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Friday, January 13, 2012

"Miracles are for Real" (James Garlow & Keith Wall)

TITLE: Miracles Are for Real: What Happens When Heaven Touches Earth
AUTHOR: James L. Garlow and Keith Wall
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2011, (272 pages).

Do you believe in miracles? Are miracles a thing of the past? How do you know if a miracle is simply a coincidence, a hallucination, a fraud, or the real deal? These questions and many more are explored in this book of testimonies, rich revelations of miraculous events that cannot be explained by science or natural phenomena. Throughout the book, the authors relate the different stories where real individuals personally experience incredible turn of events. There is the story of 8-year-old Jackie who was badly hurt in an accident which left her haemorraghing internally, a fractured skull, collapsed lungs, and other internal injuries that doctors deem a hopeless case. X-rays confirmed the inevitable: prepare to die. Yet, a few hours later, Jackie walked out of the hospital completely healed. Then there is Leroy Lane and his family whose huge Chevy van got trapped in a mountain. Two men appeared from nowhere to guide them to safety. Suddenly they were no where to be found. Are they angels sent miraculously? Then there's Natalie who managed to arrive at her destination in less than half the normal time, despite driving at incredibly slow speeds due to the bad weather. Not only was she quick, she was miraculously protected from the terrible winds and potential floods. Stories after stories, the authors point out that miracles today still happen.

According to Garlow and Wall, a miracle is like what CS Lewis describes:

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." (11)

They have three purposes in writing this book. Firstly, whether through miracles of not, God is strongly interested in people's lives. Secondly, miracles have not ceased. Thirdly, the best way to live is to expect any miracle at any time. At the same time, they attempt to separate fact from fiction as they tell the various miracle occurrences. They affirm John Wimber's approach to testing the miracles. They tell readers not to be too quick to label anything as a miracle until certain tests are rigorously performed. They plead with readers to maintain an open stance instead of trying to be smarter than God, and to diss away supernatural events based on our own intellect or scientific prowess.

At the same time, the authors draw in biblical examples of miracles, as well as the many saints such as Bernard of Clairvaux (11-12th C), Francis of Assisi (12 C), Bridget of Sweden, Martin Luther as well as St Patrick of Ireland. They are also aware of modern myths such as Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret' which emphasises more on what a person can do over and above what God can do. This point is important. Miracles are supernatural events that can only be performed by SomeOne who is not bounded by natural limits.

This book is a fresh look at miracles, backed by many examples and real life stories. It is a powerful reminder that the miracles described are only glimpses of what God can do. Readers may read the book with a suspicious or skeptical mind. They may also adopt a stance of unbelief initially. If they can honestly read through to the end, I believe they will have a change of heart. After all, if medical sciences, professional opinions, and human wisdom fail to explain certain phenomena, that is plain proof that man is not in full control of the world. God is. Learn to test it. Pray over it. Question the circumstances as much as possible. The proof is in the healing, the walking, the protecting, and the constant watching over creation by God above.

I warmly recommend this book for readers to be encouraged that God still works today. Maybe, this book can at least cause the skeptic to shift from unbelief to openness.

Ratings: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provide to me free by Bethany House Publishers without any obligation for a positive review. The opinions offered are freely mine. 

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