Showing posts with label Biblical Scripture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biblical Scripture. Show all posts

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pray for guidance to know the difference between authentic and false news!

In this day and age, please be careful and scrutinize all news circulating around the internet as potentially fictitious if directed maliciously at Catholics and Christians! Pray for guidance!

"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

Photograph Copyright 2017 Loci B. Lenar

Friday, May 28, 2010

Faith Healing Priest Draws Thousands

The following photograph and excerpt from Catholic Online is about Father Richard McAlear.  Fr. McAlear is gifted by God in helping those in need of healing.

The Finger of God for Healing: Faith Healing Priest Draws Thousands - Living Faith - Home & Family - Catholic Online

By Sonja Corbitt

One is inexorably drawn to the mysterious intensity of God's compassion and love in Fr. McAlear as his lips move in silent groanings and he cradles the stricken faces of those for whom he prays.  Shunning sensationalism or hysteria, he facilitates healing with a whisper, using very few, if any, words. "Once you really understand the pain in the people's hearts and the power of Christ to heal, there is nothing to say," says McAlear.

NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - "The Spirit of God is on me. He anointed me to bring Good News to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted and to free the oppressed" (Is. 61:1).

Although he is often referred to affectionately as "the healing priest," it is a title that Father Richard McAlear shuns. A priest of the Oblate of Mary Immaculate Order, he is one of the few priests in the Catholic Church who call themselves faith healers.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began in 1967 after a retreat held at Duquense University in Pittsburgh. The movement grew and gained recognition in the Church among the leadership and laity.

Fr. McAlear received permission from the Oblates, in accordance to Church guidelines, to enter full time charismatic ministry in 1975 after doing retreats and prayer services and witnessing the healing power of God through his prayers in the previous three years.

It began for Fr. McAlear in 1972 at a prayer meeting with a woman in attendance who was in severe back pain. An elderly Pentecostal revert to Catholicism approached Fr. McAlear and told him he needed to pray over the woman. The young priest had no idea what she meant. His only experience with "praying over people," was a Pentecostal televangelist he had once seen on TV whose healing theatrics included jumping up and down and ecstatic speaking.

Finally, after an awkward, pregnant silence, Fr. McAlear blessed her. And she was healed. Visibly. Publicly. Word spread quickly and, inundated with requests from the gravely ill, he made "healing ministry" his life's work, traveling the globe, celebrating Masses, and speaking at retreats and conferences.

Contemporary faith healing often provokes images of "Pentecostal faith healing" and other "charismatic" mumbo-jumbo, in which healing is said to be a visible sign and product of one's faith, and some evangelists in tent revivals or on TV sometimes defraud the desperately ill with staged "healings" in order to draw donations.

Rather than faith in what is NOT seen (2 Cor. 5:7) miraculous, visible healing can actually impede growing in faith when it is pursued in the wrong way, for its own sake or out of sensationalism: "Jesus therefore said to him, 'Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe'" (Jn. 4:48).

Despite that real danger, healing is a pillar of Christian dogma and has always been a part of the lived experience of the Church. Although corrupted by some who would attempt to make a dollar through what the Scriptures call "Balaam's error" (Jude 1:11), true faith healing, like exorcism, is sanctioned by the Church. It is to be done in the proper forum and in fidelity to the Church. The USCCB issued a statement in 1969 stating that the charismatic movement "has legitimate reasons of existence. It has a strong Biblical basis."

In the Scriptures, Jesus Christ is said to have cured the sick, sometimes with the laying on of hands. The gospels encourage priests to go out and anoint the sick with oil. St. Paul lists healing as a spiritual gift. Faith healing has been practiced quietly and faithfully by Catholic priests throughout her history. In fact, every Sacramental Annointing of the Sick is a Prayer for Healing, including the possibility of physical healing.

The Vatican has not only endorsed faith healing, but Pope Benedict actually called on those who have the gift of healing to share it in the Instruction on Prayers for Healing released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, he offered guidance on administering the gift: "Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place (Instruction on Prayers for Healing).

The Catechism speaks of healing: "In the sacraments Christ continues to 'touch' us in order to heal us" (CCC, 1504). "The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord" (CCC 1508).

In adherence and faithfulness to Catholic Tradition, Fr. McAlear is not the kind of healer for whom people jump from their wheelchairs and throw away their medicines or crutches, although there have been more than a few physical healings through the years. Rather than faith in his own faith, Fr. McAlear surrenders to God.

