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Posts Tagged ‘Miracles’

For one of his most stunning and delicate works of art, The Supreme Craftsman begins with the most innocuous of materials: dust and water.

His factory/workshop for these masterpieces is the upper atmosphere of Planet Earth where he sets into motion a miracle of formation and intricate design.

God endowed water vapor with the ability to cling, even to the tiniest of dust particles floating high into the atmosphere. And when the temperature drops below freezing, those wet, clinging molecules turn into ice crystals. Very quickly they form a hexagon shape, no more than .008 or .009 of an inch in diameter, and a snowflake is born.

Vapor continues to bond to the hexagons in different ways as temperature, wind velocity, and density of moisture vary—even within the same cloud.

Some snowflakes maintain a hexagon shape.

 

(Photo by Wilson Bentley)

 

Others develop arms, and from the arms grow lacy patterns or feathery extensions.

 

 

As the snowflake tumbles downward from the clouds, vapor continues to cling and ice crystals continue to form—up to 1,000 microscopic crystals, each impacted by differing conditions. One outcome is certain: the greater the humidity, the more complex the pattern.

 

 Another photo by Wilson Bentley, 1890)

 

Is it true what they say, that no two snowflakes are alike? Most meteorologists say yes, because the dust particles themselves come from countless different sources–from sand, soil, and volcanic ash to decayed plant and animal material.

Add to that the wide-ranging variations of weather conditions mentioned above, and it becomes apparent: an infinite combination of factors contributes to the infinite number of patterns.

 

 

 

 

But God isn’t finished yet.

The awe factor is increased as tiny snowflakes begin to gather:

  • in graceful drifts,

 

 

 

  • on every branch of the trees,

 

 

  • and in sparkling swaths across the landscape.

 

 

And a few lessons present themselves as well:

 

  1. If God cares about the formation of snowflakes, he surely cares about the formation of his children.

A practically minded person would take one look inside God’s snowflake-factory and shake his head. “Why bother with all these designs?” he might ask. “Such a waste when they’re just going to turn to slush and eventually evaporate!”

But our God is a true Artist at heart, paying attention to details and creating beauty where it isn’t even necessary.

How much more must he desire to create the beauty of his holiness within our spirits?

 

  1. By itself, one snowflake is a fragile entity. But think what an avalanche or glacier can do.

 

 

By himself, one person can accomplish little. But think what happens when human effort is multiplied.

We weren’t created for isolation; God intends for us to live in community with other believers. Together we can achieve great good. Groups of Christians have generously brought aid to those in need, built schools, hospitals, and orphanages, even accomplished the abolition of slavery—to name a few examples.

There is strength in numbers, whether it’s snowflakes or God’s people.

 

  1. The miracle of snow occurs in silence; the miraculous power of God works silently, too.

 

 

Hours before we catch snowflakes on our gloves, the Supreme Craftsman sets the conditions and engineers the circumstances for their creation. Silently the snow comes, and finally we hold in our hands a breath-taking miracle of dust and ice crystals.

Similarly, long before we take note of an answered prayer or unbidden blessing, The Supreme Craftsman sets the conditions and engineers the circumstances for their fulfillment.

Silently he comes. And suddenly we hold in our hands a breath-taking miracle of his power and love.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Maker of Miracles, just as your universe is full of wonder, so are our lives. We can’t begin to recount all the awesome works you have performed for our benefit. All we can do is sing for joy at the work of your hands!

 

(Psalm 40:5, 66:5, 92:4)

 

(Art & photo credits:  http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.flickr (James P. Mann); http://www.wikimedia.com (2); http://www.pixabay.com (Natalia Kollegova); http://www.pixnio.com; http://www.flickr.com (AMagill); http://www.publicdomainpictures.net; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.nws.noaa.gov; http://www.paxpixel.freegreatpcitures.com; http://www.flickr.com & Nancy Ruegg.)

 

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“Come see what I found!” our middle-school neighbor called to us the other day.  Steve and I had just pulled into the driveway from doing errands.

We joined Emmie under their tall oak tree; she pointed to a fat,three-inch caterpillar slowly making his way up the trunk. It was the Hungry Caterpillar and he’d discovered steroids!

 

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“Do you know what kind of moth or butterfly he’ll become?” I asked Emmie.

“Yeah.  I looked him up on the internet.  He’s an Antheraea Polyphemus.  He’ll turn into a moth with big eyes on his wings.”

 

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Even though the metamorphosis of caterpillar to moth is a common occurrence, the process is still a miracle–a special revelation of God’s creative genius and power.

 

As I studied that chubby green fellow lumbering up the tree, I marveled again:

 

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“How many are your astounding works, O Lord!

In wisdom you have orchestrated billions of them;

the earth is full of your creatures—each one a glorious masterpiece.”

(Psalm 104:24, personally amplified)

 

Of course, God’s astounding works are not limited to creation.  Supernatural manifestations of his divine power occur all around us. Frequently.

Examples include those times when:

Events coincide to produce a glorious result.

My friend, K, was visiting from out of town, and we decided to get our hair done together.  At the time, my hairdresser’s son was dealing with a medication addiction, and K was able to speak with M from experience, about dealing with an addiction of a family member. M was so grateful for K’s wisdom. “God sent you here today!” she said to my friend as tears welled up in her eyes.

