MIRACLE IN EGYPT

Blog 135
September 30, 2019

statue-holy-virgin

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

Often, I hear from people who have experienced miracles or divine interventions. I look forward to receiving these accounts as they deepen our understanding of how these experiences occur. Could you be like that? If so, please share your story with me. Drop me a note at revwise@att.net.

MIRACLE IN EGYPT

Last week, I noted that if you follow the stories of divine interventions, you will eventually notice that miracles seem to happen more frequently in Third World countries. Migrants from South America and Mexico are often far more devout than Americans. They are part of a hemisphere that tends to be open to the work of the hand of God.

Here’s another example.

Once when I was in Cairo, Egypt, I traveled to a suburb where a Coptic Church was believed to be built on the site where the Holy family lived when Joseph brought them to Egypt to avoid death by King Herod. I have seen few sights that looked more ancient (and covered with dust) One of the strangest divine interventions in recent years occurred at this church.

The Coptic Church is one of the most ancient churches in the world. Founded by the Apostle Mark in 43 A.D., the church came into existence when Nero was the Roman emperor. In today’s world, the Coptics have suffered significant persecution from Muslim bombings and attacks.

On April 12, 1968, two automobile mechanics working near the church happened to stop their tasks and glanced up at the dome on the top of this church. They were astounded to see what they thought was a nun dressed in white standing on the top of the dome. They immediately thought she was going to jump and ran to get the priest. A crowd gathered and began shouting for the woman not to jump. To their amazement, the image of the woman began to fade and eventually disappeared. Seven days later the figure reappeared. The priest saw the image several times and said it was preceded by brilliant flashes of light.

Other witnesses described the image as beautiful and believed the image was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She would bow and bless the crowds who immediately fell to their knees. With these appearances, healings began to occur such as restoration from urinary bladder cancer, cancer of the thyroid gland, blindness, limb paralysis, as well as recovery from viral infections.

I saw a photograph of the figure of Mary standing on the dome. A little on the fuzzy side, one could clearly see the figure standing there. Why would such an occurrence happen? What does it all mean? Much like the experience of Bernadette Soubirous seeing the Virgin Mary that created the healing waters of Lourdes, France, for believers no explanation is necessary. For unbelievers no explanation will be acceptable. Roman Catholics embrace these experiences much easier than Protestants do. However, the evidence that cannot be denied is the spontaneous healings that followed.

Whatever one decides about such an experience, it is not meant to be explained, but to lead us to worship.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

MIRACLE IN LIBERIA

Blog 134
September 23, 2019

LIBERIA

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

Often, I hear from people who have experienced miracles or divine interventions. I look forward to receiving these accounts as they deepen our understanding of how these experiences occur. Could you be like that? If so, please share your story with me. Drop me a note at revwise@att.net.

MIRACLE IN LIBERIA

If you have a broad interest in divine interventions and follow the stories you will eventually notice that miracles seem to happen more frequently in Third World countries. The church is thriving there where it is on the wane in the United States. Migrants from South America and Mexico are generally far more devout than Americans.

What is going on?

While some secularized Americans are closed to the miraculous, believers in these poorer, struggling countries embrace the possibility. They are open and will reach out to receive the promise of a divine touch. The results speak for themselves and remain a lesson for the Northern hemisphere.

Recently, I witnessed this result in the ministry of a friend of mine. LaDonna Osborn is the daughter of T.L. and Daisy Osborn who began Osborn Ministries over 70 years ago. While the ministry of T.L. Osborn was not well known in America, his crusades brought in thousands of people in countries all across the globe. A humble man, T.L. Osborn had a simplicity with divine empowerment. Daisy worked in the same field with the same results. With their passing, the torch has been passed on to LaDonna.

