God reveals Himself in innumerable ways. Have you sensed the lightning and thunder of His Presence recently? If so, was it fierce or awe-inspiring?
In our area, we often experience thunderstorms — some severe. People respond to the storms in various ways. Some people run for cover and hunker down until it’s over. Others carry on with life like nothing unusual is occurring around them. Still others, who border on insanity, pursue storms, enjoying the near-death experience of pushing the boundaries of reasonable safety.
Sometimes a soft rumble of thunder offers the only evidence of atmospheric disturbance. More often a sudden flash followed by an intense clap awakens onlookers to take heed. The more experienced may “feel” the storm coming a long way off, sensing it in the air, and feeling it in their bones.
God often speaks through nature, pointing our attention to deeper spiritual concepts. Paul said,
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
God reveals His “invisible qualities” through His creation. In nature, the flash of lightning produces the sound of thunder. What about in the spiritual? Do we need a similar combination of visible and audible, power and voice, to comprehend God more personally and fully? Perhaps.
Word and Light
The Gospel of John opens with Word and Light, the audible and visible, thunder and lightning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1
In the beginning — before created things — the Word, Jesus Christ, was with God and was God. From the beginning, preceding time as we know and understand it, the thunder of God’s Word existed and resonated.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
Here it is! Lightning and thunder! The Word, above all words, speaking all things into existence! The Light overcoming every darkness!
Lightning flashes and is gone; Jesus came and remains eternal. Thunder roars for a moment; Jesus’ words endure forever.
My mother experienced disabling fear of electric storms. At the slightest hint of danger, she gathered everyone and everything into protection. Quickly she closed and latched windows and doors, pulled curtains shut, and busied herself attempting to occupy her fear-filled mind. Many others react similarly.
When God descended upon Mount Sinai with “thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled“ (Exodus 19:16). Such an awesome revelation of God certainly would have made my knees shake and heart beat intensely.
” . . . Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Exodus 20:19
Many people easily relate to the Israelite’s response to God’s Presence, seeing God as fierce, cruel, and judgmental. Moses knew God personally and more fully.
“As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.” Exodus 19:19
Years later, David wrote these words:
“He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:7-8
The fear of God will either draw us near, like Moses, or cause our hearts to tremble and our feet to run away, like the people of Israel. Knowing God’s attributes and nature dispels negative fears and nurtures positive affection and attraction.
For a rare breed of others, the mention of an impending thunderstorm incites excitement, their hearts pound with enthusiasm and anticipation. Just the mention of lightning and thunder to these folks causes a flurry of motion as they leap from lethargy, jumping into their jalopies to go wherever necessary to experience the storm close up. With cameras in hand, they ready themselves to catch the ultimate image. Then they tell their adventurous stories with enthusiasm.
The church contains a few similar enthusiasts, ready on a moment’s notice to fly to the far reaches of the globe to hear their favorite speaker, teacher, revivalist, healer, or evangelist. Their enthusiasm for the things of God is exemplary. Their senses sustain high alert for revival. They, too, zealously tell their stories of close encounters with God’s Presence.
Though not all fit this category, some people chase God only for the thrill of the experience or for what they hope to receive, rather than to know Him more fully. There have always been a few followers, only seeking fringe benefits.
“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” John 6:26
God will eventually confront all selfish seekers who attempt to imitate true God followers. Seeking God for the rush of spiritual lightning and thunder falls far short of leaning close to God, waiting to discover His heart and learn His ways.
My father labored through many storms while keeping alert to the shifting skies. Wisdom taught him to respect the power of lightning and heed the warning thunder, but he walked confidently through them both. He knew when to stand in awe with appreciation and when to shut the door for protection. We often sat together in a dark room, scanning the horizon for the next lightning flash, giggling, gasping, and glorying in God’s majestic display. Even secure in our home, we felt the fear as the house shook with intensity. It was a fear that drew us close in wonder and amazement.
