Without hope the human soul withers and dies. The Source of all hope waits with open arms, whispering to the faint and weary, “Come to Me.” The need for hope rivals the basic necessities for food, water, and shelter.
These last few years have drained so many people of aspirations, expections, and ambitions. A loss of confidence in once reliable systems of government, justice, education, and medicine has created a deep void in many people’s lives. Hope has become a rare commodity for a vast segment of our population. The things once believed possible now appear as a cruel mirage.
We have all faced significant losses. Loved ones have gone through the portal of death, businesses have collapsed, and deep divisions have formed within families. The societal cost cannot be overstated.
We have learned again that confidence placed in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ will produce disappointment and discouragement. He alone is the Source of all hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
I have overcome the crushing feelings of hopelessness and despair. For many years, they were my constant companions of gloom. Not any more!
Recently, someone commented on a post I had written a few years ago. He felt the suffocating reality of hopelessness. On the verge of ending his life, God led him to read the words within the post that pointed Him to faith in Christ. As a result, he prayed, accepting Jesus as His Lord and Savior, and turned his life over to God. The hopelessness lifted as he found his Source of all hope in Jesus.
This morning, another young man contacted me. A short time ago, he too received Jesus as Savior, but he has gradually turned back to old and harmful ways of living and thinking. The hope he once felt has become distant and illusive. God is shining His light on this young man’s path and calling him to return. Both the choice and the consequences of his choice are his.
A long time ago, I too experienced enough of God’s love and grace to embrace it. Yet, the overwhelming circumstances of life and the nagging voices of shame seemed too strong to endure. I too turned from God, attempting to find another way. The choice of going my way led to decades of depression, suicidal thoughts, and deep spiritual darkness.
“May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22
The moment I turned back to God, surrendering completely to Him, His light broke through the fog of despair. He will do the same for you.
As we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, the Source of all hope, aspirations, expections, and ambitions become re-centered around and in Him. Renewed hope becomes an unshakable anchor that holds fast through even the most difficult life circumstances.
May Holy Spirit open our eyes wide to know this hope!
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18
The road to hopelessness turns steeply into an abyss. The path out usually takes time, effort, and grace. While there may be an instantaneous and supernatural lightening of grief and despair, at the same time persevering faith will bring us fully through.
Path of Hope
For me, and many others, strategic steps propel us to solid ground where renewed joy and anticipation reign.
” ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’ “ Lamentations 3:24
Consistent prayer, Bible reading, and mediation — There is no substitute for a healthy, vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as we talk with Him and He talks with us.
Supportive Christian community — The potential to thrive exists within a body of believers where honest, open relationships develop. Healthy churches produce healthy people, growing in faith through discipleship training and prayer support.
Forgiveness toward others and the relinquishing of judgment — Past wounds heal only through forgiveness. As we forgive we will also be able to abandon any thoughts of judging those who have hurt us.
Practice humility — Pride will continually hold us in shame and guilt. As we humbly acknowledge our needs before God and other believers, we gain freedom. The supportive structures within church community help us overcome.
Serve — Even those new in their faith will reap the benefits of volunteering in the local church. Others need us as much as we need them. Through acts of service we develop strong mutual friendships, grow in areas of gifting, and become a vital part of a faith community.
Each one of these steps may initially appear overwhelming, but one at a time, little-by-little, they empower us, enabling us to believe and hope again.
With Jesus, hope always wins.
“But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings[and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]. They will run and not become weary (and) walk and not grow tired.” Isaiah 40:31AMP
At first, the truth of this verse may sound like a far reach. The more we allow it to seep into our spirit, the more it becomes our practical experience. Today, God extends renewed strength and promise to us. In Him, broken wings are mended, becoming strong enough to soar. Weariness falls away and faint hearts find courage to hope again.
Whether the loss of hope originated through broken relationships, addictive behaviors, financial pressures or any other cause, Jesus is the Source of renewed hope. In every area, He brings us to victory.
I pray that today a fresh wind of hope sweeps into your soul, dissipating every lie of the enemy that speaks contrary to God’s truth. May you hear the whisper of God calling you to Himself. It is not too late. You haven’t roamed to far from Him. His good plans for you haven’t changed.
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11
Jesus Christ, the Source of all hope, holds a future filled with hope for you. May God give you the courage to reach out and receive it.
At Easter, we celebrate the power of the blood of Jesus to align humanity with God’s intentions, bringing cleansing, healing and restoration. Since the original rebellion and turning away from God, all of us are bent in a similar direction. The corruption of our nature ebbs deep.
If ever we question God’s love for us, we need only look to the cross for the answer. The Father provided everything for our cleansing, healing and restoration through Jesus. Jesus gave everything for us through His blood.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
To restore humanity’s brokenness and renew their relationship with the Father, Jesus only needed to die — the innocent for the guilty. But Jesus went all the way, to the very last drop, to redeem us and purchase back everything the enemy had stolen.
People misunderstand Jesus as much today as they misunderstood Him over 2000 years ago. Isaiah hundreds of years before that wrote these compelling lines:
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
He suffered a brutal beating, standing in the gap for our pain, suffering, transgressions, iniquities, sickness, and diseases. Transgressions define the outward sins we commit, both knowingly and unknowingly. Iniquities form the under currents — the twisted and evil thoughts, attitudes, and intentions of our hearts.
After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter quotes Isaiah, changing the wording slightly to declare,
“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.'” 1 Peter 2:24
It is finished! Sins forgiven. The guilty made righteous. Healing imparted to souls and body. Complete!
As the hammer descended, violently driving the nails through Jesus’ hands and feet, cleansing blood flowed and seeped into the dusty ground.
From the time of the first deadly assault between Cain and his brother, Abel, the blood of violence has been crying from the earth, appealing to heaven for justice and reconciliation.
“No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete our violence on the earth.” Psalm 58:2
Bloodshed shadows every nation and all peoples. No race or tribe rightly claims exemption. We all need the cleansing that only Jesus blood provides. His blood heals the earth contaminated by cruel assaults, one against another.
“From this blood we obtain triumph over iniquity, over sin, over the twisted, crocked way of our footsteps. This blood opens the way of righteousness, restoring the paths of our destiny. It opens roads to carry the Gospel where there is no path or any way to get there.”
Through Jesus, we all receive cleansing from past agression (by us and against us), allowing hands to embrace others in love and feet to walk faithfully in God’s ways.
Even after Jesus’ death, one last affliction caused a life-giving flow to be released on our behalf.
” . . . one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” John 19:34
“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, this is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood . . .”1 John 5:5-6
The Israelites, on their wilderness journey, felt their lives ebbing away as their water supply disappeared. They cried out to Moses for help. Then he cried out to God. God commanded Moses to strike a rock, and when he did, water gushed out. Water enough to sustain millions of people and their livestock.
The smitten rock in the wilderness was Jesus.
“They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:3-4
Later, when the people were in a similar situation, Moses struck the rock again instead of speaking to it as God instructed. God gave them water, but it cost Moses His destiny. In the same way, Jesus only had to die once for all! No other sacrifices are needed.
It may have been a soldier’s spear that pierced Jesus, but God released through Jesus’ body the blood and water that brings life — true life, daily life, eternal life — to us all! That life still flows, following us through our desert situations.
This Easter as we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, may we thank Him again for His blood. May we appreciate, with renewed understanding, the cleansing, healing, and restoration found in Him alone.
No other ingredient or action removes the dreadful stain. No other Name heals our dis-ease and twisted motivations. Human decrees and laws prove powerless and feeble to unite and restore. As the old hymn writer, Robert Lowry, penned, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
But God! God, through Jesus Christ, secured it all! Praise be His Name forever!
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What frames your life? What parameters establish your direction and influence your choices? As we choose to frame our lives by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and life direct our steps, giving us context and foundation. Rather than an annual weekend celebration, the reality of Easter should color our entire lives with hope and assurance.
Who is the first person you desire to talk with every morning? The first One on your mind? Is it God? Or do we, like many others, scroll through social media and check emails before we give Him thought or place. That first conversation, no matter how simple, acknowledges God’s place and active participation in all we are and do.
The daily spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and meditation, connection with other believers, and even communion, ground us in Christ’s finished work of the cross. For good reason, the first Christians established these basic tenants of faith early in church’s history.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer . . . Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:42-46
The breaking of bread became a tangible reminder of the New Covenant they now enjoyed. Many of these men and women became amazing giants of faith. If they framed “every day” by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, should it be any less important for us?
