Archive for the ‘Miracles’ Category

Businessman holding a paper with a prisoner behind the bars on i
Some prisons are invisible! I know because, although I have never committed a crime, nor have I ever been incarcerated, I have most assuredly felt the suffocating bondage of being imprisoned just the same.

In fact, my step-father even used the term “home prison” to describe an extended, and overly harsh, punishment for a minor violation of household rules which I committed at the ripe-old age of fifteen. For about six months I was not allowed to use the telephone, go anywhere by myself (not even outdoors for fresh air) nor visit with friends ˗not that I had any back then anyway. If that sounds like overkill to you, trust me, this kind of thing was fairly typical in my broken family.

This wasn’t my first “prison” though. Even as a child, I lived in great bondage: one of fear, doubt, humiliation and abuse. By the age of two, I was already, “damaged goods,” or so I was told. The more time passed, the more damaged I became until my only means of “escape” was to shut myself off from the rest of the world, both physically and emotionally. Of course I went to school, but that was just another prison ˗ different type, much larger. Children have a way of identifying, then assailing any other child who is weak and wounded, thus I was trapped -emotionally imprisoned- by their ridicule and torment day-after-day.

Many years later I had a miraculous encounter with my Savior, Jesus Christ [You can read about that here: His Invisible Hand] and I was truly free for a while. Even so, I would experience an entirely different kind of “prison” just a few years later, despite being a Christian.

Sitting in church one evening, long ago, my pastor made one of those sweeping comments from the pulpit that no one had ever experienced prison before and didn’t know what it was like to be locked-up, having no freedom. My body language told him I did, in fact, know that feeling; and he acknowledged my silent declaration with his own expression and slight head-shake. Clearly, he assumed I had been incarcerated in a literal prison, but as I stated previously, some prisons are invisible. Little did he know that, because of the repeated personal attacks against me and my family right there, in his cherished little church, I felt the pangs of bondage afresh; I felt imprisoned yet again, and my family had to flee from there. Thank the Lord we did! I am only sharing this because I feel someone needs to hear it. Some of you have likewise experienced hurt and bondage in the church and you need to know that you are not alone.

Before you start thinking I am slamming the church, however, let me assure you that I am not. Not every church is godly and not every person in them is a true Christian. (See this week’s Polished Pearls post). People can be deeply hurt in those flawed churches (even the good ones, for that matter), but even those kinds of wounds can be healed.

What I am proclaiming is this: God is still on the throne and He still SETS THE CAPTIVE FREE! It doesn’t matter what type your (invisible) prison is, our King has made a way of escape! (see postscript)

I have told many people over the years that if they could have seen the person I was before I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and compare that to the person I am now, they certainly would believe in God! Even a professed atheist would have to admit that the transformation in me was nothing short of a divine, miraculous intervention.

If only time allowed, I could share numerous testimonies of God’s miraculous intervention in the lives of others as well. I know of people who have, just this week, been healed of terminal illnesses, delivered from drugs, received much-needed funds, food and shelter, and the list goes on-and-on.

Every one of those situations was, for the person experiencing them, an invisible prison. Some never thought they would escape, but Jesus Christ showed-up and SET THE CAPTIVE FREE!

Dear friend, I don’t know what you are experiencing this week, nor do I know what challenges await you in future, but I do know there is an answer –His name is Jesus! Whether you steadfastly pray, or whether you have never prayed one single prayer in your life, I want to encourage you to call upon Jesus. He still answers prayers, and He is still performs miracles!

Finally, I want to share one more thing, because, again, I feel that someone needs to hear it. Several years after having accepted Jesus as my Savior I prayed and asked that all-too-familiar question: WHY? Why had He allowed me to suffer so much pain and trauma in my life. He never answered my question, but He did speak clearly: “I cried every tear with you.”

Dear reader, like me, you may never understand why certain things happened in your life; why God allowed you to go through certain difficulties, but you can be sure of this, you weren’t alone. The important question is not why certain things happened, but rather, are you willing accept God’s working in your life and trust Him no matter what. I truly hope you will.

