HEY, SUMMER’S OVER!

Blog 91 September 10, 2018

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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?

Can you believe it? Fall is here.

I’m still out here in Colorado, but the Aspens have already begun to turn. The locals are saying we are going to have an early Fall with a cold winter. That’ll make you shiver a tad.

During the summer I’ve been turning out a couple of books and been hard at work with our new website The Early Faith for Today. You’ll find this site exploring the first three centuries and getting us in touch with the faith of the first Christians. I believe you’ll find it to be helpful and inspirational.

I discovered a number of miracle stories over the summer, but the one I’m sharing now just came in. You’d like Ryan Mackie who is one of our bishops in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. Bishop Mackie is a scholar as well. So, you can understand why problems with his eyes would be particularly troubling. The issue was serious.

Following a retreat, Bishops Mike and Beth Owen were called on to pray for Bishop Mackie. You’ve met Mike and Beth in previous blogs. For years, the couple has had an inspired ministry in several cities. Praying for the sick has been one of their strengths.

On August 24, Mike and Beth gathered around Ryan and laid on hands just as the book of James prescribes. (James 5:13-15)  As they always do, both prayed fervently for the problem. When they finished, Ryan felt a change. He knew something was going on. During the next six days, he was sure a restoration was occurring.

The doctor had noted that Ryan lost 63% of his ability to see out of his right eye… but Ryan began to realize that he could see out of his right eye. He returned to the physician to get an evaluation. The tests surprised the doctor. Where his right eye was seeing only 37%, it was now seeing 96%. When they measured his overall seeing, Ryan had improved from 20/400 to 20/40.The last x-ray photo of his eye sight had shown a nearly entire black area inside his eye. Now, when the photo was made there was only a small black dot.

Before the Owens prayed for him, Ryan couldn’t see a student sitting in front of him in his classroom. Now, he can see the lights in the center of the test screen. While Ryan came expecting a medical treatment, any such procedure was cancelled. No treatment! No steroids. Nothing.

The hand of God had released life-altering empowerment. James was right when he wrote, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick man.” (James 5:15) What a great way to start the Fall!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

HEY! IT’S VACATION TIME

BLOG 91 July 9, 2018

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With the heat of summer comes the relief of sitting by a nice swimming pool and soaking your feet in the cool water. Maybe. Most of us are so hard at work we don’t have time.

    During the next two months I’ll be traveling, finishing up book projects, and out of sight in the mountains. Consequently, I won’t be writing blogs again until after September 1. In the mean time, the new Early Faith for Today website will continue. If you haven’t tuned us in yet, summer offers an opportunity. The Christian faith is presented as it was in the first three centuries with application for today. Check it out.

Have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you in the fall.

WORTH REMEMBERING ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Blog 90 July 2, 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.

On the base of the Statue of Liberty are engraved these words:

Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

We do well to remember that we are all immigrants. Some recent, some long ago, but we all came from some other land to this country. Some of our ancestors came through Ellis Island, as well as other ports of entry, but they were the homeless and the tired. Struggling to escape poverty and the pogroms of Europe, our fathers and mothers landed on this shore seeking to walk through the golden door.

In this time of struggle and debate over immigration , let us remember this country was built and sustained by “the least of these” as well as the best. Let us never  forget the world still looks to America to find for the golden door.

Remember the words of scripture: “He (God) executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

They all want in. No one wants out.

 

Recovering the Miraculous

Blog 89 June 23, 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.

ORFamily

    Quinton Moore grew up in Pentecostal land. His grandmother had been the baby sitter for Oral Roberts while the cotton pickers worked in the field. Today Jessie Moore would be thought of as an old time Pentecostal. She lived in a world that assumed miracles came with the Christian faith. Quinton grew up in rural Oklahoma where Pentecostalism was a major religious force.

Grandmother Jessie Hargrove, a full blood Cherokee-Osage Indian remains as one of his early memories. Quinton watched her pace back and forth praying in the Indian language and in tongues. Suddenly, she stopped. “Yes!” Jessie cried out. “I sees him!”

Eight-year old Quinton wasn’t sure what was going on, but watched his grandmother grab a shawl and run to the door.

