Thirty five years ago we saw what God can do when people are open to His Spirit. A preacher came to Honolulu one Friday night to speak on the dangers of rock music. We took about forty of our youth group to listen. The speaker began by showing the actual lyrics to the popular rock songs of the day on the overhead. About ten minutes later it began…our group began to talk among themselves. They wanted to leave. They said they had had enough. We took them to the rooftop garage and they began to pray, and sob and confess their sins before the Lord. None of this was orchestrated by the adults present. After about forty-five minutes, with everyone seemingly exhausted, we hugged and called it a night. So we thought. My husband and I took our niece back to her house and went home. To our surprise, we were greeted by the sight of our entire living and dining room filled with the same teens we had just left. They needed to talk and pray some more. Finally, we called it a night. After all, we would see each other for our usual Sunday School class only one day later.
But it didn’t turn out to be our “usual” Sunday School class. On Sunday my husband and I were greeted by a large garbage can as we entered the room and the same group of teens with all their secular rock music tapes in bags. They had gotten together on Saturday and decided to bring all their tapes in to completely dispose of them. Into the large garbage can went the tapes as the teens requested we take them all home and burn them! Incredibly, the Sunday School Superintendent made a surprise visit that day. Her reaction to all this was total joy. In addition, we were asked by the teens to not just have a regular Sunday School each week but also a weekly Friday Bible Study group that would meet in our house. They were so hungry!
The story does not end there. The following Friday some of them brought their unsaved friends. A young man we will call Tim came. The second week Tim and four of the other boys disappeared halfway through the Bible study and went to the outside porch. Unexpectedly, my son called me out there because Tim was acting “strange.” When I saw Tim, I agreed. I went to touch him to pray for him and he totally changed. These horrid, blasphemous phrases came out of his mouth in the most disturbing guttural voice. In addition, he could not be held down and was violent. Tim weighed about 130 lbs. and the four guys could barely hold onto him. I didn’t know what to do, but God certainly did. All that came to me was to repeat the Name and Blood of Jesus over him as the boys held him. After about five minutes of this, we brought Tim inside, explained what was happening to the rest of the group and the others present joined us in prayer. Tim’s face throughout this was very distorted. It was like looking at the face of evil. During this entire time, there was no fear among any of us. One of the boys present received a Scripture from the Lord and somehow we knew that when these awful guttural sounds stopped, we would have the real Tim back. We kept pleading the Blood and Name of Jesus over Tim and about five minutes later, he blinked! Then he smiled and spoke like Tim. Yes, all these teens saw this. What was their reaction? A few months later one of the girls present (Mary) was diagnosed with leukemia. Remember, this was 35 years ago when leukemia was basically a death sentence. This group of teenagers elected to pray and felt the Lord lead them to the story of Jairus’ daughter. We laid hands on Mary and prayed in obedience and faith to the Word given. Mary’s thoughts on the matter were very simple: we’ve seen there is a devil, but we know Who’s stronger. For the next two years Mary kept running, and winning, in her track meets.
I’m not done. As the two years went by these hungry kids went on to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Those who were saved, at their request, went to the base chaplain for instruction on water baptism and we all watched as they – including Tim – got baptized in the Pacific Ocean. How did all this begin? They burned their tapes.
I look back and I think of Acts 19: 18-20. The people heard the simple yet oh so powerful Word of God and humbled themselves to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that they “burned their books.” That’s all it took – following the express Word of God. Yet how many today are operating with “new carts,” with new ways to pray, new ways to hear from God, new methods that mix in the religions of modern-day Philistines with true Biblical Christianity? Uzzah was a victim of a system like that and it cost him dearly.
David and all the people were so sincere in their desire to please God. God knew that. That’s the reason why 1Chronicles 15 is in the Bible. It’s God’s second chance. Once David acknowledged that the problem was all his fault, he repented and went back to obeying only what was written in God’s Word. No additions, no subtractions, no mixing with other religions – just the holiness of His Word. That’s always been enough to please God and produce the results He – and we – want.
The question must finally be asked: what are the “new carts” – or even more explicitly the heathen or occult books – that need to be burned? Contemplative Spirituality, Jesus Calling, books with references to Catholic mystics, any others? In the months to come we will make mention of some of these books that mix the holy and the profane. Prove your books according to the Bible (1Thes 5:21) and God will bring to light what is not in conformity with His Word.
If we truly want “the Word of God to move mightily and prevail” (Acts 19), we must rid ourselves of the “new carts” and burn the books unpleasing to the Lord. If we let one beam of light in, all the power of the Holy Spirit will burst forth
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I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.
“Rejecting Sorcery” available at http://bibleencyclopedia.com/goodsalt/Acts_19_Rejecting_Sorcery.htm
Artist/Photographer: The Classic Bible Art Collection –Formerly Standard Publishing
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