Boast in Him
On the cross, Jesus declared each one of us precious enough to die for. Yet without Him, we have nothing to boast about. ALL honor, glory, power, and praise belong to Him. Only in humility are we rightly positioned before Him. And well it should be! All our boasting points completely toward Jesus.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; (and) not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ ” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30
Paul closes his letter to the Galatian church in a similar manner.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.“ Galatians 6:14
We find an inexplicable paradox in the cross. Jesus Christ is everything; we are nothing. Yet, He became nothing, to give us everything. Such realization grounds and secures us. The cross and resurrection deems humanity of unspeakable value, despite personal frailty and failure.
The Cross and Resurrection
By daily celebrating Easter’s reality, we remember the cross and resurrection, allowing God to remind us both where we came from and where we are going — from the dead root to living hope. May we never forget how Christ’s death and resurrection rescued us from hopelessness and brought us into a confident future. Jesus removed our sins from us, cancelling our great debt and bridging the gap between God and humanity. His resurrection thunder-clapped through Heaven and Earth His indisputable victory over sin, satan, and death.
By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we remind ourselves that our lives are not our own. Jesus purchased us at a costly price. God uses these defining events to remind us that to follow Jesus means choosing the way of sacrifice.
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
We are forgetful and need a constant reminder of all God has done. The Israelites suffered from the same condition. The early Christians did too. Just because Christ suffered for us doesn’t mean all suffering has ended. Jesus and the other writers of the epistles spoke otherwise.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
So whether our days turn out supremely joyous or far from it, when we frame each day by the cross and resurrection, everything assumes proper perspective. Christ’s victory over-shadows everything! Today is but a millisecond in the vast time-line of eternity.
When a sports team wins a championship, a grand celebration often follows. The triumphant team hits the major news feeds. Families celebrate! Communities celebrate! Strangers even celebrate! Why? Everyone loves to see a decisive victory.
By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we join once again in the celebration of the greatest victory ever.
” When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15
Jesus hung naked, publicly degraded, and humiliated. But then . . . through His sinless sacrifice, He disarmed every evil power and authority, exposing them before Heaven and Earth to humiliation and shame. The enemy’s signature move became his greatest defeat.
“The resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the manifestation of the victory Jesus won on the cross for you and me.” Nicky Gumbel
The cross and resurrection declare God’s glory, power, and dominion. Jesus transferred His victory to become our victory. And every victory we experience is His — through Him, for Him, and by Him.
It is Finished!
Perhaps Jesus’ greatest statement from the cross lay in these few words,
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.” John 19:30
Our limited understanding hinders us from comprehending how completely Jesus accomplished every assignment the Father had given Him. Everything that sin and rebellion stole, Jesus bought back. All Jesus needed to do was die — the Sinless for the guilty, the Prince of Peace for the turbulent, and the Obedient for the disobedient. He went far beyond!
” ‘He himself bore our sins‘ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ “ 1 Peter 2:24
The cross declares again and again, “It is finished! Stain of sin go! Incurable wound be healed! Broken in mind and spirit be restored! Sickness and disease bow! Captives, be free!” Though circumstances may try to convince us otherwise, the cross and resurrection declare the work is finished — for good, for ever.
So Much More
This is no legal requirement! Framing every day by the cross and resurrection celebrates how God empowers us to walk with strength not our own, with faith He freely gives, with courage amidst our battles, and with grace piled upon grace.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ From the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
The cross and resurrection stand as a framework to all generations and peoples. They bring every aspect of life and faith into focus. Jesus transferred to all who would believe “new birth into a living hope.”
Does living hope define us? When others look our way, do they see the vibrancy of Christ’s life in and through us — both the death to the old and alive to the new? As we consistently celebrate and frame our lives by the cross and resurrection, I believe they will.
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Have you ever been blinded? The flash of a welder’s arc caused damage to our son’s eyes when he was still in high school. He was hospitalized with his eyes bandaged over for several days as a result. Afterward, he carefully avoided any similar incidents.
I have sometimes thought about which one of the five senses, I value the most? If I had to part with one, which one would I choose? Perhaps parting with the sense of taste might not be a half-bad idea — especially the taste of chocolate! Though hard-pressed to decide, the ability to see would definitely be at the top of my priorities to keep.
Perhaps that reason undergirds my compassion toward the blind who came to Jesus. We see them, like blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, crying out, by-passing protocol, refusing to be permanently imprisoned in darkness by silence.
However, the gnawing awareness of my own “blindness,” resulting from the equally imposing confinement within the dark recesses of my heart, makes up the greatest reason. I cannot deny my inability to see as God sees.
“Lord, have mercy.” I too cry out, “I want to see!”
A Blind Man
“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.” Mark 8:22
Bethsaida, a fishing village north of the Sea of Galilee, became one of the most frequently mentioned places in the New Testament. Here, Jesus performed many miracles. Peter, Andrew and Philip, with faith, all left Bethsaida and everything in it, to follow Jesus. Now they, with Jesus, returned.
Whether they were friends or family of the blind man we’re not sure, but they came looking for Jesus to help where no other help was found. “They . . . begged Jesus to touch him” — “parakaleo“-ing Him, “calling for His aid, beseeching with strong force, entreating and looking for comfort.”
I appreciate Mark’s short, to the point, action-packed, essentials-only writing style. Every detail significant. Every word precise. Painting clear visuals for our imaginations.
Jesus’ methods of healing changed with each encounter, because He did only what He saw the Father do (John 5:19-20). Here . . .
“He took the bind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hand on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ “ Mark 8:23
I wouldn’t recommend this healing scenario as a prayer model! Can you imagine the shocked expressions, air-gasping, and indiscreet murmuring of onlookers?
With the exception of the ten lepers who were healed as they went (Luke 17:11-19), Jesus healed diseases and infirmities instantly. This time, He sensed an invisible block to this man’s complete restoration. He asks, “Do you see anything,” moving the blind man from passive by-stander to active participant in his own healing.
“He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Mark 8:24
At one time, he saw people and trees. Before being blinded, he saw both. Now he recognized the difference.
“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” Mark 8:25
Jesus touched my eyes when He touched my heart and claimed me for His own. I gave Him my resolute, “Yes!” to follow Him wherever He may lead, and yield to Him whatever He asks. He touched the eyes of my heart to see. Once was good but not enough!
Again, He moves me from by-stander to active participant in my healing as He asks, “Do you see?” How often I’ve come begging Him for clearer vision — for Him to touch me “once more!”
Honestly, most of the time, I see people who “look like trees walking around.” My heart is still blinded to truth, warping my perception of others.
Some I see as palm trees of rest and refreshing. Others I see as thorn bushes, cutting deeply, drawing unnecessary blood when I get close. Still others resemble junipers, sapping strength, resources and life with each encounter. Many appear fickle — green and growing one season, barren and dead the next. A precious few become shelters of prayer with their spreading canopy protecting me from the enemy’s onslaughts. Still others stand menacingly tall in high positions, with deadly accuracy striking like lightning in a prairie storm.
I need to be honest before God, myself and you as I write with genuine tears. I’m blinded to His perception of all those He loves and has given His life for. I’m unable to seeclearly His reflection in their faces.
The root of this man’s blindness remains hidden — the cause undisclosed. The source for my own inability to see hides concealed in the recesses of both my past and present. Whether I’m blinded by cynicism or criticism, unforgiveness or judgement, self-protection or ignorance, Jesus offers the only “parakaleo.” He alone provides both help and comfort.
Although miracles validated Jesus’ ministry, His intension went far beyond easing temporary pain. The miracles He performed were supposed to stir repentance, build faith and bring glory to God. That primary purpose remains unchanged!
Once more, I need Jesus to miraculously touch my blinded eyes and soften my hardened heart. Paul, someone else formerly blinded to truth, exhorted his spiritual son, Timothy,
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people . . . this is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul “urges” (parakalo,” the same word as “parakaleo” in Mark). He calls for Timothy’s aid — “beseeching with strong force, entreating and looking for comfort,” for everyone based on the cross.
“Touch my heart again and again, Lord. Spit upon my spiritual eyes that I would see people as you do — valued, significant, worthy of love, honor, and dignity. Like the blind man, may my eyes be open and my sight restored. May I clearly see each one as You do.”
