HOW DO MIRACLES OCCUR?

Blog 114 March 17, 2019

Healing-Prayer

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

This week I want to return to the question of what actually happens when a divine intervention occurs. My conversations with a multitude of people suggest that the power of new life is added to a person’s struggling condition. Let’s look further.

The New Testament had a more expansive understanding of life than we generally recognize today. The Greek word zoe’ (ζωη) implies natural life or normal existence. (I Corinthians 15:45-48) The word implies living in health. (Mark 5:23). Consequently, life is a supreme good. (Mark 8:36-37) ) St. Paul was clear this bodily container of ζωη comes to end when we die.

Jesus’ miracles restored life as it was intended to be. All of this is true and possible because God is the only One who is the creator of life. All life originates in Him. (John 5:26) Whether we recognize it or not, a healthy vibrant life remains a gift from God. The Gospels tell us Jesus bestowed this gift on people in need. We can conclude that when the sick are prayed for, this supreme form of life is to some degree imparted to them.

Hidden in the folds of the scripture’s use of the word ζωη is the recognition that life implies a dependency on God. Whether understood or not, such remains true. As Jesus came preaching, both his words and his example made it clear that we should not live for ourselves but for God. (Romans 14:7-8) The scripture indicates that a cosmic event happened when Jesus was crucified that was for the good of the human race. Rather than only another Jew dying under the heavy hand of Rome, Christians contend that this death reached beyond history and effected every generation that followed. By giving up his life on the cross, Jesus broke the power of death and released new life that has never stopped flowing into this world. His wounds can heal our brokenness. Consequently, Christians believe they should live righteously for the good of the world because they have received ζωη from him. They are to live life with the awareness that every day is an anticipation of eternal life after they die. Paul expressed this insight when he wroteh that his life was not his own, but that of Christ living in him. (Galatians 2:19-20) Our present life is sustained by the certainty of that future. Ζωη offers this promise to us. When we pray for healing, we are calling for this reality of life to be increased in the person.

For the first three hundred years, believers struggled to completely define Jesus’ identity. Part of this struggle involved avoiding death from the Romans. During this time, the first church endeavored to clarify Jesus nature. Interestingly enough, this lack of precision and definition did not stop the flow of healing and restoration. I believe we can gather from that period that we don’t have to be dogmatic or 100% certain in how we define our beliefs to be able to reach for the hand of God to bring divine interventions. The people I interviewed would tell you the issue is not in theological precision, but in humbling ourselves and reaching out to receive.

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY. Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN ~ Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

 

WHAT EMPOWERMENT ACCOMPLISHES!

Blog 113 March 10, 2019

it-is-well

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

While dramatic empowerment is exciting, sometimes the more subtle work of the Holy Spirit touches us equally deeply. Such is the case with the story of Horatio G. Spafford, a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago in a past century.

While his wife and four children were crossing the Atlantic, their ship collided with another vessel. Understanding the grave danger, Anna knelt with her four daughters and prayed as the ship was sinking. The daughters perished and only Anna survived. A sailor in a small rowboat saw her floating on a piece of debris and saved her.

Nine days later Anna Spafford landed in Cardiff, Wales. One of the survivors, Pastor Weiss remembers Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they are taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Anna immediately wired her husband. “Saved alone, what shall I do?”

Horatio Spafford immediately booked passage and sailed to join his wife. In four days, the ship approached the exact place where the four daughters had gone down. Horatio had the Captain awaken him when they sailed over that exact place. As he stood there on the deck in the cold wind, at that moment he prayed and then with tears rolling down his cheeks, he wrote these words in his journal.

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like the sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot. Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well with my soul.

A Chorus came to mind:
It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul.

Spafford’s lines were put to music and over the following decades, millions of people have been moved by the power of those words without knowing where they came from or the circumstances that produced the hymn. Without understanding, they were moved by the same power that enabled Horatio Spafford to go on with his life after such an overwhelming loss.

He was sustained by the promise in Philippians 4:7. “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus.”

Anyone who has lost a child, much less four, will understand how the words of that beloved hymn reflect a divine intervention that sustained during the worst experience possible.

