Stories that Increase Your Faith

His Mysterious Ways . . .

His Mysterious Ways

 

When your wife is pregnant, you try to take every precaution possible. Which is why I drove my wife Katherine’s Toyota to drop her off at work one rainy February morning, instead of my pickup truck. San Diego doesn’t get many chilly days, but this was one of them. “My truck has no heat,” I reminded her, as I pulled out the driveway, “and besides, the roof leaks. The last thing you need is to get sopping wet.”

I dropped Katherine off downtown, found the freeway and headed toward home. Man, there were a lot of accidents. Every few minutes, it seemed, I heard the whine of a police or ambulance siren. It doesn’t rain much here, and when it really pours, it throws drivers for a loop. I pulled into the slow lane, thinking, No way am I taking any chances.

Just then, an SUV slid across the road in front of me. It skidded into my lane, out of control, hydroplaning. I braked hard.

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The SUV flew past me, through the guardrail and down an embankment. My God! I thought.

I pulled to the apron of the freeway, reached for my cell phone and dialed 911. “I want to report an accident,” I said. The police dispatcher said they’d respond right away. I debated getting out to check on the driver, but it didn’t seem safe. Cars whizzed by me. I’ll just wait in the car until help arrives.

The strangest feeling suddenly came over me. As perilous as it looked outside, I heard a voice from deep within me urge, Get out of the car now! Maybe the other driver needed me?

I bolted as if given an electric shock. Left my wallet, my cell phone, didn’t even turn off the car. I sprinted toward the embankment where the SUV had tumbled. The driver was making his way up the hill. He had been alone in the vehicle and was unhurt. I was about to say how glad I was for him, when a runaway pickup skidded across the highway just as the SUV had.

The pickup missed me by ten feet, then smashed full-bore into my wife’s Toyota. The thing was t-boned. If I had stayed in the car, I’d be dead.

Katherine gave birth five months later. I’m thankful to be a father, and thankful for the mysterious urging that helped me live to see that joyous day.

Guideposts

Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed

At about 6 PM tonight the bridge of Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed. I am writing this about three hours after the bridge fell. The bridge is located within sight of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Most of us who minister at the church cross this bridge several times a week. At this point I don’t know if any staff was on the bridge. Desiring God offices are about a mile from the bridge.

 

There are no firm facts at this point about the total number of injuries and fatalities. When we crossed the bridge Tuesday on our way out of town, there was extensive repair work happening on the surface of the bridge with single lane traffic. One speculates about the unusual stresses on the bridge with jackhammers and other surface replacement equipment. This was the fortieth anniversary of the bridge.

Tonight for our family devotions our appointed reading was Luke 13:1-9. It was not my choice. This is surely no coincidence. O that all of the Twin Cities, in shock at this major calamity, would hear what Jesus has to say about it from Luke 13:1-5. People came to Jesus with heart-wrenching news about the slaughter of worshipers by Pilate. Here is what he said.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Jesus implies that those who brought him this news thought he would say that those who died, deserved to die, and that those who didn’t die did not deserve to die. That is not what he said. He said, everyone deserves to die. And if you and I don’t repent, we too will perish. This is a stunning response. It only makes sense from a view of reality that is radically oriented on God.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This is a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.

We prayed during our family devotions. Talitha (11 years old) and Noel and I prayed earnestly for the families affected by the calamity and for the others in our city. Talitha prayed “Please don’t let anyone blame God for this but give thanks that they were saved.” When I sat on her bed and tucked her in and blessed her and sang over her a few minutes ago, I said, “You know, Talitha, that was a good prayer, because when people ‘blame’ God for something, they are angry with him, and they are saying that he has done something wrong. That’s what “blame” means: accuse somebody of wrongdoing. But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”

Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.”

I sang to her the song I always sing,

Come rest your head and nestle gently
And do not fear the dark of night.
Almighty God keeps watch intently,
And guards your life with all his might.
Doubt not his love, nor power to keep,
He never fails, nor does he sleep.

I said, “You know, Talitha, that is true whether you die in a bridge collapse, or in a car accident, or from cancer, or terrorism, or old age. God always keeps you, even when you die. So you don’t need to be afraid, do you.” “No,” she shook her head. I leaned down and kissed her. “Good night. I love you.”

Tonight across the Twin Cities families are wondering if they will ever kiss a loved one good night again. Some will not. I am praying that they will find Jesus Christ to be their Rock and Refuge in these agonizing hours of uncertainty and even loss.

The word “bridge” does not occur in the Bible. There may be two reasons. One is that God doesn’t build bridges, he divides seas. The other is that usually his people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43:2). They may drown you. But I will be with you in life and death.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-38)

Killed all day long. But not separated from Christ. We go through the river. Not over it. He went before us, crucified. He came out on the other side. He knows the way through. With him we will make it. That is the message we have for the precious sinners in the Twin Cities. He died for your sins. He rose again. He saves all who trust him. We die, but because of him, we do not die.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25)

Talitha is sleeping now. But one day she will die. I teach her this. I will not always be there to bless her. But Jesus is alive and is the same yesterday today and forever. He will be with her because she trusts him. And she will make it through the river.

Weeping with those who weep, and those who should,

Pastor John Piper

Bethlehem Baptist Church

Psalm 71:20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again.

 

A Child's Point of View . . .

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. "Dad, I'm thinking of something." This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear. "What are you thinking?" I asked. "The rain!;" she began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away." After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. "That's really good, Aspen." Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked... "Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?" Aspen didn't hesitate one moment with her answer: "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us." I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on. In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain.

-Unknown Author

My Wife's Christmas Gift

 

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall

give thee the desires of thine heart.”

—Psalm 37:4

 

Christmas was in the air, the family headed to

 Virginia Beach from North Carolina to present

our ministry in a local church. The drive was a short

one and when we arrived, Linda asked me to pray

with her concerning a special need. She was asking

the Lord to give her a hundred dollars in order to

buy each family member something for Christmas.

Praying together, we specifically asked the Lord to

supply this need at this church.

 

 

We unloaded our equipment and headed into

the church. We set up the display and slide projector.

When my turn came to present our ministry,

I showed our slides and preached a short sermon

before turning the service back to the pastor.

 

 

He announced that a love offering was to be collected

to help with our travel expenses. As we prepared

to leave, he handed us an envelope with the

love offering in it. We thanked him and headed to

our vehicle for the trip home. We were almost all

the way to our vehicle when a teenage girl, fifteen

or sixteen years of age, walked up to my wife and

said, “The Lord has impressed upon my heart to

give you this.” With that, she handed Linda some

money and was on her way.

 

 

We loaded the equipment and were about to

leave when Linda said, “Let’s see what the young

lady gave me.” We thought perhaps she had given

a few dollars, because most teenagers do not have

much money. When my wife opened her hand, out

rolled five twenty-dollar bills. She cried like a baby.

We had prayed for a specific amount and the Lord

gave exactly what we had prayed for.

 

 Joy to the world!

Jay B. Ayers

Faith like a child . . .

I look at life a lot and think of the things that it has put me through and all the trials i have had or the trials my parents went through and how they got through it, one of the trials are one time a couple of years ago my mom was at home and my dad came in and sat my mom down and uttered these words “ Tracy, I was just laid off today...” these words hit my mom hard and she started crying little did me and my brother know what happened because we weren't told about it and at first my parents did a great job of hiding it but slowly we could tell and they did tell us that my dad lost his job and it was hard, but I will tell you something else.

My parents were strong because of one little thing that did so much until my dad found a job, that thing was Faith, the faith my parents had in God and the faith in that he would help us through it and let my dad find a job was un-believable I mean literally astonishing.

They were able to keep things normal because of their faith and their faith taught me to have faith in God and with him anything can be worked through and it is true he has helped me through so many things in life and helps me all the time.

Back to my parents situation the faith they had got us through the lay off in small ways and great ways like when I look back i notice that God always gave us what we needed in that time to survive and still have other things. Next faith showed me that God can accomplish things unaccomplishable by man and that if you call on him and he see’s you have full faith in him in your heart that he will help you with that thing and will make you happy! Faith showed me many things even if you have faith just in other people they can accomplish anything. This i believe that with faith anything is possible.

Matt Whitman

Choose to Look up . . . .

Posted in Encouragement, Happiness, Inspiriational Stories . . .

Choose How to Start Your Day

(Author Unknown)

Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “the first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

Jerry continued, “the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a deadman’. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead’.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

I Asked God

(Author Unknown) 

I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me a brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage and God gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted and I received everything I needed.

The Buzzard, The Bat and The Bumblebee

(Author Unknown)

If you put a BUZZARD in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary BAT that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A BUMBLEBEE, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, there are lots of people like the BUZZARD, the BAT, and the BEE. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there…”above” them…

Have a wonderful day and Don’t forget to look UP!!

When all the Saints of the Bible go marching in . . .
I want to be one of them . . .

Pickup in the Rain

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American
Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
Unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man
Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
Put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
Knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
Giant console color TV was delivered to his home.
A Special note was attached.
It read:
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
The other night. The rain drenched not only my
Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along . . .
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
Husband's' bedside just before he passed away . . . God Bless you
for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Rescued from Sandy Storm . . .