Shunning sensationalism or hysteria, he facilitates healing with a whisper, using very few, if any, words. "Once you really understand the pain in the people's hearts and the power of Christ to heal, there is nothing to say," says McAlear.

"The Catholic tradition tends to be more sacramental, very earthly and human, gentle, quiet.

We pray for healing in a quiet way. This is mostly inner healing for emotional burdens. And when people are healed of those, often physical stuff can go away, too.

"There is a fervor to this, a zeal that can be expressed in a different way. We have to separate style from substance," he told the New Orleans Clarion Herald in March of this year. It is this philosophy and the guidance of the Church that informs his healing Masses.

By all accounts, they are quiet and reverent, focused on the spiritual interior with a specific emphasis on reconciliation and forgiveness, and Eucharist-centered. They include Adoration and a blessing by Fr. McAlear, who speaks of healing as rooted in the spirit.

"It's what is going on inside - the inner pain, depression, sadness, grief, loss, loneliness," he explains. "A lot of times it's manifested in physical illness. The need is there to touch the heart and the inner spirit. That's where the healing Masses make their contribution," he says. "The spiritual need can only be touched spiritually. Then everything else follows. The hope is restored, the darkness is lifted."

Fr. McAlear does not support exclusive reliance on faith healing, however. He encourages the use of effective natural means for preserving and restoring health as well, saying "Do both," and quoting Sirach 38:

"The doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; Thus God's creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you.Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too" (1-15).

Fr. McAlear receives no fee for his visits and depends entirely on offerings for his travel expenses. Perhaps it is such demonstrations of love, more than any other evidence, that help prove he is a true finger of God in healing His broken, suffering humanity.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

There is Good News...A New Day Dawns

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all people; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

Joel 2:28

Guest Opinion: The following excerpt from an interesting article by Junior desouza Ministries is presented here for your prayerful discernment.

A New Day Dawns
Biblical Basis

In Scripture, the dawning of a new era in God's plan is illustrated by the rising of a sun. Such "dawns" or "mornings" can pertain to a single person (Ps 57:8, 108:2, Isa 38:13), God's people (Mt 4:15,16), or even the entire world (Isa 26:19). However, the metaphor is consistent: a glorious sunrise terminating a long, dark night. Here's a few examples.

The incarnation of the Messiah dawned a much-awaited new day. Matthew, quoting Isaiah the prophet, said of Jesus' arrival (Mt 4:15,16, underline added): "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Zechariah, in his prophetic celebration of John the Baptist, spoke similarly (Lk 1:78,79,): ...the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Jesus, the Morning Star, was dawning the New Testament era. Notice the providential metaphor...He resurrected at dawn (Lk 24:1-3), and birthed the church in the morning (Ac 2:15).

Isaiah and Hosea prophesied a new day would dawn for Israel, a day when the Lord would relent from His judgments against her and restore her completely. Isaiah 30:19-26 is the entire passage with several promises, but notice the illustration used in verse 26 (underline added): The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. Hosea foretells likewise. The entire passage is Hosea 6:1-3, but once again, notice the illustration used in verse 3: Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

The dawning of new days can also be personal. David said weeping would last throughout the night season, during the momentary anger of the Lord. However, joy would come "in the morning"--when a new season dawned--and that favor would last a lifetime (Ps 30:5).

Hezekiah, in the midst of his agonizing illness, said (Isa 38:13): I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. After eating some boiled figs, he recovered miraculously and his new day dawned (v21).

Song of Songs refers to Solomon's bride as a "sunrise". Song of Songs 6:10: Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? The friends could see that her presence in his life was a brilliant sunrise to him. She dawned a new day for Solomon.

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

The Lord God is a sun, dawning new days of shielding, favor, honor, and good things for those who walk blamelessly with Him (Ps 84:11). He is the Morning Star (Rev 22:16), and that very nature demands that He manifest as a sunrise somewhere. Will you be that somewhere?
A New Day Dawns
Prophetic Rhetoric?
 I present this message to you today in childlike sincerity and divine seriousness. I say this, because, numerous prophecies are presently circulating about a coming "new day" or "new era", in this arena or that. Some of these words are 100% authentic, while some are hand-me-downs reissued in the spirit of prophetic rhetoric. The phrase new day has a high voltage, charged with sensation and hope, capable of being exploited simply as a mesmerizing catch-phrase.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from the depths of my heart, I assure you this message is not prophetic rhetoric, spiritual sensationalism, Charismatic mesmerism, or trending/fadding. This is not a bandwagon prophecy. I have enjoyed several enlightening experiences the past few weeks that verified the Lord is truly revealing the dawning of a new day. A giddy excitement has filled my heart as this hope trickles down into my core!