The impossible is made possible.

I thought I lost my watch at the Atlanta Airport. It turned up in my carry-on bag in the outside pocket. I’m quite sure God picked it up and put it there! Granted, some would call it a coincidence.  Most of you know what I call it: a God-incidence.

 

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A need is not just met, but supplied beyond what we’d even thought of.

The church my husband pastored for ten years awarded a number of scholarships each year to students furthering their education.  They provided our son a full scholarship to seminary.  He’s been a pastor now for six years.

Perfect, surprise blessings seem to fall from heaven itself.

In the 1980s our church enjoyed the ministry of an outstanding music director. However, Diane’s husband was transferred less than two years later and sadly, they had to move.

Fast forward twenty years.  Steve was pastor of a different church on the other side of the state. When we needed a music minister, guess who applied?! Diane and her husband lived just to the north.  Soon we were enjoying her creativity, passion, and expertise—all over again!

Sure disaster doesn’t materialize.

I pulled Steve’s new car into a parking space at a strip mall, so proud of driving his stick shift with no frog-jumps. Imagine my surprise, upon returning to the lot to discover the car had rolled across the aisle! I’d forgotten to set the brake. But the car sat in its new spot as if that were the space I’d pulled into—albeit backwards. One more God-incidence that filled me with wonder.

 

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And wonder is a perfect gateway to worship.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   *

I praise you, O Father, for the countless miracles you perform, demonstrating your gracious compassion and the splendor of your glory. How awesome are your deeds on our behalf. Contemplation of your astounding works makes me giddy with joy!

(Psalm 77:11; Job 5:9; Psalm 66:5b; Psalm 92:4)

What sign or wonder provides a gateway to worship for you?  Please share in the comment section!

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.bugguide.net; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.pinterest.com (3).

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Minnesota Blizzard 10 - 22609

Minnesota Blizzard 10 – 22609 (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

Maria felt compelled to make a big pot of lamb stew one winter morning. By afternoon she knew why. A blizzard paralyzed city traffic. Right down the street from her home a bus load of passengers became stranded. Maria perked coffee for them—pot after pot–and invited them into her home for the lamb stew. Gratefully and incredulously they came, about half a dozen or so at a time. The driver was the last to be served, with the remaining spoonfuls from the bottom of the pot. Maria never even got a taste! But it didn’t matter. Her heart was filled with gratitude that God had prompted her to make that stew. He enabled her to help twenty-plus stranded commuters and show them the love and grace of God.

Gordon burned his hand severely—so badly the doctor said he’d probably have to amputate several fingers. But Gordon’s mother and many others prayed, and day by day the hand got better—not worse. Today, you have to look close to even find the scar.

Nita often wears a favorite pair of gold earrings, given to her by her children. One day while golfing with her husband, she lost one those precious earrings. Nita was heartsick. A few days later, these avid golfers were again on the course. Nita prayed. “Father, I don’t know where that earring is, but you do. Please help me find it.” On the twelfth green, when Nita walked up to where her ball had landed, she saw something glinting in the grass. Not one foot from where her ball landed, there was her earring.

These stories are just three of many, recently shared by members of the Bible study I attend.  Maria, Gordon, and Nita are in that group.  No doubt you’ve heard stories like theirs, too. In fact, you’ve probably experienced a few miraculous situations yourself. It’s important we share our God-stories as encouragement for our faith. Our God-stories prove:

1) God’s Word is true. God is loving, gracious, faithful, and powerful.

2) We are never without hope.

3) God keeps his promises.

4) God continually blesses his children.

5) Christianity works.

Do all of these facts mean we can expect God to intervene in every difficult circumstance? No. We’d become very spoiled children if he did. But the number of times God does provide miracles goes beyond coincidence. They are indeed God-incidents.

Yet we cannot ignore the times God does not answer our prayers as we’d wish. Sometimes he does not step in to provide and protect. He does not always solve our problems for us. It’s in those situations that God works a different set of miracles: patience and perseverance (James 1:2), growth in godliness and spiritual strength, his compassion and mercy (James 5:11).

Such statements might sound glib to someone recently bereaved of a loved one, or an innocent person suffering unfair circumstances. But there are powerful God-stories from suffering saints as well.

G. lost her husband recently and was terribly insecure about living on her own. But God revealed his presence to her in a powerful physical sensation of warmth through her whole body. Although still grieving, G. has felt surrounded by God’s peace and empowering presence.

K. had always dreamed of getting married, creating a home, and raising several children. Then came her fortieth birthday. It appeared that dream was not going come true. Depression seeped into the corners of her life, even though she was a woman of strong faith. But day by day, the truths of God’s Word fed her spirit and hope began to grow again. Not the hope of marriage and a family, but hope in God’s plan to prosper her, to give her a future (Jeremiah 29:11)—albeit in a different direction.

In the final analysis, these miracles are the most wondrous of all. They are miracles of transformed hearts.

“Our troubles have always brought us blessings, and they always will. They are the black chariots of bright grace” – Charles Spurgeon.

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