I think this best illustrates how I approach God’s lightning and thunder — the awareness of His Presence and the sound of His voice. I don’t want to miss the miraculous, but desire to see clearly His movements in my generation. God still speaks. I want to be tuned to listen.
While multitudes came and went, a few stayed true to Jesus. Peter captured the reason well.
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69
To be a Christ-follower isn’t only about rushes and thrills, miracles and encounters, although these are available and important. Being a worshipper of Jesus means knowing there is no other One we want to be with — to see and hear, to believe and to know.
Lightning And Thunder
The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds to understand, so the thunder of God’s voice creates the greatest impact. The disciples who knew Jesus the best missed most of the essence of what He did and said, until He “opened their minds so they could understand” (Luke 24:45).
Everywhere Jesus went, He performed miracles and taught truth. He became incomparable lightning and thunder wrapped in humanity! The Book of Acts records how the apostles followed His example of teaching and doing miracles. Paul speaks to the church in Corinth, saying,
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
Lightning and thunder, miraculous power united with God’s Word, best demonstrate God’s attributes and character. They steer our eyes from Earth to Heaven — our allegiance from human to divine. Today, this combination still evokes various responses.
Like the seasoned, experienced weather trackers of old, may we possess a strong sense of God’s movements and His ways. May we acknowledge His transcending Presence, His unstoppable power, and His overflowing goodness and grace. May we stand in this window of opportunity, delighting in His display, seeing His lightning power, and hearing His thunderous voice. Fear not!
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Overcoming spiritual impotency starts by recognizing and accepting personal responsibility for both gains and losses. Impotent means “unable to take effective action—to be helpless or powerless.”
Before you get any wrong ideas, I’m talking in the broadest sense of living the Christian life at half-throttle, never reaching God’s full potential. Jesus set a high standard of ministry for His disciples,
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Matthew 10:1
How wonderful to be called and given full authority to do the impossible! With opportunity comes responsibility.
Just a few verses later, Jesus spells out their mission more clearly,
“Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:6-8
As Christ’s followers, we are all called to “go” and “proclaim” the Good News of the Gospel. Each of us will carry out that mandate a little differently, depending on our situation and spiritual gift mix. We are all called to share God’s love with a world in need, however.
As well intentioned as I may be, I have been unable to reach the high mark Jesus has established. Although there’s a faint smattering of a few of these victories, I fall far short. I’ve been honestly seeking God and asking why. The lives of others depend on my overcoming spiritual impotency.
Pinpointing the Cause
Rather than focusing on the symptoms, we must go deeper to the cause of our powerlessness. God makes it clear, He desire us to freely give away all that we have received.
One day, Jesus invited His inner circle, Peter, James and John, up the mountain for an out of this world encounter with Moses and Elijah. Though the supernatural occurrence left them confused and questioning, they witnessed unbelievable things. Meanwhile, the other nine disciples weren’t idly waiting below. They were ministering — or rather they were unsuccessfully trying to!
” ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ ” Matthew 17:17
Ouch! How’s that for a scathing performance evaluation that no one desires to hear from their Superior? I feel the sting from this side of two thousand years!
It’s not just you and me working on overcoming spiritual impotency; the best of the best struggled too.
Matthew, who records the account, witnessed the suffering of this poor father and son. He felt the failure of his inability to set this young lad free from demonic possession and heal his troubled body and mind. Matthew knew that every Christ follower would face these same hurdles to effective ministry.
The First Problem
Signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit become a visible testimony of our salvation (Hebrews 2:3-4). God delegated these things for us all, not just those in “ordained” ministry. So what keeps us from fulfilling our calling? What’s the problem?
Jesus spells it out in two words: “unbelieving and perverse.” We tend to emphasize the former and ignore the latter. Both are critical if we are going to be effective at overcoming spiritual impotence.
“Unbelieving” goes beyond a littleness of faith. It also contains the aspect of not being worthy of confidence or being untrustworthy. Perhaps we have all experienced, either in our own lives or in the lives of others, a powerful sense of divine potential or excellence of calling. Yet, practically, we fall far short.
