MIRACLES IN THE SHADOW

Acts 5:14,15 – And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.

For some people this passage is a little to hard to stomach and could even be called embarrassing. For those who have tasted the power of His anointing it is encouraging and quite believable. When you do a little digging we are talking about more than the ordinary shadow of some unsophisticated fisherman from Galilee here. Actually, the word shadow in this passage is a rarely used word that is describing a manifestation of the glory of God. This is how the Passion Bible notes describes this passage.

“The Greek word translated “overshadow” is episkiazo, which is used exclusively for the power of the Almighty “overshadowing,” such as with Mary, who conceived a child supernaturally by God. It is also used for the cloud that overshadowed Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.This was not a natural shadow created by the light of the sun, but the supernatural overshadowing of God’s power coming upon the sick to bring healing.”

If you combine this passage with Psalm 91 you can come to an interesting conclusion. Psalm 91 is filled with promises to those who abide under the shadow of the Almighty. To the Old Testament believer this is describing the place of safety underneath the shadow of the wings of the cherubim on the ark of the covenant. For us today, we have boldness to come into God’s presence by faith in the blood of Jesus. Psalm 57 gives us a glimpse of this idea in the Old Testament.

Ps.57:1 – Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

till the storms of destruction pass by.

The sick and suffering recognized the power of God on the apostles in the early days of the church. Today, that power has not abated. We have access to the presence. We can live in that shining glory cloud of God. For those who dwell there, the Lord will keep them from fear, pestilence and plagues, will drive out your enemies, and satisfy and extend your life.

WHEN JESUS COMES TO YOUR HOUSE

Matt.8:14,15 – And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.

Jesus loved to do home visits. He would often go into people’s homes for meals or maybe a place to rest for the evening or possibly just to hang out. None of those were the real reasons He was visiting people’s homes, He always had bigger things in mind. When He went to Jairus’s home Jairus’s dead daughter was raised from the dead. When He went to Peter’s house Peter’s mother in law was healed and spiritual awakening visited that fishing village. He went to Zacheus’s home and repentance and restitution took place. He went to Mary and Martha’s home and the very atmosphere was changed. What would happen if Jesus came to your home? Of course I don’t know but everything seems to improve no matter what the situation when the Lord comes knocking at the door. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on Jesus’s practice of home visitation.

“Outside Peter’s door hung fishing nets…yet beneath that lowly roof Immanuel… unveiled Himself…. Little did Peter know the blessing that entered his house when Jesus crossed the threshold, nor how vast a river of mercy would stream forth from his door down the streets of Capernaum. …(It may be that your house isn’t much; no writer has written about you or your home. No one rides by and says, “I wonder who lives there?”) Yet, is there no reason why the Lord should not visit you and make your house like that of Obed-edom, in which the ark resided, or like that of Zaccheus to which salvation came. Our Lord can make your house a center of mercy for the whole region, a little sun scattering in all directions, a spiritual dispensary distributing health to the multitudes around.” Let our prayer be, “Lord, dwell where I dwell, and in so doing make my house a blessing to the neighborhood,” marvelous results must follow.”

Tradition says that Jesus was a guest at John Mark’s mother’s home when He served the last supper. John Mark’s family thought they were just having a Passover dinner, they had no idea that Jesus was unveiling the way into the new and living way that night. So maybe you want Jesus to come to your house, don’t be surprised if you get way more than you bargained for.

EYES OF LOVE

Matt. 9:22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

This poor lady was afraid, she had been afraid for a long time. That is what rejection will do to you. She could still remember the hurt she felt when she had been banished from the house of worship. The man who banished her probably had a robe like the one Jesus was wearing. This time as she touched the edge of His robe, she felt love and acceptance rather than the rejection and scorn she had felt for twelve years. Jesus was different from that other rabbi. He was different from anyone she had ever known. When Jesus turned and looked at her she felt the love in His gaze. Rather than eyes of condemnation and rejection she was caught by His look of love. When He called her daughter, she knew she was home. She had found that place of rest she had longed for for a very long time. Charles Spurgeon was known as the prince of preachers for a reason, here are his thoughts on this verse.