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY. Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

WHAT FORGIVENESS ACCOMPLISHES!

Blog 112 March 3, 2019

forgiveness

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

Recently a former colleague shared the story of what happened in an Ash Wednesday Service several years ago. Church members were asked to write on a piece of paper some issue they needed to deal with during this season of the year. After they wrote their need, the paper was taken to the front of the church and dropped in a bowl of fire. One particular woman in the congregation had been sexually and physically abused by her father and couldn’t forgive him. She had not seen her father for two decades yet she knew she needed to forgive him and release  the hostility she held in her heart. With her hand trembling, she wrote “I forgive.”

Standing before the flame, she finally knew her anger was resolved and she dropped the piece of paper into the fire. As she watched the paper burn, the woman knew her hostility was resolved.

A week later the letter came to her house.

Her father had written that on that same night he was in a hospital miles away and was dying. He wrote that so many times he had sought forgiveness for how he treated her, but he couldn’t get over feeling guilty and remorseful. Knowing that he didn’t have much time left, he prayed for forgiveness once more.

With tears running down his cheeks, he looked up and saw a far-off light began to appear in the window. The glow became brighter and larger until the light filled the entire window frame. The radiance kept increasing in size. Finally, the man recognized a face in the midst of the splendor of light. He could barely speak as he looked at the divine countenance,. “Forgive me,” was all he could say.

A voice spoke and a hand extended toward him. “Here is your forgiveness,” the voice said and handed him a burnt piece of paper.

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

JESUS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

Blog 110 February 4, 2019

muslims-meet-jesus

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

As the war between Muslims in the Middle East and the Western world continues to boil, unexpected divine interventions have surfaced. In his book Dreams and Visions, (Thomas Nelson Publishers), Tom Doyle shares a multitude of these stories. Here’s an example of what is occurring right now.   

In the section of Old Cairo, Hassan (name protected) awoke to find a gun in his face. He was ordered to get up and follow wherever the imam ordered him to go. Hassan had no doubts that he had been discovered as one of the people who led Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ. He had tried to stay out of sight, but apparently the imam’s had found him. His death was insured.

Wearing a strange mask, the imam led down the ancient winding streets in the middle of the night. As he walked with the gun in his back, Hassan thought about how the Lord had given him a passion to reach Muslims, but it made no difference now that he was on his way to becoming another Egyptian martyr,

“Up the stairs,” his attacker ordered.

Leading him to the edge of high building, Hassan was ordered to jump across the gap between two buildings. He didn’t think he could make it, but took the leap and got across. The imam immediately forced him toward a hatchway in an abandoned warehouse. Hassan whispered, “Jesus, into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

“Open the hatch door and climb in quickly,” the imam ordered.

When Hassan dropped down, to his surprise he found ten Muslim men sitting in a circle smiling at him. The imam who captured Hassan said, “We are imams who all studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.” He explained that each man had dreamed about Jesus appearing to them and privately become followers of Christ. They knew they could tell no one, but prayed that Jesus would send someone to them to teach the imams how to be a follower. They knew if this was found out, death would follow. Now, they believed that they had found a person who could teach them the Way.

The man who took him at gun point apologized for frightening him and wearing a mask, but believed it was the only way they could get him there. Now, his question was, “will you teach us the Bible?”

Divine interventions do come in unexpected ways!

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN. Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

A WINTER WALK IN THE SNOW

Blog 109 January 28, 2019

guardian-angel

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

My good friend Joe L. Wheeler in his book My Favorite Angel Stories, (Pacific Press) tells another factual account important for this time of year when the snow is piling up and the temperatures are falling to frighteningly low levels. Every morning on the media reports, we learn of blizzards sending ice drifting across highways.

In the frozen forests of Russia, no one went into the cold alone. However, Sophie left her place of employment to walk to her father’s house in the village. With the bitter winds blowing, she started down the frozen road and then veered into the trees. Soon a band of wet snow circled her boots and began to seep into her socks. Sophie worried if she should go on. Then she heard the frightening sound behind her. Sophie knew well wolves were in the forest that now stood between her and where she had come from. Sophie couldn’t go back.

Fearing being attacked, she immediately prayed. “Lord of heaven, be with me, help me!”

