Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 29, 2008
Is the Healing Revival in Florida God or Man
Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." Luke 9:49,50
Is the healing revival in Florida God or man? Every day we get inundated with emails about this healing service, that Holy Ghost revival, any number of meetings and events that are going on in different places around the globe. Obvsiouly, I simply don't have the time to research each one, nor can I hope to know the hearts of the people involved. However, since so many have been asking about a healing revival that is happening in Lakeland, Florida, only about an hour away from our offices, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to address that particular event and deal with this issue that so many ask about. How do you know if one of these "revivals" is God or simply man?
Having spent the first 3 years of my ministry on the road, preaching in over 500 churches all over the nation of every denomination and racial make-up, I have seen and experienced most everything you can name. During my time in the Christian television world, I worked with and had very close contact with all of the major media ministries, including their crusades and live events. Let me start off by giving you a couple of guidelines. The most critical is that God's timing is NOT our timing. Just because we are have a crusade at 9pm or a healing service at 7pm, does NOT mean that the supernatural power of God will show up. God is sovereign and we don't dictate to Him when His miracle working power falls. GOD MOVES IN HIS TIMING, NOT OURS!
Another key point is that in the Bible, miracles, signs and wonders, followed the preaching of the GOSPEL! The fact is, the greatest miracle there will ever be, is when a lost soul heading to hell is saved and becomes a new creature in Christ. Paul went out and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Christ and Him crucified, and miracles followed his preaching of the Gospel. It is a huge red flag when I hear of or see these "signs and wonders" and "miracles" meetings, where the Gospel is never or barely mentioned. Also, like in all cases, is what the preaching saying backed up by God's Word? Usually, these meetings are attended by people I refer to as "experience chasers." These are people who go to every meeting where it is reported supernatural things are happening.
Does this mean what goes on in these types of services is fake? Absolutely not. Sadly however, most of these services are more hype and flesh than the true power of God. Remember what I have told you often, you can't duplicate the power of God, your can't package and sell the power of God, and you can't dictate the timing of the power of God. When you are involved in a true move of God's Holy Spirit, nobody needs to tell you, YOU KNOW SOMETHING SPECIAL IS GOING ON! It is an incredible moment as you get a glimpse of God's power. He gives you that taste to bless you and to encourage you.
Knowing many people who have been to the Lakeland meetings and having watched it the other night on TV so I could write this message today, I can tell you with virtual certainty what happened there. God soverignly chose to let His power fall on that meeting somewhere in the first few nights. The power of God fell on those who were there, including the preacher. People were saved, people were healed, and no doubt many great things were happening in the lives of those who were there. What has happened since those first few nights has been lots of flesh and human intervention.
Word spread through area churches there was a move of God occurring, so Christians came to experience it for themselves. No doubt God honored the faith of many who came and touched their lives, but man decided to move the meetings to a larger building, man started advertising and hyping the meetings, man sent the TV cameras to broadcast the services, man sent out reams of press releases to get people to come. I've seen this so many times in the past. It is like in the financial markets. The people who read about things in the Wall Street Journal are the last to know. By the time they read it in the WSJ, the real action has already moved on to some place else.
Listen, I am sure those involved with the meetings in Lakeland have good hearts. They were part of a real move of God. Trust me, having been through it many times, you never want it to end. You don't know how long it will last, but when it is over you keep expecting that rush of God's power to return. The key is having the maturity to accept that it is not something YOU can control. You just have to be thankful for those times when you are blessed to experience it. Sadly the flesh kicks in and man starts producing healing CDs, hyping the meetings, going to other cities claiming to be bringing the "cloud of God's power" with them, and merchandising the power of God much like Simon the Sorcerer wanted to do in the Book of Acts.
It is when these meetings become mostly hype and flesh that the detractors are given all the ammunition they need to scoff at what is happening and dismiss it as ALL hype and flesh. One of the ways these meetings can get very "fleshy," is people being "slain in the Sprit," or "falling out." People really do "fall out" under the power of God's Spirit. Remember the Roman guards at the tomb of Jesus (Matthew 28:4)? It is an oppressing force that literally renders you physically powerless. I have seen it first hand. I have also witnessed people who come up for prayer pre-conditioned to "fall out." Benny Hinn blowing on people, waving his jacket and whole sections falling out, is pure hype and flesh. People can get so emotionally worked up that it is not the power of God making them fall out, it is themselves.
At the altar when I pray for people, I refuse to use "catchers." The catcher is the person who stands behind the person when they fall out and catches them. If it is truly God, they can fall out, hit the back of their head on the pew, and they will be fine. If they are simply falling out on their own, they are gong to get hurt. I have watched people fall out under the power fo God and it is amazing. I have felt that power, been part of it, experienced it, it is real and it is intoxicating. Like the Bible says, you act as if you are "drunk." Having experienced it, I do understand those who have been in the power of God wanting to feel that power again. The point is, be thankful when you are fortunate to experience His power, but realize it is not something any man can unleash at their will, it is unleashed at God's soverign will.
I love you and care about you so much. I have no doubt that in the first few days, God's power fell in those meetings in Lakeland. I also have no doubt that it has now become mostly hype and flesh, since man can't control God or His power. Listen, having written the Daily Devotional every morning for nearly 9 years, I can tell the handful of times I could literally feel the Holy Spirit guiding my hand as I typed the words. Those are such special occasions, moments frozen in time you never forget. You never know when they will happen, but you know it immediately when they do. That is why the key is to be obedient and faithful each day as you serve and follow Him. That is why you need to seek Him out each day with all of your heart. That Bible says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!!!
I have told you many times last year and already this year, revival IS coming. Healing, signs and wonders will follow, but this is a revival of SOULS. It will be greater than one man, it will happen OUTSIDE the 4 walls of the church, and it will be NON-CHURCHED people getting saved and healed and seeing the power of God unleashed in their lives. There won't be any buildings, since it is going to happen on the Internet! There won't be any need for hype since the news media will be covering it, especially since they won't be able to understand what is happening. It is going to be a great worldwide outpouring of the Spirit of God that will touch hundreds of millions of lives! How is that for a word?
In these last days, we will see the wrath of God unleashed, but we will also witness the power of God unleashed. The world will be amazed as they witness the awesome power and majesty of God transforming lives, a miracle only God can perform. So, be prepared and be expectant. The church has put God in a box. They have become so predictable in how they expect God's power to fall, in what they think they are supposed to see and hear, in what they are to experience, that they will be the last to appreciate the magnitude of God's Holy Spirit being unleashed on this lost world. Hint, the real power of God will be where lost souls are being saved. The signs and wonders that follow is like the icing on the cake!
While the church is measuring God's power by how many "fall out" and claim to be healed, Heaven's scoreboard will be measuring God's power by how many souls are saved!!!