i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?


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Why I Won’t be Working in Nazareth: Luke 4:16-30 (how I would say it)

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he was raised, and as usual, he went to synagogue on the Sabbath. He stood up to read, and the writings of the prophet Isaiah were handed to him. Opening them, he went right to this passage:

“I am under the authority of God’s Spirit; because he has designated me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to set prisoners free, restore the vision of the blind, set the oppressed free, and announce that anyone can know God as a Father.”

Then he closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. All eyes were on him, wondering what he would say next. He started: “With your having heard these words, this ancient prophecy is officially fulfilled.”

Afterwards, everyone was in awe of his speaking skills. They asked each other, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

Jesus piped up, “I can just hear it now. Someone out there is ready to say, ‘Physician, heal yourself,’ and ‘Why don’t you do here in your hometown all the supernatural things we heard you did in Capernaum?’ Well,” he continued, “Remember the Prophet Elijah? When there was a drought and famine in Israel for three and a half years, Elijah didn’t help any of the many Israelite widows, did he? Instead, he was sent to a widow in a foreign country and he kept her alive during the famine. And what about Elisha the prophet? There was no shortage of Israelites with leprosy, but the only one he healed from leprosy was a foreigner—Naaman from Syria. The fact is that no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”

The same people who had just been complimenting him became enraged when they heard this. They literally drove him out of town to the edge of the cliff the town was situated on, and they were going to throw him off the cliff! But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

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Jesus’ Singular Message: Luke 3:19-20; Matt. 4:12-17; Luke 4:14-15 (how I would say it)

King Herod, the top Jewish official of the day, was shacking up with his brother’s wife, Herodias, and calling her his wife. And this was just the tip of the iceberg of his depravity. After John spoke out against Herod, in keeping with his corrupt character, he had John imprisoned.

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he left Nazareth and withdrew to Galilee. He went to live in Capernaum, near the lake in Zebulun and Naphtali. This also fulfilled an ancient prophecy that said, “In Zebulun and Naphtali, along the coast, beyond the Jordan, the “Galilee” of non-Jews, on the unfortunates that live in that death valley, a light has dawned. The people there who lived in darkness have now seen a great light.”

From that point on, Jesus began broadcasting this message: “Switch sides now. The time to align yourselves with God is now, not later.”

Later, Jesus returned to Galilee, bolstered by God’s own Spirit, and boy, was he ever the talk of the town! He regularly taught in the synagogues and became wildly popular.


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Jesus Heals an Officer’s Son: John 4:43-54 (how I could say it)

looking thru trees to sky (random picture, but I really love it)

After a couple of days, Jesus set out for Galilee. Understand that Jesus had predicted that he was going to get no respect in his own hometown. Nonetheless, when he first arrived in Galilee, people welcomed him. Those who had been at the Passover celebration in Jerusalem had been very impressed with Jesus there. He also went back to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned water into wine at that wedding reception.

One of the local authorities had a sick son, at the point of death, in Capernaum, a village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. When he heard Jesus was in town, he tracked him down and begged him to come cure his son.

“You people always have to have some proof to believe in something,” Jesus told him.

The officer replied, “Please, I’m begging you. Come help my son; he could die any minute.”

“Your son is going to be fine. Go on now,” replied Jesus.

The officer accepted this answer and set off toward home. On the way, one of his staff met him and told him that his son was on the mend. The officer asked when his son’s condition had started to improve, and the staffer told him, “His fever broke yesterday at 1 p.m.”

The officer realized this was the exact time that Jesus had said, “Your son is going to be fine.” That was enough for him and everyone in his family to believe Jesus was for real.

This was the second inexplicably amazing thing Jesus had done since he had arrived in Galilee.


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Reel ‘Em, Boys: John 4:27-42 (how I would say it)

IMG_0792 (random picture)

Just then Jesus’ followers walked up on the conversation and couldn’t believe that Jesus was actually talking to this Samaritan woman; but they didn’t have the guts to ask him what was going on.