Amazing Sandy Survival Story

Teresa Neumann (Nov 12, 2012)

"As I'm writing this, I'm dying . . . God Almighty, help me." -Note left by "Mike," survivor of Hurricane Sandy

(Toms River, NJ)—A report on Yahoo News has detailed the survival of a 28-year old man named "Mike" who—when a wall of water forced him to evacuate his home during Hurricane Sandy's onslaught—sought shelter in a stranger's house whose owners had fled in advance of the storm.

After Sandy passed, Christine Treglia returned to her home to find several notes from "Mike" scribbled on windows and walls throughout her house. Some of them were "Help Me" signs, but one was a note saying he believed he was going to die. It asked that his father "Tony" be notified in the event they found his body in the house.

The report is riveting in several aspects. Mike was apparently first swept out into the bay after his kitchen was torn apart and flooded. He reportedly spent "hours" trying to swim back home before he finally made it to Treglia's empty home.

"I was swimming for so long," he said, "I was so cold, I thought I was just going to freeze right there. But that lady [Treglia] I felt like for some reason, she knew someone was going to be in that house. She had these wool blankets all over the place. And I just wrapped myself in them."

Eventually, Mike was rescued. He later contacted Treglia to apologize for taking refuge in her house without her permission.

"There was money on the table; I didn't take nothing," he said. "I just took something that would keep me warm."


Source: Ron Recinto – The Lookout

May God be Glorified . . .

A Single Mother Finds God

Let me first tell you a little about myself and my life. I'm a single mother, and I have suffered greatly over the years. The devil has cursed my family. He has rained over my family for many years, tarring us apart. Even to go as far as to take my brothers life from driving him mad, last May of 2000. So here I am 26, depressed, feeling hopeless, alone, couldn't get out of bed, gaining over 50lbs, lost my job, and much more.

Than out the blue I get a call from my daughter's father, that has not seen us in 3 1/2 years. Say he wants to be a father. He tells me stories of how he has been clean from drugs and alcohol for over two years. I'm thinking this couldn't be possible but something told me to give him a chance. After meeting him, (my daughter was in school) he starts giving me testimony on how Jesus changed his life. He is now a minister of god's word and does great works for Jesus. When I decided to let him see his daughter, I told him I needed a safe place for them to meet for the first time. It was Easter weekend and he suggested that we meet at his church. I agreed. So to church we went.

WOW let me tell you, I was so moved by this church. And Jesus was drawing me there time after time again. I started asking questions about Jesus and Christian life. I was very interested but afraid. I felt the need to go and pray to Jesus for my salvation. But I couldn't get over my fear. And weeks later I started becoming more comfortable I started praising him and feeling his presence. I finally prayed at home I asked Jesus to bless me with his sprit. A few days later my daughter, her father, and I attended a youth rally in Michigan. They were over 1000 people there just loving Jesus and it moved me. I went home that evening and while I was sleeping I had a dream. I was at a rally like I had just attended that evening. The youth minister was giving his message and called for someone to receive the Holy Spirit. Just then I started to speak in tongues and only to wake hearing myself speak in this way, than as I lay in my bed a weight came over me, and a tingling sensation. Than as a mighty rush, fire burned through my body and centered on my heart and I could feel my heart being filled with his love and joy. And my old heart was discarded. Oh how powerful that was, All I could do was lay there in amazement.

Then suddenly a vision of Jesus' profile came over me and than only to see his eyes with the greatest twinkle and fire in them. I just praised him over and over again, all night long. Two days later at church I got up and gave my testimony and was Baptized in Jesus name for the remission of my sins. And here I start my New Birth in Christ. Since then I have broke the curse on my family and aliments have left me. I am so excited to go to church all the time. I have a great new job, I have lost 20lbs, and my depression is nolonger. Oh how he has blessed me!! I get up and pray and praise him aloud all the time. Oh how Jesus keeps blessing me!! The bible says, he is the comforter and counselor. It is true, I feel an everlasting comfort that could have only come from God. And he keeps counseling me in everything I do. There is a Jesus and he is all powerful, all knowing, all mighty, Halleluia! And I praise him for my Salvation, and being my king, the king of kings. Halleluia!!!!

Sincerely Gods child,
Heather

Divine Provision

Divine Provision

I have always heard and read of people's experiences about angels but I have never had the opportunity to experience one until one faithful Saturday. I am a member of my church choir and I had to go for rehearsals that day. Things have been rough at home in respect to finance and my baby was just a year old. We didn't have anything to eat at home and the only money I had on me was just to take me to church and not back home but I just surrendered to God that I believe he would sort me out. I took my baby with me and left for church without eating.

On getting to church, my baby started crying because she was hungry. I didn't have money to buy food, but surprisingly a friend of mine just told me she was going for lunch and decided to take my baby with her and bought her lunch. I just prayed and thanked God.

After rehearsals, another friend said she would go home with me since my husband was gonna pick us from church. My husband came by and we all left to go home but I was still praying for God to provide since we don't have anything to eat at home. My friend left for her house and we got home safely. My husband decided to empty the boot of the car only to find a shopping bag filled with groceries and food items. He called my attention to it and asked how I was able to shop for the house.

I just gazed at him, speechless. I told him it might be my friend had forgotten it in the car when she left us. I called my friend about the bag but she told me she saw the bag where I was sitting with my baby in church and she helped me take it to the car. I was dumbfounded. It was like a dream because no one could have kept a bag there without me knowing.

I knelt down immediately and blessed God for his divine provision. I believe it was a ministering angel that did it and we ate that night like we've never eaten before.The items took us for a whole week. HE CARES FOR HIS OWN.

To Hell and Back . . .

The Testimony of Timothy T. LaFond

My name is Timothy LaFond. I am from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am formerly from Farmington and Union Lake in the state of Michigan. I want to give my personal testimony on dying and going to hell. I want to share some of the facts and what happened and how I ended up being cast into "outer darkness."

I cried out! I screamed out with every ounce of muscle, "GOD HELP ME!"

That was January 27, 1977. The first 27 years of my life, I was raised in a Catholic home and attended 12 years of catholic schooling. One of my favorite nuns, Sister Maria Elizabeth told me that none of the other nuns or teachers liked me, except her. Well, with that said she was always my favorite and I had lot of respect for her, but the others meant nothing to me.

I graduated in 1968 and that summer I was introduced to Marijuana. That escalated into smoking hash, P.C.P., also called angel dust, T, H.C., Mescaline, and L.S.D. I loved to drink beer and wine along with the drugs.

In 1974 the company I worked for in Ohio went on Strike. The strike lasted until early fall. I did my one weeks duty on the picket line and then drove to my mothers' home on the Cheboygan River in Michigan for the remaining strike time.

One weekend, while doing L.S.D. I started hallucinating and got very paranoid. I normally would fish all night at the end of the dock while doing drugs. This particular night, I couldn't keep focused so I ended up in bed. I was scared and afraid that I was losing my mind. I remember asking God to let me keep my mind!

The following Friday, my mother said to me, "Last Saturday you were really drunk! I asked her why she would say that? She said, "About 3:30 I was up and went into your room. I was looking at you and couldn't tell if you were breathing or not. So I sat down on the side of your bed and I bent over you to see. Suddenly you grabbed me around the neck and started chocking me. I couldn't get away and the more I fought the harder you squeezed! I couldn't say anything! You just kept saying, "MOM, is that you? Mom is that you?" Finally you let me go. I was so out of breath that I passed out right next to you, until I could regain my breath and strength!"

Here, I have to say the words to this blessed song.

He lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me, and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, Salvation to impart,
You ask me how I know he lives.
He lives within my heart!

Now I know that my family would never have forgiven me if God had not intervened that summer night. I was the youngest of seven children, and considered the Black Sheep of the family. I thank God, for that night was the last time I took Mescaline or L.S.D! To God Be the Glory!

For the next two years I would continue to smoke Pot. I also got dependent on speed or white crosses, and little did I know that God was bringing me closer to knowing Him and His Glory. Never to be the same person again! All my life I lived for me, for self, for parties, and all I did was sin, sin, sin, and sin. I later came to realize that God's Holy Spirit was guiding me even though I never knew Him! I was full of the devil!

JEREMIAH 29:13 says, "and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart"

Now let me tell you what happened on January 27, 1977.

On January 27,1977, I was living in Columbus, Ohio. My job was building fire trucks for Sutphen Fire Equipment Corporation in Dublin. I had been working there for about four years at that time. It was Friday about 2:30 in the afternoon, we were putting doors of fire trucks together, punching out the holes on the doors. We would do about 60 at a time, which would be about 3 or 4 trucks. Gill, a fellow employee and friend of mine, was picking up the doors and putting them into the punch machine. I would hold them at the top and line each one up on the press, then let go. He would push a button with his foot and the machine would punch out the hole.

The day was a typical cold, winter day and a pile of metal was brought in from outside the plant with snow all over it and of course the snow had melted, which left us standing in a pool of water. We weren't worried about it, otherwise we would have left and not worked there until the water dried up.

