Discerning Signs
By Petronia Laine

God, Our Father gives us miracles that we may know He exists. We may already be loving God or we may not know Him at the time we hear of or experience a miracle. Miracles of God are for His glory that we may be transformed in the Holy Spirit, to the purpose of building His Church on His created earth. Jesus Christ says, "These are My words, that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And He said to them, "Thus, it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on High."(Luke 24:44-49). We are transformed (in the Holy Spirit) by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:1-3)

The miracle of the Transfiguration on the mountain gives confirmation of this Word by the sign of the Holy Spirit through a 'cloud and light' appearing over and through Jesus, as Redeemer, Elijah, the prophet and Moses, the chosen instrument of the Law of Ten Commandments. The Word spoken by God the Father, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!" gives confirmation to the miracle of the Holy Spirit as appearing by the 'cloud and light'. The dove and lighting gave a sign of confirmation of the Holy Spirit when God spoke the same Word "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". (Matt. 3:16-17 )

All throughout the Scriptures God willed to work His miracles through sinners and the Holy Spirit, to give Confirmation of His presence and His Word of Truth. Moses had done murder, Jacob deceived his father, Joseph as a child had pride in telling his brothers about his dream are a few examples of the sins. The Ark of the Covenant was led in the daylight by the presence of God with a sign of a 'pillar of cloud' leading before the Ark. At night a 'pillar of fire for light' shown as a sign of God's presence. (Exodus 13: 20-22).

God also willed to work His miracles through people of obedience and humility to His Word. Zechariah and Elizabeth as parents of John the Baptist (Luke 1:30-35). Blessed Mary, Grace-filled, was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in the Annunciation of our Lord, the Incarnation of God (Luke 1:30-35). St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus was instructed by miracle dreams. Miracles serve a purpose for God's glory and work to fulfill His plan of Salvation.

True miracles contain the presence of God, which is Love. The power of the Holy Spirit has been given to us through the sacrament (sacred sign) of Baptism by way of sanctifying grace to infuse the seven virtues of Our Lord into our soul. These virtues are in infancy stage and grow through the disposition of our hearts in prayer, meditation on His Word and receiving of other sacraments of the Church and according to God's will. Thence we are enabled by the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, asking for these and given to us according to God's Will. This is all for our personal salvation and to give God glory through our lives.

The Lord gives special ministries of purpose for the building up of His Church community on earth in righteousness. (1 Cor. 12:5-12) Although, these ministries are not of sanctifying grace.

In all the works of the Holy Spirit is the Presence of God, the Presence of Love. For if I have all these gifts and through miracles move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest of these is love. How do we know God's presence in the miracle?

Some miracles are not true but imaginary deeds, because they delude man by the appearance of that which is not; while others are true deeds, yet they have not the character of a true miracle, because they are done by the power of some natural cause. Both of these can be done by the demons. True miracles cannot be wrought save by the power of God, because God works them for man's benefit, and this in two ways: in one way for the confirmation of truth declared, in another way in proof of a person's holiness, for example of virtue. On the first way miracles can be done by one, even the wicked, who preaches the true faith and calls upon Christ's name. (Matt. 7:22). The second way in proof of holiness as in Acts. 19:11-12.

The true disciple will know God's presence in Love and strive to do His will through obedience and humility. Jesus said, 'Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart' (Matt. 11:29). Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Did we not drive out demons in Your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in Your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.' (Matt. 7:21-23).

For example, Blessed Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, lived perfect obedience and humility. God's messenger, the Angel hailed Blessed Mary as "Full of Grace". She was confirmed as full of grace, without sin, by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit to be worthy of being called Blessed by God, our Father. Doing the will of God is being righteous. (Gal. 5:5-6) For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor un-circumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through Love.

We are living in a world where there is a great battle against evil raging (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan and his cohorts are able to transform themselves into 'angels of light' (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The Lord God commands, 'Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. We are to live as children of light for producing every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. We need to learn what pleases the Lord. Therefore, 'Awaken, O Sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.' (Eph. 5:6-15). We are to know the Word of God living in prayer and supplication to be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil (Eph. 6:11-20). When we listen and act on the Word, He will be like a wise man who built his house on rock (Matt. 7:24).

Striving to live in humility and obedience to the Scriptures is working at being imitators of Jesus Christ. If we live in selfishness and disobedience we are deceiving ourselves, and must repent to be of the truth. We must discard the ways of the flesh/world and put on the ways of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:5-6) to be in the kingdom of heaven on earth. This is the means to the end for a life that is pleasing God.

God has given the spiritual gift of 'discernment of spirits' to some believers for our defense to recognize the 'angels of light'. These believers are enabled by the Holy Spirit to know true and false spirits. After being reborn spiritually the soul may be given this gift (1 Cor. 2:14). Another way of discernment is used to examine our hearts for immorality, impurity or greediness, an idolator- for no one with these will enter the kingdom of heaven (Eph. 5:5). 'For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart' (Heb. 4:12).

Now Therefore, receiving the gift of 'discernment of spirits' comes by way of prayer (1 Kings 3:9), desire of the heart (Proverbs 2:1-6), taught in the Scriptures (Ezekiel 44:23), understanding that it is from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14) and understand that true discernment is based on Scriptures (Heb. 4:12). In this we may come to discern the truths of those who come to us speaking the Word and the miracles we may hear of or see.

In conclusion of the prompt in my heart, a message from our Mother, Our Lady of Medjugorje gave a message from God on January 25, 1993: "Dear children, today I call you to accept and live my messages with seriousness. These days are the days when you need to decide for God, for peace, and for the good. May every hatred and jealousy disappear from your life and your thoughts, and may there only dwell love for God and for your neighbor. Thus, only thus, shall you be able to discern the signs of this time. I am with you, and I guide you into a new time, a time which God gives you as grace, so that you may get to know Him more. Thank you for having responded to my call!"

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