Dangerous Signs and Wonders

How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures from generation to generation. Daniel 4:3

We live in a time of glorious awakening! More and more people have opened their hearts to believe that Christianity is supposed to be much more than doctrines and creeds. Jesus brought heaven to earth, and He wants to teach us to live the promises of His kingdom.

1 Corinthians 4:20 sums it up nicely, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”

If our Christianity remains theories and arguments, we’ve missed the mark, dear one. By a lot.

If our Christianity remains theories and arguments, we've missed the mark. Click To Tweet

Our opening Scripture reveals some of what Christ’s kingdom brings. Great signs and mighty wonders! Dominion that never ends. These signs have marked God’s movement through every generation as God brought deliverance to His people, proving His might.

But a problem arises when we set our sights on these great demonstrations of power to prove and assure ourselves that God is in our midst.

Our enemy can also perform them.

Consider Jesus’ warning to His Disciples while preparing them for the last days.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24

Does that surprise you, dear one?

As darkness increases in the last days, people will look to power beyond themselves to survive. They will need to, as hopelessness rises and recognition dawns that this fight is beyond their power to win. And when desperation sends them searching, our enemy stands ready to serve them what they think they need— a counterfeit version to keep them from the real Deliverer who can save them.

Satan will offer the anti-Christ to the world as a suitable savior to draw hearts away from Jesus. He will deceive many because he will not be impotent. He comes with power of his own.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Believers will have to know the true, beloved, to be able to recognize the deception.

We must know what is true to be able to recognize deception. Click To Tweet

But one type of power can’t be manipulated or copied. It has only one Source and can’t be replicated…nor would our enemy want it to be. And that’s the power Jesus came to reveal above all.

Love’s power to heal and transform the human soul.

Oh, dear one, this is the wonder that we must elevate and applaud in our days! Love expressing itself through redeemed humanity. With the cross of Christ, God’s work turned inward, releasing the enemy’s hold on our hearts and restoring us to God’s own nature. Manifesting that nature in once broken people reveals the authority God carries.

You see, our enemy can duplicate outward signs and wonders. He’s been doing it from the beginning. Even when Moses confronted Pharoah to deliver God’s people from Egypt, he met God’s signs with a powerful demonic response.

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. Exodus 7:10-12a

Pharoah’s sorcerers were able to imitate what God had done. God still had the last word, however, proving His enduring dominion with the rest of verse 12, “But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

Demonic power remains as real and tangible today. So does God’s authority over it. They do not possess equal power. God still reigns supreme. And the answer to our victory lies at the very core of who God is. Love.

The miracle this world desperately needs to witness and experience is love.

Jesus told us what distinguishes His true disciples from all the rest.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Love reveals God at work in our midst, dear one. He is love, and real love has no other source. Love helps. It forgives. It keeps no record of wrongs. It never insists on its own way. It’s patient and kind. It believes, hopes, and endures. It cannot fail.

Love freely expressed within the body will usher in Satan’s defeat. This sign alone will pronounce to our enemy that his end is imminent. Transformed hearts uniting in Kingdom love and purpose will devour him, revealing what he truly is in the face of God’s pure, undefiled love.


It is God's pure and undefiled love that defeats the enemy. Click To Tweet

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Fear of the Dark

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”  even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.. Psalm 139:11-12 ESV

Monsters lurk in the dark.

They like the shadows. Deception. Speculation and fear.

Only recently, some of those monsters decided to emerge from the shadows. Their evil in Paris exposed what they seek.

Hatred. Murder. Terror.

They aim to breed fear.

They reflect the heart of the god they serve, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world(Revelation 12:9).

Did you know that’s one of his names, dear one? Deceiver of the whole world.

Yes, beloved. Satan deceives. Everyone. Always.

He’s probably deceiving you. If you’re afraid, it’s working.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Look at what Jesus said about the deceiver and his children in John 8:44.

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan lies to get what he wants. And his most deceived followers act just like him. He’s a murderer, and they murder. He deceives, and they deceive. They have set their will on carrying out their father’s desires, convinced the one who speaks to them is an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

If only the children of God lived as dedicated to His cause.

