My Own Personal Miracle!

 

 

“…Jesus
said to him,”‘Feed My sheep.'” John 21:17 (Jesus
talking to Peter)

 
Last
Tuesday,  I received a payment–a rather
large chunk–for my critiquing services. My husband came home, handed me an
envelope. I glanced at it. Another monthly packet from Voice of the Martyrs. I’d love to tell you I open it every month
and pray diligently for those who are being persecuted for the cause of Christ,
but I’d be lying. I might breathe a small prayer as I toss it out.
 
But this
night, I laid it on my desk and climbed up on my bed to chat with my husband
after he came home from Karate.
 
“Hand
me that envelope, Jess.”
 
“Voice
of the Martyrs? What do you want with that?” I grabbed it and held it up.
 
“Oh,”
he said. “I thought it was Project Rescue. What’s Voice of the
Martyrs?”
 
I told
him. He pulled up Project Rescue’s site. “I know you support them and on
the way home God made it clear that the amount of money you received isn’t
ours. So I thought of PR. Giving it to them.”
 
Of
course I was thrilled. Any chance to sow into Project Rescue (I have a page
devoted to this amazing ministry) makes me happy. But something stuck in my gut
and I focused on the packet from VOM (Voice of the Martyrs). I opened it up and
skimmed the booklet.
 
“Hey
Tim, this says we can donate Bibles.” A knot in my stomach formed as I
prayed in my head. Lord, where should this
money go? I was just thinking how we take Bibles for granted. We give them away
at GoodWills and there are people who weep over wanting just one. Yet we ignore
the treasures for extra sleep or hobbies…But I also love Project Rescue–girls
forced into sexual slavery.
 
“I
don’t really know about this ministry,” Tim said. I understand. These days
giving your debit card number over a website can be scary. And will those
people actually receive Bibles?
 
I wanted
to follow my husband’s lead. I’ve always prayed and asked God to increase us so
we can sow into the kingdom. One day I’d love to see a place on my novels that
says, “A portion of proceeds go to Project Rescue.”
 
We
decided to give part to Voice of the Martyrs and sponsor 10 bibles and give the
other portion to Project Rescue.
 
On
Wednesday morning, after I dropped my daughter off at school and got my little
sickie settled on the couch, I prayed about those Bibles. And I prayed about my
neck problems, asking once again for healing and then believing that if God
didn’t heal me, His grace would be sufficient.
 
My phone
dinged. Email. Naturally, I told God to hold up. I mean don’t we all do that?
Oh, it’s just me. I checked my email and it was two devotionals that I’d signed
up for at Bible Gateway. Now, I’d like to tell you I read them faithfully, but
I can’t. In fact, I normally delete them without even reading them. Why did I
even sign up? I deleted the first one, but…
 
I felt a
need to open the second one. I can’t explain it. Just a feeling I should. *Disclaimer: Just because your phone dings during prayer doesn’t mean you should
always check it.
 
SUFFERING ACCOMPLISHES UNKNOWN PURPOSES
 
This was
the title. And it was the devotional about persecuted Christians. Christians
like the ones I’d just sent Bibles to–or at least I hoped that was what my
money was actually going to.
 
As I
read, I thought God was speaking to me about my neck. It talked about Paul’s
thorn in his flesh that God didn’t heal him of, but His grace was sufficient.
 
And then
I read a story about a boy, named Abdul, who drowned and died for an hour.
(Normally, I think…oh here we go when I read death stories.) But I kept
reading. The angels that carried him, told him he still had work to do and when
he opened his eyes, alive, a pastor sat praying over him.
 
It went on to say, “This happened twenty years ago and
ever since, Abdul’s life has been changed. Even though Abdul only completed
fifth grade in school, he is currently the pastor of a small church in a very
poor village on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands
. In his own
words Abdul says, “I don’t understand God’s purposes in my suffering, but I now
know the Lord.””
 
Something struck me!
Mindanao
. I know that place. How do I know that place? I’ve never read anything
about the Philippine Islands. I poked my lips out and scrunched my brows.
 
Yes
you do. You skimmed it last night.
 
I snatched up the
Voice of the Martyrs booklet/newsletter and opened to the editor’s page.
 
First paragraph:
“Our newsletter editor recently met with Christians on the Philippine
island of Mindanao
, where Christians are heavily persecuted. Her trip was well
timed because the Philippine government had just signed a preliminary agreement
with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (a rebel group) to create an Islamic
region in Mindanao called Bangsamore.” It went on to tell of horrible
persecutions to the Christians. Bombs. Fear. Theft. Vandalism. Beatings.
 
I had just read
about this place in my devotional I never read! But there’s more!
 
“When our
editor asked a pastor
why he stays in Mindanao when he could have a peaceful life in another part of
the Philippines, he said, “For me it’s not really difficult. We need to feed the sheep.”
He asked only for more Bibles, as many Christians families in his village do
not have one.”
 
