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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Signs and Wonders

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:3 KJV

“By the way,” read the text. “My sinus trouble cleared up right after you prayed for healing.”

I read the text in wonder. When my friend told me he was sick, I immediately prayed for healing. God had indeed sent a “sign and wonder” to affirm His power and the power of His word. I thought back to my own ignorance regarding the gifting of signs and wonders when giving testimony unto the word of his grace. I simply didn’t understand the power the Bible promised would be granted to me. I didn’t have the faith that what I prayed for would be done and without faith, it is impossible to please God.

For the first few years I traveled as an apostle and evangelist, I didn’t pray for people to be healed physically. I ministered but didn’t exercise what was my right and responsibility under the word of God. Then I sat through an evangelism class with Riley Stephenson with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. He encouraged us to lead people to Christ and then ask them if they had any physical needs that needed prayer.

I told my mentor Rev. Ron Fuller, who was also in the class, that I didn’t pray for physical healing with people.

Surprised, he asked, “Why not?”

“Oh,” I explained. “I don’t have the gift of healing. You and Riley do but I don’t. I don’t want to mislead people.”

“Cheryle,” he said. “When you are giving the gospel, you can claim healing under your evangelism call to give testimony to the power of God. The apostles often prayed for healing as they traveled. It was a Biblical demonstration of the signs and wonders of God.”

I must admit that I was dubious. We left after the class to go evangelizing at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival so I couldn’t confirm Ron’s words in my Bible. Because I trust his Biblical knowledge and understanding, I decided to try it. I led a young woman to Christ. Afterward, I asked if there was anything else I could pray for.

“My sunburn,” she said. She had red hair, was fair skinned, barefooted, and wearing a very skimpy bathing suit. She was beet red from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes.

Feeling a little foolish, I laid hands on her and prayed for sun protection in the name of the Jesus she had just invited to be her Savior. As we said, “Amen,” two young men ran up, both carrying bottles of sun screen, and in a wild spraying frenzy, they covered her entire body in sunscreen, including the part in her hair. Without saying a word, they ran off.

“Wow,” said the woman, her faith and decision to accept Christ completely affirmed. “I guess prayer really works.” Yes, God had demonstrated his power through “signs and wonders.”

I did go home to check out the scriptures regarding signs and wonders. They are promised 56 times, starting in Exodus and going through the book of Hebrews. Yes, God does promise that power to those of us giving the Gospel. If the Bible says it, I believe it and that is the end of that. If I believe it, I certainly am going to claim it.

Since then, when giving the gospel, I’ve prayed for many things. I pray with the authority that it will be granted in the name of Jesus Christ. I depend on prayer for myself. When I got sick just before the Ohio Halloween Block Party, I asked for prayer in my Facebook Intercessory Prayer group. When Rev. Ron Fuller and Riley Stephenson both messaged that they were praying, I had no doubt that I would be well enough to do the event. I was and I was not surprised.

If you are like me, you may wonder why God does not heal or send a “sign and wonder” every single time we ask. I asked God about about that. His answer, “Trust me. I know what I’m doing.” After all, God knows when a “sign and wonder” is necessary to demonstrate His power. Who am I to question Him? Watching “signs and wonders” in wonder is one of the many benefits of being obedient to the call to fulfill the Great Commission.

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