Tag Archives: miracles

21 Day Experiment-Day 6

I grew up in an era when the threat of nuclear war loomed large.  So my childhood television viewing was often interrupted by an annoying, high-pitched, 60-second blast and this announcement: This is a test…of the emergency broadcast system…this is only a test.

The Bible talks a lot about tests.  A test shows our strengths and weaknesses.  Any good coach or teacher tests their students.  In today’s reading of John 6, Jesus gives a pop-quiz to his disciple Philip.

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”  He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do (John 6:5,6). Continue reading

21 Day Experiment in Prayer

It’s one thing to talk to God.  But what do you do when He talks back? It’s a question I ask myself every day.

If you want to pray with power, you do need to talk to God.  But you also need to listen.  So how do we find time to listen to God in such a busy, noisy world? I’ve learned that if you truly commit to listening to God’s voice, amazing things can happen.

Now I’m just an ordinary wife and mother. I married the love of my life—a kind-hearted, basketball player-turned-preacher—over forty years ago. David and I have shared four awesome decades of marriage and ministry.  But my journey is not the one I originally planned for myself.

Years ago when I was in college, I vowed I would never become a Christian.  And most certainly, I would never, ever marry a minister.   Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?

Over the years, I’ve learned that listening to God is not simply a matter of hearing His voice. It’s also about doing His will.  One day I realized that my life was either a “so what?” or a “so that!” If listening to God took me no further than my own little world, then so what?

The whole point of hearing God’s voice is so that I’ll do His will.

So I told God I would devote myself to listening to Him and doing His will.  And I would pray not just for my own little world, but also for His larger world.  That’s when the real adventure began!

When you begin to be a listener and doer of God’s Word, you could end up traveling to genocide-torn regions in Africa as I did. Or you might come face-to-face with the needs of your neighbor next door. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll meet people and go places you never knew existed—starting within your own neighborhood.

I invite you to join me in a 21-Day Experiment in Prayer:

Starting tomorrow, let’s read through the Gospel of John together.  It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible.  Plus, it has helped me learn to hear from the Holy Spirit.

Plan to devote fifteen minutes to reading one chapter each day.  John has exactly twenty one chapters so this works well.  Read slowly and thoughtfully, praying for God to help you understand what you’re reading.

Next, ask the Holy Spirit to impress one verse from that chapter on your mind.  I like to copy that verse on a 3×5 card in my Chubby Book (more about the Chubby Book tomorrow).  I simply ask God to show me one way to be a doer of His Word that day.  I  also list people and places that are on my heart  for prayer and carry the card with me.

This 21-Day Experiment sounds simple.  But I’ve discovered it can energize your prayers–and your life.  I know of no better way to learn to hear God’s voice than to read His words.   Something mysterious happens when we read and obey God’s Word.

Everyone’s journey will look different.  But I truly believe that if you listen to God and follow His leading right where you are, your ordinary days will no longer feel ordinary. I invite you to come journey with me!

30 Days of Thankful: Day 5

At midnight Paul and Silas worshipped, and praised God (Acts 16:25 WYC).

Just how powerful is praise? And why does giving thanks seem to change the spiritual atmosphere? I’m not sure anyone really knows the answer. But we can look at some of the results. Earlier, I shared the story of the ten-year-old boy who, after being kidnapped, sang praises to God and was released unharmed by his kidnapper.

Here’s another praise-power encounter: After preaching in Philippi, Paul and Silas were dragged out of the marketplace and thrown into prison.  After being severely beaten and bound with chains, they began to praise and worship God—and a miracle occurred.

Suddenly, there’s an earthquake. The prison was shaken to its very foundation and the doors flew open and “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:26). The jailer wakes up terrified, ready to kill himself. But Paul shouted, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

What follows is surely the quickest salvation message ever preached. The terrified man simply cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” To which Paul and Silas reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-34).

More amazing things happened. The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home where they told his family about Jesus and “his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” Wow. Salvations, beatings, prison, rejoicing, more salvations, more rejoicing. The whole account is dizzying.

Praise and thanksgiving seem to lift burdens that nothing else can move. And miracles in the Bible often follow a time of giving thanks. Remember how Jesus thanked God before he fed the 5000?  And He cried out, “Father I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41) before calling Lazarus forth from the tomb.

Praising and giving thanks are powerless by themselves. But what if they connect us with God? “God inhabits the praises of His people” writes the psalmist (Psalmist 22:3). And when you connect with God, powerful things happen. Lives are changed. Souls are saved. Darkness flees. Grief is lifted.

Perhaps thanking God—even in the midst of our storms–is simply an expression of faith in its purest form. And faith changes things. It was Jesus Himself who reminds us that “all things are possible when we believe” (Mark 9:23).