Sophie started running, but soon had to stop. She walked for a while, then tried to run again. The staggering cold temperatures made movement nearly impossible even for one accustomed to the fierce climate. She began pushing herself forward by running from one tree to another, but her energy and strength were running out.

Once more, Sophie prayed. “Father, help me. I need you. Help me. Send an angel to help me. Lord of all, be with me.” Over and over she cried out her prayer. She knew her strength was failing and leaned against a tree sobbing.

From behind her, a hand touched her shoulder and a soft, kind voice said, “You cannot rest now, Sophie. Go on.”

When she turned no one was there. No tracks were in the snow. Bewildered, Sophie started on again.

The sun was setting. Abruptly, she realized the village was not far in front of her, but the wolves were howling and the blizzard blowing. She knew it would be impossible to get to the village. Her eyes fluttered and sleep seemed the only comfort, frozen sleep. She couldn’t get to the village.  Impossible.

A hand seized her shoulder and shook her. “Sophie, the soft, gentle voice said. “You cannot rest yet! Go home.”

No longer did her legs know if her feet touched the ground, but she started walking again. Finally, she stumbled against a door and fell to the ground. When she looked up, her father’s face was above and he carried her inside.

When Sophie later reflected on what had happened. She remembered there were no tracks in the snow and the voice had come from someone she couldn’t see, but she had prayed for an angel and one had come. Sophie knew that one day she would see the angel who had walked with her.

Surviving the winter had been a divine intervention.

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAYSurveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN ~ Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

THE BLIND SEE

Blog 108 January 21, 2019

psalm103-2blessthelordcloseup

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

One of the fascinating stories in John’s Gospel account is the story of the disciples asking Jesus if a blind man was afflicted because he sinned or was it his parent’s fault. Jesus told them neither was the case and replied that the condition existed that the glory of God could be revealed. In response, Jesus spit on the ground and made mud that was applied to the man’s eyes. He sent the man to the Pool of Siloam to wash his face. When the blind man came back seeing, the crowd was astonished (John 9:1-11).

Again and again, the scripture affirmed the identity of Jesus as the Messiah because the lame were made to walk and the blind to see. Do the results continue to this day? You bet.

Allow me to share a personal story.

I have the beginning stages of a degenerative condition which occurs in many people as they age. (Yes, there is a vile rumor that I might be aging. Pay no attention to the idea.) The vitreous humor inside the eyeball decreases with time and this can create a problem behind the retina. (As I understand the condition of which my description might be a tad incorrect). That is the non-scientific version of a problem with my eyes.

I was sitting at my desk when suddenly my left eye became so blurry that everything appeared to be double. I blinked several times and realized that I had no distance vision out of that eye. When I looked at the television, my right eye saw the football players with normal perspective, but my left eye’s vision was so distorted that I couldn’t watch the game with that eye. I immediately contacted my M.D. daughter-in-law who is an ophthalmologist to see if she could get me into a retinal specialist immediately. Of course, I knew it usually took weeks to get an appointment and as serious as this situation appeared, I knew I couldn’t wait. Kim went into gear and I had an appointment for the next morning.

Because I have followed and studied miracles for three years, I took some of the advice I’ve given in these blogs and began praying about the problem. I particularly sought an out pouring of life that only God can give. As I prayed, I bathed my eye in the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. As I went to sleep that night, I drifted away asking the healing power of God to renew my left eye.

The next morning, I got up early preparing for the appointment. Suddenly, I realized that I could not only see normally with my left eye, but my vision was sharper than it had been for years. I almost couldn’t believe how radical the change was.

The retina doctor ran the usual tests that probe both the front and the interior of the eye. He looked at with a puzzled expression. “I cannot see any problem. Your eye is normal.”

I told him how I prayed. He shook his head and said, “Keep it up!”

Do people with eye problems still receive the healing touch of grace? They sure do!

We have a new website you might enjoy ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN ~ Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

COME TO THE WATER

Blog 107 January 14, 2019

jesus-heals

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE ~ DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

Divine interventions come in many shapes. Marsha Stevens found that fact to be true.

