Mark 16:16-20 (NKJV)
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Like a soda can being shaken until it is ready to explode, longing for someone, anyone, to pull the top and release the pressure. This is my spirit today. It began last night. Enough is enough. My heart is pounding under the force of desire. I am absolutely convinced that it is God’s Will for us to “lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” Let’s review. In My Name, Jesus told us that those who believe will have certain signs that follow. They will cast out demons. Been there, done that. They will speak in new tongues. Check. They will take up serpents. Some things are just not within a person’s gifts and anointing so I will leave this to the professionals. I hate snakes. They will drink deadly things and it will by no means hurt them. Praying and believing for over three years of chemotherapy and radiation being pumped in our son, who now is in total remission, completely healed by the Hand of God probably is confirmation for this one. My bucket list is down to this: “they will lay hands on the sick AND they will recover.” This is my desire.
I am a believer. I am saved. I have been baptized by water and by fire. I have everything I need to see signs and miracles come to pass. It says that these signs “follow” those who believe. It is not something I must chase after but according to this life that I live. In the couple months, the Lord has been stirring with in me though I will admit I really didn’t know it. Like a frog in a pot of water on a slow boil, I didn’t really notice that it was getting hotter until now. Hurting, sick and even dying people thrust into my midst yet just beyond the reach of my human hands. So much so that when the call came last night from my daughter, my heart cried, “Enough!” Her best friend’s mom has entered Hospice. I have a love/hate relationship with this wonderful group. I love what they do and their ministry to families in their greatest time of need. Truly selfless people bound together and making a difference. I want to put them out of business.
Looking back over the last five years, I cannot help that in the midst of circumstances, consumed by self, that the Lord was conditioning me for the future. Burning away the insufficiencies of faith that trusted Him for natural things rather than the supernatural promises hidden in His Word, Will and Way. I was settling for life goals when all along He had Kingdom Principles in mind. I sat in waiting rooms, surgery suites, and hospital rooms. Roaming the halls of the sick and dying feeling heaviness in the midst of their anguish. My focus, naturally, was on our child. Fighting for his life, yet I had such peace and resolve that God’s Promise would hold us to the end whatever that may be rather medicine was the catalyst or the Saints of God laying hands on him in the end – I knew that our son would make it. I just did. When God speaks to me in an audible voice, I grab hold of that. If the Lord can do it for my son, I know He can do it for all His Children. Show me a sign, Lord. Speak to us today. Let those signs that follow me as a believer soon overtake me just as Your Word says.
John 3:5-8 (NKJV)
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to Jesus. He believed that no man could do what the Lord was doing unless God was with Him. He shared the Gospel Plan with Nicodemus that night in the cover of darkness. You must be born again. I know that many people offer many ways to God’s Kingdom. There is only one Way and His Name is Jesus. Repentance is to turn from the darkness and sin of this world and enter the Light of His Love. Grace is the grease that turns the wheel of our life as we move in a new direction. I have walked to many altars but only two stand out in my mind. When I was eleven years old, I asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord. I did not really know what that meant but felt something warm and inviting deep in my belly telling me to go so I did. After my husband and I got married, we began attending church again after many years. It was in a revival one evening that I gave it all to Jesus and in return He filled me with His Spirit. I have never ever been the same. I think before we can expect God to move visibly around us – He must begin His Work within us. There must be a change of heart so radical that it can only be at the massaging of its Creator as He molds and shapes us removing the old and making way for the new. This is the birthplace of faith that will lead to confident hope. Many begin here and choose to remain here.
Hebrews 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
How does one “neglect” their salvation? To come to Jesus and then walk right back into their natural life with no regard. The modern day church has decided that grace is our exception allowing us to remain comfortable and complacently positioned in the gray area of life. Grace facilitates a change in us that is otherwise humanly impossible. His Grace is enough for me. I must learn to live in His Grace rather than trying to use it as a buffer allowing me to sin without consequence. Every sin bears a consequence. Jesus bore the weight of our sin.
The Word of God nowhere indicates that grace promotes sin without consequence. We must take “earnest heed” or pay attention to how we live if we truly desire His Kingdom to come here on the earth. Primarily, we must do so in order to make it into His Kingdom in the first place. Doing nothing to earn my salvation requires acceptance as a Gift, I must maintain a connection to the Giver. His Spirit inside of me making His Way out of me is a strong indication of whether I am one with my Heavenly Father or drifting back into the world. The Book of James describes in best – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” To experience the signs, wonders and miracles promised in His Word requires doing what He says over and over again as we develop our true identity in Jesus Christ.