Mark ends the account with,
“Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Don’t even go into the village.’ ” Mark 8:26
I’m not exactly sure why Jesus gave such specific instruction not to go into Bethsaida. Jesus, who led him by the hand out, warned him not to go back. Was something about this village the source of his blindness? Or was Jesus protecting him from falling under a soon-to-be-proclaimed curse?
“Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago . . .” Luke 10:13
God graciously offers seasons of visitation and repentance to us — turn around moments, fresh starts and God encounters. When Jesus comes, He longs to do far more than physical miracles. He desires our hearts, wanting us to see with clear vision.
Miracle moments often incite overconfidence or pride, causing us to think we can handle situations we’re ill prepared for. Jesus knows when it’s essential to establish a distance between us and the things, people or places that blind. So He takes us by the hand and leads us.
Those who responded to Him, headed straight home. No detours or distractions! Like Peter, Andrew and Philip, they followed Jesus, not blindly, but with fresh faith and sight.
Perhaps with His once-more touch upon my heart, I too will see and follow Him the same way.
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In a world gone off course, I’m thankful for the God of miracles. He remains on the throne — unchanging, powerful and good. Though great kingdoms rule the earth and dangers invade from every side, God sits upon the throne above earth’s domain.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me, like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.” Revelation 4:1-3
Today, lets all take a break from the stresses for some good news. News that God still hears the cries of His people and actively involves Himself in their lives.
“Prayer does not equip us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Author Unknown
The prayer principles within this book are tangible and potent only because they are based on the inerrant Word of God. Everything about prayer originates from and rests securely upon the foundation of God—His divine character and faithfulness: God drawing us to Himself in a personal relationship; God turning His ear toward our faint cries and warring shouts; God empowering us to move with His power and through His authority.
The Bible describes faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1 KJV). The evidence of God moving through His miraculous power in answer to prayer could not be expounded in a few simple writings. However, this closing chapter includes mini-testimonies of prayer rooted in faith, becoming substance.
Miracles of Healing and Provision
Joy-Lyn could write her own book on the miracles she has witnessed God do in answer to prayer, but here are just a few:
“I was in the chemistry laboratory completing an experiment when I received a word of knowledge for the girl sitting across from me in the lab. I felt she was having a problem with the right side of her neck or shoulder, perhaps from a sports injury or gymnastics.
“When we were finished our work, I asked her about it. She did have an injury, but it was from softball. She was experiencing tension and pain on the side of her neck, running down into her shoulder. We prayed right there in the chemistry lab at the university. God touched her. She almost started crying and said, ‘That made my day!’
“A couple of years ago, my mom and I went to a garage sale in a little church across the street from our house. I thought I had a word of knowledge for one lady about her knee. ‘No,’ she said, ‘but my shoulder is in a lot of pain.’
“I asked if I could pray for her. ‘Sure,’ she said, ‘but I’m going to keep shopping.’ After praying, I asked her to test it out. Before prayer, she could only raise her arm parallel to the floor, but now she could raise it a little higher, although it still hurt.
“I asked if I could pray again, ‘Okay,’ she said, ‘I’m shopping, but go for it.’ I prayed again and asked her to check it a second time. She lifted her arm all the way up and gasped, ‘Who . . . are . . . you?’ as she backed up.
“ ‘It’s Jesus! It is all Jesus!’ I said.
“She turned around and quickly left. I walked away laughing and thought, ‘We’re in a church. I don’t know what you expected.’ It goes to show that healing isn’t as normal as it should be.
“After my first year of university, I needed a job and applied to several places but didn’t receive any response. I started praying about it.
“I already knew that tithing was not an option but an important biblical principle. I had tithed before but wasn’t diligently keeping track of every source of income. Up until then, I hadn’t made tithing a priority in my spiritual walk.
“After I prayed for a job, the Lord quickly and clearly said, ‘You start tithing and I’ll give you a job.’
“That was on a Tuesday. Immediately, I took the time to figure out, as far back as I could remember, what I hadn’t tithed from and tithed on that income. By Friday, I was offered a job.
“I received a random phone call for an employment opportunity that I hadn’t even applied for stating, ‘We think you would be good for this position.’ That was probably the quickest answer to prayer I’ve ever received.
“As soon as I obeyed, God provided!
“At work, I was picking up a couple of kids from visiting their mother. When she helped put the kids into the car, I asked if she experienced headaches. After confirming it, we prayed together. Immediately, she felt a lot better. The Muslim girl I was working with that day got to hear the prayer and see this woman’s healing. Then I invited the woman to come to church with me.
“ ‘Sure,’ she said, ‘I’d like that.’
“ ‘Great! I’ll pick you up tonight.’
“That evening I went to the women’s shelter to pick her up and waited for twenty minutes but she never came to meet me. I was about to leave when another lady walked in with crutches. We started talking and I felt led to pray for her. She was in a lot of pain and had been on crutches for ten years because of a failed surgery. After I prayed, she tested it out. It was somewhat better but not completely, so we prayed again.
“She ended up walking pain-free without her crutches and then gave her heart to Jesus. Another lady, who had come into the lobby, heard the prayer, saw the miracle and began thanking God.”
It is really cool when God shows up at work! Even though Joy-Lyn wasn’t completely accurate with the words of knowledge, when she stepped out in faith, trusting God, He graciously healed those around her.
A Family Prays Together
“I haven’t always felt comfortable praying for others but as I learned to trust the Holy Spirit, I became more willing to pray.
“I have seen several significant answers to prayer. My whole family started praying for my uncle when the doctors believed he had a tumor in his neck. Surgery was performed, but they found it was actually a lymph node, not cancer, and it was resolved. Praise the Lord! That was my earliest loud answer to prayer.
“For several years, I was struggling with knee pain and had to go down the stairs one at a time. When a young girl prayed for me at a youth retreat, I felt something hot in my knee. That ongoing knee pain hasn’t returned. Now, I can walk down the stairs normally.
“Our child is one hundred percent a miracle and an answer to prayer. My husband and I were told we would never be able to have children on our own. We both felt no urgency to look into in vitro fertilization or adoption. God gave us a great deal of peace to continue praying and waiting on Him. We became pregnant by the hand of God within three months. Our child is nothing short of a miracle!
“I realize that not everyone’s prayers get answered like that even though they are far more faithful than we are. God hears every prayer. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without God seeing and knowing (Mt 10:29). Sometimes our desires are fulfilled before our eyes, at other times ‘no’ or ‘wait’ is an answer.
We say with confidence that our prayers are answered because we know who we are praying to.
“We have a God who cares deeply for us. Sometimes the tangible answer we experience is God’s peace during imperfect circumstances. We may never understand how God chooses to answer our prayers.”
Leaning on Others
Emmanuel actively pursues spiritual gifts. The list of miracles he has witnessed in his young life spans far.
“I keep pressing in to see God move miraculously in the lives of others. I don’t create doctrines based on my lack of understanding, however.
“For years I prayed for people with one leg shorter than the other to be healed without seeing results. Nothing! Even though I was frustrated, I knew that God wasn’t the issue, but I was. Then I asked a friend who often sees healing in this area to pray for me. The very first person I prayed for after that was healed. Now at least ninety percent of those I pray for with that condition are healed.
“If the door hasn’t been opened to me, I knock again. Then, I keep on knocking (Mt 7:7-8). For me, to pray without ceasing means to not give up (1Thes 5:17).
“There was a fellow in serious condition in the hospital. I don’t think I have fought for someone’s life so much in prayer. I kept in touch with his mother and knew he was getting worse instead of better. The doctors gave him no hope of recovery. He was in a coma and given twenty-four to forty-eight hours to live. I, and many others, kept pushing through in prayer. Not only did he recover, but he gave his life to the Lord. He’s alive and well today.
“That is a recent example of praying for someone without immediate results. It doesn’t mean we pray 24-7, but we pray without giving up. Although we should all make intentional time for prayer, that should not be the only time we pray.
God is a Good Father. He doesn’t inflict pain to teach us a lesson. That would be abusive! God is so gracious and wonderful.
“Even though I have seen many others healed, I have rarely been healed of anything. My theology is that God always desires to heal. He takes ugly situations and transforms them into something beautiful.
“We need to be deeply grounded in the Word of God; otherwise, we will lower God to meet our pain. If we anchor ourselves in the Word, we won’t diminish God in any way. I’m okay with not understanding why God sometimes heals and doesn’t at other times. Even though I don’t understand, I keep pressing in to see and know Him more.”