Marsha was born in Pomona, California in 1952. Her troubled life began by growing up with a family impacted by alcoholism. She was tossed back and forth by difficult circumstances until she found a new life through a Pacific ocean beach-side evangelical Christian Church. This particular church became one of the centers where the Jesus Movement began. Marsha’s life discovered a powerful renewal.

From this period in her journey, Marsha Stevens wrote “For These Tears I Died,” a song meant to help her sister Wendy find her way to Christ. The song immediately became popular and to this day is sung in churches. If Larry Norman can be called the father of Christian Rock, Marsha Stevens certainly became the mother of Christian music. She was the leader of the world’s first Christian music group, Children of the Day.

Marsha married Russ Stevens in the ‘70s. The marriage lasted seven years before things fell apart. The husband got half of her royalties and the children. Marsha’s life was on the rocks and she floundered. Finally, Marsha wound up in a rehabilitation center where her struggle to overcome her addiction proved to be fierce and painful.

During this stay, Marsha wandered down to a lake on the grounds and wept over her failing attempts to stay sober. When she looked out over the cool waters, Marsha saw the figure of Jesus reflected in the surface of the ripples. She knew she wasn’t alone and that her savior would help her overcome her dependency. Once again, Marsha reached out to her savior to redeem her.

When she stood up, Marsha realized a profound change had occurred in her life. Never again, would she be addicted. Marsha Stevens was healed instantly.

This experience caused her to write a song still sung in church’s all over the world today. Come to the Waters. A song that sprang from a divine intervention

We have a new website you might enjoy THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith for today. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN ~ Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com.

CHEER FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Blog 105 December 24, 2018

crossing

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE DO YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? Robert Wise would be delighted to learn about your divine intervention. If you have a story to share, please contact him at revwise@att.net. He’s looking forward to hearing from you.

IT’S CHRISMAS EVE! HERE’S AN ENCOUNTER FROM LAST WEEK THAT CAN CHEER YOU FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Miracles and divine interventions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are surprises that remind us that another world exists besides the concrete shapes we call everyday reality. That other world is referred to as eternity, the transcendent, or even heaven. We hope we go there, but really have no idea what the celestial realm will be. The scripture simply doesn’t tell us.

Several years ago, I wrote Crossing the Threshold of Eternity that was full of near-death experiences and what they can teach about the “other side.” Regal books published this collection of encounters that shed light on the beyond. This past week I ran into another one of those discoveries.

Lyndell Jaquemont is a relative I’ve known for over fifty years. We eat lunch together once a year and catch up on what’s been going on with relatives near and far. Unfortunately, this past year her husband passed away and we got off on what happens after death. She told me this story.

Her mother and father divorced when she was a child and she grew up with little knowledge of her father, Vernon Chappell who had remarried several times. Her grandmother Clara Corbin didn’t like what he had done and was ready to give him a piece of her mind every chance she got. Of course, Clara died and had been gone for some time.

Lyn had reached adulthood when Vernon ended up in the hospital. The condition proved extremely serious. Lyn discovered he had called a couple of his children, but not her. And then he died.

Lyn felt he had rejected her. She was the first of his children and there had always been distance, but after all, Vernon Chappell was her father. The fact he didn’t call lingered in her mind and became a painful, depressing source of resentment. The sense of rejection lingered.

Lyn was lying in bed ready to go asleep. She had entered that twilight zone just before one is completely gone to dreamland. She abruptly realized two people were standing at the foot of her bed and looked up. Vernon Chappell and Clara Corbin were standing there looking at here.

Lyn couldn’t believe her eyes. Not only were they both dead, Vernon and Clara had been foes, but there they were like old friends.

“I’m sorry,” Vernon apologized. “It’s okay. You don’t have to worry about that telephone call I failed to make. Everything is okay.”

Suddenly, they were gone and the end of the bed was empty. Lyn knew the experience had to be real because the two avoided each like the plague during their lifetimes but were now together. She had no doubt that she had momentarily stepped over that line into eternity and experienced a form of a divine intervention.

Lyn’s depression evaporated like fog in the morning sun and never came back.

WE WON’T BE BACK TILL NEXT YEAR! We’re on the road until after Jan. 1. So the next blog will be January 7.