I have to be bold in my self-evaluation, if I desire to overcome this malady of spirit. Can Jesus depend on me? Am I trustworthy with the gifts, abilities and opportunities He offers? Do broken, hurting people come to me and leave just as broken and hurting, or does Jesus pour out from me with healing and deliverance? Do I make excuses for my failures?
I can fully believe in God and the inerrancy of His Word, yet without verbalizing it, justify why healing won’t work this time, deliverance isn’t for me to get involved in right now, and don’t even mention raising the dead. These things belong to super-gifted, anointed Christians! Right? Here lives unbelief at the core. Yes, we know Jesus is present to heal, deliver and restore to life, but we doubt His willingness to do it here — through us.
Jesus uses the opportunity to build up their faith.
” . . . Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
The Second Problem
The Bible tells us that God has already given to each of us a measure or quantity of faith. Beyond question, we possess at least a mustard seed sized amount (Romans 12:3).
Overcoming spiritual impotency depends on our willingness to deal with both problems Jesus addressed. He identified the second hindrance to vibrant ministry as being “perverse.”
The dictionary says that “perverse” is
“showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences.”
The Greek word, διεστραμμένη (diestrammenē), means to distort, misinterpret, corrupt, or oppose. Literally, it means to be “wrong-headed, arising from stubbornness.”
I’m perhaps way more “wrong-headed” than I realize. Every time my thoughts don’t align with His thoughts, I’m wrong-headed. In every situation where I vainly think my ways will get it done, instead of leaning into Him, I’m wrong-headed.
I can’t sluff off my stubbornness to Irish genetics. Since the fall of mankind, wrong-headed thinking has led those whom God loves to “show a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable and unacceptable (to God and others), often in spite of the consequences.” No one can justly claim immunity in this regard.
God never pinpoints a problem without offering the solution. The disciples recognized they hit a legitimate ministry wall of failure and limitation. They sought Jesus’ help in overcoming spiritual impotency.
“He replied, This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
Prayer and fasting align both our hearts and minds to God’s. These two disciplines draw our spirit, soul and body in surrender to the sovereignty of God. Prayer doesn’t just change things — it changes us!
“He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” Psalm 103:7
During Moses’ daily times in the Tent of Meeting talking with God, he came to know God — His character, His attributes, and His nature. He saw clearly the ways of God.
The people who stood back and watched God from a distance only experienced God’s deeds. They saw His miracles, ate daily of His provision, and sat under the fire by night and the cloud by day. Still, they did not “know” God! They continued to walk in deliberate and obstinate disobedience, even while knowing what was right.
When Jesus said, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting,” was he referring just to a demon in a child? Could He also have been referring to our unbelief and perverse tendency?
It’s not just the demon possessed who suffer. We all do! Prayer and fasting is essential for us to overcome spiritual impotency. Only God can set us free from every “unbelieving and perverse” way. Prayer and fasting releases us from our boxes of little faith and wrong-headed thinking. Then what we have so freely received from Jesus will flow freely to others.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
The first month of the year is an excellent time to designate for prayer and fasting, resetting priorities and giving God first place. I’m asking Him what He desires to set me free from. Undoubtedly, unbelief and wrong-headed thinking hold prominent position on His list.
Unbelief originates in the heart; perversion flows from the mind. With hearts faith-filled and fully devoted to God, let’s endeavor to live with minds “clear-headed” free from every perverse way. Then we will gain the power to live victorious, bringing freedom and hope to those around us.
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7
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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.
One thing remains constant — Dennis Boettger passionately communicates the lessons God is teaching him through dreams, visions and revelations of His Word. Defining Dennis, however, isn’t easy! Husband, father, physician, pastor, author, song writer and composer or photographer?
An encourager and contemplative, Dennis is remarkably sensitive to God’s voice. He possesses a sincere love for others, especially pastors. After meeting with Dennis, one cannot help but sense a portion of the Father’s heart!
At the same day as the atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo, August 6, 1945, Dennis was born. It was August 5 in Canada.
“I was just born, but obviously things like that have a deep impact. As a kid I was afraid someone would drop a bomb on me. I can only imagine the pain, fear and anxiety that refugee kids experience.”
The third of eight children, Dennis grew up immersed in faith. His farming father also assumed responsibility as a self-supporting Mennonite pastor. It was natural for Dennis to give his heart to the Lord, when about four years old.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalm 104:33
From very young, Dennis sang the songs of faith from his heart — often in four-part harmony with siblings. “God was good to us! There was a sense of God’s presence.”
The Mennonite church emphasized being born again and walking in discipleship: faithful, servant-hearted and loving. Dennis wanted to please the Lord and personally know His will.
Missionaries, especially missionary doctors, had a big impact on Dennis’ young life. Although nobody in his family had attended university let alone medical school, Dennis nurtured an impossible dream of becoming a doctor. He equally sensed the call to preach.
Which path should he choose? For advice, Dennis approached one of his teachers who had also been his youth pastor. He received this directive:
“If you go to seminary
you will have answers for people
but you will have to convince them.
If you go to medical school,
people will come to you with problems
and you will give them answers.”
Dennis committed one year to bible school. The Lord also gave him freedom to consider medicine. Dennis’ mother said, he danced when he received the letter of acceptance to medical school.
During his second year in medicine, Dennis married Lucille whom he had known since Grade 3. She was a nursing student who had graduated from Prairie Bible Institute. They had their first of three children while Dennis was interning.
After receiving degrees in both pharmacy and medicine, Dennis and Lucille responded to God’s call to Ethiopia. For two years, from 1972-1974, Dennis became a missionary physician with the Eastern Mennonite Mission. In this time, during Ethiopia’s first modern famine, they witnessed many children dying from starvation and cholera. The experiences deeply impacting the Boettgers.
They attended an indigenous church, but without translation understood nothing about what was going on. A move of the Spirit was taking place in Ethiopia in those years. This season would prove to be the preliminary to receiving the baptism of the Spirit.
With the deposing of Selassie, the bloodless revolution began and the Boettgers returned home.
A Mennonite pastor, baptized in the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal, prayed for the Boettgers. Dennis felt convicted to repent of attitudes towards others, but nothing more. The seed was planted!
During their time at home, Dennis and Lucille did receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Dennis experienced healing and deliverance from anxiety and fear. This touch of Jesus transformed Dennis’ life and prepared them both for the return to Ethiopia.
“God gave revelation to me!
He could heal issues of my life
and restore things that had been damaged!”
As the Red Terror swept across Ethiopia, significant violence filled the nation! Victims of famine and leprosy, plus those beaten, burned and tortured were brought to the clinic.
With tears Dennis recalls, “We could hear the bullets hitting the bodies of innocent victims.”
Communication back home was non-existent! In two years, they phoned home once. But the Lord was gracious!
Dennis affirms, “The presence of the Lord in the midst of uncertainty, even death, calms our soul!”
Back to Canada
Back home, the Boettgers asked, “Where do you want us Lord?” Through a prophetic word, God gave a clear call! The Lord miraculously used them to plant a church in McLennan, a French community in Alberta.
Within 3 weeks of holding a bible study in their basement, a study they didn’t organize, a church was birthed. During their 25 years in McLennan, Dennis became ordained as a pastor/elder with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies while continuing to practise medicine.
God was opening Dennis’ understanding through pictures and revelations both through him and the voice of others.
Dennis says, “At that time, I totally operated in revelation in the “night seasons”. God told me what to preach about. I had no plan or purpose other than sharing what God wanted me to hear.”
Thus his sermons presented fresh impressions God put upon his own heart.
Lucille developed ovarian cancer. The Lord was very near.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalms 116:15
Several significant revelations during her terminal illness confirmed her home-coming was near. She went to be with the Lord in 2002.
