Tom: This is our Understanding the Scripture segment, and we are in the Book of Acts:12:11, “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.”
Dave: Tom, that’s an interesting expression, “when he came to himself.”
Tom: This isn’t a psychological phrase is it Dave?
Dave: No. I remember the first time we were living in Europe and traveling all over, and we would pick up hippies, hitchhikers in those days, and I’d like to talk to them. Almost every one of them, I’d say, “Well, what are you doing?”
“Well, I’m trying to find myself.”
And our kids could hardly stifle their snickers. Trying to find yourself! What are you talking about?
But this is a little bit different. It means, when he realized…see, maybe people have forgotten what happened last week here, but he was in prison, and he’s been delivered! I mean, the chains fall off, the doors open, an angel has come and delivered him. Now, Tom, we might say that didn’t happen every time he was in prison, and one day they killed Peter. But we have people today—I hesitate to use the word “charismatic,” but I will; I mean, I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I believe in the power of God. God can do anything that he wants, but most of the people who talk about this and emphasize it, it’s not the real thing, and they want some miracle every day. I mean, “Well there should be miraculous things.” Remember, we mentioned Benny Hinn, who claimed that angels came into his bedroom every night for a year. Every time somebody got in prison they weren’t miraculously delivered. God does it when He wants to, in his way, and in his time.
Tom: Dave, do you remember, a while back, I think it was after we had written Seduction of Christianity, but Pat Robertson came out with a book, Secret Kingdom. And in that he said that he wants miracles, but he wants to see them happen with more regularity. In other words, he was just reflecting, really, what’s in the heart of most of us: we want a formula, we want to bottle this, we want a methodology, we want to be able to do it with some consistency.
Dave: That’s exactly what Pat Robertson taught in that book and other books, as well, that there are laws, and he said God doesn’t even do a miracle except according to the “law of miracles.” Now, I’m sorry, that’s nonsense! If it follows a law, it’s not a miracle! This is what the scientist, the atheist, would say to you. “Oh, you think that was a miracle? You just didn’t know the laws that were governing.”
There is no law of miracles! A miracle is outside the laws. It’s something that God does that breaks the laws, overcomes the laws, of physics or chemistry, or whatever, and there is no technique. That’s occultism, as you know. God doesn’t have to jump when we tell Him to jump, when we mumble a formula, when we do certain things. You know, like Kenneth Hagin Sr.—he wrote a booklet titled: How to Write Your Own Ticket with God, in which he said Christ appeared and gave him four techniques, four principles, which if you follow these you will always get what you want from God. That’s like putting chemicals in a test tube, you always get the same result. You don’t always get the same result from God! You can pray—He does what He’s going to do. It’s a miracle, but we don’t control miracles.
Tom: Dave, do you think that’s why, as you go through the Scriptures, particularly, you know, the New Testament, the gospels, as well as the Book of Acts—when you see healing, and you see how Jesus healed, I mean, try and set that up in terms of a formula. I mean, He did so many different things so many different ways. You remember that one was healed and it was almost like a process thing—the man could see things as though there were trees blurred, and so on. And some people were healed instantly. Sometimes He spit on the ground and made a little salve, you know, of mud. I mean, Dave, I believe the Lord laid that out for us that way to tell us no, it’s in Him.
Dave: Right, He can do it any way He wants.
Tom: And we can’t come up with a formula for it.
Dave: He went to the pool of Siloam. He healed one man, and there was a multitude, it says, of sick people—infirm, lame, blind, whatever, lying around; He never healed any of the others. Try to explain that. There’s no formula. We can’t make God do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it. So, that’s why we pray, “Thy will be done.” Not my will but thine be done. And Benny Hinn says you pray that you are destroying your faith. No, this is how Jesus prayed, this is how Paul prayed. It just reminds us: I’m just a human being; I’m just a pitiful creature. He is God! We are to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done!”
