“Everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.” Acts 9:35 (The Message).
Yesterday we followed Peter as he journeyed through the countryside and came to the town of Lydda, where the believers had slipped back into a spiritual slumber. While they were somewhat excited to hear Peter preach, they had no idea that God was about to visit them in an extraordinary way.
Peter saw a man there name Aeneas, who was crippled. Sensing God’s Spirit moving upon him in a miraculous manner, Peter matter-of-factly said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make up your bed!”
The man jumped right out of bed, and everybody who heard about it became ignited with spiritual life. The Message puts it this way, “Everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.” The old King James says they “turned to the Lord.”
I wonder if this event reminded Peter of an earlier experience in his own life. It happened on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray with Him. But, they fell asleep during the vigil. That’s when Moses and Elijah dropped in for a short visit, and Jesus lit up with the splendor of Heaven. What happened next is priceless. The Bible says, “Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was” (Luke 9:32, CEV).
Standing in Lydda a few years later, Peter had to see the similarities of these two events. “All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was.”
Let’s fast forward to our own modern times. As I travel throughout the country stirring people to a new level of faith in Christ, now and then I come to a church and find that the believer’s there are like Aeneas of old — “paralyzed in bed for many years!” And there have been those wonderful occasions when the word of the Lord was declared with immediate power and undeniable effectiveness — so much that everybody woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them – and they turned to the Lord.
In a sentence it could be said — “All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was.”
I am but one of an untold number of those whom the Lord has called to serve in the diverse and expansive field known as itinerant ministry. Having traveled about for some time now it is clear to me that a great transition is taking place in the Church; epic change is at hand. And while there are those who are entrenched in dead traditions and remain closed to what God is now doing – nevertheless, more and more hearts and doors are opening wider and wider to the wonder of this single fact: “God is alive and active among us!”
I ask for your prayers for all those, like me, whom the Lord has put “on the road.” Pray that God take us to those exact places where His work is ready to be done, His word is ready to be heard, and His will is ready to be obeyed, so that His wonders can readily been seen! Perhaps God will use our efforts to stir sleepy churches from settling for less; and encourage those churches that are astir with the Presence of God to carry the message to those who have yet to hear it.
Pray that a slumbering Church awakens to the wondrous fact that God is alive and active among us! Pray that, like the disciples of old, at once we wake up and see how glorious Jesus is. And pray that this Nation turns once again to the Lord while the invitation is still open. ”Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).
Pray! Pray! Pray!
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