I would put my hand on the pile of metal, on one side of my body, up by my shoulder, and then take it off, and then put my hand on the machine. I would go back and forth like this all the while thinking that the machine was grounded, which it wasn't. This went on all morning, meanwhile the others in the plant were also busy doing the jobs they were assigned to. Some times the others would have their back to me and this is

what happened when Gill had walked away and two others guys that I had been talking to at other intervals had walked around the other side of the fire truck. Well, everyone had gone and I touched the metal and the machine with both hands at the same time. I became the conductor to be the ground. Electricity shot through me and it picked my feet right up off the ground contracting the muscles in my legs. I knew right away, that I was getting electrocuted. I was looking out into the shop from the platform that I was on and I could see everything going on as normal. No one knew that I was being electrocuted. Just to let you know my cardiologists couldn't believe that I made it through this because when you are standing in water it is ten times worse!

While I was getting electrocuted crucifixion style the electricity was flowing right through me, I saw my spirit leave my body. Instantly, I was in hell! At that time, I didn't know anything about the bible. I wasn't a religious person or a Christian and didn't know any Christians. I just know that I was cast into outer darkness. I heard the most horrifying, tormenting screams imaginable. I heard these time and time again, and although I never saw who was screaming, I, myself, would scream because of the fear of those frightening screams.

My sins were tormenting me while I was in hell, January 27, 1977. I saw my sins pass from my right to my left down to the age of five. Now here I am a young man of 27 years, seeing all my sins pass before me in living color. It was like watching a motion picture screen! I saw my very first sin committed at the age of 5. The sin of disobedience, and not honoring my mother and my father. My mother said, "I don't want you boys to eat those marshmallows. We are going to roast them over the fire in the back yard with the family tonight." Well, my mother caught my brother, Cliff, and I, hiding behind a stump, in our back yard in Farmington, Michigan, eating those marshmallows. This wasn't a sin of murder, or rape, or what ever the world considers a horrible sin, but a simple sin of disobedience. It was the last of a long line of sins shown to me. I saw sin, after sin, after sin. For every sin, there was a scream! Screams from me!

People have asked me, "How long were you there?" Well, it felt like eternity! It was that long! I couldn't tell you how long I was there, but I don't want to go back.

Besides the screaming there were also demons. Yes, there really are demons. Indescribable and most ugly things you had ever seen. They came up to me and taunted me. Yelling in my face, "We got you now!" Laughing at me saying, "We fooled you!"

"We fooled you!" "We got you now!" Followed by hideous laughter.

Now these things I am telling you took the Lord a few years to bring back to me. I have seen demons since in the real and spiritual life and by the grace of God I have cast them out. They are afraid of those of us who are Christian because of who is inside of us.

While I was there I realized there was no hope of every seeing God. I cried out to God during this time saying, "Oh God help me!" Again, "God, Help me!" One of the amazing things on my last scream, was my plea for God to help me. I felt Gods hand reach down and touch my shoulder. He is everywhere. In the bible you will read it. He is in Heaven, and earth and hell. He heard my plea. The right hand of the Lord touched me, I felt his fingers and thumb on my shoulder and He pulled me out of hell. He set me free from that electricity!

One of my fellow workers, Joe, who was a safety foreman in the shop and was about 150 or 200 feet from me, heard my scream. He didn't hear the words, "God help me!" As loud as I could scream, as if it was my last scream, fearfully. But what he did hear was, "The most horrible scream" he had ever heard in his whole life. He told me later. He said he asked people, " Who was it that screamed like that, and they told me it was you, Tim!" He asked me, "Why did you scream like that?" I told him, "that machine bit me, Joe! It electrocuted me..." Joe said, "Tim that was the most horrifying scream I have ever heard in my whole life. It was just like a scream out of hell!" See he didn't hear "God help me" He just heard the scream! I thank God for that.

The moment God touched my left shoulder; I saw my spirit come right back into my body like some one hit me in the chest! I came back alive and on the ground. My left knee hit the corner of a two wheeler cart and made the tires spin and propel the cart up in the air, as if a ghost had taken a ride on it, and hit the wall behind me.

I got up and was completely white, shaken, and numb for about 2 hours. I knew what had happened but couldn't tell anybody. I was taken to the hospital for 3 days. I had a major heart attack and numerous strokes after that and then lost my memory.

It is a very frightful thing to lose your memory. I remember going back to work and I got into a corner and Gill came up to me and ask what was the matter with me and I said "I can't remember, I can't remember what I am supposed to do, Gill" I was crying. I said, "I know I work here, but I can't remember what to do" He said, "Maybe we should go talk to the boss" Of course, my boss couldn't help me.

Well, later my neurologists said that most people do lose their memory when electrocuted. She told me that I only lost 30 million brain cells. Well, I only had 31! She scared the living daylights out of me, cause I really didn't know how many brain cells I had! She did tell me that I would get them back.

My back started to go out. My wife would leave for work and come home and say, "what did you do today?" I would cry and tell her that when she left the house, "I got up and locked the door and my back went out. I laid here on the floor until about 15 minutes ago. I couldn't get up! So for 8 1/2 hours I laid right there on the floor waiting for you to come home!" This would happen time and time again. Doctors of course would tell me that they had done all these test and could find nothing wrong with my back. I never knew when it would happen, but it seemed to happen often when my wife wasn't around.

I started having strokes. The Doctor would move the paper that read my heart rate on the EKG and he would take it 3 times a day. He would look at it and ask if I was

Ok. He did this often, and this also scared the daylights out of me. He was the top cardiologist in the state and he was puzzled about my condition. I was such an amazement to him that he told his staff that whenever I came into the office he wanted to see me right away. No matter if he was with a patient or not! I could walk into his office anytime and see him instantly! Sometimes after I left the Doctors office I would feel really bad. Really bad!

One day I looked at the Cardiologist and said, "Doc., If I was to tell you where I went you wouldn't believe it, and God brought me back!" I didn't have the presence of God in my heart so I couldn't tell him.

He said to me one time, "I am not a Christian but have you ever heard of a Christian? I have some friends that are and I told them all about you being electrocuted and that you should be dead. You are a miracle! Anyone who has had electric shock through his or her heart like you did at 10 times the voltage should be dead. The only way to bring them back is electricity that we know of.

Now I had electricity in me for four or five months after the shock. I found that out the first time I kissed my wife. We would shock each other when we touched! And it hurt! Now can you imagine? Every time you reach for your wife, you were shocked again! We got so we would touch each other at the same time to lessen the shock. It really wasn't as funny as it sounds. The electricity that came into me didn't come out. It could have come out my feet or hands. It could have even come out the top of my head. I was having all these strokes that hurt so bad and made me curl up into a fetal position. This is why the Doctor would see me whenever I was having these strokes. Of course, he couldn't do anything to help me.

I was in top physical condition at the time of this electrocution. I played on a baseball team that was 8th place in the state of Ohio. I taught scuba diving. I loved to scuba dive. But when this happened to me I wasn't interested in playing sports anymore. It didn't mean anything to me to go to the ocean and scuba dive and play with the sharks. I had a void in my life. I knew in my heart who saved me! I saw where I was headed! I saw eternity and met death and I didn't want to meet it again! I had met God but now I had no idea how to find him.

I would go out with my party friends and tell them that I wanted to find God. We would laugh about it, but I was serious! They would tell me to have another beer, or smoke another joint! I started asking my friends if I was going crazy, because I really wanted to find God! The only way they knew how to help me was to encourage me to get higher and forget it! They just didn't understand! I just kept saying, "I want to find God! I want to find God!" You would have thought that I really was going crazy! I cried, "I WANT TO FIND GOD!"

I hadn't found any help from my Doctors or old friends. Just encouraging words that I was all right, that my memory would come back, that my strokes would subside, that my heart was healthy. They only knew the physical heart. My friends only knew the

"old Tim". I WANTED TO FIND GOD! I WAS A SINNER WHO HAD DIED AND GONE TO HELL! I WAS LOST AND WITHOUT GOD!

I moved to Liberal, Kansas and went to school to become a diesel mechanic. I was also working in the oil fields and in a shop. Learning all the basics to becoming a mechanic.

One day in November I read an article about Anita Bryant coming to town to speak out against homosexuality, with Cecil Todd as the evangelist. I arranged for all my new friends, about 10 or 12 of us, to go see her and hear her preach out against homosexuality. I thought I was going to go and do some bashing of the homosexuals. I even went so far as to take a baseball bat. I didn't know what a Christian crusade was. I didn't know about all the beautiful music and songs that she was going to be singing. When we got to the stadium, my wife saw the bat in the back seat and said, "You don't need that!" Then she told me what we were going to see. You know, a lot of times, when you are a sinner, you want to sit way in the back. We sat all the way at the top of the stadium.

I had never heard Anita sing before. She was in the orange juice commercials, and this night she sang "Blessed Assurance". I had never heard that before and it was so beautiful. She also sang "Victory in Jesus", and, "How Great Thou Art" My heart was stirred! The songs were speaking to me, just as they do now when I hear them. She sang 8 or 10 more songs, but I only remember those three.

