The Miraculous Bus Ride

In 1989, my husband and I got a chance to be chaplains in a bed-to-bed visitation mission at Hyde Park Hospital, which is now closed in Chicago.  One of the ministers’ cousins was on the religious board at the hospital and was able to recommend us for the task.

While people did come to the Lord during our time there, halfway through our first year, someone on the board started accusing us of not showing up on a weekly basis.  We were astonished because we had not missed a week and always signed in. So we left it in the Lord’s hands, and we were asked to appear before the board to answer their concerns. Whatever the Lord gave us to say was apparently satisfactory to the board and they allowed us to stay. God truly touched their hearts.  For some reason, a mix up with the sign in sheets, it looked like we had not been there in a while.  Faced with the evidence they had, they had a right to be concerned but it was not like it looked at all.

andrew-murray

So it was essential that once this was cleared up that we proved our faithfulness with their new system.   One day, however, we were scheduled to be at the mission, but Gino was also due to be at work at a certain time.   We were pretty poor at the time and this day, we didn’t have enough bus fare for us to get to the hospital and for Gino to get to work. We contemplated calling the hospital Chaplain to let him know we couldn’t make it, but my husband felt led to try to make it.  I always tell people, don’t try this type of faith at home, because people sometimes do crazy things in the name of faith.  You really have to be sure the Lord’s hand is what you are doing.  This time the Lord was with us.

So we went to the bus stop not knowing how this was going to work out, but Gino believed that somehow God would make a way.  I believed him and God had worked for him before.  I believed in his faith and I believed the Lord.  “Maybe someone we know will drive by,” I thought, but God had another way I never expected.

We walked to our usual corner bus stop and noticed the crowd was larger than normal.  So I asked what was going on and nobody seemed to know; except that they pointed out that the bus had been sitting at the prior stop for about fifteen minutes.  So finally, the bus driver pulled up, unceremoniously opened the door, and explained to everyone that at the prior stop, his fare box stopped working and he was doing everything he could to repair it, but it still didn’t work.  So he had to give everyone a three-hour transfer!  Perfect! Can you say “miracle?”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Gino and I looked at each other and said, “Hey, we ain’t gonna argue with that.”  I find it hard to believe that this was not the hand of God, and everyone else got blessed in the process.  That’s just like God.

Excerpt from How to Walk on Water

Download the Book

A God of Miracles

faith-quote

God is truly able to work miracles.  So I decided to pen down some of the ones God has worked out in the life of me and my husband Gino for the next few posts.

The Offering Plate

During one church service, Gino had $100 but it was all we had. We needed the money for rent.  My husband strongly believed in giving God the first fruits of his increase. Sitting in the church service, he was trying to decide whether to put the $100 in the offering plate.  As the plate came closer, he decided that “God comes first.”   He said he felt the strong urge to support the work of God and that God would take care of his needs. He believed if he paid his tithes, God would take care of the rest. So he put the $100 in the basket.  He sat there for a while and he told me that he really was feeling calm about his decision.  He just thought that God would allow him to find money or touch our landlord’s heart in some way.   During the preaching, the usher handed him and envelope with  $100 from a “concerned saint”, who had no idea of the struggle he was going through to pay his tithes/rent that day. But God knew and replace the $100 in the same hour.

 

Feel free to share your miracles

Can Oppression Make You Crazy?

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

Ecc 7:7 (KJV)

I had never considered this scripture before but it is filled with understanding. Trust me, I will probably be meditating on this for a long time.  Not to excuse crazy behavior, but because I never realized the depths to which oppression can drive a person.

Extortion is a special type of oppression, but in some versions of the bible, the Hebrew word simply rendered Oppression.   To be clear, oppression is being unjustly treated or controlled, especially over a length of time.  This may send anyone over the edge.  God made the human psyche to have free will and not be controlled.  When a person is controlled in everything they do or not allowed to exercise their abilities or gifts, it can make them act out of normal character.  It can cause them to break ranks from the norm.

I believe God wants us to have the understanding for people that have been oppressed.  To expect a group of people or a person to stay under oppressive systems or a person to continue to stay in an oppressive situation is unreasonable.  When God sends us through trials and difficulties, he never allows this just as an exercise in cruelty.  On the spiritual side, it is a controlled situation.  God will get us out of it when He’s ready.

God realizes that persecutions, tyranny, confinement is a punishment that’s against our natural creation. He does not mean for us to stay oppressed.  Even the wisest and humblest person can be affected.

The second part of this scripture says that  “a gift destroyeth the heart”, which is often rendered as “a gift can bribe the heart”.   People can change their principles and integrity for money or support. They get bought out because of something they want.  As Christians, this is something we should never do.  We should keep our beliefs and integrity even if the entire world turns against us, as long as we are leaning on scripture.

The moral of all this:  good men can be turned and we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be moved from a godly path in life.

What Is Worth More Than Money?

According to the bible, money is less valuable than wisdom and understanding; neither of which you can spend at Neiman-Marcus nor Macy’s but stick with me.

Some people never realize that money has its limits.  Now, I know you may say “hold up”, everybody needs it and nobody really turns it down, do they?  And many may even quote me the scripture that it’s the “love” of money that’s the root of all evil, not the money itself.  All true, but here’s what I’ve noticed.  In all the talk of people trying to defend the value of money in our lives, nobody really talks about the limited value of money.

According to the bible, money is less valuable than wisdom and understanding; neither of which you can spend at Neiman Marcus nor Macy’s but stick with me.

images (40)

According to Solomon, who had lots and lots of the stuff?  He says that looking over his wealth he realizes that money will not protect you in times of trouble.  It may actually create more troubles for you.  You’d be surprised if you just did a quick search of the term money in the book of Ecclesiastics and Proverbs see what Solomon had to say about money.

 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it. Ecclesiastes 7:12

This is the same man who said that money is the answer to everything.  And that is probably true in more cases than not in this world.  However, Solomon wrote down his observations about life in specific and just his passing observations.   In his writings, it is clear that his greatest treasure was his relationship with God.  He knew that it would outlast every dime that he possessed.

So as you go about your week, and work hard to get money, keep in the mind the things that money cannot buy and the eternal things that Solomon tells us is worth more than all the gold in the world.

 

Searching for God

Indeed, if you call out for insight   and cry aloud for understanding,
 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:3-5 images (139)

In the hurry and hustle of life, the scriptures cry out to us to take the time to seek and search for God.  This takes time and effort.  Often we fail to realize the ramifications of not spending that precious time alone with Him.  We get overcome by an emptiness that seems to make life more of a struggle.  The loads that should be lightened become heavier. The decisions feel more burdensome.  This is why the bible encourages each one of us to call out for insight.

When I spiritually counsel people, this question, always seems to come up not only for their sakes but also as a reminder to me, “have you sought God about this?” It’s a query that usually causes a mix of feelings. People frequently seek human counsel while seeking God about a particular matter.  Nevertheless, it’s a question I have to ask.  I want to know how they believe God has already directed them or where they feel he’s leading.

The scripture invites us to ask God about our every step.  He wants to be invited into every aspect of our lives. Sometimes I would think “God knows about everything anyway, so do I really have to pray about this”?   Yet, I believe that it is the action of seeking that helps us interact and connect with God on a higher level. That’s why he invites the action and actually uses “seeking” in a separate way from “prayer”.  Two different words in scripture, because these there are two different emphases.

Yet, in this particular scripture, Solomon encourages deep effort and a high level of action on our part to know God.  We are his creation, not the other way around, so it’s important to understand who he is and what his desires are for our lives.   The bible says that the heavens declare God’s identity and character, and still there is more to know.