Happy New Year! Welcome to year 2023, Our Year of Signs and Wonders. The year that the impossible shall become possible to you. Yes, the year that God will do for you what only him can do. Throughout the scripture, at every point when God’s people want to give in, or become hopeless about something, God shows up and reassures them that he is the God of signs and wonders. He makes ways where there seem to be no way. In Genesis 21:17-19 we see Hagar turn away her face from her son Ishmael who was dying of thirst. But God heard his cry and opened her eyes to see a well of water: “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.  Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.  And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” In this New Year, God will open your eyes to see your open doors. He will make a way for you where there seems to be no way. The Bible says, “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it…”. Revelation 3:7-8 KJV. The doors God will open for you this year shall remain open forever. His blessing upon your life shall be forever. No power of darkness shall be able to mess with your blessing in Jesus name.
Similarly, in Genesis chapter 18 we see how God came down to reassure Abraham and his wife Sarah that nothing is impossible with him. At over ninety years of age, God knew the faith of Sarah concerning bearing a child had dwindled away, so he visited them, saying, “I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:10-14 KJV
Is any thing too hard for the Lord? The answer is certainly, no. With God all things are possible, and with God nothing shall be impossible. Matthew 19:26 Luke 1:37. When God called Moses, and asked to go to Pharaoh and demand the freedom of the children of Israel, Moses was like, ‘God, are you out of your mind, I am a fugitive, and you want to go confront the person I am running away from.’ But God insisted and told him I will be with you:
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.  And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?  And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” Exodus 3:10-12 KJV
In year 2023, it’s not going to be about you, your social standing will not count, what will count is that God is with you. God will work through you to do amazing things, to do what only him can do. In Ezekiel chapter 37:1-10, God took Ezekiel, showed him a valley full of dry bones, scattered all over the valley. When God asked asked him whether the bones he saw could live again, Ezekiel could not answer in the affirmative. Of course, nobody in his right mind would think such hopelessness can be revived. But when he obeyed God in prophesying, the dry bones became a standing army: “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God ; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” Ezekiel 37:7-10 KJV
He prophesied as he was commanded and the supernatural occurred. God will not only use you to demonstrate his wonders, he will use you to make it happen in the lives of others as well. Whatever you ask to go in the lives of people will go, and whatever you ask to come will come.
It is pertinent for us to understand that miracles, signs and wonders are required proofs for the world to believe that we are of God. Everyone that is born again must be a wonder. Listen to what Jesus said about the born again believer, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8 KJV. You are born of the Spirit to be a wonder to this world. Just as no one can fully understand the wind, nobody will be able to explain the happenings in your life from this time forward. Logic and human principles will not be able to account for the signs and wonders that will be your portion in this year 2023. Spiritually speaking, this is not far fetched; if God is wonderful, and one of his names is wonderful, what stops us from being wonderful. The life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ was wonderful; his immaculate birth, his ministry was full of miracles and wonders. Jesus is the first born of the brethren. Your life too shall be full of signs and wonders. Carefully reading the following scriptures will help us appreciate the point being made:
Exodus 15:11 KJV – Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Isaiah 9:6 KJV – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
John 1:12-13 KJV – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Acts 2:22 KJV – Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
John 20:21 KJV – Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
As Christians we are born into the family of signs and wonders. Signs and wonders is in our DNA, Jesus Christ lived it, and he wants you to live it. But how can we live it? What must we do in order to manifest the power of God to our generation? And for those of us that are concerned about the great commission, of preaching the gospel to all nations and making disciples, we must understand that the only way we can accomplish this mission is by the manifestation of the power of God. We cannot win the world to Christ by oratory. We need naked miracles, signs and wonders to win this world to Christ. So, what must must we do?
The first key to commanding miracles, signs and wonders is obedience to divine instruction. When Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded, the unusual happened. God reversed the irreversible. In John 2:1-11 Jesus performed his first miracle. But that miracle occurred because the mother of our Lord Jesus had instructed the attendants at the wedding saying, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Miracles will abound in our lives when we become doers of his word. We must learn to subjugate our human feelings and emotions when they are at variance with the word of God, if we must master obedience. The word of God must become the final authority in our lives, above our feelings and even our experiences. The story in Luke 5:1-9 is a perfect illustration of this. When Peter was instructed by Jesus to launch out for a draught, Peter initially hesitated because his experience told him it was going to be a wasted effort. But when he yielded, see what happened “… Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” Luke 5:5-6 KJV. He allowed the word of God to prevail over his own thought process. He obeyed, although that was not the line of action he would have naturally taken. It is imperative that we note what is said in verse 6. It was when they obeyed the instruction to “launch out” that they enclosed a great multitude of fish. It doesn’t matter how much we claim to know God, until we learn obedience, we are not ready to operate in the supernatural. Let’s see how Apostle James puts it: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25 (KJV). Let us stop deceiving ourselves and start acting on God’s word and we shall be blessed indeed.
