A famous preacher of the gospel once said the following about another famous preacher of the gospel:
“Do you really think God would perform miracles through that man?”
Obviously, the preacher did not see eye-to-eye with “that” man. There were many areas in which he disagreed with him theologically. As a matter of fact, in his discussion that evening, he mentioned some of his reservations. Thus, he concluded, that God could not, or would not, perform miracles through “that man.” And certainly, God was not performing miracles through the speaker. So that settled it, that God was not performing miracles at all in this day and age. What further proof was needed?
This is a good example of spiritual pride, spiritual blindness, and “bad theology,” even on the part of the preacher who said these things. For if he had only believed and understood Galatians 3:1-5, he would have noted how God was performing miracles at the hands of the Galatians (see Galatians 3:5), who themselves were in theological error (see Galatians 3:1-4)!
And thus it is, that even the (so-called) “best” of preachers err, and fail to consider what the Bible actually teaches about miracles today, in their “put down” of other preachers. No, the reality is, God himself will perform miracles, even in the midst of theological error. It is not the ideal scenario, but he has certainly been known to do this!
Does this then validate all miracles? Certainly not.
The Virgin Mary
I once had a discussion with a woman who was afraid to leave her home. She claimed to be a Christian, but, O, the fear she had! Thus, she kept herself confined to her house, or within very close proximity of her house (meaning, just outside her house).
One day, just outside of her house, I had a conversation with her. She told me that she had a conversation with the virgin Mary. Could this be true? The Bible tells us to test the spirits to see if they are of God (see 1 John 4:1), so I asked her a very simple question.
I said, “What did she say?”
The woman replied, “She said that she remained a virgin.”
“In that case,” I said, “you did not speak with the virgin Mary, because the Bible clearly says in Mark 6:3 that she had other children.”
“Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were offended at him. (Mark 6:3)
Some miracles can be easily invalidated, on account of a simple check like this. Thus, a demon was speaking to the woman, and not the virgin Mary.
However, if God performs healing through a man who himself is in error theologically, that is not so easy to invalidate. In fact, you had better be careful, because maybe God actually performed that miracle.
You would not want to attribute a miracle of God to Satan, would you? That is what the scribes and Pharisees did. They condemned Jesus, and said that the miracles he was performing were happening at the hands of Satan (see Matthew 12:24). For that, they received great condemnation (see Matthew 12:30-32).
Thus, there is a difference between what the demon said to the woman (it said something which was clearly against the Scriptures), and what God did in healing a man (God never said he was validating the preacher when he healed the man). And this is the glory of God, to actually use sinners to perform his will.
The Man at the Hospital
I went to visit a man at a hospital once. He told me he had been diagnosed with Crone’s disease and was scheduled to have an operation on his bowels the next morning. I asked him if I could please pray for him, so I did. It was nothing fancy at all. He merely lifted up his shirt and pointed to the area on his stomach that he said was troubled. So I put two fingers on the spot (which was close to his belly button), and I prayed for about 30 seconds.
As I was praying, I clearly felt something move underneath his skin. It felt like something like a small mouse was moving around underneath his skin! What had happened?
When I finished praying, he said, “Did you feel that?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “I did, too. Something moved around underneath there.”
When I called back the next morning to speak with him, the nurse explained that he had been released. He no longer needed the operation.
My wife and I were leading a connect group at our church, and we along with other connect group leaders and prayer ministry leaders were called to the front, in order to pray for people who needed prayer. One man came to the front who asked for prayer for his sister who had cancer. As I was considering praying for the man’s sister, the Holy Spirit moved me to ask him, “Is your sister saved?”
The answer was, “no.”
I said, “I think we had better pray for her salvation, then.”
So we prayed for his sister, that she might be saved, for it would be irresponsible to pray for someone’s healing and not care about whether or not they were saved.
As it turns out, my own father was saved as a direct result of a disease, which the Lord foretold through a dream about 15 years before he contracted it. It was the very means God used to bring him to saving faith.
Ideally, any loving father would want his children healed. But consider Jezebel (in the New Testament). Jesus said of her,
“Behold, I am throwing her into a sickbed and those who committed adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent from her deeds.” (Revelation 2:22)
Thus, although the ideal will of God may be to heal everyone, there are mitigating factors, and we must be sensitive to them. Otherwise, we will not be able to move in God’s authority. Now in the Bible, it says this about Jesus, that,
“God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (see Acts 10:38).
