MEET AGNES SANFORD

BLOG 73 February 19, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

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Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

Agnes Mary White Sanford came out of a world that no longer exists. Her father Hugh Watt White and mother Augusta were Presbyterian ministers and missionaries in Hsuchoufu, China back in the days when the Western Church world saw that far off land as a place of mystery and romantic intrigue.  She wrote her own story in Sealed Orders and didn’t want some anonymous person adjusting her story or taking apart her personal theology. Consequently, this chapter is not about Agnes Sanford per se, but my experience of and with her.

I not only knew Agnes, but taught in her School of Pastoral Care. During that time, I became acquainted with Dr. Harry Goldsmith whose healing and emotional restoration laid the foundation for the healing of the memories ministry that had a worldwide impact.

While Agnes has been gone from this world for three and a half decades, her quest for the miraculous remains highly instructive. She has much to tell us about interaction with the heavenly Father and how we can access the miraculous realm. While her personal orientation was unusual, her devotion to discovering the pathway to prayers for healing remains anyone can follow.

The first time I came to Agnes’s home in Monrovia, California, Edith Drury opened the door and ushered me in. Edith believed she had been called of God to shepherd Agnes in her later years after Ted died. She ushered me into the living room where Agnes sat reading a book.

“Oh, Robert! Do come in and sit down.”

“I wanted to inquire further about your work with healing prayer. I’m concerned to know more about praying for sick people.”

“Excellent,’” Agnes repeated. “We can certainly talk about that subject.”

            We conversed easily and she rambled awhile about her life. Her pastor at the local Episcopal Church was Morton Kelsey who was to become internationally known for his writing. At that moment, little did I realize that I would in time become Morton’s bishop. We were simply talking, sharing our journeys, and eating sweet rolls.

After talking for awhile, Agnes walked out on the veranda. Monrovia is set in the foothills above Los Angeles and her house was on a steep mountainside. Standing with a piece of bakery roll in her hand, she seemed oblivious when a bird flew down and landed on her wrist. The bird pecked off a piece of bread and then flew off. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“I thought I saw a bird land on you,” I said.

“Oh yes,” she said casually. “They do that you know. I’ve never seen that bird before.”

That experience was my introduction to the unusual relationship Agnes had with nature. Dogs, birds, snakes, animals loved her and she developed an extraordinary capacity to pray for the earth and wind. Her amazing relationship with nature plays a part in her healing work.

Next week, we’ll dig deeper.

YOU JUST NEVER KNOW

BLOG 72 February 12, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE! 

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Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

A number of years ago, I experienced a divine intervention that restored my health virtually overnight. At that time, I knew nothing about miracles, divine healing, or the work of the Holy Spirit. As I recovered, I set out to understand how I had experienced such an extraordinary recovery.

During my investigations of the work of the Holy Spirit, I realized that many of the concepts that involved healing could be taught just as churches taught evangelism or prayer. Not everyone got the ideas, but I observed many people recovering a ministry that they never conceived was possible. Eventually, I began traveling to congregations and teaching people how they might develop a healing ministry. Eventually, I taught in Taiwan and England.

On one of these trips I went to Holland, Michigan, a center of Old Dutch Calvinism that didn’t believe in the gifts of the Spirit as a contemporary reality. I knew there would be a significant resistance to my subject matter, but I ploughed ahead. I began with a Friday night gathering and introduced the subject of healing. All through Saturday morning, I shared what I learned. As expected, the attendance was meager.

On Sunday, I held a healing service in a church that had never experienced such a thing. The attendance was even smaller, but I had expected resistance. As I always did, I invited anyone needing healing to come forward. A few people responded.

However, one couple stood out in my mind. A local university professor and his wife knelt at the front of the church and handed me a slip of paper describing the problem. He had pancreatic cancer. An incurable, deadly disease that usually takes a life within weeks or months at best.

I prayed as fervently as I knew how with the laying on of hands. Nothing spectacular happened, but I could feel what I believed was the Holy Spirit working through me. I finished, said “Amen,” and they returned to their pew. The service was over. Everyone went home and I flew away in a jet.

Six months later another professor from the same university was in my office working on an architectural project. We poured over the illustrations that he had brought in with him.

Finally, he straightened and asked if I remembered praying for the young man with pancreatic cancer. I knew what he would probably say. I was wrong.

“I saw him yesterday. He told me to tell you that the cancer is gone now. It just disappeared. He was healed.

Even though I came believing, I was still astonished. You just never know. 

MEET MIKE AND BETH Part Two

BLOG 71 February 5, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE! 

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

The ideas in this blog were first posted last summer, but the amazing event remains touching and are good for a second look.  During their work with the Vineyard Ministry, significant gifts from the Holy Spirit came forth for Mike and Beth. Prophetic insight helped to propel significant spiritual growth in Oklahoma City. Mike also began to experience a healing ministry.

During a conference in Monterrey, Mexico, Mike was working with local citizens who were “the poorest of the poor but the richest in faith.” During an evening service with robust singing and praise, a blind elderly woman was led forward for prayer assisted by two young people. A group of ministers assembled around Mike and all of them began to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to restore her sight.

