FALL RERUNS: MIRACLE IN A GARBAGE DUMP

BLOG 170

October 5, 2020

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

Robert Wise explores the world of divine interventions from an objective point of view. An Archbishop in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Church with a Ph.D., Rev. Wise relates his interviews with persons who experienced divine interventions.

Now it’s Fall. So, here’s Fall Reruns!

MIRACLE IN A GARBAGE DUMP

Rick Thomas usually wore cowboy boots and a big Texan hat. Living in El Paso, Texas, just across the border from Juarez, Mexico. And always colorful, he was known as an exceptional friend to the poor. When he died, Rick Thomas was buried in a homemade plywood coffin. A thousand people pressed into the church to say goodbye to a man who had lived love and spirituality. Father Rick Thomas, S.J. had been a Jesuit in the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Thomas still has insight for us about the world of divine interventions.

One of his significant places of ministry was the garbage dump for El Paso- Juarez. The sheer squalor of this sprawling pit of filth remains overwhelming. Poor Mexicans struggled to survive by living in the trash pit, having children here, and scratching out an existence in the midst of the debris. An untold number of the poverty-stricken live in cardboard shacks made from boxes tossed out in the trash. Fr. Rick regularly marched into the muck to hold religious services for them.

On the occasion of a visit to the United States, Sister Briege McKenna went with Fr. Rick to the dump. Sister McKenna was born in Ireland and entered the order of the Sisters of St. Clare where she became widely known for her ability to pray for the sick. With hesitancy, she walked into the worst squalor she had ever experienced. Sister Briege couldn’t see how any dignity of worshp could be manifest in such filth.

To her shock, nearly a thousand people had already gathered when they arrived. The contrast was staggering. These people literally had nothing. Setting up an old table for his altar, the priest went to work.

An old woman walked up, carrying a bundle in her arms. When she unfolded the cloth they saw a little child completely burned from head to foot. The dirty child was filthy and screaming. As she was crossing the mountains, the woman had found the child smoldering and picked him up. She handed him to Fr. Rick.

Sister Briege and Fr. Rick stared at the child that was nearly skinless. Finally, the priest suggested that they place the child under the table during the Communion Service. The service began and the congregation of the poverty stricken prayed with fervor. The Sister could feel the reality of the Holy Spirit descending across the mass of people.

Sister Briege began to weep and wondered if her faith might not be as strong as theirs.

As the Mass ended, they realized the baby had long since stopped crying. The child had crawled out from under the table. Sister Briege gasped! The little boy was happily playing in the sand – totally healed.

The Sister hurried over to the woman and ask, “What happened to him?”

The old woman looked at her with skepticism in her eyes. “What you mean what happened? Didn’t Jesus come?”

While the poor received the Mass, the child received new skin.

A CALL TO PRAYER

Blog 166
August 31, 2020

praying-hands

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!
Robert Wise  explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. 

A CALL TO PRAYER

Obviously, I believe in divine interventions. The past week I discovered such an event that I believe demands your attention. Archbishop Russell McClanahan is an executive in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches and a substantial leader. Bishop Russ is not given to transcendent experiences or excessive claims. Like the rest of the nation, he is aware we are living in a time of catastrophic upheaval on every level. From the pandemic to the 500 fires in California to the worst hurricane in history, on to political chaos. this country has been rocked.

Against the backdrop of these debacles, Bishop McClanahan had this experience. Russ was almost asleep when he saw the face of Jesus Christ approaching him and becoming larger and larger. The crucifixion began to unfold before him and he felt like he was participating in the scene. In the mist of the agony, the voice of God spoke. “The cup of my wrath is almost full and unless your nation repents and turns to Me, the four horsemen standing at the gate will be loosed. Tell my people to return to my principles, to repent of having ignored and broken my laws. Tell them I have given to them examples in generations past of my love and discipline and to remember how I warned and continued to warn Israel in generations past that they would bring judgement upon themselves.”

