The Miracle Worker

Reading the book of Matthew. I got to chapter 11 and what an amazing picture of those who see God’s power but still will not believe!

Verse 20 says “they had seen miracles, but were not moved by them. ‘Then Christ began to denounce the people in the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent and change their hearts and lives.

The text does not tell us that they did not marvel; nor does it say that they did not believe in the power that was displayed, but it is clear that these miracles did not serve as something that made them turn from their sinful ways.

Here’s a question: What if there were believers in those cities in which Jesus had done miracles? Did believers stand up and point to the need to believe in Jesus’ based on the miracles? What If?!?!?!

Miracles are seen today in amazing ways that bring God glory! Well, they are supposed to bring God glory – but do they?!?! I am a testimony myself of what miracles look like and what they can do to the believer’s heart. For me, my faith is bigger!, my trust is even more true!; my words to the lost are even more common – they have to know Him and believe Him so that their lives will be changed and their hearts will be more pure … that’s why I’m always opening my mouth.

When you’ve experienced God’s amazing power yourself, have you told the lost around you about The One who did it? Did you take time to offer them The God who never leaves nor forsakes? OR, Did you just testify about your own favor from Him and let them call on Him without ever believing? What about your own heart? Do you testify about your relationship to Him? or, do you testify about this thing that God did for you because He is able?

Do you see what I’m saying? As believers in The Most High God, our testimony about what He is able to do should point people to Him and not lead them to believe that just anyone at all can just expect Him to solve their problems OR even cause them to believe that our God is an amazing entertainer.

In this scripture, it is clear that Christ sent His disciples to preach the truth – and Christ entered those cities teaching and also showing people the amazing power of God. Christ had to punish these people because they were excited about the works they saw but not by the God that made these works happen. Certainly, they applauded the Christ for the miracles, but not as the Son of God. Christ was not seeking to be glorified, He was seeking to bring them to salvation … repenting of sin and faith in Him!

Repentance was not AND is not spurred on by miraculous acts!

We, as believers in Christ – as the Body of Christ, must aim for the same thing! We just have to lift Him up as Our Savior, because He was lifted up on Calvary to draw all people to Him … not just to miracles! (John 12:32).

Christ Himself must be the one for which hearts long! Christ Himself must be the main attraction! No miracles; no mystical experience can take the place of the Risen Christ.

If we are not careful to point to The God of miracles and NOT to the miracles themselves, we will be leading a generation of people into the lowest place!

Because we have seen/experienced the utmost miracle – our salvation and our reconciliation to The Holy God while we were yet sinners – that miracle must be the one that we feel everyone has to know! We cannot forget and we must know in our hearts that our salvation and reconciliation is the most wonderful miracle that we must share …

Lord God, point our hearts in the right direction. Make our desires to be for You and for The Christ. May we turn from our sin because of what we know about You. May we lead others to true knowledge so that they too will understand the power of God unto salvation. Amen

Encouraged … believing the healing is coming

When dealing with this kind of healing – a situation where my salvation in Christ and my strong dependence upon the Father and my strong listening to the Holy Spirit is real – there is just no way for me to be in fear.

My rules from the doctor in these first two weeks is quite real – I have to study regular language; I have to practice the names of my family; I have to rehearse and reintroduce the names of my friends, neighbors, and others that are in my regular community.

I’m enjoying hearing from people that love me deeply and who just want to be close and understand the journey! I haven’t been able to see everyone physically, but it has been amazing joy knowing that they’ve come by or called.

I’m enjoying the beauty of waking up each day desiring my Father; my Savior; and the Spirit that works in me in amazing ways!!!

It’s only week one – but I’ll be great! I know the survived Jan be used in amazing ways by the God who called me!

Keep praying!

