2010-A Year to Rise to New Levels of Faith
 

by Rebecca Greenwood
 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I love this promise from Hebrews 11:1. It tells us that even when we do not know and see all the things that have been promised to us-when we have prayed for years for a specific breakthrough and it has not yet come, when circumstances in our lives are going the exact opposite direction they should be, when people let us down or betray us, when we are being pressed through financially difficult times- we can put our hope and trust in the Lord and expect that He is going to prove Himself faithful on our behalf.

One thing I know and we all can agree upon is that when we are being put through uncomfortable times, it doesn't feel good. We are being stretched. We have days where we are filled with faith and other days when we wonder how we will make it through. There are times we are certain in our standing and then feel the weight of the burden we are carrying in our place of waiting for breakthrough and deliverance-knowing He is the only One who can truly deliver and see us through. We all have these days.

But the beauty of the Lord is- He never wastes any season in our lives. He always works all things in our lives for good if we allow Him to. I love this truth that one of my friends shares: Our certainty is in Him, which means that we embrace this world's uncertainty in a spirit of expectancy! What an awesome, encouraging word. You see, these times and seasons bring growth, an overcoming spirit, and release us into a growing maturity and authority in Him. Our hope and expectancy is placed in Him. As we move into 2010-it is a year in which we are to rise to new levels of faith, breaking out of the old season and expecting "in faith" that the impossible will be made possible in the new.

Peter's Faith Lesson

I love this story of Peter in Matthew 14. We know the scene. Jesus walked on the water in the midst of the winds and the storm approaching the boat in which the disciples had sailed in the night hours. As He drew close, some of the disciples thought He was a ghost. Jesus reassured the twelve that it was Him. Can you imagine witnessing someone walk on water? I am sure they were awestruck and even had a difficult time wrapping their minds around what they were witnessing. Peter in his zealousness cried out, "Lord if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water."

How does our Lord respond? He simply answers, "Come." He did not give Peter a teaching lesson on how to get out of the boat. He did not tell him what the waves would feel like under his feet. He did not teach Peter how to keep his balance on the rocky water as the waves were mounting in strength and intensity with the ever escalating winds. He did not explain or reveal to Peter that he would be able to walk or if he would sink. He just told Peter to come.

Peter, in abandoned faith and trust in the Lord, climbed out of the boat and began to supernaturally walk toward our Lord. I love it! He is the only human in history besides Jesus that we know of who has walked on water. As I write, I am reminded of a cartoon my daughters used to watch. It showed Peter walking on the water with great joy in this unchartered Kingdom moment that he was experiencing with the Redeemer of the world. I can envision the heart of Jesus welling up with love and encouragement for Peter.

In my version of the Bible, I can see and hear Jesus coaching Peter in his mind, "Come on! Yes! You are doing it! You are walking on the water!" But Peter's joy soon turned to fear and despair when the winds and the storm grew to such intensity that he suddenly realized the undeniable fact of the impending danger in which he had willingly placed himself. Overcome by the water and sinking to his certain death, he cries out, "Lord, save me!" Without hesitation, our Lord immediately reaches out to rescue him.

Now is my favorite part of the story. Jesus asks, "Why did you doubt?" I believe He was not rebuking Peter for his failure or lack of faith. It was not failure, but an historic Kingdom moment in human history and the Body of Christ. Our Lord was encouraging him to increase in faith and hold on to it. He was saying, "Peter, you had it. You were doing it. Great job. Even in the midst of the darkness, the winds and the pounding waves you saw and heard, you responded to My voice calling. You could have even walked further and longer." You see, Peter was the only one of the 12 willing to even risk the danger. And as our Lord was instructing him, they made the journey back to the boat together on top of the perilous water.

Sound Familiar?

I can relate to Peter. Can you? We have entered a season in history in which we are witnessing darkness infiltrating society. The spiritual winds and storms are growing in strength and speed, blowing hard, and causing everything familiar to be moved out of its place, and our footing may feel unsecure and unsteady. But these winds are driving out all impurities and fanning the flame of the fire of the Lord within each of us, where we begin to hear that still small voice of promise that begins to rise up until it becomes a resounding heart's cry-faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And as stated further in the Hebrews 11, concerning the ancients who were great men and women of faith, all these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

We are living in the days and times where we are going to see the things promised that great men and women of faith have seen and prophesied for thousands of years. We are in a historic time in the world. Darkness is increasing in a final attempt to keep its hold on what is rightfully our inheritance and absolutely belongs to the Lord! Pagan beliefs, moral decay and sinful ungodly systems are taking their stand. But as the winds of darkness, uncertainty and evil try to overcome us, we know who our hope, faith, trust and expectancy is in! He is the majestic King who rides on a white horse and sits at the right hand of our Father, far above all dominion, powers and authorities. And it is with Him that we can stand and overcome.

