The Impossible Provision for the Widow

1 Kings 17:7-9 (NKJV) 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

We have been dwelling on what Jesus told the father of a sick, demon possessed boy in Mark 9. This father had enough faith to come to Jesus, but disappointment and discouragement took the edge from his faith. By the time he actually encountered Jesus, all he could muster was to ask if Jesus could do anything for him. Jesus answered him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. I believe my assignment for myself and those to whom I minister is to stir up that thought, all things are possible, until it once again becomes our automatic response to every challenge we face.

In our last post we looked at how God provided for the Prophet Elijah in an impossible way. Elijah declared that it would not rain until he said it would. This caused a drought in Israel. The word of the Lord to Elijah was to go to a particular brook and there he would be sustained. He would drink from the brook. That was obvious but what about food? The Lord promised that the birds would bring him food. This is an impossible way to get sustenance but that is what God did.

What do we learn from this? First, that we must hear the word of the Lord. This is primarily the written Word. The limits to what is possible are set in the Bible. Whatever God did or says he will do in the Word; he could do for us. It is possible. Second, we can put on our list of definite possibilities that God could lead us to a brook if we need water and feed us by the birds if we need food. That does not mean he will do those things but they are possible.

In today’s scripture we see that the brook has dried up. I have often been in the situation described here. One channel of blessing that has been providing for me dries up and I do not see another. We must remember that the first channel came from God and so can another. Elijah, once again, hears the word of the Lord. This time God tells him to go to another country and there the Lord has prepared a widow to feed him.

I can imagine that Elijah thought, “Great. The Lord is sending we to a rich old widow who is going to take care of me!” That is how I would probably think anyway. The truth is far different.

1 Kings 17:10-12 (NKJV) 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

Elijah finds the widow just as God promised. This woman is to feed him through the rest of the drought. There is a slight problem. She has no food herself. She is willing to get him some water but she has only enough flour and oil to make a little cake for her and her son and then they will starve to death. This is probably not what Elijah had in mind.

She is not an old woman but a young one who had lost her husband. She still has a child to take care of. In those days there would not be much a woman in her situation could do. She is out of options just as Elijah is. I do not believe she is faithless. She is going to continue doing what she can to the very end, but that end seems to have come for her and her child.

What the prophet does next would be cruel if God was not behind it. He tells her to make him a cake first. She has only enough for two cakes. If she makes one for the prophet, either her or her son will go hungry. On the other had she is going to die anyway. I believe one of the keys to walking in God’s possibility is to have the courage to take that step of faith that involves risk. Many times we have few options anyway. We might as well go out believing God as not believing him.

The prophet includes a promise in his request.

1 Kings 17:13-14 (NKJV) 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ”

If she gives to the man of God first, she will have supernatural provision through the rest of the drought. There are many preachers today who tell people to give to them first and then God will meet their need. Most of them are either dishonest or deceived. Elijah was a prophet of God. The drought came because he spoke the Word of the Lord to the King. The same channel is going to provide for this widow, her son and the prophet himself.

We read this story knowing the end. However, this woman did not know who Elijah was. She had no reason to trust him. Jesus words to the father of the boy in Mark 9 make one qualifier for walking in God’s possibility. Can you believe? She must choose to believe the prophet or reject his words as nonsense. Everyone knows that flour cannot multiply and oil cannot flow from nowhere. That is impossible!

If we want to walk in God’s possibility and not be limited to what is possible in the natural, we must choose to look in the face of natural impossibility and choose to believe what the Word of the Lord says anyway. This woman chose to believe. She made the prophet a cake first. Then something impossible happened.

When she went to make her son’s cake there was still enough flour and oil. That was not surprising as she knew she had enough for two. What was surprising is that when she dipped into the tin of flour for the third time there was enough for another cake. When she tipped the cruse of oil, more came out. This repeated itself every time she went to the tin and the jar for the rest of the drought! That is impossible but I believe it happened just as the bible said it did.

