Tag Archives: miracles

Fingerprints all over the place

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The Book of Esther in the Bible is a fascinating story about a Jewish girl who won a royal beauty pageant and was chosen to be queen.  She became aware of a plot to wipe out the Jews, and she determined to beg the King for mercy for her people at the risk of her own life.  The most famous verse in Esther is where her uncle is counseling her in how to proceed and spurring her on to courage. He tells her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  It is an inspirational story that is still celebrated in the Jewish holiday of Purim and in the commencement speeches of Christian schools all across America.  But the astounding thing about the Book of Esther is that the name of God is not mentioned once.  Not Once!

Even with the lack of direct mention, no one can doubt that this book belongs in the Bible because we see God’s fingerprints all over the arranging of events and lining up of “coincidences”.  In the olden days they would have called that “Providence”.  In modern Christianese we call these “God moments” or “Divine appointments”.  It doesn’t really matter what you call it.  There are just times when God reaches down into the space-time continuum and gets involved in human lives or in history on a grand scale.  God is not a far off, distanced ruler.  He is intimate.  Another name for God is Emmanuel which literally means “God with Us”.

I love those moments when you look back and see that God was guiding the details of your life.  I love finding God’s fingerprints all over the place, evidence that He is God with Us.  Part of my responsibilities as Vice Principal include beating the bushes for new teachers.  This year nearly our entire staff changed.  Some of the positions were filled from connections that other teachers had.  Some of them came directly from my circle of acquaintances.  And some of them were Divine appointments- pure God.

For example, we had filled the 4th and 5th grade positions with relative ease.  But the 6th grade class was still vacant.  We interviewed several people, and nothing was fitting together right.  Both the principal and I decided to pray specifically that God would lead us to the right person.  I felt that God was saying to me, “This person is not going to come from YOUR resources.”  So I had no idea what God had in mind!  OK, God, surprise me.

One day the Assistant to the Principal and I were the only two in the office.  In walked a young lady who simply asked, “Do you have any teaching positions available for September?  I’ve been taking classes at the language school this summer and I’ve decided that I want to stay in Costa Rica.”  The Assistant and I exchanged big-eyed looks.  I interviewed her on the spot, exchanged email addresses with her, and that was that.  A miracle literally just walked in the door.

Photo credit: Jack Spades / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Jack Spades / Foter / CC BY

Then this week, another miracle was handed to us directly by God.  As you know, our second grade teacher quit just 2 weeks before the first day of school… 8 days before teacher orientation.  That day I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking the Lord to provide the right person that He had in mind.  I posted the plea for teachers on Facebook, and over a dozen of my friends reposted my status or forwarded it to friends of theirs.  A friend of a friend connected me with the name of a girl and I sent her a message.  I explained the job and asked if she would be interested.  She told me that she had been specifically praying for a teaching position in Costa Rica for this school year!  And she could be here in a week!   “And who knows that you have come here for such a time as this?”  I am totally flabbergasted at how God pulled that one off.

I was at the end of my resources.  I had already asked every teacher I knew in Costa Rica during the previous teacher search.  I had exhausted all of my connections in every direction.  So when this need came up, I was empty handed.  I went to the Lord as a pauper, a beggar.  And I am astounded at His extravagance.  Divine appointment or God Moment… whatever… God was in the House and His fingerprints are all over the place.

Are you sure that’s what you really want?

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I don’t think any of us really understand what we are asking for when we say we want more of God in our lives.

Photo credit: kevin dooley / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: kevin dooley / Foter / CC BY

Does that mean you want more miracles?  Then you will find your back against the wall more often.  You will be desperate for help more frequently.  You will face your own inadequacies over and over again.  You will face brick walls and impossible, impassable, unsolvable problems.  You will be drained of your resources over and over again until you have absolutely nothing to brag about in your own strength.  Is that what you meant?

Does it mean that you want God to speak to you more?  Then you will be forced to listen more intently.  And once you hear, you will be compelled to obey like never before.  So really, how MUCH more do you want to hear?  Is once a day enough?  Or once an hour, a month, a year?  What do you really want?  The Children of Israel saw the holy fire and cloud descending on Mount Sinai as it shook with divine power.  They heard the thundering voice of God and pleaded with Moses to ask God to stop speaking to them because they couldn’t handle it.  It was terrifying.  So what if God DID speak to you in an audible voice, would you be able to handle it?

Does it mean you want God to take control of your life?  Do you mean take control of every day decisions or just something vague like your destiny?  If you give up control, well… then you give up control.  Is that what you really want or do you expect to keep little corners of your life well within your grasp?  What if God does something with your life that you don’t like.  Will you want to take back the keys and drive yourself again?  What if God drives your life into an unhappy place.  Will you determine that you must be “out of God’s will” because you are uncomfortable and no longer FEEL what you expected to feel?

Photo credit: VinothChandar / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: VinothChandar / Foter / CC BY

Does it mean that you expect prosperity and happiness?  Because if you read about the prophets of the Old Testament who clearly had a direct line to God’s voice, they were some of the most miserable people of their day. No one ASKED to become a prophet.  Not many people even LIKED the prophets.  Think about Jeremiah, the weeping prophet who was stuck in the mud in the bottom of an old well when his beloved Jerusalem was sacked.  Have you read about crazy Ezekiel who was made into a human object lesson when God told him to lay on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 days, and to cook his food over human excrement in order to demonstrate the siege of Jerusalem?  I’m sure he wasn’t happy about that.  Then there’s Elijah, the manic-depressive enemy of an evil King and Queen who was fed by ravens.  Or perhaps consider John the Baptist, clothed in scratchy hair shirts dipping his locusts in wild honey.  Is that what you had in mind when you asked for more of God in your life?  Yet these men had more of God than anyone I know now days.

