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

 

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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

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

Blog 101 November 19, 2018

Faith Will Heal You

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?

While Quinton Moore experienced important expressions of divine guidance when he started a new congregation in McPherson, Kansas, skepticism still lingered in his thinking. He didn’t want to get caught up in any of that old emotionalism he had seen during his childhood. College day’s reservations still influenced his thinking to some degree. Then the unexpected happened.

On a cold February day in 1989, with snow covering the ground, Quinton got a phone call to come to the hospital. Cyndi and Mac needed his help. When he entered the room, Mac was pacing the floor. A retired Army Sergeant, Mac appeared beside himself.

“What’s going on?”  Quinton asked.

“Cyndi is hemorrhaging and the doctors cannot stop the bleeding,” Mac said. “We are panicked. No one can do anything.”

Cyndi raised up from the bed. “Brother Quinton, do you believe in miracles?”

He paused. This was no time to get philosophical. “Y-yes.”

“Good,” Cyndi said. “I believe that the Bible says if you lay your hands on me, the bleeding will stop. Can you do that?”

Quinton took a deep breath. “I can sure try.”

“Alright, Mac,” Cyndi said. “I want you to leave because you don’t believe. Me and the preacher will get down to business.”

Mac shrugged and trudged out of the room.

Quinton walked to the head of the bed and laid his hands on her head. Mustering everything, he had in himself, he called on the Holy Spirit to descend and bring healing. With increasing fervor, Quinton called for an intervention. Finally, he said, “Amen,” and left.

Two days later, he got the phone call. Cyndi was healed.

Cyndi’s recovery became a turning point for Quinton. He realized that divine intervention didn’t depend on how holy, spiritual, or competent he might be. The action of God was in one sense independent of him. Of course, he was the conduit that redemptive grace traveled through, but the empowerment was initiated by God alone. This insight encouraged Quinton to take divine interventions more seriously.

We have 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

THE SECRET

Blog 94 October 1, 2018

THE-LIFE-GIVER-560x280

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

colorado-fall-aspen

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 

praying-together-1200.1200w.tn

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.

holyspiritflame

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.