I love hearing about miracles. . .talking and testifying about them.
I love it. . .when we personally experience miracles.
I love writing and teaching about miracles. In fact, during the past week we’ve talked about miracles on two of our Rich Thoughts For Breakfast calls.
I spend a lot of time ruminating about miracles. Now ruminating is a good word when it comes to miracles.
“think deeply about something; think about, contemplate, consider, meditate on, muse on, mull over, ponder on/over, deliberate about/on, chew on.
My faith is always looking for God's next "suddenly."
When our faith and the ability of God intersect . . .miracles manifest.
Acts 19:11-12 in the New King James Version says:
“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.”
The ability of God worked in Paul.
Paul walked in such a level of faith that God's power worked through him.
The power of God took such a tangible form that miracles of healing and deliverance transpired when people made contact with handkerchief's and other parts of Paul's clothing.
This became such a "normal" thing that people routinely sought to receive a "prayer cloth" from Paul.
Several years back we created a Debt Free Anointing prayer cloth. We mailed the prayer cloths to partners and I carried them to meetings with me.
I remember a particular meeting in Birmingham, Alabama where I gave one of those handkerchiefs to a lady who requested it.
On the way home, the lady’s friend asked for the handkerchief as a point of contact and agreement. Within nine months … all her debts were paid in full.
The handkerchief was just a point of contact. . .nothing more. . .nothing less. But handkerchiefs, clothes and other objects can be used to transfer the anointing.
This release of God's delivering ability was obvious to all who observed .
So obvious that, well-intentioned individuals ignorant of the role of believing faith in the ministry of Paul, met with less than desirable results while attempting to do the same work.
Acts 19:13 in the New King James Version says:
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
In the part of North Carolina where I grew up, many people expect to go to heaven because they’re members of a local church or part of a Christian family.
To me, this is an obvious manifestation of secondhand faith.
Attempting to cast out demons in the name of "Jesus whom Paul preaches" is another extreme example of what I call "secondhand faith."
Such activity is doomed to failure.
The Israelites who first entered the Promised Land with Joshua saw the mighty acts of God and believed.
Judges 2:7 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says:
“And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He did for Israel.”
But sadly, the very next generation proved you can’t live on secondhand faith.
Judges 2:10 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says:
“And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them who did not know (recognize, understand) the Lord, or even the work which He had done for Israel.”
So it was not long before they turned aside to worship other gods.
Judges 2:12 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says:
“And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods of the peoples round about them and bowed down to them, and provoked the Lord to anger.”
They didn’t make their parents’ faith their own.
No generation can live off the faith of the previous generation.
Every generation needs a firsthand faith. When faced with trouble of any kind, the faith that is not personalized is likely to drift and falter.
Secondhand faith will not get you to heaven.
Secondhand faith has no authority over demon spirits.
Acts 19:14-15 in the New King James Version says:
“Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
The Seven Sons of Sceva confronted a demon spirit that challenged them.
To paraphrase the response of the evil spirit, "I know Jesus and I have heard of Paul. But you guys...who are you?"
Acts 19:16 in the New King James Version says:
“Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
The possessed man "went off" on the Sons of Sceva, ripped their clothes from their bodies and beat them until they ran from the house naked and bleeding.
Acts 19:17 in the New King James Version says:
“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”
Observers learned exorcism was not so much about methodology but agency.
Only an agent of Jesus such as Paul had the ability to operate in His name.
As agents of Jesus, we, too have authority over demon spirits.
Acts 19:18 in the New King James Version says:
“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.”
Believers are immediately saved but not always immediately delivered upon the moment of their conversion to Christ.
Seeing this mighty deliverance encouraged the new believers in Ephesus. They realized they could be completely freed from the works of the evil one that was so prevalent in this city full of pagan gods.
The sudden deliverance was a witness to all who observed the deliverance from evil spirits.
Acts 19:19 in the New King James Version says:
“Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty-thousand pieces of silver.”
A piece of silver according to Biblical scholars was the equivalent of a day’s pay. According to government statistics. . .the average daily salary is $125 day.
Based upon this equivalency, the Ephesians burned books dedicated to occult practices with a value of more than $6 million dollars in today’s money.
Acts 19:20 in the New King James Version says:
“So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
Paul worked miracles by acting in the Name of Jesus.
God's plan is the same today … that we work miracles in the Name of Jesus.
He wants us to raise our expectation for sudden manifestation.
If our desire is for God to move suddenly we need to exercise our faith and believe God for what we want.
Isaiah 30:18 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says:
“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you….Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”
God is waiting and longing for the right time to fulfill His Word to us. He loves to surprise His children and come suddenly with His blessings for our lives.
I encourage you not to give up! Put your hope in God and you will never be disappointed (see Romans 5:5). God loves you, and He definitely has a good plan for your life—you can believe it, expect it and rejoice in it! Your suddenly may be as close as tomorrow…or even today!
Romans 5:4-5 in the Message Bible says:
“. . .keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
When we learn to be patiently expectant … our suddenly will appear and, yes, the greater the reward.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS