The following is a detailing of a nine month journey where I learnt something very specific about life, myself and of most worth, I grew closer to God. This journey grew my faith. I want to share it in the hopes that it helps someone make sense of something they may be going through. It’s broken down into headlines, each of which outline the significant signposts along the way. I hope it encourages you.
Talking about encouragement, have you listened to my poem-song, “Walk the Line” yet? Click on the play button in the sidebar at right. You’re looking for something like this:
So, on with it, shall we….
God is BIGGER than the facts.
Romans 4: 18 – 21
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
I began this faith walk as a nervous wreck because I was leaning towards trusting God but being beckoned by the Devil’s whispers …about the factual clarity…setting me in tailspin…and making me trust my feelings too closely. But God told me, “its trusting that I am your big Daddy even WITH the facts in front of me that constitutes faith…so don’t ignore the facts, but know that I am bigger than facts.”
DON’T BE AFRAID.
“I must work at his pace, so even in terms of VISA requirements, etc…he has a divine appointment…and a divine time so irregardless of what the facts say, when he sends me I will go…he is in the driver seat not I…and the facts though I know them are not in control of me..I continue to be ever guided by his precepts..”
Then he soothed my mind and gave me peace, for a long time, he just kept reminding me, “Don’t be afraid..” ..”Don’t be afraid”.
Isaiah 41: 10 – 11
Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Matthew 14: 22-33 (specifically verse 27)
“…don’t be afraid..”
Mark 5:35-43 (specifically verse 36)
“Don’t be afraid, only believe..”
Psalm 31:24 NKJV
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NKJV
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Don’t be afraid to stay out the boat and walk on the water.
So the story of Peter walking on the water…God used that story to teach me a lot and before even introducing that story to my heart in meditations he had spoken many times the words “Don’t be afraid” to me in numerous scripture passages.
Over and over “Don’t be afraid” and then again, as regards the story of Peter walking on the water he told him before he got out of the boat “Don’t be afraid” and then so God reassured that although I am without a plan B really that that’s okay because if you have a fallback plan, then both feet aren’t out of the boat. So both feet out of boat, he’s saying, “Don’t be afraid”.
He then spoke another aspect of the story into my heart: Peter, was told ‘Come’..’Come to me’ whilst still standing on the water. I had been out the boat but I hadn’t started walking. I quite suspect that’s why I’d been having that feeling like I’d inhaled and couldn’t exhale – my head had been underwater.
Walking on water can be likened to applying the natural within the supernatural. My feet can walk but gravity will pull me down if I try to walk on water. I can do what I can and God will provide the buoyancy – he will be the supernatural. He is the evidence of things unseen..and so, I started walking.
God WILL strengthen me.
My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever….
Psalm 73: 26
When I began leaning strongly on the promise of God, every doubt was crushed by “God is bigger!”. Aside from that, it has increased my yearning for God, my ability to see ever more beyond the circumstances of my life, which pale in comparison to the ‘confident hope’ which gives meaning to my life’s daily struggles, convictions and victories.
Taking Hold of my Possessions: Spiritual AND Physical.
KNOW, though, THAT the Enemy DOES NOT WANT US to take hold of them.
Let us WAR through by:
STANDING on God’s promises and,
HOLDING UP our SHIELD OF FAITH.
In the soft words of God, I know in this season, I believe God is saying he will enlarge my territory. This morning I felt like I’ve received confirmation of this through Joshua 1. Remember back when God said; “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God” – Isaiah 41: 10. Well dude! This is where it came from – the scripture.
Oh dear, where do I really start? Job 9: 10 – “God does great things too marvellous to understand. He performs countless miracles.” Wow! So, I’m holding on, needing a miracle and BAM! God drops that on my spirit – light but heavy – I love it! if nothing else, it lets me know that God is not smaller than what’s ahead of me*.
So, I just start snooping it out – looking at comments and commentary about the scripture and well, it takes faith to reap miracles, don’t it. So, obviously that’s where the Spirit lead me next. I reviewed the faith of *Elijah, Elisha and Moses – all obedient, all trusting in God. Their faith was in God. Elisha asked in 2 Kings 2: 14, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” and there did “the Lord, the God of Elijah” part the river Jordan for him to cross it.
** Elisha succeeded Elijah, Joshua succeeded Moses.
* He can do ANYTHING but he doesn’t HAVE to..and I’m okay with that..whatever is His will.
God has made a promise to me and so, in knowing that God keeps his promises, I hold up the faith I have in him as my shield against doubt and fear because he has alas told me, “Don’t be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And so, we go to Joshua 1: 8, where God spoke to Joshua with instructions about capturing the land ahead of them (The Israelites) – they enter a time of great conflict but also great conquest. God’s command? “Be strong and courageous.”
Wow! So I just (before reading Joshua today, mind you) was dissecting Ephesians 6: 11 – 18 where the donning of armour is the topic.
The Vernon McGee Bible Commentary on Joshua launches firstly into it’s theme: possession, but as to the conflict that will be encountered, we are to ‘put on the whole armour of God’ [Ephesians 6: 11 – 18]. The Israelites faced physical enemies – but we face a spiritual enemy [Ephesians 6: 12].
“We will have to wear the whole armour of God, the victory has to be won. However, you and I don’t get the victory; the Lord Jesus Christ gets the victory. We will get what Israel got – deliverance and possession. Every victory Israel gained was given by God. If you and I ever win a victory, He will win it for us. We will, by faith, enter into these wonderful possessions.”
“We will, by faith, enter into these wonderful possessions.”
God is taking me through a faith building exercise in order to lead me to a place where his power is greater for working through me. I take hold of this by faith and this faith, above all, shall quench all the ‘fiery darts of the wicked’.
How do I take hold of this by faith?
Hebrews 11:27 says”..He persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
God was invisible and yet Moses “saw” him. How? “By faith”. Moses had faith and faith gave him sight. And he saw the God who is invisible. Faith sees what is really there even though others see nothing at all. Faith believes what is true even though others don’t believe it at all. By faith, we see reality, which means we see beyond the world around us. “…with the life of faith[,] the “hidden world” of eternal reality is there whether we see it or not. And by faith, we “see” it even though the people of the world do not.
The Lord, the God of Elijah is leading me to a walk of faith to take possession of spiritual gifts and to see clearly the “hidden world”. I shall not be afraid or discouraged but I hold up my shield of faith and I pray over myself as Paul prayed over the Ephesians, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to [me] the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, [that] the eyes of [my] understanding being enlightened, may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but in that which is to come.”
In Christ, this is the spiritual blessings and gifts, and SIGHT (the ability to walk by a sight of eternal things). I also must, at this time, remember the example of Elijah, referenced in James, that ‘the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. Let us follow Elijah’s example: his faith was an aggressive one, a determined faith, a persevering and bold faith.
In this time, it is easy to believe the Devil’s lies, but hold to God’s promises. “Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee”. Let us hold up our shield of faith high above the storm.
Wow! Again, as if I wasn’t already in awe, because of God’s word, I’m taken to Deuteronomy 8, through the counsel of a friend and we proceeded to eat it up. Oh! Taste and see that the Lord is good!
So, continues my walk on the water – In Deuteronomy 8 [which is closely linked to Joshua since, guess what, it’s talking to the very same people, at the very same place – about to cross into el promised land-o!], it says, “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.”
[Let’s set aside as a note that the previous verse says, “Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. It is these very same commands he chastised Joshua about keeping. then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”]
I am certainly being tested and proved. But there is hope even now, and there is reward ahead. The spiritual blessing in my futures is to be claimed by fighting a spiritual war garbed in my spiritual armour. [It is a physical reality for the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8, and is described as being – ‘a good land’]
God keeps reminding the people to remember..remember His commands. So, I pause now to ask..How will the good land be possessed, enjoyed and kept – by continuing to be obedient to God’s commands. For me, that would be; continue to follow the Holy Spirit and God’s words. The Israelites had tablets and commands, now we have a Holy Spirit whom we follow in spirit and in truth, which means that ever more should our spiritual eyes be opened, so that we can see, by faith, where our next step is. Jesus understood the importance of this sight.
“The general principles in Deuteronomy are timeless. Just as Jesus found strength in God’s Word to face the Tempter, so we can find spiritual power in the face of opposition as we apply God’s Word to our lives. The people were commanded to write certain portions of Scripture on their doorposts and memorize them. We can write them on cards, inscribe on posters, plaques, listen to them on cassettes as constant reminders to read and heed to God’s Word. The important thing is to get it before us and into our hearts so we can abide in it.”]
Open my eyes.
Jesus understood the importance of this sight. In John 5: 19 – 20, he says, “..the Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the son and shows Him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”
Now, a while back, we looked at how we can see the ‘invisible’ God…the same way that Moses and Jesus did – by faith. If we look to God, in faith, his sight imparted, so shall we do greater works than even Jesus. Yip, it says this in John 14: 12 – 14: ” Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Be wary, that you’re not like Phillip though, with spiritual eyes closed, as Jesus told him just 3 verses prior, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”
We come again to that prayer Paul prayed over the church in Ephesus…basically, “Open their eyes..”
See the sin. Caste away the sin. Or the sin will be the death of you, and nothing will you possess.
Alright, so our eyes are open, through faith. This helps us to discern the sin in our lives too. The Israelites won the battle over Jericho, but lost to Ai, because of sin. Here, they are warned in Deuteronomy 8, “..I assure you of this: if you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other Gods, worshipping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God.”
And this very thing did they do, by taking possession of garments and silver, even after Joshua instructed them [by the instruction of God] to destroy everything after their victory over Jericho. This sin was brought to light in detail and Achan, the perpetrator was stoned to death and then burned. Wow, I can’t remember ever being so direct and evincing of my own sin. Usually, instead of confessing the sin to God, I confess to Him the many reasons and excuses why I need to continue sinning. This sin caused their defeat at Ai, so like Joshua inquired of the tribes, I inquire of myself, what sin is causing your current defeat?