Saturday, January 17, 2015

THE GOD WHO SEES ME


On a trip we took in 1999, we met this little boy in Israel. We were wandering around the desert and he and his sweet camel were on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. He let us know that if we took his picture, he expected some money. This smart little guy had already learned that it's a good thing to look after yourself.

My husband has had contact with camels while mapping some of the world; Afghanistan, Iran, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. He's had camels spit at him while loading them up with mapping equipment and can't be convinced they can be "sweet". Israel is a wonderful place to visit, the hub of the three major religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We also spent time in Turkey and Greece on this trip - 'The Cradle of Civilization'. The history of the Bible comes alive as you explore these areas of the world.

There comes a time in life, for most of us, when we need a little help and reassurance. I'm so grateful to have a God who sees me, knows me, and can lead me out of trouble and give me a sense of peace.

"You are the God who sees me," . . ."I have now seen the One who sees me".  Genesis 16:13

These words were spoken by Hagar who was the mother of Ishmael. God had promised Abraham and his wife, Sarah, a son. Many years went by and there was no son. Not surprising because both were very old and past normal child bearing years. However they believed God's promise, up to a point. They decided it wasn't going to happen without some human intervention. Very quickly, faith was replaced by human effort. Sound familiar? How often do we 'roll up our sleeves' and attempt to help God?

With Sarah's consent, Abraham took her maidservant Hagar as his wife and she became pregnant. Hagar began to look at herself as the favored one and she "despised" her mistress, Sarah. Sarah fought back by mistreating her so Hagar ran away into the desert. This is where she encountered the Lord Himself, Jesus. He spoke to her, directing her to return home and submit to her mistress. The "Angel of the Lord", is the incarnate Jesus. Whenever God has appeared to man it's been in the person of Jesus Christ, even prior to His birth in Bethlehem. Out in the desert, Hagar recognized God immediately. He can meet us anywhere at anytime we need Him.

Hagar was given some information about her son. I would think this would have been disturbing however the Scripture doesn't record a response from Hagar.

"The Angel of the Lord also said to her (Hagar) I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." And then He added,
                
            "You are now with child
            and you will have a son.
            You shall name him Ishmael,
             for the Lord has heard of your
             misery.

             He will be a wild donkey of a man;
             and his hand will be against
             everyone
             and everyone's hand against
             him,
             and he will live in hostility
             toward all his brothers.".    Genesis 16: 10 - 12

This is the beginning of the Arab nation and the prophesy is chilling as we witness daily the drama happening before our eyes. However I have great peace in knowing that God sees our struggles and I know a solution is ultimately in His hands. What can we do? Share our faith in a sovereign God, love instead of hate, and stand up for what we know to be true. I can't say this better than the Apostle Paul who wrote in the book of Romans,

"For your sake we face death all
         day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  
Romans 8: 36 -39

2015, a new year. I pray that we are able to hold on to that which is true and not be overcome with hopelessness. Jesus overcame the world, and if you believe in Him, you are "in Christ" and have also overcome the world.

PRAISE BE TO GOD.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN

 
                             
 
 
This is our family posing on Cardiff Beach near San Diego for a reunion photo in early November.  Our three sons, two daughters and son-in-law gathered to celebrate dad's birthday and being together at the same time in the same place. This doesn't happen often as we have two who live on the east coast, a distance of 3,000 miles away.
 
I wrote these words a few years ago for a Christmas card. . .
 
"The year floats away,
swallowed by persistent
tides that return to scatter
memories along the shore,
the sweet and the bitter sweet."
 
 Another year gone, so quickly it seems. We recently watched the movie, The Sound of Music and as I ruminate over the past year the words to this catchy tune come to mind - "So long, farewell". . .this year is now stored in my memory bank. I believe it's good to reflect on what has transpired during the year. We can't get this time back, we can't change anything, but we can rejoice in what was good, and praise God for what went 'wrong' in our opinion, knowing that His hand was always upon us.
 
To borrow a line from Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." For us, the best was having all of our children together under the same roof, if even for a short while. The worst, my husband had health problems and was in the hospital four times. There was a time when I thought he might be singing Christmas carols with the angels this year, rather than being here with us. And, of course like most families, we had everything in between the best and the worst. Life can be a little unruly at times, but as a child of God I know that He allows only what is ultimately best for us. He leads us down the right path even when it isn't one of our choosing. It's so important to know these truths. . .
 