“Prayer is a two-way conversation involving both talking to God and listening for Him to speak. Even in insignificant things, I ask God for help.
“Not that long ago, I lost my wallet. After coming home from a restaurant, I couldn’t find it anywhere. After looking everywhere to no avail, I prayed, asking God to put it in a place where I could see it. A little while later, I noticed it on the living room couch, clearly visible.
“When I was in Grade 12 my marks weren’t amazing. I wanted to find a job so I could buy a car. I didn’t plead or demand, but simply prayed only once, ‘Jesus, if You want me to have a car You’re going to have to give me one.’ I didn’t tell anyone that I prayed. Shortly after, a former pastor called and offered me a car. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so. When we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives and conversations, we will see things happen.”
The Miracle of Sensing God’s Voice
Sometimes, just hearing God’s voice is the greatest miracle, as Karen discovered.
“A little while ago, God unusually demonstrated His love to me, thereby increasing my faith.
“My husband and I were driving to the city on a beautiful, sunny fall day. All was quiet and the view picturesque. With my husband behind the wheel, I silently enjoyed the ride, gazing blissfully out the window of the car at the splendid fall colors. Amongst the other trees, a smaller brightly colored red tree seemed to stand out, catching my attention and filling me with awe.
“ ‘Wow!’ I said to myself, ‘Do I ever like that tree! It’s gorgeous!’
“ ‘Thank you,’ I heard, ‘I like that one too. It’s one of my favorites.’ The voice came so quickly and unexpectedly, I was surprised. Did I hear right? Yet, I knew beyond a doubt that it was not my own thoughts.
“For days I marveled at what had happened. It made me feel oddly special—like a secret shared between two people who love each other. I wanted to share it with others, but I knew that it wouldn’t mean the same to them as it did to me.
“Since then I’ve wondered why He would speak to me about something so insignificant. How many times had I begged and longed for a word from God, without hearing anything? Now, out of the blue, when I wasn’t even praying, He spoke so clearly to me.”
Miracles Through the Prayers of Others
Jewell experienced healing of an arm injury.
“I had a bad accident and received a “dinner fork” fracture to my wrist. I was in a cast for a long time and had also gone through many painful procedures trying to get it to release. Nothing helped. Because it hadn’t healed properly, I had limited use of my hand.
“While working at a summer camp, all the counselors gathered around me to pray after their morning meeting. Most of them knew I had received a spinal injury and broken ribs from a serious accident. Because they loved me, they wept as they prayed over me. Everyone, except for one fellow, prayed for my spine and the pain I was enduring. He prayed for my wrist and arm.
“I had been seated on a chair encircled by all these young people. When they finished praying, there was a complete circle of tears shining on the floor around me. They asked if I felt any different. Though I was encouraged by their prayers and felt so blessed by their love, I didn’t feel any change physically.
“I continued the day, performing my duties as best I could. Later in the evening, since there was usually someone who needed a nurse’s attention after the games time, I was sitting by the medical cabinet waiting. While I was waiting, I went to flex my arm to stretch it.
“I was shocked! For the first time in a year, my wrist had full flexibility in both directions. I suddenly realized my wrist was completely healed. It hasn’t bothered me since.
In God’s perfect time, it only took a minute.
“That year, there were several other healings that occurred at camp including a girl who had experienced multiple concussions. It was an exciting time for the campers to witness God perform physical healings.”
Beyond All Expectations
Christie shared a miracle of provision.
“I had applied to enroll in a university program but was reluctant to take out any student loans. I said to God, ‘I’m not spending money on this program. If I’m going back to school it has to be paid for.’
“I was informed that I would need to retake an exam to qualify for the program. Because of my schedule, I didn’t have time to study. I asked several people to pray for me as I rewrote the exam and for the finances for the program.
“The way things worked out, the administrators didn’t care about my grade score on the exam. They also decided that they would cover the cost of the program, plus my rent and utilities. School is very expensive, so it was a big deal to have all my expenses covered. I saw the provision of the Lord as He gave me everything I needed.”
Obedience Before the Miracle
Visions, both her own and others, have impacted Yogeswari’s life resulting in miracles.
“When my husband lost his job, our daughter was six years old. We decided not to have any more children because, in India, there are no child benefits. Parents have to pay for everything including all medical and educational expenses from kindergarten through university. Without my husband working, we couldn’t afford another child.
“My pastor’s wife had a vision. ‘God is trying to give you something and you’re abandoning it. That’s why your husband has lost his job.’
“ ‘What? How could my husband’s losing his job be related to me not planning on having any more children?’
“She said, ‘Don’t ask questions. Tell God that you will let your son be conceived and that you will have this child. Then there won’t be any further problems with him finding a job. Please promise God that you will receive the child He wants to give to you.’
“That’s what I did. Our son is a promise. Not that we didn’t face problems, but my husband immediately found a very good job. When our first child was born, we had to pay for everything. With our son, my husband’s employer paid for everything including a cesarean section. God gave us a son and paid every expense.
“When I was pregnant, I prayed, ‘The son of David is going to come to me. I want Solomon’s wisdom for this child.’
“A while later, a pastor prophesied over our son, ‘You are a son of promise. You are having David’s promise in you.’ That pastor confirmed it, even though it was something only my husband and I knew. I know my son will be a person of praise and prayer, just like David was. Our son knows he is a child of promise.”
Many Prayers Later
God answered Kristina’s lifelong prayer in several ways.
“My maternal grandmother was Ukrainian Catholic. Maybe she knew the Lord, but I didn’t know for sure. As a little girl, I always tried to share the Lord with her. In her late eighties, when I was in Bible college, she was in a nursing home and started having heart problems.
“I was concerned. I tried to share the Lord so many times with her. She was either hard of hearing or had selective hearing. I’m not sure which! One day after visiting her in the nursing home, I walked back to our house and was almost home when the Lord said, ‘Go back and tell her about Me.’
“I was so mad, ‘I have told her so many times about You.’
“I tromped back to the nursing home, went into my grandmother’s room and sat on her bed. It wasn’t even close to a heartfelt explanation of the Gospel. ‘Grandma, you are a sinner. We’re all sinners. Jesus died on the cross for you. He rose again. You need to ask Him into your heart. Do you want to do that?’
“I tromped back to the nursing home, went into my grandmother’s room and sat on her bed. It wasn’t even close to a heartfelt explanation of the Gospel. ‘Grandma, you are a sinner. We’re all sinners. Jesus died on the cross for you. He rose again. You need to ask Him into your heart. Do you want to do that?’
“She said, ‘Yes.’
“I was kind of dumbfounded and hardly knew what to do but led her through the sinner’s prayer and left.
“My grandmother had struggled with anxiety throughout her lifetime. Because of the heart problems she was having, I prayed, ‘Okay God, she has received You. Please don’t let her struggle with fear and depression right now. Please, can we see some tangible results of You in her life.’
“The first of three answers to my prayers was that she came to know Jesus.
“Second, my grandmother’s new-found passion was playing bingo. She loved playing bingo and would give the quarters she had won to the visiting grandchild of the moment. My Mom called me up one day when I was back in Bible school to tell me that my grandmother passed away. To me, an answer to prayer is that my grandmother, who wrestled with fear, died doing the thing she loved—playing bingo. Furthermore, she had just won her second game; they put the money in her hand; she smiled, hung her head and went home to be with the Lord. There was no pain or fear in this new Christian lady.
“The third answer was that the Catholic priest from grandmother’s town was too busy to do her prayers and we were able to have our little Baptist church pastor who knew and visited her in the nursing home, come to do the prayers. All of my mom’s siblings, nieces and nephews came. At my grandmother’s prayers, my family, who didn’t know the Lord, heard the Gospel being shared by our Baptist pastor.
“My grandmother appeared to be hard of hearing, but this pastor said at my grandmother’s little service, ‘I visited Mary many times and shared the Lord with her. Recently, I asked her, “Do you want to receive the Lord?” ’
“She said, ‘Kristina and I already dealt with that.’
“Somehow through my obligatory actions, ‘Okay God, I’ll go share with my grandmother,’ she got it. Through whatever hearing matters were happening, she understood. God answered my very special lifelong prayer in several ways.”
The Simplest Prayer
Prayer wasn’t a daily practice when Keith prayed for his wife.