In a dream, Dennis saw himself standing on a hill alone. God showed him a river, familiar but diverted, rushing along in standing waves. When he woke up, the Lord said, “…Everything will change. You will be directed along a new path. You will not be able to go on as you thought it would be.”
Dennis thought, “How can they do this to me and I not know it?”
Not wanting to be single, Dennis questioned, “How can I do this?” At 59 years old and almost ready to retire, he didn’t want to give a woman false hope. He had no interest in dating or having women pursue him.
Through revelation, God showed Dennis that his future wife would be like the sons of Zadok who drew near to minister to God. These priests could only marry a virgin or a widow of a priest.
God said, “I have someone for you. It’s a very narrow field.”
Dennis was neither wondering or looking!
He started a sabbatical, travelling to Israel and Europe. Upon returning, Dennis spent time at the Toronto Airport Church before driving to Quebec to meet pastor friends who had been part of his Alberta congregation.
Betty, a widow, was already there when Dennis arrived. She had been a farmer’s wife, was the mother of three sons, and didn’t fit the letter of what God had given Dennis. He had no sense there was or could be anything between them.
Just prior, Dennis had been meditating on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its pervasiveness in our thinking. At the pastor’s meeting, he stayed off by himself, deep in thought.
“Not paying attention,” he comments!
While touring Ottawa together, Dennis had a fleeting thought, “What about Betty? Don’t exclude Betty?”
That was November 2003. They parted ways. Betty continued her ministry in Quebec bringing hope to the abused. Dennis went to preach in Peace River.
In another vision, Dennis looked out of a window of a high-rise building. He could see a long way. Yet, his focus became fixed toward a “secluded corner, surrounded by snow and trees. There was a swimming pool without any tracks to it.”
An avid swimmer, Dennis recalled recently swimming in “the Dead Sea, Red Sea and Med (Mediterranean) Sea.”
He asked, “Lord, what are you showing me?”
“We have an elevated point of view.
We’re educated, can read and write.
As Christians, we’re filled with Holy Spirit.
We’re born again.”
“God was dealing with me!”
God called Dennis to leave his “high” point of view to catch God’s higher view.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
God clearly revealed, “What you need is a change in attitude.”
Through revelations, visions and divine encounters involving windmills, God increased Dennis’ understanding. God brought Dennis to realize that with the right attitude the wind of Holy Spirit moves in unknown ways to generate things.
Dennis knew God was answering prayer! The Lord was dealing with something that needed to be changed in order for him to receive all God was prepared to give him.
In 2003, people were talking about the next wave of the Holy Spirit. God said, “I am going to take the former moves of the Spirit and connect them with what is coming. It will be one move of my Spirit. I want to use you.”
“There was a time when
I could not hear God’s voice
and did not understand these things.”
God had already shown Dennis that He had received ministry from Betty. She fit the picture of a “Son of Zadok”. “Lord, was it an accident that I met Betty,” he asked.
“No!” God said, “I am in charge of the micro seconds.”
“You can make many plans,
but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21
Dennis was meditating about that when he saw another vision of a large Saskatchewan field. It was an enormous farm with huge implements: tractors, combines, cultivators, discs, all kinds of equipment.
In my vision, the Lord asked, “Where are you in this picture?”
Dennis thought and thought and thought but said, “God, I have no idea.”
He said, “You are the draw pin. The tractor is the word of God. The fuel in the tractor is Holy Spirit and the driver is the will of the Father. All the other implements are the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit.”
“The only thing God needs
is someone to be in the word,
in the Spirit
and in the will of the Father.”
He says, “I am so thankful for the voice of the Lord. He is able to reveal things to us, taking us through anything!”
After God showed me that meeting Betty was no accident, I wrote her a letter asking, “Is God telling you anything about us?”
“If there is to be an us, He will talk to you first,” She curtly responded!