More of God means less and less of you.  Less of your dreams being fulfilled.  Less of your money being at your own personal disposal.  Less of your decisions revolving around your own happiness.  More of God is a fearful thing to ask.  Yet here we are, asking and not knowing what to expect.  Perhaps God is being merciful in not granting our undefined requests, knowing that we, like those stiff necked Children of Israel, wouldn’t be able to handle the Truth.  Who is brave enough to ask for more of God?

Food from Ravens and Taxes from Fish

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Elijah the prophet had obeyed God and ordered it to stop raining on Israel.  This really pissed off that wicked king Ahab, husband of Jezebel.  Then God told Elijah, “Get out of here, fast.  Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River.  You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.” (1 Kings 17).

OK, pause the story.

Ravens?  God, don’t you remember that Ravens are an unclean bird according to your OWN law?  If you can command birds to bring your servant food, then why did you choose an unclean bird?  Why not a dove?  You seem to like doves.

Times are going to keep getting tougher.  The financial crisis is just the beginning, I believe.  The world is going to get so desperate that they are going to be willing to accept very drastic measures to balance the books and to ensure peace between warring nations.    Things are not going to get better.  Brace yourselves.

BUT there is good news.  Amazing news!!  God is your Provider.  Obama is right about this point, “you didn’t build that”… that’s right, God did.  Every bite of food you enjoy comes from God.  Every penny in your bank account comes from God.  Every drop of rain that falls from the sky onto thirsty farm land and fire ravaged forests comes from God.  He is your Provider.

In America things could get a whole lot worse.  We still have a lot of belt tightening that could happen.  So when things start getting scary, I want you to remember Elijah and the Ravens.  If God could feed his prophet by having birds bring him food, he can miraculously provide for you too.  If God can provide manna from Heaven and water from a rock for his people wandering in the wilderness, then he can meet your daily needs too.  If Jesus can multiply a child’s sack lunch to feed thousands of men, women and children, then he can feed you and your family too.  If Jesus can order Peter to catch a fish and scoop out the coin in his mouth to pay for their taxes, then God can supply your needs financially as well.  (Matthew 17:27)

Yes, I’m sure you have places where your excess needs to be trimmed, but when you start to see the signs of very scary times coming, YOU ARE NOT TO FEAR.  You are to run to God and trust him to provide for you.  If God provided before he can do it again.  Fear not.  (Matthew 6:25-34)

When God Moved our Mountain

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We saw God move a mountain.  We used to be missionaries in Mexico City.  There we had complicated and ever changing laws that restrict driving for everyone, but especially cars with foreign plates.  When this story took place, new laws were about to go into effect.  Basically we would not be able to leave the house until 11 am every day.  We would have two days a week when we couldn’t drive at all and one extra Saturday per month of no driving.  Each of our 2 cars were restricted on different days.  I feel like I need to lay down now just thinking about all the rules!

Imagine how difficult it would be when we host teams to find vehicles that would be able to drive on each day that we needed them.  How would we get our kids to school or conduct any business before 11 am?  We had been told that vehicles that were newer than 5 years would be able to receive a special verification that would nullify all but the special Saturday restriction.  Unfortunately our second car was 6 years old, we tried to get it verified, but it was never allowed.  Even more frustrating, when Josh tried to renew our verification on our newer vehicle he was told that the government wouldn’t have the stickers ready for another 10 days.  The entire city was basically homebound for 10 days.

With these concerns on my mind and a team coming in 2 weeks I felt stressed, to put in mildly.  In the meantime, I had a Spanish song running through my head that says, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed,  you can say to this mountain ‘move yourself’ and it will move.”  So I took the matter to the Lord.  I said, “Lord, for us this is a big mountain.   We can’t change the law that doesn’t allow us to drive, and without our vehicles we can’t live here!  Please move this mountain.”

Immediately I felt the Lord say to me, “In 10 days take both vehicles to the verification station and don’t say anything about the one being too old.  Go first thing in the morning.”  Now believe me, I have prayed many, many times and not heard God respond this clearly or this quickly.  I was surprised, but I told this to Josh and that is exactly what we did.

Ten days later, on the day when the verification stickers were finally supposed to be available, we prayed and set out with both vehicles to the verification station.  We arrived at 8am.  There was a long line at the station already and the workers were stressed because their computers weren’t up yet.  We waited for about 45 minutes.  The other drivers were getting impatient.  The workers were getting more and more agitated.  We waited patiently, praying.

Suddenly the computer system came on line!  The workers started rushing the cars through the paperwork and examination process.  Our turn.  We saw right on their computer screen that our old car was not going to be allowed a permit because some Mexican car already had our same license plate number, plus it was too old.  But it was like the workers didn’t even see the screen!  They walked out to our car and slapped a sticker on the back window without even flinching!  Josh opened up the back of the vehicle and passed out bottles of water to all the workers as a celebratory “thank you”.  We drove home praising the Lord for moving that mountain for us!!