Duane Miller: It’s one thing for God to touch somebody else. But when God touches you, the first thought that comes to your mind and it’s the truth. I don’t deserve this. And you don’t, and that’s what grace is about.
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John Fuller: Well, I wonder if you’ve ever personally witnessed a miracle, if not, uh, you’re about to, uh, welcome to Focus on the Family with your host Focus president Jim Daly, I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: And you know, John, uh, it’s one thing to read about healings and miracles that occurred during biblical times, but it’s truly unique to find a modern-day miraculous healing that was recorded on tape. And that’s what we’re gonna hear today. Our guest is Duane Miller. He’s an author speaker and the pastor of Pinnacle Church on Cedar Creek Lake, near Dallas, Texas. He’s been married to Joylene for over 50 years and they have two daughters and one granddaughter.
John: Duane has written a book about his amazing story it’s called Speechless. And we have that here at the ministry. Get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Here now is Duane Miller speaking at Allison Park Church in Pennsylvania. And we’re gonna pick it up as he dives into his story on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.
Duane: January 1990, I got out of bed and, and in the morning, and you know, that feeling you get, when you know, you’re coming down with something. You’re not really sick, but just give me a minute and I will be that, that nasty yucky feeling that you know, you’ve got it, whatever it is, you caught it. Well, that’s how I felt that morning. And I began my ministry singing professionally. And for a number of years, I sang in gospel music and traveled. So every now and then I’ll take a song and a sermon outline and kind of put them together and preach saying my sermon. And that’s what I had planned to do that morning. Well, at the 8:30 service, I tried it, it didn’t sound good and it didn’t feel good. And so at 11 o’clock, I just tried to get through it. And by the time we came back for Sunday evening, for, for the things we did on Sunday evening, I could not even participate. I was so sick.
My church prayed for me and send me home and told me to go get well. Well, I stayed in bed for about 10 days with the flu. I’ve called a doctor, friend of mine at Houston, and I asked him to see me. He’s an ENT. And he agreed to see me. And when he tried got me in the office, he tried to scope my throat and he could not even get a scope down by throat because it was swollen, almost completely shut. Did the blood test, came back, told me I had an infection that was really horrible in my bronchitis. So he put me on some medication for that, put me on some steroids to reduce the swelling in my throat and send me home for another 10 days and told me to come back and see him at the end of that time.
When I went back to him, he told me that the swelling was gone, which I could tell from the feeling in my throat. He told me that, that the, that the infection was clear, but I was left with a pressure in my throat. And the only way I know to describe that pressure is to tell you, to grab your windpipe and squeeze them. And if you do, that’s what I sounded like. And that’s what it felt like in my throat for the next three years of my life. Well, my friend thought he knew what was wrong with me immediately, but he wanted corroboration. So he sent me over to Baylor College of Medicine. When I walked in the door at Baylor and they agreed, I picked up a team of 13 physicians that became my lead team.
Before this is over. I’ve seen over 200 physicians from all over the world, literally. And the reason was because my condition was so rare. Wasn’t because I was important. It was because I had something that nobody knew what to do with. And so I became the Guinea pig. All I knew was is that I was suffering. When we got all through with it my physician came in one day and he looked at me and he said, “Duane, I don’t know what is wrong with you, but I can tell you what’s not wrong with you. You don’t have cancer.” And believe me, folks, you’ll never know relief until you find out it’s not the C word. Okay? I said, “Doc, thanks. What do we do now?” He said, Duane, we got a lot of tests to do,” but he said, “Here’s what I want you to do next.” He said, “I want you to take a leave of absence from your church.” He said, “Furthermore, I want you to leave town. I want your wife to leave with you. I want you to go someplace where you don’t know anybody, because for the next six months, I want you to be totally silent.”
