Category Archives: Miracles

How To Tell the Difference Between a Blessing and Dumb Luck

I received this excellent question from a friend:

“How can I tell the difference between a blessing and dumb luck? A series of events [that occurred] over the past three months has me questioning my understanding of how things work. These were events for which I have no rational explanation.”

My answer:

There are various theories, ranging wildly from those that claim there is no such thing as a “blessing” all the way to those that hold there is no such thing as “luck” or a “happy coincidence.” The truth seems to be somewhere in between those extremes.

We tend to lack the proper context to even evaluate whether something is a blessing or not, because we lack certain knowledge of the future and we view things from a limited, human, carnal perspective. However, one verse we can trust (if we can understand it) is James 1:17

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

So, if we mistake our luck for being a “perfect gift,” yet it later turns out to our detriment, we can finally assess that it was not from God. Conversely, if we mistake our perfect gift as something bad, when it later turns out to have been perfect, we can assume it was from God.

Mistaking a gift from God as “luck” would seem to simply illustrate a lack of faith. I don’t think there is any lasting harm in trying to give God credit and praise for whatever seems at the time to be a genuine blessing. If we later find out we misjudged things, I don’t think God holds that against us. I try to “err” on the side of giving Him praise as opposed to withholding it.

3 Huge Tips For Drawing Closer to God

These three huge tips about how to “pray through” will really help you draw closer to God:

  1. To “pray through” has nothing to do with praying until you force God to change His mind and help you. God’s mind does not need changed. To “pray through” means to pray until you get through your own insecurities, until you get past your own carnal desires, until you get past your own doubt, complacency, and fear. To “pray through” is to pray until you’ve allowed God to change not just your mind but your very nature; to pray until your carnal nature is mortified, put to death.
  2. God already wants to help you; He wants, more than you can comprehend, to help you. There is nothing about prayer that is twisting God’s arm and making Him say “Uncle.” It is one’s own carnal nature than needs to be compelled and controlled. There is a point as one prays where his or her own spirit is helped and strengthened by God to the point that, together with God’s Spirit, the inward man triumphs over the outward man. This is the moment of victory; the moment of breaking through; the moment of being able to lay aside the bitterness and grant forgiveness; the moment of seeing past earthly, sin-cursed values and weighing matters truly according to eternal values.
  3. “Praying through” is the moment of getting through all that must be gotten through if we are to become like our Lord. We cannot become (as He is) the very image of God, the very human manifestation of God, but we can hope to become (as He is) a glorified and perfected man. That is the goal, and we desire to pray for His help until we reach it. Let us endeavor to “pray through.”
Praying Through
Brian Murphy Jr, a young minister at Christian Apostolic Church, praying and worshiping during the 2013 Youth Week at CAC, Clarksburg, WV. Photo by Doug Joseph, copyright (c) 2013 by Doug Joseph / Christian Apostolic Church. All rights reserved.

Updates on Zach Sandy’s miracle

Zach receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as "Zach Sandy Day"
Zach receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as “Zach Sandy Day”

This past Thursday, July 11, 2013, was the one-year anniversary of Zach’s miracle of being raised from the dead after being killed by lightning.

The date was officially declared as “Zach Sandy Day” by a proclamation of the Harrison County Commission. See more.

The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram newspaper ran a front-page story noting the book launch and mentioning the anniversary. Read more.

WV Public Broadcasting aired Zach’s testimony in conjunction with the 1-year anniversary. Read/hear more.

Connect-Clarksburg.com ran a pre-story and a main story in conjunction with the 1-year anniversary. Read more.

This morning, July 13, 2013, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN – home of the 700 Club) informed Zach Sandy’s father that Zach’s miracle testimony has been approved for filming to be aired on the network! The producers are excited about it! See more.

Russell Sandy, Zach’s father said, “Zach’s testimony has been approved for filming by CBN/700 club. Zach is going to tell the world that Jesus is alive and on the throne and still performing miracles!”

Zach with family and his pastor (yours truly) at Harrison County Courthouse, just after receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as "Zach Sandy Day."
Zach with family and his pastor (yours truly) at Harrison County Courthouse, just after receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as “Zach Sandy Day.”
Pastor Joseph re-presented proclamation to Zach at the anniversary celebration at the park.
Pastor Doug Joseph re-presented the proclamation to Zach Sandy at the anniversary celebration at the park.

