Signs and wonders

Peter and John were going up to the temple at three o’clock in the afternoon, the established prayer time. Meanwhile, a man crippled since birth was being carried in. Every day, people would place him at the temple gate known as the Beautiful Gate so he could ask for money from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he began to ask them for a gift. Peter and John stared at him. Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gazed at them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I don’t have any money, but I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, rise up and walk! ” Then he grasped the man’s right hand and raised him up. At once his feet and ankles became strong. Jumping up, he began to walk around. He entered the temple with them, walking, leaping, and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God. They recognized him as the same one who used to sit at the temple’s Beautiful Gate asking for money. They were filled with amazement and surprise at what had happened to him. ~Acts 3:1-10 (CEB)

“The dramatic change in the lives of people touched by the power and presence of God through the early church proved to be a nearly irresistible magnet, drawing many to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Besides the miraculous healing of a blind beggar (Acts 3), many signs and wonders done among the people (Acts 5:12 ff.) caught the attention of those outside and those inside this young church. It was clear to observers and participants: God was at work transforming individuals and communities through this new movement. It was going on but longed for such salvation, healing, and wholeness in their own lives.

Today people still look for evidence of God’s transforming presence in the church and in the world. When they find that evidence, they often turn toward it, seeking to be close to the God who is obviously at work changing lives in such dramatic ways. They are drawn because they want to be close to God. And often they seek their own transformation and salvation. The congregation where signs and wonders are evident is the congregation that finds new people coming to be touched by that transforming presence of God.

In Acts we read of transformation that leads from selfishness to sharing, from uselessness to usefulness, from sickness to health, and from death to life is the transformation many seek. This transformation is promise in the Gospels by the One who came that all might have life and have it abundantly.

Where are the signs and wonders of God’s active and transforming active and transforming presence most visible today? How can you and I make ourselves and the entire church more available, thus permitting those signs and wonders to occur within and through our lives? One way the early church made itself available was by always giving an unqualified yes when God invited obedience, witness, and service. Can we do as much?” From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Almighty God, through the power of Your Holy Spirit you enable us to do and be more than we can think or imagine. Come now, dwell within us, and make us strong to do Your work and will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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