In recent days, I've prayed over two things that sick folks have owned. In one case a woman who was dying of leukemia was instantly healed when a handbag she had made for another person was taken to her by her distressed parents. This woman had about 3 or 4 days to live. The handbag she received was prayed over by about 20 ministers and their wives at a meeting I was holding in a country town.
The parents of this woman were at the meeting and took the handbag back to the hospital in the city the day after this meeting. When she was given it in the hospital she recovered instantly and got up from her hospital bed. This occurred in the presence of her prodigal, lost brother who immediately repented and fell down at his father and mother’s feet and begged their forgiveness for all the terrible trouble he had caused them in his 35 years. He was converted because of what he couldn’t believe, he was seeing. He had actually flown in from overseas to be with his 41-year-old sister before her funeral was to take place, which, of course, did not happen. The woman left the hospital, and the last time I saw her she was doing fine and had survived the leukemia. One soul healed; one prodigal saved; one family restored. Surely this is God’s good work.
Is it not better to pray, than to theologize about prayer? Is it not better to preach than theologize about preaching? Is it not better to believe and realize that all Peter preached in Acts 2:37-39 is relevant, including the promise of Joel 2, and not just stop at 2:38 and delegate the Holy Spirit to a retirement village?
The Church Prays
There's a neat little story in the 12th chapter of Acts about the apostle Peter’s miraculous escape from prison. Peter, because he was bold and on fire for the Lord, was arrested for preaching the good news (gospel) about Jesus Christ.
Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5
King Herod was planning to bring Peter out for a public trial---and then have him executed. I encourage you to read about how an angel of the Lord came to Peter and helped him walk away undetected from a heavily guarded prison.
When Peter had escaped he went to a house where the church had gathered together---and were praying. Peter knocked on the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she ran back without opening the door. She exclaimed, “Peter's at the door!”
“Your out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
Why didn’t the people believe Rhoda? Hadn’t they been praying earnestly to God for Peter? Did they think it would be impossible for God to free Peter from a heavily guarded prison?
NOTHING is impossible with God.
Old Testament prophecies were never meant to be unraveled and understood by study. They contain much symbolic and obscure language...their meaning hidden to all but those to whom God chooses to reveal it.
Multitudes of would-be Bible scholars today spend hours at a time poring over obscure Old Testament prophecies trying with natural understanding to relate them to current events. The ink is hardly dry on today's headlines before the religious teachers are jumping up and down with excitement about the latest "fulfillment" of prophecy.
Frequently, someone will announce to anyone who'll listen, that they've studied the prophets and "cracked the code." They've figured out when Christ would return or when the tribulation would begin, etc., etc. One by one their folly is exposed yet others follow in their wake!
Let a "red heifer" be born in Israel and the religious world is all "abuzz" with excitement about the "prophetic significance." All this's more like a "red herring," a diversion, a false scent engineered by Satan to occupy and misdirect people's attention away from truth. Religion today is as blind concerning Christ's second coming as the Jews were concerning his first. Satan's the author of this blindness!
Notice some things in James' reference to the tabernacle of David. The purpose of this rebuilt tabernacle was not a political and military empire of some sort, although that seems to be what many theologians teach! Rather, it's spiritual in nature, raised up "that the residue of men might seek after the Lord."
When David became king, his priorities were spiritual. He had a great desire to restore the ark, the symbol of God's presence and His covenant, to its proper place at the center of Israel's spiritual life. His first attempt failed because David and his advisors devised their own plan and didn't do things according to the spiritual order God had established (I Chronicles 15:13). (Is this not a picture of much of the religious effort undertaken in our day?)
On the second attempt, when David saw to it that things were done God's way, they succeeded, bringing the ark with much music and rejoicing to Jerusalem. David had previously conquered a fortress in Jerusalem known as Zion (I Chronicles 11:5). Zion became known as the city of David and served as his capitol. There he'd prepared a tent to house the ark.
However, David didn't just stick the ark in the tent and forget about it! He went to great lengths to establish a very detailed order of worship that was to be carried out before the ark. God had put into his heart a great desire that praise and worship should continually arise to the Lord. To that end the Levites were organized and assigned different parts of this spiritual service. Many were assigned, according to their skills, to play certain musical instruments!
The book of the Psalms embodies the worship David established. It expressed not only praise and worship, but all of the great truths that were contained in the spiritual heritage of Abraham and Moses. Thus was a beacon of truth set up that, for a little while, gave light and knowledge to Israel.
Ultimately Jesus, David's Son (Acts 2:25-31), came and established a beacon that through the gospel would reach to the ends of the earth.