Many of us face the limitations of leaning on our own abilities and the solutions of the world. Increasingly those things are more and more ineffective. It is time for us to realize that with God all things are possible. We simply must believe. And let me remind you what Jesus said we must believe. We must believe first of all that anything is possible with God.

We have found that if we have no food birds can feed us. We also know that God can cause what we have to go supernaturally far if that is how he chooses to work for us. It was possible for Elijah and the widow and it is possible for you.

Let me make one more observation. Our believing that all things are possible does not just include us personally. In the case of Elijah and the widow, God used Elijah’s faith for the impossible to not only inspire the widow to believe but he actually became the channel for her impossible solution.

God wants you to believe that all things are possible because he wants to meet your need. It does not end there. The world needs a people who know that anything is possible with God. The prophet’s need became the widow’s solution. God wants us to be the channel for the impossible possibilities of God to the world.

The Impossible Provision for a Prophet

1 Kings 17:1-6 (NKJV) 1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” 2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

In my last post we began looking at the possibilities of God verses natural possibility. 2 Corinthians 5:5-8 points out that when we “walk by faith and not by sight” we have confidence. The world is suffering a crisis of confidence right now. When we limit our expectations to what we can see in the natural, we will lack confidence in most things. However, when we allow our expectation to in God’s possibilities, we will be able to see that our future is bright indeed.

We also looked at a tool God has placed in every human being to help us see beyond the natural. That is the tool of imagination. We cannot live in imaginary worlds. However, we can use this wonderful tool to begin to allow our minds to think on what God could do in our situation. If he is God, anything is possible. Imagining the possibilities of God are not enough to get results. They do give our faith a starting place so that when we see the promise in the Word of God that fits our need, our faith can take hold of the promise because we have already imagined it as a possibility.

We looked at Joshua 1:8 as a scriptural confirmation to this thought. The Lord told Joshua to meditate in his word day and night. When we meditate in the Word of God we are using our imagination to see what the Word says and what God can do for us. When we couple our ability to imagine with the Bible we have a powerful tool to produce success.

In order to exercise imagination, we have to have a story. We might turn to testimonies of other believers to see how God did miraculous things for them. If he moved for any person, he will move for you. The other place we must look is to the bible itself. The Word of God is full of stories of everyday people facing impossible situations and how God met their needs. God is no respecter of persons and he will meet your need as well.

In 1 Kings 17 we find the story of Elijah and how God provided for him in the drought which came as judgement for Israel’s sins. In the first verse we see something that I believe is important if we are going to tap into the power of God’s possibility. God was the one that brought the drought on Israel.

We must remember that the Lord is not only dealing with us but with the whole world. God has a plan to bring all things together under Christ and sometimes sin causes that plan to produce hardship in the earth. When we understand that God is doing something that will produce good in the long run, we can better deal with the present circumstances.

When God is moving in judgement, he takes a greater responsibility for caring for his people. The bible is full of stories of God taking care of people who trusted him even when he was bringing judgement. Israel in Egypt and Joshua and Caleb in the wilderness are both examples. God was judging Egypt for their sin but he provided for Israel in the midst of the plagues. God was judging Israel in the wilderness. A whole generation died there because of their unbelief. Joshua and Caleb were part of that generation yet they did not die because they saw the possibility of God not the impossibility of the situation.

In story we are studying today, God brought judgement on the Kingdom of Israel by the words of Elijah. However, God immediately made provision for him so he would not die in the judgement. The provision God made was supernatural. It looked beyond the possible into the possibility of God.

Let me point out one of the most important things we must understand if we are actually going to access the possibilities of God. Elijah heard and obeyed the Word of the Lord. The Word directed him to God’s possibility and unlocked Elijah’s faith to receive. If we are going to walk in the possibility of God, we must have our minds geared to “Word of the Lord.” This begins with the promises of the written Word. If we do not remember that, this will end as an exercise in imagination and nothing more.