“My wife experienced hip pain constantly. It was uncertain the direct cause but no doubt a heavy physical workload was a contributing factor—handling hundred-pound grain bags, flipping and rolling out hay bales by hand, gardening and a multitude of other strenuous tasks.
“Her father had undergone both shoulder and hip replacement surgery. The enemy taunted her, that she would soon end up the same way. Each night she would crawl into bed struggling to find a comfortable position to sleep.
“We can’t remember whose idea it was, mine or hers, but someone decided it was time for prayer. I laid my hand on her hip not knowing how to even pray. Before I could say a word, I felt an intense heat flowing through my hand. She felt nothing but peacefully went to sleep.
“The next morning, she woke up completely healed. She never experienced any pain or discomfort in her hip again. God did it. He answered my silent prayer and it only took a minute.”
The Love Bus is an inner-city ministry bringing food and necessities to prostitutes and gang members. I don’t join this dedicated group of volunteers often, but each time I do, I learn as much from the street people as from the workers.
“I arrived early to help prepare the sandwiches and fruit that we would be taking along with us. We had a brief time of prayer and received final instructions before heading out for the night. We were told not to let the neighborhood children, who would be the first to bombard the bus, take all the food before we reached the streets.
“Sure enough, while we were loading the bus, children started clambering up the steps looking for food to take home with them. It wasn’t long before I began to resent their demands. We gave each child a drink of hot chocolate and a supply of food before escorting them back off the bus.
“I honestly had to go and sit at the back of the bus for a few minutes just to repent of my nasty attitude. It was obvious these children didn’t have much to call their own; critical judgment had no place in God’s work.
“Soon the bus was rolling through the core area of our city, stopping to welcome anyone onto the bus for a warm cup of coffee, hot chocolate or something to eat. The Love Bus offers protection, safety, love and dignity to everyone.
“Several hours later, a man and woman entered. Age is hard to determine on the streets; it isn’t measured by years, but rather by experience. The trauma of inner-city life distorts and molds people leaving little room for normalcy. Before leaving the bus, they both received prayer, hugs as warm as the coffee, and love enough to carry them through the night. They stood outside chatting with the driver for a while.
“Soon the driver re-entered asking if we could change our route and head outside the normal area to give this couple a ride. We all agreed. Back on the bus, they came.
“I slipped over beside the woman, beginning a conversation. She had been in the hospital because she had shot up with a deadly cocktail of substances. Within hours, they quickly released her to fend for herself. Her legs were still grossly swollen from the effect of the self-inflicted potion.
“ ‘They feel like shattered fiberglass hockey sticks—each splinter tearing at me with terrible pain.’ she explained.
“At that moment, I forgot that she was a drug addict, heading to get another fix. My heart reached out before my hand touched her leg, as I asked, ‘May I pray for you?’
“Together we prayed for the swelling to dissipate and the pain to be removed from her body. I asked her to test her legs and see if there was any change. She stood on them for a moment before sitting back down, ‘Yes, they’re a little better.’
“I explained that God is so big and loving that He doesn’t want to make things just a little better but bring complete healing. She agreed to allow me to pray again, before testing her legs a second time. Now they were almost completely better and the swelling had gone down considerably. One more time we prayed.
“This time when she checked her legs, they were completely pain-free. For the first time that night, a giant smile spread across her face, deepening the wrinkles on her cheeks and exposing blackened teeth. Joy and unbelief mingled with gratitude, ‘God did it! He took my pain!’
God showed up on the most dangerous streets in the most dangerous city in our nation. How awesome is that!
“Soon we were at their desired destination. Again, I moved to the back of the bus for a time of solitude. Tears of gratitude oozed from my heart down my cheeks. Never before had I witnessed God’s love so tangibly as on the night He healed a little prostitute and drug addict. The greatness of His love and goodness stretched beyond my ugly attitudes and her destructive habits, exposing itself to a world gone mad.”
Miracles in Spite of Ourselves
Fortunately, God’s desire to intervene in people’s lives is far greater than our handicaps and hang-ups. Prayer’s effectiveness is never dependent on our ability, but rather on God’s availability to move. Helen shares her personal experience.
“We get to be co-laborers with Christ. How exciting is that? He shows me something and I get to pray with Him. We may think we should pray for someone, but real prayer is God moving on us to pray. I need to be hearing what Holy Spirit is saying so I can be more effective.
“Having said that, I remember being at a training on prayer but was sicker than a dog that night. I was paired up with a girl who had a bad foot. Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about her foot. I just wanted to go home. I felt as dry as toast, prayed for her foot and she was healed.
“I thought, ‘God, You are good.’ I didn’t care less. She was ecstatic!
“Someone said to me later, ‘You must have felt elated?’
“I said, ‘No! I was shocked.’
“I really didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to be praying. The answers don’t depend on us. God is so anxious to answer prayer He will use anybody He can find. We are not always in the right mood. Sometimes we don’t feel like we’re connected to God at all. We don’t have to sense Him or feel Him. He is the One who does it!
“I would like more faith in prayer to ask bigger and not limit God. He is beyond what we could think or imagine.”
Miracles While Shopping
I’ve had my own dry as toast experiences.
“A couple of years ago, I had been to a discipleship class and was hurrying to pick up groceries before the store closed. I was overtired and anxious to start the hour trek home. Even though the class should have given me a more godly attitude, I think I forgot the Christian part of me behind when I left the building.
“The icy Arctic wind swept across the parking lot, blasting its cold onslaught against anyone brave enough to be outside. As I reached the door of the grocery store, a woman and small child approached, asking for money. Because panhandlers often frequent this spot, I had grown suspicious of their stories and motives.
“Annoyed I invited them inside the doorway, selfishly wanting to escape the chill myself. She explained how they traveled across the country when her husband was offered a job here. However, by the time they arrived, the position had already been filled.
“The whole family—father, mother and five children—were now living in their van. They had no food or money to provide for the essentials. Her story neither impressed nor convinced me. I sized them both up—a desperate woman and her young daughter, perhaps five years old.
“Welcoming her to pick up a couple of baskets to fill with groceries, I told her that I didn’t have money, but would buy them enough food for a meal. We went through the fresh produce picking up groceries. She cautiously began filling her basket, asking for permission for each item she chose.
“Halfway through the produce aisle, she talked about having a bad headache. My attitude was so crappy, I thought, ‘If you are taking advantage of me, the least you can do is let me pray for you.’ Thankfully my words didn’t match my thoughts that night, so I expressed it more like, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ and I have seen Him heal many times. May I pray for you?’
“The woman was dressed in Middle Eastern garments, so I’m not sure what her religious beliefs were. She was so desperate, however, that she agreed to let me pray.
“Honestly, the prayer was probably no more than ten words, ‘Lord Jesus, heal this headache and take away all pain.’ I asked her how she felt.
“She rubbed the back of her neck and twisted her head from side to side. A huge smile erupted on her face as she exclaimed, ‘It’s better! The headache is completely gone!’
“You would think that having God do a miracle in the supermarket would jolt me out of my “ugly mode,” but alas, it didn’t. That is until I saw her little girl jump up and down like a pogo stick with excitement, chanting and singing, ‘Mama is better! Mama is better!’ Then I began to comprehend the stress and pain this woman had been experiencing.
“This little one skipped and danced through the store as she joyously helped fill the baskets with vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, bread, milk, cereal, and healthy snacks for later. With the baskets filled and my list complete, we headed for the checkout. After paying for all the groceries, I left the store first.
“From my car, I waited and watched for them to come out. Soon they appeared and walked across the parking lot toward a large white van. Before they reached their destination, the van door slid open as a clatter of youthful activity spilled out into the snow. Now several children bounced up and down with excitement reaching into the overflowing bags.
“Finally, as I saw the unhindered joy and gratitude of the entire family, my heart melted. I was the least likely candidate, the worst example of servitude, the poorest display of God’s goodness, the stingiest prospect of generosity, the grumpiest host for His Presence and yet, “God still used me to bring healing to a woman and provide for a family. I can never claim the credit for anything God does through me.
“Even on my best days, when I think I have it all together, I fall far short of what God desires. Why He chooses to use the frailness of humanity to display His presence is beyond understanding, but He does. He just needs someone, anyone, who is willing to be used.”
Miracles at Work
I sat at the reception desk of a thriving manufacturing company. This Tuesday started like any normal morning. All the employees except for me were in a weekly safety meeting. No sooner had the meeting begun when two young salespeople entered, one male and one female.
