We know God speaks to humans.
Sometimes it's an audible voice – like when God wakes up Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, and little Sammy thinks Eli is calling him. Sometimes it's something you see…that burning bush must have really caught Moses' attention! In the Old Testament, there are multiple instances of someone having a conversation with (they presume) an angel, only to find out later they were speaking to God himself. The Hagar story is one example. And of course, in the New Testament Jesus physically entered our world as Immanuel, God with Us, and spoke directly to people through the time he was here on earth. God speaks to us through his word every day (or every day that we read or remember it!). But can we still hear God's voice in present times?
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I know we can hear God's voice because I have. For me, it usually isn't an audible voice but a conviction or understanding or feeling that isn't me. I can look back later and realize where that thing came from. When God speaks, as Pastor Ian used to say, “you know it in your knower” (in your heart). And yet, as I read Be the Miracle, I was challenged by how many times author Delores Liesner was able to hear God's voice. It's not about an audible voice or burning bush experience (and I don't actually know if she heard an audible voice). There are many ways God speaks to us. But to hear God's voice, we have to know how to listen, how to be still, and we need to spend enough time with him in his Word to recognize his voice. This is what God kept putting on my heart as I read Be the Miracle: just like the sheep, I need to learn to recognize his voice.
I'm not usually a fan of devotional books.
There's not anything actually wrong with them. It's that I am such a big proponent of Bible study (what's this blog called again) that devotionals come across to me at times as “Bible Lite.” I want to be studying God's Word, not someone's stories with a few verses included. If it's either/or (and for most of us, due to time constraints, it is), I'm going to choose Bible study. Devotionals shouldn't be a substitute for actually reading God's Word. But I wanted to read this one because I love reading testimonies, and that's really what this book is. Think a collection of 31 miracle testimonies, with Scripture references, action steps, and journal prompts to learn from stories that remind us that we can still hear God's voice if we know how to listen. God is still at work in our world and our lives today, not just Bible times.
Things I Loved About Be the Miracle
I love Delores' intentionality in her approach to God and to the situations God puts her in. So often we can get caught going through the motions. Going to work or school or the grocery store because that's what we do, without asking “God, who do you want me to bless today?” I loved how so many of the stories pointed us back to training ourselves to hear God's voice, which we do in prayer and in God's Word. And I loved the reminders that sometimes we need to prepare to be a miracle, whether that means preparing our hearts, our schedules, our finances or other resources. By being obedient to God in the instructions we already have (His Word), we open up opportunities for Him to use us.
This book wasn't the Delores show. It was definitely the God show, even though all the stories are from Delores' own experiences. Her storytelling is delightful and engaging and makes me want to know her personally and just soak up wisdom.
Things I Didn't Love About Be the Miracle
It would have really helped to have a Table of Contents and maybe How to Use This Book at the beginning. (There is a “how to use it in a group” at the end, but since there was no Table of Contents I didn't find it until after I finished the book!). At first I thought it was just a book I would read through. Then I realized there were prompts at the end of each short chapter, and I thought I would read a chapter a day and do the prompts. And then I realized that some of the prompts are things that will take some time to soak. So I decided to read straight through it, journaling things that stood out to me, and now I want to go back again to do some of the exercises, maybe one per week. I would recommend reading a chapter a week so that you can take time to do the exercises (they aren't very time consuming but may require a few days). If you want to use this as a daily exercise, I would recommend picking one or two of the exercises each week, and just journaling in response to the others, or you might find it hard to keep track.
Aside from the above confusion, the only other thing that bothered me a little bit was the use of The Message in some of the “Life-Changing Verse” sections at the end of each chapter (as Chautona also mentioned). Getting on my Bible Nerd High Horse now. Paraphrases like The Message can be a helpful tool alongside a good translation, but if you're looking for a verse and only The Message says it right, you're probably stretching. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read this book. Just look up the verses in different translations – not just paraphrases. Ok, dismounting from the high horse now.
Would I recommend this book?
Absolutely. I really enjoyed it but was also challenged by it. If miracles aren't your thing, you will still enjoy the stories and you won't find Delores excessively weird. (you might find ME excessively weird though. For all sorts of reasons.)
This book will challenge and encourage you no matter where you are in your faith journey.
And Another Thing
If you start reading how often Delores gets direction from God to say or do something, and you haven't had those experiences, so you think you can't be used in the same way…you're wrong. Just like me, you need to learn to hear God's voice…and remember that Delores has had years to train with Jesus. These things take time: Praying (asking God to speak to us and use us this way), Listening, looking for where God is at work around us, and spending time in God's Word so that you learn to recognize the difference between truth and lie, so that you learn to recognize the Master's voice.
About the Book
Book Title: Be the Miracle
Author: Delores Liesner
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian living, devotional
Release date: June 1, 2018
Whether we title these unexplainable happenings miracles, God-sightings, or some other name, people love to hear of such occurrences. Why? They increase our faith by providing evidence of the miraculous in our everyday lives and heighten awareness of God’s desire to minister personally to us and through us.
