THE PRICE OF GOD'S MIRACLE WORKING POWER
How long had I been here in this closet? Days or just hours? Surely it seemed days since at my own request I had heard my wife lock that closet door from the outside! What would she think about me shutting myself away for so long? Had it really been days or just hours? Was I really getting anywhere with God? Would God answer? Would God satisfy that hunger of my soul or would I have to admit defeat again as so often I had done? No! I'd stay right here on my knees until God answered, or I would die in the attempt! Hadn't God's word said, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up-up-UP-with wings-with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall ---."
Had my wife opened the door? No, it was still closed! But the light, where was the light coming from? It was then that I began to realize that the light that was filling my prayer closet was God's glory! It wasn't the closet door that had opened, but rather the door of heaven instead!
The presence of God was so real and powerful that I felt I would die right there on my knees. It seemed that if God came any closer, I could not stand it! Yet I wanted it and was determined to have it. Little wonder that Paul under like circumstance, "fell to the earth". Acts 9:4. No wonder John, "fell at his feet as dead". Rev. 1:17.
Was this the answer? Was God going to speak to me? Would God at last, after these many years, satisfy my longing heart? I seemed to lose consciousness of everything but the mighty presence of God. I trembled, I tried to see Him and then was afraid that I would, for suddenly I realized that should I see Him, I would die. Just His glorious presence was enough!
Then like a whirlwind, I heard His voice. It was God! He was speaking to me! This was the glorious answer that I had sought so diligently and for which I had waited so long. Yes, this was what I had been waiting for since my conversion at the age of twenty-three. Yes, this was what my longing soul had cried for ever since God called me to the ministry.
That call to the ministry had come with such force and was so definite that nothing could ever make me doubt it. From the time of my conversion God had made it so real to me even though my past life had not been spent in such a way as to provide any preparation for this work.
From the time of my conversion, I realized my need of much study if ever I were to fulfill the call of God upon my life. Therefore, I spent many hours reading the Bible, and seeking to understand its message and meaning. To my simple untaught soul, God seemed to mean exactly what he said -- and seemed to say it directly to me through His Word -- "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. HEAL THE SICK, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." Matt. 10:7. All this seemed included in a call to the ministry, yet I DID NOT SEE IT BEING DONE! I was myself powerless to carry out these commands of Christ. Yet I knew that it COULD BE DONE, for Christ would not give a command which could not be carried out!
Before my conversion, I knew so little about God and his word, that I could not even quote John 3:16, nor name the four gospels. In the Methodist church where I was converted and of which I became a member, I was not taught to expect to be baptized with the Holy Ghost as the first disciples were on the day of Pentecost, nor to expect the signs mentioned in Mark 16:17,18 to follow me as a believer in the Lord. I was taught to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and was gloriously saved, and set free from condemnation for sin. Then as I searched the Scriptures, asking God to lead me to those readings from which I would receive the greatest benefit, the Lord began to reveal to me the truths of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the signs following, the gifts of the spirit, and the supernatural things of God.
It was not long until God led me into a Pentecostal church, where I began to see in a small measure the blessings of God, and a few of the manifestations of the Spirit. It was in these meetings that I became convinced that I needed the Baptism with the Spirit, and there I began to pray and earnestly seek God for that experience.
Thirty days after my conversion, I was gloriously filled with the Holy Ghost, in an Assembly of God camp meeting in Miami, Oklahoma, speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
I had read, "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Acts 1:8. I fully expected that with the infilling of the Holy Ghost, I would immediately have power to heal the sick, and to perform miracles. It did not take me long to realize that more was required than the baptism with the Holy Ghost, in order to consistently see these results. The baptism with the Spirit provides access to this power, but the gifts of the Spirit provide the channels through which this power operates. I began immediately to pray and seek the gifts of the Spirit. I felt I must have power to heal the sick, for I knew that God never called anyone to preach the Gospel without commissioning him also to heal the sick.
The power of the Holy Ghost may be readily likened to the power of electricity. When one is filled with the Spirit, it is as though he has had his house wired, and established connection with the "power house". Many people use electricity for years just to provide light! They never take advantage of the great possibilities that are available through using the appliances which electricity will operate. The gifts of the Spirit may be likened to the appliances. As new gifts are added more work can be done, with greater ease. The power has not changed, but it is made more effective. God never intended to STOP when he had filled his people with the Spirit. This is just the beginning. "Covet earnestly the best gifts." I Cor. 12:31. This, I found, is the path to greater accomplishment for God.
Two years after my conversion, I was happily married, and began my ministry.