So we took six months. Joylene went with me, left town, stayed gone, came back it was November. Came back into Houston, went straight to the med center, arranged to get there on a Friday afternoon for my appointment, straight into the doctor’s office, sat down in the examining room and the doc comes through the door and he’s grinning. And he’s got some papers rolled up in his hand. Don’t know why I remember that but I do. And he looked at me and he said, “All right, Duane, let’s hear it.” And I said, “Hi, doc.” And my voice was exactly the same as the day I’d walked out of his office six months before. And he said, “Duane, we’ve got a lot of testing, got a lot of things to do. Don’t get discouraged.” I said, “Am I ever going to get to preach again?” And he looked at me and he was serious. And he said, “Duane, that’s a question I cannot answer. Because until we get a clear diagnosis of the problem, I can’t begin treatment. And until I get you into a treatment program, I can’t give you a prognosis for success. So at this point, I don’t know.”
And that morning I resigned. Truth. Scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Both of my daughters were students at Baylor University. At that point. I didn’t know how we were gonna keep the kids in school. I didn’t know what we were gonna do to make a living. We moved back to the city of Houston. We went back to First Baptist church, which is home for us at this point. Been there for so long. Went back to a Sunday school class that I had taught when I was on staff. Class was three to 400 people in the class. Now I’m just a member in the class and I’m back there. One of the guys in the church helped me out. He he’s a private investigator and, and he said, “Duane, I’ve got something you can do.” And he put me to work for him as a private investigator. He was actually working for the FDIC and for the FSLIC, he had a contract.
And do you remember one of the banking and the savings and loan crisis and all that was going on? Well, this was in the, in part of that. And what was having to happen was every single loan in every single institution was having to be verified that it had the collateral, that it was real yada yada yada. And so suddenly the church network, which I believe in had found me a job. I didn’t have to talk. I could go to the courthouse, I could write reports on a computer and suddenly I was gainfully employed. My kids could stay in school while I’m working as this private investigator and I’m doing reports. And all the time doctors are trying to examine, figure out what’s wrong with me. At one point they thought I had MS. My vocal cords wouldn’t move. And that’s why doctors from everywhere wanted to see me. I was the antithesis of what they treat. Now, then back in this Sunday school class for a couple of years as a member and, and, and, and the teacher had to take some time off. Class comes back to me and said, “Hey, would you fill in?” And I’m looking at them and saying, “Guys, I can’t teach you. It’s too hard to understand me.” And inside I’m going please.
And they said, “You teach, we’ll listen really carefully.” So I went back to teaching. I couldn’t use a microphone. What I finally wound up was getting a headset and I would literally put the wind screen on my lips. And I would scream at it at the top of my lungs. When I would finish teaching for 45 minutes on Sunday morning, I literally physically would be ringing wet from perspiration all the way from my t-shirt all the way through my suit coat. That began in April of ’92. May ’92, that federal agency from one day to the next, I just didn’t get a fax. Called up the administrators and I said, “Hey, man, what’s up? Did I do something wrong? Did I mess up a case? What’s the problem here?” He said, “Oh Duane, don’t worry about it. We’re doing a little reorganization. We’ll get back to you shortly.”
I never heard from them again. That was the end of it May ’92. June ’92 I get a letter for my group insurance carrier. They said, Duane, we have written to your physicians to ask them when you will be fully recovered. They now tell us that you probably will not recover. So all of the therapy that you are now undergoing is now classified as experimental treatment. And we don’t cover that. Here are $18,000 worth of bills that we had promised to pay, but we’re not gonna. And in July, I got a letter from my disability carrier and they said, Duane, we have re-examined your disability. It doesn’t fall under the definition that social security gives to disability. So therefore determined that you’re not really disabled and we won’t pay you your benefit anymore, but we won’t sue you to get back what we’ve already paid you, which I thought was right and nice of them.
And suddenly I have no job. I have no group insurance to take care of me, look after me, provide for me. I picked up $18,000 worth of bills. And then my disability carrier tells me I’m not disabled. One month it’s because I am disabled I can’t have coverage. The next month it’s because I’m not disabled that I can’t have coverage. Who signed me up for that? People have told me through the years that I should be a writer that God has gifted me in that area, never had time to write. Suddenly I had time. I sat down and I outlined a couple of books, send them off to Christian publishers that I knew. I asked them to publish for me. And I waited their response. That would have been August-ish. Come January I had not heard from that federal agency. I had not heard from anybody.
And I said, it’s time for me to find out what happened. I pick up the phone, I called an administrative assistant at that federal agency. And I said, “Jerry, look, it’s obvious I’m not gonna get any more business from you all. And I’m not begging. I just wanna know what happened.” Jerry said, “Duane, I don’t know, but I promise I’ll call you.” And he did. Call me up in the morning and he said, “Duane, I find out what happened and you’re not gonna like it. But here’s the reality. Our attorneys went to a management seminar and as they were sitting around a table talking, they discovered that you were doing 80% of the work in the Houston area was coming through you. By, by now, we had reached the size and importance of cases that they determined. It was just a matter of days before someone was gonna challenge how that case was prepared. And they would have to put you on the stand to testify. And with your voice, the way it is, they were afraid that the jury or the judge might misunderstand or not get it, and it would blow the whole case. So they decided to never use you again because of your voice.”
John: You’re listening to pastor Duane Miller on Focus on the Family. And I know you’re gonna wanna get a CD of this entire presentation to hear, uh, Duane’s healing moment again. And that’s coming up in just a moment or two. You can also get his book Speechless and we have that here. Give us a call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800 232 6459, or donate and request that book and the CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and return now to more from Duane Miller.
Duane: Went on about my day. The mail came that afternoon, like it always does about 1:30. Had letters from both of the Christian publishers that I’d sent my book idea to. Each one of those letters could have been prepared by the same secretary on different letterhead. They read almost verbatim. Duane, thank you for your book idea. Believe it’s commercial. Believe it would sell. It also appears you have talent to write, but you don’t have the name recognition of a Chuck Swindoll or a James Dobson. And in order for us to recoup the investment, we’d have to make in you we’d have to put you out on a book tour to promote your book and with your voice the way it is, you could never do the book tour. Sorry, we won’t be able to publish for you. Oh, and by the way, we doubt you will ever find a reputable publisher because they’ll all have the same problem we do.
And suddenly I can’t write because I can’t talk, who signed me up for that? And I went home on that afternoon with those letters in my hand and I sat down in a chair in my living room, literally. And I held those letters up and I said, “God, this isn’t funny and it’s not fun anymore. And I can’t take it. I want out, I can’t support my family. I can’t do anything…I want out.” And the only thought that came to my mind is let’s get the 12 gauge and get this over with. And I went upstairs and I loaded the 12 gauge and I came down and I sat down in that chair and I sat there for the next four hours. People say, why didn’t you pull the trigger? Only answer I can give you the grace of God. I don’t know. I get other people who say to me, Duane, you shouldn’t tell that. Preachers aren’t supposed to think like that. Hey folks, I live in a real world, okay. Forgive me I’m tired of television theology that tells you, if you give your heart to Jesus Christ, you will never have another problem. That’s a lie.
Duane: It’s not true. And if I don’t tell you that the grace of God can get you past that chair. When you find yourself in that chair, you won’t know what to do.
Duane: So the most important thing I can tell you is it’s not a sin to find yourself at the end of yourself. It’s not a sin to find yourself at your wit’s end and not know what to do. It’s not a sin to find yourself in the chair. Some of you are there right now. Not a sin and God’s grace will get you past the chair. Living proof. My sweetheart came home from work and she-
Duane: Yeah…give God that praise, man. That’s for you Lord. My sweetheart came home, found me in that chair. She’d never seen me like that. I’d never been like that in my life. She did everything she could that afternoon to encourage me, but I was beyond encouragement. I had to get up on Sunday morning and go teach that Sunday school class.