Then Cecil Todd got up and gave the message. I couldn't tell you what he said,

something about salvation and that Jesus saves. When he gave the altar call and told everyone who wanted, to come forward, I was the first one to get up. All I remember is that here was the God I have been searching for! I have wanted to find Him for the last 10 months! Finally going to a crusade, out of the blue, God led me to Him! I literally ran down those steep steps! I was told later from my friends, that I ran so fast down the stairs, they were worried I might trip! They even called out, "Don't let him fall!" I was on the second seat from the top! It looked like angels were carrying me, I flew that fast! I asked God to forgive me of my sins! Praise the Lord!

Nothing much else happened that night. I got home and grabbed the bible and started reading in John. I remember the words, " In the beginning, was the word, and the word was with God and the Word was God." I thought, "If only I would have known! If only some one could have told me! If only someone could have said, Hey Tim, read the bible. It's right there where you will find God!" I said, "Oh God. I have been looking for you everywhere for 10 months and here you were, in this Bible."

The Lord was really speaking to me. I read John, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Over and over again I read these books, for five to six years! I just was so thirsty for His Word!

People tell me what a wonderful testimony I have. "No." I reply. "I am just a sinner saved by Grace! Once I was lost but now I am found." Don't any of you ever say that! Your testimony is as good as mine. The Grace of God has saved you! He has

forgiven you! I am no different! I just took a harder road to get there! And God said this is a little hard cookie! We are going to take him a different way!

What I found out by reading the scriptures and kneeling down to praying and listening to God speak to my heart, is that He came in such a sweet way! Life has been much better then I could ever tell you. Much more glorious then I have ever dreamed possible. I never knew that giving my heart to the Lord would make such a difference!

Victorious is another word. Seek the Lord with your whole heart! "Search for me, and you will find me." it says in Jeremiah.

I found health! My strokes went away when I found Jesus! My memory came back to me when I found Jesus! It was even better then it was before! Remembering facts and figures and things! I started to memorize scripture. He helped me to remember! My back pain also went away! No more pain!

I found a Savior that took away all my strokes, back pain, brought back and restored my memory, enriched my life, and also took all my sins! He took all my sins and has forgiven me! It wasn't till about 4 years later that I could start talking about it to others!

In September of 1987, when I was at the Nazarene Bible College, I was in prayer and God came. He took me into another dimension and showed me the "lake of fire" and held me there! There were millions of people burning in the "lake of fire." Their bodies were whole but they were burning! It was awful! Horrifying! Screaming people! It was a fearful thing to see, but I was at peace, knowing that God had his hand on my shoulder. I didn't know what to think about that. So I just kept it in my thoughts and went to school the next day. After arriving home, I went again to the Lord in prayer, at 3:30 in the afternoon and he came again. This time he showed me the whole thing and showed me the edge of the lake of fire. There were people falling over the edge. People were right on the brink of the fire. He said to me, "You are going to pluck them out of hell. You are going to save them and pull them back over the edge with your testimony. You will get them before they go in."

There were hundreds of millions of them. What a fearful site! I remember writing it all down and asking, "Lord, where are all those people?" He told me they were all over the world. And I believe that in this day and age, God is going to use my testimony, and pluck them right back into existence and living for Jesus.

God has crowned me with many Victories and many precious friends throughout America. I have witnessed countless revivals, camp meetings, Holy Ghost Meetings, and the Salvation of souls. My testimony and the Joy of the Lord has blessed many. I write the words of friends, saints, and family members. "We haven't seen such power with God in years!"

In 1988, after completing my first year of Bible College, my brother, David, said to me, "I was always ashamed of you and what you had become, but today, I am really proud to call you my brother, and to see what God has done for you!"

After he was saved, my nieces husband, Dave Bills once said to me "I've seen 2000 lb. bombs explode in Vietnam, and saw what they could do, but today, I saw more power in one man than all the bombs dropped in Vietnam!" Praise God!

My wife and I went to a camp meeting in Henderson, North Carolina and went to a church while there, and the pastor asked me and my wife to speak and give our testimonies. I told them about me dying and going to hell. About 25 to 30 gave their hearts to the Lord that day, weeping and crying at the alter.

After the service, there was this elderly gentleman, in the back who motioned me to his side. He told me he was 68 years old. He said, "I have been a church member here for 30 years. I have been on the board for 20 years. Ten years ago I died! I am very influential in the church. I was in a car accident. I was put in a body bag. I died and went to hell! I didn't tell anyone, that I died and went to hell! I was ashamed to tell anyone that I was sent there. Here I was a grandfather of this church! But young man,

Oh young man! But young man, today when you gave your testimony, and gave an altar call and people came and were saved, I knew, I had been freed! I was bound by Satan. I couldn't tell my story! God sent you to free me! I said, "Oh God, I want to be like him. Set me free. Get me out of here so that I can tell my testimony!"

This is what told me that God had sent Celeste and myself to this church. Sure my wife and I praised the Lord for those 25-30 people who gave their hearts to the Lord that day. But this one Gentlemen, now he can go out and tell his story and be used by God for the saving of souls! Glory to God!

This is why God saved my soul, and sanctified me. I thank God for my soul and for my testimony to be used to save souls. Thank you Jesus! I Love the Lord today! He has set me free! Hallelujah!

I have gotten used to the family of God. I have learned to say, "I really love you." and to hug every brother and sister in Christ. My church family became my family away from family. I saw my Mother, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, friends and co-workers no longer as such, but as souls who were lost and dying and going to hell. So I have learned to pray and fast. Prayer is the key to heaven. Words are a mere expression of thought and nothing more. Believing is what really counts, but Faith unlocks the door.

My mother, on her death bed, five days before she died, said, "Jesus, I'm seventy-eight years old and dying. I don't know you like my little baby boy knows you!" She was saved on March 4, 1987 at 2:30 p.m. and many more have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. GLORY TO GOD!

It is my hope God can use my testimony around the country, in America and in China, in the name of Jesus.

Father, we just thank you for your grace and mercy, for the cross of Christ, that God gave His son, so that we may have life. He is in the Heavens, and every part of our lives, if we just recognize it. Lord we pray today that you bless this as it goes out and touches lives. AMEN

Rev. Timothy T. LaFond

Timothy T. LaFond

2599 Prescott Circle E.
Colorado Springs, Co. 80916

Dancing with the Master . . .

Are you dancing with the Master? A few years back the Lord extended His hand to me and issued an invitation, “Come dance with Me.” He told me that He was giving me a gift, and that gift was the ability to listen and to hear His voice.

You can’t be a good dancing partner unless you are able to follow the lead of your partner. Great dancers are totally synchronized with their partners as were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

When I was a child, American Bandstand was all the rave. We would hurry home from school every afternoon to turn the TV on and watch the teenagers in poodle skirts, bobby socks and saddle oxfords dance to the latest hit music. In those days my dance partner was often a doorknob or a broom.

Many times in life, I took the lead away from my partner and got ahead of God by making wrong decisions, like getting married at 18 to someone my parents didn’t approve of, and turned out not to have the making of a good dance partner. Eph 6:1-3 states, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

A recent television series called “Dancing with the Stars,” puts emphasis on the fact that you can be a star in your own right but in order to dance you have to listen to the professional dance instructor that has been chosen to teach you to dance. You have to follow their advice and practice. Much preparation is required in order to persevere to the end of the competition.

Being asked to dance with the Master, the Creator of the universe, the ultimate teacher and lover of our soul, has opened the door to a lifetime of my learning to trust His lead.

I believe that he has a plan for each life and a specific dance that each of us are suited for and are being trained and equipped to dance. Eph 4:7-8 declares, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men.”

Some people are gifted in fast dancing like the jitterbug or the calypso while others are gifted in the slow, smooth waltz. I long to waltz, to be held in the arms of my partner and to glide around the ballroom but the truth is that I am clumsy and uncoordinated. I have two left feet and I am not a good follower.

Ephesians 5:1-2 exhorts us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

When Jesus knew in advance that I didn’t know how to dance with the master. He knew there would be times when I would step on his feet and not know the steps. There would be times when I would get ahead of Him and He would have to teach me to wait. (Psa 27:14) But He is a partner with unlimited patience and grace. He loves us very much and wants us to succeed, He has a plan and a purpose for each life. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

In our dance with the Master we learn how to abide in Him, and to dance in his strong embrace. It is a beautiful, progressive journey. Will you take his hand when he reaches out to you, or will you continue to cling to the safety of the wall?

Patricia Harris

Daddy's Empty Chair

 

-- Author Unknown

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows.

An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me," he said.

“No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up,”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

“I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day, four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest...’”

‘Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky, because He promised, ‘I will be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’”

“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” the minister asked.

“Yes. When I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But, there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”

Angels in the Alley . . .

Author Unknown

Diane, a young Christian University student, was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some friends one evening and time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year.

She ended up staying longer than planned, and had to walk home alone. She wasn't afraid, because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away.