“Jesus knew all that was going on behind Him. If His back be toward us now, it need not always be; for He ‘turned Him about’. Even when fear would hide from Jesus, He spies out the trembler. His eye found her speedily, for He knew where to look. “He saw her”. His voice cheered her with joyful tones of acceptance. He did not chide the blundering of her ignorance, but He commended the bravery of her faith, and consoled her trembling heart. A piece of fringe and a finger sufficed to form a contact between a believing sufferer and an Almighty Savior. Along that line faith sent its message, and love returned the answer. She ‘was made whole’, and she knew it; but she feared when she was found out lest she should lose the blessing and earn a curse. This fear soon vanished: Jesus called her ‘daughter’. He fathered her because He had created faith in her. He gave her ‘good comfort’ because she had good faith. It was His garment which she touched, but it was her faith that had touched it; therefore our Lord said, ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole’; and thus He put the crown upon the head of her faith, because her faith had already set the crown on His head. The moment we touch Jesus we are made whole; yea, ‘from that hour’. May we touch Him now, and may this hour be as memorable to us as that hour was to her!”

So maybe you have had a taste of rejection yourself. Maybe you know that look, you know the look that says you don’t belong here. You will never get that look from Jesus. Maybe it seems like He doesn’t know you exist, believe me, He does. Go ahead, try to steal a touch for yourself. Before you know it you too will be looking into those eyes of love.

SIGNS, WONDERS, AND MIRACLES

Acts 5:12-16 – The apostles performed many signs, wonders, and miracles among the people. And the believers were wonderfully united as they met regularly in the temple courts in the area known as Solomon’s Porch. No one dared harm them, for everyone held them in high regard.

Continually more and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number—great crowds of both men and women. In fact, when people knew Peter was going to walk by, they carried the sick out to the streets and laid them down on cots and mats, knowing the incredible power emanating from him would overshadow them and heal them. Great numbers of people swarmed into Jerusalem from the nearby villages. They brought with them the sick and those troubled by demons—and everyone was healed!

Signs, wonders, and miracles were at the very heart of the success the early church had. They were not dependent on creeds and philosophies; their message was supported and confirmed by the power of signs and wonders. From the tongues of fire on the Day of Pentecost to the building trembling under the power of God at the prayer meeting in Acts 4; the fear of God was falling on the entire population. It seems as if there was an ever increasing intensity of power in Jerusalem until the streets were lined with the bodies of the sick and the afflicted in Acts 5. Even Peter’s shadow was carrying the anointing. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Notes from today’s passage.

“The Greek word translated “overshadow” is episkiazo, which is used exclusively for the power of the Almighty “overshadowing,” such as with Mary, who conceived a child supernaturally by God. It is also used for the cloud that overshadowed Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. This was not a natural shadow created by the light of the sun, but the supernatural overshadowing of God’s power coming upon the sick to bring healing.”

Our world today is generally skeptical when it comes to the power of God. Anyone with an anointing is accused of charlatanism, occultism, or just being plain wacky. I think a return to the supernatural church is imperative and possibly imminent. It won’t be for the faint of heart, persecution won’t be far behind. Just make a decision, are you satisfied with a powerless church or are you desperate for the power of God?

EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES

Acts 19:11,12 – God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. Because of this, people took Paul’s handkerchiefs and articles of clothing, even pieces of cloth that had touched his skin, laying them on the bodies of the sick, and diseases and demons left them and they were healed.

“Miracles of no ordinary kind, i. e. extraordinary miracles.” This is what Adam Clarke said about the astounding outpouring in Ephesus. Luke had seen all sorts of miracles in his travels with the Apostle Paul but what they were seeing in Ephesus was unprecedented. Nothing like this had ever been seen by Luke before. Obviously the Lord had big plans for the church in Ephesus. I find it quite interesting the way these miracles were described. Luke said that pieces of cloth that had been part of clothing worn by Paul were sent out to the sick and the afflicted. Apparently the anointing that was flowing from Paul was collecting in his clothes. How else could you explain what was happening here? This is reminiscent of the garment that Jesus wore. Often times people would touch the fringe of the Lord’s clothing and healing would flow into their bodies.

Next, Luke describes the effect these clothes had on demons. Apparently, these clothes would be attached to individuals being tormented by evil spirits. The result would be that the spirits would leave and the people would be made whole.

What Luke was describing was a regional outpouring of the Holy Spirit characterized by signs, wonders, and miracles. It started with twelve men in a Bible study and progressed to daily meetings in a rented facility. After two years of these daily meetings there appears to have been an explosion of miracles that effected all of Turkey.