An exceedingly bright woman, LaDonna has the same power and conviction. Overflowing crowds attend her services in Africa. Recently, she was in Ganta (Gompa City) Liberia conducting a mission. A young woman, who LaDonna knew nothing about, came forward to express her faith and be prayed for. As was later explained, after nine months of pregnancy the baby had stopped moving. She was now in the twelfth month. In the local clinic, the doctor told her the baby had died and surgery was necessary to remove the dead fetus. He was strongly insistent. However, the woman had no money and couldn’t afford the surgery. On the first day of LaDonna’s Festival of Faith and Miracles, the pregnant woman accepted Jesus as her Lord and during the prayer for the sick the mother laid her hand on her belly during the prayer for the sick.

On the last day of the Festival, the young woman came forward to testify that she was no longer afraid. LaDonna could see great faith and conviction in the woman’s eyes. The Holy Spirit moved LaDonna to say, “You will deliver a healthy baby.” Because she absolutely trusted the promises of God, LaDonna was confident God was at work.

Two days later, she received a beautiful photograph from one of the Gomp City pastors. The pregnant woman had delivered a healthy baby girl. A miracle had occurred.

Another example of what openness to the Holy Spirit can bring to pass in the midst of poverty. Also an example to all of us to remember that trust can open closed doors.

Oh, by the way. She named the baby LaDonna.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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FROM OUT OF THE PAST

Blog 132
September 9, 2019

ghost

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

You might also want to look at the widely read blog WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST from Robert L. Wise, Ph.D. which features weekly updates on little known facts about Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, countries where he has traveled and worked.

FROM OUT OF THE PAST

Periodically, I hear from people who have experienced miracles or divine interventions. I look forward to receiving these accounts as they deepen our understanding of how these experiences occur. Often, they tell me that no one else knows as they haven’t told a soul what happened. The climate in our society doesn’t produce understanding of these events so the recipients have just sat on their valuable discovery.

Could you be like that? If so, please share your story with me. Drop me a note at revwise@att.net.

Mary Janssen did exactly that this week. Her 12-year-old son Adam died in an accident in their home. Of course, Mary was crushed. That night she couldn’t go to sleep and abruptly realized Adam was standing at the foot of the bed wearing a white robe. Next to him stood another white robed person, but she couldn’t see the face. Adam gave her a thumbs up.

Four months later, Mary had a similar experience. This time the encounter seemed to be more like a vision. Adam came into a room filled with people whose faces she couldn’t identify. Adam conveyed that when he died, his grandmother was waiting for him and was standing there with him now. Mary’s first son Nathan had died as an infant from a heart defect. He was there with Adam. Mary was amazed.

Six-months later she had another similar experience. This time a big wooden door was opened and beautiful light filtered through. People were clapping and a parade was coming down the street that seemed to be in Italy. Adam was in the center of a group of boys, all carrying flags, Adam waved to her. Men were carrying a chair in the air holding Pope John Paul. The scene made Mary very happy. Even with the losses she had endured, Mary knew something important had happened to her.

Through the years, I have encountered similar experiences other people had with someone close to them who had just died. I offer no explanation except that the Holy Spirit seems to comfort the bereaved with these events.

After all Jesus promised, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor, the Spirit of truth to be with you forever. … for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY
Revell books

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HE’S GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN!

Blog 130
August 19, 2019

miracles

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

You might also want to look at the widely read blog WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST from Robert L. Wise, Ph.D. which features weekly updates on little known facts about Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, countries where he has traveled and worked.

HE’S GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN!

You will remember Kimberly McConnell from several weeks back. She had an MRI that demonstrated her pancreas was covered with tumors that could be cancerous. After healing prayer, she entered the hospital only to find the next MRI revealed the tumors were gone. Kimberly had a marvelous recovery.

But here’s the rest of the story.

I was gone for a week and out of contact with Kimberly. When I returned to Colorado, I checked in with her, expecting another positive report. Wrong. Kimberly was nearly beside herself. Instantly, I knew she was in deep despair. What in the world had gone wrong?