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making." Proverbs 16:9, 11
 
We often worry if we've "done enough" for the Lord when in reality, God isn't counting on us for anything. . .
 
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. . .And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he gives all men life and breath and everything else."
Acts 17: 24, 25
 
This passage goes on to tell us that God has determined the times set for us and the exact places where we will live. Because the truth is that we live and move and have our being in him. Knowing this is what enables us to experience peace in all circumstances.
 
We know man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. . .I Samuel 16:7. When God looks into our heart do you know what He wants to see? He wants to see His image. He wants to see Christ in us, not our failing frail humanness.
 
"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."  11 Samuel 16:7
 
As we bid 2014 farewell, my prayer for all my readers is to know God is your protector against what appears to be senseless and evil of this world. You will have a good New Year if you hold on to Biblical principles and desire to feel God's presence in your life daily. Trust Him, He's your heavenly Father; this is how to have a very Happy New Year.
 
 
Lord, thank you for watching over our family this past year. Help us to remember every day that you are a sovereign God who loves us, knows our name, and holds us in the palm of your hand.

Monday, December 8, 2014

FOLLOW THE STAR TO BETHLEHEM




"Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. . .We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."  Matthew 2: 1-2

 Once upon a time, over 2,000 years ago. . .I remember as a child how excited I'd get when I heard those words, "Once upon a time." I knew I'd be hearing a good story. The story of the birth of Jesus is a favorite because it is a true story of God coming to earth as a man. Scholars will pick apart the details, argue about the precise place and time, but down through the ages the story of Jesus remains with us, as true, intact and enticing as ever.

 I purchased this plaster image of Jesus many years ago. It hangs on our denim blue bedroom wall. I don't need an image to remind me that I am a child of God and that He sent Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. But I do love it and often smile when my eyes meet His. The Holy Spirit reminds me daily that I can have peace and experience joy, no matter what is happening in the world or circumstances that surround me. Jesus is my stabilizer in a rocky, uncertain world. The wall plaque reminds me of my good childhood friend, Lucy, and the day we found this artwork in a little store in Carlsbad, CA. She often visited us around Christmas time. Lucy has been in heaven with Jesus for many years now; one of my eternal friends.

At this time of year, you will often see photos of huge, beautifully decorated Christmas trees from all over the world. A little boy once asked me, "Why do all the trees have a star on top?" It was a great opportunity to tell him the story of Jesus and how three men from Persia followed a star that led them to Jesus so they could worship him. The 'Wise Men' were aware of the prophesy in Numbers 24:17. Moses wrote. . .
 
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter (king) will rise out of Israel."

Moses was writing about Jesus who wasn't born until 1200 years later. In my book, Blogging God's Word, I wrote about prophesy and how important it is to have "the assurance that Biblical prophesy is accurate, has been validated and is worthy of our trust."

 * Micah 5:2 predicts that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem 500 years before his birth.

 * Malachi 3:1 wrote in the 5th century B.C. that a 'messenger' would come to prepare the way for Christ. This was John the Baptist and you can read about him in John 1.

 * Isaiah wrote 700 years before the birth of Christ in 7:14 a virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him 'Immanuel' which means, 'God with us'.

 * Isaiah 9: 6-7 tells us that this son would have "the government on his shoulders" and he would be called "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." This verse so clearly shows that the Father and the Son are One God. The prophesy speaks to the second coming of Christ when the whole world will recognize Him as the King of Kings.

         "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

         "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2: 6 - 11.

This is why the world lights up with a magic seen at no other time of year. Some may say that His death and resurrection were much more important. If Jesus had not died for our sins and be resurrected to new life, we wouldn't have a Savior, and we'd need to pay for our own sins. That would be very uncomfortable to say the least. Heaven is eternal life in the presence of God (and all the others who believe - maybe even your pets) eternal death is separation from God and all that is good.

        In my book, I point out that there are over 300 prophesies detailing the coming of baby Jesus. Jesus actually fulfilled every one in detail. A Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, Peter W. Stoner, wrote in 'Science Speaks' that if you apply accurate principles of probability, the chances that one person in history could fulfill just 8 of these prophesies is 1 in 10 to the 28th power. The number would look like this. . .
 
1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

 This is very impressive, even for those who are not easily impressed! But who would think this could be less; Jesus is a very impressive Person!

