Acts 29 – Memorable – 12

Have you ever encountered someone who died more than 20-years ago, face-to-face?

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John 11:14 – Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

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It was in the late 80’s while I was serving as pastor of what was then New Life Assembly of God in Winston-Salem, NC.  God was blessing our church, we were growing, and there were constant manifestations of signs and wonders in our midst.  A couple in our church, faithful members, was about to move from our community to another city.  She was pregnant, but one Sunday evening she came for special prayer, their relocation coming in two days.  Her most recent visit to her doctor was filled with bad news.  The doctor, after a number of tests, told her that her baby was dead in the womb.  There was no pulse; no signs of life at all.  But for her, this was not a final answer.  We prayed and believed the Lord for what we knew would be a miracle.  She certainly needed one, and we know that only comes by the Spirit.

I heard nothing from them at that time.  Two days later they were gone.  I did not hear from them after that, and not knowing exactly where they had gone, I was unable to contact them.  I was somewhat puzzled by that, but my responsibility as their pastor at departure was to love them, prayer for them, hold fast to our agreement in faith, and remain ready to be a blessing in their life, should I encounter them in the future.  Still, they remained in my memories, especially from their service to our church.

Then more than 20-later, I conducted a wedding for a young lady I watched grow up from about age four.  I had known and ministered with her family, and taken the couple through pre-marital counseling.  The wedding took place on December 3, 2011 in Lincolnton, NC.  During the reception, my bride came to me saying there was someone there anxious to see me.  I went with her to meet the person.  As I walked up, I recognized the lady immediately; a lovely lady with red hair and bright smile.  It was so good to see her after all these years.  We chatted for a moment, and a young lady came to the table.  My old acquaintance asked if I remembered praying for her concerning a baby that was said to be dead in her womb.  I told her I did.  She apologized for not having informed me earlier, but the younger lady was her daughter.  Yes, the one that doctors had declared dead in the womb.  I was looking into the beautiful face of someone the medical community had said died 23-years earlier.  But the last word of that discussion stood before me, bright, beautiful, and blessed.  Acts 29 occurring again, almost 1,900 years after the Scriptures were concluded. 

Manna for Today – John 11:1-16; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Acts 29 – Memorable – 11

Have we forsaken the power of God concerning psychological and emotional issues, real or perceived?

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Matthew 17:15 – Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

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The first time I saw the lady about which I write today, she was attending what became a six-week protracted crusade at the church my family was attending in the mid-seventies.  I was very new to ministry, with so much to learn, and so much growing to do.  At that point in time, I was growing quickly, and was blessed to have a close relationship with a true New Testament evangelist.  But the evening the lady in question came to the meetings, I saw what I had never seen.  When the evangelist ministered to the people that evening, she came forward to receive.  She had epilepsy.  It was quite advance, and she was having as many as 15 grand mal seizures each month.  To complicate her world, she was a new mother with a three-month old baby.  But her condition, the frequency of her seizures, and the medication she was taking meant that the doctor would not allow her to hold her own child. 

The evening she came to the meeting, God was surely in the house.  The evangelist delivered a great word of faith, and then ministered to those who came to receive.  When he spoke with her, he quickly discovered that though she believed the Lord could heal her, she wasn’t sure He would heal her.  The evangelist’s response to that was so strong in faith that it shocked the people.  While there is not room here to share it, he simply stepped into an arena of faith, trusting the Lord to perform His Word, that most of those present were amazed.  After speaking some instruction to her, he spoke a faith command that the spirit causing this issue should depart, declared the young lady free and healed, and laid his hands on here as a point of contact to release his faith.  She was slain in the spirit, and lay on the floor, motionless for quite some time.  When she finally arose, the joy of the Lord shining from her face was quite remarkable.

But it was almost two weeks later that the fullness of her testimony began to be seen.  She was coming to church, carrying her baby, and that without fear.  Her family was attending with her, rejoicing in all they had seen daily.  Soon, at the doctor’s orders, she was medication free, having no seizures, and sharing her testimony at every opportunity.  She was completely healed and delivered.  And for as long as we had contact with her through the church, she continued to be seizure-free, taking no medication.  Once again, I had witnessed Acts 29 in full performance, almost 1,900 years after the Scriptures were written. 

Manna for Today – Matthew 17:14-21; Mark9:22; John 14:12-14; John 17:18; John 20-21

Acts 29 – Memorable – 10

Restoration is a major work of the Lord in Acts 29.