“There is nothing a man can do to liberate himself if his time of divine liberation has not come. But when the time comes, nothing can stop it.” -B. Olurotimi


postscript:  This author is, in no way, suggesting that the Lord God  will miraculously release someone from a lawful incarceration.  Obviously He could (and did in times past for certain innocent Christians who were locked-up for no other reason than their faith in Jesus Christ), but God is as just as He is merciful, requiring mankind to be accountable for their actions.  If someone is incarcerated for their crimes, they should, and will, serve their sentence.  However, if they place their trust in Jesus Christ, and repent of their sins, He can give them a peace which passes all understanding, no matter how long they are incarcerated.  Moreover, Jesus can save, heal, and deliver from all emotional bondage any time, any place, even prison.

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Let’s be honest; too many personal questions can sometimes be annoying. My friend, Barbara, often answers them with one simple word –nunya. (Yep, that really is in the (urban) dictionary –I looked it up).

She and I are good friends, so she has never responded to any of my questions like that. In fact, the first time I heard her use that term; it caught me off guard because I had never heard it before. She explained, “When I feel that someone is asking me a question which is out of line, I lightheartedly reply, “Nunya” for short. She further clarified, “By that, I mean ‘It’s nunya business.”

That’s probably not a word I would ever use much, because my life is pretty much an open book. Having said that, let me tell you that yesterday was one of those days that I just wanted to put life on hold and spend the whole day communing with my Heavenly Father; so I did. Yes, I prayed for the needs of others, but mostly I just worshipped  the Lord, spending precious time in His presence off-and-on throughout the day. I can say with certainty that He was right there, surrounding me with His awesome presence, every single time I called upon His name. For that I am truly thankful.

One of the things that gripped me most yesterday was the gratitude  I felt  knowing that our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS available for us. It doesn’t matter if we just want to ‘sit on His lap’ and enjoy His presence, or if we have a dire need; He is always as close as the mention of His name.

Perhaps you, dear reader, have never really known that kind of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you that you can simply talk to Him as though He was standing right there beside you, and He will answer! I promise you, when you cry out, “Lord, where are you? I need you!” He will never reply “Nunya!” Instead, He will gently speak to your heart and say, “Here I am, my child!”

Even so, it is sometimes difficult to feel His presence. In His Word, Jesus assures us that He is always present, even though our own emotions hinder us from accepting that. During those times, it often feels that the Lord God is so far away that we must diligently search for Him. Even then, He promised: Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

In this Scripture, the Lord God was speaking to the nation of Israel. They had turned their backs on Him, so He punished them by allowing them to be taken into captivity  in a foreign land. Yet, He was still in their midst all along, just waiting for them to call upon Him, so that they might be restored.

I thought about this over the weekend as I listened to a very sweet man share his testimony of how he first encountered Jesus Christ. This man had been told about Jesus, but he was reluctant to accept Him into his life because of his self-imposed belief that Jesus was surely angry at all the bad things he had done in his life, and was still doing (at that time).

Then one day, as this man sat in a bar, drunk, the Lord Jesus literally appeared to him in a vision. As the man recalled the face of Jesus, his own  face lit up with joy. “Jesus was not angry with me!” he said with a rapturous expression. “He was smiling! He loved me and I knew it.” “He was smiling at me,” he repeated.

What the man said next might be hard to believe for some of you, but it’s the truth. In that vision, Jesus told this man to stop drinking and never do it again. With that, the vision stopped and the man was completely sober– instantly! The friend seated next to him, also drunk, noticed this immediate change and asked what just happened. “I  saw Jesus!” he answered. Of course, his friend scoffed –-  until the very same thing happened to him, that is.

 I have no idea what  became of the second man, but the first man obeyed Jesus  and stopped drinking right then. And he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This man now lives his life knowing with full certainty that his Heavenly Father is always with him, lovingly helping him through every day of his life.

Please understand; the Lord Jesus loves all of humanity and longs to be a vital part of every person’s life. When we know our relationship with God is not right, it is only natural to feel a sense of alienation. Never forget, however, that The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV). He longs to restore those whose relationship with Him is broken; and in His great, lovingkindness, He will be quick to answer those who call upon His name.

Finally, let me warn you that the adversary of humanity does not want you to be in communion with God. What of that? My advice to you is simply this: boldly tell that old devil –NUNYA!

