to see that our miracle is just around the corner. We have to see that the “bubble” is on the “screen”.
Pastor How then continues with an interesting point that I can’t help but relate to so much. Maybe you can relate to it too. It is that sometimes, we feel like our miracles get hijacked. In the Luke 8 story that we have been referring to so far, there was a man named Jairus who came to Jesus for help. His daughter was at home, dying. In desperation, he came to Jesus to beg for Him to go to his house and perform a healing miracle for his 12 year-old.
And of course, Jesus agreed. But as they were on their way to the house, a woman who had an issue of blood came behind Jesus, touched the corner of His garment and got healed immediately. You know what Singaporeans call this? “Cutting queue”, haha. The woman hijacked Jesus in that moment! And Jesus let her! Now no doubt, she received a great miracle. But due to her actions, Jesus was delayed a little. And because of this delay, as you would read, Jairus’ daughter died even before Jesus could reach her.
I really wonder what was going through Jairus’ head when he received the news. I wonder how he felt. It could be similar to what some of us are thinking & feeling today for our own miracles. Sometimes, we pray longer than other people, yet they get their miracles & breakthroughs before us. Sometimes, we see our friends receive their best news ever, and instantly after, we receive our worst. Jairus watched a miracle happen right in front of him for a woman who was sick. He saw the immense possibility that his daughter could also be healed. Yet straight after, he received the worst news.
“Why isn’t the miracle happening to me? Does Jesus love me less? Were my prayers ineffective?” All these could be the questions flooding Jairus’ mind and even ours. If not, we could easily be offended, both with God and with that person who “cut our queue”. “The woman doesn’t even have as bad of a condition as my daughter. At least she isn’t dying! Does Jesus not know how to prioritize?”
It is natural for us to have all these negative thoughts but it is our responsibility not to let them get to us. Because at the end of the day, God loves us all the same. He just, as mentioned, has His own timing for every single one of us! We will get our turn to receive miracles too. It may get rough, it may get dark, it may get worse. But keep on going because at times, things have to get worse before they get better. Things have to get darker before they get brighter sometimes.
What matters is, can we walk through the darkness? If we are able to, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just take Christ’s death as an example. Good Friday wasn’t really good man. It was a day of darkness and despair, especially for the disciples. And so it was for the next 2 days. Until of course, when Easter Sunday came along. The Bible says that Jesus rose again on the third day and defeated even death itself. Now isn’t that the most miraculous & celebrated Sunday in history? Exactly. Our “third day” is also coming. All we have to do is believe.
3) Keep believing
& don’t be afraid
‘49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” 50 But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”’
– Luke 8:50
In the scripture above, we see again the very scene where Jairus receives his bad news. His daughter is dead but thankfully, that isn’t the end of the story. Jesus upon hearing the news immediately turns to Jairus and encourages him. Why did He do that? Well the first reason is obviously because He cares for Jairus. But the second reason is that Jesus understood the power of words, be it positive or negative. In this case, negative words that could destroy Jairus from the inside was spoken to him.
Therefore, Jesus decided to counter those negative words with His own. Today, we have to also learn to counter negative words from people and ourselves. And we do so not by positive thinking or some motivational quote and speech, but by the words of Jesus – the Word of God. These words of faith are exactly what we need to counter fear. That is why I always say that the Bible isn’t just a book! Don’t let negativity destroy us. Fight it using the Word of God.
On the other hand, don’t be weird & super spiritual Christians who always deny the facts. If you’re sick, you’re sick. Denying it isn’t an act of faith. Saying “I’m fine” while coughing blood isn’t going to make you any better. Pray but also see the doctor! We must have a balance. And we can do so by differentiating facts and truth. On one hand, we don’t deny the facts, but on the other, we hold on to the truths of God.
Truth is greater than and beyond facts. It is a fact that Jairus’ daughter is dead. No use denying it. But it is also the truth that God will raise her from the dead. We got to subject the facts to the truth, and not the other way around!
‘52 Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.”‘ – Luke 8:52-54
Now don’t be surprised. When we operate in faith and truth, people with their facts will laugh at us, just like how the people in Jairus’ house ridiculed Jesus. They knew for a fact that the little girl was dead, but they didn’t understand the truth that Jesus is a Healer. We may have people like that in our lives, always mocking us for our faith in miracles. You know what we need to do about them? Just learn from Jesus and “put them all outside”! Outside what, you ask? Outside your inner circle of friends who have influence over you! Because these people would only make your faith leak. And without faith, it is difficult for miracles to happen and for God to move.
That is also the reason why I’m always found in church every single weekend (and actually on the weekdays too). Because it’s there where I find my closest friends who are always speaking faith into my life. In church, there is an environment and atmosphere for miracles to happen. When I am not with them, I spend time in God’s presence and Word. As I’ve said, it’s in His Word that we can counter negativity and fears, and learn to fight our battles.
Today, are you looking for a miracle in any area of your life? Then welcome & invite Jesus, the Miracle Maker into that zone. And when things get stretched out longer than you expect, don’t doubt Him. Only believe.
If you have never met the Miracle Maker before, well what are you waiting for? Welcome Him into your life and not only would miracles follow, but also love, joy, purpose, freedom and transformation. Last scripture of the day:
’54 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat.’ – Luke 8:54-55
Notice the Bible says that the girl’s spirit returned to her. Hmm, this means it left when she died. But where did it go during that point of time? See here’s the thing – when we die, it isn’t the end. Our body is only but a temporary container. The true essence of our being is our spirit. The question of the day is, where is our spirits headed after we die? For me, I am 100% sure that even if I am to die right now as I’m writing this, I am meeting my Heavenly Father in Paradise. This is what I call the greatest miracle of all time. But what about you? If you’re not exactly sure where you’re headed when you leave this Earth and body of yours, make sure today. How do you do so? Meet the Miracle Maker, invite Him into your heart and allow Him to to lead you on the greatest adventure of your life.
‘28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ – Romans 8:28
In the end, all things will work together for good to those who love & trust in God. For Jairus, he could have been upset with Jesus, but he chose to trust in Him. And guess what? His daughter was miraculously revived and his story had a happy ending! Miracles exist and can happen for you too. Even if… you know, sometimes our miracles get “stolen”?
Hey wait a second. If our miracles can get stolen… Does that mean that we can steal miracles too..? That’s exactly what Pastor How is going to preach about this weekend. Haha that’s right, it’s not the end yet. There is a second part to this message. I mean, how can we read about 2 miracles in Luke 8 and just end by only talking about 1 of them, right?
Now, we know more about the Miracle Maker. But on the 12th & 13th of December, we will find out about the Miracle Thief. Time for a switch of roles. If you enjoyed reading my account of this message by Pastor How, you will love hearing the next part for yourself in church. So don’t miss out on it and I will see you there!