Tom: Dave, let me just go over the last part of verse 11: “…and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod [wow, he was a bad guy, Herod] and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” Now, this is fascinating. You want to talk about “It’s my faith and I know it’s not going to happen unless I have enough faith”! These people are praying in faith, aren’t they, Dave?
Dave: I don’t think so. But when we get to it, Tom—because they didn’t even believe, because when Peter comes, they couldn’t believe it was Peter.
Tom: I know, and Dave, what’s the point?
Dave: Let me deal with something else here. You see, if we went back to Acts 2, “They had all things common.” If anybody had something they sold it. Well, then, I guess you shouldn’t have a house, you shouldn’t have a car, you shouldn’t have, you know, just the clothes that you wear, quit your job to follow Him. It doesn’t mean that, obviously, although it tells us if anybody had houses or land, they sold it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. What it must mean is, extra houses, extra land that you don’t need and were going to share it with other people. Because here’s Mary, the mother of John Mark, and she’s got a house. And in these epistles, Paul writes to “the church in your house.” Well, there was a church in this house, okay. So, they didn’t sell everything They used some common sense. If I sell everything and give everything away, then who is going to give something to me so that I’m not going to be out on the street begging, because you do need some food, you do need some shelter.
So, we have to have some common sense, so obviously, they hadn’t sold every house, because here they are, meeting in a house, and that’s where they gathered for prayer. Peter, verse 13, Peter knocked at the door of the gate, “a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda, and when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood at the gate.” She was so excited she forgot to open the door. Peter is out there! Tom, I’ll let you carry on. It’s incredible. You go ahead and read.
Tom: Verse 15, “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”
Dave: I don’t know what that means.
Tom: Not only are they not believing God is going to do this, or somehow, He’s going to do it some other time in some other way. I mean, they couldn’t come—the answer was right there before them! They missed it. And then they come up with this idea it must be his angel. I mean, where did they get that idea, Dave?
Dave: I don’t know. I don’t even know what that could mean. So Tom, here we have an urgent prayer meeting. Now this is something to think about for a minute. An urgent prayer meeting—they are praying, they really mean it, but they don’t believe! It’s obvious that they don’t believe. They can’t believe it when God answers the prayer, and yet God answered the prayer. Oh, it must have been for their great faith. No, although the Bible does say, Jesus says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” And it does mention that sometimes, but God is not limited by my faith.
Tom: It’s not a cause-and-effect thing.
Dave: Right. It is not limited by my faith. That is comforting to know. I mean, sometimes he does things that I never ask him to do.
Tom: And thank God for that, huh?
Dave: Yeah, I guess if the Lord could reveal it to me…So many times He has bailed me out of so many situations that I didn’t even know problems were coming up about it.
Tom: Dave, can I interject one thing? You just made me think of something. We get letters after letters after letters, people praying for us. That is so wonderful! You know, people even say, “Well, you know, I’m not getting your newsletter anymore. Was it because we didn’t send you any money?”
Absolutely not! We want to hear from people—if we don’t hear from anybody, if they don’t contact us any way, we don’t know if they are using the newsletter to line their bird cage, or something like that. But nevertheless, you know, we have people say, “Well, I’m on social security now, or whatever, and we can’t send you anything.” First and foremost, way beyond that, you know, we appreciate people that support us, but other people who are praying for us, that’s first and foremost, Dave, because it covers you, it covers me, it covers the whole staff and what we are doing. Just as you said, we're not praying for every little particular detail, but we have people covering us in prayer—that’s so critically important!
Dave: Tom, we are absolutely dependent upon the Lord. As you mentioned, we have never asked for anything. We wouldn’t. We ask the Lord to meet our needs, we ask the Lord to guide us, but if He doesn’t supply through His people, we’re off the air, we’re shut down, the whole thing. We are dependent upon the Lord every moment for His provisions, and for His guidance, and we really appreciate the prayers of people.