Most of us have read Bible accounts of the spectacular miracles performed by Old Testament prophets, and of course in the New Testament, at the hands of Jesus and the Apostles. For most folks, it is not so hard to believe that the Biblical miracles really happened, but it’s a bit more of a challenge for some of us to believe that such miracles can happen in our day.
Pastor R shared a story with me that reminds me of a kind of miracle in the lives of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Story of the Dead Branch…
This story began about 6 weeks ago. As Omar and those with him were working their way through tents and groups of people to see who they could aid or share the Good News of Jesus with, Omar was warned that he should stay away from a particular group of men just ahead. He asked why, and was told that the men were a group of 20 hired assassins who worked directly for a man by the name of Ayaet Allah Rahmani. The man who gave the warning to Omar added that this man already had a record of 99 confirmed assassinations he had been paid for.
Omar, who has suffered many difficult things for his faith in Jesus, said that if he had learned anything in his walk with his Lord, it is that he was to fear no man. So, they went straight ahead and began a conversation with Ayaet Rahmani and the conversation was overheard by many of the men with him. Ayaet made it clear to Omar that he wasn’t interested in hearing anything Omar had to say, but Omar only became bolder. He told Ayaet that today was the day to get out of the darkness he was living in! He told him that there was a resurrection from the dead coming when all of those who were followers of Jesus would be resurrected to eternal life. Ayaet responded by saying that even if Jesus were the true Messiah, how could He possibly forgive him for all the evil he had done in his life? There was no forgiveness available for him, and he did not believe in a resurrection from the dead!
As Ayaet started to walk away, he turned back and asked Omar how he could possibly prove that God and His Messiah were really as Omar claimed. Ayaet said, “I Demand Proof!” Omar asked him what kind of proof he would accept, and Ayaet’s answer was: “How about you bringing something dead back to life? In fact, if you don’t bring me the answer I am asking for, I will kill you myself.” Omar then asked Ayaet if he would be allowed to go to ask advice of his pastor, and surprisingly, Ayaet agreed.
Omar then quickly went to see Pastor R and gave him the details, including Ayaet’s challenge and death threat. Pastor R asked for a few minutes alone so he could bring this before the Lord. Omar stepped away, giving him privacy, and Pastor R brought the situation before the Lord. As Pastor R has shared the details with me over the phone, he explained that what God told him sounded very strange. But he knew it was God speaking, so he called Omar back and said that God instructed him to tell Omar to find a small dry branch of wood. It didn’t take Omar long to find a dead branch and he handed it to Pastor R. Pastor R then asked Omar to give him a few more minutes alone. Maybe Omar could go find the nurse to see if Pastor R was due for any medications. So, while Omar was away, Pastor R once again prayed and asked God what to do next. The Lord then told him, once Omar returned he was to pray over the branch. So, when Omar came back, Pastor R took the branch in his hands and prayed over it. As he did, Pastor R could feel the power of God go through his hands and into the branch. Pastor R described it like the “fire of God” went right into the wood! He then told Omar to take the branch to Ayaet Rahmani and tell him that he was to go alone to the cemetery, totally by himself. He was then to bury the dead branch where no one other than himself could possibly know where it was. Ayaet was then to leave it in the ground for 40 days, and no less.
The closer the 40 days came to ending, the tenser the situation became. Ayaet Rahmani had told Omar that if his challenge was not met, Omar and the men with him would be executed. It was later learned that Ayaet and his men had not slept well since the challenge had been made, and as the closer Ayaet came to the completion of the 40 day test, the more irritable he became.
On the 40th day, Ayaet went to retrieve the buried branch. As agreed, he had not told a soul where he had buried it. This meant that he was the only one who would be able to locate it. When he dug it back out of the ground, he was stunned to find that the branch was very much alive! In fact, it was no longer a dead, dried up branch but was now growing green fig leaves!
It took Ayaet about five days to find Omar. When Ayaet approached him, Omar was sure he had come to kill him but Ayaet showed him what had happened to the dry branch and then asked Omar if he would please teach him about God the way he and the rest of the HOB missionaries knew Him! Of course, Omar and the missionaries with him, took time to carefully and fully share the Good News about Jesus and answer questions from Ayaet and his men. Then Ayaet and all twenty of his hired assassins bowed their knees and prayed a prayer of repentance and recognition of Jesus Christ as the true Messiah. All of their family members then joined them, which then led to a great joyful celebration! What a miracle it was, but this miracle has just begun. Within days more than 200 additional people have been reached with the Gospel of Jesus and the news is spreading quickly.
This story reminds me of a passage from 2 Kings in the Old Testament.
1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. 2 Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” So he answered, “Go.” 3 Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants. And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.” 6 So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and he made the iron float.7 Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it. 2 Kings 6:1-7
Is anything too hard for our God? Miracles of restoration and redemption through repentance and response to the Gospel message are real today!
Currently, Ayaet Rahmani and his former assassins who now follow Jesus have joined Omar and others to help locate the bodies of HOB missionaries who had not yet been located in the rubble from the recent earthquakes. Other teams continue to aid the refugees in any way they can. Hundreds of tents have been reset or rebuilt. As they have the resources, the Oregano tea mixture is being distributed. The missionaries also continue to treat those with cholera and bury those who have died. Between the HOB teams that kept some records, at least 1500-1800 families were aided. They also spent time with each family to share the story of Jesus with them. Many hundreds continue to be added to the harvest of souls being brought into the Kingdom of God at this very late hour. Praise God!
Pastor R continues to pray for as many as come to him for prayer and encouragement. Pastor R asks for continued prayer that he would have the wisdom, anointing, and right words to share with each that comes to him. God will answer that prayer!
Thank you all for your faithful prayer and those who have been able to help support the work that the House of Blessing is doing. We are now very, very near the return of our Savior and Messiah! Our KING is coming SOON!
Forever in His Service,