Postscript: Thank you G.C. for sharing such a touching and remarkable testimony with us. May God continue to bless you and amaze you in ways you never dreamed possible!!!

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Some time ago, I promised to share more of my own personal encounters with the miraculous. This one is truly shocking –literally.

Four-thirty in the morning was just too early for me to wake up and get dressed, except for shoes, then drive my step-father to the commuter lot, but I had no choice. I needed the car that day and that was the only way I could get it. Along the way, flashes of lightning tore through the early morning sky to announce a coming storm. Although my plan had been to drive back home, dive into bed and pick up my dream where I left off, my step-father decreed something more important.

“You need to go home and wake up your mom and your brother, and ask them to help you take down the antennae before the storm hits.”

I only half obeyed. Suffice it to say that I was sure I could do the task myself. Besides, waking anyone else up that early was never a good idea, trust me. By the time I stood ready to dismount the antennae, it had already started to drizzle; there was about one-quarter inch of water standing on the deck. The cool water felt good on my bare feet, but I knew that going back to sleep was out of the question because the slow, but steady raindrops had already slapped me more awake than I wanted to be. That’s okay, I thought, because I love a nice storm and I’ll be awake to enjoy this one. Little did I know that I was about to experience a miracle; one that I would never forget.

The antennae was taller than I was, and just a bit heavy, but I could have capably managed a quick dismount had it not been for the sudden gust of wind that thrust the top-heavy apparatus right onto the power lines. My body went instantly rigid as the electricity flowed right through my body. My mind screamed, “Get it off!” but my body could not physically respond. Aside from the violent muscular jerking, I was paralyzed, unable to let go.

Have you have ever seen one of those cartoons where something disastrous happens in super slow motion? That’s what the whole trauma seemed like. The ball of energy, which started at the power line, worked its ways through both me and the antennae and entered the coax cable. Connected to the other end of the cable was my step-father’s prized Ham radio. The energy ball wrapped itself around the cable and headed straight for it.

The radio was the size of a large microwave and I just knew that it would blow-up. It did!

Everything probably happened rather quickly, but it sure didn’t seem like it. To this day, I remember having enough time to mentally cry out, “He’s gonna kill me! He’s gonna to kill me!”

I didn’t think I had been able to make any audible sound, but at some point I screamed loud enough to wake my family and bring the neighbors running. It was a bit late; the radio had already blown and I was glued to the deck, still unable to move. Oddly, though, once my mother opened the sliding glass door and stepped outside, the antennae came off the power line. I am still quite certain that it lifted itself, without any effort from me.

Once inside the house, I did receive a scolding. “You could’ve been killed!” she shrieked. The whole incident was so surreal that I hadn’t yet thought about the fact that I should have been electrocuted (I later learned that my disaster knocked out the town’s electricity for four city blocks). My only fear up to that point was the repercussions that I would face from an angry, temperamental step-father who treasured his radio equipment.

I was so overcome with worry that I stayed home that day and fretted. The clock, like the energy ball, seemed to creep towards its intended target in slow motion; it was one of the longest days of my life.

At the appointed time, I retrieved my step-father from the lot and explained what had happened. “You were right, I should have listened to you and woke up mom and brother, but…” My body went rigid again as I tensed, waiting for the verbal slaughter.

Instead, to my utter surprise, he cried. That was the second shock I received that day. When I was growing up, breaking a dish was practically a capital offense, but for this grave blunder no punishment was given. He only had compassion and understanding.

Dear reader, I want you to understand that at the time all of this happened, I did not know God. Yet, He still chose to look upon me with compassion and spared my life. It would be many years more before I would accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and thank Him for that merciful act, but He always looked-out for me anyway.

I hope you are blessed by this true testimony of God’s miraculous intervention. If you are in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I praise God. But if you are not, I want to you to know that He loves you no matter what, and He is looking out for you whether you realize it or not.

Perhaps it doesn’t seem that way to you. If not, it might be because you are trying to do everything in your own strength; thinking you can get through without help. But that doesn’t generally work. Without God, the winds of adversity will surely blow your way and wreak havoc until something finally blows-up.

My prayer for you today, dear reader, is for you to know that God is with you through every storm. He is merciful and compassionate, and He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) because He cares for you very much.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25,26).

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