Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why she obeys God immediately (most of the time)

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I was driving home that evening at 7pm, and I found myself pulling into the driveway of that neighborhood church.  I did not intend to pull in but rather I just found myself pulling in with a strong urgency. I even remember saying to myself, "Well, OK Lord….".  So I get out of my car and walk into the clothing bank area and there walking out in front of me was a young lady crying…..  I ask her what the matter was and she explained how this other woman (another beneficiary of the clothing giveaway) was continually grabbing the stuff she needed out of her hands and taking it.  (I did get a worker to speak to that rude woman.)  She continued to cry and say that she just got off a plane with her 2 children and had no car seat and she needed help – she was young, single, obviously looking for a new place to live and start over.  I immediately said, without even thinking, “Well, you can have mine”.  I went to my car and got it out then thought – "Now what am I gonna do? I don’t have one."  Literally within seconds my phone rang. I answered to someone saying "Hey – I have 2 car seats for you – I am on the way to drop them off, are you home?"

(Read the rest at   

Carol T. from Ford Motor Company

One reason she listens to God's voice daily

Carol T., the leader of my Ford Motor Company lunchtime Bible Study (not her real name; read the previous story to see why), told this story to me back on March 30, 2006, and at the time I wrote it down.  I hauled it out of my old notes today.  I am pleased to say that it makes plain Carol's steady progression in her walk with the Lord, because now in 2011, I see that she responds more quickly to His call.

A few years back, Carol was praying regularly and felt the need to tithe someplace.  She thought she heard she should tithe to her mother's church.  But she postponed taking any action for two weeks  (remember this number).

After those two weeks, she sent a check in the mail to the pastor as a love offering.  That very afternoon, her mom (who knew nothing about the mailed check or the delayed decision) called to say, "Carol, we need to pray.  There's a family in our church which has basically not been able to feed itself for two weeks."

Ahem.  Two weeks. 

What Carol told me she took away from this episode was that had she immediately taken action at the time God had prompted her, it may have been able to prevent that family from dealing with hunger the past two weeks.  She said this helped her believe that not only God's instructions, but his timing is important to act upon.

Christ motivates single Mom to take in troubled girl

Friday a few weeks ago at work (Ford Motor Company), I had lunch with our Thursday lunchtime Bible Study leader, Carol T (omitting her last name – she’s concerned about revealing the drug problem of the woman in this story).  She had been asking for donations for girls clothing, girls shoes, an extra bed.  So I wanted to find out what the full story was. 

Carol is a regular volunteer at her son's high school in Michigan, and the counselors have known Carol as a caring volunteer for years.  So when the counselors found out that one of their best students, an African American girl, had been thrown out of her house for pointing out to her mother that her mother should give up drugs, they wanted to help the girl find a place to stay.  So they called Carol.

Carol told me that she prayed and prayed about it, and complained to God that she didn't want the additional responsibility, and felt like kicking and screaming no.  But she said in prayer she felt such a peace about it... a firm, grounded, long-lasting peace... that she knew God was telling her to do it.  Carol spends a lot of time praying and listening to what God wants her to do.  So Carol took the girl into her home.

For how long?  Here's what Carol told me:  "God knew when to bring her to me.  God will know when she's ready to leave."  Now THAT'S faith.

The girl's mother is paying for absolutely nothing.  Carol is doing this on her own as a single mother. Yet she said that it's working out well already.  

Only someone like Christ could motivate such selfless acts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

After 26 years, his belief in Medjugorje is still as strong

Just a quick note to say that I wrote an email to Wayne Weible, the man who wrote the book Medjugorje, The Message (see my post from Nov. 4).  I wanted to tell him I would like to tell a few more people about the amazing spiritual events happening there in the former Yugoslavia.  He wrote back ...

Thank you so much. I feel the same today as when it started.
My best wishes and God bless.
This does not surprise me, given that Wayne, a casual Lutheran in the newspaper business who after hearing about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1985 and having several personal encounters with the supernatural, decided to commit the remainder of his life to getting out the message about Medjugorje.  However, it does impress upon me that this must be absolutely captivating to him for him to be able to say that, now 26 years after he first encountered the Blessed Mother of Jesus himself. 

How many times have I, or others, after having encountered a small miracle and cherishing it for a few months, slipped slowly back into the real world of work, family, friends, chores, and entertainment?

What does this mean for the rest of us?  It means to me that her message of conversion back to her son Jesus must be something for us to keep at our side throughout every minute of our real world of work, family, friends, chores, and entertainment.  I think we must ask ourselves:  1.  Am I reflecting positively on God?   2.  Am I treating my neighbor as myself?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

God saved his marriage, cured his depression

This true story is very hard for me to believe, because it was written and sent to me by Gerry, the very stable, very well respected leader of our church men's fellowship.  He's been at it for almost 20 years... every Saturday morning.  He's allowed a group of 20 men to set a new norm in their lives, and that's to live for Jesus.  I find it virtually impossible to think he had such difficulty earlier in his life.  But Jesus can do anything, even for people whose marriages are in trouble and who are considering suicide.

Even though I was raised by faithful Catholic parents and was friends with God through high school, something happened after that and I didn’t have time for Him, or church either.

My wife (Peg) and I were married in 1973 and 3 years into our marriage it was dying. It wasn’t my wife’s fault, I just couldn’t get any enthusiasm … I wasn’t “in love”.  I wanted to stop the marriage before we had any children to hurt …there was enough pain as it was.

My sister invited us to go on a marriage encounter … little did we know that it was for good marriages to be made better. I remember telling my wife peg that if this didn’t take, we would look for a lawyer … enough was enough.

That’s how we went into the weekend, God came into our marriage somehow (because I certainly didn’t ask him) and he healed our marriage – we went around to my parents and brothers and sisters houses and told them on Sunday how much in love we were and how we were going to stay married.

3 years later when our first daughter was born we had a decision to make.  We had agreed to be consistent with our daughter in all things - and the Church and Mass were boring – there was nothing there for us.

Father Duane Stenzel

After trial & error to find some meaning in the Church, I ended up going to a place called Duns Scotus and listening to Fr. Duane Stenzel. He talked about how much Jesus wanted me to have a relationship with him through his son, Jesus with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Both Peg & I were changed in our hearts and the Mass & sacraments exploded with the real presence of Jesus.

God still wasn’t finished with me yet – not by a long shot. I had been suffering from depression episodes that would come out of nowhere … like the floor dropping out from beneath me, I would find myself in a dungeon-type room … no doors … no escape … no hope. There were frightening moments that the thought of ending my life might be the best solution.

On one occasion while we listened to Fr. Duane talk about the healing presence of Jesus, he had us shut our eyes and listen to the scriptures read … and he read: "The spirit of the lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the lord's favor."

Suddenly I saw a vision of a room with a person huddled in the corner with his knees pulled up tight to his chest. His flesh looked raw, like a severe burn victim ... And in his eyes was a look of sheer terror.

I opened my eyes and saw that everyone else was still listening with their eyes closed … so, I closed my eyes and immediately, I was back in that room, except now I was the person in the corner … and I could feel the terror and fear in me.

I noticed a light coming in the room through a door and as I clutched my knees even tighter. I saw a hand reach across my forearm and ever so gently, lift my arm off my knees.

I realized it was Jesus and that I was healed … of course it took me quite a while as I was weeping with joy.

Since that time, I have not had one episode of depression like I had been experiencing. Jesus came to get me in a place I didn’t think anyone could get to. Let alone would want to.  I didn’t earn His healing or presence – He just came.

Now I know the one who healed my marriage. Now I know the one who healed my depression. Now I know the real answer to that Catechism question … why did God make me? God made me to love me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Lord's help during a sad time

For several months, two people who are important to me have effectively shut me out of their good graces.  We can't avoid interacting with each other, and when we meet, conversation is reduced to perfunctory exchanges, with not much enthusiasm.  I will be frank here and admit that it hurts more than a little.  In fact, I pass through most days with a melancholy accompanied by a lack of energy for most things.

I have tried to force myself to keep a happy disposition, and I've been temporarily able to use diversions such as seeing other friends or watching a movie to make myself feel better, but beneath it all, there is a long sadness about this.

Today I went to take a walk in the woods near a stream.  I feel closer to the Lord then.  I sat on a log an prayed.  I had been spending regular time with the Lord in readings and prayer and fasting since January, so I'm starting to recognize Him when He's there, though it's nothing as certain as looking at a photo or talking on the phone.