 

In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle: The True-Life Story of Zach Sandy

Front cover of the book "In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle"
Front Cover

We are pleased to announce that the new book about Zach Sandy from Whitestone Publishing, “In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle: The True-Life Story of Zach Sandy” is now available for pre-ordering at a discount! Order from either Amazon.com or AuthorStock.com — Save money and be assured to have your copy in hand for the HUGE LAUNCH PARTY scheduled for July 11, 2013, the 1-year anniversary of Zach’s miracle!

With high school behind us, this was supposed to be a last chance for summer fun with family and friends before heading into the real world of college and work. Tragedy never strikes us, always the Jones family down the street, right?

Brandon and I had just finished a basketball tournament, which we lost in an inglorious fashion, and we were sitting in the gym. His youth pastor ran up to him and said he had a call from his dad.

Brandon took the call and then looked at me and said, “Zach was struck by lightning.”

According to the light-hearted mood, I answered, “Well, good for him.”

The blood drained from his face as he replied, “No, Zach was actually struck by lightning.” I ran outside and found my sister. We immediately began praying with a group of friends, and after that I made a few phone calls, asking friends to pray. I turned around and saw Brandon walking out into a field. With emotions running high, and my world falling apart, I followed him. We spent about 15 minutes with our faces in the grass travailing and pleading before God that he would perform a miracle….

—Samuel Vaughn (cousin to Zach and Brandon)

Zach Sandy: killed by lightning; now alive and well!

Press release: July 13, 2012
For immediate release.

Zach-miracle-52-family-prayer-with-zach

Parkersburg, WV – On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 18-year-old Zachary Sandy was struck by lightning and was without pulse or breath for somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

The lightning strike happened on a baseball field in Parkersburg, WV that was being used by a church-sponsored youth camp. Several others who were on the ballfield were also knocked down by the lightning, but other than Sandy, none was seriously injured. The blast literally shook the ground. Pastor Tisdale, local to the area, was among those knocked down. His wife was also impacted by the blast. Their son, a young preacher named Caleb Tisdale, was taken to his knees by the strike. Along with others, the young Tisdale, who knows CPR, rushed to Zach, who was laid out and stiff as a board. Tisdale said that smoke was literally coming from Sandy’s mouth and body; an image he said he will never forget. Sandy’s shirt showed burn marks and smelled like it had come from a furnace. The lightning had blown holes in the young man’s tennis shoes as the electricity exited his body. The hair on the back of his head was singed and burned where the lightning entered his body. He had broad, red, track marks and second-degree burns caused by the lightning having traveled through his body. His cell phone was fried, its screen shattered, a cover blown off, and some buttons partially melted. Immediately both prayer and CPR were implemented.

Sandy was not breathing, and he had no pulse. Tisdale performed CPR on his friend until being relieved by paramedics, who arrived about 15 minutes later. It was not until sometime after Sandy was loaded into the ambulance and was on his way to Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg that he finally displayed a faint pulse. By the time he arrived there, he had been intubated (put on a breathing machine). He had a stable heart rate. There was talk of airlifting him to either WVU Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV or the West Penn Hospital Burn Center in Pittsburgh, PA. However, a helicopter could not be procured at the time. So, he was taken by ground to Morgantown. There a crowd of family, church members, and other friends had gathered, and an impromptu prayer meeting was held. Sandy was flown from there to West Penn Hospital Burn Center.

Within hours, prayer support had been registered from over 30 states and two foreign countries. The very next day, the tube and breathing machine were removed, and Sandy spoke, drank, ate, and walked. The following day, doctors reported that all neurological tests had come back normal, and that as soon as Sandy’s muscle enzymes returned to normal, he could be discharged and sent home. Both family, church, and friends agree that there is no other explanation but a miracle. At the Christian Apostolic Church in Clarksburg, WV, Sandy’s pastor, Rev. Doug Joseph, stated, “Thus far, each and every prayer has been answered. At first we were cautioned that he might suffer brain damage from being under CPR for so long without a pulse. Everyone prayed and the Lord answered. Then we were cautioned that his kidneys might not work properly or that other internal organs could be damaged. Again the Lord heard prayers. We were warned that burns caused by lightning strikes almost always grow worse over time before they get better. His burns did the exact opposite. We’re all elated and thankful for the great touch of God bestowed on this precious young man.”

In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family encourages donations to the Zachary Sandy Medical Fund to help cover medical expenses. Donations can be submitted via mail, online, or in person. Details are available at: http://cac.wvupci.com/zach/

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For more info, contact:
Pastor Doug Joseph
Christian Apostolic Church (UPCI)
Clarksburg, WV
(304) 629-1196

Note: Photos, updates, links, etc at http://cac.wvupci.com/zach/