Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Gift Of Miracles-Bishop Philip Weeks

The Greek word St. Paul uses for the "gift of miracles" in First Corinthians 12 is the same root word from which we get our English word "dynamite". Literally the verse should read "the gift of the operation of powers".

When something unusual happens we call it a "miracle" when it may or may not be in the sense that St Paul refers to this manifestation of the Holy Spirit; it means an act of God in a supernatural and powerful manner. Bishop Ricardo Alcaraz of the Philippines recently posted on Facebook a quote, the source of which we do not know, but a very good definition of what we are talking about. "A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law." Indeed it is in this understanding a miracle when a healing occurs that otherwise in all medical journals a reversal of the disease is unknown. Was the landing of the US Airway jet on the Hudson River an act of God or the skill of Captain Scully? People called it "a miracle". Or when a missionary friend visited refugees from the Mt Pinatubo volcanic eruption prayed over a child she thought was sleeping. After she left the room and went on to other buildings someone came running to tell her the child for whom she prayed was now alive. The child had died shortly before she went into the room and prayed.

There are healing miracles. I remember one night at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Zamboanga (Mindanao) Philippines. Earlier three of our Barnabas team people had gone to Brent Hospital to pray for a paralytic. That night the nurses rolled his gurney to the church next door. During the evening different team people went to the bedside and prayed for the man. The service was ending, and as was my custom, I called the team members together for our personal closing prayers. One of the Americans called my attention to what was taking place at the entrance of the church. The paralytic had rolled off his gurney and was pushing it back to the hospital. He was discharged that night, and later married one of our Barnabas Day Care School teachers. That was a "miracle'.

There are other occurrences equally startling. On my first mission trip to Asia our leader had made confirmed reservations for our flight from Bangkok to Rangoon. However, when we checked in at the airport we were on a wait list with fifty-two people ahead of us. Our leader told us to go aside and pray which we did and ten minutes before the flight was to depart twelve seats opened up. We were on the flight. We arrived in Rangoon and the hotel where reservations had been made was fully booked. Again we withdrew to pray while our leader negotiated with the manager and in time three rooms with four beds in each became available. Strange!

John Sherrill, once senior editor of Guidepost, conducted a teaching mission in my Charleston WV church. When he taught about the gifts of the Spirit he cited the life of Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place) who was a prisoner in a Nazi genocide camp. Someone incarcerated brought in a half bottle of vitamins in liquid form. That half bottle lasted for all the women in her barrack throughout the war. Less significant were the times when our daughters, and our extended family, invited other young people home for Sunday dinner, and June had prepared a roast that would normally have fed just the eight of us but lasted through the meal for eighteen people.

On my first trip into Red China we were given on a piece of paper in Chinese the name of a Guangchou hotel. My roommate and I were to deliver four suitcases of Bibles to a contact at that hotel. We had successfully smuggled them in that afternoon, and when we were ready to leave our assigned hotel for the contact place we realized we had a problem. We were not permitted to check out of our assigned hotel, yet to get to the designated location we had to engage a taxi through the concierge desk. How would we explain going to another hotel with four suitcases when we expected to return? When we entered the lobby soldiers were present and watching us. We avoided the concierge desk and exited the front door. As we stood at the entrance a taxi drove up. The driver popped up the trunk. No one was present to take the taxi so we put our suitcases in the trunk, and I handed the driver the note bearing the name of the hotel. We met our contact, delivered the Bibles and tried to get a taxi to return us to our hotel. It was not until we went through the concierge desk that a taxi driver would allow us into his car. It was evident God had ordered the taxi for us and we successfully delivered over five hundred Bibles that night to Chinese Christians. It may have been a Chinese angel driving the taxi.

These may seem insignificant but nonetheless beyond the natural. They are miracles. They are the mighty working of a mighty God, and they happened in my lifetime.

Prayer of the Week

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious
to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them
again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and
hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ
your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Video: Missionary Cristina Wilkison-Missionary To Peru

Please watch this and if you can help please do.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Prayer Of The Week

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us
the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known
to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Pray For Landima-Needs Surgery Now

Please watch the video and pray for Landima.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Gift Of Faith - Bishop Philip Weeks

Today I am posting an article written by
Bishop Philip Weeks. Over the next weeks look of his guest postings.

The author of the Hebrews epistle defined faith as "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen". This kind of faith might be described as supernatural; beyond the ordinary day in and day out trust in God.

There are several types of Faith. There is the ordinary faith that we all have enabling us to put one foot in front of the other in the certainty that everything is going to be alright. We normally operate with this type of faith without even thinking about it. It is part of daily life. There is the type of faith that prompts us to respond to the Gospel call to believe Jesus is the Savior. There is the type of faith that causes a person to venture into an experience confident that all will come to a satisfactory conclusion. My leaving the parish ministry in1980, a good salary with benefits and church housing, and established Barnabas Ministries, Inc. without any assurance of income or acceptance of ministry is an example of a tremendous step of faith. And there is the type of faith the author of Hebrews describes.