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Psalm 150:6 – Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

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The first time I ever saw him was his first visit to the church I pastored.  I pastored that church for 28 years; July 6, 1986 to July 6, 2014.  It was in the 80’s when he first came to our church.  He and his wife of many years walked from their car to the steps leading up to the church door.  He paused for a few moments before making the ascent.  For him it was quite a task.  He had emphysema, likely from the chemicals in paint he used as an industrial painter for many years.  He ascended three steps, stopped to get his breath, and then took the last two steps to the door level.  White hair with a white moustache, slender, and appearing a bit feeble, he came into the church.  He, his wife, and is daughter (already a part of our church) had many years before served and ministered with the Salvation Army.  He loved winning souls, and he loved to sing.  But with the emphysema, that was only an occasional line from an old song. 

They attended our church for several weeks, and one Sunday night, he came forward to receive prayer for healing from the emphysema.  Several folks in the congregation gathered around him to add their agreement and support.  We prayed the prayer of faith, and when we declared, “Amen,” it was done indeed.  He lifted his hands and rejoiced.  His rejoicing was loud and strong.  The rejoicing among the congregation was sweet.  As the loud rejoicing gave way to quiet worship among the people, he began to sing.  His voice, though not used in this manner for many years, was strong and pleasant.  He was worshipping the Lord out of the depths of his spirit.  But something was different that night.  There was no shortness of breath, gasping for air, or leaning on someone to help steady him after exertion.  He was strong.  After a few lines of the song he was singing, his wife, and then his daughter joined him in song.  The harmony was sweet and rich.  And the rejoicing in the congregation reached a new crescendo.  It was obvious that Acts 29 was in full operation that Sunday evening.

Over the next few years, he, his wife, and his daughter would often minister in song in our services.  He became one of our most ardent working men in the church.  Anything that needed to be done, regardless of how physical, he was up to it, and did it well.  Yes, he had been totally healed.  He was a living product of Acts 29, and he truly rejoiced in it whenever he joined us in any church ministry or function.  What a joy to see a life impacted, changed, and so enriched by the work of Holy Spirit in Acts 29 almost 19 centuries after the writing of the New Testament was complete.

Manna for Today – Psalm 150; John 4:19-26; John 14:12-14; John 17:18; John 20:21

Acts 29 – Memorable – 9

I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a silent world, and suddenly, to hear!

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Psalm 119:130 – The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

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Have you every intently searched for something that you just couldn’t seem to find?  Perhaps you spent a long time, perhaps eve years, and then, suddenly, one day, you found it.  Did it seem as though someone had suddenly turned a light on in the darkness, and something you could not see at all suddenly became visible?  Some people call it an epiphany, or an “aha” moment.  That is what I saw in the face of two young girls in Colgate, Jamaica in the early 80’s.

I was there speaking in a packed church (about 400 people) one evening.  Outside it was so dark, you could barely see you had before your face.  The trees created such a thick canopy overhead that you could not see the moon or s single star.  Inside the church, the only light was two incandescent bulbs hanging from the church rafters; one about 20 feet from the rear of the church, and the other hanging just over the pulpit by which the minister could read his Bible.  Yet the people sat, listening intently to every word I spoke.  Surprisingly, I was speaking on the abundance of God’s supply.

After speaking, I invited the lost to be saved, and for believers to receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost.  I had not yet offered to pray for the sick, but suddenly there were two little girls standing before me.  I learned that they were seven and nine years old, respectively, and that both of them were totally deaf.  They could make sounds, but nothing intelligible.  I have no idea what caused the deafness, whether is was purely physical, or if there was some demonic influence.  All I knew was, they were deaf.  So, I prayed and asked the Lord to give them their hearing so they could live a normal life, to hear a human voice, the sounds of nature, and to be able to learn and grow up whole.  After I prayed, I laid my hands on them and made a faith command for them to hear in the Name of Jesus. 

I knew it the moment it happened.  When I first saw them, they were timidly looking around, but there seemed to be no light in their eyes.  Immediately after giving the faith command to hear, it was as if someone had turned the light on in a dark room.  There was an expression on their face that said it all.  There was a sudden anticipation in their eyes for the next moment.  As I spoke to them softly, they both smiled, looked at one another in wide-eyed amazement, and then at their mother.  She saw it, too.  They were hearing for the first time in their lives.  Oh, the joy that the memory of that moment still brings to my heart.  I cannot tell about it and not smile.  And the rejoicing in the church was phenomenal.  Acts 29 was still making headlines in heaven.

