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Posts Tagged ‘spirit world’

miraclesA man in the crowd called out, ‚ÄúTeacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child ” . . . Even while the boy was coming [toward Jesus], the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. [Luke 9:38; 42-43]

Oh, I know. It’s uncomfortable to talk about demons, the devil, miracles, and all that stuff outside our normal understanding of how stuff works. Some people can’t even stand the word “evil” as though excluding it from one’s vocabulary will make it non-existent.

And yet, I contend, if we have accepted any part of the Christ story, we must be willing to consider the reality of the other parts. In other words, there are ways that our lives can and are impacted outside of a three-dimensional world. There is a spirit world and within it, forces move in a way that we may not understand, but that does not mean they don’t exist.

In recent weeks, I was instructed by a doctor to read a book about the importance of the mind in regards to pain in my body. It’s not that the pain isn’t real, it’s that the pain is camouflage of other things going on and the mind, can indeed, intercept it. But I must be aware of this possibility before anything can happen differently. And I’m thinking miracles fall within this category, we have to have knowledge and acceptance of the possibility. This is the groundwork for healing. This is the groundwork for transformation.

It’s not important to know the “how,” but simply to surrender to the power of God to do.

What is even more interesting is that Christ empowers believers to do the same for others. Whoa! Prior to Jesus meeting up with the father and the demon-possessed boy, a few of the disciples had been given a crack at it. Nada. There was still a disconnect. This story is actually told in three of the gospels (Mark 9:37-45 and Matthew 17:14-23) and Jesus explains that both faith and prayer are the cornerstones of miracles. Not faith in ourselves, but faith in the God who has the power to do (or not do).

Of course, there is another truth I’m seeing in this passage. I know that miracles are wonderful, particularly for the suffering human. But I don’t believe that miracles happen for the sake of the person. They have to be within God’s purposes, God’s scope, God’s plan. That may sound harsh, but let’s be honest, if it were otherwise, ALL would be healed. We are not all healed. Sometimes the human journey is full of heartache, illness, poverty, and sorrow. I don’t understand that any more than the next person.

So, what is my role? Do I ask for the miracle or not? Do I ask for the demon to be cast out or not? Do I ask for the healing or not?

One mistake in this asking process is to add the little insurance statement at the end, “if it be your will.” Well, that covers all the bases then, doesn’t it? I have a little back door when the healing doesn’t happen: must not have been God’s will. Yada, yada, yada. It doesn’t, however, do much for the faith angle though, does it?

So here’s the bottom line for me: “Don’t ask if I don’t believe it IS God’s will.” And if I don’t know, then don’t pray, because honestly, that’s perverse. That’s so maybe. It’s a disservice to my God who can heal and cast out demons in a moment. Silence is better. Prayer is better in private then, asking God for clarity and faith, courage and heart, vision and transparency. These then, would set the stage for God to work through me (or you).

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It’s so much easier to speak of the spirit world in different contexts, fantasy for instance. In those circles, it’s the norm to speak of spirits, magic, miracles, powers, spiritual enemies and spiritual good guys. But we have lost our ability in this age to speak of the Spirit World.

I John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Despite the fact that numerous references are made to this spirit world in scripture; I am particularly thinking of Ephesians 6:12 as a good example, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” we hesitate to claim it as our own. It’s all woohoo stuff! And so, most folks shrug off spirit talk.

But I cannot. The epistle of I John speaks at length about spirit relationships: our own spirits, those of the “anti-christ” opposed to all Christ spirit, the spirits of the world, the spirits of believers, and the spirits of God followers. This is the unseen world and yet, more and more, I do believe it is the most important part of our existence.

We are multi-dimensional for a reason. And there are enough people, even in modern times, who have had significant experiences with Spirit that it seems foolish to disregard this aspect of our humanity, our spirituality, our essence.

I guess the big question is in the tension that arises when we refer to “good” and “evil” spirits. And I understand that hesitancy, but there is simply too much evidence to deny them. For me, the truth of evil places human depravity at the feet of its source: the realm within.

Do we really think that the battles we carry on in the flesh will change the spirit? Will our wars block the power of evil’s presence and influence? Will our gun laws prevent their distribution on the streets of our cities? Will our capture of kilos of cocaine prevent the fields of poppies from being grown again?

We are back to the single word that explains the Way of the Spirit realm: paradox. It’s not the very reasonable approaches to problems of our world that will change it, but the opposite. If not, if it’s all Pollyanna, then why did Jesus bother to say any of it? I know things are bad now, but things were bad then too: almost everyone was poor or under the iron fist of a dictator or slave owner, violence was the norm and so was hunger. There was no “upward mobility,” there was no middle class. Back then, it wasn’t just the 99% but 99.9% of the people who suffered under human indignity and loss.

They had good reason to look and wait for a revolution. Instead, Jesus proclaimed a victory for the interior life as the starting point for change. Do we follow? Do we believe?

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