I’m gonna tell you something else that’s true. I didn’t wanna go teach that Sunday school class. If there had ever been a time in my life, when my cup was empty, it was that Sunday morning. I tried to find somebody to fill in for me take over that class but on that Sunday, I did not want to be there. I hurt. And the pain that I had was unbearable and I didn’t know what to do, but my daddy raised me to believe that when you give your word, you will do something you do it no matter what, whether you feel like it, whether you don’t feel like it, you do it. That’s how I was raised. And I went to teach that Sunday school class that morning out of a pure sense of duty. God knows that’s the truth.
And the lesson that I taught that morning was what Southern Baptist used to call Bible book series material. So this lesson that I’m gonna teach that morning when I’m on the lesson plan four years before I got sick. Psalm 103, David’s words. “Bless the Lord. Oh my soul, all that is within me. Bless his holy name, bless the Lord, all my soul and forget not all his benefits.” Then he starts to list them. “He forgives all my sin and heals all of my disease. And he redeems my life from the pit, the grave destruction. And he crowns me with loving kindness, compassion, and he satisfies my mouth with good things, my desires, so that my youth is renewed like the Eagle.” And I started teaching through that outline. And I talked about the fact that he’s forgiven all my sin.
Now I went and looked up that word all in Hebrew. You know what it really means? Every last one without exception, every last one without exception. I moved to the second step and the second step was, and he heals all of my disease. I wouldn’t have looked up that word all hoping and sure enough, it was the same word. Every last one without exception. He heals every last one without exception, all my disease. You know, what’s going on in my mind. Why not me? God, I’m standing here telling your people what your word says, and I can barely croak it out. What kind of a testimony is that? I move to the third point. And he redeems my life from the pit, but I never got to talk about the pit because just as I began to elaborate on that topic, God intervened in that room. And this is what he did instead.
To say that every single person will always be healed because Jesus died on the cross is a misinterpretation of scripture. Not true. Won’t work. Isaiah 53 doesn’t talk about physical healing I’m sorry that’s just not the context. And to impress that there causes a misinterpretation of scripture. That’s wrong. On the other hand to say that since we don’t have anything after the book of Acts, that miracles ended at the book of Acts and they never happen again is equally as wrong because you have put God in a box both ways and he doesn’t wanna be in the box. So the Psalm says, I’m excited. Bless the Lord oh, my soul. One of his benefits is he heals all of my diseases. And then verse four, he says, and he redeems my life from the pit. Now I like that verse just a whole lot.
I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences. We’ve both had, we’ve all had times when our life seemed to be in a pit, in a grave. And we didn’t have an answer for the pit we find ourselves in. And I don’t understand this right now. But overwhelmed at the moment. I’m not quite sure what to say or do (laughs). I’m, uh, (laughs) sounds funny to say a loss for words (laughing). Thank you Lord. I wish I could let you see how I feel inside right now. I wish I could see how I feel inside right now (laughs). Yeah, that’s good.
Duane: Let me tell you what happened right there. When I said you have had and I’ve had in times past pit experiences. On that word pit, that pressure that had been in my throat for three years, let go. I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences, we’ve both had, we’ve all had times when our life seemed to be in a pit, in a grave…
It was nothing anymore or any less dramatic than that. And it was gone and it startled me. You can hear that. If you listen carefully when I say a couple of words, you’ll hear me pause and you’ll hear me swallow. It’s the first time I’d swallowed in three years without feeling like I was being choked. And when I said, I don’t understand this right now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t understand healing. I just got through telling everybody I believe God heals, but what was happening was it was happening to me. I don’t understand this right now. Trust me if God touches you, that’s the least of the things you might say. I don’t understand this right now. It’s one thing for God to be in the Bible. It’s one thing for God to touch somebody else. But when God touches you, I don’t understand this right now because the first thought that comes to your mind and it’s the truth. I don’t deserve this.
