Written by His Grace,

Kevin K. OíConnor

Nov. 05, 2004

 

Main thought: to examine the dangers of seeking a sign

 

Seeking a Sign

 

Matthew 24 23At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

 

Matthew 7 21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

 

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Whole Chapter: Psalm 19 In context: Psalm 19:1-2)

 

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Whole Chapter: Hebrews 11 In context: Hebrews 11:5-7)

 

Seeking a sign. Looking for a physical proof. People who say that they need a sign to believe in God are like people who say that they need a sign to believe that an artist painted a beautiful painting.No wonder our Lord tells people like this; Matthew 12:38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." (Whole Chapter: Matthew 12 In context: Matthew 12:37-39) Matthew 12:39 He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Whole Chapter: Matthew 12 In context: Matthew 12:38-40)

 

Have you ever wondered why those who are not seeking a sign receive one and then those who do, donít? God is seeking a relationship with people who are hungry for truth. He is not one to be treated like some magic Genie from a bottle who grants us our selfish wishes; James 4:3 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. . He desires to give people more than a body full of health, a bank account filled with wealth or a head full of knowledge. How sad it is for those who have heard the wonderful story of Godís incredible love and then after coming to Him, think that they can then take advantage of His goodness for their own selfish gain. It seems that we as people are not only good at doing this with our relationship with Him, but also with each other. We tend to grow comfortable with those that we have come to know and then our love begins to become a routine rather than a passionate relationship. It seems that the only thing worse than saying no to Christ is to say Yes to Him but living as if we never did. No wonder God tells us in Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarmĖneither hot nor coldĖI am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:15-17) It seems that one of the greatest weapons satan has in his arsenal are those who have heard the voice of Christ and then choose to live a half hearted or unbalanced walk with Christ. By unbalanced I mean one who is so focused on a particular truth from Godís Word that theyíre missing the many others. Then, when these try to spread their unbalanced doctrine around, it just magnifies the problem. Matthew 5:19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.(Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:18-20) One thing that angers me the most are those who have just enough truth to be dangerous and yet not enough truth to be changed. Many times these are like people who discover a teeter-totter. And, instead of learning the joy of finding the center of the teeter-totter where they can enjoy balancing both ends off of the ground, they are quick to jump on one end and lack the joy of finding balance. Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. (Whole Chapter: Proverbs 11 In context: Proverbs 11:1-2) Proverbs 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. (Whole Chapter: Proverbs 20 In context: Proverbs 20:22-24) One of the problems with revelation is that we tend to wrap our hearts around new truths and thus become deaf to the many other truths He desires to teach us. Kind of like a child that wraps its fist around a gift. The problem with that is that their hands are so tightly wrapped around their initial gift, theyíre unable to receive any more. Learning how to speak with our mouths what God says in His Word is important. But, when we become so focused on this beautiful revelation it wonít become long before we become name it and claim it/ blab it and grab it type Christians. Believing God is fully capable of healing anyone He desires is great. But, becoming so focused on our physical healing that we miss the greater depths of healing He may be trying to perform is not good. Oh how we need to learn to listen not just to those portions of Godís Word that sounds good, but to listen and apply ALL of His Word He speaks to us; Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'[ 4:4 Deut. 8:3] " (Whole Chapter: Matthew 4 In context: Matthew 4:3-5) Being whole hearted in doing what you feel to be the will of God and maybe missing the mark, is better than taking His love for granted and living a complacent, fruitless life. God is going to judge people in what we know, not what we donít. James 4 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. And notice how the following scripture has us ask ourselves to consider the different severities of punishment for those who heard about Godís Love expressed through His Son, and those who havenít; Hebrews 10:28-30 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[1] and again, "The Lord will judge his people."[2]

 

Have you ever noticed how comfortable we become with those we live with? Itís funny how respectful we can be with total strangers but as soon as we get to know them, our attitudes and behaviors toward them change. We need to guard our hearts from becoming complacent towards those in our immediate families and those God brings into our lives.God hates lazy, complacent, self-righteous, pride filled lives. But, for those who keep the fire of love aflame, who realize that they will never come to a full understanding of knowledge until we see Him and who realize that no person is greater than anyone else, will be the ones who may find fullness of joy by learning how to seek God; Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:5-7) It seems that all of life is about overcoming challenges. Just as life works to oppose death, death works to oppose life. Just as life works to oppose gravity, gravity is continually working at pulling life down to the earth. Those who are not working against the tide are flowing with it. We need to realize that if we are going to obtain great reward, we must be willing to work for it. There is great reward for one who realizes that life is not of ourselves, and that any strength, desire, or abilities we have to overcome all opposing challenges, do not originate with us, but originate from Christ. Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Whole Chapter: Philippians 2 In context: Philippians 2:12-14) Jesus is coming back but only for overcomers; Revelation 2:26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nationsĖ (Whole Chapter: Revelation 2 In context: Revelation 2:25-27) AND, Revelation 3:5

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:4-6) AND, Revelation 3:12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

(Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:11-13) AND, Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:20-22) AND, Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Whole Chapter: Revelation 21 In context: Revelation 21:6-8)