They didn’t physically see each other again until July in Langley, British Columbia. Dennis was preparing to ask Betty to marry him. On his way there, the Lord reminded Dennis about the dream of walking along the river, diverted and rushing along in standing waves. He asked, “Do you know what that rushing water was?”
Dennis said, “No!”
God said, “It was a swift current.”
Betty was from Swift Current. Through one more revelation, God confirmed He brought and put them together.
“I’m so thankful because she has been good for and to me.” Dennis says.
Dennis and Betty were married on Thanksgiving 2004.
“Whoever you are!
Whatever your life circumstances are!
Jesus wants to walk with you,
talk with you,
and go through life with you.”
“With God there are no accidents! God has a plan! We don’t have to wonder or search. He will make His ways known.”
“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
Through the joint calling of ministry and medicine, Dennis has impacted untold lives in many nations. Whether in the pulpit or on a hospital ward, Dennis leans heavily upon the wisdom of God.
On multiple occasions, God has supernaturally spoken to Dennis specifically revealing life-threatening conditions of his patients.
Dr. Boettger’s patients, as well as medical staff, know that both he and Betty pray. Those who have worked beside Dennis have witnessed God use him in miraculous ways. A hand larger than his leads! There is more than medical training directing this committed servant of Christ!
“And then he told them,
“Go into all the world and preach
the Good News to everyone.”
In addition to Ethiopia, he was also part of a team who carried bibles into China. Dennis has ministered in Canada, India, and the Philippines.
Together Dennis and Betty have carried the message of Christ 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.
Dennis humbly defines himself as “semi-retired” working part time in family medicine and surgery. “Semi-retired” hardly describes Dennis! Ministering hope and healing everywhere possible remains priority for the Boettgers as they follow God’s call!
Have you met a hero? One day at work, a gaggle of overactive preschoolers ran past my office door: two girls with long hair bobbing, followed by two enthusiastic boys. One little guy in the middle announced with exuberance, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”
True heroes are rare! I have no doubt this youngster has the right attitude!
I broke out in open laughter in response to such confidence coming from one so small. The more I thought of it, however, I realized I should possess this same buoyant enthusiasm.
“No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
God planted inside each of us a desire to overcome, triumph, defend justice, and fight for what is right. Children don’t hide it socially like adults do, but we all have this godly desire.
Ask any child to name their favorite superhero and you might be there for awhile! The “first” superheroes emerged in the 1930’s. The list of imaginary “supers” is long!
Ask an adult the same question. Their ballots may include people of excellence in sports, arts & entertainment, social justice or a multitude of other fields.
A hero, according to Oxford Dictionary, is someone who is “admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.” Look around for a moment. You will see heroes hidden behind humble acts of service rather than standing in front of a microphones or cameras. True heroes live well
parents, teachers, doctors, plumbers,
farmers, truckers, nurses, administrative assistants,
husbands and wives, neighbours and friends
courageously and faithfully
feet to the road and grit in their teeth
When there is unrewarding, difficult, relentless tasks, heroes say, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”
Yet, at the same time, they face their humanity with all its limitations. Listen to this:
“…For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Heroes face their impossibilities not with drooped heads but rather with hearts of courage and eyes fixed upward.
“I’m the one!” kind of people don’t back down from a fight; they press in to overcome!
[bctt tweet=”If you need someone strong, I’m the one!” username=”MAWardAuthor”]
Heroes face grave opposition and come through! In knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, they are prepared to accentuate those strengths and place extra protection over their weakest area.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God,
so that you can take your stand
against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 1:10-11
Actually, most of those who triumphed in the bible were not seeking front-line duty. Think of
Esther a young non-descript Jewish girl,
David, a young shepherd,
Samuel, as a small boy, dedicated to serve in the church
Moses, a foster child, a ward of the state, run-away, then shepherd
Gideon a farmer or Daniel a refugee
Ruth, a widow,
Peter, James and John, simple fishermen
High risk and no visible guarantee marked the tasks ahead of them. None of them had their hand raised saying, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”
As a matter of fact, they were reluctant to step into God’s assignment. However, all of them grasped the truth
“…What is impossible with man ispossible with God.” Luke 18:27
Like true heroes they put on their God given armour and fought the fight of faith, triumphantly bringing good over the evil in their day.