“Come on, Quinton,” she demanded. “We got to get to your uncle quick. I now knows where he is now.”

Quinton piled into the pickup and they went flying down the road. He had no idea where they were going or where they were. Grandma Jessie seemed to have a map in her head and only she knew what was ahead. After a number of 90o turns on dirt roads he had never been on before, Quinton looked up and saw what was ahead.

“Hey!” he shouted. “That’s the cab to my uncle’s truck turned over!”

“Yes, son,” Grandma Jessie said. “That’s what the Holy Spirit showed me.”

They pulled up alongside the semi-trailer cab laying on its side. Jessie leaped out and climbed up the underside of the cab. “Just as the Spirit said! Your uncle’s down there out cold. He’s hurt. I’ll try to shake him loose. You run to that house over yonder and have them call an ambulance. Git with it!”

Quinton went running down the road to the nearest farm house. They were able to get his uncle to the hospital and saved his life. But Quinton couldn’t ever forget that experience. Without any knowledge of even an accident, through her prayers his grandmother Jessie had been able to discover the disaster and locate her son. She considered divine interventions to be simply part of her journey.

In the next several blogs, we will attempt to understand what was going on with people like Grandmother Jessie Moore. They will add another dimension to our insights in how divine interventions occur.

Remember we have a new website. You’ll find this helpful.
EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY
Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.
The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN

 

 

AND HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?

Blog 87 June 4, 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.

In the last blog, I shared the amazing story of Father Rick Thomas feeding 500 people with food for 150. Quite a story! With a charismatic orientation, Fr. Thomas’s Youth center exists to reach need wherever it occurs. Volunteers work in the Juarez municipal jails and mental hospital. The men preach like Billy Graham with invitations to kneel and pray. Often half the prisoners do so.

The mental hospital offers its own challenge and many times the patients are resistant. Thomas’s volunteers don’t give up easily. After people are prayed for, many are released much earlier than expected. The ministry and miracles continue.

The point is simple. They all participate. Fr. Thomas’s ministry does what’s needed to help the poor and needy. He and his friends do God’s will. In the process of ministry, the heavenly Father provides what they need to do the work. Complicated? Actually, the procedure is simple. Do it and He takes care of the rest.

From 1969 to 1970, the Charismatic Movement swept through El Paso. A new emphasis on the Holy Spirit emphasized personal encounter and Thomas found a value in the scripture that he had not recognized earlier. His group began studying the scripture earnestly. From their deliberations came the principle that has guided their work ever since: Obedience. Everything from working in the city garbage dump to visiting the jails is guided by being faithful, not to any human authority, but to God alone. While many Christians recognize this principle, Fr. Thomas’s staff expect their obedience to take a specific form. Going to the jails or the city dump are examples of precise leading. When they follow these directions, the divine interventions show up.

Their response to the scripture has a specific orientation. Many fundamentalists groups take the Bible literally, but they do so with an eye to the past. They maintain certainty about what God did yesterday. Fr. Rick’s approach is to take scripture with equal seriousness but seeing it as a guide to today. The goal is to live out what is found in the Bible.

When the group studied Luke 14, they noticed that as Jesus was describing a banquet, he spoke of sharing. The word “sharing” suggested a different approach than “giving.” The scripture imparted the idea of sitting down together. Consequently, they set out not just to be the good guys but to do exactly what the passage described. Bingo! The multiplication of food followed. Fr. Thomas believed it is important to perform concrete expressions of the faith. Saying we believe in caring for the poor is fine but no one is fed. The act of actually sharing food makes the difference. The answer is in doing, not saying.

Fr. Thomas’s experience taught him the Bible is a source of God’s power. Consequently, the Bible is used to perform God’s will. Fr. Rick’s group found that the scripture can be like a chisel that keeps chipping away at a rock until a new shape emerges. Repetition of key passages seems to crack open the hardest rock.

Fr. Thomas discovered that scripture was extremely important when they dwelt with occult influence. Strange as it may sound to many middle-class Americans, when ministry reaches to the bottom of the human ladder where brokenness and poverty abound, there too the occult flourishes. Fr. Thomas found that Psalm 52 was important in these circumstances. Verses three and four say: “You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth. You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.” The entire chapter confronts the plans of evil and refutes them. Scripture can help break the hold of Evil.