For more than a year, my wife and I continued preaching this glorious gospel of salvation, the baptism with the Spirit, the second coming of Christ, and DIVINE HEALING. In every revival meeting, I always planned at least two nights in each week to be set aside for preaching divine healing, and prayer for the sick. During this time, we saw a large number of miraculous healings, for God honored the preaching of His word. But I knew that God's plan included greater things for me, and I believed that there would be a time in the future when they would be a reality in my life.
Many times, my wife and I would search the scriptures together, becoming more convinced as we did so that God's promises concerning the signs following, the gifts of the Spirit, healings, and miracles were meant for us, today. It was also plain to see that we did not possess that power in the fullness that God had promised. We knew there must be a scriptural reason why we were so lacking in power. Since God cannot lie, the fault had to be WITHIN OURSELVES!
It was while pastoring my first church, an Assembly of God church in Colorado, that I definitely made up my mind that I MUST hear from heaven, and know the reason that my ministry was not confirmed by signs and wonders.
I felt sure that if I would fast and pray, God would in some way speak to me, and reveal to me what stood between me and the miracle-working power of God in my ministry. I was so hungry for the power of God in my own life that I felt I could not stand in my pulpit, nor even preach again, until I had heard from God, and told my wife that this was my plan.
It was then that I had the greatest battle of my life. Satan was determined that I should NOT fast and pray until God answered. Many times he whipped me or tricked me out of that prayer closet. Satan knew that if I ever actually contacted God, there would be much damage to his kingdom, and he meant to do all in his power to hinder me from making that contact.
Day after day, I went into the prayer closet, determined to stay until God had spoke to me. Again and again, I came out without the answer.
Again and again my wife would say to me, "I thought you said this was the time you were going to stay until you got the answer." Then she would smile in her own sweet way, remembering that "the spirit indeed is willing, BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK!"
Again and again I answered her, "Honey, I really meant to pray it through this time, but -- !" It seemed there was always a reason why I couldn't stay in that closet until the answer came. I always justified myself by saying I would pray it through tomorrow. Things would be more favorable then.
The Lord encouraged my heard by calling to my attention how Daniel held on in fasting and prayer, and wrested the answer from the hands of satan, although it took three weeks to do so. (See Daniel 10:1 and 12)
The next day found me on my knees in the closet again. I had told my wife I would never come out until I heard from God. I REALLY THOUGHT I MEANT IT.
But a few hours later, when I began to smell the odor of food that my wife was preparing for herself and our small son, I was soon out of the closet and in the kitchen, inquiring, "What smells so delicious, dear?"
A few moments later, while I was at the table, God spoke to my heart. I had only taken one bite of food, and I stopped. God had spoken to me. I knew that until I wanted to hear from God MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, more than food, more than the gratification of the flesh, GOD WOULD NEVER GIVE ME THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION THAT WAS IN MY HEART!
I arose quickly from the table, and said to my wife, "Honey, I mean business with God this time! I'm going back into that closet, and I want you to lock me inside. I am going to stay there until I hear from God."
"Oh," she replied, "you'll be knocking for me to open the door in an hour or so." She knew that so many times I had said THIS was the time I would stay until I had the answer, she was beginning to wonder if I really could subdue the flesh long enough to defeat the devil. Nevertheless, I heard her lock the door from the outside. Before she left, she said, "I'll let you out any time you knock."
I answered, "I'll not knock until I have the answer that I have wanted so long." At last I had definitely made up my mind to stay there till I heard from God, no matter what the cost!
Hour after hour, I battled with the devil and the flesh in that closet! Many were the times I almost gave up. It seemed to me that days were slipping by, and my progress was so slow! Many times I was tempted to give it all up, and try to be satisfied without the answer -- to go on just as I had been doing. But deep in my soul I knew I could never be satisfied to do that. I had tried it, and found that it was not enough.
No! I would stay right here on my knees until God answered, or I would die in the attempt!
Then the glory of God began to fill the closet. I thought for a moment that my wife had opened the door, as the closet door began to grow light. But my wife had not opened the door of the closet -- JESUS HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF HEAVEN, and the closet was flooded with light, the light of the glory of God!
I do not know how long I had stayed in the closet before this happened, but it doesn't matter. I do not care to know. I only know I prayed UNTIL!
The presence of God was so real, so wonderful, and so powerful that I felt I would die right there on my knees. It seemed that if God came any closer, I could not stand it! Yet I wanted it, and was determined to have it.
Was this my answer? Was God going to speak to me? Would God, at last, after these many years, satisfy my longing heart? How long had I been here? I didn't know! I seemed to lose consciousness of everything but the mighty presence of God. I tried to see Him, and then was afraid that I would, for suddenly I realized that should I seem Him, I would die. (Exodus 33:20.) Just His glorious presence was enough!