Some of the last words of Jesus resonates as a call to heroism.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation
….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.” Mark 16:15-20
Clearly “superhero” stuff, right? Yet, Jesus said, these superhero qualities are for all “who believe”! Now that is a bold kind of faith!
Oh, but it is a faith that those who believe are running with!
Everyday people are set free from demonic strongholds, bodies are healed, minds restored, and some are even raised from the dead. Faith is being activated in people globally to walk as God’s heroes, trusting His word, and radically taking risks.
Faith is often spelled r-i-s-k! It may feel risky to pray for the sick to be healed, until they are. It may also feel risky to step into the fray and cast out demons, until they do. We will never see the dead raised to life, until we ask.
I can tell, I’m losing some of you here, but listen again to what Jesus commanded:
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.
Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8
I am convinced we have received far more through faith in Jesus Christ than we are presently accessing or releasing.
There is one more hero you, of course, have never heard about. Her name is “SuperGram”. Apparently one of her greatest powers is “master-mind”.
The reason you have never heard of her, is because she was just so “bestowed” only yesterday!
Yes, only yesterday, my 6 year old grandson came to where I work secretly announcing my new position. Of course, he revealed his own super status and the secret powers he too possessed. He went around lavishly disclosing the hidden super hero strength of others as well. My girlfriend was instantly dubbed “Lightning Woman!”
I chucked and I’m sure you are too!
Yet at the same time, I feel Jesus nudge my heart just a little, “you are far more super hero than you realize”!
“Ye are of God, little children,
and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Why? Because God is greater! The One who resides in us is greater than all else! As God’s children, we may be small, but we are overcomers!
Take this fresh motto from a child, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”
“according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
Who Defines Normal
If normal means imitating Christ, we need to examine His normal? What occurred naturally to Jesus? These traits then are to mark our definition of living “normally”.
“…the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does….”
“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….”
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed…”
“…Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end…”
“Then Jesus went up a hill and called to himself the men he wanted.
They came to him, and he chose twelve …
“I have chosen you to be with me,” he told them.
“I will also send you out to preach, and you will have authority to drive out demons…” Mark 3:13-19
Jesus the Example
Like the “true” north, this then is our “true normal”! Jesus was a living picture of how we also may live:
in such close communion with God that He saw
what the Father was doing and teamed together with Him
to do the same; teaching at every opportunity,
sharing the good news of salvation, healingevery disease and sickness;
one on One communion in prayer; loving friends and enemies completely and continually;
living in community with others,
passing fully the mantle and anointing to others.
Normal is a Decision
This is not my normal yet, but it is the life I am reaching for. These are the distinguishing marks of the gift of life we now possess, because He dwells in us.
When I might doubt it is possible, I can read about the lives of believers who walked with Him for those three short years following the example of Jesus. They stepped into opportunities to follow this pattern with confidence and boldness, even if imperfectly!
Down through the ages of history, multitude of others set their hearts, minds, finances and abilities to the same goal. They influenced nations and transformed cultures, redirecting the course of church history – affecting and effecting people and communities on every continent through faith in Jesus Christ.
It is still the heart of the Father to see the world transformed. He is looking for NORMAL men, women and children who will believe for such a way of life. When we do, we too will be astonished with the difference Christ’s normal makes!
There is no “normal” apart from Christ; it requires a relationship of daily walking hand in hand doing as He did. Normal living disconnected from Jesus is abnormal for any who choose to follow Him. Challenging? Yes! Reachable? Absolutely!
“… whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father…”
How else will Christ be seen in me and God be glorified? Normal is never boring or predictable! Come! Let’s see where “normal” takes us.
What marks your walk as a Christian? I encourage you to allow this gift of life to generate every part of who you are!