Scenes of brokenness, loneliness, evil, and destruction flashed before Russ’s eyes He felt himself engulfed in God’s grief and longing for people to return to Him. Words failed to fully express what he felt as Russ touched the heart of God.

As I listened to Russ’s experience, I was profoundly moved and thought of II Chronicles 7:14. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

In this time of chaos, uncertainty, and despair, I believe God is calling His people to turn to Him again and to pray. Therefore, Russ and I are calling on people to join us in praying once a day for America. We ask you to commit yourself to do so for the next year. Would you covenant with us to do the same? Possibly, such an action might be the most important thing y could do for your country.

Think about it. One prayer a day for the next year.. Would you stop right now and begin to pray? America needs your faithfulness and God will bless it.

MIRACLE AROUND THE BEND

Blog 150
February 24, 2020

bus

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

 Robert L. Wise explores the world of divine interventions from an objective point of view. Can 21st century people believe the hand of God still touches people today?

Read and you’ll find new insights.

MIRACLE AROUND THE BEND

One of my good friends is a clergyman in Jacksonville, Florida. Sean Yost has led an exciting life. Earlier he worked in Africa and today is an instructor for Youth With a Mission. During his training, Sean learned how to use scripture to build a resilient faith that has carried him through an important ministry. Recently, I was with Sean in Tulsa, Oklahoma and he shared the following experience.

Sean had gone to Kenya to help minister in a school for the blind. Joe Masci had been there for some time working as a missionary and also bringing help to the children in the school. As a young man, Sean assisted in such projects. Sending time in Africa was right up his alley.

Because the setting was rural, there were few roads in and out. The country was mountainous with deep ravines cutting through the tree covered jungle countryside. Sean and Joe had set out on a mission to travel down one of those narrow dirt roads to carry out their ministry.

They were driving down the roadways that twisted and turned around the mountainside chatting and talking about their work. Ahead of them was a large bus that they hoped to pass eventually, but the road was so narrow they had to be cautious. Just as they were coming to a turn, the two men realized that another bus was trying to pass on a curb and both buses had completely blocked the road. A collision was unavoidable!

Masei’s car was going far too fast to make any significant slowdown. On one side was a steep mountain side shooting straight up. The other edge was a steep cliff that shot down far below into a valley. Neither alternative offered anything but disaster. There was simply no way to get around. Seeing that a deadly collision couldn’t be avoided, both men threw up their hands in front of their faces to avoid flying glass. Sean remembers crying out in desperation, “Jesus! Jesus!”

Sean and Joe closed their eyes and prepared to enter eternity. They could do nothing.

When they opened their eyes, their car was behind the bus that had been in front of them and the other bus had gone on down the road. Impossible! There was no way around and yet there they were alive! Sean could find no explanation for how their car had been in one place and ended up down the road, missing the two buses.

I pressed him to explain. They couldn’t have gone up the hillside. Turning off the dirt toward the ravine would have been suicide. And yet there they were! Safe and sound!

I recognize that such a rescue sounds like one of those Twilight Zone stories, but even more so. How could such be?

If you turn to the New Testament, the accounts point to stories like Jesus walking on water or turning water into wine. Impossible? Sure. Just like Sean’s car passing through an impossible barrier to avoid an impasse and a car pileup.

But did it happen? The incident happened decades ago and I talked with Sean last week. Gives you something to think about.

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

CRUISING FOR A BRUISING!

Blog 148
February 17, 2020

intervine

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. Contact me at revwise@att.net.

CRUISING FOR A BRUISING!

Cathy Sanders and I became friends when I helped her work on the untold story of how the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed. Her two beloved grandchildren Chase and Colton had tragically been in the Day Care Center underneath the building when the bomb exploded. The tragedy was unspeakable then and remains so today.

One never recovers from such a loss, but you just go on.

As a tribute to those lost children, Cathy set out to uncover what were all the untold clues about the bombing. For a year and a half, I worked with her, interviewing Terry Nichols and Lana Padilla, and a multitude of other persons, including lawyers, policemen, and citizens effected by the blast.