As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Diane asked "God" to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a short cut to her house, she decided to take it, however, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for "God's" protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her, she felt as though someone was walking with her.

When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely.

The following day, she read in the newspaper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley, just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep.

Thanking the Lord for her safety and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed.

The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her. She asked if they would ask the man one question. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him, he answered, "Because she wasn't alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her."

Moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of Prayer.

We should have died . . .

I had had my license for about 6 months (I was 17, I’m 20 now) and my friends and I decided to go shopping. I thought it was perfect my parents were going out of town and they were leaving me the van. Kimi and Evan and I hoped in the car when Evan remembered that he had forgotten his wallet. He lives far out of town and I said no worries lets go get it. Well we drove 30 mins and got to his house, he ran inside got his wallet, and we left. We were approaching the intersection on the highway, Something told me that Evan wasn’t wearing his seatbelt so I told him to put it on. He was in the back seat, Kimi was in the front changing the CD. I looked both way getting ready to turn left and as I did, I suddenly heard metal on metal, crunching and we started to spin, I hit the curb flipped and rolled my mother’s van down an embankment. We missed the light pole by 2 feet and landed 2 feet away from the powerline pole in the ditch. We landed on two wheels, (like Herbie does) Kimi was hanging in her seat belt and Evan and I were leaning against the hole where the windows used to be. We crawled out and got Kimi out. The moment we got out the car landed fully on its side. As we were crawling out someone pulled up and saw us and called for help. Soon many people sarted to show up and help us. When we got to the top I noticed what I hit. I had hit a loaded logging truck and its trailer. Many people were hovering around me and I looked up and saw my old cabin leader from bible camp. I haven’t been to bible camp in 2-3 years. When I saw BJ I was so happy and totally felt a calming come over me. Someone I recognized made me feel calm and know that we were all going to be fine. I sat up and gave her a long hug, and said thankyou and she smiled at me, never saying anything. Help arrived and as the police officer was asked me what happened and I told him. When Evan and I were getting ready to go into the ambulance I look all around at all the people there to help us, trying to find BJ and she was gone, the guy that looked like he was with her was still there. She just disappeared.

4 hours later, as I was waiting in my gurney and neck brace for my x-rays I suddenly realized what had happened. God had sent an angel or many of them to save us. We hit a speeding loaded logging truck and missed 2 poles by 2 feet. As my mom and I were talking about what happened she and I noticed that none of the airbags deployed and mine and Evans seatbelt came undone sometime during our flips and rolls. We all walked away with no injuries. Just a few scratches that you can’t even see now.

We should have died. Looking at the pics we took of my mothers write off van is incredible. All the windows were broken except for the back window, the inside panel on the passanger sliding door was ripped off and flew out of the car, the vents were ripped out. We figure that when we rolled my side hit first because they is a huge dent on the top of the roof, where my head was. Kimis side was the side that was hit by the truck and the truck hit the back of the van and slid right up to the front, leaving a huge scratch. The police officer and the paramedics don’t understand how we could have possible lived. We should not have lived.

All I know is that someone up there loves me and us and knew that it wasn’t mine or my friends time to go to our home in the sky. So we got to stay in our rental home… earth

God saved my life . . .

I wanted to share my own personal testimony of a miracle God performed in my life a few years ago. I went to cash my check one afternoon. After returning to my car, I was putting my money away and preparing to pull out of the parking lot. A guy approached my car and knocked on my driver's side window. Startled, I rolled my window down and asked what I could help him with. He asked me a question and pointed behind me. I turned my head to look behind me to see where he was pointing and when I turned my head back towards him there was a gun in my face. Before I could yell or even think, he pulled the trigger 3 times. Not one bullet left the chamber. The gun jammed. He ran off and I took the opportunity to run back in the building and alert the staff who of course called the police. Mind you, when I ran in the building I left all of my money on the front seat of the car, car running, and car door open. He could have at taken anything, more importantly he could have taken my life. There is no other explanation than the fact that God was with me. So anytime I question whether God loves me, or if He's still with me, even when I'm selfish and disobedient, I think back to how He spared my life and more importantly gave His for little ole me. Thank you Jesus!

Closer

David Wilkerson and the Increase of our Faith

Monday, January 25, 2010

INCREASE OUR FAITH

 

Mark 4 relates a story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat, being tossed about on a stormy sea. As we pick up the scene, Christ has just calmed the waves with a single command. Now he turns to his disciples and asks, “How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

You may think this sounds harsh. It was only human to fear in such a storm. But Jesus wasn’t chiding them for that reason. Rather, he was telling them, “After all this time with me, you still don’t know who I am. How could you possibly walk with me for this long, and not know me intimately?”

Indeed, the disciples were astonished by the amazing miracle Jesus had performed. “They feared exceedingly, and said to one another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (4:41).

 Can you imagine it? Jesus’ own disciples didn’t know him. He had personally called each of these men to follow him and they had ministered alongside him, to multitudes of people. They’d performed miracles of healing, and fed masses of hungry people. But they were still strangers to who their Master really was.

Tragically, the same is true today. Multitudes of Christians have ridden in the boat with Jesus, ministered alongside him, and reached multitudes in his name. But they really don’t know their Master. They haven’t spent intimate time shut in with him. They’ve never sat quietly in his presence, opening their hearts to him, waiting and listening to comprehend what he wants to say to them. 

We see another scene regarding the disciples’ faith in Luke 17. The disciples came to Jesus, requesting, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many Christians today ask the same question: “How can I obtain faith?” But they don’t seek the Lord himself for their answer.

If you want increased faith, you have to do the same thing Jesus told his disciples to do in this passage. How did he answer their request for faith? “Gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken” (17:8). Jesus was saying, in essence, “Put on your garment of patience. Then come to my table and sup with me. I want you to feed me there. You happily labor for me all day long. Now I want you to commune with me. Sit down with me, open your heart, and learn of me.”

Ben and His own miracle . . .

One day Carol and the kids were driving out of Buraimi, a tiny territory in the Arab country of Oman where the Turners were missionaries. It is a desert region where there can be virtually no rainfall for years. Ben asked, "Mom, are we going to live here forever?" Carol said that it depended on God's will and asked Ben if he wanted to live in Buraimi forever. Ben said,"no," he wanted to live in America because it snows in America, but it never snows here. Trying to sound encouraging, Carol agreed that it never snows here, but reminded him that it does rain in winter sometimes.

"But we had winter and it didn't rain. If it would just rain . . . " lamented Ben.

"What would you do if it did rain?" Carol asked.

He rattled off a whole list of ideas--obviously he'd been thinking about this for some time. "Well, it doesn't rain here in the summer, but maybe next winter it will rain some," Carol offered lamely.

Suddenly Ben became bold. "You know, Mom, God could make it rain in the summer. He can make it rain whenever he wants to. He can make it rain right now. I think we should ask him. Let's pray," he said, sticking his hand toward Carol. She took his hand and prayed, ". . . it if would please you and if it wouldn't mess up any of your other plans, could you please make it rain? We'll understand if there's some reason you don't want it to rain right now, but i8f it would be OK, we'd really like some rain...."

The next day was a normal day. Carol was doing chores around the house and the kids were playing as usual. Then the electricity went out for a while (also as usual). With the air conditioners and fans immobilized, the rest of the house was suddenly very quiet and very hot. Carol lay down on the floor to rest from the heat. In the stillness, she heard a low rumble that sounded like thunder. Ben heard it too. Of course, it wasn't thunder--it must be a plane. Then they heard it again. It wasn't a plane. They all went outside, looked up, and there it was . . . a big, black thundering rain cloud, poised right above the house! Next they heard the plink! plink! plink! of raindrops landing on the metal carport.

Realization dawned on Carol. "Ben, God is answering your prayer! Do you feel the drops? It is actually raining!" Ben looked around, rather unsatisfied, and said, "Actually, I was expecting more rain than this ..." and he went to get the umbrella. As soon as he did, the rain broke and really started coming down, and Ben got to do all the things he'd been wishing he could do in the rain.

The neighbors emerged from their houses and stood in the rain, looking up and remarking to each other at the spectacle. Children came out of the woodwork and into the streets to play in the cooling rain. But the most amazing part of this story is that it only rained until Ben had done all the things he'd wanted to do in the rain (around 15-20 minutes). "If the power hadn't quite at just that moments, we probably wouldn't have heard the thunder and would have missed the whole thing!" Carol says. "And it only rained in our neighborhood (about two city blocks in size)," she adds. "Some friends who live nearby remarked that the ground on our side of the street was wet, and the ground on their side of the street was dry!"

Can't you just picture God behind the scenes, smiling with delight as he creates a storm cloud above believing Ben's house, carefully timing the electrical failure and the rain shower? "Where there is great love, there are always miracles," wrote Willa Cather.

Now, wouldn't it have been something if Ben had decided to pray for snow ....