That said, let us look at what was possible for Elijah. First, he was going to need a consistent water source so he would not die of thirst. God did not tell him how long the drought would last. Elijah said to the King it would not rain again until Elijah said it would but Elijah’s words had to be at God’s direction. They could not just be what he wanted.

One of the hardest things we deal with in a trying time is the fact that we often have no idea how long it will last. God hears us immediately and he will not be late. However, he is doing what needs to be done for us and for the world. We have to trust in his timing as well as his care for us.

God told Elijah to go to the Brook Cherith that flowed into the Jordan. The fact that it flowed into the Jordan meant two things. It was flowing water and therefore safe to drink. Also it was a major tributary of the river so it would last longer into the drought before it dried up. This was a natural possibility that God used to provide for Elijah. Most often that is how he will provide for you. He will either reveal or manipulate natural things to provide you with supernatural provision.

Elijah faced a second need that required more “creativity” on the part of God. Elijah needed to eat as well as drink. The solution God reveals to him is nothing that we would ever expect. Once again he used a natural thing but in a way that it would never happen in the natural. He commands birds to feed Elijah.

Everyday ravens came and brought him food. I do not know what they brought him. Maybe they picked up bread from various homes. Maybe they took meat from the king himself. (That would be just like God!) Wherever they got it, it was enough to sustain Elijah for a long period of time.

Let me note another thing we are going to have to understand. He does not always provide in the way we might like. Ravens are basically crows. We have many crows where I live. I see them gathered around the remains of animals that have been killed on the road. I do not think I would want to be sustained by “road kill café.” We must learn to trust that God will never give us something that will hurt us. If he gives us something we do not like, that does not mean it is not good for us. He may be working something out in your life or even in the life of someone else. God’s possibilities come with God’s conditions.

As we read this, let us focus on one fact. Crows would never bring us food whether we liked the food or not. However, when there was nothing else. God used ravens to feed Elijah. With God, the possibilities are endless. Let your mind think on how God might provide for you. Take the limits off for this exercise. I am certainly not saying God is going to use crows to bring you food. I am saying he could!

God has not forgotten the recipe for Manna! You may have run out of possibilities but God has not. He can provide in ways you would never think of. Let your imagination open up to include all that is possible for God. Then listen for the promise or the prophetic word that will release faith for the one he will actually use!

Confidence, Faith, God’s Possibilities and the Power of Imagination

2 Corinthians 5:5-8 (NKJV) 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

My theme for 2016 is not some new revelation or even a “catchy phrase” that looks good on a banner. It is an idea that most bible believing Christians take for granted. If we can believe, all things are possible with God. If God is what he says he is in the Bible, and he is, then this goes without saying. The problem is that we believe this statement in theory and theology but we do not tend to accept it as everyday reality.

What God is saying to me for 2016 is that I have to get back to the place where this thought becomes my “default position” in every circumstance. A default setting is the setting a machine like a computer automatically goes to whenever it is turned on. If you browse the internet, the program you use probably goes to a “home page.” That is the default. You can change it if you need something else, but every time you open the web your default home page loads. Every time we are challenged our default response must become “all things are possible.”

I believe that faith is a specific thing and that we need to believe specific promises to get results. Right now I want to step back to a less specific place. All things are possible is not specific. It is where we must begin if we are going to get to the place where we can believe for specific results. When Jesus was faced with his desire to avoid the cross, he started by reminding himself that all things are possible with God. We found out the importance of what he said next last week. Nevertheless, that is where he began.

This week I want to continue with this idea. One of the casualties of our current world situation is the loss of confidence. In my country the level of confidence in government is almost laughable. No one really believes the government has the ability to solve our problems. Confidence in the economy is not there either. For the first time in generations of Americans, parents do not believe their children can have a better life than theirs. We might some the crisis of confidence up in the fact that there is no confidence in the future.

