Reading: Acts 1:8- 26
The Holy Spirit gives power to do the works of Jesus!
v.8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
//Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
One of the last words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples before He returned to heaven was, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5); And “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (v.8)His disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical power, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (v.7). The disciples knew and believed with all their hearts that Jesus was their long -awaited Messiah or Savior. However, their definition of Messiah was different from Jesus’ kingdom’s definition. Perhaps in the minds of the disciples and other people of Israel, they thought Messiah or Savior was like Moses or David. Moses was their physical ruler who freed them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 1). Then David later on, led the people of Israel into battles and established his kingdom throughout Israel (2 Samuel). Perhaps, the disciples and other people were thinking, Jesus would do the same, deliver them from oppression and tyranny of the Roman rule. However, as the Word says in Isaiah 55,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.”
The mind of Christ and the plan of God was far greater than the thinking of men- temporary relief. Men like the people of Israel thought of physical deliverance from hardships, taxation, violence and other physical oppressions. From the beginning, when Jesus was born on earth, God’s plan was to deliver people from the bondage of sin.
for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)
The plan of God was not just a temporary relief from hardships and oppression, His plan of salvation was far greater than temporary earthly relief- His plan of salvation was eternal- to deliver people from sin. God ‘s plan of salvation for the people of Israel is still the same for everyone in the world. (John 3:16)
So, when Jesus told His disciples, You will receive power (Acts 1:8), He meant the power to preach the Gospel, the power to heal sick people, to perform miracles, so people would believe in Jesus. When Jesus was with His disciples on earth, He did the Father’s will – preaching salvation, teaching the people the words of God, healing the sick, and delivering people from demonic oppression. Jesus’s focus and mission were to set people free from sin, from hell and eternal condemnation. The same power Jesus received from the Father, He passed on to His disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit so they could be witnesses in all places starting from Jerusalem, other cities, other places, other countries, and to the ends of the earth.
The same power Jesus gave His disciples is available to all His followers even to this day. The power to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, heal the sick, deliver people from demonic oppression, set people free from sin, hell and eternal condemnation. As followers of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is made available to us all.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to us. Thank You Holy Spirit for coming. Please fill us with your power – Your spirit of strength and courage to the works of the Lord Jesus, to be witnesses Him to everyone, in every place you send us.
Reading: Acts 1:1-8
Key verse – 5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”Acts 1:5
Other references: John 14:16, John 15:26
//Matthew 3:11& Luke 3:16- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Lord Jesus spent 3 full years with His disciples. He ate with them, traveled places with them and did ministry together. The disciples studied and learned from Him directly, as they listened to His teachings and preachings. They witnessed and saw miracles He did firsthand. Jesus trained them to be teachers of the word of God, to be preachers, prophets and evangelists. However, Jesus had to go back physically to His heavenly home to be with His Father. Jesus had fulfilled His mission and primary purpose- when He gave His life as a sin offering for the world. Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world, (John 19), then rose after 3 days. HE showed up to His disciples and other people for 40 days. They were together again for 40 days and gave them His last words and re-commissioning (Acts 1:1). Jesus encouraged the disciples one more time (not the last one).
“for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5)
Jesus promised this to His disciples even before He died on the cross.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
Jesus had to go back to heaven, leave the earth, but He did not abandon His followers, disciples and friends.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (v.18)
He already made plans for them, to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, He speaks the Truth, which is the Word of God, to enlighten people’s minds, to convict of sin.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. – John 15:26
The Holy Spirit is also the Helper. Like Jesus, He helps in time of need. Like Jesus, He promised to stay with them forever, As Jesus promised His disciples, I will not leave you orphans (John 14:18)
The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is Truth and Helper. He continues to do the work of Jesus- to speak the Truth of God’s words. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, our help in time of need, whatever is the situation, whatever we need- healing, healing of bodies, healing of emotions, healing of minds, financial needs, guidance, protection, comfort, etc.
Jesus is back in heaven, but He is still with us, as His followers, through the Holy Spirit. He provides for us, every need we could possibly imagined. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into Truth- to be our Teacher and Helper in time of needs. The Holy Spirit abides /or stay with us forever.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to us Your followers. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me in time of need, and for guiding me and for teaching me the Truth of God and His words. Amen!
In situations where you cannot be physically present with the sick person, prayer can be offered on behalf of the person using a handkerchief, a piece of cloth, or a prayer square which has been anointed with oil. This tangible symbol can then be sent to the sick person much like what the Apostle Paul did when he sent some handkerchiefs or aprons to sick people. (See Acts 19:11-12)
SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR ANOINTING
THE SICK WITH OIL AND PRAYING FOR THEM
Reading: James 5:13-16
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:14-16 (NKJV)
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them – Acts 19:11-12
This blog was posted a while back but with some revision.
(Parallel scriptures: Mark 6:7-13 & Mark 16:14-18)
- There is no “magic” in the anointing oil. We are simply obeying the scriptures when we anoint the sick and pray for them.