Explaining to them that the manager would be busy for a while, I welcomed them to be seated until the meeting was over.
“It wasn’t difficult to overhear their conversation. The young man had been in an accident twelve years ago. Ever since that time, chronic pain and restricted mobility had hindered him from doing many of the things he once enjoyed. They chatted for some time about the injury and his prognosis.
“I had witnessed God heal back injuries and knew that He could do it again. Listening to the young man’s discouragement prompted me to speak. ‘God doesn’t heal every time I pray for people, but I have seen Him heal enough to know that He can and will. May I pray for you?’ I asked.
“The salesman appeared more than a little shocked by my forthrightness, but hesitantly agreed. I said the shortest prayer asking God to heal every part of his spine and remove all pain. Then I asked him to test it out. He looked at me like I was bordering insanity, but stood up and cautiously tried a few movements. The surprised look on his face proved there was a change. He now had more mobility and less pain than just a few minutes before.
“Spurred on by the evidence of God’s touch, I asked if I could pray again for him.
“With reluctance, He agreed. I briefly thanked God for what He had already done and offered another quick prayer. I was concerned workers would soon be rushing through the reception area and bring an end to what God was doing for this young man.
“When I asked him to test it again, he was obviously annoyed but rose to his feet muttering something to the effect that I was being pushy. If pushy was what it took to release a man from twelve years of pain, then pushy I would be. This time the pain was completely gone and he was able to bend down and touch his toes—something he wasn’t able to do previously. For a full minute, he twisted his torso back and forth, and from side to side. He reached and stretched. Even though he was now pain-free and able to move unhindered, he remained almost unphased by the whole encounter.
“However, the young woman with him was ecstatic. Her eyes grew bigger with each prayer initiative. She knew she was witnessing a miracle. She had been his partner for long enough to know the extent of his injury and the limiting effects it had had on him. His restricted movements and the draining nature of chronic pain had previously hindered his ability to function normally.
“Though the young man never gave God credit for touching his back that day, the young woman left with her faith elevated.”
One cannot separate the miraculous from the Word of God and maintain the integrity of the Bible. From the first words in Genesis to the closing chapter of Revelation, God is evidenced by His supernatural workings and power.
Jesus, the express image of the Invisible God, (Heb 1:3) “was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him . . .” (Acts 2:22). Don’t miss the reality of this profound statement. As a man, not God, Jesus relied upon His Father to work through Him. But unlike us, He was a man fully yielded and obedient to God.
Jesus sent out His disciples, giving them authority and power to teach as He taught and do the works He had been doing. Astonishingly, He said they would do even greater works than His (Jn 14:12).
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well . . . Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them, and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:15-20
Signs, wonders and miracles marked not just the lives of these apostles, but also many other faithful servants and followers of Christ. The writer of Hebrews affirms,
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:3-4
“The miraculous element in Christianity and the fact that God can act in this world of ours is essential to the vitality of Christianity. Without this aspect, prayer becomes meaningless . . .” 1
God has not and will not change (Heb 13:8; Jas 1:17). In our day, in this generation, God is moving in an increasing measure through the same signs, wonders and miracles we read about within the pages of the Bible. He is calling ordinary women and men, boys and girls, young and old together, anointing them through the Holy Spirit to turn hearts to Himself. God has not suddenly become powerless and silent; signs and wonders continue to follow those who believe. The miraculous is the abundant fruit resulting from the seeds of prayer.
Despondency and neglect of faith followed those who “refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles (God) performed among them” (Neh 9:17). Continuously as I interviewed people of all ages, they joyfully remembered and shared God’s grace and goodness witnessed through answered prayer, often in ways they least expected. Remembering reignites the flames of our first love, realigns us with the faithfulness of God, redirects our focus to the Source of life, rekindles the passion of His Presence, restores the deep reservoir of faith, re-energizes our desire to pray and to keep on praying. Remembering is critical to all vibrant faith.
We cannot and will not be silent about the good things God has done. He still sovereignly moves among us by His Spirit.
Solomon said, “What is crooked cannot be straightened.” Jesus proved Solomon’s point with the miracle at the Pool of Bethesda. Miracles will always remain mysterious — perhaps none more so than the healing by the pool.
This pool bore no resemblance to pictures in resort promotions. This pool neared the Sheep Gate where sellers brought sheep, washing (probably in this pool), marketing and selling them for sacrifices at the temple. Sheep aren’t clean! Here human and animal smells and sounds mingled, swelling in volume during the Jewish festivals.
This pool, protectively surrounded by five covered colonnades, became a place of hope for many. Why?
“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie —the blind, the lame, the paralyzed — and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.” John 5:3-5
Mercy and Grace
Bethesda means “kindness or mercy.” The number “five” represents “grace.” At the place called mercy and grace, the disabled, blind, lame, and paralyzed came hoping to find mercy and grace, where with mercy and grace God’s angel descended, making mercy and grace visible to all.
How many? How many waited and hoped? I can hardly imagine the sight, the weight of despair pressing against the odds of just maybe being the next one healed. It’s hard to maintain faith when disappointment comes often.
I, too, am one who is crooked and cannot be straightened, in disabled condition. No, not outwardly, but inwardly. Disabled applies both morally and physically. Like them, I shelter under the colonnade of mercy and kindness, hoping and waiting. I, who am too often spiritually blind, unable to walk the Christian walk with strength, wait — paralyzed by my moral failures, unable to advance further.
They wait — hoping for an angel they can’t see, while missing the Messiah who stands among them.
Most people preferred to enter the grand city another way — a cleaner, quieter way. Jesus chooses this way. Here in the midst of the noise, the pain, the struggle, He comes. His eyes focus on one man.
What makes this man special that Jesus notices him above the massive throng? What make this man worthy of receiving?
“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ “ John 5:6
Jesus asks questions so we will see and understand; He already knows the answer. The man’s response seems honest enough. But is it?
” ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ John 5:7
The answer to Jesus’ question should be, “yes,” or “no.” He, like me, choses to blame other people’s negligence for his present circumstance. For thirty-eight years, he suffered. For thirty-eight years, he depended on others., hoping someone would get him out of his predicament.
It’s all too easy to grow comfortable, even in our dysfunction, our disability, blindness, lameness and paralysis. Too easy to excuse or justify our “crooked and cannot be straightened” condition.
Cannot be Straightened
“What is crooked cannot be straightened, what is lacking cannot be counted.” Ecclesiastes 1:15
I’m told that when metal becomes bent, it cannot be straightened. It might look straight, and even function like it has been straightened, but bending causes the molecular structure to change, weakening the metal forever. Only one option remains for restoration — the complete remelting and remolding of the metal.
In spite of the man’s moral and physical inadequacies, Jesus still comes with mercy and grace.
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ “ John 5:8
Miraculously, the man does! In taking responsibility for himself, he obeys Jesus and walks away almost whole. Almost? Yes, almost!
A Matter of Heart
“Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are made well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’ “ John 5:14
Jesus sought this man out again, and “found him.” More critical than a physical healing, Jesus desired a heart change for this man.
What was the sin he committed “at the temple,” in church? We aren’t told details; perhaps, because God wants us to see our own reflection here.
How great has Jesus extended mercy and grace to us, at the Sheep Gate, in our messiest condition? How often has He sought us, challenging our wayward thoughts and actions? Or offered warning or reprimand? How often has He asked for our devotion? How often have we refused?
“The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5:15
With body whole and heart hardened, the healed man turns traitor and reports Jesus to those who wish Him dead. We all either turn toward or away. There’s no in between!
Without the melting of hearts toward Jesus, we, too, will be forever bent, left in a weakened, volatile state. Without the melting of my heart, I cannot be straightened. No one can!
Oh, how imperative the constant cry of my heart, “Melt me, Lord! Make me new! Remove the “churchy” appearance of looking good, surface healings and half-heartedwalking. Lord, I desire the full deal, the real deal, the melting, remaking, painful, messy, recreating. Don’t let me settle for second best, almost complete, when the greatest miracle stands before me — a pure and upright heart.”
The healing at the pool comes as a tragic reminder of humanities failure to recognize Christ Jesus in the face of His great mercy and grace. He comes to find us, to seek us out, again and again, welcoming all to come to Him wholly and fully.