God is giving us the ability to have night vision in the darkness where we can see the light in the midst of the storm, recognize the danger of the waves, face the reality of where we are in this season, and all the while expect God to do great and awesome feats for us, in us and through us. Can we hear His voice calling, "Come!"? Do we feel the strength of His hand reaching down to ours with that firm secure grip in who He is, pulling us out of our trials and tests?

To Spur Us on to Faith

Here are promises of what faith provides to each of us:

1. It is an unquestioning, unwavering belief that does not require proof or evidence.

2. A true faith is triumphant in the worst situations.

3. Faith seeks God and His Kingdom first.

4. Faith believes in God's goodness.

5. Faith stands on God's Word.

6. Faith obeys God's commands.

7. Faith lives life on God's promises.

8. Faith is full of joy.

9. Faith is full of thanksgiving and praise.

10. Faith praises God.

11. Faith causes worship to rise up within us.

12. Faith rejects the spirit of this present evil age.

13. Faith releases Kingdom authority.

14. Faith seeks a heavenly home.

15. Faith perseveres in the seasons of testing.

16. Faith blesses the next generation.

17. Faith refuses sin's pleasures.

18. Faith endures persecution.

19. Faith performs mighty acts of righteousness.

20. Faith suffers for God.

21. Faith does not return to this world and its way.

22. Faith steps into the new moves of God.

23. Faith moves mountains.

24. Faith prays, hears God's voice and believes His words.

25. Faith speaks forth the word of God.

26. Faith knows the love of God.

27. Faith is captivated by Jesus.

28. Faith releases anointing and the supernatural.

Reigning in Life

Our God is awesome, powerful, and faithful. He created each of us to walk in faith and shine as Kingdom ambassadors. Paul gives us an incredible positional truth in Romans 5:17: "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ."

Paul does not say that life reigns over us. Nor does he say that life reigns in us. He does say that we shall reign in life! Here are definitions for basileuo the Greek word for reign: "to be king, to exercise kingly power, to govern a province, to exercise the highest influence, to control." As I studied this verse, I discovered that this great promise of Romans 5:17 can be translated word by word into the following interpretation:

If one man's one offense let loose against us the tyrant power of Death, to hold us as its victims in helpless bondage, much more, when we stand forth enriched with God's abounding grace and in the beauty of complete absolution (forgiveness, pardon, release, freedom, liberty) from countless offenses, shall we increase in a life divinely owned and legally secured, reigning (exercising the highest influence and kingly power, governing a province) in exultant freedom and unchallenged might, through that other matchless One, Jesus Christ!

What a powerful promise! In this season, we cannot allow our fears to hold us back. We must advance the Kingdom of God. As the Body of Christ we have to move out of a condition of fear and into our rightful position of faith, boldness and authority. This is not a time to shrink back, but to move forward. Fear has to go!

We have been too long on the defense instead of the offense. The Lord gave me a vision, describing the promised season we are in. It's also included in my book Destined to Rule. It is a simple analogy, but I want to share it as it will give us encouragement and understanding.

I saw a football game. The two teams were lined up at the line of scrimmage preparing for the ball to be snapped. One team wore black uniforms and the other white. The team with white uniforms was the Lord's team and the team with black uniforms was satan's. At the beginning of the game the white-uniform team had possession of the ball, but fumbled. The black-uniform team recovered the ball and began to run plays that were winning the game.

At one point the ball was intercepted by one member of the white-uniform team, but it was as if his team members did not know it had changed hands. So even though the ball was rightfully theirs, they continued to allow the black-uniform team to run offense. The white-uniform team focused only on defending its territory, as though expecting to be on the defense.

But suddenly, the white-uniform team seemed to realize that the ball had been theirs and that the other team had possession only because they had handed it over voluntarily. They decided that enough was enough. On the next play they intercepted the ball confidently! Not only that, the player with the ball ran so quickly to the end zone that the other team could not catch him. The white-uniform team left the black-uniform team in the dust to win the game.

Friends, we are the white team. The truth is we are so busy in the defensive mode that we do not realize we have the right to grab that ball and run the offense. Not only are we to call the plays, but we are to run with confidence, assurance, faith and authority.

When we rise out of bed in the morning, darkness should come to attention. We are the ones to call the offensive play of the day that will end with a victory. We have to shift our thinking from "What do we have to defend ourselves from today?" to living each day focused in faith on God and His plans. We praise Him for His goodness. We expect to see individuals, families, workplaces, cities and nations transformed for the glory of God.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.-Hebrews 12:1 AMP

In this season let's get out of the boat, walk on the turbulent water in the midst of the mounting waves and dangerous winds with the mindset of no regrets and no reserves. Let's be partnering with the Lord in calling the offensive play of the day. And above all be in expectant faith in Him to move!