Diane Eble is an author (11 books, hundreds of articles)and book publishing coach. This article is just one of the 260 stories you can read from her book, Abundant Gifts. To read 5 more inspiring, true stories in a Digital Web book with 3D turning pages for free, visit http://www.abundant-gifts.com There you can also download a free copy of your own Digital Web Journal to record the abundant gifts in your life.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Diane_Eble

Former Broadway Muscian . . .

"Some years ago I was involved with Broadway, playing the part of the John Lennon in Beatlemania, and also recording as a solo artist for Atlantic Records. With my career going the way it was, a lot of people would think I was in the midst of fulfilling the American dream, but in actuality, it was a very stressful time in my life. My mother had died from cancer and then my father was murdered shortly thereafter. Little did I know that it would all take its toll on me some years later.

"It was my friend, Phil Keaggy, who lead me to the Lord back then, and helped me to break free from secular music, and learn to live my life for the Lord, Jesus Christ. I will always be grateful to Phil for sharing Jesus with me and for being such a good role model to me. Anyway, I was out playing here and there doing concerts, and ran into some difficulties a few years ago. Somehow I managed to come down with a heart condition. We are talking serious stuff here. I discovered that it also ran in my family tree, but having been an orphan now for a number of years, I did not know anything about this at first. The Bible talks about blessings and curses, and the sins of the Father being passed on to the third and forth generations. (Read Exodus 34:7, Deuteronomy Chapt 28, II Timothy 3:16 and Galations 3:10-3:29) I will tell you that I did not grow up in a Christian home.

"I was sent to see a cardiologist after a week in hospital in the fall of '99, and the future looked pretty grim. I had just acquired a young 3 year old Tennessee Walking horse, as I have been an equestrian most of my life, and am as passionate about horses, as I am about art and music. I was told I would never ride again. Soon I was put on some very dangerous medicines, that actually have caused sudden death, the very thing it is supposed to prevent. Being a believer, I desperately ran after the Lord. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I was at a church service in Dallas, GA about that time. My friend, Eddie Rogers, who was a pastor there prophesied over me, and told me the Lord would heal me and I would receive a miracle, and live a long healthy life. Eddie helped me understand that the Lord wants to heal us, but we still have our part to play. I mean, not everyone gets saved, and yet the Bible teaches that God wants to save all of us that none shall parish. Of course you can see God wants to heal all of us as well, but we still have a part to play. We have choices to make. How many times in the Bible did Jesus say to someone, "your faith has healed you?! " So faith must have a part in getting one healed. Without faith we can not even be saved. You are saved by faith! ( If you have not yet been healed, I am not saying that maybe you don't have enough faith, because God gives us all a measure of faith. Faith can increase, however."So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"-- Romans10:17 ) Also, "as a man thinkth so he is." So I came to that place where I had to ask myself, "Whose report are you going to believe?" I sought after the Lord Jesus, day and night and discovered Hebrews 13:8 that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Malachi 3:6 He changes not!

"So I got to thinking, "when did he stop doing miracles?" My friends the Newsboys all prayed for me and the lead singer, Peter Furler told me his dad, Bill, had prayed for a blind man once, back in Australia and he received his sight. My good friend Seth Barnes of AIM, (Adventures in Missions) encouraged me in the Word, and also showed me amazing reports from around the world where the Lord was still doing miracles, healing people, and even raising some from the dead. He got me to read a book by Jack Deere, Surprised by the Spirit, and in it I found stories that also helped build my faith. There was one story of a young boy who had been dead over six hours, and a evangelist from North Carolina, named Mahesh Chavda was used to pray him back to life with many witnesses. Yes, this happened in our life time. Read your Bible and see for yourselves. It talks about casting out evil spirits and raising the dead. (Mark 16 and Matt 10:7-8--KJV) After the Holy Spirit came upon them even the Apostles did these things. As believers we are told "this and greater things shall you do!" Many Christians just do not study the Word for themselves, but trust their pastor instead to think for them, which actually puts extra burdens on the pastor. No offence, but they are still just men too, and in Romans 7 Saint Paul admits the things he wants to do he does not always do, and the things he does not want to do-- that he does, because of the evil that dwells within. All of us have fallen short, of the glory of God. What I am trying to say is you need Jesus Christ to be Lord over all of your life-- every aspect of it. So make sure all the thoughts you have line up with what God says. Think holy words always!

"Anyway, I started looking for the Lord in a number of Churches and ministries and as He said, "seek and you shall find!" Eventually I ended up at Pleasant Valley Ministries in Thomaston, GA. After receiving ministry there, I was healed of a so-called incurable heart disease! Then in July 2001 I was there for a church service just a week after I was ordained as a minister, which was also the same day I was taken off heart medicine. I was asked to share my gifts of music in that service, but instead of doing so, I began to have heart trouble, of which I knew I was already healed. My Doctor, Terri Allen of Montgomery, Alabama, (the Fit Center) who to me is the best doctor in the world, was with me at the time. I recall her taking my pulse and looking very concerned, but saying, "we have tried medicine, now we must just trust in the Lord," and she kept praying for me all through this time.

"After the service had ended, I was talking to Pastor Henry and his staff, and I suddenly started to pass out. Actually, I was dying right there on the alter of the Lord. Dr. Terri, was taking my pulse. For two and half hours it had been faint and irregular, and was at this moment completely gone! All I recall was hearing Pastor Henry say," I know how to deal with this." Pastor Henry prayed at this time, apparently casting out a spirit of death. I recall Dr. Terri telling me how astonishing that was because she had her finger on my pulse, and it was non-existant. The instant Pastor Henry prayed, my pulse came back so strong and healthy that it pushed her finger off, which had never happened to her before in all her years of medical practice and ER duties.

"It's impossible to have no pulse and then suddenly have a normal healthy one. Anita Hill, who is a nurse and Pastor Henry's assistant, was taking my pulse on the other hand and had the exact same experience as Dr, Terri. The Bible tells us, "Nothing is Impossible with God!" In a tape series called " Spirit World Realities 2002 " by Pastor Henry, he mentions this story and goes on to say,"What should we have done? Called 911? It would have been too late. We called on the name of Jesus, and Caspar is alive and well today!"

"Pastor Henry Wright, is one of the most Christ-like men I have ever met in my life. I believe he operates in all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am eternally grateful to him for the work he does in ministry to teach the truth and set people free. I believe perhaps, thousands of people have been healed of all sorts of terrible diseases by the Lord, through this ministry all around the world. I would strongly suggest you take a look at the book, A More Excellent Way, and also Biblical Foundations for Freedom, which were transcribed from Pastor Henrys teaching of the Word. If you have not yet heard of it, you can order it at 800 453 5775.

"A few months ago I was preaching at a Church, and Dr Terri drove over four hours both ways, just to help me testify to what I have just shared. When Dr. Terri shared her side of the story at the end of the service, she went on to say that indeed, it would have been to late to call 911, and that I had already been on last ditch medicine. There was nothing anyone could have done to save me. I ask you, do we serve a Living God or what?!!! All Praise be to my Lord Jesus Christ, I thank Him everyday for my now good health, for allowing me to still be here to watch my children grow up in the knowledge of the Lord, to be here for my wife, family, and friends, and to ride my horse again, to make music and art unto the Lord, and serve Him through this ministry. Alleleuia!"

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psalms 51:6 KJV

Caspar McCloud

God Pinned Me to the Floor . . .

The Night God Pinned Me to the Floor

Christian Testimony of a Transformed Life

From Josprel

The Night God Pinned Me to the Floor

Although I was brought up in a Christian home, I abandoned the Lord at a very young age — 13 years old. My parents struggled to get me to attend church, but nothing availed. Though I did not drift into deep sin, I did sin. God, however, does not color sin in shades of black, white or gray. To him sin is sin, period.

Upon completing school at age 17, I went to enlist in the Air Force. However, because of my young age, the recruiter informed me that one of my parents was required to sign for my enlistment. This they refused to do, until I threatened to leave home and never return. Dad signed; if he hadn't, I no doubt would have followed through with my threat.

I spent three years in the Air Force — two and one half of them overseas — serving as an operating engineer. I was trained to operate heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers, road-graders, heavy cranes, heavy engineering vehicles, C2 crash-truck cranes used to lift and haul away crashed aircraft, and most of the other types of heavy construction equipment. By my eighteenth birthday, I had attained the rank of engineering sergeant.

Nothing Moved Me

During my time in the Air Force, I attended chapel service only once — for the funeral service of a buddy who committed suicide while on duty. His fiancé had written him a "Dear John" letter, saying she was pregnant and was going to marry the man who was the father of her child. My buddy killed himself by stealing a jeep, traveling at floorboard speed, and intentionally rolling the vehicle over. He died instantly. Even this didn't move me toward the Lord.

When my time finally came for discharge, I was offered additional promotion if I would agree to reenlist. I refused, arriving home at 20 years of age, still unsaved.

At home I took employment in my field as an operating engineer. It was an extremely well paying, respected job in civilian life, and I felt I had "the world by the tail." At night I went out with my buddies, though I did not drink heavily and carouse as they did. I was flush with money, drove a late-model Chrysler, dated pretty girls and partied or traveled on weekends.