Manna for Today – Psalm 119:105; Matthew 11:5; Mark 7:32-37; Mark 9:25; Luke 7:22

Acts 29 – Memorable – 8

If Jesus did it, believers can do it.  Some people don’t believe this, but the Bible says it’s true.

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Acts 20:9 – And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

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Have you ever witnessed a cripple man walking, a mute man talking, or a blind man with sight?  I have, and the Scriptures tell of such things on many occasions.  I have also witnessed, on more than one occasion, someone who was pronounced medically dead, living a full and active life.  My first encounter with this was in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in the mid-seventies.  I was very early in my pulpit ministry, and played guitar for a Gospel singing group.  We had ministered in a Saturday night meeting in Rocky Mount and returned late that evening to our home church.  The next day was when it happened.

When you have the privilege of serving a true New Testament evangelist, you can expect healings and miracles.  That’s the way it was for the one I write about here, Wayne Smith.  On Sunday morning, the Spirit of God was moving powerfully.  The children had been released from children’s church and were playing in their play area outside.  The adult service was still going on, with signs and wonders taking place for many people.  A man in the service had come under great conviction of Holy Spirit, and decided to hurriedly leave the church.  He got in his car to leave, and as he turned the corner, driving too fast, he ran over Wayne Smith’s son who had gone into the street to retrieve a ball for his playmates.  By the time they had brought Wayne to the scene, paramedics had already done all they could, and the boy was lying in the street, covered by a sheet.

Wayne Smith knelt by his son, cradled his lifeless body in his arms, and cried out to God, saying, “You said if I would preach the Gospel, You would take care of my family.  Lord, I hold you to that and thank you for it.”  As the people looked on, the boy opened his eyes and spoke to his father.  After a quick ride to the hospital, they could find nothing wrong with the body; not a mark on him.  Only his glasses were broken. 

The following Saturday night our group was back in Rocky Mount to minister in music.  The event I just described was the talk of the town.  Those meetings lasted for several weeks beyond what was scheduled.  And his son was just fine.  There were medical people in the service when the accident occurred.  One was a doctor.  He verified the boy’s death, and great extent of his injuries.  Yet there he was, a week later, and not a mark on him. The dead had been raised to life again; Acts 29 still happening.

Manna for Today – Acts 20:7-12; John 14:12-14; Isaiah 55:11; John 17:18; John 20:21

Acts 29 – Memorable – 7

Sometimes the work of Acts 29 happens in stages.

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Mark 8:23 – And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

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Jesus once healed a blind man who received his healing in stages.  His first image was of men who looked like trees.  Then Jesus completed the work.  In the late 70’s, I was speaking in a church in Ocho Rios.  A cripple boy about seven years of age was brought to me for ministry.  He had never walked.  All he could do is crawl.  His knees were calloused, and there were holes in the tops of his shoes where he had drug them on the ground as he crawled.  His legs had been locked at the knees, as if he were in a squatting position, all his life, and they could not be straightened.

When it was time to minister to the needs of the people, they brought him forward.  I asked the pastor if I could sit him on the communion table, and he agreed.  I sat the little boy on the table, offered thanks to the Lord for His healing power, and then commanded his legs to be loosed in the Name of Jesus.  Immediately, his legs were made loose at the knees.  There was great rejoicing, but when I lifted him from the table, allowing his feet to touch the floor, he collapsed immediately when I released him.  He could not walk.  Holy Ghost spoke to my heart that what I had called for had happened.  His legs were loosed.  But I had said nothing about strength or walking.  I sat the boy back on the table, and this time I commanded strength to come back into his legs, particularly his knees and ankles. 

Once again, I lifted him from the table and stood him on the floor.  This time he walked; slowly for the first few steps, then normally.  Oh, the great joy that came to him and his family, and the church broke into a great praise to the Lord.  Once again, the works we have read about in the ministry of Jesus and the early church through the apostles were performed.  Once again, it was in the Name of Jesus, by His power, and for His glory.  Still, the works were done.  We were, once again, living out Acts 29.  And it still happens today.

Manna for Today – Mark 8:22-26; Matthew 9:5; Mark 2:9-11; Mark 5:8; John 17:18; John 20:21

Acts 29 – Memorable -6

Jesus healed the blind.  In Acts 29, it should be recorded that the work continued.

