More from James Stuart Bell: “Life-Changing Miracles” Book-Review

I’m grateful to Bethany House for giving me a review copy of this book – another offering from James Stuart Bell. His compilations of stories are always encouraging. I particularly liked this one because it isn’t a constant stream of health-problems and God coming in at the eleventh hour to heal people. Instead there are a great variety of modern-day miracles, from God directing a lifeguard to Him supernaturally stopping the rain.

“Life-Changing Miracles” is a book full of different people and their experiences with God. On the whole, I’d recommend it.

“Jesus Talked to me Today” Book-Review

“Jesus Talked to me Today” is a collection of over 40 short accounts of God moving powerfully in children’s lives. I was very glad to review this for Bethany House; there are some lovely stories in here. My favourites are the ones about the giant angels and the pink vanity set, but if I read it again, I would probably change my mind!

You’ll like this if you’re the sort of person who’s uplifted by other people’s stories of what God’s done for them. As you read, you could feel one of two things: Thankful and encouraged to ask God for similar displays of His power in your own life, or sad and discouraged about your situation. This book leaves the impression that even at your most broken, God is willing to come in at the eleventh hour and turn things around.

31 Days of Song: “I Cannot Tell it All”

Confession:  I’ve hardly read any of your blogs this week, but I did come across one person to say hello to.  It’s another Amy, and like Amy last week, she’s also focused on the Bible.  Her question for these 31 days is “What does the Bible say about food?”

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So, time for another song and there’s a story behind this one.  My friend Mark Grove and his wife moved to Cornwall and in 2007, he and some of his contacts organised the first-ever worship event at the Minack Theatre.  They now hold the event there every 2 years, round-about the second weekend in May.

 

I can’t tell you what an honour it was to sing at this open-air theatre, carved out of a cliff, where you could stand on-stage and hear the waves in the background.  I drove down with Mum and Dad and we stayed a couple of nights in a caravan nearby.  The night before and during the morning, we heard the rain pelting down on the roof and wondered if the whole event would go ahead, but God has control of the weather and miraculously it did.  All around us, even in the nearest town of St. Ive’s, really heavy rainstorms; the Minack had 2 hours of perfect sunshine.  Gordon (the local canon) welcomed us and Mark’s worship-band were on-stage more than once, as were the Light & Life Gospel Choir from Helston, and right in the middle was me doing a couple of songs.  The Minack’s manager (Philip) was fantastic at sorting the sound and everything just went amazingly.

 

This is one the choir sang.  Their lead singer (I think her name was Debbie) was so enthusiastic that when I first heard this on the radio, I thought it was a bit slow because they’d put so much energy into their version, but I got used to it and now it’s a great praise song that brings back happy memories.

A-Z: Glow

I’ve written before about a negative experience I had of someone praying for my sight and me not receiving it.  There have been a few of those.  Thankfully though, having been a Christian for 13 years, I can count them on one hand, but can you have positive experiences of healing when you’ve not been physically healed?  Well, I would say yes, and today, on day 7 of the A-Z challenge, I’ll tell you about one of them.

We had a visiting speaker at church who’d seen many miracles.  Several of us went up for prayer and when it was my turn, he asked me:  “What do you want the Lord to do for you?”

“Whatever He wants.”  The speaker’s wife prayed with me for a bit and the meeting came to a close.  On my way home, I realised I should have been specific.  Like the man in the Bible when Jesus asked what he wanted, I should have said:  “I want to see!”

The next week, it was another visiting speaker – the man who’d preached at my baptism.  Again I went up for prayer, and amazingly, he asked exactly the same question!  “What do you want the Lord to do for you?”

So I said it.  “I want my sight.”

He gently put a finger on each of my eyelids and turned to face the rest of the church.  “Everybody pray,” he said in a voice full of emotion, and everybody did.  “Can you see?” he asked, so I told him no and we carried on praying.  “Can you see?” he asked again.

“No.”

“Well, what’s happening?  Your face is radiant!”  I don’t know whether he meant my face literally shone, like Moses’ when he walked down the mountain after meeting with God.  Maybe it did, but I felt radiant too.  I cannot describe the feeling when you’re there being prayed-for, knowing that in a moment God could completely change your life.  It takes your breath away.

And afterwards, I wasn’t made to feel like a second-class citizen.  We were asked to go on praying for this throughout the week, and people came to me with their encouragement.  One friend said she believed God would want me to see because He’d made such beauty on the earth; someone else had a word for me that I’ve always remembered …  I really felt they were with me, not against me.