Is it possible for these types of things to happen in our modern world? Maybe we need more of a focus on saturation in the Holy Spirit if we are to see outbreaks of the power of God. Think about what happened here; daily meetings with Paul for two years. Maybe that is why unprecedented things began to happen. In our modern world of social media and smartphones it wouldn’t take much for our world to be turned upside down. Unprecedented miracles would surely get the attention of the world. Maybe its time for another outbreak of signs, wonders, and miracles.

“Let Him touch your coffin”

MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS-

“Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak” Luke 7:11

I find it interesting that Jesus touched the coffin instead of the boy. He touched the box or the container that held him. Death bound the boy and his life was taken from him. There was no exchange between the mother and Christ, there was no request made or favor sought. It is a wonder the mother even saw Christ coming up behind her. He comes to touch our coffin of dead things. We all hold containers of loss, dreams shattered, lives wasted away. We put a lid on our horror stories of our sad serenades of long ago days. You have to allow Him to touch that coffin because he comes to make all things new again. He does that ; you know-changes what we think it will be. We box it all in, stuff it way down but He who knows the stars by name comes to tell a different story over you. There are songs yet to be sung, war stories yet to be told and children that will dance again. Christ comes with his basketful of gifts every ready to arrest and halt the places where hope dies. God’s love flows out of its own expansive and endless nature for there is no shadow of turning with our father of lights. His great love is at work among us and that is to stop the march of death that tries to silence our song! Christ steps up to our coffin every time with his word STOP! Stop reliving the lies of the past, the failures of yesterday, stop not forgiving yourself, stop the anger that wants to bury you once again. Allow Christ to touch your coffin, allow Christ to collide with the negativity that has engulfed you. Allow Christ to come into the small compartments, the cramped damp and dark places where shame multiplies. The boy spoke and the mother no longer wept over yesterday for her world would never look the same! The Greek word “splanchnizomai” is the word the Bible uses to describe the compassion Jesus had for this scene. There is no greater word in the Greek language to describe the depth of emotion Jesus felt for this widow over her loss. Go ahead and let him come touch your coffin!

THE ROCK WAS CHRIST

1 Cor.10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

Every season of God is special and unique. The things we often take for granted are amazing daily blessings that come from the Lord. In the case of the Israelites they had daily miracles right in front of them. From the day that they passed through the Red Sea there was a cloud literally guiding them along the way. This cloud covered them from the heat, directed their paths, and had a fire in it for warmth at night. They also had forty years of daily provision of food. Manna from heaven formed on the ground and sustained them for an entire generation. In today’s verse Paul spoke of the Rock that followed them and provided water for them every day. Whether the Rock literally followed them is debatable. The fact remains, over a million people were supplied with water for forty years in a desert. Here is how Adam Clarke describes this miracle.

“How could the rock follow them? It does not appear that the rock ever moved from the place where Moses struck it. But to solve this difficulty, it is said that rock here is put, by metonymy, for the water of the rock; and that this water did follow them through the wilderness. This is more likely; but we have not direct proof of it. The ancient Jews, however, were of this opinion, and state that the streams followed them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys, and that when they came to encamp, the waters formed themselves into cisterns and pools; and that the rulers of the people guided them, by their staves, in rivulets to the different tribes and families.”

How about us today? I have daily bread that comes down from heaven. Every time I open my Bible I feast on the Living Bread. The Cloud of Glory also falls on me everyday. Do I see a cloud like the Israelites did? Maybe, sometimes. Regardless I have the anointing of His presence falling on me everyday. The water from the Rock is also with us everyday. If anyone is thirsty He is right there to give us drink. So everyday our world is full of miracles. Maybe everyone isn’t aware of them but they are here nonetheless.

BEFORE THEY FINISHED PRAYING HE ANSWERED

Acts 4:30,31 – Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”

At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.

What a picture of God’s readiness to answer prayer. The words were still in their mouths when the building they had gathered in was shaking under the power of God. God hears and answers our prayer, that is an amazing benefit of being a son of God.

Isaiah spoke about God’s readiness to answer prayer in Isa.65:24 – “Before they even call out to me, I will answer them;

before they’ve finished telling me what they need,

I’ll have already heard.”