In time, Cathy moved to Arkansas. She and her husband loved to sail across the lake in their pontoon boat during beautiful weather. They had just come in from a ride when Cathy began to hook up the wrench on to the boat to bring the craft up out of the water. Unfortunately, the boat moved backward and she needed to catch it. Cathy reached out with her foot to pull the bow closer. The boat jerked further back, throwing Cathy off balance. She fell from the pier landing onto the top of the boat. With such a significant drop, she landed like being hit by a speeding car.

Cathy’s lung blew up like a balloon and she could feel two broken ribs. The pain swallowed her as if she had been dropped into an abyss of black agony. She was sure there was no hope. Cathy prepared to die. She knew her life had been good and she could go on.

At that moment a golden cloud appeared. The covering descended over her and the nightmarish suffering evaporated. Next, an aquamarine light seemed to be leading her forward. While she had not seen His face, Cathy was certain the blue beam was leading her to Jesus. With her painfulness gone, Cathy was filled with excitement and anticipation. Always a religious person, she was eager to see the person she called her Savior.

And then, Cathy remembered something that was highly important to her. For five years she had been working on a book and now she would not be able to finish writing it. The realization was the discovery of something important remaining unfulfilled and she needed to complete the task.

At that moment, the forward journey ceased. Cathy discovered she was back on the boat with a punctured lung and broken ribs. Medics appeared and had to take her back across the lake to a marina to load her in an ambulance. The pain returned.

While her trek into eternity hadn’t been completed, Cathy’s convictions about eternity and the reality of heaven were more than confirmed. Today she is doing well.

Divine interventions often come unexpectedly. Cathy certainly didn’t have time to ask for her deliverance, but her life called for the experience. I think today Cathy Sanders would tell you that the worst pain can surprisingly become the best gift.

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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THE HOLY SPIRIT IN IRAN?

Blog 148
February 3 , 2020

Master+Film+Poster+Alt+Layout

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

Robert Wise explores the world of divine interventions from an objective point of view. Can 21st century people believe the hand of God still touches people today?

Read and you’ll find new insights.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IN IRAN?

Some years ago, I was in Damascus, Syria eating breakfast in a hotel when a couple from Iran came over and abruptly sat down across from me. In whispered tones, they told me that they wanted to escape from Iran and wanted to know if I could help them. I ask why they were wanting to flee. The couple said the leadership of our country is crazy. Interesting?

Recently, I found a report that gives insight on both political and religious happenings in a country where Islam is enforced at the point of a gun. The Western World is keenly aware of the fanaticism inside this country that is the largest supporter of terrorism in the world. Look at what I discovered.

A two-hour documentary called Sheep Among Wolves, seemed to support their conclusion and reported, “The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth. A revival is taking place inside Iran. The report said, “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.” The documentary was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI), which supports disciple-making teams targeting the “unreached” and “unengaged.” There is a mass exodus leaving Islam for Christianity within Iran, according to FAI.

“What if I told you Islam is dead?” one unidentified Iranian church leader says on the film. “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? Would you believe me? This is exactly what is happening inside of Iran. God is moving powerfully inside of Iran.” Many of the ruling class still follow Islam, “because that’s where the high paying jobs are,” according to the film, but the majority of the ordinary people love God and recognize that Islam is the problem.

“What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini?” an Iranian church leader asks. He maintains the ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie, a deception. “After 40 years under Islamic law — a utopia according to them — they’ve had the worst devastation in the 5,000 year history of Iran.”

Efforts by the ayatollahs to destroy Christianity have backfired, but have served to refine and purify the church. “What persecution did was destroy the church that were not disciples, and destroy the church that were about converts,” the Iranian church leader noted. “All these church planters found out that converts run away from persecution, but disciples would die for the Lord in persecution. “So our model inside Iran is that we don’t convert to disciple, we disciple so we can convert.” Often a disciple making movement (DMM) begins the first moment someone comes into contact with an unbeliever. “Everything is foundational on prayer. We find people of peace through prayer. We even find locations through prayer,” the Iranian church leader noted.