How many more worthy were among the disabled throng that day? How many little children needed a miracle? Was there none at the pool deserving of mercy? No! No one is worthy; none deserve His blessing.
The essence of mercy reaches to the unworthy and undeserving. Jesus chose the least worthy to display His love and grace, then and now.
Oh, the hope for us all! The hope in knowing God hears our pathetic cry and changes hearts. It’s Who He is! It’s what He does — how He loves.
Only in Him will that which cannot be straightened be made completely new and whole.
Is Jesus still the Healer? Is He the Lord who heals, or is healing coincidence? Many people believe that divine healing ended with the Acts of the Apostles. Personal belief is often based on personal experience.
Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea and into the “Desert of Shur.” After three sweltering days without water, they came to Marah. Here they found water enough to satisfy everyone’s thirst, but it was “bitter.”
God’s Name, God’s Nature
Bitter water formed the perfect backdrop for God to demonstrate His character,
“He said, “If you listen carefully
to the LORD your God
and do what is right in his eyes,
if you pay attention to his commands
and keep all his decrees,
I will not bring on you
any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians,
for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
Under God’s instruction, Moses threw a piece of wood into the water. The water instantly became pure and life-giving, complements of the “Lord who heals” — Jehovah Rapha.God’s nature is to not just to heal, but to keep us from disease.
Healing in The Cross
Jesus displayed the perfect image of the Father (Heb 1:3). Healing was and is part of the ministry of Christ,
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:36
The word “every” leaves no room for exclusion or doubt. Peter refers to Isaiah’s prophecy (Is 53:5) being fulfilled through Jesus when he says,
“‘He himself bore our sins‘ in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness;
‘By his wounds you have been healed.'” 1 Peter 2:24
Peter witnessed Jesus heal multitudes before His crucifixion. God later used Peter powerfully as an instrument of healing.
Jesus didn’t have to be brutally beaten to save us from our sins. Such cruel treatment, “his wounds”, made healing available for every condition, however.
How can I be so confident Jesus still heals? Though my faith rests in God’s Word, not in experience, my experience validates that Word. God has taught me aspects of healing using my body as an example.
The first healing I experienced occurred shortly after I became a Christian. Even though the bible was relatively new to me, I approached it with childlike faith believing every word to be true — including healing.
I had suffered from ulcers since my early teens. It wasn’t uncommon for me to vomit blood during painful flare ups. As a young twenty-three year old, I was bent over the toilet vomiting when a verse of Scripture came to mind:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old has gone,
the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Though this verse doesn’t refer to healing, Holy Spirit amplified the word enough for my faith to grab. I stood up declaring, “Wait a minute! That means I have a brand new stomach.” You may laugh but I walked away, never to have any further trouble with my stomach. Ever!
In that instant, God became my Lord who heals! Not all healings are instant, however.
Some healings are more like a slow road to recovery. At fifteen years old, I was admitted to a psychiatric centre for treatment as a suicidal alcoholic. The journey out of that dark valley took decades, as God replaced truth for lies.
“Then you will know the truth
and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
I have witnessed many others escape mental illness through Jesus Christ, The Truth.
Lung disease plagued my father’s family resulting in many deaths. When I was diagnosed with emphysema, the doctor proclaimed it a life long condition.
A word of knowledge led me to “cut off” the generational “curse” over myself and my family by renouncing the spirit of abandonment. In prayer, I agreed that I have been adopted by God into His family. Any sickness entering through natural genetic lines was eradicated through my new “bloodline” in Jesus Christ.
Was it a coincidence, or the Lord who heals, that further investigation revealed clear lungs?
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us…” Galatians 3:13
the connection between severe allergies and a broken heart was revealed through another word of knowledge. I claimed healing for my heart and renounced the side effects of allergies as I watched them disappear
painful arthritic hip was healed by the laying on of hands
ovarian cysts dissolved through forgivingof offenses
severely deformed hands were brought into alignment by speaking blessing over them in Jesus Name
restoration of movement and feeling to legs after an accident causing a 75% displacement of the spine, healed through active worship and much prayer
migraine headaches instantly left never to return through speaking the Name of Jesus
torn ligaments and a frozen shoulder instantaneously healed by rebuking the spirit of infirmity and commanding it to go.
These were all medically diagnosed. After the healing, specialists responded, “astounding”, “a miracle” and “unbelievable”. Even without God’s redemptive healing power, I believe Jesus remains the Lord who heals. These testimonies continue to elevate hope in the lives of others to also believe.
“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
God never changes. He remains the same. What He has done for me He continues to do for multitudes.
Some people came to Jesus with unquestionable faith. While others came with wavering faith. Some, perhaps, lived “worthy” of such healing grace. Others became social outcasts, despised and rejected, yet bravely approached Jesus for healing.
Healing draws us to The Healer, filling us with awe for Jesus Christ.
“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people…
Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
Healing demonstrates Christ’s presence and power among us.
“As a result people brought the sick into the streets
and laid them on beds and mats
so that at least Peter’s shadow
might fall on some of them as he passed by.
Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits,
and all of them were healed.”
As you read this, may faith increase in your heart. God loves you! He is still the Lord who heals.
I seize every opportunity to pray for people. Many have also experienced healing — some instantaneous, others progressively still others have not been healed. Honestly, I don’t understand healing, but I know the more I pray for healing, the more I see healing happen.
I have faith to pursue healing for those who dare not hope themselves. Whatever the outcome, I trust God and want Jesus to get the full benefit of what He paid for on the cross.
“Therefore God exalted him (Jesus)
to the highest place and
gave him the name
that is above every name.” Philippians 2:8
Whatever your diagnosis, may I agree with you today for healing? Would you trust to receive healing today from the Lord who heals?
Lord Jesus, I thank You. You are the Lord who heals.
I bring this precious reader to you today.
In Jesus Name, I command all sickness and infirmity to go
from this person’s whole body, mind and soul.
I command every part to come
into complete alignment —
restored, healed and delivered.
In The Name above the name of every disease,
I declare, “Today is a new beginning!”
May the blood of Jesus
cleans and make every part new.
I thank You Lord Jesus for Your healing power,
in Your precious Name.
For this supercharged senior, letting God lead the way is paramount! The difficulties that have crushed and silenced others have become her platform announcing victory and hope found in Jesus Christ.
The following verse appropriately describes this woman’s life:
“We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed; perplexed, but notindespair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body
the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
A leisurely withdrawal from active service is the desire of many women her age. Betty is far from typical however!
Betty was born and raised in the Swift Current area of Saskatchewan. Her father, a Royal Air Force pilot from England, left his wife and his daughter in Saskatchewan when he returned to England after the war. Betty lived with her grandparents until her grandmother died of cancer when she was twelve.
Feeling angry, alone and abandoned, it was the age of turning for Betty.
The woods became a shelter where no one could see her play, wait and hide. In the seclusion of trees, Betty encountered a personal relationship with Jesus as Saviour. She simply talked to Him and He became extremely real to her.
“I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.”
As a teenager, Betty met Bob who was seven years older than her. He was the same faith, good looking and had attended university. Intrigued, she became his wife at 16.
Because Bob was polite and courteous while dating, Betty was unaware of the abusive situation ahead. Unknown to Betty, he was a “drunk”, a severe alcoholic. Only ten days into their marriage, she was beaten for the first time. This pattern of drinking and abuse marked the next 17 years.
Two to three times a week, Bob would come home angry and for no apparent reason, severely beat his bride. It formed a painful cycle their children witnessed on multiple occasions.
Betty called out to God many times in those years, as she sat at the window, watching, waiting, knowing what would occur when her husband returned. Even in the midst of brutal attacks, Jesus was always there!
What kept her in the marriage?
She knew Bob never liked what he did. She also knew he was never unfaithful to her. Lastly, in spite of the violence, Betty knew somehow he loved her. Yet, he didn’t seem to have any control over his conduct.
“But in my distress
I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6
Early in marriage, Betty also carried the responsibility for her brother-in-law’s four children, when their mother abandoned them. The basic comforts and conveniences of running water or central heating were unavailable. It was a difficult life — physically, emotionally and spiritually.
After 17 years, Bob fell to his knees at the hitch of the farm tractor. He said, “God if you are real, there has to be more to life than this.”
“He reached down from on high
and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy.”
Instantly God healed, saved and delivered him from all his addictionsand violent behaviour. Bob began to experience the freedom of letting God lead!