The amazing thing about this is that it is true for us today. The Lord hears our prayers and answers sometimes before we can even get the words out of our mouths. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this characteristic of prayer.

“God will anticipate their prayers with the blessings of his goodness. David did but say, I will confess, and God forgave. The father of the prodigal met him in his return. While they are yet speaking, before they have finished their prayer, I will give them the thing they pray for, or the assurances and earnests of it. These are high expressions of God’s readiness to hear prayer; and this appears much more in the grace of the gospel than it did under the law; we owe the comfort of it to the mediation of Christ as our advocate with the Father and are obliged in gratitude to give a ready ear to God’s calls.”

Too many time we try to handle all of our stuff by ourselves. Too often prayer is just a last resort. If it is true that God is good and that we are His sons and daughters then He really can’t help Himself. He is always listening and ready to work on our behalf. The real secret is being intimately connected to what matters to Him. In this story the disciples were praying for boldness to preach Christ. Before they got the words out of their mouths they were filled with power to preach Christ with the added bonus of signs and wonders.

TONGUES, PROPHESY, AND MIRACLES

Acts 19:6,7 – And when Paul laid his hands on each of the twelve, the Holy Spirit manifested and they immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:10,11 – Every day for over two years, he taught them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, which resulted in everyone living in the province of Asia, Jews and non-Jews, hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul.

The prayer language is seen all throughout the book of Acts. At the birthing of the church in Ephesus Paul lays his hands on twelve men who all began to speak in tongues and prophesy. There is a close connection to the prayer language and the other vocal gifts. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“They spoke tongue by tongue and gushed out prophecies.” The impartation of the Holy Spirit and his gifts are here being transferred from Paul to these believers. Jesus taught that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is to impart power for our lives and ministries.”

Paul spent two years teaching these new believers and the growing church in Ephesus. The power and gifts of the Spirit increased through those daily saturation meetings. The whole region was impacted. Here are the Passion Notes on Acts 19:10,11.

“This “school of ministry” exploded as many came to hear Paul and then went out to preach, expanding the reach of the gospel into all the “province of Asia” (Asia Minor). The province of Asia would have covered no less than one-third of Turkey. Many multitudes heard the gospel in the two-year period when Paul taught in Ephesus. The teaching of the apostles resulted in the expansion of God’s kingdom realm.”

I believe an emphasis of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit is desperately needed and I also believe there will be an increased restoration of these gifts in the days ahead. In vs.11 Luke described unusual miracles breaking out in Ephesus. Maybe that is what it will take to break open this generation to the gospel, unusual miracles. I say its time to focus on the power of the Spirit. Speak in tongues for extended times, soak in worship music, meditate on scripture. Before you know it unusual miracles will begin to follow after you.

MIRACLE SIGN – LAMB IN A MANGER

Lk.2:11,12 – For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!

I love this verse in the Passion Translation, “You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!”. The birth of Christ in an animal’s feeding trough is called a miracle sign. When you think of miracle signs you think of things like raising someone from the dead, or calming a storm, or maybe walking on water. Those are obviously major miracle signs but this infant birth in a manger has to be the biggest sign of all. The Creator of planets and solar systems, galaxies and black holes, and gazelles and amoebas took on the body of a baby human and was born in a feeding trough for farm animals. Absolutely mind boggling!!! Here are some comments on this verse from the Passion Notes.

“He entered the world as a lowly baby, and though he is the mighty God, he lived his life on earth in gentleness before all. The shepherds that night were possibly near Bethlehem at Migdal Eder, “the [watch] tower of the flock.” This would fulfill both the prophecies of Mic. 5:2 and Mic. 4:8, which say, “to you it [he] will come, your dominion [kingdom] from old will arrive.” It was at the lower floor of the watchtower (Migdal Eder) that the birthing of the Passover lambs would take place…. After the birth of the lambs, the priestly shepherds would wrap the lambs in cloth and lay them in a manger lined with soft hay to prevent them from hurting themselves…. The miracle sign for these priestly shepherds would be a baby boy lying where the Passover lamb should be—in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. It was at the cradle of Jesus Christ that the kingdom from ancient times arrived on earth.”

So He came to this earth and was born among temple sheep. These sheep’s very existence, as sacrificial lambs, had been calling for Him for hundreds of years. He is the lamb of God. His miracle birth in a manger was prophetic, speaking of His sacrificial death.