Miracles: Coincidence or Divine Intervention? (review)

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Miracles: Coincidence or Divine Intervention?Miracles: Coincidence or Divine Intervention? by John Murray Cpd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After he had written a memoir about his childhood, John Murray’s wife asked him, “When are you going to write about your experiences in Eastern Europe?” Miracles: Coincidence or Divine Intervention? is that book.

In it Murray tells many fascinating stories from his twenty-year stint as the Executive Director of Euroevangelism Canada and supplements these anecdotes with Bible teaching.

The telling is organized in eight chapters, each titled with a question: “Does God Care?”, “Does God Answer Prayer?”, “Does God Heal?” etc. Within the chapters he relates incidents that happened to him and others that speak to the chapter’s question. He also explores what the Bible says, sharing rich insights developed over a lifetime of pastoral and missionary work. Each chapter ends with a “Guide for Group Study” section that includes a Bible reading and discussion questions.

I loved this book for its inspiring stories, like the one Murray tells in the chapter “Does God Protect?”:

Some Christians in Budapest had bought a derelict restaurant to renovate into a church. Due to low funds members of the congregation were doing most of the work. Every week the place was busy with volunteers.

Regularly on Friday mornings the church leadership had a prayer meeting to pray especially for the renovations. During one of these prayer meetings a deacon said he felt they should pray about the roof, though he didn’t know what to pray for specifically.

On a Saturday morning not long after, when forty people were working on the building, a man working in the rafters caught his hammer on something made of metal. The movement dislodged the object, it fell, and banged hard onto the concrete floor below.

The object turned out to be an unexploded WWII bomb which, the army bomb squad later told them, was live. The army men couldn’t figure out why it hadn’t exploded on impact (pp. 101-103).

I also loved this book for its teaching, like this bit from the chapter: “Does God Intervene?”:

“Whether we are looking for healing, for guidance, for comfort, or any other aspect of God’s intervention in our lives, we are encouraged to look in the right place. we have been given the Word of God so that God can speak through it. We have been given the privileged channel of prayer by which we can share with Him our devotion, our worship, our thanksgiving, and our supplications. We have been given the ministry of God’s Spirit within our lives to guide us in all areas. The Spirit of God is also the one who plants the gift of faith within us, so that we might look expectantly for God to work. We ask, and then we wait. The waiting is the most difficult part” p. 142.

The amazing stories and wise insights in John Murray’s Miracles: Coincidence or Divine Intervention? will help grow your faith high and deep. I recommend it.

This book is part of my own collection.

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Miracles from Heaven (review)

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Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of HealingMiracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing by Christy Beam

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Beam family didn’t know at the time that December 30, 2011 was the end of more than the year 2011. Christy Beam’s memoir Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven and Her Amazing Story of Healing is the tale of their lives leading to that end and a new beginning.

Little Annabel Beam started having stomach troubles when she was just four. An agonizing quest for answers finally led to a diagnosis of pseudo obstruction motility disorder—an incurable medical condition in which the muscles of the stomach and bowel don’t work normally.

The years 2007 to 2011 were a never-ending cycle of hospital visits, medication adjustments, and trips from Texas (where they lived) to their pediatric specialist in Boston for the Beams. Parents Kevin and Christy tried to give their other girls, Abbie and Adelynn some semblance of normal during this time and the sisters were crucial in keeping Anna (the middle Beam girl) from wanting to give up altogether.

On that balmy December afternoon nine-year-old Anna, still tired from a trip to Boston and then Christmas, decided to take a break from bed. A tomboy like her eleven-year-old sister, she joined Abbie on the limb of an old cottonwood tree 30 feet off the ground for a sister-to-sister chat. Then they heard the branch creak, and felt it move…

You’ll have to read the book to find out more. This memoir is wonderfully written in puzzle-piece fashion by mom Christy who experienced the whole thing and tells it in such realistic detail you feel like you’re there in person.

In addition to this being a wonderful story, it’s a vivid example of the dynamics in a family where one of the children is ill.

It also shows us amazing parenting and the mutual support Kevin and Christy Beam were for each other during the type of ordeal that has wrecked more than one home.

Finally, this story is a for-instance of God’s supernatural intervention and tender care—a modern-day miracle. It reminded me of the stories in the book Visions and Appearances of Jesus (Philip H. Wiebe) and left me feeling a glow of confidence in a God who put the whole amazing chain of events together and is now using Christy Beam’s telling of it to spread the good news. It’s the news that, in Anna’s own words:

“…God does care about me. And He does have glory. And He has a purpose for every single person in the world. You weren’t just made for fun. You were made to be a beautiful creation. So if we all come together and we all believe in God, then I’ll see you in heaven later” (Kindle Location 2030).

Highly recommended.

I received Miracles From Heaven as a gift from the publisher, Hachette, for the purpose of writing a review.

Visit Christy Beam’s website and view photos of the author and her family here:

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