Lord, tune my heart today to praise and thank you in each situation I face throughout my day. And I thank you in advance for your mighty work. –Amen










Day One: God’s Fingerprints

So glad you’ve joined us for Day One of the 21 Day Watch. “Watching for what?” you may ask. Watching for signs of God at work all around us.  Looking for insights from His Word.  Watching closely for His “fingerprints.”  I’m asking God specifically to Open My Eyes so I may see Him more clearly.  God’s Presence holds the answer to all life’s problems. So why do we race around looking everywhere else for solutions?

The idea to do a  21 Day Watch was inspired by several recent conversations with friends.  Each confided they were overwhelmed by the same problem.  Anxiety.  They were consumed with worry about frightening events in the news.  Admittedly, the world can be a scary place right now. Terror attacks have been fierce. Persecution of Christians is at an all time high. Some say it’s the most dangerous time in history to believe in Jesus.

Frankly, it’s always been dangerous to follow God.  The Bible is full of examples of believers facing persecution.  John the Baptist met a gruesome death at the hands of the evil ruler Herod.  John had confronted Herod on his adulterous relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife.  Herod wanted to kill John, but was afraid of the wrath of his followers.  The Message Bible tells us what happened next:

But at Herod’s birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias’s daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. Already coached by her mother, she was ready: “Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer.” That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it—ordered John’s head cut off and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother (Matthew 14:6-12 MSG).

Sounds remarkably like ISIS staged event.  But notice the reaction of Jesus to the death of His dearly loved cousin.  He doesn’t panic or lose heart. The Bible simply tells us He went away by Himself to be alone with God.  To be in God’s presence.  You can read the entire text by clicking here.

The biblical account tells us nothing about the grief He surely suffered.  But Jesus was fully human, so we must assume He needed time to process the tragedy, to pour out His heart, to be healed and strengthened by His heavenly Father.   Along the way, He is intercepted by a crowd of needy and hurting people.  Moved with compassion for their suffering, He heals their sick and even performs a miracle of feeding the 5000 plus.  God showed up big time.  I’m sure Jesus was exhilarated by this mighty moment.  But notice: He still needed time alone with God.

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.  (Matthew 14:22, 23 MSG).

Jesus needed time in God’s presence.  Time to pray, to heal, to grieve, to seek strength, to refuel.  Friends, if Jesus needed time alone with God, how much more do we?

My husband is fond of saying that kids spell love T-I-M-E.  I think it’s the same with God.  Time alone with God sets the stage to experience Him throughout the rest of our day. If you’re serious about this 21 Day Watch, I encourage you to carve out a daily T-I-M-E with God as your starting point.

Lord, renew my zeal to spend time in Your Presence.  Ignite my passion for Your Word and for prayer.  Fine tune my hearing to Your voice.  Make my eyes sensitive to Your slightest movement.  May I see Your fingerprints today.  -Amen.






got a minute?

Got a minute? We toss our minutes around like spare pennies. But pause and reflect: Your minutes matter. Your life is made up of minutes. Minute-after-minute-after-minute. So what can you do with a minute?

Apparently, lots. One university study found that students who listed their anxieties for just ten minutes prior to taking a test performed better on the test–by nearly half a letter grade. Another  group of researchers discovered that subjects who relaxed and closed their eyes, letting their minds wander for exactly eight minutes experienced a significant boost in short-term memory. Still another team of scientists (don’t you wonder who has time to do all this research?) discovered that when people practiced “sustained gratitude” for five uninterrupted minutes, their bodies produce disease fighting antibodies!  And the list goes on.

What can happen with a minute of prayer?  It might just change the trajectory of your life. That’s what happened to me when I began to pray this simple prayer:  “Lord, break my heart for the things that break Yours.”

I began praying for people in places I’d never met…just a minute a day here and  there. Monday, it was a minute a day for the Sudan, a place where Christians were undergoing intense persecution.  In time, my feet found their way to the Sudan, and I met people like Ryan Boyette, the young American who is risking his life to tell the story of genocide in the Nuba Mountains.

Tuesdays, I prayed for the tiny African nation of Burundi, and I’ve now completed my fourth missions trip to the war ravaged country.   Soon, I’ll travel to India, also on my “Tuesday list.”  I set my cell phone to pray each day at noon for a persecuted pastor in Syria whose name I can’t mention.  And I lift my voice in a prayer of agreement with the thousands praying for the release of  Pastor Saeed Abedini a US citizen unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

Hebrews 13:3 gives us this reminder:  “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

Friends, something miraculous happens when you give your minutes to God for prayer.  It’s as if the Holy Spirit carves out a pathway in your brain and begins to remind you to pray.  A minute here.  A minute there.  Day after day.  And prayer, God promises, can move mountains.

Got a minute? Are you willing to pray for a nation? Just a minute a day.  Then ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. Hold on tight…it just might be the ride of your life!