Acceleration Through Accelebration: Wonders and Signs Follow
Paul L. Garlington
 
“And they were continually devoting themselves (remember devotion from the heart guarantees continuity) to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles (or apostolic community).” (Acts 2:42-43) And so we conclude this segment of our series on Acceleration Through Accelebration by looking more closely at what is meant by “wonders and signs”.

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, ‘Look at us!’ And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you; In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” (Acts 3:1-7)

Jesus had declared that of all that the Father has given us, we should lose nothing. Perfect health is the gift of the Father. Therefore, if you are not presently enjoying perfect health, take heart, it is the Father’s will that of all that He has given you, you lose nothing. There is utterly no justification for relegating the restoration of perfect health to some future, indeterminate period. To Peter and John, this would be inconceivable and inconsistent with the gospel.

The time has come to rejoice in the restoration of perfect health. Joy is the indisputable sign that you have embraced the kingdom as present reality. Hence, Jesus confirms the times of restoration when He says, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Lk 7: 22) Accordingly, for all practitioners of THE teaching, signs and wonders were the order of the day. To all those who would enter the joy of God’s finished kingdom, Peter’s inspired counsel was, “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...” (Acts 3:19)

In this reference, refreshing literally means recreation. It comes from the Latin which means restoration. As we celebrate with joy the consciousness of God’s presence, yes even with the abandon of children at play, we experience times of refreshing that are nothing less than recreative and restorative. The glorious fall-out of times of refreshing is the joyful discovery that nothing is lost: perfect health, abundant wealth, all good things are present in omnipresence. Wonders and signs are synonymous with times of refreshing.

“To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Deut 4:35) This revelation is the basis of all true repentance. We are repenting of giving power, presence, and intelligence to anything other than the One besides whom there is none other. Repentance towards God is the only path to restoration. Any other kind of repentance is a total waste of time and energy. There is only one God, and this God is not the possession of any religion, race, or culture. This one God, the nameless, infinite One, who antedates and transcends religion, is the One to whom all must turn. “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” (Deut 4:39)

Hence, in order to experience daily wonders and signs called times of refreshing, I would recommend (See Deuteronomy 4:22-31) the following:
  1. Seek the Lord from where you are (v. 29). “But from there...”, the place of captivity, the place of bondage, the place where you are languishing is the place from which you seek God. You can seek the Lord in that barren place where you find yourself.

  2. You must seek with ALL your heart. This absolute devotion to the One besides whom there’s none other, is not negotiable. As scripture declares, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” And again, “I am the Lord, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another.” Moreover, this seeking with one’s heart must occur on a feeling level. “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might FEEL after Him, and find Him...” (Acts 17:27 KJV) In the absence of this key ingredient, it could only be said of such a One, “...this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of traditions learned by rote...” (Is 29:13) Feelings don’t lie, but we have all at some time or another lied about our feelings. Nevertheless, the scriptures still insist, “Let all that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee.” And therefore, “With joy shall He draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Is 12:2 KJV)

  3. It is the consciousness of God’s omnipresence that we seek. David in a time of extreme, protracted famine that threatened many of his people sought the presence of God. Why? Because he knew that in God’s presence there’s fullness of joy, nothing is ever lacking. And since there is nowhere that God is absent, all sense of lack is directly related to the loss of the consciousness of God’s omnipresence. Hence, even in your worst case scenario, if you can stop and sense/feel the consciousness of God’s presence, you will joyfully discover that absolute peace prevails. Furthermore, you literally will become a blessing and benediction to everything and everyone that concerns you in that situation. When Paul and Silas sought the consciousness of God’s omnipresence in prison, the foundations of that confine shook and everybody’s chains were loosed. All worry about your family, or anyone else, is a futile distraction. Just abide in God consciousness and watch God perfect what concerns you.

  4. Receive times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The consciousness of God’s omnipresence, times of refreshing, and signs and wonders are simultaneous realities. God gave Solomon a covenant promise that, “If they (Israel) take thought in the land where they have been taken captive...and repent…If they return to [Thee] with all their heart,” (1 Kngs 8: 17) that He would hear their prayer and restore the fortunes of Israel, even in the land of captivity. Again, please notice that you can take thought even in a foreign land of bondage, poverty, sickness, unfulfillment or lack of any kind. You have only to take thought there and return there, and your captivity will be turned there. If on the other hand, you are in that land insisting on being a victim, you will only perpetuate your undesirable state. If, however, you will dare to say, “I am responsible for the state in which I find myself,” and proceed to act accordingly, your captivity has, in fact, already turned. Moreover, the expression “take thought” literally means, “return to your heart”, i.e., come back to total, non-negotiable devotion to the One.
King Solomon’s answered prayer had also included the request that, “If they return to Thee with all their heart (i.e., if there is ignited within them a passion of devotion to the One that is nothing less than a magnificent obsession)...,” that God would, “...Make them objects of compassion before those who had taken them captive...” (1 Kngs 8: 48, 50) Obviously in such an occurrence, those who were formerly victimizers are now glad facilitators in the refreshing and restoration of those who repent and return....

Selah!
 
 

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