But we haven’t set our wills to carry out our Father’s desires. Instead we’ve allowed the deceiver to convince us to stay focused on our own. Instead of uniting in strength against our enemy, we fight one another. And instead of standing on the truth our Father’s Word proclaims, we have allowed the deceiver to fill our hearts with unbelief.

He has convinced us we can do nothing but hide and wait out the darkness. So we sit in our homes and point fingers of blame to justify our sorry state.

Perhaps it’s time for the people of God to open His Word and receive what it says.

Only one thing will prevail against the evil that threatens this earth, dear one. Jesus revealed the answer in Matthew 16:18.

 “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The deceiver doesn’t want you to know the power you wield, beloved. He’s tricked you into thinking you’re a powerless victim. But God’s Word says you’re anything but powerless.

You are the answer to the darkness.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3

Your Father never deceives, dear one. What He says always proves true.

And His Word tells us that evil will increase. Thick darkness will spread its cloak over the earth to smother all people. But our Father also delivers a glorious promise. The people of God needn’t fear the darkness.

Light has come, beloved. The glory of the Lord has risen. Did you notice where people will see it rising?

Upon you.

You hold the light capable of dispelling the darkness. Jesus gave it to you the moment you put your faith in Him. Now He asks you to believe and fervently join His agenda.

You must become who He is.

Darkness advances as the sons of the evil one more fully reveal their father. Light can only advance as the children of light take on the character of our Father.

Darkness advances as the sons of the evil one more fully reveal their father. We must reveal ours. Click To Tweet

Our Father does not fear the enemy. Our Father rests in truth. Our Father loves.

So must we.

A deceived world is desperate for truth. We must give it to them. Love is the way.

Light is, indeed, greater than the darkness. The One who lives in us is greater than the one who deceives the world.

Let’s show the world who Jesus really is.

Feeling Fine

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  

Psalm 51:6, NIV 1984

I have a family member who’s quite fond of telling us she’s fine. It’s her standard answer when asked how she’s doing. In sickness, loss, or even celebration, her response to us remains the same. “I’m fine”—even if she’s not.

I saw a movie once that gave a clever acronym for FINE: freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional.

Yep. That sounds about right.

We have a terrible habit of projecting one thing when in reality we’re really something else. It seems harmless. We’re not trying to hurt anyone. We simply don’t want to be a bother. No one needs to know what’s really going on inside. After all, what can they do? And more importantly, what would they think?

So we pretend to be something that we’re not. We say we feel one way when we actually feel another. Or we don’t speak what we really think; instead we speak what we think we should.

We often spend a good bit of our lives under a banner of pretense. Unfortunately, we have no idea the danger that puts us in.

Beloved, deception lies at the heart of every one of Satan’s schemes. More than what he does, it’s who he is. It’s Satan’s nature to deceive.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

When you and I deceive, dear one—even inadvertently—we share the nature of the enemy of our souls.

Ouch. Every time we stand on pretense instead of truth, we align ourselves with the father of lies. And we become tools in his schemes.

Gideon found that out the hard way. Last week we saw God use Gideon to defeat the Midianite army. I wish I could say that was the end of his story. Unfortunately, he had a little trouble with pretense. No wonder God desires truth in our inner parts. When they don’t match what we present on the outside, we can do all sorts of damage. Let’s take a look at Gideon’s story.

After his amazing victory, Israel rallied around Gideon and made a request.

The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Judges 8:22

Wait a minute. Who saved them from the hand of Midian? Let’s see how Gideon responded.

But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (Verse 23)

Well done, Gideon! He gave what appeared to be a very humble answer, didn’t he? He knew exactly what he should say, and he said it. Israel had no king. God Himself ruled and led them. That’s what made Israel different from every other nation. Gideon knew good and well who had given them the victory—even if the people were a bit confused about it—and he wasn’t about to challenge Him for the throne.

So Gideon declared that God alone would rule. Unfortunately, his actions declared something else.

And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” Judges 8:24

The people spread out a garment and happily tossed rings of gold into it for Gideon, a tribute normally reserved for kings.

The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. (verse 26)

He may not have accepted the title of king, but he certainly lived like one. Verse 30 records,

He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.