My prayer began as a jumbled mess, with a hundred topics and questions. It didn't take long for Him to jump in and calm me down.  I felt an involuntary calming down of my nerves, and then I had some thoughts that I wondered whether they were my own.  They were not like the thoughts that in the last several months I had voluntarily generated.  Those were like "What can I do to fix this?" "What did I do wrong?" "How can I say how unhappy I am with the mistreatment without making matters worse?"

This calming thought was like this: "You are already taking the right approach by not reacting angrily or upset by this.  You are doing the right thing by purposefully deciding to treat them well.

I admit, it did calm me down.

(Please to to WTNESS.ORG to read the rest of the story)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A simple life serving Jesus - is better than a miracle

Yesterday I went to the funeral visitation of Kay Houston, a woman who lived by all accounts with one primary objective:  To serve Jesus as best she could on her limited means.  The result was that she brought the love of Jesus to dozens of people, and now these people have a stronger faith of their own. 
Kay Houston

How?  At the visitation, the hundred or so people in the seats were asked to come to the microphone to talk about Kay.  One after another, they described how they were of the opinion that Kay was their best friend.  (!)  Kay did not have a lot of money.  She worked for the last 20 years of her working life as a librarian for the Detroit News.  What she gave was love, attention, care, and prayers. 

One woman that I know, Holly, said that over the course of several years, Kay was there for her though the ups and downs of life, and whenever there was a rough spot (the death of her brother-in-law, the loss of her husband's job, the death of her mother), Kay was right there to support Holly with love and prayers.  This might not seem like much when you read it.  But to Holly, it was evident it made all the difference.  Holly was crying as she told the story. 

Others said much the same.  When Kay saw someone, she'd remember whatever had been discussed in the last conversation, and asked how everybody was doing with true concern.  Kay did this even when she herself was hospitalized, and losing her eyesight.  It was the other person she asked about.  If there was a need, Kay would say, "OK, let's pray right now!"  Evidently, from the heartfelt tone of the many stories, Kay must have been a quality pray-er.

Michelle Yax, the Executive Director of Mother and Unborn Baby Care,  told a several part story about how Kay wanted only to be helpful and did not complain about her own ailments.  She volunteered when healthy. Then when her eyes started to go bad, she continued to come, and brought a large magnifying glass.  Then when her eyes got so bad she could no longer drive, she continued to come, depending on the senior citizen bus to take her. Then when her stamina started to go bad, she continued to come, and asked that a chair be placed at the stairway landing so that she could rest after taking the stairs, so that after the rest, she could continue her volunteer work.  It was really moving to hear her dedication to serve others as a way of serving Jesus.

You might say, "How does this story give evidence that Jesus is real?  Show us another miracle story instead!"

Miracles are one-time signals that God is able to suspend the natural laws He created.

Seeing dozens of hearts convinced that there is a powerful force in LOVE, through the actions of one simple woman who believes in Jesus so much that she dedicates her life to Him... is to me a larger miracle than a man surviving a plane crash (story below).

This skydiver almost died, but instead met God and is changed forever

(this blog has grown up and is now a full website.  Please go instead to
In this video, an interview with extreme skydiving enthusiast Mickey Robinson, he tells of having no interest or relationship with God prior to a near-death experience, and after nearly dying, "knowing" that God is real.  He explains why. 

Mickey Robinson experienced severe burns but lived.
He now is fully convinced God exists.

My commentary:  Is God Real?  I consider this more evidence.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can a Host bleed? (Yes)

St. Stephen Catholic Church,
where the miracle occurred

I just received this story from a Catholic friend Kiran K, with whom I worked.  It speaks strongly of Jesus being alive today, and alive in the Communion, so I had to share it.  Who says miracles no longer happen?  

On June 6, 2010 at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in New Boston, Michigan, Father John Hedges found a Host (the thin wheat wafer representing Jesus' body that is consumed during Communion) with a bite out of it and stuck to a hymnal.  If this were a bread store, the right response would have been to throw it in the trash. But since the consecrated (prayed over) Host represents the body of Christ, this was considered a desecration.  That is, a disrespecting of our Lord.   

Father John knew the right procedure to dispose of the Host, and so he placed it in a container of water so that it would shortly dissolve, and then it could be properly disposed of.  He placed it overnight in a gilded box called a tabernacle (a place of honor) and came back the next day to dispose of it.  What he found was not what he expected.  The host had not dissolved as physics says it should have.  Instead, it was whole, and it had a small amount of blood on it.  Blood! Significant in that Jesus shed his blood for us.   A little while later, the blood smear became a droplet.  A little while later it was full of blood.  This was indeed a miracle. This would be interpreted as follows:
  • Jesus was sending a message.
  • This Host is to be seen as a real portion of Jesus' body.
  • He was grieved.
To make this more amazing, Father John reported that this was not the first time a descrated Host bled in his presence.  The first time he did not mention it to anybody because he thought it was solely for his own eyes.  This time he felt led to share it with the community at the Monday, June 7 Mass.