On my first mission trip with another ministry I was ask to give a testimony at a meeting in Rangoon BURMA. I told about a healing in my older daughter. Following the meeting a man came to me and asked for prayer for his heart condition. No problem! You cannot verify the healing immediately. Someone else came asking for healing of an ulcer. Same story! I looked and the first man was working the congregation, finding people he knew needed healing. A line began to form. There was a man with a withered arm. This now was getting to a point where I wanted at least one of the other team men praying with me so I could either rely upon his faith or excuse the failure of healing on his lack of faith. All the other men were busy and I was alone to pray. I mustered up as much hope and faith I could and prayed for him, and to my surprise, he began waving his arm in the air. Healed! After a few other people a young lady who was deaf and mute wanted prayer. She had been given a New Testament in which she read that Jesus was the same today as yesterday, and she read that yesteryear he healed the deaf and mute. Again I looked for assistance and there was none. I thought at least I would be gone from Rangoon the next day and she wouldn't remember me anyway. I prayed in English. I prayed in tongues. I recalled Jesus had said "ephphatha" (Mark 7:34) which meant "be open" when He ministered to a deaf and mute person; so I said it. I tell you the truth; I had no faith this woman was going to be healed, but she did, otherwise she would not have asked for prayer. At last in my spirit I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to do the most unreasonable thing. I obeyed. "If you hear me," I said, "say 'Jesus loves me'." She did!

I stopped praying with any other people. I headed to the door ready to leave the building and on my way I began arguing with God. "Lord, don't you know where we are; in the shadow of the Pagoda, here in a pagan country. I pray for people in my church back in Florida and I am lucky if one out of ten gets healed. Why is it everyone I have prayed for tonight got healed?" He told me! "These people have not been taught how to doubt!"

In the early years of my formation of Barnabas Ministries, Inc. I was invited to speak at a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship in Raleigh NC. I felt I was to emphasize Faith in the sharing of my testimony. I must admit that my teaching on faith was shallow compared to what I was going to be taught later. Following the meeting the President of the Chapter invited people for ministry. As usual there were three groups; the first for those desiring salvation; the second for those desiring the Baptism in the Holy Spirit; and, the third for those wishing prayers of healing. I had observed a young couple sitting not far from the speaker's table, and when they entered she was walking as if in tremendous pain, taking what might be described as "baby steps". Following the President's invitation I observed they went to the healing area so I went with the President to the group where people were being prayed for salvation. When we finished with that group the President and I went to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit group, and out of the corner of my vision I watched to see if the couple was still in the group. They were. We finished praying for people in the second group, and moved to those desiring prayers for healing. Frankly, I was hoping our delay would tire that couple and they would go home. They waited and they were the last to be prayed for.

The husband explained that his wife had suffered a back injury and her spine was fused. Duke University Hospital said there was nothing could be done other than give her pain medicines. It was painful for her to rise or walk and depended totally on her husband's assistance. She had come to the meeting in hopes of receiving prayer. I had given an emphasis on faith in my testimony and now I was frankly faithless. If Duke said there was nothing could be done, that is gospel. However, they were waiting for prayer and the President and I were expected to respond. I ask the husband to place one hand on the troubled area of her back and the other hand on the corresponding area of her stomach. I anointed her forehead with Holy Oil. We prayed. I thought a long prayer would suffice and then we would send them home and we would leave the restaurant. To my surprise I heard the Holy Spirit say "tell her to stand up quickly". I was certain that was not the Holy Spirit urging me to tell her to do the impossible. I continued to pray words and He continued to speak to my spirit that she was healed. In my mind's eye I could see her doing the impossible. Finally I succumbed to what the Holy Spirit was saying. I stopped praying. I looked at the girl and said, "In the Name of Jesus I want you to stand up quickly". I took her by the hand and she immediately stood up. "I want you to run to the other end of the dining room, in the NAME OF JESUS". She did! She turned around and ran into the arms of her husband He had not been able to hold her or hug her for a long time.

That was the kind of Faith the author of Hebrews is talking about. There is no evidence that something is possible or realized, but confident in the power of God you know it has happened before you have the proof. Shortly after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit the husband of a cousin came to our Charleston WV church to be prayed for prior to cancer surgery. A dozen of us gathered and in the setting of Eucharist we anointed him and prayed for him. Afterward he, June and I went to lunch. I kept feeling the need to tell him the surgery would be a waste of time, but this was new for me. I said nothing. He had the surgery and the pathologist reported there was no cancer in any of the tissues removed from his body. That night in Raleigh as well as that evening in Rangoon, had a profound impact on me. The Holy Spirit used them to teach me to trust Him. Eventually I reached a place where I do not hesitate if I feel the Holy Spirit is revealing something that in the natural would be impossible. Jesus said the things He did believers would do, and with the Gift of Faith we will see the impossible become reality.
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