John G Lakes Portland home.
Over the last week and a half or so, I have been studying the lives of a few of the great men of the last century, looked at their lives as I study my own. I’m not one to image my life after someone else but we can all learn and be encouraged by what God has done through others. I have done this before with William Branham, Benjamin Rush, and others throughout history. This time I focused on Smith Wigglesworth and John G Lake. Knowing the location of where Lake lived while in Portland, I took a drive out to the location and walked the path from his home up and into Mount Tabor Park (where God gave him a vision of this city and the world). I wasn’t looking for goose bumps, lightning bolts or voices out of heaven. I just went there out of curiosity.
As I drove up Yamhill Street wrapping its way around the mountain, I could see all the homes in this area were well kept. No homes with peeling paint or in visible disrepair and well maintained landscape. When I arrived at the address, I must say the home most defiantly stood out from the others. Weeds as tall as trees, heavy moss on the weather beaten roof (one area of the roof was even covered with large tarps). It was an old time battered house in desperate need of repair. I walked up the path taking a few pictures along the way, into the park and circled back around to my van. As I walked by the house again, I saw a couple women walking their dogs. They stopped and looked at the place, one peered into the garage where there were two Studebaker's sitting. The other woman said to the her, “That house has a lot of potential; it’s probably some old man that lives in there.” I thought to myself, “If they only knew who used to live there. If only those walls could talk.” Would I really want to know what the walls had to say? The last 80 years have really taken their toll on this big old house since the occupant in question had lived there.
I also looked into the garage, which was at street level while the house was down the hillside behind. I looked at the two Studebaker s. One was completely refurbished (from what I could see) as shiny and clean as can be. The other was kind of like the house, it needed some work.
As I pondered what I saw, I thought a good deal about those two cars. God doesn't intend for us to hold on to things gone by and cling to what they were. We don’t throw away what God has done, there is nothing new under the sun and God is in it all. So if we throw it away, we would have nothing left. However, we don’t want to be like that old unfinished Studebaker, old and worn out. So what’s the difference? They are both Studebaker s. Well one has been renewed. Jesus said that you can’t put new wine into old wineskins (Luke 5:37-39). So how can the old wineskin be made new again? By soaking it in oil. That oil is the anointing of the Spirit that destroys the yoke of bondage. The yokes of religion, confusion, depression, loneliness, sickness, addiction and sin are all destroyed by the oil of this anointing (Isaiah 10:27).
Since a child, I've heard folks quote Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following…” Many times they will speak it as it is some great new revelation, “Oh, so this is what we are supposed to do!” Yet in the end, do we really leave room for God to move? What are these signs that Jesus was talking about? Is this so we can get credit on God’s report card, so He knows we have been good students and done our homework? I really don’t want Him to smack my hand with His ruler. He has an awful big ruler and a mighty big hand.
Isaiah 61:1-4 says “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
What are we supposed to preach? “Good tidings to the meek.” The word gospel means “Good News”. The good news is that we as God’s creation have been redeemed from the curse of the law by the blood of His spotless lamb, Jesus. Paul told the Corinthian church a couple of times, that he didn’t come to them with brilliance of speech or perception of men, but he was determined to know nothing among them but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”
What about these signs that follow? They are to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, open of the prison to them that are bound; proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, the day of vengeance of our God (which was covered at the cross of Jesus); comfort all that mourn; appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That we might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that God might be glorified. And we are to build the old wastes, raise up the former desolations, and repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. This is what Jesus told the religious world in his time that he was called to do, in Luke 4:18-19. The religious world rejected it in his day and are still rejecting it today. I could tell you that God is raising up a people to take care of this stuff, but I know that He has raised up these people before the foundation of the earth. So let’s not look to the faces of men but to the author and finisher of our faith.
This anointed oil that renews those old wineskins brings great joy and causes us to give gladly of this anointing to others that they can be released from this captivity and receive this same joy that they may freely give. And so the circle of life and light begins.
Getting back to this old house and what it housed. In the first five years of John Lakes time in Portland, there were over 100,000 documented miraculous healings through this ministry and in this area. Yet nearly a century later the home lays in decay and the memory is all but gone. Let us not hang on to days gone by. Even in our own lives. When Mary Magdalene came across Jesus in the garden, after his resurrection, he instructed her not to hold him to where he was at because there were greater things to come. Let’s not hold ourselves back with what we are familiar with, but allow God to raise us and those around us into higher heights of His loving mercy and grace. The old path I walked that day didn't have anything for me and the old house was torn apart, but God still showed Himself real.