These signs shall follow those that believe…

1 Mar

Serious question: Have you ever pondered what sign you would like to accompany your life?

Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18,

 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

And of course this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the signs that shall follow God’s people, because Jesus ‘raises the bar’ for us in John 14:12,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

Jesus established what was possible through His life on earth, but because He went to the Father He’s made it possible for us to do “greater things” than He did.  And if they are “greater”, then it’s possible that they haven’t even been listed in the Bible.  Now if we won’t accept anything that is NOT in the Bible, then we’re going to have trouble with Jesus’ declaration that we will do “greater works”.  But this also begs the question, “How would we know whether a ‘sign’ is from God or not?”  I believe that Rev 19:10 gives us one method to judge by,

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We don’t worship angels… nor do we worship signs.  But let’s highlight the last sentence (my paraphrase); “whenever Holy Spirit speaks, He points to and magnifies Jesus.”   In short, when we see a sign, we ask, “Does it make Jesus look bigger and better in our eyes and does it make us fall more in love with Jesus?”

It’s obvious that the five signs that Jesus listed in Mk 16:17-18 occur in our world today… albeit, some more often than others.  But are there other signs present in our modern world that we could validate as bona fide God-signs?  Of course, that’s an easy question to answer when we look at the preponderance of good fruit associated with the signs.  A quick list of some of those signs might be; gold, shaking, cloud of His presence, feathers, rain from clear skies and indoors, oil, gold teeth, manna, gem stones… just to name a few.

So there really ARE signs today!  And they’re for all of us!  But lest we succumb to false humility eschewing anything so ‘lofty’ as a sign, consider Apostle Paul who said, “Earnestly desire spiritual gifts” (see I Cor 14:1).  There it is, a direct admonition to ‘strongly contend’ for Heaven’s resources.  God is eager to “show Himself strong to the one whose heart is completely His” (see II Chron 16:9).

Here’s the question again, “What sign do you want to accompany your life?”

levitating2

What if…..

Well, I’ll let you in on a singular sign that has always gripped my imagination, my dreams and even at times, my prayers.  At special times a very gentle but superior Force that eclipses our earth’s gravity empowers me, such that I rise (or fly) off of the ground when being enabled by the Spirit of God.  That’s right, when the Lord’s presence is resting in a special way, I’ve ‘seen’ myself in dreams and in my ‘golden’ imagination effortlessly floating and flying above the ground.  In my youth it was just what I called, ‘body flying’, but in later years it is almost always associated with a spiritual impact happening at the time.  I’ve even had dreams so vivid and impacting that when I awoke I was as sure of my ability to fly as I was of anything around me.  I knew that I had discovered how to ‘fly’.  In fact, there have been times when talking with like minded friends and in a moment of heightened passion we’ve together taken a ‘leap of faith’…  I’m sorry to say that ‘flying’ hasn’t happened in my physical existence yet, but it has happened many times in my ‘other’ world.

I’ll take it a step further.  You know how we do teachings on how to receive the gifts of the Spirit, etc?  Well, I’ve had dreams where I’m actually teaching a congregation how to ‘fly’ by receiving the Gift of Levitation in the Spirit.  Just as John Wimber hosted healing clinics where everyone got to “do the stuff”, I modeled flying and then imparted faith for this gift to those present.  And it was so easy.  It’s not a man-thing at all.  And it’s not about goose bumps or lightning bolts.  It’s just becoming simple-minded and being enthralled in His presence upon you.  As our mind quiets down and our faith gets opened up… our physical reality catches up.  Did you hear that, it literally, gets ‘caught up’.  I’m confident this will really happen!

So while you’re pondering this whole idea, I’ll leave you with this very strange and wonderful sign of levitation that suddenly overtook a young man in 1630.  Unfortunately, the religious system of the day was too stiff and insecure to recognize that the fruit of this man’s life was benefiting everyone… except the jealous leaders around him.  I believe we will host and steward a new gift and sign better today.  

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Joseph was born in 1603 in Cupertino, Apulia.  On Oct 4, 1630, the town of Cupertino held a procession on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Joseph was assisting in the procession when he suddenly soared into the sky, where he remained hovering over the crowd.  When he descended and realized what had happened, he became so embarrassed that he fled to his mother’s house and hid.