The woman forgot all about drawing water from the well and hurried back to town to tell whoever she could find, “I think I’ve met the savior of mankind that all the prophesies talk about. He knew everything about me.” Some of the townspeople followed her back to the well.

After the woman left the well, Jesus’ followers tried to get Jesus to eat. They said, “Teacher, you have to eat something!”

Jesus replied, “I’ve been feasting the whole time you were gone!”

His followers couldn’t figure it out. They mumbled to each other, “Do you think someone brought him some food?”

“Doing what God sent me to do is like a four-course meal to me.” Jesus said, “You know how people say, ‘Friday’s payday,’? Open your eyes, boys, it’s time to cash in right now! It’s time to start converting assets to cash—not really cash, but treasure that will outlast this life. You know that saying, one does all the work and another gets all the credit. It’s true, but in this case, both the one who did the work and the one who get the credit are happy about it. You guys are cashing in on work you didn’t do. Someone else did all the hard work; all you have to do is reel ‘em in.”

[Disciples shooting each other looks that say: “Anyone got a clue what he’s talking about?”]

A lot of the townspeople ended up believing Jesus was for real because the woman was so convincing when she told them, “He knew everything about me.” They followed her back to the well and convinced Jesus to hang out for a couple of days. Then Jesus himself convinced them of who he was.

They told the woman, “At first we just believed what you told us, but now that we’ve heard Jesus for ourselves, we know first-hand that this guy is really the savior of the world the prophesies described.”


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Jesus Exposes Himself to Samaritan Woman: John 4:1-26 (how I would say it)

[no disrespect intended in the title. It was just too funny, and I know God is the author of humor]

When Jesus learned that the fact that he was dunking more people and becoming more popular than John was causing a real stir among the Pharisees (even though he wasn’t actually doing the dunking, but his followers were), he decided to leave Judea and go back to Galilee.

The way they went back took them through a town called Sychar in Samaria. The town was near the land the Jewish forefather Jacob had bequeathed to his also infamous son Joseph. There was a famous well there called Jacob’s well. It was about noon and Jesus was already worn out, so he stopped to rest at that well.

One of the local Samaritan women came along to draw water from the well and Jesus said to her, “How about giving me a drink?” (He was alone—his followers had gone into the town to get something to eat.)

The Samaritan woman replied, “You’re asking me for a drink? You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan woman.” (Jews normally wouldn’t associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered, “Yea, well, if you only knew who’s asking you for a drink—God’s gift to mankind—you would be begging me for a drink of life-giving water.”

“Is that so? You don’t even have anything to draw water with, how would you get it out? What’s life-giving water anyway? Is this water not good enough for you—the very water that our forefather Jacob, his sons and livestock drank?”

Jesus answered, “Drink all you want from this well. You’ll just get thirsty again. But the water I’m offering only has to be drunk once and then no more thirst. Because my water becomes a spring inside the person who drinks it—a spring of eternal life.”

The woman replied, “I’ll take it! Then I won’t have to keep coming back here to get water.”

Jesus said, “Okay. Go get your husband and come back.”

 “I don’t have a husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “Good answer.  The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man you’re with now isn’t one of them. You’re absolutely right.”

 “Wow,” the woman said. “Okay, then, if you know so much, tell me why you Jews say we can’t perform our religious ceremonies on this mountain when our ancestors worshiped on this mountain. You say we have to go to Jerusalem to worship.”

“Listen,” Jesus replied, “soon enough it’s not going to matter where you worship. You don’t even know what you’re worshipping anyway. We Jews know though, because the hope of mankind is Jewish. Anyway, the game is about to change—it’s changing already—and those who are actually revering and adoring God—not just going through the motions—do it through his Spirit, and it’s real. That’s the kind of person God wants worshipping him. God is a spirit and so if you want to worship him, you have to do it with your spirit, and sincerely, and it doesn’t matter where.”

The woman said, “Game changer, huh? Well, I know that a christened savior of mankind is supposed to be coming, and when he does, he’ll explain everything.”

Jesus said. “And who do you think you’re talking to right now? It’s me! Christened savior of mankind, at your service!”