- “The sick are healed not by the elders’ power, nor by the anointing oil, but by the Lord’s intervention – either through indirect means (medical treatment) or His supernatural healing.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)
- In situations where you cannot be physically present with the sick person, prayer can be offered on behalf of the person using a handkerchief, a piece of cloth, or a prayer square which has been anointed with oil. This tangible symbol can then be sent to the sick person much like what the Apostle Paul did when he sent some handkerchiefs or aprons to sick people. (See Acts 19:11-12).
- All healing is from God – whether through medical treatment & the body’s natural healing processes OR through a miracle from God.
- It follows that healing can be accomplished over a period of time OR in an instant if God so chooses.
- Faith plays an important role:
- “And the prayer of faith will save the sick…” (James 5:15)
- Remember to have faith in God for healing, however, not faith in faith!
- But we must be careful not to assume, when someone is not healed in the way that we want, that it was because of a lack of faith.
- Sometimes, God allows sickness or infirmity for a reason:
- To keep one humble and to show God’s power through our weakness:
- “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (II Corinthians 12:7-9)
- To discipline a believer:
- “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:4-5)
- “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (I Corinthians 11:27-32)
- However, we must be careful not to assume that someone has sin in their lives when they are not healed in the way we wanted.
- Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth, and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.” (John 9:1-3)
- “There were some present at that season who told Him (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5)
- To accomplish a greater purpose which will benefit others and glorify God
- Joni Eareckson Tada – though God did not heal her, she has inspired millions of people with disabilities
- To take believers home to be with Him
In some instances, God chooses to heal someone by taking them to be with Him. Remember that this world is not our home. In the words of the old Wayne Watson song, “At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free.”
Notice the role that confession has in healing:
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
We have all heard that confession is good for the soul, but it is good for the body, too! We protestants, since we believe in the priesthood of all believers, do not believe that we need to confess our sins to an earthly priest in order to be forgiven. This is evident from I John 1:9:
“If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
However, there is value in confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner – someone we know that we can trust – who will not repeat the matter as gossip. Such confession is incredibly freeing, ridding our soul of unnecessary guilt and condemnation. (No guilt trips!) Confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner also helps that person to hold us accountable for our actions.
Effective/Fervent prayer is a powerful force:
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b NKJV)
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b NIV)
So, let’s spend some time now praying for each other – especially for those who are in need of the Lord’s healing touch. By: David Creel
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Giver of life.
Thank You, my Creator, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving us Your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to preach Good News to the poor.
Thank You, Lord, that You came to heal the brokenhearted.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to set people free.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to open blind eyes.
Thank You, Jesus, for your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your gift of eternal life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your great love.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the God of love
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to make me free.
Thank You, Lord, You are my life.
Thank You for blessing me with Your life and love.
Thank You, Lord Jesus!
(Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2)
“He who has the Son has [a]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
I John 5:12- Bible Gateway
The wilderness and the [a]wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert[b] shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing…
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
The excellency of our God….
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness…
9 No lion shall be there,
Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;
It shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there-
Day 4 January 12, Sunday
We drove today from Jerusalem (we checked out from Olive Tree hotel in Jerusalem) to Judean wilderness road/highway. On the road we saw a community of the Bedouins living in tents. Then we drove about an hour to the road through Qumram, Dead Sea and Masada. Saw huge rock formations, caves, and canyons along the En Gedi road which are desert and arid places. However, surprisingly, there were palm date orchards. The huge rocks and caves reminded us of the Scriptures in Psalm 18. “ The Lord is my rock and my fortress..” Some Bible stories came alive, the man who walked on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and was helped by a Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37). The story of David in 1 Samuel when he hid in caves in EnGedi. While driving, we had the view of the Dead Sea on the left, and and on the right were the huge rock formations, canyons and caves.
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my [a]strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the [b]horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-2
The story of David when he stayed in the strongholds in the wilderness- I Samuel 23 and 24
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory. – Psalm 63
Driving by Masada and Qumran, we some orchards of palm dates, green houses of herbs and other vegetable gardens.We saw water irrigation system implemented in the Judean wilderness, and even swimming pool resort.
It reminded me of the word in Isaiah 35, “the desert and the parched land will be glad, the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. It will burst into bloom,…water will gush out forth into wilderness, burning sand will become a pool and thirsty ground bubbling springs. And a highway will be there, but only the redeemed will walk. “
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58 NKJV)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Hope you and your family are doing well despite the many changes that the Corona virus has brought into our world and into our routines. We are enjoying summer activities, but with appropriate precautions.
Even though COVID-19 has disrupted our travel plans, we continue to provide remote technical and administrative support to our radio stations in Asia. David’s latest project has been purchasing “home studio” equipment for a broadcaster who produces programs for an ethnic language people group in Myanmar. The equipment has now been installed and is working well. We rejoice knowing that this project will allow many in this people group to continue to hear the Gospel message.
Read more.. Creel Summer 2020 Prayer Letter