From the teaching Yeshua's Disciple: Signs
Recently, my family has gone through one of the most trying times in our lives. My Mother and Mother-in-law were both diagnosed with cancer within two weeks of each other. On top of this, my Mom also needed major heart surgery. My cousin had just died several months before this from pancreatic cancer and a long time college friend was diagnosed with multiple myeloma the previous year - he was in his early 30s. I've seen my own Father lose a battle to cancer in his mid 30s and half of his siblings met the same fate around the same age in their lives. Sadly, my Mother-in-law also passed away four months after her diagnosis. This was very difficult to deal with and to make matters even more complicate, I live abroad so it's not easy to just pack up and go home. I began to wonder why there is so much sickness among those of us that say we "believe". I remember while visiting with my Mom last summer, I read through the Book of Acts one Shabbat and it was almost like I was reading it for the first time. And even though I'm sure we've both read through it before, my Mom was glued to her seat, hanging on every word like a child. What that moment did for me was to question that if I'm reading about ordinary people working miracles to the degree that the dead are being raised, then what rock have I been living under because this is not commonplace in my life?
But what was I really witnessing when I read that book? I was witnessing the evidence of individuals that truly believed and were operating in the authority and power Yeshua allotted. The signs talked about in Mark 16! Why, after growing up most of my life in Church, had I not seen anything remotely similar to what I read in Scripture? Do we really believe that signs and wonders were for a time gone by? Many of us pray often for our own healing and for the healing of others, so somewhere deep down we believe that healing is available for today. Where is the disconnect? Yeshua points out in Matthew 7:13-14 that few people will find the narrow gate that leads to life. In this world where so many claim to be followers of the Messiah, it's probably safe to assume that there are few that are actually on the path that leads to life. There ARE people that are displaying the signs and wonders Yeshua spoke about; they are quite possibly only few in number. Like Marcus pointed out last week, if we are not seeing manifestations of the things promised to those that believe, then the problem is definitely not The Almighty - it's us! Let's be honest. We love indulging our flesh. We loathe feeling uncomfortable, we don't want to stand out. We just don't want to be bothered. We think, "I'm healthy, I have money in my pocket, all my needs are met. I just want to be happy." We have prevented Father from working in us because we are deceived by our own comfort, self-righteousness, and concepts of success.
Know that our obedience is a manifestation of our faith/belief and if we have the testimony of Yeshua and keep the commandments like the Believers in the New Testament, then Yeshua should be working in the midst of us as well. The evidence of His workings are the signs and wonders he said should follow those of us that believe. It's not the common understanding of belief that many have. Some people would define themselves as a believer simply because they believe that Jesus existed. "Like, out of all the religions in the world, I'll pick the religion of the Bible and that qualifies me as a Believer." No. It doesn't. Following the Golden Rule, being a nice person, treating people with respect, while good things, they also don't identify Believers. An atheist can be all those things too. Read James 1:22-25 and don't be deceived. We often try to identify Believers by their worldly success alone, but we should be careful in doing this. Biblical prosperity is real, but the enemy also prospers those playing ball on his field. There will be power, signs, and wonders manifested by those not operating by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yeshua warns us in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. So if signs and wonders are what follow Believers, then how do we distinguish between true Believers and the false prophets Yeshua cautioned? First, know that we have homework to do. A sign or wonder alone does not identify the authority a person operates in. Every last one of us DO, HAVE, and ARE capable of believing lies. As human beings we are just vulnerable that way. The indwelling Spirit of the Almighty is supposed to be our guide, but don't forget what He has previously warned us about and what He has explained in His Word. If a person does not DO the Word and have the testimony of Yeshua, then they do not operate in the power/authority commissioned to Disciples of Messiah. Like a few weeks ago when "knowledge" was a topic of discussion; when someone comes to you with information, even legitimate Biblical information, what Spirit are they bringing with them? They may be operating from a spirit of "supposed intellectual superiority". You, in turn, submit not only to the information they present because of their intellectual supremacy, but to the spirit that controls them. Now you are on an information search like a hound dog and have forgotten about everything else. Am I demonizing being knowledgeable or obtaining knowledge from non-believers? No, but don't forget to test the fruit of every encounter and be subject only to the Spirit of YeHoVaH. By doing this, we will be able to discern authentic from counterfeit.
In saying all of this, I want to encourage the Saints to remain faithful and continue to let the Holy Spirit sharpen you in your walk. After witnessing so much death and sickness around me, it has encouraged me to seek the Father in a new, committed way. I've prayed to be a vessel for Him to use to work these signs and wonders in my presence and the presence of others. He is showing me that it's time for me to come up. To clean up this Temple up so He can commune with me in greater ways. This is a process that will continue as long as I have breath in my body and I can testify that I am seeing results! Remember, that He doesn't want to lead us just for our personal benefit, but He wants us to reach out to others. If you want YeHoVaH to manifest Himself fully in your life, then listen to Him, listen to His Word. Don't let man's religion tell you how to think about the Creator or that this part of the Book was for them and this part is for us. What do YOU read? What understanding is HE putting in your spirit? We too can be the few on the narrow path that leads to life with signs and wonders following us. Don't let doubt and disobedience keep us out of the fight.
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