As with all prophetic messages, I urge you to prove this word in your own secret place with the Master. I urge you to prayerfully wait on Him and the various confirmations He will provide in the coming weeks and months. And as He does, rejoice! I am so happy for what the Lord has scheduled! Many of His weary warriors and faithful fighters have waited long years for this good news.

In writing this, the Spirit urged me on joyfully from Isaiah 40:1,2: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

For those of us who thought/think our warfare would never give way to a new era, the Lord cries from Isaiah 66:9, "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.

An Era of Peace from War
The Ending of Heavy Warfare

The day is coming when many will no longer look over their shoulder for fear of the enemy's flood. The bullride will be over. It will be a day of peace from war, a day of rest on every side, a day when mega-seasons of brutal warfare have resulted in victory and subjugation of the enemy. David entered this era personally (see Psalm 18).

In that day many will quote the following scriptures (Ps 9:6 NKJV, 18:37,38, 46:9): O enemy, destructions are finished forever!...I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet...He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. Their prayer from Psalm 7:9 will finally be answered: Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just.
An Era of Successful Building
A Time to Build

The circumstancial peace will allow for settling down and the development of God-inspired projects. The enemy's resistance will be minimal and quickly manageable. It will be a time to focus energies not on warfare, but on building. Important progress will be made and God-dreams will become reality.

In that day many will have the experience of King Asa and Judah (2Chr 14:5-7): He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest. "Let us build up these towns," he said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
An Era of Long-awaited Second Chances
The Redemption of Major Mistakes

Waiting for a second chance to redeem colossal mistakes can be torturous. The humiliation and reproach weigh heavy on our souls, imposing a necessary sanctification on our pride, motives, and goals. For those who cooperated with the humbling, a new day of long-awaited second-chances will arrive.

In that day many will sing from Joel 2:19,26,27: The LORD will reply to them: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations...You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
An Era of Unusual Confidence
Fearless and Sure, Finally

Insecurity and hesitation are pandemic in God's people. Heaven and earth are overwhelmed by the opportunities missed, relationships passed up, expressions suppressed, destinies delayed. This new era will be one of great inner strength and confidence, where insecurities and hesitations no longer restrain the faithful from the risks and adventures of the Christ-life. The faithful will assert and initiate in ways that terrified them before. Fear of rejection will be replaced with fear of missing the blessing.

In that day these once-fearful ones will praise from Psalm 65:5 (NKJV): O God of our salvation, you who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth.

An Era of Surprising New Work
Unexpected Vocational Reordering

Work will be reordered in a major way. Many will be surprised, even shocked (pleasantly), at the unexpected new tasks and projects the Lord appoints them to. Major portions of many destinies have been kept carefully concealed until this time. This has been for both lofty and practical reasons. The dawning of this new day will dawn abrupt and unforeseen work assignments that will reorder many Christians' vocational lives completely.

An Era of New Demarcation Lines in Conscience
Expansion of Personal Liberties

The Lord will be greatly expanding the personal liberties of many in this new day. The demarcation lines of their conscience will widen into a broad place (1Co 8:7-12, 10:25-29, Ro 14). Many who were under divine "restriction" and testing will be released from seasonal prohibitions. Many who were legalistic in certain areas will be illumined to the overstrictness of their convictions. A widespread relaxation from divine permission is dawning.

In that day many will say (Ps 16:6,11, 84:11, Ro 14:17): The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places...with eternal pleasures at your right good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless...For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

In that day many will testify with the words of Amos (Am 7:14,15): "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'


To read the complete article, please visit the following link: A New Day Dawns

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Friday, December 25, 2009

The Birth of Jesus

Merry Christmas!

The Birth of Jesus - Luke 2:1-20

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The upper stained glass window detail was photographed inside St. Rose of Lima Church. The Catholic Church is located in East Hanover, NJ.  The lower stained glass window was photographed inside St. Virgil Church, Morris Plains, NJ, USA.