Where does confidence come from? It comes from knowing that certain things are at least possible. Most people in the world see less possibility for their lives than in a very long time. If we are looking only at the natural, that will be our conclusion. However, there is another view we can take. We can see possibility in the supernatural.

In the above scripture, Paul is speaking about heaven. I believe we can also apply the principle stated here to the present. Paul says that he is where God wants him to be and the “gift of the Holy Spirit” in his life is the guarantee that this is true. He says that he is always confident knowing that he has an eternal future in the presence of God.

He is confident because he walks by faith and not by sight. He cannot see heaven. The only way he can be confident that it exists is to see it with the eye of faith. He is not saying he walks without sight. He is saying he sees on another level. He sees by faith. Faith is seeing past the natural into the supernatural.

Although the context is heaven, this also applies to what is possible. If I see only natural possibility I will not be confident. However, if I can begin to see by faith instead of with my natural eyes alone, I will be, like Paul, confident in my prospects.

I will see that if I am sick, I am not limited to the ability of the Doctor or my ability to pay him. There are other possibilities. If I need money I will see that I am not limited to what is possible via my job or my resources. One of the definitions of the word translated wealth in the bible is “other means.” I have other means through which my needs can be supplied. When I run out of natural possibilities in any area of life, I can see other possibilities in God. I can look forward with confidence, knowing that he will always cause me to triumph by his power and grace (2 Cor. 2:14.)

I want to stress that the cultivation of God’s possibilities over natural possibilities is not the fullness of faith. There is more to effective faith than that. It is however, where faith begins. If we do not begin to think in terms of God’s limitless possibilities, we will never be able to progress to believing the promises for our own circumstances.

That is also why the devil works so hard to get us to minimize this idea. He knows that he cannot cause you to stop believing in the reality of God. For the most part, he will never get us to stop believing that God still does things like healing and prospering. However, he can get us to lower our expectations by causing us to subconsciously accept that certain things really are not possible for us. No! All things are possible for all believers all the time!

As I have been thinking about this I feel the Lord said something to me that may sound a little strange, but I believe it is a key to regaining our edge of possibility. I believe we need to exercise our imagination again.

Imagination is often seen as the province of childhood. We know that they use imagination as a way to “train” for adulthood. They play house and truck driver and soldier. They may play at being teachers and doctors. They simulate relationships. Not they their relationships are not real but they are not on the same level as adult relationships. The purpose is that they cultivate the ability to see things that are beyond their current experience.

Sometimes we think adulthood means we leave the imaginary behind but this is never true. Imagination is part of humanity. Every culture has stories. They are used to entertain but also to instruct in the truths of life. Our stories are very important to us. This has never been more true than today.

We have movies, TV shows and video games. These are the most sophisticated outlets for imagination we have ever seen. They make the imaginary seem so real that too often we live our lives in the imaginary world instead of the real world. That is not healthy. It is a perversion of what God intended. That does not mean we should cast off imagination. When we use imagination as God intended we see beyond the natural possibility. We can begin to see God’s possibility.

The function of imagination is to see beyond the life we currently live. If we get lost in imagination that does not take into account God, his principles and his Word, we will not build faith but we will simply avoid reality. When we use our imagination to think about what God could do in our lives, something wonderful happens.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

God told Joshua to use his imagination to “meditate in my word day and night.” This is how God said Joshua would succeed. You are no different. Take some time today and ask God to help you see what he could do to help you. You will eventually need to believe what he will do, but start with could first. You will open a door to a life walked by faith and not just by sight.

Some Other Possibilities from The Gospel of Mark

Mark 10:27 (NKJV) 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

We have been talking this week about expanding our hearts to accept the possibilities of God in the midst of natural impossibilities. We have taken the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9 as an example of what happens to us due to the pressure of life. We can also learn from the father that even when things seem impossible, there is no impossibility with God.

I want to look at a few more verses in Mark’s gospel and point out some other “possibilities and impossibilities” in the life and teachings of Jesus. In the verse quoted above, Jesus is talking about the rich young ruler. In the story a rich Jewish man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to be saved.

Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The young man assures Jesus that he has always done so. Jesus tells him he lacks one more thing. He must sell what he has, give the proceeds to the poor and follow him. The young man goes away sad because he has a great deal of wealth. Jesus comments to the disciples that it is very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

The disciples were surprised. To them wealth was a sign of the blessing of God. If a man was wealthy, he must be worthy of salvation. Jesus tells them that even though it might be impossible in the natural for this man to place God over his wealth, it was not impossible with God.

No one is beyond the scope of God’s possibilities. The devil may tell you that all kinds of things limit God’s possibilities for your life. Natural things such as education and family status might limit you but that is not a problem to God. More likely, a sense of unworthiness or the failures of the past may tell you that God can only do so much for you. None of those things change what is possible for God.

Nothing in your life disqualifies you from God’s possibilities. You may need to grow in some areas before you see those possibilities manifest, but God will help you with that. If there is sin, it must be repented of however, that is not too hard for you to do. You just need to acknowledge you are wrong and ask forgiveness. Whatever limitation you face in the natural or in your mind, you need to remind yourself and the devil that none of that changes what is possible for God.

Not only are you within the reach of the possibility of God, so is everyone around you. You may have a loved one or friend that seems unreachable with the Gospel. Hear the words of Jesus. What is impossible for man is possible with God. There may be a particularly offensive person around you. They are not unreachable for God. They may never choose to accept what God offers but from our perspective we need to realize that they are not outside of God’s ability. He can reach them even if it seems impossible.

Mark 13:22 (NKJV) 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

This verse does warn us that we are not immune to the attack of the devil the father in Mark 9 experienced. In this story Jesus is speaking of what many call the great tribulation. I believe it can apply to any time of trial. We certainly can say that we live in such a time.

When there is pressure the devil always uses the tactic of limiting our sense of the possible to keep us from overcoming. I want to focus on the use of the term “if possible.” We must recognize that it is possible for even those of us who are believers to be deceived. Many interpret this to mean that believers would be deceived into losing their salvation. Whatever you may believe about salvation, I want to submit to you that there is another deception at work here. If possible the devil will try to deceive you into believing that all things are not possible due to the times in which we live.

We do not have to give in to this deception. Particularly in the midst of trying times we must keep our sense of the possibilities of God. If we do not, we will fall into despair and be limited by the possibilities of the flesh. Jesus said “if possible.” That has to mean it does not have to be possible. I choose to tell the devil it is not.

If we are not going to be deceived into accepting the limitations of natural possibility, we must fight to maintain our sense of the possibilities of God. We are going to look at this next week, but let me just say that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34.) What he has done for anybody he can do for you. Learn of the testimonies of others both in the bible and testimony books, messages or other media. God does not love you more than those people. He can do the same in your situation.

Mark 14:35-36 (NKJV) 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

At first this may seem to be a verse that does not inspire us to believe in the possibilities of God. Nevertheless, just the opposite is true. We must realize that sometimes there are things we just have to go through. We may not always understand why but that does not change the reality of the situation. Jesus faced a time like this in Gethsemane. How he responded is what released the power of God’s possibility.

Jesus did not want to go through the death and burial that he faced. As the Son of man he was just as averse to pain and suffering as anyone else. He did not want to have to endure the beatings and cruelty that would end in an agonizing death. However, as the Son of God there was something that Jesus dreaded far more than the physical torture.

He did not want to endure the sin and separation that was man’s penalty for sin. He had never spent one moment separated from the Father. He had never committed one sin in his whole life. The thought of either of those things caused him to plead with the Father to allow him to escape such a fate.

We all face things we do not want to deal with. We all have to go through things that we would like to avoid. Sometimes it is the will of God that we go through them. Jesus’ response released the power of God. First, he declared that all things were possible for God. Even though there may be reasons that things do not change when and how we want them to, we must still believe that God can do anything. If we do not, we will limit what God really wants to do.