Joseph’s life changed dramatically after this incident.  His flights continued and came with increasing frequency.  His superiors, alarmed at his lack of control, forbade him from community exercises, believing he would cause too great a distraction for the friary. For the fact was, Joseph could not contain himself.  On hearing the names of Jesus or Mary, the singing of hymns during the feast of St. Francis, or while praying at Mass, he would go into a dazed state and soar into the air, remaining there until a superior commanded him under obedience to revive.

The mere mention of God or a spiritual matter was enough to take him out of his senses; at Mass he frequently floated in the air in rapture.  Once as Christmas carols were being sung, he soared to the high altar and knelt in the air, rapt in prayer.  The most spectacular experiences were his flying to images placed high above the altars and helping workmen to erect a Calvary Cross thirty-six feet high by lifting it into place in mid-air ‘as if it were straw’.  Ten men had previously failed to lift it.  Such feats earned him the nickname ‘the Flying Friar’

God began to work many amazing miracles through St. Joseph.  Over seventy times, people saw him rise from the ground while saying mass or praying.  Often he went into ecstasy and would remain completely enraptured, talking with God.  He became so holy that everything he saw made him think of God, and he said that all the troubles of this world were nothing but the “play” battles children have with popguns.  St. Joseph became so famous for the miracles that he was kept hidden, but he was happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord.

Joseph was accused of attracting undue attention with his “flights”, and claiming to perform miracles.  The people flocked to him in droves seeking help and advice in the confessional, and he converted many to a truly Christian life.  However, this humble man had to endure many severe trials and terrible temptations throughout his life.  His notoriety was not well received by his superiors, which resulted in an Inquisition (he was shortly cleared and released), exile and solitude so as to curb his involvement with the people.  Joseph endured his ordeal with great patience.  He died on September 18, 1663.

Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

All information, quotes and excerpts about Joseph of Cupertino were secured from here and related web links.   Artist rendering of St Joseph

– MLH

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4 Responses to “These signs shall follow those that believe…”

  1. Jeff Rasmussen March 22, 2013 at 10:15 PM #

    This is always a fear that somehow comes up, that people will start to only chase the signs and wonders of God, and not a relationship with Him. However if we are missing the relationship we are likely to miss the sign I think. What are your thoughts?

    • marklhen March 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM #

      Both His hand and his face/heart are His ‘gifts’ to us. If we only receive His face/heart and reject His hand/gifts, what would that do to His heart? Yes, relationship is the only way that His hand and gifts have true and lasting meaning. But I Cor 14:1 says that we should “desire earnestly the best gifts…” So, evidently desiring gifts is OK!! Even EARNESTLY desiring them! Isa 7:11 says, “Ask for me a sign, whether in the heavens above or earth below…” I think that the mindset that creates fear of ‘sign chasing’ is probably rooted in self-preoccupation and deficient in God-preoccupation… and hasn’t experienced how good God’s heart is. When we experience how good He is, we’ll find that “perfect love drives out fear”.

  2. sherryoliversblog June 29, 2017 at 3:29 PM #

    I too have flown in dreams/visions with the experience being so real I could feel the wind, see all the details, and just felt such joy in the Lord. I also have walked on water in such dreams/visions (and have been frustrated at times in these visions because I could not walk on water and knew I was supposed to be able to do so). In these experiences I have no doubt but that the ability is one that comes from God and strengthens my faith. These experiences have for me just reinforced that in Christ all things are possible. I have kept these to myself, but I know that my faith in God and in all that He is able to do is strengthened by them. They are not something to brag on, but something to treasure. They have helped me to “see” what is not as though it is. I had forgotten about these experiences until you shared this. It is good to be reminded, especially since now my body is so limited in what it can do by illness. I’ve also been taken to heaven and to hell in such visions. The reality of these experiences has changed my understanding of the world both seen and unseen.

    • Mark Hendrickson June 29, 2017 at 4:49 PM #

      Little by little we’re discovering and uncovering the liberties and rights that we as Kingdom saints have been afforded by the Cross and Resurrection. They’ve been robbed from us for too long by ‘someone’ who wants to keep us from our full identity… because when we find who we really are, the disorder of this world will begin to come into the right order that was intended from the beginning. So I love dreaming and pondering of being ‘caught up’. Gravity be warned!!!!

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