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Update from the President: June 22, 2017

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Update from the President

June 22, 2017

Many of us have been aware and deeply concerned about 24-year-old Emily Gerhardt of Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia. In a farm accident, she lost her leg all the way to her hip. Her ordeal and her courageous comeback has touched all our hearts. So many of us have prayed for her recovery and have contributed to her rehabilitation expenses.

Pastor Bill Bradford wrote this report earlier today:

“Emily Gerhardt has been in rehab for the past four weeks and is expected to finish her rehab in several more weeks. To bring you up to date, Emily has lost her leg at the hip from an accident that almost took her life. She sustained burns and her leg was crushed while being trapped under a horse trailer for about 5 hours. All this happened on Feb. 2. She has come through the many surgeries and is successfully negotiating her rehab treatments to where she has a good ability to take care of herself with the aid of a wheelchair and crutches. Getting out of the hospital is very close now, and she is looking forward to being in her own home with her parents on their cattle property in south central Queensland. Her progress has been remarkable and she has demonstrated an extraordinary resilience in learning to cope with this kind of disability. She is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and concern for her expressed in the many cards and emails you have sent. She wants me to pass on her deep gratitude for the care, thoughts and prayers of you all. We look forward to seeing Emily move on to a life she loves and in which she will thrive.”

I’d like to also share a newsletter story about Emily (and accompanying photo) from Princess Alexandra Hospital where she is being treated, which describes Emily’s trial:

“Growing up on a property outside of Goondiwindi, 24-year-old Emily spent her whole life around horses but after losing her leg following a farming accident she was hesitant about returning home. Read here how a horse named Gunner and his visit to the Princess Alexandra Hospital has changed her mind” https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/news/horse-brings-hope-at-pah .

Living in the Age of Miracles

Have you ever experienced a miracle—something that defies ordinary explanation? The Bible is full of incidents and major events that were supernatural in origin. These extraordinary acts occurred by the direct hand of God. They can’t be explained by science.

That particular biblical list is long, including epic breath-taking miracles that include the physical creation of the universe to the parting of the Red Sea (which allowed more than a million Israelites to cross the dry sea bed) to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and much more.

God wants all to know with positive certainty that He is all-powerful and purposeful, particularly about the power and understanding of His eternal salvation. To that end, as we read in Hebrews, “God confirmed the message [of salvation] by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose” (Hebrews 2:4 Hebrews 2:4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation). They are encouraging!

However, some think that the witnessing individual miracles would make one believe in God. Some even demand that God supply 21st century “signs and wonders and various miracles” before they will believe and obey Him. Some may say, “Oh, if only God could reveal Himself in some ‘out of the ordinary’ way. Then people could believe.”

History is replete with people like this. People who are agnostic often claim they would believe in God if the Almighty actually chose to reveal Himself in some fantastic way. Atheists deny the existence of God because they ironically deploy human “faith” to assert that God doesn’t exist.

The late Bertrand Russell, the famed British mathematician and philosopher, questioned the existence of God. He was once asked that if he died and found that he was wrong, what did he plan to say to God to account for his unbelief? Russell replied that he would ask God, “Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?”

Reflecting on this, some think that God hides Himself and plays “hide and seek” with humanity. These people want a sign, something dramatic and out of the ordinary. They may think they should be able to snap their fingers and God should perform a miracle or manifest Himself at their beck and call—then they would believe.

Let’s think about that.

God has given to us a miraculous revelation of His relationship with humanity that is today preserved in the Bible. In His inspired Word He specifically speaks about how He has communicated with us. He makes plain who He is, what He is, and the incredible purpose that He will accomplish.

The Bible carefully points out how God is manifested and revealed in the beauty and intricacies of nature. God created the world in such a manner that it would be obvious that it could not have come into existence by chance or mindless happenstance.

It only requires a moment to rationally reflect on the creation by God and consider the awesome planning and depth that went into making it the breathtaking testimonial that it is. God’s creation reveals an Almighty Being who is powerful, creative, artistic and orderly. The seemingly endless array of functional detail—both tiny and majestic—evident throughout the physical world demands a Creator, a brilliant guiding Mind of unparalleled depth. As King David thundered: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalms 19:1 Psalms 19:1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

In spite of this overwhelming presence, much of humanity at large still rejects God. Scientists, learned professionals and others are completely without excuse. As Paul affirms, “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them…Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:19-20 Romans 1:19-20 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×
, NLT).

The outcome? “They have no excuse for not knowing God” (Verse 20).

The rest of that first chapter in Romans chronicles what happens when people willfully reject God in the face of incontrovertible evidence—their very minds become warped and twisted!

Thank God that we can think and understand otherwise! Thank God that we can humbly appreciate the daily miracles that are all around us.

Yes, we indeed live in an age of miracles. But often these miracles are taken for granted.

Stop for a moment and consider just a few. Scientific American magazine pointed out a few years ago that “few can match the precision” that salmon mysteriously display in successfully migrating thousands of miles from saltwater sea to battle back to the remote freshwater stream where they were born. The magazine acknowledged that no one fully understands how or why.

Today we take our cell and smartphones for granted. They silently transmit and receive electromagnetic radiation. That radiation comes in modulated “waves” that are decoded and recoded in a fraction of a second. Tiny microprocessors take those signals and convert them into a sound that we can hear as music or talk, or view as video and photos. Where did that capacity come from? What created it? How did humans acquire the sophisticated ability to harness this electromagnetic energy?

My wife Bev and I sometimes fly to distant areas of the earth to visit our elders and congregations. We marvel as we take off and see the ground below us disappear that we can actually be doing this. An Airbus A-380 weighs 1.26 million pounds when it’s fully loaded. What are the incredible laws that allow this weight to be safely carried aloft to a height of 6.6 miles (35,000 feet)? Thank God that we can “understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command” (Hebrews 11:3 Hebrews 11:3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
American King James Version×
, NLT) and that He is the miraculous Source of all of this!

Apart from the daily physical miracles we personally see, God has faithfully recorded and preserved wonderful accounts of miracles and acts that remind us of His power and strengthen our faith.

Paul used the miracles of the parting of the Red Sea and the Exodus to inspire the disciples living in Greece. As he noted: “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (1 Corinthians 10:11 1 Corinthians 10:11Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.
American King James Version×
, NLT). Paul warns us here not to grumble or partake in the sins of the world.

Miracles are occurring all around us. God communicates with us in our daily lives. Our prayers are answered—sometimes in ways that we don’t anticipate.

I invite you to pause and review what miracles God has performed in your life. An astonishing miracle that we must never take for granted is the fact that God has opened our minds and hearts to understand Him (Ephesians 1:17-20 Ephesians 1:17-20 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
American King James Version×
). God loves us, a fact which surpasses comprehension.

We live today in a continuing age of miracles. Miracles of different kinds are in store. As we reflect on the daily miracles that God provides for us, let us praise God, love God and obey God that we may become more like Him!