Fr. John Hedges
Father John Hedges

He spoke of the significance of the Host and prayed in reparation for the desecration that had occurred.  He asked all to go down on two knees instead of one at the end of Mass as a show of respect for the body of Jesus, and to leave in absolute silence, and everyone felt moved to do so.  Said a woman named Carol, who was there at the time, "I do not need to tell you how many of us were crying during the talk.  People's faces were RED."

My comments:  Think of this not as a material curiosity, but as one of those rare communications from Heaven.  Then read the story again.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Man forgives murderer of sister, 4 children

In July 2011,  Tabasha Paige-Craido, 30, and her four children were killed.  The murder was allegedly committed by her estranged husband, Jordan Adam Craido, who allegedly started their house on fire to cover up the deed.

Jesse Adams, brother of murdered woman, telling the news media he forgives
the murderer because God forgave him what he did.  His wife is next to him.
Photo credit: Thomas Boyd, The Oregonian
Tabasha's brother Jesse Adams was quoted as saying, "We want Jordan to know that he's been forgiven. We want the community to heal and those who knew her to heal."
Adams spoke to reporters while clutching a leather-bound Bible. He said that the road to forgiveness was hard after losing a sister, a niece and three nephews.
"But at the end of the day, I got to remember what God did for me," Adams said. "He forgave when I didn't deserve it. So I'm going to forgive."

Community Bible Church Pastor Pete Slusher said he was moved by Adams' determination to offer forgiveness to the man suspected of causing such heartbreak.
Slusher had breakfast with Adams and heard him say 'I just want to forgive the guy.'  Slusher commented from his personal experience, "That's actually quite unusual."
Adams told reporters he was trying to forgive because of the Bible passage Ephesians 4:31, which he quoted:
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving."

Source: written by Kimberly A.C. Wilson, The Oregonian

My commentary:  Jesse Adams didn't discuss what he was forgiven for in his own life.  But my guess is that this was no minor offense, and that the feeling of forgiveness he believed was offered by God was not a result of simply reading words on a page.  I'll venture that he felt a very real presence of a living being who offered the unusual love of forgiveness.  That is, God.  And he knew that it was important for him to show his appreciation by offering the same to another.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Blessed Mary is currently appearing in Medjugorje

This may be the hardest to believe of all the entries so far placed here. But if it's true, and I believe it is, it has the greatest meaning to us all.

The Blessed Mother of Jesus, Mary, is allegedly appearing regularly to six very normal but faith-filled people in this small village in the former Yugoslavia, and has since 1981.  This is the longest continuous time period by far that Mary has visited the earth.  Because it is not yet Christ's time to return, she is serving as His messenger. She is doing the will of her Son Jesus - God, and is not speaking on her own.
In 2007, 26 years after the first apparitions,
 the believing crowds get no smaller.

Some of the first words said by Mary: "I have come here, because there are many devout people here."  These people maintained their faith in Jesus despite living in a communist country, where the official position was that there is no religion.

The core of her message is this:  Tell all of humanity to convert back to God.  This can be done through prayer, fasting, and penance. She wants all people, even people of different religions, to live at peace with each other, since the people of all religions are accepted by her Son.

To give credibility that this is really happening, healings have taken place in Medjugorje.  Professional psychologists have studied the seers, all who were teenagers when the apparitions started, and determined that they are all looking at and responding to the same image at the same time, even though they do not look at each other to cue each other.  When any of them converses with the Blessed Mother, their mouths move but onlookers hear nothing.  The seers report speaking in a normal voice and hearing Mary with their ears, but onlookers hear nothing. 

When asked why others cannot see or hear her, she responded with the same words used by her Son two millenia earlier: "Blessed are they who have not seen and believe..."

Source:  Medjugorje, The Message by Wayne Weible.  Wayne was the owner of three newspapers and a Lutheran who had quit going to church altogether when he heard this story and decided to dedicate his life to writing about it.

I'll write more about this in the future.