Photograph Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Peace I Give to You

My Peace I Give to You

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -John 14:27

"I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and become my disciples." -John 15:5 and 8

"As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love." -John 15:9 and 10

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. You are my friends if you do what I command you. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the father in my name (Jesus) he may give you. This I command you, love one another." -John:11, 12, 14, 16, and 17

The collage of images are photographs taken of stained glass window art inside of Saint Peter the Apostle Church, and Saint Christopher Church, both located in Parsippany, NJ, USA.

Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Does Scripture Say about Angelic Protection?

What does the bible say about angels?

Hebrews 13:2 states, "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels."

Throughout scripture we read about God sending his angelic servants to rescue people in time of need.

One of the most interesting stories of God's angelic protection is found in Acts 12:6-11, which says, On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him saying, "Get up quickly." The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, "Put on your belt and your sandels" He did so. Then he said to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me." So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting."

God is awesome and will provide assistance in time of difficulty through his angels. Prayer is of course essential in order to receive God's divine help.

Please read my own personal testimony (Loci B. Lenar) about the matter in which my family has received aid from Michael the Archangel by visiting the Signs, Wonders, and Miracles website at the following link:

(Photograph taken at the National Blue Army Shrine, located on the grounds of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA. The Catholic Shrine is in beautiful Warren County, NJ.)

Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar

Saturday, June 13, 2009

God is Miraculous, but Intelligent

Guest Opinion

By Junior Desouza Ministries

Signs, Wonders, and Miracles. We can't help but love and celebrate them. Our Bible says Yahweh Elohim is a wonder worker, a master of miracles, a specialist in signs (Job 5:9, Dan 6:27, Ps 77:14, Jer 32:20, Mk 16:17, Ac 2:19, Gal 3:5, Eph 3:20,21). He dances at the opportunity to defy natural law and baffle human reason with remarkable demonstrations of power. It pageants His omnipotence, that it might be known "He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth" (Dan 4:35). Such demonstrations come in different forms, in different seasons, in different quantities, in different geographies, for different reasons. However, the immutable nature of the Unique One has never mutated: He was, is, and is to be miraculous.

This very attribute indicts cessationism as one of the most tragic compromises in the history of the church (I say this with love and respect to my cessationist Christian brothers). At worst, it disregards God's miraculous virtue, at best, it downplays it. We can expect from God what we project onto God. Jesus said, according to our faith will it be done to us (Mt 9:29). Consequently, if we perceive Him to be miraculous only occasionally--and that occasion is, conveniently, the distant past or distant future--then we forfeit a relationship with the miraculous side of our Father. For all practical purposes, a piece of His character has been amputated. Cessationism has failed us.

I am so happy that a faith-filled people relating with the miraculous side of God is resurging. Many are abandoning the God-taming tendencies of cessationism and seeking a fuller, more biblical Christian journey. The same spirit of faith that prevailed in generations past is rousing itself once again. Like Gideon, these God-hunters are asking, "Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about?" (Jud 6:13). Like Habakkuk, they are praying, "LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known" (Hab 3:2). And God is answering them.

These Christians are discontent with intellect-only, information-only Christianity. Certainly cognition plays a crucial role in our spiritual journey, but it is incomplete by, in, and of itself. Are we brains only? Did God make us computers? No. First and foremost we are spiritual beings, craving spiritual realities because eternity has been preprogrammed into our heart's desire (Ecc 3:11).

However, in the same way cessationism has given God's miraculous side the cold shoulder, the signs-n-wonders movement must be careful to not do the same to God's intelligent side. As cessationism snuggles with dry orthodoxy, the signs-n-wonders movement occasionally flirts with strange doctrines and magic show religion. At the end of the day, both extremes injure the beloved body of Christ.

Jesus said Spirit and truth are Siamese twins, and when they remain connected, true worship happens (Jn 4:23,24). The Father requires experience AND education...power AND principle...Spirit AND truth. Spirit without truth is a river with no riverbanks--plant life is flooded and ruined. Truth without Spirit is riverbanks without a river--plant life is little to none. The Father dreams of a powerful riverflow of the Spirit safeguarded by sturdy riverbanks of truth--plant life is maximized and protected.

Purposes of the Miraculous

Why signs and wonders?