Another equally important key to commanding signs and wonders is faith. Jesus told Martha that if she believes she will see the glory of God; “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” John 11:40 (KJV). And in Mark 11:22,23 we are commanded to have faith in God, meaning have God’s kind of faith, which is the speaking faith: “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Faith is therefore fundamentally believing and speaking what we believe. I say fundamentally because there are various definitions of faith in the Bible and people tend to understand the word faith differently. 2 Corinthians 4:13 (KJV) talks of the spirit of faith meaning the core or the fundamental of faith: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;”. The spirit of faith in this verse is believing and speaking. In other words, when we believe God’s word in our hearts and speak what we believe we are walking in faith. This is how we received the greatest miracle; the miracle of salvation is received when we believe Jesus in our hearts and confess him with our mouths. Romans 10:8-10 (KJV) puts it this way: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
God imputed righteousness on Abraham for believing God. And in Romans chapter 4 we are told that he staggered not at the promises of God, giving glory to God. Carefully read through these scriptures:
 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the Lord ; and he counted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:5-6 KJV
 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:17-25 KJV
Therefore, the very successful and wonderful life of Abraham was rooted in his faith. And this was not written just for his sake, it has be written for us as well; we are expected to emulate the faith demonstrated by Abraham. When we exercise faith in Jesus, on his redemptive work on the cross of Calvary, on his name, word and promises, signs and wonders follow us. Peter walked on water as long as his faith was strong, as long as his focus was purely on God’s word that said ‘come’. He started sinking when his focus was taken from Jesus:”And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31 KJV
The place of faith in commanding signs and wonders cannot be overemphasized. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23 KJV. Faith is your key to walking in the supernatural, it is what allow you to operate in the realm of God. Look at it again, “all things are possible to him that believeth.” And compare with Matthew 19:26 (KJV) that says, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Or with Luke 1:37 (KJV) that says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Remember that it is with faith that we can cast the mountain into the sea: “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Mark 11:23 KJV. You shall have whatever you are believing God for, as you speak in prayer and make declarations in Jesus name. In year 2023, the goodness of God will be at your beck and call in Jesus.
The final key, and by no means the least of the of the keys of commanding signs and wonders is in stepping out to accomplish the great commission. The great commission is clearly stated in Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV). It is called great commission because the success of the entire agenda of God and the ministry of Jesus here on earth depend on it. This commission therefore has the total backing of heaven. Anyone that steps out in line with this commission is followed with signs. Mark 16:20 make this very clear: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV).
“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:20 KJV
Signs and wonders are bound to follow us when we are on the move. Philip was on the move, he went to Samaria with the gospel. Acts 8:5-8 (KJV) says, “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them : and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.” Countless signs and wonders awaits you this year as you make up your mind to run with the great commission. Let’s reach out to people far and near with the gospel and with the kindness of God.
Our focus this year shall therefore be on the keys of commanding signs and wonders. We shall emphasize obedience in our preachings and teachings, as well as in our daily lives. We understand from scriptures that obedience is better than sacrifice, and that rebellion is tantamount to the sin of witchcraft. See what the Bible says, “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” We must detest and flee from disobedience, rebellion, and stubbornness, like plagues. These can mess you up big time. Disobedience cost King Saul his throne and dynasty. Achan and his entire household were stoned to death because of disobedience. We also know that Dathan and Abiram were buried alive together with their entire families and belongings: “And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 11:6 KJV. Many Christians are not walking in signs and wonders today because they don’t yet appreciate the power of walking in obedience before God. In 2023 we shall abound in this understanding.
We shall also focus on faith. We understand from scripture that faith comes by hearing the word of God. We must therefore position ourselves to hear from God. Reading and studying the Bible are some of the ways we can position ourselves to hear from God. Spending quality time in the place of prayer and listening to anointed preachers can also position you to hear from God. In addition to these, God can also speak directly to you. The faith of Abraham and Sarah skyrocketed when God appeared to them in Genesis 18 and spoke these words directly to them: “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.  And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is any thing too hard for the Lord ? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:10,13-14 KJV. We see the effect of this divine interaction in Hebrew 11:11 which says, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” My prayer for you is that you will abundantly hear from God in year 2023 and your faith will grow beyond measure. Praying in the Holy Spirit is another way we can boost our faith. Jude 1:20 (KJV) says, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”. We must all cultivate the habit of praying in the spirit for at least 30 minutes, whenever we pray.
Finally, as a church, we are done preaching and teaching about evangelism, in year 2023 we shall focus our efforts on going out of the four corners of the church to preach the gospel where the sinners are. The anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ took him everywhere, doing good and healing and setting the oppressed free. Acts 10:38. Sinners generally don’t come to church, and since know that Jesus Christ did not come for the righteous, but for sinners, we must work out way of ministering to sinners. Emphasis shall therefore be placed on prison, hospital, and the homeless ministry. Great things happen when we do the things that are very dear to God. Publishing the gospel of Christ and going about doing good were things that were dear to him. Year 2023 shall answer to you in Jesus name. By the grace of God, you will walk in obedience to the word of God, you will walk in faith, and run with the vision of the great commission in Jesus name. And as a result, signs and wonders shall become normal occurrences in your life in the matchless name of Jesus. I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
Pastor Ebi Thourn