It's Not Me, Peter. Stay in the Boat…

When we start down the walk of Faith we get a lot of “advice” from our friends. Our families will “support” us by telling us what we “need” to hear.

It can throw us off.

Several years ago I was in a strong church community. I had left a job to start my own business and my youth and inexperience had left it drained and failed as a venture, so after much prayer and soul-searching I found the answer. I spent the next few months waking up in the morning and the first thing through my head was “Lord, what do you need me to do today?”

For that time, to start with, I had support from my friends. I had no formal income, I just trusted the Bible where it said “my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:19)

I did my listening on a daily basis and began to do exactly what God told me to do each day. I visited people I wouldn’t normally visit, met strangers and spoke into their lives as He led me. And through all this my needs were met. Completely. A tax rebate, gifts of finance and food. The only person I discussed what I was doing with was God. He met me where I was and I kept walking on the surface He gave me to walk on.

Then I talked to a few people about it. That’s when the “helpful” advice started.

Despite the fact that I’d been living this way for several months, maintaining a positive bank balance and not missing a payment of utilities dates of any other bill for that matter, petrol seemed to multiply in my car, in fact I got almost double the average milage I was used to getting from a tank of fuel, I was advised that what I was doing was wrong. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 was thrown at me repeatedly by these helpful advisors “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” I got knocked off my vision and what God had placed in my life by this thought. 

In short, I was out walking on water and my friends started unwittingly throwing wind and waves at me.

Peter called out to Jesus and said “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”. Jesus replies “Come” and Peter climbs out of the boat and walks to Jesus. It’s not in the Gospel, but what do you think the other 11 disciples thought of Peter getting out of the boat? Crazy perhaps? It’s possible they thought it. It would be natural to think it. Peter climbed out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. When he noticed the wind and the waves he panicked and began to sink. Did he notice the wind and the waves because of the wind and waves, or did the other 11 call to him telling him about them inspire the fear? We’ll never know in this life, but I’ll be asking when I meet him!

The point is Peter backed Jesus into a corner. His question forced God’s hand. Jesus could hardly call back “it’s not me Peter, stay in the boat” the question forced the response, the response produced the miracle.

I was distracted by the wind and waves that were pointed out to me. I saw the shortfalls, the unpredictability of the income, the risk involved in the lifestyle. So I asked God to give me a job to keep these “helpers” off my back. The answer was a resounding “no” initially, but I pressed and eventually God gave me a job – one day a week working with a very good friend from the church who had never questioned how I was behaving.

I took the job, the questioning stopped, but so did the divine supply. I began looking at the job as my source instead of the Divine supply I’d been receiving up to that point. I realised too late that I had become the widow with the oil. The miraculous supply stopped, and I had been the one to cut it off. I a week I went from abundance and continuous supply to the point that people would chase me down the road because God had inspired them to give me finances – every time the exact amount I needed for a bill that had come in during the preceding 24 hours and every single time, the amount was to the penny what I needed, and instead I looked to the job to meet my financial needs.

My first thought each day became “how am I going to pay bill x” instead of “what is Your will for me today”. I lost the ability to receive from God, a gift which had been growing for 6 months, in place of a certainty that God would supply my need.

The moral of my story here is simply this: If God leads you into something, do it with all your heart. Surrender your own will to God’s and do what He calls you to.

I’m very blessed now, almost 20 years later to have a new friend in my life. I’ve known Thuli a year now, and God has blessed us with a friendship tempered through fire. Her call on her life has rekindled God’s call on me and restored His promise to me. I’m moving back towards the man God called me to be all those years ago

I’m scared – and I don’t scare easily. Back then I was alone with limited responsibilities, now I have a responsibility to my wife. We want children in the next few months, that carries more responsibilities with it, and not only financial ones.

I want to trust, so I’m stepping out onto the water. It scares me, but it’s just one step. I’m fixing my eyes on Christ and trying to ignore the wind and the waves.

The alternative is to stay in the boat. And never know what God has planned for me.

That scares me more.

So my heart’s cry is Lord bid me come to you over the water. I believe He rejoices at this, and I will do whatever He calls me to do, and I know if He is with me, No-one can be against me.

I pray this will touch people. I want your comments, your feedback. Your Testimony. Let the World see we have a Mighty God. Let our Faith move mountains.

Faith is Not Enough

It’s written by James that Faith without Works is dead (James 2:17).

But to truly grasp what Faith will do for us we have to understand what drives Faith, and in turn what Faith drives.

God inspires, teaches and warns us with dreams. We too often dismiss our dreams as fantasy in sleep or a daydream, but a true Dream inspired by God brings Hope into our lives. The problem is that we are conditioned by this world to ignore dreams as irrelevant. We have lost our ability to distinguish between the dreams God inspires and the nonsense “dreams” from our sleeping hours. Joseph’s dreams gave him Hope, Pharoah’s dreams were a warning from God. Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams were interpreted by Daniel. Joel prophesied “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28 NKJV)

Dreams from God give Hope. Hope is a powerful force that God gives us. In1 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us it is one of 3 things that last forever. Hope drives us forward towards our God-inspired dreams. Hope fuels us towards the path God sets before us that He reveals to us by dreams. Without Hope we cannot move towards the Visions God gives us.

Faith manifests the Hope God places in us. Don’t misunderstand this, Faith is itself a gift from God, but it is, as Hebrews 11:1 states, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of what has not yet been seen with our physical eyes.

I could list all the standard Bible examples of faith here, Abraham, Isaac, Daniel, and so on. But I’d rather use something personal, just for the sake of a routine Testimony of God working today, just as He did over 3000 years ago.

Three years ago my wife went into hospital for major but routine surgery. There should have been no problems, however she developed a series of infections and complications following the procedure which ultimately led to us being forced to close our business – a medical practice – and for me to become the sole income in the home. During the time she was sickest I began to dream that she would recover. That quickly became Hope that she would, which developed into Faith, which is manifesting on a daily basis as she continues to regain strength.

Now again, don’t misunderstand. Faith requires perseverance to see a manifestation sometimes. My wife is still not 100% recovered, but as she has recovered we’ve been given a new dream together – a new business in a new area. Now new dreams are tricky. We have to learn to find God’s dream for us. In the process of setting up there were other offers that looked like answers but on closer examination and prayer proved to be fools-gold. After much prayer and support from the fellowship of believers around us we found the right door and after that everything has fallen into place perfectly, but we still need to persevere and hold fast to the Hope set ahead of us and to the Faith placed in us.

But Faith alone is not enough. Our actions demonstrate our Faith. We prove our Faith by moving through the obstacles the enemy puts before us. 

And one more thing, As we are faithful to each vision God gives us, He will give us more to work with. We grow incrementally, but it doesn’t have to be microscopic increments!