Asking why the church needs signs and wonders is equal to asking why the church needs the miraculous side of God, which is equal to asking why the church needs any side of God. Answer: because we cannot attain "the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" unless we "in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Eph 4:13,15). Whole measure, fullness, all things...definitive terms telling us we need all of Christ, every attribute and expression, to mature personally and corporately. We cannot nitpick which aspects of the living Christ we want to relate with based on our personality, upbringing, experience (or lack of), denomination, or dispensational constructs.

The corporate maturity of the church is central to the divine program. Because God's glory is stewarded by the church (Eph 3:21), the knowledge of that glory cannot cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14, 2Co 4:6) unless the church matures and prevails on the earth. Isaiah 2:2 says the last-days church will be the generation that actualizes this lofty destiny. But how will she do it? One way is through the miraculous side of God. Ecclesiastical institutions, Christian campaigns, and well-organized programs fall short, though they have a dimension of benefit. However, a church regularly demonstrating the Omnipotent One can surpass the mountains of this world so that "the mountain of the LORD's temple is chief among the mountains" (Isa 2:2). Moses understood (Ex 33:15,16): If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here...What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?

Signs, wonders, and miracles are increasing everywhere not because there is a "signs-n-wonders movement" inducing demonstrations, some real, some not. Rather, the Lord Jesus Christ is maturing His church, actualizing His global glory, prevailing over the mountains of this world with the mountain of His temple, all in preparation for His epic return.

Situational purposes

Besides the overarching purpose just mentioned, there are several local, or situational, purposes for the miraculous.

1-Authenticate Jesus as the Messiah. Many scriptures directly state that signs and wonders were used to accredit Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah (Ac 2:22, Jn 2:11, 7:31, 10:24,25, Mt 11:2-5).

2-Authenticate the Word of God. Since God's Word is powerful and life-giving (Heb 1:3, 4:12), the miraculous often happens alongside the faithful, anointed proclamation of it (Mk 16:20, Ac 8:5,6, 14:3, Heb 2:3,4, Ro 15:18,19; Jer 23:28,29, 1Ki 17:22-24).

3-Create saving faith. Some unbelievers can be convinced of salvation through awesome demonstrations of divine power (Jn 20:30,31, 2:11,23, 4:48-53, Ac 13:6-12, 16:25-34, 19:13-20, Rom 15:18,19, 1Co 2:4,5). Some can be convinced through extraordinary wisdom (1Co 1:22). Some will never be convinced regardless (Jn 12:37, Lk 16:31).

4-Reward for faith. At times, miraculous happenings are a heavenly reward for active and ongoing faith (Heb 11:6, Mt 9:29, Mk 9:23, 11:22-24, Jn 14:12-14; Mt 7:7-11).

5-Compassion. God occasionally grants miracles out of pure compassion for people's hardship (Mt 15:32-38, Jn 11:33,38,43,44).

6-Judgment upon enemies. In a punitive sense, the Lord will act miraculously to directly confound, chastise, or defeat His enemies (Deu 6:22, Neh 9:10, Ac 12:21-23, 13:6-11).

Translating Miracles Into Maturity

Moves, Movements, & Maturation

Corporate maturity. This is why God "moves". This is why He initiates "movements". To supply a missing or struggling element of the church, an element necessary to progress the church to greater maturity (1Th 3:10, Ro 1:11). Genuine moves of God are not spiritual fads, celebrity opportunities, or a business-like Christian innovation. All genuine moves of God are motivated by this purpose in Ephesians 4:12,13: ... so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Corporate maturity.

If the human stewards of a divine move do not fully embrace and enforce this intention, sadly, the move eventually dissipates. God then schedules another move, in another season, with the same intention. This cycle will repeat itself until the move has been successfully integrated into the true, cross-denominational church, and a new level of corporate maturity has been reached. For example, the Protestant Reformation brought about a tremendous move of the Spirit concerning salvation by grace through faith alone. We have not seen any more significant moves along these lines because the corporate church, for the most part, is established and mature in this area. Every move of God, then, must be successfully integrated into the church for corporate maturation.

The signs-n-wonders movement is no different. If we become inebriated by the miraculous, we will ignore our sober responsibility of integrating the move into the larger Christian spirituality. How heartbreaking would it be to see the move become a fossil, a hardened story of a once-living organism that died back-when and back-then? The Lord is gracious and patient, waiting, watching, and continuing to move in the hopes that His human instruments will translate the movement into broader maturity. This is done through spiritual education.