He didn’t disclose to Betty what had happened until two years later. He came in from the tractor and announced, “Things are going to change!”
Betty’s first thought was, “How?”
A dramatic and welcome change occurred, however!
In the remainder of their 21 years together, he never drank, smoked, threw food or beat his wife. Bob became a powerful man of God, praying his family into the kingdom.
“As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?”
Together they started watching Christian television. Many times Betty recommitted her life to Christ watching 100 Huntley Street. Betty began to walk hand in hand with her husband, letting God lead them together.
They read the bible believing all that was promised. Miracles were the norm. They saw God do many things during those years. They knew they just had to ask and God would provide.
Though Bob’s transformation and deliverance was instant, it took about 10 years for Jesus to heal their marriage. Betty never hated her husband. However after years of abuse, she did not love him.
Many who live in abusive situations experience this reality, because the love of God available for them is consistently undermined.
Betty knew in her head God loved her. “The space between God and I was no problem! The space between my head and my heart was!” she confesses.
One weekend, Betty travelled to Medicine Hat to their son’s hockey tournament. Bob stayed at home. While reading in the bedroom, he saw a vivid vision of Betty standing in the doorway. She appeared more beautiful than ever before.
Amazed by her beauty, he said, “God, I don’t see her that way.”
“Well, I do!” God’s voice boomed so loud it cracked the window in the bedroom.
“Ok! Ok!” Bob fearfully said.
As he later related the vision to Betty, the realization of the God’s great love for her shifted from her head to her heart. Such love has never left her!
Through the power of God, the family grew and became strong. Betty completed a university degree while her children were in school. She became a rural municipality secretary, a notary of public, and served on the hospital board and a school board for many years.
Letting God lead in a new way, Betty started a home based business which grew over the next 35 years. For nine years she owned her own kitchen supply store in the Swift Current mall.
Bob went to be with the Lord in 1997 as a result of cancer.
Ordained with two Pentecostal organizations, Betty was launched into ministry with a heart for evangelism and bringing hope to the abused. After experiencing healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, she ministers the same at every opportunity.
“It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
Speaking opportunities soon opened for Betty from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick. Betty’s motto, “If you’re not a missionary, you’re a mission field.”
Pursuing itinerant ministry, she had no intention of marrying again. She was single, happy and fulfilled!
While staying with mutual friends between ministry engagements, Betty was introduced to Dennis. In spite of there being little time for interaction, one night God laid Dennis on her heart.
Betty wanted no part of marriage!
She challenged, “God if this is You, You are messing up my life.”
Nonetheless Betty added, “But I know that You know what is good for me better than I do, so if this is You, You are going to have to make it plain to me. If this is You, tell him to ask me to go to Ottawa tomorrow.” Never one for the “tourist thing”, the request was unusual!
The next morning as Betty was making breakfast, Dennis asked, “What are you doing today? … I am going to do the tourist thing and go to Ottawa. I wondered if you would like to come along.”
Shocked, she sat in a chair! God had given confirmation. Even while letting God lead, Betty stayed three feet away from Dennis all day, unwilling to even use the armrest in the car.
How could a relationship even develop? One from Saskatchewan, the other from Alberta! One a farmer, the other in medicine! Both from different denominations! Yet her heart was being stirred!
Though Betty knew God was speaking, it would take a little longer for Dennis to hear. And Betty was in no way willing to help the process along!
By a sovereign work of the Lord, they were married in 2004 at Thanksgiving. Together they have six sons, six daughters-in-law and 20 grandchildren. All love the Lord and are serving Him.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.”
Today Betty touches lives at every opportunity, bringing hope and assurance that God loves and cares.
Before remarriage, Betty ministered itinerantly across Canada as an evangelist and in healing ministry. She has seen many lives changed, hearts and bodies healed. Jesus remains unquestionably her first love.
Accepting God’s change became a great blessing! Betty now says, “I would not know what it is like to be so incredibly happy.”
She counsels all ages, “If you are looking for someone in your life, let God do the choosing. Go to Him to choose your mate. Don’t go looking yourself!”
Together Dennis and Betty have ministered to the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the United States of America. In Canada, they continue to impact lives in eight provinces and territories, faithfully returning to Inuvik twice a year.
The impact of their ministry continues from the Arctic Circle to Virginia and from British Columbia to New Brunswick.
“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Saviour!…
Therefore, I will praise you, LORD,
among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.”
God made no mistake in bringing this couple together! Easing back is not in the Boettger’s near future!
Dennis and Betty exemplify letting God lead all the way! Supercharged and ready to go? Absolutely! Together they minister with liberty and transparency, wherever God gives opportunity.
Looking without seeing is a blinding condition in more ways that one! I can drive the same road day after day, week after week without noticing the environment around me. Suddenly, I will see something as if for the first time that actually isn’t new. Though I was looking, I wasn’t truly seeing! My eyes were not open to the obvious.
Does anyone else have the same problem?
“Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” Psalm 105:4 MSG
By watching closely, we will see evidence of God all around us.
God brought Ezekiel to the temple court – the place where the priests minister. When Ezekiel looked, he saw a “hole” in the wall.
“Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there.” Ezekiel 8: 7-8
When Ezekiel began digging “into the wall”, a doorway became visible. Looking, seeing and digging wasn’t enough! God asked Ezekiel to go through the doorway to look harder, more intentionally, at the condition of his city.
He challenged Ezekiel, “Look! Observe! Pay attention!
What Ezekiel saw was disturbing!
I assist hurting people every week as they wade through destructive life circumstances, helping them “look” at the truth of God’s word personally and “see”hope in Christ. My work with others often awakens a fresh awareness of areas needed in my own personal development and healing journey.
God desires for each us to be on a continuing trajectory to health and wholeness. I have come a long way, but have a long way to go.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me was not without effect.” I Corinthians 15:10
What you see now is not what I used to be! Thankfulness for all God has done is appropriate. Allowing myself to be blinded to the need for continued personal growth, however, is harmful. Change is not optional, but rather mandatory, for Christians!
As a lay minister, it is often in this place of assisting others that my own “gaps” and “holes” become most evident. It is the perfect place for God to reveal points of His unfinished work.
Holy Spirit reveals hidden places of self-protection, negative thought patterns and recurring destructive behaviours. Blinded by familiarity, these patterns would otherwise go unnoticed.
It amazes me how much of life can be lived without any serious looking or digging!
Only when I am willing to become honest before God and others will the avenue of healing and liberty be exposed to view. Thankful for victories past, I prepare to work on present trouble spots! In the space between past and future I feel the burden of now — fragile, exposed, and vulnerable.
Looking isn’t easy! The depravity within and without is wearying, even horrifying! My willingness to see, however, precedes any victory to come.
God will not do the work for me; He waits for my active participation in the process. I must look with intention! Purposefully digging beneath protective layers requires obedience to open the door of my heart and mind to His examination.
In the looking, Christ is with me.
He is enough in the digging.
In the opening, He is present.
The cross has paid the price.
In my groping,
I find “It is finished!”
My eyes turn back to the bible, as I continue to read
There is always a morning! A new day! A fresh opportunity!
His Word transcends…
There must be present a purposeful intention both inwardly and outwardly; never so outwardly focused I am inwardly complacent nor inwardly minded that I am outwardly negligent.
[bctt tweet=”Never so outwardly focused I am inwardly complacent nor inwardly minded that I am outwardly negligent.” username=”MAWardAuthor”]
God was the One who directed Ezekiel’s sight-line. He is willing and able to aim my own.
With a Purpose
It is possible to maintain a quiet trust and confidence embedded within a surrendered heart. He turns my gaze, focusing my vision on what He wants me to see and become.
When He is says, “Dig”, I will have the strength to respond! When He says, “Look”, I will have the grace to see. Then, and only then, will He give me the wisdom to open the doorway to the next place of deliverance and freedom.
In it all, we see Christ and His divine purpose:
“We look at this Son and see the God
who cannot be seen.
We look at this Son and see God’s
original purpose in everything created.” Colossians 1: 15 MSG
It is astonishing to realize that in everything Christ can be seen, when we are willing to look. Regardless of circumstances, God’s wonder is revealed in every direction, including our common ordinary.
from strength to strength.
The courage of one, raises the tidal mark of bravery for others. As one person strides forward in victory, others are inspired to take similar fragile steps. Is this not the appearance of faith? Looking and seeing! Keeping our eyes constantly open for the movements of God!