It turned out the medical profession had really messed her up. Kimberly had several doctors working with her and they didn’t all agree on how to proceed. One of them arbitrarily gave her steroids for some reason or the other. Kimberly’s psychiatrist hit the ceiling. Someone with a bi-polar condition should never, never be given steroids. Besides being a possibly dangerous drug for her, it threw her system into turmoil. The bi-polar condition returned with a vengeance. When I was talking to her on the phone, Kimberly was in the depths of depression with her instability turning her inside out. She couldn’t just drop the steroid medication but had to be weened away over a period of weeks. Her struggle would have to continue.

A number of years before, a medical condition had caused her to lose her teeth and she wore dentures. During this current emotional episode, Kimberly lost her false teeth. After looking everywhere, she called her mother to come and help. Kimberly had not been out of her apartment so the dentures had to be in there somewhere.

Her mother came over with a friend and they frantically searched every inch of the house. She had given Kim a large over-stuffed chair and they looked all over the chair as well as every other piece of furniture in the house. Finally, they concluded that during her bi-polar episode, she must have flushed the teeth down the toilet. The mother rushed out to spend $1,100 on a new set of dentures that wouldn’t be ready for three weeks.

Kimberly sank deeper into despair.

As we talked on the phone across a thousand miles, I ask Kimberly to pray with me. Even though we were at a great distance apart, I suggested she feel my hand on hers. I prayed that I could be a conduit for the Holy Spirit to fill Kimberly with new insight, knowledge, stability, and a sense of well-being. We prayed for a long time. Finally, Kimberly said she felt better and we hung up.

An hour later, I returned to my desk and noticed I had missed her phone call. Immediately, I responded worrying self-destructive behavior was a genuine possibility. I was astonished when Kimberly answered quite to the opposite. Her voice burst forth in enthusiasm.

“Robert! You won’t believe it! After we hung up, I went in and was sitting on the edge of the bathtub when a voice surged through my mind. I knew it wasn’t me or some sort of hallucination. The voice said, ‘Go turn the big chair upside down.”

“No one had done that,” Kimberly said. “We had searched it, but not turned it over. I immediately went into the living room and did so. My dentures fell out! I know God was with me and would take me through this time of getting off the steroids. He has kept his hand on me!”

An unexpected intervention, but marvelous indeed!

You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY
Revell books

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

THE SECRET Part III

Blog 96 October 15, 2018

neverleaveyou

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?

Could the power of God intervene and produce a miracle without any human factor? Of course. What the heavenly Father chooses to do rises entirely out of His grace. However, in these blogs we are exploring our part in bringing divine interventions to pass. Hopefully, we are learning how to be better connectors that convey life.

The urge to pray with people grew from these healings I have described. I became aware that when a person had experienced some form of healing they were often endowed with the ability to pray for others with the same problem. This happened when I felt moved to pray with Lenore Riddell.

Scott and Lenore Riddell lived in the top section of land above our house in Colorado. I saw the family occasionally and we were friends. During the summer I was working behind our house when an unexpected thought ran through my mind.

“Go up and ask Lenore if you can pray for her,” the message drifted into my thinking.

I kept working and thought it was only a weird random blip. The thought kept coming. With reluctance, I decided to walk up to the house and see if there was a problem.

Somewhat to my surprise, Lenore Riddell gave an enthusiastic yes. Without telling me exactly what the problem was, she asked me to come in and intercede. Eventually, she told me about painful attacks hitting her in the midsection and doubling her over in pain. For the next several months, I trekked up to their house and prayed by putting my hands on her head while I interceded. She reported warmth traveling up and down her spine. In three to five minutes, the pain was gone. Unfortunately, in a day or two the pain would return and we would start over again. Every time we prayed, the pain quickly disappeared.

I had no insight into her medical problem. I only knew when we prayed Lenore quickly had relief. Finally, she was diagnosed with an issue needing surgery. After the surgery, the pain returned. The doctors concluded she would have the problem the rest of her life.

When I continued to pray with Lenore, the pain stopped. Finally, the throbbing never returned and the medical predictions proved wrong. Lenore was healed. But something extra had been passed on in the process.

During a regular mammogram x-ray, the nurse took a look at the results and began taking more pictures. In an unusual procedure, she took over 20 x-rays and then went for the doctor. He looked at the x-rays and concluded there was a lump that could well be cancerous. The doctor returned and told her that a biopsy was necessary. They would do one more set of x-rays and then begin. Lenore cringed. She knew such a procedure could be highly painful and wasn’t sure she could stand it. Sitting alone in the room, she began to pray earnestly. “Not my will but yours, Lord. If this is necessary, please, oh please, help me get through it.”

Lenore closed her eyes and a vision began to unfold. She was sitting by a rippling stream. Surrounded by the lush green of a beautiful meadow and towering pines, the scene conveyed tranquility. A voice drifted across the stream. “I will not leave you or forsake you.” Peace descended over her and she opened her eyes. She was ready for the procedure.

The doctor walked in. “Rather amazing,” he said. “In that second set of x-rays, the lump is completely gone. Certainly didn’t expect that result.”

“Gone?” Lenore’s voice raised a notch. The doctor smiled. “I guess you can go home. You’re okay.” She smiled. “It was the Lord’s deal.” And it was.

We have just began a new website THE EARLY CHURCH 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

HERE’S A TRULY FASCINATING GUY! PART II

Blog 93 September 24, 2018

padre-pio-feast-day-Sept-23

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?

Born Franceso Forgione in the small town of Pietrecina, Italy on May 25, 1887, his parents were peasant farmers.  Franceso had an elder brother and three younger sisters. Grazia became a nun. At his baptism, he was given the name Francesco. By the time, he was five-years-old, he made a decision to give his entire life to God. The Forgione family reflected the deeply devout convictions of their faith. These little towns in Italy are filled with devout people whose faith goes back for centuries. Saints days were always celebrated. The family was in worship far more than once a week. His mother said that little Francesco appeared to be able to see and talk with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and his guardian angel.  Apparently, he thought everyone could do the same.

Last week, I started telling you how I became a acquainted with this extraordinary man. This week, I’m adding a few more details that you may find important.

Francesco received the name Padre Pio after becoming a Roman Catholic priest in the Order of Friars Minor Caphuchin in San Giovanni Rotondo. His fellow friars reported that during prayers, Pio often appeared to be in a stupor as if he were completely absent from the group. At such times, they reported seeing him levitating above the ground. During his 81 years living in the twentieth century, his life was filled with divine interventions and numerous incidences of bi-location. However, all during this time, he struggled with difficult medical problems.

In September 20, 1918, while hearing a confession, the first experience of the stigmata appeared. While he preferred to suffer with the wounds alone, the word quickly spread and people came from everywhere to see him.  Word of his amazing gifts spread quickly.

Eventually some church leaders became suspicious of Pio and thought he induced the wounds for financial gain. The Vatican even issued severe restrictions on his work. Finally, this pressure diminished and the Pope himself affirmed Padre Pio and his work.

One of the remarkable stories concerns the visit of Bishop Karol Jozef  Wojtyla (who became John Paul II) with Padre Pio in 1962. Reportedly, a prophetic word was given to Wojtyla that he would occupy a high position in the church. Obviously, this came to pass beyond Wojtyla’s wildest dreams.

During the years that I traveled in Italy, I recognized the profound influence Padre Pio had on people and the country even though he virtually never left the monastery. He abruptly appeared on a battlefield and saved an Italians soldier from being blown up and then disappeared. He is credited as appearing during a World War II bombing of the area around the monastery and preventing a disaster. At one point while he was looking out the window in the monastery, he was also seen far away assisting a dying man. The stories were endless.