Thunder & Lightning...but No Rain

Spiritual Education

Generally speaking, signs and wonders are not the basic tools of spiritual growth, development, and education. Rather, they ignite the faith, desire, interest, and enthusiasm necessary for a commitment to growth. Miracles do not teach you how to pray, feed on Scripture, love a difficult person, forgive your oppressor, manage your money, overcome certain habits, discover your calling, learn the Lord's voice, and so on. Sure, the Lord might give a miracle in one of these areas, imparting a significant amount of know-how in a short amount of time. But this is not typical kingdom protocol. When it comes to spiritual education, the Lord has appointed other gifts and functions to shoulder the task.

At soccer practice some time ago, the sky overhead grew dark with a looming thunderstorm. As practice continued, the thunder got louder and longer, the lightning brighter and more frequent. It got our attention; practice had to stop for awhile. As I stood under a tree, slightly fearful of the awesome power the weather was demonstrating, and frustrated that my practice was interrupted, the Lord said to me, "Stay here. I have something to show you."

The thunder and lightning kept intensifying, but the rain wouldn't come. Thunder and lightning...but no rain. The Spirit prompted my eyes to notice the lush green grass, the flourishing trees, and all the healthy plants and vegetation surrounding the park. The scene made sense: What makes the grass, trees, and plants grow is the rain. It could thunder and lightning all day, but if there is no rain, nothing grows. If we demonstrate signs and wonders, but undervalue or neglect the teaching and education of the people, they will never mature in Christ. They will be sign-n-wonders junkies, but spiritually immature, ignorant, and imbalanced. Eventually they'll become easy prey for the enemy, strange doctrines, false leaders, and other dangerous elements. Yes, they need thunder and lightning to get their attention and "stop their practice", but then they need rain to make them grow and mature.

In Scripture, rain is sometimes used as a symbol for biblical education and equipping. Moses uses the imagery exactly as I experienced that stormy day at the park, Deuteronomy 32:2: Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. How exact and how awesome! Isaiah 55:10,11,13 say the same about God's Word: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth... Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. In the language of John 4:23,24, if we have miracles but little to no spiritual intelligence, we are lopsided toward Spirit but wanting for truth. As Jesus said, true worship happens only when both Spirit and truth are honored in approaching the Father.

Leaders, let us not be that one spoken of in Proverbs 25:14: Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give. Do not withhold the gift of spiritual education.

Life After the Miracle

Where do we go from here?

Life goes on after the miracle. No matter how glorious the miraculous might have been, we still have daily lives to live. If we never learn to succeed in daily life, the glories of a mighty miracle will be overshadowed by the embarrassments of a defeated life. The solution? Facilitate the miraculous, but focus on spiritual education.

Shepherds: shepherd the flock

Scripture uses three terms to identify local church shepherds: pastors, elders, and overseers (bishops). All three designations are synonymous, as Acts 20:17,28 and 1Peter 5:1,2 show. Local churches are to have a plurality of these shepherds (Ac 14:23, 1Ti 4:14, Tit 1:5).

Shepherds need to be diligent and do just that--shepherd. Paul says to the elders at Ephesus (Ac 20:17,28): Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Leaders, we must not neglect visiting our people in their homes, calling them, healing their wounds, praying with them, developing in them a biblical worldview, helping them process life by the Spirit, nurturing them into spiritual intelligence and success. Manifesting miracles without diligent pastoral guidance is like giving a Ferrari to a 7-year old.

Teaching: teach carefully and correctly

The gift of teaching (Ro 12:6, 1Co 12:28, Eph 4:11) is the supernatural ability to explain and apply Scripture effectively. Paul told Timothy not to neglect his teaching gift (1Ti 4:14), but to devote himself to the public reading, preaching, and teaching of Scripture (v13), with great patience and careful instruction (2Ti 4:2). Much of what is called "teaching and preaching" in today's popular Christianity is simply a hodgepodge of hype, faddism, basic encouragement, and a few scriptures. This is rhetoric, not teaching.

Genuine teaching that spiritually educates means interpreting Scripture responsibly, communicating it clearly, and applying it relevantly. It means consecrating time and energy to biblical studies, depending on the Spirit to give meaningful illuminations into what is studied. The miraculous would be the candy bars and ice cream of the kingdom; teaching, the meat and potatoes.