“When we do DMM, Jesus has gone faster than us. He has come in their dreams or he’s come miraculously in their lives. When we hear this, we know that Jesus has gone ahead of us.” Surprisingly, their emphasis is not planting churches; it is making disciples. “He is letting unbelievers lead other unbelievers to himself and the kingdom of God. If you plant churches you might make disciples. But if you make disciples, you will plant churches,” the Iranian church leader said.

“One thing powerful with DMM is that it is obedience-based discipleship. It is based on the authority of Scripture and every time you read the Scripture you must obey it. This is how people become conformed to the image of Christ and sanctified. They are not just reading the Bible for information. They are reading the Bible to get transformed.”

About 55% of the disciple makers are women, according to one Iranian leader. Such a report certainly gives you something to pray about!

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

UNEXPECTED RESULTS: Part 2

Blog 147
January 27, 2020

christ

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. Contact me at revwise@att.net.

UNEXPECTED RESULTS: Part 2

You met Joseph Bias last week. Let me tell you more about this exceptional person. With a voice of immense capacity and power, he met and worked with famous people in the professional music business along the way. He recorded with singers like Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, Gloria Gaither, and Johnny Cash. After ordination to the Christian ministry in l981, he performed in the Billy Graham Crusades and Kenneth Copeland Ministries as well as Teen Challenge in Germany and Sweden. Joseph conducted the first Men’s Chorus for Promise Keepers at their gathering in Anaheim Stadium in California.

As I noted last week, Joseph finally settled in as the Ministry of Music at the First Methodist Church, conducting their Cathedral Choir and Orchestra. What I didn’t explain was how he got to that position.

Years earlier Joseph had gone to Nashville and worked with the renowned musician talent and composer Allen Moore. During this time, Joseph lived in fear that the healing of his vocal cords might not last. (I reported that story last week) He had gone by Allen Moore’s house and walked in not expecting to experience a profound sense of peacefulness. Allen told Joseph that he and his wife had been in a Bible Study.  Joseph was almost shocked as he didn’t expect such a thing from the music and band crowd he worked with. “A Bible Study?”

Joseph couldn’t help but remark, “There’s so much peace in your home.”

Allen said, “That’s Jesus.”

Joseph didn’t understand what Allen meant and couldn’t identify with that suggestion.

Allen said it again. “That’s Jesus.”

The conversation went back and forth three or four times. Joseph couldn’t figure out what it meant to identify with Jesus of the Bible in this kind of way. He certainly knew Jesus of the scripture but this a different idea. Allen suggested that Joseph should listen to a song that might help him understand. Entitled Feed My Sheep, the song based on the gospel of John (John 21:15-19) containing the message that Peter didn’t understand Jesus’ call to follow him.

“Come in and listen,” Allen said.

Allen turned on one of those reel-to-reel recorders and let the music float out. Joseph sat down on the rug on the floor and just listened. The song seemed to be a special message to Joseph and Joseph alone. He felt as if the Lord himself was saying let Joseph Bias know that I love him and want him to follow me just as Peter did.

Joseph felt emotion raising up in him. Never would he have expected such a thing. He started crying. When his friend Allen came into the room, Joseph confessed, “I need Jesus.” They prayed together for Joseph to come into the same peaceful relationship that he had felt when he entered the home.

Joseph told me as we talked together about this event, this was the first time that he truly felt loved as a person. He knew this overpowering, heart warming love had come from the Jesus he prayed to have a new relationship with.

However, you might describe this experience, I call it a divine intervention. Joseph’s life was never the same again and was profoundly marked by love. And it all happened because a friend shared his faith and awareness that Jesus of Nazareth lived in his home.

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

UNEXPECTED APPEARANCE

Blog 145
January 13, 2020

shadow

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. Contact me at revwise@att.net.