How many people does this “all” represent? Everyone? No, not everyone, but only those who came to him, by faith (and even many of these deserted him in the end, see John 6:66). For example, the above statement does not apply to many of the people of Nazareth (his hometown), whom Jesus rebuked for their lack of faith and hardness of heart. In response, those people rose up and wanted to throw him over a cliff (see Luke 4:23-30)!
One of the key elements in praying for the sick (and seeing results) is that the person has “faith to be made whole” (see Acts 14:9). And yet there are cases where you may not even know about that person’s faith, but God is still leading you to pray for them.
Praying by Vision
One of the most powerful prayers is praying by vision, for then the Lord is leading you. This presupposes you know God’s general will as revealed in the Scriptures, and that you pray in accordance with his will, as revealed in the Scriptures. Note that you are not manufacturing a vision. Nor are you “dreaming up” a vision. You are simply responding to a genuine vision that God gives you. And this is really powerful.
One day, a man came over and shared with us that he knew of a person —the daughter of a ministry leader— who had become entangled in a motorcycle gang, and was in desperate need of being saved by God, both spiritually, and physically. For she was also addicted to drugs.
As we prayed, I suddenly and very clearly saw a chain (which represents bondage, and an unrighteous attachment), so I asked God to break the chain. As soon as I prayed this prayer, I then saw many righteous people (Christians) surrounding her, so I prayed, “Lord, surround her with righteous God-fearing people.” Then, I knew that God had heard the prayer.
Knowing that God has heard the prayer is far different than pressing into God, hoping that he has heard the prayer. What a huge difference! I knew the prayer had been heard, on account of the visions, so I did not need to keep pressing into it. It had been done.
I then went about my daily business. Two weeks later, I was informed that God had performed a miracle and rescued the woman. She was now out of the gang, and seeking medical attention for her drug addiction. And she had been bound for a year.
Praying by vision is amazingly powerful. One of the reasons it is so powerful is that God is leading you. So if you receive a vision while praying, pray according to what you see in the vision — since God is leading you.
God may also give you visions of the night (dreams) in order to help lead you in prayer. If a dream sticks with you, or bothers you even, consider praying into it, and see what happens. If, as you pray, the burden on your soul lifts, then most likely God actually gave you that dream, as a springboard, to help guide you in your prayers. In that case, you are now praying with authority — because God is telling you exactly what to pray for. Do not be surprised if some of these dreams use rather vivid imagery. Do not be afraid of the imagery, but pray into it, and see what happens. Once again, if the burden lifts, as you are praying, then you can be reasonably certain that God is, in fact, guiding you.
It is just as Jesus said,
“Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.” (See John 5:19)
We forsake authority when we fail to listen to God. Before getting married, I had very little money, and my fiance (now my wife) wanted to give me 400 dollars in order to help pay the first month’s rent on our new apartment. However, I refused to accept it, believing that I could not accept money from her. Then, I had a dream. In the dream, a “life-line” came down from heaven. It was a rope in the dream. Then, the entire floor that I was standing on suddenly titled! I quickly grabbed hold of the rope! The rope saved me! When I woke up, I knew what the “rope” was! That “rope” was the 400 dollars that my fiance wanted to give me. That 400 dollars was God’s provision — refusing it was like refusing God himself! I repented and accepted the 400 dollars.
The Loss of Authority
It is very easy to completely lose any authority that God wants for us, simply by being insensitive to his Spirit. One day, I was walking down the stairs and I suddenly felt an awful spirit of pride glued to me. It was ugly. I quickly went to the Lord and asked him about it. And the Lord very quickly responded that I needed to quickly give some money away. So I wrote a cheque for a substantial amount of money, and sent it to our church. Then, the spirit of pride completely left me. That thing had been ugly!
On another occasion, my very young son —still a baby at the time— was under demonic attack. This happened during a church service, nonetheless! However, neither my wife nor I knew about it, as he was being cared for in the nursery of the Pentecostal church that we were attending. Suddenly, I could not understand a single word the preacher was speaking! It sounded like gibberish, so I quickly asked the Lord, “Lord, why can I not understand even a single word that the preacher is saying!?”
The Lord immediately responded, “Go check on your son immediately!”
So I checked on my son, and he was sitting in the baby seat with his head violently thrashing back and forth. I commanded the demons to release their grip, and the thrashing stopped.
What had happened? He had been in the throngs of a demonic assault, through some type of nightmarish dream. Had I failed to respond to the voice of God (which was actually very clear), then I would have allowed my son to continue to come under this demonic type of authority. Why or how could this happen in the church nursery? That is yet another question. I did write the church and mentioned this to them, but they never responded.
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