As he interceded, Mike felt like he was being transported from Monterrey into a page out of the New Testament. While he was internally experiencing that ancient scene, the old woman began to cry.

Yo veo!” the woman sobbed. “Yo veo?”

“I think she sees,” the minister next to Mike whispered.

Over and over again, the woman gave thanks and praise to Jesus Christ for healing her. As the service ended, she rushed out into the streets to tell everyone that she had received this wonderful healing. Her sight was restored.

As the evening ended, the teaching of Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 rang in Mike’s ears. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel … and the recovery of sight to the blind.” In the same way a gift of healing had become part of Mike’s ministry.

The divine interventions and miracles have continued through the years for Mike and Beth as they reach out to the needs of others.

What can we learn?

Since the Western World is living in an age that considers empirical data to be supreme, some of Mike and Beth’s accounts may sound over the top to hard-nosed secularists. The prevailing world view of the modern world insists on scientific data and demonstrable facts. Obviously, some of the foregoing does not fit the mold. So, what do we do?

I’d suggest we change our world view.

If we are to understand miracles and learn how to live with divine interventions, we need to make a paradigm shift. We must recognize that the transcendent dimension won’t fit in a test tube or calculate on a computer. God’s world and Word must be encountered in God’s terms. The failure to face up to this reality will keep the door shut that must be opened in order to have some insight into divine interruptions. Mike and Beth can teach us a number of things about the doors we often keep closed. They grew up with the door open.

Has the promise, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel … and the recovery of sight to the blind,” become out dated? Has the work of healing ministry stopped? Review some of these blogs and you’ll get the picture.

Miracles have never ceased!

MEET MIKE AND BETH

BLOG  70 January 29, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE 

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

I have known Mike and Beth for 25 years. We have worked together, socialized, debated ideas, and watched their children grow up.  Much of what I report about their ministry comes from moments of personal observation. The Owens can share important insights with us. We’ll learn some new aspect of miraculous ministry.

Michael and Beth Owen are both ordained Christian Ministers and have been in full-time ministry for 34 years. Merging their highly divergent backgrounds led them through ministry in the Baptist Church, planting a Vineyard Fellowship, and finally becoming clergy in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. Along the way they discovered a ministry with divine interventions and miraculous encounters. How did such occur?

Mike’s family always stressed the importance of church and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Mike struggled with such a decision. After praying for direction about being baptized, eight-year-old Mike crawled into bed. To this day, he still labors to grasp what followed.

In the corner of the bedroom, an angel in a bright white and turquoise robe floated above the floor. Tall and larger than life, the angel stood there smiling at him. Illuminated in a glowing light, the angel conveyed personal assurance to Mike. While there was no verbal communication, the angel’s smile answered his prayers. Mike knew what he needed to do in church the next day.

Today Michael prays daily, “Dear Lord please release your Holy Angels to watch over and protect my family and me and all those we carry in our hearts.”

Beth’s first angelic encounter came when she was fifteen-years-old and her aunt Barbara was dying. The family had already felt the impact of the death of her mother’s brother as well as two sisters and now another sister stood at death’s door. After an urgent phone call, Beth and her mother rushed to the hospital. As they stepped out of the elevator door, the announcement of a “Code Red” rang down the hall. Attendants rushed passed them but they were too late.

As they were leaving the hospital, Beth and her mother were standing at the street corner when Beth looked up. To her astonishment, she saw two massive white angels hovering above them. The angels stood on each side of Barbara.

Beth exclaimed, “Look, Mom! They’ve come to take Barbara home!”

Taller than the city street light, Beth could see the massive size of their bodies, legs, and feet as they ascended vertical upward. As they disappeared out of sight, Beth knew her understanding of God’s loving care was forever changed. The comfort of an all comprehensive peace settled over them.

These early experiences caused Michael and Beth to anticipate divine interventions in their ministries. Their ministries have encompassed a number of miraculous events.

Stay tuned. More to come next week.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE NEW YEAR

BLOG 69 January 22, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE 

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Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

Several years ago I wrote Crossing the Threshold of Eternity. The book resulted from a multitude of interviews with people who had near death experiences. These discussions came from some of the most fascinating research of my life time. People talked about their journey with what lays beyond this lifetime. From those moments on the other side of life, I found that their lives were changed by their supernatural adventures.

If you haven’t read Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, you might pick it up at your local book store. You’ll be fascinated.

Here’s another book worth your time. Mary C. Neal, M.D. describes her extraordinary experience of her death and what followed in To Heaven And Back. The encounter began when Dr. Neal was floating down a river in Southern Chile and was swept over a waterfall where her kayak turned over, trapping her under the water. Mary died.

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During her remarkable trip to heaven, she encountered angels as well as people who went on before her. Mary Neal came to a new insight for why people often see a bright white light when they have a near-death encounter.  Eventually, she realized it was not her time to stay in heaven. To her regret, she returned to her life in this world.