Feelings of Futility

Then one night about three in the morning, I arrived home with a feeling of futility to my life. My parents were asleep, as were my two brothers and two sisters. I entered the parlor, closed the door and fell to my knees. At that point in my life, I wanted to doubt the existence of God, but I never really could. The order I saw in creation meant there had to be an infinite, astounding mind behind it all.

Pinned by God

There in the parlor, with tears flowing down my cheeks, I shook my fist heavenward saying, "God, if you're really there, prove it to me!" The challenge had barely passed my lips when just like in the book of Acts, what seemed like a great wind rushed through the room. It seemed to come from the top corner to my left and it knocked me flat on the floor and held me there. When I attempted to get up, it pushed me back down. Terrified and trembling, I literally could feel the presence pinning me to the floor. Pushing against it with both palms, I pleaded, "Let me up! Let me up!" Disregarding my plea, the presence held me there.

My youngest brother, who was serving the Lord and now is a minister, heard the thud when I fell to the floor. He rushed from bed, into the room to see what had happened. He found me unable to sit up and seemingly pushing against empty air with both palms, so he woke my parents, who came rushing into the room and began praying for me.

Now in a cold sweat, I asked, "Mom, what's happening to me?"

I'll never forget her response: "Joe, you mean to say you have lived in a Christian family all these years, and you don't know what's happening to you?"

I knew!

My parents' prayers were being answered, but not in the way they had expected. Their oldest son had foolishly challenged God to prove his existence and God did so in a terrifying manner. Finally, the presence released me, and weakly, I staggered to my bed.

A Secret Prayer

The next morning I knelt before God by the side of my bed, and I requested that if he wanted to use me in the ministry, to have someone call me to go to a service to sing. (Since I come from a family of musicians, I love to sing.) That evening I received a phone call from a man — a minister's son I had not seen since I stopped attending church at age 13. He said he was speaking at a mission and needed someone to sing for him. He asked if I would do so. I was flabbergasted, but I agreed. However, I was skeptical of why he had called me.

“Mom, were you listening at my bedroom door and then asked John to call me to go to the mission with him?” I asked.

“Joe, how could I know that he was going to the mission? I would never listen at your bedroom door, and of course, I didn’t call him. How could you even ask such a thing?” Mom replied.

I really knew Mom wouldn’t do such a thing as listen at my door. Even if she had, she couldn't have heard me. I had prayed quietly in my room, alone with the door closed; only God could have heard my prayer.

Following God

Well, that did it for me! One month later, even though I had been born again such a short time, the evangelical seminary of my choice accepted me and waived its requirement that an applicant had to be saved for at least two years before being accepted for ministerial studies. My application to attend under the G.I. Bill of Rights was accepted. I also needed recommendations from three pastors. I asked three who knew my parents. When I explained my salvation experience to them, they each agreed to recommend me.

Using my G.I. Bill for theological studies, I now hold a masters degree in theology. I never have regretted my decision to follow God’s will for my life. My life in him has been significantly more fulfilling and adventurous than anything the world could have offered me.

It was on a church bus, traveling to a youth rally in another town, that I met my wife, Maria, who has known the Lord since early childhood. Throughout our ministry together, she has been God’s gift to me and to our congregations – supervising the church schools, the children’s churches, the musicians, the kid's evangelistic crusades, and much more. When the Lord presents his workers their star-studded crowns, Maria’s is certain to be entirely covered with soul winner’s stars.

I thank the Lord for pinning me to the floor that terrifying night so many years ago. I also thank him for answering my secret prayer request. It began for me a spiritual adventure I have never regretted and one I am still enjoying.

Breath of God . . .

Will's Miracle Story

In December 1986, I was driving a gasoline truck with 2500 gallons of gas in the tanks. A drunk driver turned across the road and stopped in front of me. I hit him.

My truck rolled over, causing my fuel tank to bust. At that point, I found myself in a river of burning gasoline, trying to find a way out of my smashed truck.

There seemed to be no way out.

As I gave up the fight for life and realized I was going to die, a strange kind of peace came over me. I began to think of my wife and two small boys.

What would they do without me?

But I was powerless against what was happening to me. I had lost my breath, and by automatic reaction, my body took a breath of flames.

Within seconds of sure death, I said in my heart and mind, "God, please don't let me die."

That is when my miracle took place.

The flames parted. There was fresh air for me to breath. It was incredible.

Later, I learned that the flames were reported by bystanders to be 80-100 feet high. Yet, in the midst of all this, there was a path through raw gasoline that did not burn until I was cleared of the wreckage.

Of this I am sure—if you haven't experienced God, he is waiting for you right now. Just call out to him like I did. He heard me that day. He will hear you too.

In Christ,

Pastor Will

I was standing on the streets of gold . . .

Christian Testimony of God's Miraculous Intervention

From Joe L. Reed Sr.

Hello. My name is Joe L. Reed Sr.

In 1978 I saw the Lord in a dream and he told me to go preach. Later that year as a result of the dream, I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

In 1985 I began preaching on the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee. By 1994 I had experienced two heart attacks.

While recovering from a heart catheterization, I went into cardiac arrest and had an out of body experience. I was immediately standing on a street of gold. But at the same time I could hear the doctors talking as they worked on me.

It didn't dawn on me what was going on, for I was taken in by all that I saw. After more than 45 minutes I heard someone say for the second time, "He's coming back."

I felt myself being jerked back into the bed. It scared and confused me for a minute until I realized what had happened.

I have no doubt that my relationship with Jesus my Lord saved me from hell on that day more than 15 years ago. The Lord added years to my life also!

May God bless you for your attention.

Back from the death

AMAZING STORY

Jeff Markin: Back from the Dead, Reborn Into the Light

By Sheryl Fountain
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: September 15, 2010 

CBN.comIt was the morning of September 20, 2006. Jeff Markin recalls heading for work as usual. What he doesn’t remember is driving himself to the hospital.

He had called his boss and told him he didn’t feel well. His boss was concerned and convinced Jeff to go to the emergency room. Somehow Jeff made it. Once he got there, he collapsed.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall was doing rounds in the intensive care unit that morning. He recalls, "An alert call came over the PA system that someone had arrived at the hospital with a massive deadly heart attack. Then a second call went out over the PA system and specifically asking for me because I was the cardiologist on that day. When I arrived there, it was like a war zone. It was chaos. Everyone there fighting to keep this man alive."

The ER staff worked on Jeff for 40 minutes. They shocked him a dozen times. Despite their efforts, there was no response.

Once Dr. Crandall decided the team had done everything medically possible, he called the time of death. Medically Jeff was dead, but he was still experiencing consciousness.

"I was standing in the back of a funeral home, and at that time, I determined that I had died," Jeff Markin says. "This funeral home was empty and was wondering where all my friends and family were."

While a nurse prepared Jeff’s body for the morgue, Dr. Crandall updated the charts.

"As soon as my note was completed, I walked out through the door to this emergency room and I heard this voice say, 'Turn around and pray for this man.' I wanted to ignore that voice because I said to myself, How can I pray for that man? He’s dead he’s gone. There’s no life in him, so I keep walking. The voice came back again and said, 'Turn around and pray for that man.' I stopped and thought I need to honor the Lord. So I turned around at the doorway, and I walked to the side of the body.

"The nurse was on the other side of the body, and she’s looking at me like, 'What are you doing? Why are you here?' And I stood there next to the corpse and I opened my mouth and these words came out: 'Father God, I cry out for this man’s soul. If he does not know you as his Lord and Savior, Father, raise him from the dead now, in Jesus name.‘"

‘I remember staring at bright lights and they were swirling around," Jeff says. "Out of those bright lights came an image and he told me that he was there to look over me and make sure that everything was going to be fine."

Dr. Crandall continues, "The other doctor walked in the room and I pointed to him and said, 'Shock this man one more time.' He looked at me and said, 'Dr. Crandall, we can’t shock him. He’s dead. There’s no life in him. He’s gone.' I said, 'For me, shock him one more time.' That doctor out of respect and honor for me went over to that body with those defibrillator paddles and put his paddles on that patient and shocked him. Immediately an instant heartbeat came back. Instant perfect, regular, which we’ve never seen before. Then suddenly this abdomen started moving and starting breathing and then a couple moments later, the fingers started twitching."

They immediately moved Jeff to the intensive care unit. Three days later, Jeff woke up with no evidence of brain or organ damage.

"Once I woke up, my daughter Jillian was there," Jeff says. "That’s when she told me what had happened."

Dr. Crandall says, "When I came in Monday morning, Jeff was sitting up in bed, and I said, 'Where were you that day that I prayed for you in the emergency room?' And he said, 'I was in total darkness and I was so disappointed.' I said, 'Jeff, what were you disappointed about?' He said, 'I was alone for eternity.'"

Jeff recalls, "He asked me at that time if I was willing to accept God into my life and into my heart and I did. I just opened my arms and accepted God. It was just a very emotional time and I remember crying in his arms."

Today Jeff is back at work and gets regular check-ups with Dr. Crandall.

"He still has no heart problems or residual complications from his brush with death," Dr. Crandall says.