Christ I have nothing but encouragement from being united with You, my Savior I have no doubt at all that Your love is comforting me. I have no doubt, that my Father is ensuring my connection with the Holy Spirit. Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I have no doubt that depending upon you means that I will be like-minded with you, that I will be having the same love that you have placed in my heart and that I will be one in spirit and one in purpose for the sake of my belief in You!! (Philippians 2: 1–2)

Tainted Water – The Solution Is Discipleship

Tainted WaterOnce while driving in Ghana – we passed by a water well that had been drilled for a local community and saw some children fetching water. They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! Because we lived here among this particular people group, we KNOW that no one washed the container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. We love these people and our hearts went out to them.  We immediately planned a healthy drinking water training for them.  A training that would help them to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

Not only is clean water important — but understanding what can contaminate water is important.   

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for an entire congregation. What is the solution to this issue?

The solution is to teach the complete gospel.

That means that we go beyond salvation. We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. But what if they can’t read?  We’ve encountered this many times where we work.  Then the solution is discipleship.  We have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But this takes TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple any believer in only 8 weeks!

Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives.  In fact – we ought to be modeling the life of Christ in view of people even before they know who He is!!  What a change in the world we could make!

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Not Fully Supported?! But Of Course We ARE!

We recently received a call from our director telling us that our 97% supported number was skewed by supporters who made commitments that were not kept.   He was apologizing to us for making what was obviously a difficult call for him.  What he didn’t know was that on this side of the world we could not even move our minds toward discouragement, fear or unbelief.  Only one thing came to mind was the fact that God’s promises that His grace is sufficient.  Sufficient!! The way that sufficient is used in 2 Corinthians tells us that His grace is all that we need and will provide the support we need to bear up under the weight of the issue!  All Sufficient Grace from the God that is dependable and true!  A grace that we will be awed by at just the moment when our lack seems overwhelming.  REAL!  TRUE!  GRACE!

Anyway … I was thinking about our director telling us that we were not fully supported and all I could think about was that we had the fullest and most reliable support that we needed; the Word of our God and His calling upon our lives.

So as I sit back and watch God work miracle after miracle for the people of Ghana in ways that we cannot begin to understand, as I think about the lives that are being enriched and changed by the power of the gospel and God’s choice to use us as vessels of honor  – what I know beyond all doubt is that His grace is sufficient – He is all that we need.  Because His calling on our lives is sure – we have no doubt – I know with full assurance that this ministry is indeed fully supported!  His Grace Is Sufficient – therefore, I will lean into His presence, in full and complete dependence, knowing that He finishes what He starts.  That, as Pastor Rodney Frazier says, “where He guides He will provide”.

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving- kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

OH! For ten thousand tongues to say, I thank you Lord for your amazing grace! – Kathy Taylor

Strong Love!

I’m pictured here with the dearest friend I ever had – the late, Barbara Jean Brown-Lewis.  it seemed that there were always words enough to express what we felt, tears enough to weep together and joy enough to share.  But I find that this is not always the case.

Recently I tried to apologize to a friend after being made aware that they were hurt – not by something that I did, but because of things that failed to do that could have prevented their hurt. My friend responded to me that I was mean, selfish and not Christ-like and that I needed to love people better.

I could hear the voice of my mentor telling me to be mindful, don’t waver in my faith, be brave, don’t wither. I could hear her telling me to continue to minister out of that pure love that is born out of my devotion to Christ.

I Corinthians is the authority on all things “LOVE” — and in chapter 16 you’ll find these words: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, e strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

When we attempt to minister out of a heart of pure and sincere love, the world sees it and hates it! People will never believe that you do what you do because the love of Christ compels you — so they will accuse you of false motives or worse – they will accuse you of trying to ‘look’ spiritual! That is the ENEMY — it is one of his best tricks. We are so often deceived and discouraged by these reactions that we back peddle away from love and move to a stance of obligation. We must be aware of this device of the enemy, so that we will not begin to question our motives or believe the lies that people tell us about ourselves. Remember always your love for Christ and your devotion to Him which rises out of His passion for you.

I pray that the Father will help you to be filled afresh daily with His own Spirit so that you will not only operate in His power but in His love. I pray that He will strengthen your heart and steel your mind so that you will not be persuaded that your intentions are – or should be – anything other than reflections of His love in the world. I pray that He will become love in you!