If only He would speak to me now! If He would just answer my one question, "Lord, why can't I heal the sick? Why can't I work miracles in Your name? Why do signs not follow my ministry as they did that of Peter, John and Paul?"
Then like a whirlwind, I heard His voice! It was God! He was speaking to me! This was the glorious answer for which I had waited so long!
In His presence I felt like one of the small pebbles at the foot of the towering Rockies. I felt I was unworthy even to hear His voice. But He wasn't speaking to me because I was worthy. He was speaking to me because I was needy. Centuries ago, He had promised to supply that need. This was the fulfilment of that promise.
It seemed that faster than any human could possibly speak faster than I could follow mentally, God was talking to me. My heart cried out, "Speak a little more slowly. I want to remember it all!"
It seemed God was speaking to me so fast, and of so many things I could never remember it all. Yet I knew I could never forget! God was giving me a list of the things which stood between me and the power of God. After each new requirement was added to the list in my mind, there followed a brief explanation, or sermonette, explaining that requirement and its importance.
Some of the things God spoke to me sounded like scriptures. I knew some of them were, but those first three -- could they be from the Bible?
If I had known there were so many things to remember, I would have brought a pencil and paper! I hadn't expected that God would speak in such a definite way, and give me such a long list. I had never dreamed that I was falling so far short of the glory of God. I hadn't realized there were so many things in my life that generated doubt and hindered my faith.
While God continued to speak to me, I began to feel in my pockets for a pencil. At last I located a short one, but the lead was broken. Quickly I sharpened it with my teeth. I searched for a piece of paper. I couldn't find any. Suddenly I remembered the cardboard box filled with winter clothes which I was using for an altar. I would write on the box.
Now I was ready!
I asked the Lord to please start all over again at the beginning, and let me write the things down one at a time -- to speak slowly enough so that I could get it all on paper.
Once more God started at the first, and spoke to me one after another the many things He had already mentioned. As God spoke to me, I wrote them down.
When the last requirement was written down on the list, God spoke once again, and said, "This is the answer. When you have placed on the altar of consecration and obedience the last thing on your list, YE SHALL NOT ONLY HEAL THE SICK, BUT IN MY NAME SHALL YE CAST OUT DEVILS. YE SHALL SEE MIGHTY MIRACLES AS IN MY NAME YE PREACH THE WORD, FOR BEHOLD, I GIVE YOU POWER OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY."
God revealed to me at the same time that the things that were hindrances to my ministry, and had prevented God from working with me, confirming the Word with signs following, were the very same things which were hindering so many thousands of others.
Now it began to grow darker in the closet. I felt His mighty power begin to lift. For a few more moments, His presence lingered, and then I was alone.
Alone, yet not alone.
I trembled under the mighty lingering presence of God. I fumbled at the bottom of the cardboard box on which I had been writing. In the dark, I tore the part on which I had written from the box. In my hand I held the list. At last, here was the price I must pay for the power of God in my life and ministry. THE PRICE TAG FOR THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF GOD!
Frantically, I pounded on the locked door. Again and again I pounded. At last, I heard my wife coming. She opened the door. The moment she saw me, she knew I had beem with God. Her first words were, "You've got the answer!"
"Yes, honey. God has paid me a visit from heaven, and here is the answer."
In my hand was the old brown piece of cardboard, with the answer that had cost so many hours of fasting and prayer and waiting, and -- yes -- believing!
My wife and I sat down at the table with the list before us, and as I told her the story, we both wept, as together we went down the list.
There were thirteen items on the list when I came out of the closet, but I erased the last two before showing the list to my wife, because those two were so personal that even my wife shall never know what they were. She has never asked, for she realizes that these things MUST remain between me and God.
The remaining eleven things make up the contents of this book. There is one entire chapter devoted to each of these eleven requirements. If you, too, have longed for the manifestation of the mighty power of God in your own life and ministry, I trust that these thoughts shall inspire you, and that God may speak to you, as he did me, and lead you on to new victory and greater usefulness because of this book.
Since God spoke to me that day in the closet, many pages have been torn from the calendar. In fact, many calendars have been replaced by new ones. As the time has passed, one by one, I have marked the requirements from my list. The list grew smaller and smaller, as I shouted the victory over satan, and marked off one after another!
Finally, I was down to the last two. Satan said to me, "You've marked off eleven items, but here are two you'll never mark off. I've got you whipped."
But by the grace of God, I told the devil he was a liar. If God said I could mark them all off, He would help me to do it!
Yet, it seemed I would never be able to mark off the last two.
Never will I forget the day I looked over my list, and found, praise God, there was only one thing left! If I could mark that off, I could claim the promise that God had made to me.
