Entertaining Angels

Key West Sunset
Key West Sunset

Nearing retirement age, I was considering future options, among them opening a tea room. While listening to Christian radio one day on the drive to work, I heard the following Bible verse read. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for in so doing some have entertained angels unaware.” Hebrews 13:2. This struck me as relevant to my future, tea room or otherwise.

That week the church I was attending hosted their annual strawberry festival.  Bill and I could make the second serving. We sat down at a table furthest from the kitchen and were joined by another couple. I was distracted looking around to see who I might know. Apparently most of those people had come to the first serving. The result was that I missed the names of our table mates when introductions were made.

As we passed bowls of baked beans, coleslaw, and plates of ham, I discovered that the couple had never been to this church before. They worked in Connecticut but their home was in Vermont. They were here and at our table simply because they saw the sign in front of the church.

Now I felt the responsibility to represent our church…since I seemed to be the only one around to do so. At that time, Bill did not attend church with me.

While making conversation and happily enjoying our strawberry short cakes, I realized I should take down their names to give to our pastor. I asked their names again. The woman’s first name was Angel.

After we left church, I told Bill about the Bible verse I had heard that week. He had already been considering it some kind of miracle…that we were at church and ate with an Angel. I agreed.

Promise
CT, 2007

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Feeding Five Thousand. Really!

Some people explain away the miracle of Jesus feeding 5000 people with only some fish and a few loaves of bread. These people claim what happened was Jesus setting an example, “I shared my food supply. Now you do likewise.” Everyone shared and the job got done.

But that theory doesn’t hold when you consider the number of baskets full that were left over. And the same result occurred when he later fed 4000.

If Jesus indeed was concerned about sending the people away hungry for a long walk home, we must ask why. Either he was showing off for his disciples and knew they already had food with them. Or else he performed a miracle.

IMG_0223
Butterfly Feeding

The real problem is that we assume that if Jesus performed this miracle it was because He was God. Not so. He fed thousands because he understood what the Bible had to say about filling a need. He knew the Old Testament verse that said “The plowmen shall overtake the reaper.” Amos 9:13.

Jesus told His disciples “I sent you to reap whereon ye bestowed no labor.”

Jesus blessed the food. Do you wonder what he said? Likely the same command God gave to  Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiple.”

With these words spoken by a son of Adam, God could now work. His disciples, though doubtful, handed out the food. God miraculously commanded time to speed up so that the “plowman [and sower] would overtake the reaper.” And the food reaped was replenished instantly with sown, caught and prepared replacements.

Location: Hillside in Israel
Date: 30 A.D.
Method: Manipulation of Time

Upholding Power

When my four children were little, we lived in Barre, VT. Like many northern towns in the state, Barre is built in a gulch between the sides of two tall hills. Streets often climb up and down these hills. We lived on Hillside Avenue.

The church we attended was in a small town 25 miles north of Barre. Each Sunday we loaded up the car with kids and supplies to last them until noon. On this particular Sunday we may have been running late.

We drove down from Hillside, out Beckley, and then turned left to take our shortcut that went straight up and then down over the steep hill that is Pleasant Street (clearly named because the view at the top was pleasant). From Pleasant we turned left and continued uphill on Maple Street. Near the Hope Cemetery, I must have checked for something in the diaper bag.

Hope Cemetery, Barre, VT
Hope Cemetery, Barre, VT

Where was the bag? I had packed it. One of us carried in out to the car. At the stop sign where Maple finished its climb and where Merchant Street intersects, my husband stopped and opened the car door.

There on the car roof was the diaper bag. If you are ever in Barre, VT, please retrace our route. Considering the roller-coaster ride we just took, nothing short of a miracle could have held that diaper bag on the roof’s smooth surface.

I had been reading that God upholds all things by the word of His power. That Sunday morning He provided a demonstration of this Bible verse.

VT, 1972
Demonstration of Power

Joshua’s twenty-four hour day

Joshua, chapter 10, Old Testament
The army of Israel led by Joshua had recently seen a miracle when the walls of Jericho fell down flat. Next they defeated the small town of Ai once sin in the Israel camp was revealed and punished. Then a larger town, Gibeon, made peace with Israel by deception.

Now the kings in surrounding areas were worried. Five of these Amorite kings agreed to band together. They attacked Gibeon led by Adoni-Zedec, king of Jerusalem. Joshua received a message from Gibeon for help. On the way there, the Lord spoke to encourage Joshua. He promised, “Fear not. Not a man of Gibeon’s attackers will stand before you.”

With that promise Joshua’s army marched all night. The attackers were surprised. Those who fled were pummeled by hailstones. But night was about to fall, and many would get away. Joshua remembered God’s promise and boldly said, “Sun, you stand still upon Gibeon, and you, Moon, stay in the valley of Ajalon.” So the sun stood still for almost twenty-four hours.

Fact or tradition? Modern scholars who track time and measure it discovered that there are twenty-four hours and ten minutes unaccounted for. To learn about the unaccounted ten minutes, see Ten Degrees Backward post.

Type of Miracle: Promise
Method: Time manipulation of entire globe but not stars
Location: Middle-East, 40 years after Red Sea parted in Egypt

Replenish the Butter

Keys in the Morning
Keys in the Morning

When God created the earth and committed it to the care of Adam and Eve, He instructed them to replenish the earth. My great-aunt Flossie saw this happen right in her own Vermont kitchen. And she was not the type to lie or exaggerate!
The preachers were guests at her home for Sunday dinner. They had driven up from Connecticut and were now seated in her living room, right across the street from the little Gospel Hall. While they chatted, Aunt Flossie was busy in the kitchen, just like a modern-day Martha. That’s when she realized there was only one slab of butter left.
In the 1950s and 60s, everyone served bread and butter at meal time. What could she do? If you blinked, you would drive through Woodbury, VT, and miss it. There was no store nearby to buy more butter. Besides, this was Sunday and stores were closed.
Of course, my aunt could have apologized in advance, saying something like, “That’s all of the butter. Please use a little less.” She assured me a quarter century later that she never said a word. In fact, native Vermonters seldom make useless remarks. Instead, Aunt Flossie did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed that there would be enough butter to last through the meal.
The guests pulled their chairs up to table and gave thanks for the food spread before them. They passed heavy plates of food and then buttered their bread slices. They ate and talked. Every time Aunt Flossie glanced at the butter dish there was still more left…even after the guests, now full, pushed away from the table and thanked their hostess. When they finally left the house, she stood quietly in awe at just having seen a miracle.

Provision
VT, 1950s or 60s