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The Best Man’s Speech: John 3:22-36 (how I would say it)

Can I have your attention please

Later, Jesus and his followers spent some time in the Judean countryside, performing spiritual cleansing rituals. John was there too, also dunking people near Salim at Aenon, where the water was suitable for this sort of ritual and there were no lack of people either. (This was before John was sent to prison.) Some of John’s followers started arguing with a certain Jew about this dunking ritual. Then they complained to John, “Teacher, everyone is going over to the other side of the Jordan River to be dunked by that man you kept going on about.”

John replied, “I’ll be happy with whoever God sends me. You already know where I stand on this; you heard me say he’s the one who is going to do the real spiritual cleansing, not just the symbolic act of dunking. I’m like this guy’s best man, if you will. The best man is there to do whatever the groom needs. And at that moment when the bride starts to walk down the aisle, she’s not heading toward the best man; she’s heading for the groom. And the best man isn’t jealous—if anything he’s overwhelmed with joy for the groom. And that’s what I feel right now. It’s time for me to bow out and let him stand in the spotlight, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

“Look, this guy is not from around here; he’s otherworldly and way more advanced than anything on this earth. I’m just a human and I can only relate to what I know from my experience. But someone from outer space? Who could possibly know more than he does? He speaks from a whole other base of knowledge and experience; and yet people aren’t believing him. The ones who do believe him are proving God to be real. God sent him and he speaks on God’s behalf. He has this direct line to God—no waiting on hold or being sent to voicemail. Father God loves his Son and gives him any and everything—on demand. And if you wrap your mind around that and accept the Son for who he is, you’ll live on even after you die; but if you think it’s a load of bull, you’ve got no chance of life after death, because you’ve officially ticked off God.”


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Jesus Schools Nicodemus: John 3:1-21 (how I would say it)

There was a man named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council and the Pharisee sect. One night he clandestinely sought out Jesus to speak with him. He said, “Teacher, it’s obvious that you have a special relationship with God—that’s the only way anyone could possibly perform all the miracles that you are performing.”

Jesus replied, “The fact is that it’s impossible to understand God at work unless you have been adopted as one of His children.”

“I’m way too old to have been adopted as a child! Is it possible for an old man like me to be adopted into a new family?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus answered, “Here’s the way it works: you can’t become a child of God unless you’ve been spiritually cleansed and spiritually birthed. Humans have little babies, but God gives birth to spiritual babies. Don’t be shocked to learn you have to be baby again.

“Can you control the wind? We can hear it, but we have no idea which direction it’s coming from next or which direction it will go. And that’s the way it is with spiritual birth—there’s no predicting it on your part.”

“I don’t get it,” Nicodemus replied.

“Wow. You’re on the ruling council and you don’t get this?” Jesus continued, “The fact of the matter is that we can only relate to what we know—things we’ve experienced and seen. And I’ve been teaching from these concrete experiences, but still you all don’t ‘get it.’ If I’m teaching you from concrete experiences and you don’t get it, how could you possibly understand if I were to teach you lessons from the cosmos, with which you have no experience? After all, no one has ever been in outer space except the one person who came from outer space—the Son of Man. And just like Moses held up that snake in the desert to stop death in its tracks, the Son of Man has to be held up to stop death too, and everyone who counts on him to save them from death won’t just live, they will live forever.

“You see, God loved the world so much that he gave up the only Son he ever fathered to be lifted up and stop death in its tracks. And if you are able to believe that, you will live now and forever. God didn’t send his Son to browbeat the world, but to save it. Believe in the Son and there’s no browbeating; don’t believe and you’ve already been beaten, because you didn’t believe in your only chance at real life—God’s one and only Son.

Here’s what I think: God sent Light to the earth, but some people prefer to slink around in the dark because they don’t want anyone seeing what they’re doing. When you’re up to no good, you hate the thought of being found out and you certainly wouldn’t move around in the daylight for fear of being found out. But when you live a life of integrity, you can call on people during the day, and you’re not afraid to live in plain view of God and everyone.

[Ouch.]