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Ordinary Miracles

Ordinary Miracles
Words of Faith 6-30-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 19
[11] God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, [12] so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Extraordinary miracles. The phrase sounds strangely redundant but apparently for Luke there was a difference. There were more "ordinary miracles" and then the "extraordinary ones".
What is a miracle after all? Someone once said that a miracle is something only God can do. Really, every act of God is a miracle, big or small, whether He uses people or not. Every move of grace toward man is miraculous. Still, "extraordinary" implies that there are things God does that are unusual even for God or at least He does them less often.
The Greek indicates that these extraordinary miracles included both direct healings through the laying on of Paul's hands ("through the hands of Paul" which NIV does not pick up), and indirect healings through the application of Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons. The power of God was so prominent in Paul's ministry at Ephesus that even his sweat-cloths and work-aprons used in his trade of tent-making and leather-working were taken out to the sick and demon possessed, and through their application there were cures.
These miracles were indeed "extraordinary". Even in the ministry of Paul such things did not occur with regularity. There were relatively few healings on Paul's journeys. There is no indication that Paul even approved of this "healing by cloths". But these events are important because they parallel the miracles of Peter in 5:15-16 and clearly confirm God's hand of blessing and endorsement upon Paul as an Apostle.
How do we respond this report? Some respond by seeking extraordinary miracles. Of course we are to pray for the sick because this is compassionate, but we must avoid the temptation to demand the Lord work in a particular way. Some would say that if Ephesus could have such divine presence, why can't we? Sadly, this is a kind of idolatry which seeks the extraordinary miracle.
The attempt to conjure up such miracles smacks of the essence of sin, trying to be "like God" (Genesis 3:5). Jesus said that a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign (Matthew 12:39). We are not to seek extraordinary miracles; we are to seek Jesus. We really should not even seek a healing, rather, we should seek the healer.
Perhaps it is our particular joy to celebrate "ordinary miracles". Maybe such miracles are only ordinary because of our neglect. I don't mean to be mundane but it is quite a miracle that you and I continue to draw breath from the air around us as we read this!
It is quite a miracle that God provides life, food and shelter. It may sound cliché but the rose in your garden is a miracle, albeit ordinary, because try as you may, you cannot create one!
Who has not stood with a tear in the eye gazing at the "ordinary miracle" of a newborn baby? A most delightful ordinary miracle is that of a life born of God's Spirit.
The fact that someone near you repents of sin and follows God is as profound as any moment in creation. Such an event will not make the evening news or the tabloid papers but there is great rejoicing in heaven when such occurs. This is certainly a miracle because, try as you may, it is something only God can do.
Maybe ordinary miracles are only ordinary because we aren't watching for them as closely or perhaps because they are more numerous. Today we can choose to walk with our eyes open to the wonder of God around us. Don't miss your heartbeat or the babies, the roses or the leaves. Don't miss the questions being asked by those who are finally coming to faith. Don't miss the birth announcement of those who have been born from above by the Spirit.

Lord, open my eyes to your "ordinary miracles". Help me to see the myriad of ways You protect me and watch over my life. Help me to see the wonder of those who are coming to faith. I rejoice today in all the miracles of life. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.