Remember we have a new website! You’ll find this helpful.

EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY

Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.

The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN

Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

Memorial Day

Memorial-Day

Sorry, Friends. I’m out of pocket. My daughter is graduating with her doctorate degree from the University of California and I have to be there. The following week, Margueritte and I will be traveling, but I’ll be back with you on June 4.

Memorial Day weekend is a sobering time as we remember and honor those who have fallen in defending this country. In our families, we make our own private journeys to the graves of those we loved and lost. Bless you in such moments of remembrance.

WHEN FORGIVENESS COMES

Blog 84 May 7, 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.

Recently an old colleague dropped in for a visit. Years ago when we worked together, I had used an Ash Wednesday service to help people resolved spiritual needs they had never fully faced. We used the first day of Lent as an opportunity to enter a season of renewal.

My friend had gone to another church position miles away, taking that same idea with him. He set up a bowl filled with flames for people to use when making a commitment. They would burn whatever they had written on a piece of paper. During the next 30 days they could know they had received a resolution of an important issue. A week later after that service, a lady in the congregation came into my friend’s office. Her eyes were filled with tears and she was holding a letter. (We will call her Mary for anonymity shake).

Mary explained she came to the service knowing there was one issue that she had never faced. Mary had been sexually and physically abused by her father. Through the years, she found it impossible to forgive him. In fact, Mary had not seen the man for over two decades. Sitting in the worship service, she knew the time had come to face her resentment and anger. But could she?

Staring at the flames curling up, Mary knew this was an important moment of decision. The pressure to forgive mounted up within her. With a trembling hand, she wrote, “I forgive.” Walking to the front, she prayed for resolution, forgiveness for her father, and dropped the paper in the fire.

A week later, the letter came.

Although he had not communicated with Mary for decades and was miles away, her father wrote that he was in the hospital dying. Many times he had sought forgiveness for what he had done to her and was profoundly sorry, but he could never feel forgiven. Knowing that he didn’t have much time left, on this Ash Wednesday night, he prayed once more for forgiveness.

From far off a small light appeared in the window. The glow kept gettinPg brighter and brighter and larger until it filled the entire window frame. The brilliant golden glow increased in size and kept coming closer and closer to the bed. Finally, he recognized a face in the midst of the splendor. As light poured across his bed, the man could barely look.

A voice spoke and a hand reached out.

“Here is your forgiveness”  He was handed a piece of burnt paper.

Please check out our new website…

EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY
Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.
The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN
Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

 

SOMETHING NEW TO CONSIDER!

Blog 83 April 30 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.

I know your interest is in miracles but —

I have a new website I want to tell you about. Father Michael O’Donnell, the Episcopal St. John’s Church, Ogdensburg, New York, and I are developing a weekly website called     EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY.

Do you want to know what the first Christians thought about miracles and how they experienced with divine interventions? Those issues and many others are explored as we take you back to the first five centuries. In particular, we examine how the first three centuries expressed the Christian faith.

Believing that the Apostles and the Church Fathers are our best guides for how the Christian faith is to be expressed and lived today, we investigate their teachings and preaching. I believe you’ll be significantly encouraged by what you discover the ancients are saying for this hour.

Our purpose and mission in this new website is to restore the simplicity, mystery, and awe of the ancient faith. Contemporary viewers will find encouragement and clarity for their daily journeys. The objectives of this website are practical, relevant, and offer theologically sound inspiration for walking on the path coming to us from the beginning. Our goal is to help the church recover its original dynamic and direction.

Strangely enough, the 21st century is surprisingly like the first century. Both were secular oriented political systems run by people seeking power. Citizens were often confused and struggled to live with limited financial means. Religious plurality existed everywhere. Roman had statues to gods on every corner of the city. While affirming only one God, we worship money, status, power, and influence. Just gods of  different shape! The general public experienced wide-spread confusion about what to believe. Today, we have 40,000 expressions of the Christian faith.

Against this backdrop, the goal of EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY is to bring clarification, insight, and inspiration.  Along the way, you’ll pick up insight into divine interventions.

Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com