Is God awesome to you?  Do you go to church with a glow in your cheeks, and an expectancy that today He might just change your life forever?

Friend Friday: When you Need a Miracle

Exciting post for you today.  This is my best attempt at shouting it from the rooftops.

 

A friend of mine has a very rare disease (one of the symptoms being osteoporosis).  The other day, a Christian she knew invited her to a retreat for the day, which focused on healing.  She’d had a particularly difficult week and wasn’t sure how she’d take it, but she went.  On the way there, she was feeling really sick from the pain of old and new fractures.

 

A girl prayed for her, and she felt another hand on her head, then on her back.  She went from being in terrible pain to being able to touch her toes, and she said she had great fun at the hospital.  After convincing them to re-X-ray her wrist, they couldn’t work out how a wrist so obviously fractured 2 weeks ago could look like it had never been fractured ever!

 

You don’t have to get as excited as I did – standing up off your chair and waving your arms in the air, but will you praise God with me, and will you pray the other symptoms also go in Jesus’ name?  Thanks!

Manchester 2011

Just last weekend, I was in Manchester for one of Compassion’s 2011 conferences. First on my to-do list for this trip was to book the hotel-room, and I had a couple of questions. As I read Braille, not print, would it be all right to send the dinner menu by E-mail? They did. And was it all right to have someone show me round my room when I arrived, and take me to the restaurant for dinner and breakfast next morning? They agreed, and asked me to call nearer the time, so I phoned the day before. All sorted.

Arrival

I made it to Manchester. With the help of my mobile phone, a member of station-staff tracked down Darren from Compassion, who drove me to my hotel. When I checked in, the lady was surprised to hear he was just dropping me off, and didn’t seem to know what to do. In the end, Darren offered to take me to the room. “Please do,” she said, “I’m the only one here.” I felt for him – having to do what was really the hotel’s job, but he said it was a pleasure.

Left alone in the room, I slip off my shoes and make some coffee. Darren has shown me how to call the front desk, but I can just imagine the lady saying: “I’m the only one here. You can have room service”, and me having to pay extra.

Happily, there are others from Compassion in the hotel. One phones my room and says: “How are you fixed for tea? … I’ll take you down, that’s fine”. Phew!

Bedtime. The hotel-room is cold, and I don’t know how to work the heating. The duvet is fairly thin, and there are no extra blankets – well, not that I can find. I end up going to bed in my cardigan, hoping it won’t look creased the next day! I think to myself this conference will have to be VERY good to make it worth paying for the train, and the hotel with its problems.

God didn’t disappoint.

Miracles in Haiti

Our speaker in the morning was Andy Hawthorn, who’s just been awarded an OBE. When I registered for the conference, I didn’t know what he was going to talk about, but the country he focused on was Haiti. I had started sponsoring there just last year, and didn’t think I knew much about Haiti yet, so it was good to hear him. He and a friend were able to go there just after the earthquake of 12 January, 2010. Andy told us: “After an earthquake, you just want to bless people”, so they had given away their money. Then they went to a church … with (I think it was) 600 dead bodies piled outside it. The pastor had lost his mother, and lots from the church. As he swept up some of the mess, he wore a hat with the words: “Jesus is my Boss” on it. They wanted to give him something. Andy’s friend opened his bag to look for dollars, English money – anything they had, and there was a big wodge of money! They gave all of it to the pastor. Then they went to a child’s home and wanted to bless the family; friend opened his bag, and the same thing happened again!

We were also told about a girl whose feet were in very bad shape. They prayed: “Lord, we really need to find an orthopaedic surgeon”.

As they came into the airport, they saw a medical team, all gowned up. Andy said it was as if the Lord had taken them from some top American hospital and just dumped them in Haiti. They carried the girl to the bottom of the steps, where the team were, and asked them: “Do you know of any orthopaedic surgeons?”

They said: “We are orthopaedic surgeons”. Within minutes, the girl was on her way to hospital for treatment.

Peace

I can’t finish this post without telling you about Peace. Originally from Uganda, Peace now lives in the UK. She was sponsored through Compassion as a child, but some of the things she suffered beforehand were horrific. Given to a couple as their slave, they forced her to share a bed with a goat, and would put hot coals down her dress when she didn’t bring home enough firewood. She still has scars on her body from the pain inflicted on her.

Peace is now married, and mother to a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. Her children are shown love at home, and will never have to go through what she went through. Isn’t that something to praise God for?

Have you been on a trip that inspired you? Would be good to hear some stories.