Second, Jesus makes a statement for which the devil can have no response. He says to God, “I subordinate my will, my life and my desires to your will for my life.” He is not accepting impossibility. He is choosing God’s possibility over the limits of the flesh. When we do that, we completely disable Satan’s ability to defeat us. We open up the infinite possibilities of God to do more than we could ever imagine. What was the result of Jesus’ action? He was raised from the dead. The most powerful impossibility of all was forever defeated in the life of Jesus!

Beyond this ultimate victory for himself, the church was born. God did not lose his “only begotten son.” Because Jesus entrusted his life and his destiny to God’s possibilities, the Lord gained many sons and daughters.

You may be facing a difficult time that you would rather escape. All things are possible. Close the door on the devil by placing your life fully in the hands of God’s possibilities. In the end you will see greater things.

All Things Are Possible

Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV) 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Yesterday I shared the things the Lord has been speaking to me over the last 5 years. These yearly themes have been things I believe God wants to build into his church so that the next great move of God can come through us to the earth. They have been progressively leading in a direction and I believe this year he has added to what he is building in my heart.

Our theme for 2016 is “If you can believe, all things are possible.” This is not some new revelation. It is something every Christian who believes in the bible and the power of God takes as apparent. However, I also believe it is the first casualty of those times when we are between moves of God.

Historically the church has gone through periods of great revival and times of faithfulness. God always moves for his people but in those special times when he is doing something historic things are different. Things that are hard at other times become easier during those times. These moves often come during times of stress and upheaval in the natural. The last great move of God began in the 1960’s in the midst of the Vietnam era and all the trouble and strife that went with it. In the middle of that went on, God began to pour out his spirit in a new way.

When there is no tangible move of God, believers find themselves in times where there is nothing “special” happening. They must simply continue to believe God, work to build his Kingdom and stay faithful to his name. That often leads to a sense that nothing will change. This causes many to begin to lose the awareness that God can do anything. They lean more on natural solutions to problems and lose the edge of faith that comes when God is moving in an obvious way.

The story of the father and son in Mark 9 is characteristic of what happens in those times. We have looked at this in this space before, but I want to touch on it again as it is where God has had me focusing in my life and for this next year.

This father came to Jesus believing that God could do something for him. When he got to where he thought Jesus was, Jesus was off on a mountain somewhere. He was not where the father needed him to be. He asked the disciples to help but they were ineffective. The religious leaders got involved and told him that Jesus was not of God and he should not be asking anyway. I believe all of us can relate to this man.

Have you ever felt like Jesus was somewhere else just when you needed him? Have you ever felt that things just were not working for you? Have you heard the voice of religion saying things like, “God doesn’t really do that kind of thing. Faith is fine but you need to use wisdom.” I believe all of us have and I believe that attack of the enemy is even more prevalent during times between moves of God.

The father was so worn down by these things that he was transformed from someone who came to Jesus knowing that he could help to one who could only ask, “If you can, please do something for us.” He ended up wondering if the healing of his son was even possible. I believe that describes many of us today. We have faith but disappointments, ineffectiveness and the voice of the world and religions have caused us to lose the reality of the fact that God can do anything.

I believe this is a major attack of the devil right now on the body of Christ. I believe God wants us to stir our faith and our expectations again. When we accept as fact that anything is possible, we are in the place where faith can rise.

One of the things that tries to take over our thinking is that we must be practical. We begin to look at the possibilities in the natural and we have a hard time seeing past them. The essence of faith is to look past the practical and begin to believe for what is impossible. When we stretch into that realm we are looking into the supernatural and the limitations of the flesh begin to fall away.

I am not talking right now about taking that step into believing what God will do for us now. We must come to that if we are going to see results. Right now I am talking about taking a step back and simply grabbing hold of the abstract truth that anything is possible if God is truly God. If we do not start there we will never take the next step into believing that God will do for us what he said.