UNEXPECTED APPEARANCE

My personal encounters with people who experienced a divine encounter has been exciting and inspirational. Sometimes their stories are simply too difficult to use in my blogs. I make sure that what I write is sound and authentic. At the same time, miracles tend to stop a person in their tracks. My personal hidden agenda in producing these accounts is to help people cross the line between the physical, observable world and learn to enter the divine dimension that the New Testaments offers.

While interviewing people, I have also made my own discoveries of events occurring in everyday life that one would not expect. This happened when I was talking with Lara Woodward. Lara certainly knew about miraculous events.

Much earlier, Lara lived in Tillson, Kansas when a tornado came roaring through. The house she was in moved over 50 feet and a fence post erupted in the middle of the room she was standing in. Amazingly, no one was hurt! You can bet that occurrence encouraged her prayer life.

In 1984, Lara mistakenly ingested a poisonous substance and quickly became sick. Realizing her serious condition, Lara prayed fervently for divine help to save her. During her prayer, she abruptly felt the arms of Jesus around her. Peace of mind flowed into her and she knew she would be alright. When the doctor examined her, he concluded, “Lara, it’s a miracle you are alive.”

However, the story that I came to talk with Lara about was of a different order. Living in Kansas at the time, she was watching television when she realized that a man was standing in the room with her. Surprised, she blinked and looked a second time. At that moment, Lara realized the man was her daughter’s husband Rick. They lived in Oklahoma and Lara had no idea he would be coming to her house. Rick was wearing a red shirt and looked straight at her.

He said, “I am dying.”

Lara knew she was totally wide awake and had clearly seen him before he disappeared.

Shaking her head, she went back to watching television. Two days later she got a phone call from her daughter.

“Mother, I have sad news.”

Lara instantly said, “Is it Rick?”

“Yes,” her daughter said. “Rick’s gone.”

When Lara attended the funeral, the last portion of the service was to pass by the open casket. She looked in and discovered Rick wearing a red shirt just as she had seen him by her television.

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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KICKING OFF THE NEW YEAR

Blog 144

January 6, 2020

cross

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. Contact me at revwise@att.net.

KICKING OFF THE NEW YEAR

Surprise! Surprise! A New Year!

Well, by now you know we’re already well into a new year and a new decade… with the headlines already terrorizing your morning. If ever you needed a boost to tell you that God is still working in your world, perhaps, this is the time.

Let me reassure you that all you’ve read about in these blogs over the years is continually true and all still applies. So hang on, the best is yet to be!

One of my last reports in 2019 was about Joan Stenke’s experience of having the Holy Spirit drive her through a deadly fog and come out the other side safely. Quite a story! Well, here’s some more of Joan’s experience.

Joan certainly knows the meaning of tragedy. She was talking on the phone to her son-in-law when he committed suicide. Of course, such an experience strikes anyone to the core of their being. Later a grandson, who she loved dearly, drown while swimming. Once again Joan had to face horrendous tragedy. While it can take years to live through the grief these experiences would visit on anyone, Joan still continued to struggle with her loses only to discover her daughter committed suicide with the same gun that had killed her son-in-law. How much can any one person endure?

For three years she went to bed every night crying. The agony wrecked her physically as well as emotionally. Finally, one night she cried out, “Lord! You’ve got to do something. I refuse to go on through life living with such overwhelming pain.”

Lying alone in her bed, she felt a tap on her shoulder. A voice said, “I understand your pain. You are not a woman who can’t understand.”

Joan felt an image rush through her mind. She could see the Crucifixion occurring and stared in awe. Joan realized something was happening to her entire body. She seemed to be leaving her earthly body behind and felt what she called “a translation.” (Like translating one language into another, the idea is going from one state of existence to another) Joan was someplace else where she seemed to be walking with Jesus. While she never saw his face, Joan knew who the figure was. They talked together and he shared the meaning of suffering. Time no longer had any significance as she seemed to be in eternity.

The experience lingered in her mind as one of the most vivid experiences in her life. The reality of God lingered. The person of Jesus was real.

Everything changed and the church became important to her.

Most of all, the pain was gone.

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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