Delores Liesner is a prayer warrior with a track record of seeing Christ work in her life and the lives of others. Her articles, devotions, and columns reflect the excitement of seeing miracles transpire, and now her book chronicles many of these amazing experiences. You’ll enjoy it.—Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, author, Jesus in the 9 to 5
My time with God in the morning is the most precious part of my day. Be The Miracle is a devotional filled with wonderful personal stories that will build your faith and stir your heart to receive fresh grace from God and be on the lookout for new ways to serve Him each day.—Dan Walsh, bestselling author, The Unfinished Gift, Remembering Christmas, and The Dance
Miracles happen all around us, every single day if we’ll only be sensitive enough to recognize them and thank God for His divine intervention. Author Delores Liesner shows us that whether a miracle comes as the smallest kiss from heaven or a life-changing act of God, our Heavenly Father is still in the prayer answering business, and as the Word says: ‘We have not because we ask not.’ I love this book! It makes me want to shout about all of the times God has come through for me. It will encourage you, too! It’s a must read! —Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning, best-selling author of more than 80 books including her latest Get Your Spirit On! Devotions for Cheerleaders and Love & Care For the One and Only You
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author
Delores is a storyteller. Her passion, whether writing or speaking about activating faith is to be the miracle for others.
Over a thousand of those stories, devotionals, and teaching articles are published in print and online, including a compilation of 31 stories and life-changing challenges in her devotional, Be the Miracle! (Elk Lake Publishing). Delores is often spotted reading (3-5 books at a time), trying new recipes, or munching dark chocolate and orange peel. Her personal ministry is to benefit children with life-threatening illness via Fullness of Life Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ
Guest Post from Delores
Would you believe a cow turned me into a miracle-believing lady? Though I’d always known about Jesus dying on the cross, and the Bible being God’s words, it took a couple of amazing and unexplainable events for me to understand miracles could happen to me!
We didn’t realize we were risk taking when we hopped in the car and headed for Colorado. Youthful and ignorant˜ in the ways of the world, we were excited to learn that the organization who produced the memory verse cards and Bible studies our friend had given us were having a conference that began the next day, we packed up and went! A startled young man answered our phone call, made when we were already half-way across the country and got to thinking maybe we should have told them we were coming!
The conference was full, but separate rooms across campus were found for us. Consequently we only sat by each other during meetings and some meals, so we didn’t compare notes until on the way home. That was when we both started sharing the same message from God – to give a certain amount to a missionary for 6 months. We did not have the money and the only amount in our budget that matched was groceries. Would God ask us to give up groceries for 6 months? We felt He would, so that He could surprise us with the provisions in a most unexpected way – like sending a cow!
That is a bit of a teaser for Surprise Us for Dinner, God, the first story in my upcoming 31-day personal challenge devotional, Be The Miracle! You see, when God did that miracle-series at the beginning of our Christian life, we knew He was real, and that He dealt with people on a personal level. If God could do this, we figured, He could do anything, and we have many amazing stories that prove it!
Each of the stories is a true incident of God leading me to bless someone else (often a stranger, but sometimes someone we knew), or someone bringing us an unexpected answer to prayer.
When I began sharing stories like You’re the One, The Wrong Store?, Stranger No More, and Impossible Dreams, there were two main responses. Some women were excited to relate to stories of miracles in their own lives, and some women wondered if God would do miracles through them too.
I always share that I do not believe God is a giant get your prayers answered here vending machine, serving us just to make us ‘happy.’ The joy in these stories, and their life challenges, is that God wants all of his followers to be His hands and feet (and less often his voice) in the world. Just as we can represent our spouses with our children, and our supervisors with the public or with other employees because we know them so well, and understand how they would respond to a situation, we can know God in such a personal way that we can represent Him to others too.
That takes time. And that is why each story is followed with a verse, its teaching and a challenge you can follow to recognize and activate God’s command and gift to be “the miracle” – the messenger delivering an answer to prayer.
Just the Write Escape, September 13
Mary Hake, September 14
Because I said so – adventures in parenting , September 15
proud to be an autism mom, September 16
Real World Bible Study, September 17
Bigreadersite, September 18
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 19
Captive Dreams Window, September 19
Texas Book-aholic, September 20
Bibliophile Reviews, September 21
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22
Janices book reviews, September 23
Carpe Diem, September 24
A Baker’s Perspective, September 25
A Diva’s Heart, September 26
To celebrate her tour, Delores is giving away:
Grand Prize: Vertical Be the Miracle plaque, miracle magnet, Be the Miracle stamped cuff bracelet, a eternity circle necklace and Ebook or paperback copy of Be the Miracle
First: Gold miracle plaque, choice of Ebook or paperback of Be the Miracle, and shoe bracelet (be hands and feet of Jesus)
Second: Pink miracle plaque, choice of Ebook or paperback of Be the Miracle, and cross ribbon bookmark
Third: Blue background – Bee the Miracle canvas and Bee pin – choice of Ebook or paperback of Be the Miracle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d436/be-the-miracle-celebration-tour-giveaway