I've travelled to many places in the world. One of the most fascinating spots on earth is Bethlehem, in fact, all of Israel. Where you are able to walk where Jesus walked; where you can see the place of His birth, a cave really, protected by the oldest surviving church in the Holy Land - Basilica of the Nativity built by order of the Roman Emperor, Constantine in A.D. 326. You can see two possible sites of the 'Shepherd's Field' where an angel appeared to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds and imagine his mother placing her baby in an animal feeding trough we call a manger. This 'first coming' of Jesus was as a humble servant of man. He cured people from disease and disabilities, fed, encouraged, washed the feet of His disciples and withstood a horrible death for those He loved. Along with the angel, a "heavenly host" suddenly appeared praising God and saying. . .

"Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on

whom his favor rests."  Luke 2:14

This verse doesn't say 'everybody', but to men (human beings) on whom His favor rests. Does His 'favor' rest on you? Not sure? Ask Him to rest His miraculous favor on you, personally. He never says 'NO' to those who ask.

I wish all my readers a very nice Christmas and pray that you will have great peace and joy in your life because you know the Savior. Jesus is the Light that takes away the darkness.

Thank you Lord for coming to our rescue. Help us to you that you are the Shepherd and we are your sheep. Light that star of Bethlehem in our hearts.

      























Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A TRIBUTE TO THE REAL SAINT NICHOLAS







                                                                                 
            The story of a jolly man in a red suit who magically appears to children all over the world bringing gifts at Christmas time did not begin in the North Pole. The legend of the real St. Nicholas from whom our modern day Santa Claus emerged, has a story all its own. I hope parents will read this story to their children so they'll understand Santa's Christian roots.

Many ancient writings bear witness to the reality of St. Nicholas of Myra, born sometime between 260 – 280 A.D. in the Greek village of Patara, which is now modern day Turkey. He was a cardinal in the early church. Artwork shows that he was a small man who wore a flowing red robe, had a white beard and balding head. It wasn't just his physical appearance that caused him to become the model for our beloved modern day Santa Claus, it was who he was; a compassionate man who loved children and had a giving spirit. He was often seen carrying a bag of candy and small gifts.  Children followed him clinging to his red robe.

Nicholas was the son of wealthy Christian parents who were always generous to those in need. They had a love for God and a passion to serve Him. They sent their son to school to study history and theology. When he was very young, he was given an opportunity to help a poor family. He dropped a sack of gold, no doubt provided by his parents, into an open window; then disappeared before being seen. This was repeated three times and is the origin of the symbol for St. Nicholas; three gold balls. One day, he was caught by the father of the family he was helping.

            "Why have you given this gift?" he asked.

            "Because you needed it" replied Nicholas.

We've 'modernized' our Santa Claus. He doesn't give because of need or out of love, but as a reward for being 'good'. In some countries, Santa doles out punishment to those who've been 'bad'. The concept of 'grace' has simply been ignored. Nicholas understood the things of God and that He gave us the gift of His Son, not as a reward, but because we so desperately need Him. Along with gifts of toys and candy, he gathered children together to tell them stories of Jesus and the gift He'd given the world by dying on the cross so all who believed could have a relationship with God.
 
When Nicholas was in his mid-teens, he experienced a personal tragedy; both of his parents died, probably the result of a plague. He took his large inheritance, cashed it into Roman coins, and distributed them to the poor. He gave it all away as a memorial to his parents and their lifetime of generosity. He went to live with an uncle who tutored him and then later he attended school in a monastery. He was very young, probably not yet in his twenties, when he entered the priesthood.

At this point in history, there was a period of many years when Christians were persecuted by Roman emperors. Those who would not abandon their faith were tortured or put to death. Because Nicholas was a church leader, he was put in jail.  It is said that he was inspired by the Apostle Paul and did as Paul did, sharing the gospel with other prisoners and guards in the rat infested prison. After his release he was elected Bishop of Myra.

It was not uncommon for religious leaders of the day to live a lavish lifestyle, but Nicholas was not a common man. He chose to provide for others, live simply and travel though his district to drop coins into windows or into shoes left on doorsteps of the poor.  This no doubt was the basis of the custom that lives on today of putting coins and candy into shoes and 'Christmas' stockings. He never revealed his identity and would disappear before he could be thanked. Sound familiar?