However, Dr. Neal’s life was forever changed. She had gained a new understanding of her purpose on earth. During this time in eternity, the doctor experienced a deeper and more profound awareness of the meaning of her relationship with Jesus who she met in his glorified state in heaven.

Because she was an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Neal‘s writing style has a scientific undergirding. While she writes as an evangelical Christian, her story is compelling from an objective view point. If you would like a new source of inspiration for this New Year, read Dr. Mary C. Neal’s story.

You’ll be moved.

WHEN CONFUSION MATTERS

BLOG 68 January 15, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

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Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world?

Read and you’ll find new insights.

Followers of this blog have figured out by now that I am challenging the current social view that all we have is a physical world. Week after week, you’ve been presented the evidence for another dimension that breaks in with power and renewal. Moreover, my research further suggests that no special class or type of person is required to experience the empowerment of this additional realm often called eternity. In fact, the major requirement is not expertise or special capacity. The issue usually is need.

Don’t worry. These blogs will continue walking down that path.

A less obvious insight is the discovery that often people experience confusion in understanding what the wind of God is blowing their way. They may have the right answer without grasping what the heavenly response actually means. We have to work at understanding what the impact from the “other side” actually means. It IS worth the effort.

In previous blogs I’ve talked about the ministry of Leslie Draper, the counselor who works with angels. Leslie works with the eternal dimension everyday of the week. Recently, she shared a story with me that makes the point.

Mary was a lovely woman who needed a word from the Lord. She wanted to know if the angels could tell her anything. This was her first session and she waited quietly for Leslie to say something, anything.

Leslie kept hearing, “Mother Theresa” and was sure she was misreading the situation. She paused to reassure Mary that the angels were pleased that she had come and were thankful she was so kind and generous to people in need. As Leslie was talking, she once again heard, “Mother Theresa.”

Leslie felt frustrated and didn’t know what to say because she couldn’t conceive of any connection between Mary and Mother Theresa. Finally, Leslie threw up her hands and said, “I don’t know what to say, but the angels keep saying ‘Mother Theresa.’

Mary reached over and gently patted Leslie’s hand. She said, “My mother is Theresa.”

Mary went on to learn that the angel was conveying her mother’s love and appreciation  for her being a caring, compassionate, and selfless person. Mary was blessed by the exchange.

Don’t give up practicing listening, receiving, and believing. What today seems obscure will in time become clear.  You know that old saying, practice makes perfect.

Divine Intervention Stories

BLOG 67 January 8, 2018 

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MIRACLES NEVER CEASE Followers of this blog know that Robert L. Wise has traveled across many states collecting stories of miracles and divine interventions that confront the contemporary secular mind. Read and see what you think.

As this New Year begins, I have a couple of recommendations for you. If you have not seen the movie The Darkest Hour, it is well worth your time. The story chronicles Sir Winston Churchill’s rise to the office of Prime Minister of England. Viewers are put in touch with the drama, tension, and courage of England as their army was being pushed off of Dunkirk. Sir Winston’s tenacity held England together.

I am reminded of a divine intervention that occurred when the British were backed against the wall. Three thousand soldiers were stranded on Dunkirk as the Nazis bore down. British generals estimated that only ten percent would survive if they tried to evacuate. Britain was literally faced with the annihilation of their army. Churchill asked the King to call for every boat both large and small to sail down and pickup every possible soldier. The King called the nation to prayer as everything from row boats to dinghies and fishing boats went forth to save the army. All across the country, people were on their knees.

Two things happened that never occur.

The sky became turbulent with a dangerous storm sending petulant winds down on the English Channel. The Luftwaffe, the German air force, could not penetrate the clouds.  At the same time, the channel became placid which never happens when a storm is brewing. Two contradictory conditions saved the army. When it was over, virtually the entire British Army escaped. The ten percent prediction was proven wrong by a nation in prayer. The British survived to fight Nazism on another day.

In a similar vein, here’s a book for the new year. Eben Alexander, M.D., wrote Proof of Heaven (Simon and Schuster) tells the story of  his near-death experience. Complete with medical documentation, he describes  his neurosurgeon’s journey into eternity and back again. For seven days, Eben lay in a comma. Then as doctors were considering stopping all treatment, the physician opened his eyes.  In this book, he described encountering an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. Finally, Dr. Eben encountered and talked with God the Father himself.

Before this experience, Eben Alexander could not believe in the soul, heaven, or God. You will be moved as his story recounts that death is not the end of personal existence but a transition. No scientist or person of faith can ignore this book. As the new year begins, you will be inspired.

A WONDERFUL SEASON TO ALL!

HOLIDAY BLOG CHRISTMAS DAY 2017

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May you, your family, and your friends, have a wonderful season of joy. As we stand on the eve of a New Year, our prayer is for 2018 to be the best year of your life. Let us pray that a world in turmoil and a divided nation will find a new center in the love of our heavenly Father.

We’re gone until after January 1st, but we’ll be back with more to come. Stay tuned as we begin another year wrapped in hope.

Robert L. Wise