I had to claim that promise! Millions were sick and afflicted, beyond the help of medical science. Some one MUST bring deliverance to them. God had called me to take deliverance to the people. GOD HAS CALLED EVERY MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL TO DO THE SAME! (Ezek. 34:1-4.)
Many have been the times when God has poured out His Spirit in my meetings in a measure, as I have traveled across the states. However, I knew that when I marked the last item from my list, I would see such miracles as I had never seen before. In the meantime, I would patiently strive toward victory, trusting God to help me until victory came. Trusting that when that victory was mine, God would be glorified, and others, too, would be encouraged to seek God for his power.
At this writing, I am conducting a "BACK TO GOD HEALING REVIVAL" at Calvary Temple in Oakland, California. Many say it is the greatest REVIVAL in the history of Oakland. Hundreds say that they have never witnessed such a dynamic moving of the power of God. The meeting is now in its fifth great week. From the growing interest and increasing attendance the meeting could, no doubt, continue indefinitely.
Night after night, the waves of Divine Glory so sweep over the congregation that many testify of being healed while sitting in their seats. Again and again as we have felt the mighty power of God settling over the meeting, people have risen to their feet to testify of instant healings, some of which are visibly miraculous, such as outward tumors disappearing, the crippled made whole.
I have felt goiters disappear at the touch of my hand in Jesus' name!
The shouts of victory are many as the blind see. One woman testified, "It was like coming out of the dark into the sunlight."
We prayed for a woman with throat trouble. After a few moments, she was seen hurrying to the ladies rest room. After returning to the auditorium, she testified that after prayer, something came loose out of her throat and came up into her mouth. she had hurried to the rest room to dispose of it. It was some kind of foreign growth (doubtless cancer) -- whitish orange in color.
Ruptures as large as a person's fist have disappeared overnight. Cancer, deafness, tumors, goiters, sugar diabetes, every known disease and many unknown, disappear, as in the name of Jesus, we lay hands upon the sick. Genuine healings are proven in many cases by doctors' statements and x-rays.
We stand in holy awe, and marvel at the miracle working power of God, as it has moved night after night from the very beginning of this meeting. Hundreds have been delivered from the power of the enemy -- saved, healed, or filled with the Spirit.
In this meeting, it has been impossible to have what is generally termed a "healing line". At least ninety percent of those upon whom we have laid hands are prostrated under the mighty power of God immediately. Some dance a few steps, or weave drunkenly under the power of the Spirit before falling. (See Jer. 23:9). Under these circumstances, it is impossible to have people march on after prayer.
This is the mighty power of God moving upon the people. It is the same power that caused John to "fall at his feet as dead". (Rev. 1:17.)
Many say that the most outstanding thing about this meeting is that such a large percentage of the sick are receiving such miraculous deliverance. It would be a conservative estimate to say that at least ninety percent, or even more of those prayed for have been marvelously healed.
Tonight's service was designated "Holy Ghost Night." Calvary Temple was packed to the doors, with people sitting on the altar benches. (This is being written at 2:00 am after a great Holy Ghost service.) Eternity alone will reveal the number of people who were filled or refilled with the Spirit. We had announced that in this service, hands would be laid upon seekers for the infilling of the Spirit, according to Acts 8:17. After the sermon, all who had not already been filled during the service came down the outside aisle in a line. With only a few exceptions, everyone we touched in the name of Jesus fell prostrate. What an unusual sight to stand on the platform afterwards, and look upon the many "slain of the Lord" in every available altar space, and even down the aisles! Sweeter yet, the sound of the heavenly music of voices raised in united praise to God, as the Spirit filled obedient believers, and they began to speak in new tongues and magnify God. (Mark 16:17; Acts 10:46)
I do not claim to possess a single gift of the Spirit, nor to have power to impart any gift to others, yet all the gifts of the Spirit are in operation, night after night.
Many are exercising the gifts of the Spirit WITHOUT IMPOSITION OF HANDS OR PROPHETIC UTTERANCE!
God is confirming His Word WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING!
Why have I seen such a change in the results of my ministry? You ask WHY? Have you not guessed?
THE LAST ITEM OF THE LIST GOD GAVE TO ME in the closet of prayer HAS BEEN MARKED OFF THE LIST AT LAST! Hallelujah! Many times, I almost gave up hope of ever being able to mark that last one off, but at last it is gone! By God's grace, GONE FOREVER!
With the marking off of the last requirement on my list, has come the fulfillment of God's promise. THE SICK ARE HEALED. DEVILS ARE CAST OUT. MIGHTY MIRACLES ARE SEEN IN THE NAME OF JESUS, AS HIS WORD IS PREACHED!
The chapters which follow give the requirements which God gave to me, and are dedicated to all those who are hungry for the MIRACLE WORKING POWER OF GOD.
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