As I was preparing to minister this to our church I felt the Lord said to me, “There is nothing in the human condition that is not possible for God!” That means nothing at all. No healing is impossible. No financial challenge is impossible for God to overcome. No marriage or relationship problem is too big for God. The future is not too hard for God to deal with and neither is the past. Nothing is off the table if we are talking about almighty God!

I am not talking about focusing on a particular promise right now. I am a Word man and we have to get to that. Right now I believe God is saying something much more fundamental. I believe we must choose to accept that anything is possible. I believe we need to meditate on that truth until it becomes established in our hearts.

God told Joshua that to be successful he needed to meditate on the Word of God day and night. Part of the meaning of the word used for meditate is to mutter. I believe we need to begin to declare that all things are possible in God until it becomes so ingrained in our thinking that when we are challenged with impossible situations we automatically see that all things are possible. We need to come to the place where the impossible solution is not the last resort after exhausting the practical but it becomes our default position.

Until that happens we will not rise above the natural possibilities. The problem with allowing that to happen is that the natural holds no solution for what the world faces today. Our only true hope is the all-encompassing ability of God. Until we begin to see that as our normal position we will not see the solutions that God has for us.

Jesus puts only one qualification on all things being possible when he answers the father. The qualification is that we believe. All things are possible to anyone who believes. That is what we must do this year. The father was not without faith or he would not have come to Jesus. Jesus was not being critical of the father when he exhorted him to believe. He was simply stating the problem. He had faith, but his understanding that all things are possible when God is involved had been eroded by disappointment, discouragement and words of doubt and unbelief.

All of us have been disappointed. You may be able to give me many examples of why you are afraid to believe that all things are possible because of the things that are happening in your life right now. Our ears and eyes are bombarded with words and images that tell us God is not what he says he is. All of those things have combined to tell us that all things are not possible. Some things are possible. Other things just may not be possible. We need to use “wisdom.” However, true wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and that means an understanding of just who he really is!

Let possibility rise in your thinking. Let your imagination loose and expand the horizons of your hope. Then faith can and will come and we will hear what God is going to do and we will be able to believe it.

If You Can Believe

Mark 9:23 (NKJV) 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

For many years, the Lord has dealt with me about a theme for the current year. Although I have had a yearly theme for the last 28 years, since 2011 I believe these themes have had a particularly prophetic nature. I believe they have been mandates for our church and insights for the church as a whole.

Let me recap just a bit. In 2011 the Lord showed me that the church was at a point that the Lord orchestrated much as he orchestrated the Israelites to be cornered at the Red Sea. They had the Egyptian army behind them and an impassable obstacle in front of them. This was not a trap for the Israelites but for the enemy. God’s direction to them was to “fear not, stand still, and finally to go forward.

I believe that we have seen the very same thing in the life of the church of Jesus Christ. Certainly in the United States, we are in a very difficult situation. Never in my lifetime have the governmental, educational and social institutions been so opposed to the church. We are told that Christianity has no place in the public discussion. We are to have no input into the direction of our nation. If we do not comply, we are threatened with lawsuits and the removal of our constitutional right to freedom of religion.

All of this seems like a terrible development to most of us in the church. I believe it is part of the plan of God. What should we do? We should not give in to fear. We should stand firm on the promises of God. We should not be afraid to go forward in faith when the Lord speaks. If we do these things we have nothing to fear from the army of critics behind us nor from the impassable obstacles in front of us.

In 2012 the Lord showed me that when Israel came to the promised land, God did not encourage them to coexist with their enemies. Instead, he demanded that they should possess the land of Canaan and make it their own. They should drive out the enemy that lived in the Land and finally they must occupy that land until the Lord brought forth the Messiah. I believe that is what God wants us to do.

Our enemy is not flesh and blood but the powers of darkness Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6. We must possess the land God has given us. We must drive out the demonic enemies that oppose us and we must occupy our land until the Lord comes or until we go to be with him. This word “occupy” in the Greek means to do business. That is our mandate. We are to do the “business of the Kingdom of God. How are we to do that?

