The other morning we were having a prayer meeting here at Father’s Hand, and the Lord gave Dana a mini-vision and word about the beggar found in Acts 3:1-16. What the Lord said was a bit different than we expected and the minute Dana shared what she saw, I had Jesus speak a word to me.
Acts 3:1 –Acts 3:16 (NKJV)
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.
So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
We had began our prayer time praying for laborers to be sent into the harvest, (Lu10:2b). As we were waiting for the Lord to direct our prayers, Dana heard from the Lord and I heard from Him in response to what she saw… In Dana’s vision, the beggar sitting in the street (who had been sitting in the same place for a long enough time that all the people in the temple knew him by sight) was the Church-at-large in Africa. It was sitting in the same place it has been for a lot of years begging for money to exist on, not moving or going anywhere. They were thinking that western money, buildings, etc would bring a new awareness of Jesus to the land. In her vision Dana saw that Africa needed to see the necessity for Christ’s power (agape’ love) to take the land and not look for western ideas or money to fix the lack in the body of Christ there. She saw the need for them to take responsibility for what was going on and then to see what is truly required for what they are praying for. When I was in Africa recently I saw that African believers are beginning to see that they must have the miraculous power of God to change their countries,. There seems to be some leaders who are hungry to take the land for Jesus in a fresh way. They are showing a fresh passion and hunger for something real, a new perspective, a fresh anointing and love – looking back to what is written and starting to trust, obey and go.
God told me, as Dana spoke about Africa, that this beggar is the Church at large, all over the world. For the most part we all think physical provision will solve the need in the Church and is instrumental to reaching the world with the Gospel. That is why there is such an emphasis on tithes and offerings in traditional meetings. I am listening to Dana, God and reading this scripture it seems in the same moment. God is telling me that the church-at-large is sitting at the “gate beautiful” waiting for someone to come and give them alms so they can eat and survive another day. They are not thinking about going, only receiving from someone coming. He showed me we were like that beggar in the street, sitting with our hand out waiting for someone to give what we think is needed to produce life. We have accepted our position and are not looking for anything new or different that would change ours or others perspective of Christianity.
This beggar in Acts 3 was doing what he knew to do to survive, as is the church today. He felt that money was the answer to his needs, so since he had no way to work, he begged. “If I can just get a bit more money everything will be better.” I am sure that he was waiting for that one person (or several) to come and fill his cup to running over. (When we think that money is the answer to our problem we are never happy with what we get, we are sure there should be more).
Peter and John had no money but they did have what was and is needed, — the Name of Jesus, His presence, His power; a demonstration of His Love. All around the world church buildings are being vacated, sold or left empty as there is not enough money to take care of them. The people have left, looking for Jesus in different places. Most of the Christians in those buildings feel that they have failed, the devil has mislead people or others were not obedient so the “church” was closed. What if this is not the devil but God at work? What if God is trying to wean us of our focus on money, buildings and things?
Do not get me wrong; Jesus had a treasurer so we know that God uses money in the spreading of the Gospel. Much of what Dana and I do would not get done if people did not trust us and give provision for us to go. God does want us to give and give abundantly but it is not to be our focus nor is it the key to reaching the lost. The Gospel uses money but its need can’t be fixed with money. That is the point. Looking at this passage; God spoke to me, saying that the Church was the beggar and that we need a change of focus. That can only happen when people show up with God’s needed provision – a naturally supernatural Jesus.
Find out what the Lord would have you do, start doing it, without a thought for money. Put your hand to what the Lord says to do and watch; keep your eye on Him, follow His direction, get out of the box, and His provision, both spiritually and physically will be there when required.
CHANGE IS THE ONLY OPTION. Yet instead of changing most of us look for a way to justify what we are doing or have done so we can continue the same way. WE NEED JESUS TO SHOW UP AND MESS US UP LIKE HE DID THE LEADERS WITH THE LAME MAN BEING HEALED. We need to be the one healed and show those around us the truth. The beggar was a reject in the eyes of the religious rulers of the time. Peter and John were poor uneducated fishermen. They were not accepted by the religious rulers of the time. All three had only one thing – a testimony of the reality of Jesus. Though the religious leaders of those meeting in the synagogue rejected the healing, Peter and John prospered in Christ and saw Jesus bring a lot of people into “The Way”. Did they ever ask for money? Was their focus on buildings? Did they need new camels or donkeys to ride on? NO ! Yet they saw what we want to see. Their focus was a bit different than ours.
The Church does not need more that money can buy, i.e. better buildings, better sound systems, coffee bars in the building, great music, big evangelistic shows, or gifted speakers. What is necessary is a fresh hunger; a passion for Jesus, the truth and the lost. What is required is faith, hope, and Love – Think about this for a moment. What is requisite is an obedience to the relationship God has brought us into. Having provision to go starts with trustingly going! We must take Jesus to work, play and everywhere we are. This does not take money but ends up providing provision for those who continue to go. All this type of going takes is a real relationship with God clothed in humility, filled with Grace. (one that shows, honor, obedience and sacrifice to Jesus)
Two believers (Peter and John) came, raised the beggar up and gave him what was really necessary— Jesus’ name, presence and power. Interestingly they were not real nice to this lame man, they pulled him to his feet and made him walk. Then this man who used to be crippled and was without a testimony, walked into the temple jumping, leaping and praising God, thereby witnessing Jesus to the believers and unbelievers alike.
As long as our focus is money and things, we will never have the testimony people are hungry for. Therefore we will not have the provision we think is required. We must have the presence, power and Love of Jesus that shows… then we can go to the world and show them who He is and the greatness of His love.
Peter and John could not help this crippled man until they came to the place of recognition that without Jesus power they had nothing to offer anyone. Another religion was not what the world needed or needs today. These two men had to be broken, left, restored, then filled and be obedient to the “voice” of Jesus. They had to have a revelation of their real condition, and have Holy Ghost upon them, before they could be what was requisite for the beggar on the street and to start the Church in the beginning of the Church age.
The Church is in the same place now as the Jewish people were at the beginning of the book of Acts. We need to recognize that sitting for years begging for man’s provision at the “gate beautiful” will not fill the temple with what is necessary – the presence of God -, which was lacking in the Jewish temple for a multitude of years. WE may be required to recognize we have been seeking the wrong thing and have need of a change. It may take a radical message and delivery style, that we would not expect Jesus to use, to deliver the presence of God in such a way as to produce the miracle that will shake the Church to it’s foundation. But God is willing, able and is going to bring such messengers and message.
What is required of us? Passionate, obedient, Spirit-filled and led believers willing to go “wherever” and be the presence of God to someone, revealing to all Whom God is, without thought for self , position, acceptance or the future …
If we begin to obey the statutes of the Lord and His voice, provision will never be a problem. If we continue to seek money and things to reveal Jesus to the world, we will fail. Jesus will see to it that we do. We must become “like Jesus” and GO, like the disciples did. The problems in Christianity cannot be fixed with money, only Jesus presence, power and love manifest through us will do that.
Like in Luke 10, when we go provision will come, miracles will happen. We do not need it to start going. What is required is; faith, hope and love.
In Father’s Hand, neil
All Scripture referenced are in the NKJV.