As focus drifts from Christmas to resolutions a misleading conception saddens me – “abundant life”. It’s preached as being God’s promise of abundant supply, riches, a prospering business, a new car etc. etc. Some even measure others by their prosperity. How odd to think that a God who chose to be born in a stable and wander the land as an itinerant preacher, sleeping rough with his followers, would be interested in such things.
Sure He cares for His children and supplies their needs as promised, but this gift of “abundant life” is so much more than that! Like the old picture of a child dropping her doll to receive a snow white dove, abundant life is so much more!
John says “in Him was life” the life, creative power to heal and mend hearts, minds and bodies. It says, “He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly”. That this power of life can live in us to such a degree that it bursts forth on others, bringing life, healing, and peace. “Abundant life” is authority to access the power of the spiritual realm and perform miracles through that “life spirit” bringing forth fruit, not of sordid material possessions, but miracles of healing, redemption and changed lives. The former pales in comparison to the latter.
Just a thought when setting goals and resolutions.
It’s a long story how we came to be in the old farmhouse in Ireland realizing our dream. We, little nobodies, had helped stage a Christian camp for youngsters. They’d come, some eager, some confused. and some rebellious. We loved them, pulled our hair out at their antics and prayed (oh how we prayed!) Now it was over. They’d returned, tiny flames of love kindling in their hearts, to their domains, leaving a great joy of satisfaction in their wake.
There was just one problem. It was almost Christmas and while we had food aplenty and a roof over our heads, we had no money left, zilch, nothing, and there were children there, mine included. We explained there’d be no presents that year, no tree or decorations. They were such troopers, not a single complaint.
We made our own décor, holly and fir branches from the forest. Silvery yogurt tops, kept from the camp, were cut into snow flakes and suspended from fallen branches dabbed white with left over emulsion. It looked wonderful!
Christmas Eve was still special. We read old Christmas stories by candle light, and I sang my guys to sleep with childhood carols.
I came down to see the two teenage boys who’d helped with the renovations were gone.
“They went to look for a tree.” My eldest whispered. Due to a lot of boggy ground fallen trees were common in the surrounding forest.
Our Texan builder/handyman was heading out too. It was he who first dreamt up the project. His tiny 5ft 6 frame harboring a personality that somehow gave the impression of a 6 footer.
I joined my daughter and the other teenage girl who’d stayed to help clear up the aftermath of the camp etc. We’d almost done when the boys dragged in an enormous tree. I restrained myself from checking for axe marks (their hearts were surely right and the forest was common ground I reasoned.)
They set it up in a bucket which the girls artfully draped and we went about gleaning all the décor we could find, painted fir cones, odd bits of tinsel yogurt top snowflakes. It looked beautiful even without lights.
I was just drifting off to sleep when I was roughly wakened.
“Come on mum. We need you to help wrap.”
Our Texan angel had been to see a friend who owned a small toy factory. He’d been hoping there might be a few “old line” bits and pieces for the kids. But the Irish heart never gives by half and the little van was crammed with toys, enough for several presents for each child and lots left over to pass on to others, there were even fairy lights for the tree.
Imagine the wonder next morning when the children were awoken by Christmas angels (my daughter and friend had raided the prop box) and brought down to the old living room. There they saw a huge tree blazing with lights and an immense pile of presents.
They didn’t think it was Santa. They knew who to thank, and their happy praises sounded all day long. The presents were special because they knew Jesus had sent them and that made His birthday “magic”.
We adults of course didn’t get presents, or did we? The gifts of joy, love, peace and intense gratitude filled our hearts in a way presents never could. Jesus’ love for these precious children and the hearts that had given so freely of time, goods and sleep were more than enough!
Actually my son in law is not the only one to to have a miracle concerning hands.
When I was a new christian I was often so flipped out with joy that I could be quite “spacey”. One morning I was chatting away to a friend when I saw his jaw drop open, eyes agape. I turned to realise the large pot of water I’d put my hand in to place the eggs was in fact boiling. My hand wasn’t even hot!
Much later I told this story to the preteen children of another friend. They thought it was incredible and asked me if I could do it again. I of course replied, “No way!” and proceeded to explain about “tempting God”. A few days later it happened again. I accidentally put my hand in boiling water right in front of them. Again not even a mark. (Needless to say their faith expanded radically.)
Thankfully I’ve long grown out of such ridiculous spaciness but over to last 5 years I’ve twice spilled boiling water over my hand when straining vegetables etc. (These two times with no witnesses). Strangely my hand felt a little cold when it happened and again not so much as a mark. Times without number while cooking I’ve touched something hot, recoiled and put it under cold water, then realized there was no pain or burn.
Why I’ve been privileged to experience this I have no idea (my guardian angel must work overtime lol!) Would I ever try it deliberately? No way lol!
It’s strange how the mind tries to find a way to explain them, how looking back it seems unreal, yet it happened and there is no possible explanation.
I wonder do others of you have stories like this you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!
I seldom share things from my family’s personal life but this one is too good. I have to share it with you all.
A week or so ago a large pile of crates fell on my son in laws right hand while working. Miraculously only the top section of his ring finger was crushed but that was almost severed. Though they sewed it back on and put it in a cast the doctor told him it was highly unlikely he’d keep that part of his finger. We asked a couple of our friends and our best family prayer warriors to pray for him.
The cast just came off and the doctor couldn’t believe his eyes. He said he’d never seen healing like that and if he didn’t know better he’d think it was not the same finger! Needless to say he’ll not be loosing any of it. Praise be to God!
Not only that, but he and my daughter have been through some very rough times in the past few years. This miraculous healing is also a great encouragement to him of Jesus personal love and concern for him as an individual. I’m so happy for them!
It’s strange how some tiny “key” opens giant doors in your mind, as if God himself had whispered some profound truth. I’d seen the old sign many times as we passed the shop to and from school, but till yesterday I’d never noticed the line, “Live like Heaven is come on earth”.
It hit me like a ton of bricks, don’t wait for it to come in actuality, live that way now! It’s very hard to explain in words. Heaven is here already, God’s love living in our hearts.To bring something to pass you must first be able it visualize it, that’s how miracles happen someone visualizes and believes.
Reading any news report we can see that Heaven has yet to take over from the hate, greed and selfishness of earth, yet we can live as if it has in our hearts, our actions. I agree with Napoleon, “impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” I’ve done a great many “impossible” things in my life. World peace is impossible, an end to poverty is impossible, an end to hate, greed, selfishness is impossible, but is it? If we all lived as if Heaven had come on earth these things would end of themselves and even if we are one among thousands somehow that tilts the scale just a little, like happy gas released into the atmosphere and within our little bubble we could know and share the joys of Heaven..
This true story began many years ago. A friend while traveling with his family in Greece had come across a Kurdish refugee camp. There were 600 refugees and four water taps, garbage was everywhere and there was little or no organisation. Worst of all there was no doctor or clinic – some arrived with gunshot wounds and stories of atrocities abounded…
He was not a doctor, just a male nurse, but he couldn’t ignore their plight. Holiday adventure forgotten they stayed on to help making a tenuous living singing in restaurants over the weekends (he had a great voice). His pregnant wife had just had a baby and with two other small children they needed help urgently. That’s why we went.
The day I entered the city of squalid tents the Greek authorities decided to move the whole embarrassing populace out of the camp. It had been allocated in winter…