Now, hundreds of years later, children, who are not obligated to listen to an inner voice that says, "This can't be true" eagerly await the arrival of a man dressed in red, watch for deer with soundless hooves,  and enjoy the wonder of it all. As you can see, the person of 'Santa Claus' is rooted in sacred Christian tradition, despite the effort to make him secular. The endearing poem 'The Night Before Christmas', also known as 'A Visit from Saint Nicholas', written by Clement Moore in 1822, redefined the image of Santa and is probably the source of the addition of the sleigh and reindeer. Santa had to have a way to travel the world.      

Christmas isn't just a 'holiday'; it's a 'holy day' when we celebrate God coming to earth as an infant born in humble surroundings. An event foretold centuries earlier. The world was changed forever that night when the shepherds in the field looked up and saw an angel who announced His arrival; the Messiah had come!  Persecution still exits, hold on to what your heart knows to be true. Santa Claus need not take 'Christ' out of Christmas, but be a reminder of a man from the third century who served with humility and shared God's love and joy of giving. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU


Black Friday - a big shopping day. The name 'black Friday' arose from businesses that have been struggling with sales. Now at the end of the year they hope to show a profit and be in the 'black'. People go a little crazy rushing to stores before the sun is up to buy items that have been drastically reduced in price. When I opened my e-mail this morning, I noticed that 'Black Friday' prices are now available on-line. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a book from my blogs. I wish I could greatly reduce the price, but it was set by the publisher for $13.95, e-book available for $7.99. I've been told that it can be bought for less if you look around the internet. I wrote this book mainly because I wanted it for our children, also I had many friends who told me they loved my blog but didn't like to read on-line. 

I'm in the process of editing another book. It's a lot of work and some expense. From time to time I think - why bother? What I write can be read on-line and if someone is really interested in my topic, they can print out the blogs. When I'm in this mindset someone always comes along who tells me how very much they love my book and how helpful it is in their relationship with the Lord. The book is in the local libraries and is borrowed often. Maybe, I should keep doing this I think. You might like to consider buying the book for a Christmas gift - or for yourself.

Blogging God's Word is available at Crossbooks.com, Amazon.com, also as an e-Book.  I'm sharing this information for those new to the blog.  Also, a short synopsis and a few quotes from the books' introduction. 

"You will enjoy the author's skill in applying Biblical principles to everyday life. Both Christians and unbelievers will gain basic knowledge of the bestselling book ever, the Bible.  Familiar stories will come alive and you may discover a truth that will impact your life. You will be surprised how God views His children!

Be guided into the knowledge of God's grace and sovereignty
  • Learn to experience God's presence in daily living
  • Come to know the difference between church doctrine, humanistic theology and what the Bible really says
Join the author in pursuing the truth of Scripture. See how knowing the truth will set you free to feel loved, safe and secure.  'Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.' - John 8:32."

From the introduction. . .

"For over thirty-eight years I've been soaking up the Word of God, like a sponge! I have a file drawer full of Bible studies, a computer full, and a heart full! Looking for a new way to share what I've learned, I began to explore the world of blogging. I'm a bit uncomfortable with 'cyber space', so wondered if this would be a good place to deposit my treasure, God's living Word. One day I stepped out in faith, sat down at the computer with my husband, and set up a blog. . .a real blog! All I had to do was start writing. I wasn't sure how I should approach this new adventure, but felt very comfortable that this was what God wanted me to do."  

More. . .

"Do I have a goal or agenda? Yes, I do! I write so others will come to know Jesus Christ as their very own Lord and Savior, be inspired to study the Bible and be able to apply what they learn to daily life."

More. . .

"I don't have a 'legalistic' bone in my body, simply a desire to point others to the truth of God's grace and total sovereignty. I am firmly convinced that this is how we as believers can attain a lasting peace through any hardship or trial and come to know the joy of loving the Lord.  We are secure in His sovereignty."

"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will."  Ephesians 1:11

I've chosen not to clutter up my blog by 'monetizing', so please excuse a commercial now and then.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to share Your Word with others.  Somehow people from all over the world have found this blog. My confidence is never in myself, always in You. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

During this time of year we practice hospitality, invite others to come into our home and join us in celebration of all we are thankful for. This is a season of thanksgiving, not just one day.