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John 9:25 – He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

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During the early 80’s, I was an itinerate minister, traveling wherever the Lord might open a door of ministry.  One such door was opened to me by a man I came to love and appreciate deeply for his great compassion for the body of Christ.  He was the pastor of a church in Yadkinville, North Carolina, a small city near my hometown of Winston-Salem.  We had met when he attended a crusade I was holding with a fellow minister in Yadkinville.  Following his attendance, he asked me to come and speak at the church he pastored.  He wanted me to speak Sunday through Sunday – a full week.  I was honored.

Each night the facility was packed with people.  There was an undeniable hunger for the Word of God like I had seen in few places.  On a Tuesday evening, after the message was delivered, we had a time of prayer for healing and deliverance for people who came.  One of those people was a retired lady about 70 years of age.  She was legally blind, had to be led about, and was helped to the altar for prayer.  Not having witnessed her being led about, I asked her what her need was.  She told me she wanted to receive healing for her sight, and she wanted to get her driver’s license again so she could live free and help others.  I ministered to her according to the Word.  I learned that were many people present who knew her and stood with her in agreement.  After the time of ministry, she very matter-of-factly thanked the Lord for her healing, and walked back to her seat, and after the close of the service, out of the church on her own.  Those who knew her simply stood in awe.

She was back for the remaining services that week, and on Friday night, she came to the pastor, Gilmer Dunn, and asked if she could testify.  As a part of the praise service, he called on her to testify.  She came to the pulpit, unassisted, and gave public thanks to the Lord for healing her eyes.  Then she produced her new re-issued North Carolina driver’s license.  The Lord had done a miracle for her, and she was happy to show it off to everyone and honor the Lord.  Once again, Acts 29 in operation nearly nineteen centuries after the Scriptures were completed.  Saying it ended with the death of John is obviously wrong.  It still goes on today.  Receive and rejoice.

Manna for Today – John 9; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 17:18; John 20-21

Acts 29 – Memorable – 5

Written Scriptures concluded almost 1,900 years ago, but the works of Acts 29 continue today.

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Matthew 17:18 – And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

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It was 1977, and I was speaking in a church in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  We were having wonderful services, the Lord was moving, people had been saved and filled with Holy Ghost, and some had been healed.  One night a gentleman came to the service, bringing his nine-year old son for prayer.  During the ministry time at the close of the service, he brought his son to the altar for prayer.  I asked him what the situation was, and he explained.  Though his son was nine years old, he could not attend school.  He was a chronic bed-wetter (nightly, it seemed), completely dominated by some kind of fear.  We prayed for the boy, laid hands on him, and commanded the spirit of fear that bound his life to release the body, and thanked God for the answer.  The boy fell into the floor like a dead person.  He was breathing, showing no signs of distress, seemingly very peaceful, but could not be awakened.  He laid in the floor for about three hours, his father and nurse who was attending the meeting sitting with him.  The suddenly, his eyes opened, he sat up, hugged his father, and smiled.  When it appeared all was well, his father took him home. 

I did not know the man when he came to that meeting, and did not see him again until 1991.  I was ministering in another church in a nearby city.  At the close of the service, a gentleman came to me, and introduced himself, reminding me of the ministry some14 years earlier.  He was full of the joy of the Lord.  I asked about the boy, and he said his son was well.  After a few minutes, he motioned for someone to join us.  A handsome young man in his early 20’s walked up, dressed in a blue suit, wearing a tie, and well-groomed.  This was that nine-year old boy to whom I had ministered those years before.  He told me of his life. 

After receiving ministry, the bed-wetting stopped, he was enrolled in school, and he moved up rapidly.  He had graduated college at 20, had a job with a prestigious company, and was doing very well.  As it was in our Text for Today, as a lad he had been ravaged and battered emotionally, and even physically, by a demon spirit.  But Jesus delivered him.  His life was completely turned around.  He had a brilliant mind, what doctors and psychiatrists could not do for him, Jesus not only could, but did!  He had become a fine, young Christian professional, and was a true asset to his family, church, and company for which he worked.  Acts 29 in being lived.

Manna for Today – Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-14; Isaiah 45:11; Matthew 16:19-20; Matthew 18:19-20

Acts 29 – Memorable – 4

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Acts 29 – Memorable – 4

Acts 10:44 – While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

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On July 6, 1986, I stepped into the role of pastor of a small Assemblies of God church in Winston-Salem.  On that first Sunday, we had 14 people in attendance, including my bride, our two sons, and me.  It was a small, but glorious beginning.  Over the coming years, the church grew, and we had to have multiple Sunday morning services.  And unlike many churches at this hour, where Sunday evening services are a thing of the past, we had nearly a full house each Sunday evening.  In the closing months of 1986, we were experiencing a wonderful manifest presence of Holy Ghost in our services. 