Do I believe that
the boy who drowned is this man, “Arnel” (name changed due to
anonymity and security issues) is Abdul.
 
I do.
 
Do I believe that
when we listen, God speaks–even if it’s a whisper or thought?
 
I do.
 
Do I believe that
God is sovereign and is constantly working to spread a message of hope to those
who are dying in sin and begging for just a taste of His word?
 
I do.
 
Do I believe that
when we seek God’s will, but are unsure and ask for confirmation, that He gives
it? Even through devotions and newsletters we would normally never read?
 
I do.
 
Do I believe the
money I could have kept and saved for a writer’s conference is now going to
Mindanao to spread the gospel, to feed the sheep of Jesus Christ’s pasture?
 
I do.
 
Did I mention that
on the Wednesday night after all this happened in the morning, I was teaching
on Peter’s life and discovering God’s will for your life to my new &
growing believer’s class, that we were reviewing real living and relationships
that included giving with a cheerful heart as God purposes in our hearts?
 
I did.
 
Do I believe that
this was a practical application I could share and encourage them with?
 
I do.
 
Do I believe that if
God can orchestrate something so amazing as this, then He can also orchestrate
other things in my life and make good on promises such as writing, publishing,
teaching, family concerns, physical healing (or lack of), finances…?
 
I do.
 
I do.
 
I do.
 
Do
you?
 
“So let each one give as he purposes in
his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
 
If you are
interested in sowing into the Kingdom and feeding God’s sheep, please visit
Voice of the Martyrs. And as always, Project Rescue!
 
“Like” us on facebook!
 

16 thoughts on “My Own Personal Miracle!

  1. Such a cool story!

     
     
  2. Amazing story – which should come as no surprise since we serve an amazing God! Rejoicing with you, my friend!

     
     
  3. Gives me chills;) I love this story,Jess:)

     
     
  4. Great story. God is very much real and moving in your life and in the world.

     
     
  5. Powerful. I love evidence of God working in our lives. This is very timely, as I'm making a decision and am seeking God's will. 😉 Love you, friend!

     
     
  6. I love your honesty–yes, I confess to throwing away some things like that, too. But God speaks to us SO softly sometimes…that tickle in the back of our minds…and we know we have to follow His lead. And then He ALWAYS blesses for it. Not always immediately, but eventually. We just have to stay open.

     
     
  7. Jess, this is beautiful! I love it. And I love how you prayed for confirmation and God gave it. And I love that He is so incredibly faithful to use whatever we give him–the money you gave, the time you spent reading that devotional, the heart you so obviously have for others–and to multiply it more than we can imagine. Thanks so much for sharing!

     
     
  8. Jess, this brought tears. What a tremendous word from the Master! It's God-ordained moments like this make our journey as Christians sweeter and encourage us to keep "pressing on."

    I couldn't even wait for your post to come to my "inbox" this morning! I jumped on here earlier, but had to drop DD off at school first before I could comment.

    You made my day. 🙂

     
     
  9. God just TOTALLY gave me goose bumps over His faithfulness – to you and those who call on Him. TEARS! That is flat out face down God Almighty on the move in and through you, Jess. PRAISE!!!

     
     
  10. What a cool, faith-building experience! Thanks for sharing this, Jess.

     
     
  11. Wow, Jessica! I am not surprised by this–but I am awed! When we add up the puzzle pieces to God's will in our lives, it's shocking how easily we could have overlooked them. The fact you opened the envelope, read the devotional, and prayed about the situation before? Well, it's obvious God is at work all the time. He'll get our attention!

     
     
  12. Love hearing stories like this!! And love the way God works.

    I was recently wondering if my prayers for the persecuted were worth the time, then I read this quote on 'The Voice of the Martyrs' FB page. And realized it is. 🙂

    "I had the physical sense of being prayed for. Even when I knew nothing and received no letters, I felt warmth as if sitting near a fire. Sometimes this happened in punishment cells, which are very cold. It was like hearing someone pray for me and think about me. This supported me so much. It is difficult to explain. . . . I felt and knew I was not forgotten. This was sufficient to make me resist the most difficult moments." ~Irina Ratushinskaia, Christian poet imprisoned in the former Soviet Union until 1987

     
     
  13. Such an AWESOME testimony, Jessica! I love hearing how God orchestrates times like these in our lives to show us He is listening, and working, in and through us. Thank you for sharing!!

     
     
  14. Love this, Jess!

    We feel strongly about giving to VoM.
    ~ Wendy

     
     
  15. Wow! I love it when God does stuff like this!

     
     
  16. I'm sorry I missed this post last week. I've been sort of unplugged the last week. But, had just logged out of my Blogger account when I was nudged to check your blog to catch up on your posts. I did, and I'm so glad I did. Awesome story, Jess. I love how God speaks to our heart in ways only we can understand…even through emails and blog posts.

     
     

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