However, we Americans do have a unique day of celebration that started in the early 1600's. A group from England, we call Pilgrims, seeking freedom to worship God as they pleased, sailed across the sea and landed on our the east coast. They established a colony amid much suffering and hardship. Many died of disease and starvation that first year. American native Indians came to their rescue and taught them survival skills in this new land. A day was set aside for them to come together and thank God for His blessings. We continue that tradition in our country and attempt to re-create this time of giving thanks by gathering with family and friends, sometimes strangers, to eat too much, work too hard, wash too many dishes and most of all, take note of all God has done for us.
       
"Let us come before him with thanksgiving. . .for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."
Psalm 95: 2,7

Just as children of earthly parents should honor those who have loved and cared for them, we need to honor our Creator, the One who will sustain us and has given us victory over death through Jesus Christ so we can live eternally in the presence of God.

It's easy to see what is wrong and needs to be changed. What is right isn't always that obvious. When I'm having a hard time with day to day life, it is best I take stock of all I have to be grateful for. I will be teaching a Bible study for the women in our local jail this week, and "What are you grateful for?" will be the topic of discussion. I also teach 'creative writing' for a group of veterans who are in a special program at the jail and they will be writing on the topic of 'gratitude'. Yes, even those who are incarcerated can find a reason to be grateful.

Like many Americans today, I feel very sad that a group of unruly people have torn up a nice little town because they didn't think that a decision was 'fair'. I'm not only sad, I'm ashamed of these fellow Americans. They've looted, burned, and destroyed things that didn't belong to them. They aren't able to see all they have to be thankful for. Our Constitution guarantees all citizens 'free speech'. We have the right to our opinions and can express them without fear of government interference. We have the right to peacefully assemble and protest. We do not have the right to commit crimes.

In our Declaration of Independence (from England in 1776) this is
written. . .

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

 Our forefathers set the stage for a free country. Our rights are "inalienable" which means they can't be taken away because they come from God, not a government. In an attempt to be 'fair', we sometimes become 'unfair'. We can't expect perfection in an imperfect world. The irony is this: if Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was a blond, blue-eyed, snow white 300 pound, 6 foot 4 inch man, rather than black one; would there be riots and accusations of prejudice and persecution?  I don't think so. Would a group of activists, many who live elsewhere, be destroying the livelihood of hard-working minorities who've built businesses? I don't think so. Would they be shouting about the fact that a white police officer killed a white thief and justice was not done? I don't think so.

Many years ago a black, very handsome former football player was charged with killing his white wife, mother of his children, and her friend. The trial was a public event, every witness, every bit of evidence was presented so all could see. A mostly black jury declared OJ was "not guilty". There was a huge collective gasp across the nation; we'd seen all the evidence and he was guilty. Profound disappointment that this man could get away with murder - yes, rioting, no. When I heard the verdict, this verse popped into my head, and kept me focused on the truth that God is in control and He will ultimately avenge the innocent.

"For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. . .The Lord will judge his people".  Hebrews 10:30

The prophet Isaiah wrote that the  Lord will have "a day of vengeance. You may be interested in reading Hebrews 10; it gives us hope that God has a good plan for His people.

I am bothered about the fact that Christian 'men of God', ministers, pastors like the Rev. Al Sharpton fan the flame of discontent rather than preaching Christian principles - forgiveness, love and hope. The parents of the young man who was killed have asked for calm and peace, the President of the U.S. and his Attorney General pleaded for the violence to stop - all to no avail.
 
I believe, the heart of the problem is a heart problem. I don't think the protesters care much about William Brown, most have never met him or his family. They are looking for an outlet for their anger. They have been convinced that they haven't been treated fairly and are going to 'get even'. I have volunteered in a jail for nearly fourteen years; I know this anger, I've heard their stories. 'Social justice' will not heal their heart, but God can. Knowing that no matter how their life looks, there is a God in heaven who loves them unconditionally brings peace and ultimately destroys anger. It's a process, little by little we learn to trust and place our faith in God. 

This is not about what happens in the White House, the Capital or the courtroom. It's what happens in your house, your realm of influence and in your heart that will change our world into a better place. I admit it, I cling to Bible verses, and this is a favorite. . .

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  I Thessalonians 5:18

I have a little sign on my kitchen cabinet that reminds me daily that as a child of God, I'm never a victim of circumstances. I am blessed by so many 'gifts', most of which I don't deserve, but God deals with us in grace.

So, set a pretty table, put a turkey in the oven and gather folks around to praise God for His goodness. We become more at peace with what happens around us when we have an 'attitude of gratitude'.