In 2013, the Lord led me to Exodus chapter 3. Here God promised Moses that he was going to give divine favor to the people of Israel. He was going to use the women of Israel to go to the women of Egypt and ask them for gold, silver and fine clothing. He said that the Egyptian women would gladly comply with their request and because of this divinely granted favor, the Israelites would “spoil” the Egyptians. We see this come to pass as the Israelites are about to leave Egypt.

What is interesting here is that it was the women God used to do this. These women did not threaten the Egyptians. They simply asked for these precious things and the Egyptian women gave them. I believe that God wants to give his people favor in the world. He did this in acts with the first century church and he wants to do it now. We need to believe that God, not our strength and not our own attempts to intimidate the world, will produce a favor that will cause us to spoil the powers of darkness as Israel spoiled Egypt.

In 2014, the Lord lead me to John 17:14-16. This is Jesus final prayer for the men he had poured his life into while on the earth. They were the seed from which the whole church would grow. He makes a startling statement here. He says that they are not “of” this world. I have had the opportunity to gain an insight to what this means.

I have traveled to over 40 counties in the last 25 years. When I am ministering in another country, I love the people of that country. I apply myself to the business of giving them what God has given me for them. I enjoy my time with them but I am acutely aware that that place is not my home. I am not of that country. I am of the United States of America. My roots are there. My family is there. The home I live in is there and my wealth is there.

We are to live, work and minister to the natural world but this world is not our home. We do not draw our life from here. We are “of” another world just as Jesus prayed in John 17. Wherever I am, I am an American. I respect the people and culture of whatever country I may be visiting, but I am an America. I do not try to become a Kenyan or Indian or citizen of whatever nation I am in. I am an American.

I live in a natural world. However, I am not of that world. I am a citizen of heaven. I cannot allow my citizenship of the world to be more important than my citizenship of heaven. I am, therefore, a supernatural person living in the natural world. I am a citizen of heaven and although I can enjoy life here and must love the people around me, I must do it as a supernatural person and not as a natural one.

That means my behavior and my perspectives on life must reflect the supernatural world and the supernatural God I represent. Some Americans who travel overseas are not good representatives of what the United States stands for. Some Christians are not good representatives of the Kingdom of God. God delivered us from bondage to sin just as surely as he delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. He delivered us to be an occupying force until the Lord returns. He will give us divine favor so that we can occupy until he comes. We can only do this as a supernatural people.

In John 17:15 Jesus prayed that the Lord would not take us out of the world. God is not going to remove us from the world. We are not to look for an escape. We are to occupy this world as supernatural people. We are not to be supernatural in church and natural outside of church. We must learn to be supernatural people in the midst of the natural world.

We often think in terms of the spectacular aspect of supernatural when we use this term. We are supposed to be healing the sick and raising the dead. I have heard that all my Christian life and believe it is true. However, that is not being a supernatural people. That is a result of being a supernatural people. If we allow our supernatural nature to come forth in our actions, our language and our lifestyle we will see the spectacular.

Last year, I believe the Lord said to me that I had to open the supernatural gates so that the Lord could show himself to the world. At first I thought the Lord was talking about gates in heaven. As the year progressed I realized that we are the gates. We are the supernatural to which the people of the world come into contact. We must begin to open our gates. You must realize that you are the gate for your job, your school, your neighborhood and your family. If you will not open your gate and allow the supernatural to flow, it will not flow where you are.

We open the gates by many things. Selflessness opens the gates while selfishness closes them. Thanksgiving opens the gates while complaining closes them. Faith opens the gates while unbelief closes them. Right living opens the gates while sin closes them. Are your gates open or closed?

That led me to 2016. What was God saying about this year? He led me to the above scripture. All things are possible to anyone who will dare to believe. That is what I believe this year is going to be about. That is the promise of God for you and me this year. The question is whether or not we will access that promise. Will you?