Paul said not to be ignorant or uninformed about spiritual gifts (1Co 12:1), and the psalmist said the works of the Lord are to be "studied" (Ps 111:2 NKJV). If Christians can better understand thorough biblical truth concerning the miraculous, the lure to become a sign-n-wonders junkie is weakened (Mk 8:12), and even more so, the possibility of being deceived and derailed (Mt 24:24).

Wisdom: counsel the entire person

The gift of word of wisdom (1Co 12:8) is the supernatural ability to reason skillfully and produce ideal, practical counsel for decision-making and problem-solving (1Co 6:5). (Some scriptures on the age-old wisdom/counsel relationship: 1Chr 26:14, Job 12:13, Jer 18:18, 49:7). This gift is often present among effective Christian counselors and effective pastors.

Why would God juxtapose the Spirit of counsel and the Spirit of power in Isaiah 11:2? Because excellent, Spirit-led advice is equal to an awesome demonstration of God's power! Yes, the people need the Spirit of power, and equally so they need the Spirit of counsel to help them find emotional freedom, mental soundness, physical wellness, relational fulfillment, vocational destiny, and financial capability.


Do not wait to be spiritually educated. Educate yourself. Study your Bible diligently, read books, ask questions, pray for heavenly intelligence. There is a promise beckoning you in Proverbs 2:1-6.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A World in Peace with God's Love

The above contemporary icon is a three panel painting depicting a world of violence and suffering, followed by a future of hope and peace. The interesting design is crafted from a medievel triptych by artist Don Kuhn of Millington, NJ. The attention-grabbing artwork is actually displayed in horizontal order inside the Catholic church at the Shrine of Saint Joseph, located on Long Hill Road, Sterling, NJ.

From the bottom up, the icon illustrates a timeline of the world engulfed in hostility, war, violence, and chaos. As you approach the top, emerging on the right is a glimpse of God's light with a field of lilies, a future of possibilities with hope and peace as in Christ's resurrection. A new creation.

What world would you prefer to live in? A world of chaos or a world transformed and resurrected into the likeness of Jesus Christ?

In order to create positive change, nations and leaders must make a concerted effort to achieve mutual respect for human life, regardless of an individuals ethnic background and race or nationality. A world united with respect for one another is a world connected and living in God's peace.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
(1 Corinthians 14:33)

In John 13:34, Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus also said, "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

My sincere hope is for God's blessing and grace to enfold humankind with love, respect, and peace.

Photo Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Revelation 20: Thousand-year Reign of God's Peace

Do you believe in Signs, Wonders, and Miracles of Faith?

Revelation 20:1-3 states, "Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. He seized the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed."

Please pray and petition Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to fulfill the biblical prophecy as written in the Book of Revelation in order to change the course of history into an era (Millennium) of peace. The biblical scripture is linked to a period of peace as foretold by Our Lady of Fatima during her 1917 apparitions in Fatima, Portugal.

As a messenger of heaven, Our Lady of Fatima conveyed God's plan for salvation and conversion through three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. Our Lady also said in her message that "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph and a period of peace will be granted to the world." With those words in mind, please pray for Our Lady to intercede before the throne of God to obtain a blessing of mercy and divine protection so that peace can enfold humanity and the world with God's love.

Also pray for angelic help through the intercession of Michael the Archangel, protector of God's people and the church. Matthew 24:31 states, "And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

Please do not underestimate the power of prayer!

In a spiritual locution received in 2007, 2008, and again in 2009, Jesus communicated and repeated the following: "Now is the time to move forward, release the truth and prophesy with scripture." In Luke 18:27, Jesus said, "What is impossible for human beings is possible for God." The personal locution has been shared with my spiritual advisor, Father Richard Tartaglia of Saint Mary's Church, Denville, NJ, USA.

Revelation 21:3 and 5 states, I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God." The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true."

Jeremiah 29:11-12 states, "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you," says the Lord, "plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you."

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said: "I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

For additional insight on the biblical prophecy, including a miraculous photo of the Shield of Archangel Michael, please visit the following links: Signs of Angels and a Personal Testimony of a Spiritual Visitation of Our Lord and and Savior Jesus Christ

The article is also posted on Catholic Online.

Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar