THE SECRET

Blog 94 October 1, 2018

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MIRACLES NEVER CEASERobert 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?

Let’s depart from miracle stories for a moment. Our question for this week concerns what is going on when miracles and divine interventions happen? How can we understand what is occurring in us when healing is prayed for and we quickly recover? What transpired within our person?

We can’t miss the fact that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”(John 14:6). He brought life to those who encountered him.

I found that The New Testament had a more expansive understanding of life than we have today. When healings and miracles occur, life is released. The Greek word ζωη (zóé) 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 our bodily containers of ζωη comes to end when we die. However, while we are here we need experiences that build up our sense of life like a walk in the forest, a magnificent concert, or a close relationship with a friend.                                                                                                                                                                    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 everyday is an anticipation of eternal life after they die. Paul expressed this insight when he wrote 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.

That’s quite a promise!

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!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 5

BLOG 80 April 9, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

HEALING-picture

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.

As we attempt to understand miracles, John Wimber continues to have some important insights for us to consider and follow. John believed that healing is a gift from God, an act of mercy. Our part is to listen and carry out His word. He taught his students steps for learning to pray for healing. This practice can also help us in our overall pursuit of divine interventions. Here are some examples.

We should begin by praying for the sick even if and when we don’t understand how. The divine nature is to heal. The heavenly Father heals us even when we are not aware that He is at work. Most of the time, we naturally get well without reflecting on the fact that our Creator stood behind our bed imparting wholeness. Even the Jewish people of the Exodus knew this fact. Exodus 15: 26

Just start practicing intercession!

An important component in healing prayer is the corporate community. Having the entire church or at least a small group praying with us is significant. Everyone can get in on praying for a need. The more – the merrier! Getting a group of believers in on the intercession can be important.

We say that we trust God but often that’s only a cliché. Genuine trust is demonstrated by our actions. We must act on what we believe – or what we want to believe is true. Doing “the stuff” or at least trying is what counts.

Because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, all Christians can pray for divine interventions. There’s no special group or class of Christians that have the edge on interceding. Everyone can play in this game.

Loving relationships are key. We need to keep a clean slate with everyone in our acquaintance. The more loving we are, the better equipped we are to intercede.

As we look at specific needs, we should remember that God wants to heal the whole person, not just a specific condition. The presenting need is the starting point but we should stay aware of the entire spectrum of need. While physical pain can be all absorbing, emotional wholeness can turn out to be even more important.

John would insist that we must work in accord with the will of God. During times of ministry, we may feel the pressure of a particular need, but we shouldn’t let that cloud our pursuit of what the Lord intends.    In both public and private times of ministry, John believed it was important to wait for the Holy Spirit to clearly make his presence known in any given situation. We should wait until the Spirit falls upon us and the situation being confronted.

Don’t Stop with one session

John noticed that Jesus prayed twice for a blind man. He began noticing the value of multiple sessions in praying for someone. From this practice came an interesting analysis. In the first session about 30 percent of those being interceded for experienced some degree of healing. During the second session there was an additional 10 percent of improvement. Seventy percent of those prayed for over ten times experienced healing.

John’s experience suggests the significance of repeated intercession. The more often we pray with someone, the more improvement they can experience. John would tell us “keep after it.”

DORTHY, ARE WE STILL IN KANSAS?

BLOG 66 December 18, 2017 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE 

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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.

This isn’t about the tin man, the cowardly lion, the scarecrow, and Dorothy, but it did happen in Kansas with friends who live in Hutchinson.

In previous blogs, you have probably noticed that people were praying fervently when someone was in trouble. I have observed that often people practice two types of prayers. One variety tells God to pay attention because he’s not aware of the disaster they are facing. The other kind calls on the Holy Spirit to descend on the person in need. Intercessors consider their prayers to be conduits for the power of God to flow through them into the dangerous situation at hand. Here’s an example.

Quinton Moore is the Presiding Bishop of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. I’ve know him, his family, and their daughter Heather for years.  I didn’t know that Sean and Heather were expecting another child. As part of the usual pre-natal car, Heather went for her regular check-up. The doctor took some x-rays that stopped him in his tracks.

“Heather,” he said soberly. “We have a serious problem.” He held the x-ray up for her to see the disaster. “The fetus has Spinal Bifida.”

Heather, Sean, and the extended family were crushed. Their response was immediate. “What can we do?”

The doctor suggested they go to Wichita, Kansas to a specialist. Their questions would be critical and the Moore family needed the most competent help they could find. An appointment was set up for two days later and Quinton began praying. Calling Sean’s family to join with them, they went into a constant day and night intercession.

The examination in Wichita began. While Heather was undergoing a complete diagnostic regimen, the two families in the waiting room continued their prayers. Quinton paced back and forth asking the Holy Spirit to intervene with power and healing.

Eventually, the doctor came out, holding two x-rays. He began a rambling discussion of the condition and their procedures. Finally, Quinton interrupted him.

“Look doctor. Just tell us what the bottom line is. That’s all we want to know.”

The doctor took a deep breath and held up the two x-rays. He pointed to the spine area. “This first one clearly shows the condition.” Then he held up the second x-ray they had just made. Again, he pointed to the spine. “Look! It’s gone. The fetus does not have Spinal Bifida.”

The family cheered.

“Did the first doctor make a mistake?” Quinton asked. “Did we have a miracle?”

The doctor shook his head. “Just can’t say. “Miracles as good a word as any.”

“We’ve had a miracle!” Quinton declared.

In The Wizard of Oz, the lion got a heart, the scarecrow a brain, etc.etc., but none compare with Heather’s gift. Yes, Dorothy, prayer works.

 

MEET AGNES Part 4

BLOG 56 September 25, 2017 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.

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The healing of the memories ministry began with Agnes Sanford. Practicing her prayer experiments while making the hospital rounds during World War II, she encountered a displaced twenty-year old Jewish boy who struggled because shrapnel destroyed a two-inch piece of bone in his thigh, causing osteomyelitis. Hunks of his femur had been blown away as the war raged near his village. After two years of hospitalization, there had been no improvement, but Agnes prayed. Harry was saved from an amputation, and the bone was restored.

The young man was so moved that he vowed to tell everyone in the world about what had happened. In turn, Agnes gave Harry a New Testament. When Agnes asked him what he thought of the Jesus he was reading about, he replied, “I wondered who the other one was? When I’m doing my prayers, I often feel that I am not alone.”

As Harry developed spiritually, he recognized that he had emotional issues that also needed healing. When he became angry, he might hurl a typewriter or scream in rage. The The Holy Spirit revealed that the problem was not Harry the twenty-year old man, but the little ten-year Harry still living inside the grown man.

As Agnes meditated on Harry’s problem, she remembered the scripture promised Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Perhaps, time might be transcended and the child of Harry’s past could be healed. Agnes began to intercede for Harry’s childhood even back to the days of his being a baby in the cradle. She prayed fervently for his release from hurt and anger.

In the Sunday worship service in her church, there was always a time of confession when the worshippers expressed their personal needs in prayer. These moments of prayer were followed by the clergy offering a prayer of absolution and asking the heavenly Father to wipe the slate clean so the congregation could start over again. She began bringing Harry spiritually to the time of confession and asking for a divine absolution.

Shortly after these prayers of intercession, Harry wrote, “What are you doing? All of a sudden I feel just ridiculously happy from morning until night.” The Holy Spirit had brought liberation. Agnes had learned how to pray about difficult memories and bring recovery from those often nearly forgotten experiences.

As Agnes prayed for healing the past, she always imagined the person actually being restored and asked the person being prayed for to do the same. Images seemed to bring connection that allowed divine interventions to follow. When the injury was caused by someone else, forgiveness brought liberation.

Why could recovery in some people linger for years before the person was set free? Her answer was that God has given us free will and He doesn’t violate His own principles. The Holy Spirit waits for our invitation before His healing work begins.

 

MEET AGNES Part 2

BLOG 54 September 11, 2017 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.

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            We have been exploring the ministry of one of the most interesting persons that I have ever met. Agnes Sanford’s extraordinary gifts of grace and ministry blessed me personally as well as challenged my thinking about divine intervention. Having been born to a missionary family in China, Agnes grew up with a sensitivity to suffering and need.

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 could be a fierce soul to get passed if she didn’t like you. Fortunately, Edith and I got along well.

She ushered me into the living room where Agnes sat reading a book.

“Hello,” I said. “Thank you for taking time to talk with me.”

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

“I wanted to talk with you 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 bread 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.

When Agnes came back inside, she sensed I had a need. I had been adopted as a child and had developed a number of problems that came from trying to fit into the world I grew up in. Agnes understood this and suggested we pray about the struggle. She told me to close my eyes and envision myself as a child at a time when I might have had difficulties.

Next week, I will tell you how she profoundly touched my life.

By the way, if you haven’t picked up a copy of my latest book, now’s the time.

The Revised and Expanded edition
WHEN THERE IS NO MIRACLE
Kregel Publications

 

LIFE!

BLOG 31 March 13, 2017 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…

          What happens when gifted people pray for intervention and recovery in an ill person? When people pray with such intent, they are actually sending life to the places where destruction has been at work. I have never found anyone who could tell me what “life” is because death is easily described but defining life is elusive. Nevertheless, with new life in our bodies, we can fight off cancer; without it, a simple infection can destroy us.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In an indefinable way, Jesus was the embodiment of life. The people I’ve interviewed who experienced miracles discovered that his life was conveyed through his promises and by prayer. Keeping those promises constantly before them, imparted vitality. The healing eventually followed. What we have labeled as miracles are experiences infused with the substance we call life. The recipients are filled with new possibility.

Life is also embodied in many additional entities that are all around us. Flowers, trees, nature are alive because they contain life. A walk through a primeval forest energizes one because the shrubs, ancient trees, animals, all contain and convey life. As people age, it is important to stay in touch with such living entities. Those who lock themselves up in empty rooms are allowing life to slip away. The opposite is true with people who play with children, hug pets, and revitalize themselves with on-going sources of vitality.

We grow up hearing people talk about “the God world” as if it is up there, beyond the clouds, or “way over there.” Eternity is always someplace far, far away. Fortunately, the stories of the resurrection of Jesus give us a different picture. As he abruptly appeared to the apostles and then disappeared, Jesus demonstrated that heaven is “right here,” in our midst (John 20:19-23). On the Emmaus road, Jesus appeared and talked with the two men. After breaking bread (Holy Communion), when the men recognized him, Jesus disappeared. (Luke 24;13-31) The resurrected Lord moved back and forth between these two realms, heaven and earth.

I conclude that these stories demonstrate that eternity is always in our midst. The God world is constantly present to us when we know how to access it. In these blogs, we explore a number of different ways people have found entry. In order to access the power of God, one must discover the path that leads to these entrances. The final entry into this ultimate and transcendent world comes when we die. Death becomes like waking up from a nap only to discover that what we called life was actually living in a dream and now we have come into the full reality of existence where there is no time, but only eternity, no shadows but only light. A miracle occurs when we access this same eternal reality while still living in this dimension of time.

TAKE A LOOK AT ROBERT WISE’S LATEST BOOK
FOR A 3,000 YEAR SURVEY OF THE HOLY LAND
BIBLE LANDS: An Illustratrated Guide to Scriptural Place
Barbour Publications

 

 

 

I am the way…

BLOG 30 March 6, 2017 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.

For help with struggles: get a new copy
WHEN THERE IS NO MIRACLE
Robert Wise’s classic on overcoming tragedy

            And how do we pray for miracles? Intercession is more like wires hooking up electricity to a house. The power was always there but it had to be transmitted to the point of need. Praying and laying on of hands has not only been following a scriptural directive, but are also making points of connection.

I have watched a number of ministers visit in hospital rooms. Most often, they offer a perfunctory prayer for well being and then leave. Actually, placing one’s hand on a person in need and praying for divine activity to flow into the person is an entirely different matter. The intercessor becomes a divine connection of renewing spiritual electricity.

When people pray with such intent, they send life to the places where destruction has been at work. I have never found anyone who could tell me what “life” is. My daughter-in-law is a medical doctor and we’ve had this discussion before. Death is easily described but defining life is elusive. With new life in our physical system, we can fight off cancer; without it, a simple infection can destroy us.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In an indefinable way, Jesus was the embodiment of life. What we have labeled as miracles are experiences infused with the substance we call life. The recipients are filled with a new possibility. Life!

Life is embodied in many additional entities that are all around us. Flowers, trees, nature are alive because they contain life. A walk through a primeval forest energizes one because the shrubs, ancient trees, animals, all contain and convey life. As people age, it is important to stay in touch with such living entities. Those who lock themselves up in empty rooms are allowing life to slip away. The opposite is true with people who play with children, hug pets, and revitalize themselves with on-going sources of vitality.

Life comes to us from the source of all vivification. Divine intervention imparts life. We grow up hearing people talk about “the God world” as if it is up there, beyond the clouds, or “way over there.” Eternity is always someplace far, far away. Fortunately, the stories of the resurrection of Jesus give us a different picture. As he abruptly appeared to the apostles and then disappeared, Jesus demonstrated that heaven is “right here,” in our midst (John 20:19-23). On the Emmaus road, Jesus appeared and talked with the two men. After breaking bread (Holy Communion), when the men recognized him, Jesus disappeared, but they had experience him and that imparted life. (Luke 24;13-31) The resurrected Lord moved back and forth between these two realms, heaven and earth. That movement continues and imparts life.

I conclude that these stories demonstrate that divine intervention continues to impart life even to this day, even to you.