 

God Bless every heart to realize that there are rewards beyond imagine for every heart that is willing to press in to receive them. There will be those who will be like doubting Thomas who need to see a sign and their reward will be minimal; John 20:27-2927Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.". Then, there will be those who will hear Godís call to live for Him in spite of what we can see, hear, touch or taste and their rewards will be great. Seeing is not necessarily what develops depth of character, satan at one time was actually a very important member in Heaven, The Israelites were actually lead through on dry land that was just hours earlier a sea bed and while in the wilderness ate bread from Heaven, yet, neither one of these showed where these incredible experiences developed depth of character. Satan, turned his back on God and almost all of those Israelites grumbled and complained to God. Is it any wonder then, that those who focus their energies on receiving a sign today arenít given one and then those who arenít seeking a sign are given one? It seems that God wants to be the focus of our hearts, not for what He can do, but for Who He is.Oh how shallow we can be to get so wrapped up around our temporary comforts in this world that are here and gone and neglect those things that truly count. Take note of how God feels about our physical welfare; Matthew 18 8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. To Him, the most important part of our being is our soul which will never die. Please note the following scripture; 3 John 1:2 2Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.Please note that God wants us to prosper and be in health but not at the cost of our eternal welfare. Unfortunately, there will be many who will not listen to these truths of Godís heart and only focus themselves on the gifts of Godís hands and will persist in seeking Him only for what He can do and not who He is. Thus, God will many times answer peopleís persistent requests only to their own destruction. Take note of how God handled the Israelites request for something they thought was for their best but wasnít; 1 Samuel 8:4-9 4So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead [1] us, such as all the other nations have." 6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD . 7And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do." Many times God will go ahead and grant requests to our own detriment if we persist. How something in my heart winces when I see people becoming consumed with excitement at the presence of miracle services. Or, when they smother themselves with books and people who talk about miracles of the flesh. This sounds so similar to when our Lord had miraculously provided food for people to eat as annotated here in John 6:25-27 25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" 26Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." We get so consumed with what we can see and our minds can comprehend, we miss the author of Life standing right in front of us. I love the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when their lives were threatened with death via a fiery furnace and their response to the King was; Daniel 3: 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Now had this same scenario been presented to those consumed with the miraculous workings of God they would have been naming it and claiming it. Something like ďitís not Godís will for us to perish like this so get behind me satan!Ē Or maybe ďYou can throw us in there but we will not burnĒ. But Instead, their response was beautiful to the moving of God on their behalf. They said "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Their confession stated that they knew God had the power to deliver them, BUT! Even if he chose not to that was ok because they were still going to obey God rather than man. WOW, we need that kind of faith today. That kind of Faith is still looking for lives to abide in, and every once in a while, it finds a home like the heart of Joni Erickson Tada who lives for God not because of what He CAN DO, but because of WHO HE IS! http://www.joniandfriends.org/

 

For those who are so consumed with the workings of God like the supernatural gifts, let me remind them that satan can imitate every supernatural gift there is like speaking in tongues, signs and wonders, faith to move mountains, healing, BUT, he cannot imitate the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Those fruits are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and self control; Galations 5:22&23 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. This must be why our Lord tells us in; Matthew 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Whole Chapter: Matthew 7 In context: Matthew 7:15-17) And, that must be why He also tells us in; 1 Corinthians 13 1If I speak in the tongues[1] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[2] but have not love, I gain nothing. You will note, that Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be imitated by satan. But, you will also notice many other wonderful acts that have been listed there, but they can be done without Love.

 

I believe that God is trying to ready the Bride of His Son for the great wedding feast that will be taking place soon. I also believe that He wants us to put the focus of our hearts not on the things of Christ but Christ Himself. If He is what becomes our heartís desire, than I believe He will be the one transforming us into His image; Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Whole Chapter: Psalm 37 In context: Psalm 37:3-5) And what should be the desire of every believer? To be like Christ! Remember, He laid all of His wealth and possessions aside that He may be emptied out for us. How are we emptying ourselves out for Him? Iím afraid that many Christians are getting caught up in what we will become instead of who we should be now. Today we should be learning how to weep with those that weep and giving of ourselves so that others may live. Not padding our own bank accounts, and feeding the lust of our flesh with any desire it fancies.

 

God help us to put aside the attitude of seeking a sign and open our eyes to the sign He has already given us in His Son! Where is our focus today? Is it on the miracles of Christ or is it on Christ of the miracles? He needs to be at the center of our focus and the center of our Hearts. When that happens, He will do great and mighty things in our lives not because we sought them, but because we sought Him!

 

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the wonderful signs given us in Your Son. Teach our hearts to focus on Your Sonís heart and not the working of His hands so that You may do great and mighty things thru us unto Your Glory, Honor, and Praise. In Jesus Matchless, Eternal, Glorious Name, Amen.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, [ 9:10 Hebrew [ Sheol ] ] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Whole Chapter: Ecclesiastes 9 In context: Ecclesiastes 9:9-11)  

 

Romans 1:18-32 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.


21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.


24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

 

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