Early in the morning of September 23, 1968, he prepared for the end of his life. At around 2:30, he said, “I see two mothers (meaning his earthly mother and the Virgin Mary). He died in his cell in San Giovanni Rotondo with a final whisper, “Maria.” He was buried in a crypt in the Church of Our Lady with over 100,000 people attending. He was both beatified (1999) and canonized (2002) by Pope John Paul II. Regardless of the subjective elements present in his story, the record speaks for itself.

Some skeptics will see all of these stories as nonsense or at least highly questionable. I discovered the people who experienced them believed these events to the core of their being.

WHAT DO WE LEARN?

Blog 88 June 11, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

RMT holding up Host

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 last several blogs have related the amazing ministry of Father Rich Thomas, a Jesuit priest working in El Paso, Texas. A survey of the life of Fr. Rick Thomas reveals important clues for understanding how the miraculous occurred. Here is what he would tell us about principles that are highly important for our quest to understand divine interventions. 1

  1. Participate in the sacrament

Holy Communion is part of the service and imparts forgiveness and empowerment. Worshipers expect an important moment of renewal, but don’t often anticipate a divine intervention. Fr. Rick would suggest that we dig deeper in order to receive more.

The Rev. Margueritte Wise, a minister in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, leads her congregation every week. Her brother Bob’s totally unexpected death and passing impacted her not only personally, but in a lingering way that stretched across the months. A year later, Margueritte still wrestled with heart-wrenching sadness. The struggle hung around her neck like a weight dragging her to the ground. She had prayed, struggled, sought a release, but the lingering impact would not go away. Seeking absolution and release, she went to the Revs. Mike and Beth Owen for help.

The Owens began praying and read Isaiah 53:4 to her. The words promised, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted… upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” As each line of the passage sunk in to her thinking and feeling, the Owens continued to pray over her. Finally, they consecrated the elements and served her Holy Communion. The sadness began to fade. Margueritte realized that not only her brother’s death, but the death of her parents and grandparents had lingered through the years. The impact of all of this grief disappeared as well. The heartache broke and has never returned. She was set free.

Fr. Thomas suggests that when seeking the miraculous, consider coming to Holy Communion on a regular basis.

  1. Believe the Bible

The emphasis is on what scripture means for this moment. Be precise. Be concrete. When the Bible says “do it,” –do it! Fr. Thomas’s ministry manifests the importance of precision. Their acceptance of and taking the Bible at face value tells us to follow exactly what it says.

With so much nonsense floating around about how passages should be interpreted, Fr. Rick instructed that it is important to make sure we are following a solid, reputable guide on the actual meaning of important verses. Such commentaries as William Barclay’s The Daily Study Bible Series on the entire New Testament available in 20 small volumes would be extremely helpful. The Westminster Press publication will keep a reader on a steady path.

  1. Be Concrete

Fr. Thomas’ ministry’s emphasis on performing specific tasks reflects the leading of the Holy Spirit. Often people rush to a chapel to pray during a crisis. Of course, this is appropriate and can be highly important. Unfortunately, once they get off their knees, their lives go back to exactly what they were before. Their hopes were abstract; their responses never specific.

Don’t pray, “Lord, I’ll do such and such if you’ll only —.” Make a life long commitment to getting your hands dirty while making the world a better place. You’re far more likely to run into the Holy Spirit when you’re doing the work you were created to do.

Asking God for direction remains essential. Jesus said, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33) In the midst of a disaster or overpowering need, everyone struggles to look beyond the moment at hand. That’s normal, but remember our quest for God’s highest and best demands positioning ourselves to receive a divine intervention.

1 Many of the illustrations and insights in this blog are found in The Bible On The Border by Richard Dunstan, published by The Lord’s Ranch Press, Vado, New Mexico, 2009. This work details the work of Fr. Rick Thomas and the Our Lady’s Youth Center.

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