Duane: And you don’t. And that’s what grace is about. Call the doctor on Monday morning, I went on and on Tuesday morning and he had cleared his entire day just for me. We shot more video of my throat. At the end of that, doctor sat down with me he said, you gotta watch this and believe me, folks, we’ve got enough video to do a 90-minute special and I’m not kidding. And he looked at me and he said, watch. And you can literally watch scar tissue grow in my throat. So like time lapse, photography, all the video that we had shot over that three-year period. You watched all of that grow in my throat. He said, now watch this. And he shot he, he played the video from that day. And the video from that morning shows that all that scar tissue was in my throat is gone.
And my throat is a slick smooth as the day this whole entire ordeal began. He said, “I can’t explain that.” He said, “What makes scar tissue scar tissue is you can’t get rid of it. It doesn’t go away. And it’s gone.” I’m walking out of the doctor’s office. He looked at me and he said, “Duane, I just gotta tell you one thing. I cannot find any evidence that you ever had a voice problem.” And I walked out the door rejoicing. Few days later, I’d always ask God why and all at once, God told me why. Folks, when Jesus comes, things are dramatically changed and you can’t explain it.” One day I’m going to stand before the father. And he’s gonna look at me and he’s gonna say, “Duane, I can’t find any evidence that you ever had a sin problem,” because you see folks scar tissue is to the body what sin is to the soul.
Duane: You can’t get rid of it. Now I’ve got a scar right here. I can cover it up so you’ll never see it. It doesn’t keep me from doing anything with that hand that I wanna do, but I’m gonna die with that scar. That sin, you cover it up so nobody could see it. It may not keep you from doing anything you wanna do in this life, but you’re gonna die with it. When Jesus comes, it’s gone. Ladies and gentlemen, all I am is an object lesson of what it means to be forgiven. God did something concrete to demonstrate an abstract principle forgiveness. And I want you to understand tonight that my entire life is dedicated to bringing that news to people who need to know Jesus Christ. It’s real. His forgiveness is real. His healing is real. All the things that God promises, they’re all real. And they’re all available to you.
John: And that’s where we’ll have to end this terrific presentation from Pastor Duane Miller.
Jim: Wow, John, this is good. And let me just follow up by saying that if you need healing or forgiveness from the Lord, please give us a call. Our caring staff would count it a privilege to pray with you over the phone. And if your situation warrants it, they’ll set up a call back from one of our Christian counselors.
John: And our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459.
Jim: I wanna add one thought to Duane’s powerful message. When we’re going through a dark time in our life, it often seems like God shows up at the very last minute like you did with Duane. So please remember this. If you’re going through a very difficult time, hang in there, continue to honor the Lord. You never know what God’s gonna do tomorrow.
John: You know, Jim I’ve, I’ve held onto that tomorrow, that sense of what’s next, uh, with our kids growing up with six kids, there was always something going on. And we looked to tomorrow during those tough seasons. And we really have, uh, let me also add benefited from the counselors here at Focus on the Family. Dena and I have pulled on them on numerous occasions. I hope our listeners Will as well.
Jim: Well that’s So good John and our counselors are doing a great job. And most people don’t know that the counseling team responds to over 2000 requests each and every month. And that’s made possible by donors like you. It’s a free service that we’ve provided for over 44 years, uh, of this, uh, ministries history. So please consider supporting the work we’re doing here at Focus on the Family, by making a monthly pledge, uh, any gift large or small helps us keep our team of Christian counselors at the ready. And when you make a pledge of any amount, I’d like to send you a copy of Duane Miller’s powerful book it’s called Speechless. And if a monthly pledge is not possible for you right now, we’ll send you the book for a donation of any amount. We just wanna get this into your hands.
John: And you can reach us when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or donate online and request the book Speechless by Duane Miller at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Well, next time Chuck and Ann Bentley are going to explain how they were able to overcome some pretty extreme differences about finances.
Chuck Bentley: Well, she’s the classic saver and I’m the classic spender. I’m the big spender in the family. I like to spend money. Uh, I have big dreams, big goals, big ideas. If it’s got four-wheel drive, camouflage or any of those kinds of things, and I would wanna buy it.