John 20:26-29 (NKJV)
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
To be completely honest, I was not a true believer in the beginning. People would testify about sings, wonders and miracles including healing and deliverance, but I was not convinced. I decided from the beginning that it would take the completely impossible to believe. Boy, did I come to regret that quickly. I did not realize just how hard and stubborn my heart once was but not anymore. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. He is faithful. Completely able. Right on time.
When Thomas heard that Jesus was alive again, he told the others – “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Two sayings ring true in my head here – be careful for what you wish for and never say never. Our words hold power and never means impossible. Jesus came to His Wayward Disciple and said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” I am convinced today more than ever before that my belief in God must move far beyond my five senses and emotions to experience His Kingdom on the earth and spark a revival in my heart and community. We must believe without seeing Him. We must go on His Word.
I Samuel 10:6-9 (NKJV)
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.” So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.
When Samuel anointed Saul to be King of Israel, he has a long list of instructions to go with it. He told Saul that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him and that he would be turned into a new man. Change was coming. Obedience would be required. Saul did exactly what the prophet told him to do, “when he turned his back to go from Samuel (obeyed) that God gave him another heart. Saul’s heart changed with his first step of radical obedience. He turned. He did not look back but turned his back and started walking out God’s Plan for him. Obedience will be required. Signs, wonders and miracles are orchestrated by God and put in order. They are following those who believe enough to obey God and will soon overtake those who remain committed. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and made Him Lord through obedience, you are in alignment with His Kingdom so His Kingdom will come to us if we continue. Saul did not. His anointing turned him into a madman outside of faith.
To be transparent, I have struggled for many years with God’s Calling on my life. I have ran ahead and fallen behind more times than I can count. I know that my faith has been a comfort and challenge many times. I am old enough now to see that obedience is the catalyst of change in our life. We endure the changes of life by faith and confident hope in King Jesus. His Power and Authority is the only strength I have. This life is hard. It is unexpected. Darkness is unrelenting and requires constant attention to the Light. Fear can drive the most dedicated and devoted Christian to the edge of rebellion. Not because they do not love the Lord and want to serve them, faith takes us beyond our self and natural control. Psalm 65 talks about God’s Mighty Works and Awesome Power as it identifies those who are afraid of God’s Signs. He sees you wondering. He has sparked a desire for more. Most people will not understand. You may even be ostracized by those who told you to believe in the first place. I locked myself in years of bondage to the opinions of others who thought I was some “spooky spiritual” person. It was locked away that I endured the greatest battle I have ever faced. It was not cancer. It was the enemy trying to take my faith in God. I won if even only barely. Now a warrior is rising up who does not care what others think of me, my primary concern is what God thinks of me. How about you? Do you feel like there is more to all of this than meets the eye? You are right. There absolutely is. Do you want to see His Kingdom on the earth? Me, too. We are part of a remnant. A small group of believers that want His Power to touch the earth and save all people.
Daniel 4:2-3 (NKJV)
I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.
Daniel 6:26-28 (NKJV)
I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His Kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His Dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Are you ready for signs and miracles to overtake you? Am I? Well, there is a message from our friend, Daniel that must be taken into account. “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.” It was this mentality that thrust Daniel in the midst of lions. It knocked Joseph face down in a pit. Endurance is born of perseverance. Are you ready to persevere? Are you okay with being pressed? Can you take the hits that come from ridiculous faith and radical obedience? In Daniel 6, we see the reward of Daniel’s faithfulness and obedience as King Darius issues the order that all men and women shall serve the God “who has delivered Daniel from the power of lions.” What happens when you are put to the test? What is your vocabulary under pressure? Until the signs and wonders of life point directly to Jesus Christ, we will not experience them. Faith under pressure. What does it produce? Until it is all about Jesus – nothing really.
John 6:26-27 (NKJV)
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Seek the Son and not the signs. In seeking Jesus and only Jesus wholeheartedly, miracles will come. It is the intensity of our pursuit with full expectation in the impossible being made possible that we discover them all around us. The signs followed the disciples and touched people they did not even stop to lay hands on. It can happen in you and me when we become lost in Jesus and not by public opinion. We live in a day and age when the signs of the times are all around us including false prophets and teachers saying that they produce is of God when it is clearly not. The Fruit of God’s Spirit must be evident for it is the food of everlasting life. We must strive to know Jesus more and more and become like Him to spark a true revival. Revival in each human heart will produce the kind of atmosphere where miracles are present, signs seen, and wonder experienced. We have the Light of His Love all cooped up in us who are just ordinary people going through life together. If we can somehow manage to break free of fear and all the busy distractions to turn completely from this life and pursue the Lord wholeheartedly body, mind and spirit – His Glory that has been following us will soon overtake us.
Galatians 3:4-8 (NKJV)
Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”