Scripture names only one of them in verse 31: Abimelech. You might be interested to know what the name means in the original Hebrew. Abimelech literally translates to, “My father is king.” [Strong’s, 40, p.1467]

I guess we can see what Gideon really believed in his “inner parts” (Psalm 51:6).

The inconsistency between what he said and what he held in his heart led him to twist God’s law to meet his own desires. He used some of the gold to make an ephod, a garment God had ordained for priests alone through which He would communicate direction to lead them. Judges 8:27 reveals,

Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

Gideon declared with his mouth that he would not rule. Then he asked for tribute and led God’s people right into idolatry.

Do you see why it’s so important for us to allow God to bring truth to our inner parts, beloved? Without a renewed nature, every one of us—even mighty men used greatly by God—can become a snare to His people.

Jesus beckons you to authenticity, dear one. Will you allow Him to change you from the inside out? Only the light within us will dispel the darkness around us. Let’s abandon pretense and put an end to the enemy’s schemes.

Show Me Your Glory

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

I have moments when darkness seems to engulf me. They don’t come frequently, but they do come. Sometimes things just don’t play out like I hoped they would. And in those moments, doubt takes over. It tries to convince me that the God who loves me has abandoned me.  Forsaken me.

Ever been there? I’m guessing you have. You and I will not follow Jesus very long before facing the oppression of adversity. When I say follow Jesus, I’m not talking about being a “proper” church going Christian with a pristine Bible and a painted smile. I’m talking about being a true disciple, committed to actively living by faith and trusting Jesus for God’s will instead of your own. The kind of disciple that makes the enemy quake in his boots a bit.

There are moments when that adversity comes when you will feel abandoned by God. The logic of your circumstances won’t align with what you committed to believe by faith, and the enemy will do all he can to convince you that God has forsaken you. After all, he is the deceiver and the father of lies (John 8:44).

I’d like to ask you to consider another possibility. Perhaps in those moments of greatest darkness, God has never been closer. And as you trust Him through the darkness and the first streams of light begin to filter into view, you will glimpse His glory like you’ve never seen it before.

How can I make such a statement?

“When my glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:22-23

These words of God came in response to Moses’ bold request, “Now show me your glory” (verse 18). God responded by saying, “I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.” (Verse 19)

I have chosen to live my life for the glory of the Lord. I want to see His glory poured out, and like Moses I have asked Him to reveal it. I’m pretty certain I haven’t made the enemy happy with that request.

As I walk by faith toward the revelation of His goodness, the enemy seeks to keep me from it. He uses every weapon in his arsenal—deception, fear, doubt—to make me turn back. But as I choose to stand on God’s promises, something beautiful happens. My God hides me in the cleft of the rock and covers me with His hand. In that moment, the darkness is thickest, yet He is nearest. While the enemy whispers that God has forsaken me, He is actually holding me in His grasp, causing all His goodness to pass by and proclaiming His name, the LORD, in my presence.

You see, we cannot see God coming. We can’t stare head on into the fullness of His glory and survive the experience, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (verse 20).

And so as He approaches to meet us in our need, He covers us with His hand. Darkness looms, not because it’s winning, but because in that moment, we are unable to see the light of His glory. But as it passes by and He removes His protective hand, we have the privilege of seeing His glory as it departs.

Have you ever noticed how you can’t see God’s handprint in a circumstance until after it’s over? In the midst of it, you can’t see Him anywhere, but afterward you begin to recognize His mark all over the place. When that happens, dear one, He has hidden you in the cleft of the rock and caused His glory to pass by.

Darkness will come, beloved, but so will the glory of your God.

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  Isaiah 43:1-3

Notice that this isn’t an “if” promise. Adversity will come. If you and I are going to journey with Jesus to the mountain of the Lord, we will pass through swirling rivers and raging waters. We will face the heat of blazing flames. But take heart in this truth, beloved. We will never face them alone. And as we tuck ourselves under the shelter of the Most High, committed to stand on His truth and renounce the enemy’s lies, whatever the enemy brings cannot hurt us. In fact, as we walk on in step with Jesus, trusting His will even when we don’t understand, we set the stage to witness glory.

I pray you have discovered a few truths to stand on when the darkness comes. Let me leave you with one more. Why does God promise to be with us in our difficulties? To walk with us through turbulent waters and raging fires?

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

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