"To know what I had gone through and to be fortunate... That’s been part of my daily battle is why me," Jeff ponders. "Why have I been so fortunate to have God shine on me? It’s been tremendous. I’ve been physically reborn. I’ve been spiritually reborn, and I’m just very grateful for that."

"This day that I prayed for Jeff was a day of very little faith. It wasn’t one of my big God days," Dr. Crandall says. " I was so much in a rush with my work, and I didn’t have a lot of faith backing that prayer up that day. But the Lord asked me to do it, so I honored the Lord and prayed. That’s all we need. Just a spark of faith like that mustard seed, and when you cry out to the mighty Holy Spirit, He will take over. Miracles are real, and they’re real today."

Miracles . . . Faith

Faith and Miracles Part VI: But If Not - www.khouse.org

"But see, there's a problem when Grandma prays to be healed and she isn't healed. She thinks she doesn't have strong enough faith or that God doesn't love her. What about Grandma?" - An anonymous skeptic

"...Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Dan 3:17-18 (emphasis added)

There are many times in our lives when we say, "God, if You love me, You will do X, Y and Z." We mistakenly believe that if God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want, it's because He doesn't care about us. Remember the three young men faced with a fiery furnace; they did not know what God was going to do, but they trusted him anyway.

The Bible is very clear that God loves us (John 3:16, 1John 4:10, Jer 31:3, Rom 8:35-39). God's Word declares that He loves us more than we can possibly know, that He IS love (1 John 4:8). We can go to God with confidence in His love for us, ready for whatever glorious things He wanted to do in us and through us. That's the heart of God.

No matter what happens, we can still trust Him implicitly.

More Miracles:

In January of 1992, Tony Darmanin went for a ride with Jeremy Benson in his sweet 1973 Chevy Nova hatchback. Jeremy and his father had spent a year fixing up that Nova for Jeremy's 16th birthday, and he loved it. Jeremy hadn't had his license long, though, and inexperienced teen boys with muscle cars generally spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

On a rainy winter evening, Tony Darmanin climbed into Jeremy's Nova with Brandon Wright and Billy Walters. As soon as Jeremy started up the engine and took off, Tony knew he was in trouble. They sped down North Shore Drive in Bellingham, Washington at speeds worthy of the car, but unwise considering the weather conditions. They came to a hairpin turn, Jeremy hit the brakes, and the car naturally hydroplaned on the wet pavement.

Tony said, "So, we're not slowing down, and now Jeremy can't steer." They shot off the cliff edge and flew through the dark night air. They should have all died.

A tree at the bottom of the 40-foot deep ravine helped save the young men's lives. The car smacked the tree, which changed their trajectory just enough to keep the car from landing upside down and crushing all its occupants. Instead, the Nova smashed nose-first into the ground.

Tony dangled in the back seat by his seatbelt. The hatchback had popped open and its cover had slammed down into his neck and back. His internal organs were gashed by the force of the seatbelt, and his ankle was injured. Tony only knew that he'd never felt that much pain in his life. Billy had cracked the windshield with his head and his brain had started to swell. (After temporary blindness, he would recover.) Miraculously, Jeremy and Brandon climbed out unharmed and went for help.

Tony woke up outside of the car in the rain. He knew he had to get some help quickly, and he saw no friends around. He began to pull himself a little bit at a time out of that ravine in excruciating pain. As soon as he reached the top, flashlights shone in his face. People in a nearby house had seen the Nova's headlights fly off the cliff and had already called 9-1-1.

At The Hospital:

Tony's mother Alice Darmanin raced to the trauma unit at St. Luke's Hospital ahead of the ambulance. When they brought in Tony on the gurney, she thought he was already dead.

"He wasn't moving and he was a grey color, and my heart just sunk. Of course they couldn't tell us anything. We sat there praying and praying, and the kids were calling everybody they knew to pray. We still didn't know anything about Anthony. Finally they told us that there was so much blood in the pictures they had taken, they couldn't could tell if it was his liver, his kidney or spleen that was bleeding. They said , 'If he survives the next half hour we'll take another set of pictures.' I only heard the 'if he survives' part."

Instant Healing:

Tony was conscious as the doctor probed his stomach and felt for damage and took him in to get a CAT scan. All he knew was that there was serious internal bleeding. "If you do not go into surgery in 15 minutes, you will die," the doctor told him. "Do we have your consent to take you to surgery?"

Tony gave the doctor permission to save his life while a sense of excitement filled him. In 15 minutes he could be standing in the presence of Jesus. If they did surgery and he got better, that was great, and if he died, he realized that was also great. Tony told us, "It makes you realize the significance of 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [1Cor 15:55]'" Already his veins had started to collapse and he felt pins and needles through all of his extremities.

Even as they sent Tony in for a CAT scan, though, he knew people were praying for him. "I felt their prayers. It was the first time in my life where I could actually feel the prayers of people praying for me."

About 45 minutes after she'd first visited them, the doctor returned to the Darmanin family in the waiting room to give them the relieving and unexpected news that their son was okay. According to Alice:

"All she says is, 'Do you want to see your son?' We walked back there and he's sitting up. The doctor said, 'I don't know what to tell you, but we don't know what happened. We don't know where the blood came from. We don't know where the blood went.' There was no blood. There were no wounds. She said, 'He has a very nasty crack on the back of his neck.' Actually, he should have died from that. The crack was on the hangman's vertebrae, and we were told only one in a thousand survives that."

The doctor kept Tony overnight, For the next few days Tony had some soreness, but that was it. He never had surgery.

Pain Remains:

Tony noted:

"But even though God did that miracle and healed my internal organs, for the past 18 years I have lived every day with pain in my back and neck from when the hatch slammed into me. I've gone to chiropractors, done physical therapy and deep tissue massage, and I'm still in constant pain.

"People tell me, 'You just don't have enough faith. If you had more faith God would have healed your whole body.' And I think, 'No... I have faith.' Or they say, 'You have unconfessed sin, that's why you're not healed,' and I think, 'No... I have my faults, but I don't have unconfessed sin.'

"No, this is what I've learned. I've learned that pain is not the enemy. I have learned that God has allowed me to have this pain for His reasons and for His purposes."

God's Love In Every Detail:

A year later, Tony was at college living in the dorms when he ran out of all his toiletries at one time. "I squeezed out the last of my toothpaste. I used the very last of my shampoo and conditioner (yes, I condition) and even my deodorant had been completely used up. All on the same day."

Tony walked down to his bank to see if he could take out five dollars. When he checked the ATM, though, he had only $3.67 - too little to draw out on a Saturday afternoon.

"Well, Lord," Tony said, "If You don't want me to be stinky, please help me out here."

He walked back to the dorms. As he was heading to the door, his friend Margaret walked up to him with a paper bag in her arms. She said, "I don't want you to be offended, but while I was at the store shopping this morning, I really felt God wanted me to buy these things for you." Tony took the bag and looked inside. It held shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant.

"And after all these years," he said, "It still brings tears to my eyes. Because it told me that God really cared about me, even in the little things. And it wasn't that she gave me money. Anybody can hand you money. She handed me the very things I needed."

It's Not About Toughness:

People often think that the proper response to pain is to be tough and pony up and push through it out of sheer determination. But, that's not the heart of God. Everything He does is for good, and He desires that we learn to completely depend on His love for us, no matter what things look like. He is willing to give us all we need, down to things as seemingly small as toothpaste. Almighty God who created the stars and calls them by name cares even for the sparrows.

"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." - Luke 12:7

Tony said:

"The fact is that God cares intimately about me and knows about the smallest details of my life, and yet He's allowed me to live with this pain for the past 18 years. It's not that He's doing these things - He didn't cause my suffering. But, He's allowed me to suffer pain. None of us escape it. It's part of the territory of being human. What God has promised is He'll never leave us. He'll never abandon us. And He'll never let us suffer more than He can carry us through. Some people ask why does a loving God allow pain? And I've learned that it's because of God's love that I can live through the pain."

Is suffering always God's plan? Of course not. Jesus had great compassion and healed people constantly, and he promised that we would do greater things than he did (John 14:12). God wants us to know Him and He wants to form us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:28-29). He wants us to trust that He loves us, and when we go to Him for help, to go boldly (Hebrews 4:16). And whatever happens, as the Hebrew children said before Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the fiery furnace, "But if not" - But if not, we will still trust Him, we will continue to follow Him alone. Whatever He decides, we need to have confidence that nothing is able to separate us from His great and perfect love.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:35-39

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Latest comments

09.09 | 06:52

Thank you for this! You might enjoy my take on the whole 'Christmas' story, not born on Dec 25th etc,
https://tranzmachine.bandcamp.com/track/a-saviour-born

17.03 | 07:11

Praise God! He is so good to all of us!

16.03 | 22:20

I needed to hear this today. Its been sooo very difficult for a long time honestly asked God if I was the toxic one and just didn't realize it so I could repent

12.01 | 04:32

this is so beautiful and such a testimony to the Lord's healing power and sanctification through our suffering. Much of my walk with Christ is similar to yours.