Thank you Lord that you always have your hand on us and everything that happens will ultimately work for good for those who love You. Bless America Lord so we can continue to be a beacon of hope in a lost world. We know that a nation that honors You will indeed overcome.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

MIRACLES ARE FOR REAL

Do you believe in miracles? I do. God sent His son Jesus Christ to make miracles visible. Jesus hasn't given up His ministry of performing miracles. I find it miraculous that a wall that looks completely solid is in fact, not solid at all. It is made up of atoms, the basic building block of our world. The inner structure of an atom looks like a tiny solar system. At its center is the nucleus which is circled by electrons and has lots of 'open spaces' in between. The chair you're sitting on isn't solid either, it just appears to be. I learned this years ago in a college chemistry class.
       
I find nature miraculous; the incredible colors of the fall season, the new growth we see in the spring, animal life of all kinds. Also, personal things like our five grown kids, two of whom live 3,000 miles away, were recently here together to celebrate their dad's birthday. We haven't all been together at the same time in the same place for a very long time. I classify this as a minor miracle and praise God for making it happen.

When I think of big-time miracles, I'm reminded of a man named  Lazarus. You will find this story in John, Chapter 11. He was a special friend of Jesus and the brother of Mary and Martha. Lazarus became very sick and his sisters sent for Jesus because they had the faith that He could heal him. When Jesus heard the news about his friend's illness, He said . . .

"This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."  John 11:4

Yes, God orchestrates our life to draw us to Him so we will believe. Jesus was in no hurry to respond to Mary and Martha's call for help. It was actually not until four days later that Jesus appeared on the scene. Jesus told His disciples . . .

"Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe."  John 11:14

Many of us are not able to believe until we've seen a miracle. If you are one of God's sheep, He'll do whatever it takes to bring you into the fold. He has promised that none of His sheep will perish. The Lord can be very dramatic at times. There is nothing subtle about bringing a dead man to life. Lazarus had been buried in a tomb for four days. Jesus told them to open the tomb. When they did, there was the smell of decaying flesh. There was no doubt that this man was dead, not just 'asleep'. Jesus performed miracles so that we would know that He came from God and is God.

Jesus called into the tomb, "Lazarus, come out!" And he walked out with his grave clothes still clinging to him - alive and well. This is more of a miracle than most of us can imagine. We now know there are 50 trillion cells in the human body. Jesus recreated and restored these cells to perfect function. Research scientists break information down into 'bit units' . The information contained in a single human cell is 20 billion bits. The complexity of the human body is central to God's creation. Calling Lazarus back to life was like creating the universe thousands of times over in an instant with three simple words from Jesus. Thank you to our retired pastor, Charlie Ivans for this detailed information.

Many will laugh and scoff and say "That's just a Bible story." God has written a whole wonderful book of stories to help us understand who He is and what He has planned. He has used real people and events to illuminate those who will come to know Him personally. Here's another amazing truth that falls into the category of  'Miracle'. We cannot see what is true unless God reveals it to us. When the Holy Spirit comes to us our mind is opened to the truth. It's the only way we can see the truth.

"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic."
Psalm 29:4

Do you know that Jesus, part of the Triune Godhead, was there "In the beginning. . . and through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."  John, Chapter 1. When a storm whipped up the waves, He simply rebuked the waves and the waters became calm. When Jesus spoke, the blind could see, the lame could walk and terrible diseases were cured. This was a testimony to who He is; God in the flesh.
 
We can know this God-man, Jesus. He's alive and well sitting on the right hand of God the Father. There comes a point in time when the veil is lifted and God reveals Himself, but the truth is, He has always known us from the beginning of time.

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight."  Ephesians 1:4

We are "holy and blameless" because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. That is a miracle! He knows our heartaches, our pain and  suffering. He sees our faults, every one of them. Speaking for myself, I have plenty. He hears our prayers, every one. He loves us unconditionally, all the time. That is a miracle.

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:1.

I find that Satan becomes very active where miracles are visible. He loves to steal them away from us; wipe them from our memory. Every time you see a miracle in your life, a great big one, or a tiny little one, write it down. Before you know it, you'll have a book of your own personal miracles.

Thank you Lord that you continue to work miracles in the lives of those who love you. Help us to recognize these miracles and praise you for your everlasting love.