One brisk, fall Sunday evening, I was rejoicing in the presence of the Lord as I preached the Word.  It was a regular occurrence for people to be baptized in Holy Ghost during our altar services.  I was about halfway through the message for the evening when it happened.  Holy Spirit had moved mightily in our praise and worship, and there was a manifestly powerful sweet presence in the room as I spoke.  The people were at a high level of expectancy for Holy Spirit to show Himself mighty.  There was a lady sitting  in the congregation.  She was a first-time guest, and she seemed to be transfixed by that sweet presence of Holy Ghost I have mentioned.  And then it happened.

The first thing I noticed was that she had closed her eyes and raised her hands toward heaven.  It was obvious she was worshipping the Lord passionately.  Tears flowed down her cheeks as she worshipped, her lips moving, but no sound coming forth.  Holy Spirit brought me to a point in which there needed to be a moment of silence to allow what was happening to become evident to everyone present.  In that moment of silence, her silence became suddenly audible in a soft, but very clear voice.  She was worshipping the Lord in way Apostle Paul spoke of it.  She was worshipping Him in the Spirit, not in the understanding.  She was speaking in tongues as Holy Spirit gave her utterance.  Oh, such a sweetness in her utterance, and the joy of the Lord seemed to shine from her face.

At the close of the service, I asked her to testify about what had happened.  She was a member of another local church that had no Sunday evening service.  She had been hungry to receive the fullness of Holy Ghost for some time, and when she heard of the moving of Holy Ghost in our services, she came for a visit.  As it was with Peter at the house of Cornelius, while the Word was being preached, Holy Ghost fell on her and we all heard her speak with tongues and magnify the Lord.  And on many occasions over the following years I have witnessed the same thing again and again.  Acts 29 is still being recorded.

Manna for Today – Acts 10:34-48; Luke 11:13; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:1-13

Acts 29 – Memorable – 3

The writing of the Scriptures concluded about 95 A.D.  This occurred almost 19 centuries later.

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Acts 3:9 – And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

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The year was 1979.  I had traveled to Jamaica for several days of meetings in and around the city of Ocho Rios.  Several of the meetings in which I ministered took place in the Hotel Intercontinental in Ocho Rios.  It was in one of those meetings that the following miracle took place.

I had ministered almost every night of our trip, and our hosts had scheduled me to speak at a Saturday morning meeting in the Hotel Intercontinental night club (it was only used in the evenings).  We started at 9 AM that morning, continuing until almost noon.  Many were born again, several Spirit-filled healed.  Following the meeting I adjourned to my hotel room.  I was not aware that I was followed through the hotel lobby to the elevators until I got on the elevator to go to my room.  When I pushed the button for the 7th floor, someone in the elevator shouted to the people outside, “Seven!”  When I exited the elevator on my floor, two of the local ministers who had been in the meeting followed me.  When I entered my room, one of them asked to join me.  While I was a bit tired, I had come to minister, and I was comfortable in inviting him into my room.  Over the next several meetings, other people came to my door, and soon the room was filled.  I literally sat on the headboard of my bed as people filled every corner of the room.  Some were even sitting on the rail of the balcony, being held securely by those near them.  They were so hungry for the truth of God’s Word, and the presence of the Lord was powerfully manifest. 

One of the people who came to the room was a polio victim, walking on two crutches that attached to her arms, leg braces on both legs.  A little after one in the afternoon, she began to move about, first rising with the aid of a friend.  In the next moments, I witnessed a miracle.  She had her friend help her remove the leg braces.  Then she handed someone, first one crutch, and then the other.  She stood for a few moments on her own, and then took her first steps.  In just a few steps, she was maneuvering herself, unaided, through the crowd in my room.  She walked to the balcony and threw the crutches over the rail into the flower garden below.  And finally, rejoicing in dancing and leaping before the Lord, the left the room completely whole.  This was more than a healing, as there was no cure for polio.  This was a miracle.  More than 70 people witnessed it, and over my time of ministry before departing Jamaica, and even on subsequent trips to Jamaica, I saw her in our services, completely whole, praising the Lord.  More of Acts 29.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-14; John 17:18; John 20-21; Luke 5:17-26second miler – Acts 29 – Memorable – 3Re: Let’s Go 50/50 On This O