Important Announcement from Helen Calder
It is a great pleasure for me to announce some changes taking place in my ministry.
From 1 February 2011, I will be joining the ministry team at David McCracken Ministries.
I will continue blogging, and there will be no changes to those of you who are receiving the blog articles direct to your inbox by Feedburner.
You may see some gradual changes in the presentation of my website to reflect my new role, so keep an eye out for these over the next few months.
I encourage you to check out the David McCracken Ministries website, as well as the wide range of resources that are available.
In the meantime, following is a brilliant article written by David McCracken that will strengthen your faith as you step into 2011. Be blessed!
Steps of Courage
Does receiving the promise and instructions make you a possessor of the land?
The answer is, of course, that it does not. In Joshua 1:3 God tells the Israelites that they will have to tread upon the land before it actually becomes theirs.
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you”
As Peter the fisherman of old found out, to walk upon the water requires one getting out of the boat and placing one’s security firmly in the faithfulness and integrity of the Lord. Hope must be demonstrated in order to become living faith. We will never possess that which we have not “walked upon”.
What does this mean in practical terms? It means to have sufficient inner confidence in what God has told you to do, that you take tangible and deliberate steps towards seeing it become a reality. Not steps that can be easily reversed with a minimum of cost and concern, but steps that have the feeling of “going beyond the point of no return” about them.
I never cease to marvel at what some people call a “step of faith”. They have carefully weighed up the facts and predictable statistics; they have calculated the possibilities of success or failure; they have arranged all potential areas of backup. Having then diligently reduced all possibility of failure to zero and put in place security nets for every contingency, they step out in “faith”.
Friends, unless it is impossible humanly, we don’t even need a miraculous intervention! And God does not respond when He simply is not needed.
When Peter, in Matthew 14:29, stepped out of that boat on to that tormented, storm-driven sea, it was neither logical nor sensible. It was the simple act of obedience to the voice of the Master that said “Come!”. There was no tipping one’s toe in to see what would happen, just the abandonment of one that had clearly heard the King’s command.
That is the simplicity of true faith. It is obedience to a clear word of command. It is that illogical, irrational, almost reckless courage that doesn’t consider the challenges long enough to be daunted by them.
However, let me stress that it is not superficial and irresponsible presumption. It is not some whimsical, pride-driven thought of doing something spectacular. It is neither for the carnal nor the prayerless; it is for those who have received a creative word born out of their intimacy with God in prayer.
True faith is that Holy Ghost inspired word that can transform even the most timid of heart into a hero of faith.
Now consider: James 2:20 “Faith without works is dead!”
Faith is a conviction that produces action. Without action it remains but mental assent; and mental assent without consequent action is, in fact, disobedience.
To acknowledge that one has had a word from God but to do nothing about it is an act of unbelief that questions the integrity of the God that gave you that word. It declares loudly that our God may be good at giving commands but unpredictable in His faithfulness. This, of course, is not so. He is utterly dependable in all matters of character; including His faithful provision for all that He has asked you to do.
I remember the first time that he challenged Margaret and I on a major missionary step of faith.
We had responded many times to missionary faith challenges in the past but always as pastors of a local church. When God challenged, we knew we could count on the collective faith and giving of the congregation. This time it was to be different. We were no longer pastoring a church but were, ourselves, itinerant ministries relying on God for His daily provision.
Whilst in prayer early one morning, I felt the Lord clearly say that Margaret and I were to go to Tanzania, East Africa and get the pastors of the different churches and denominations together in a place called Arusha.
With Margaret’s confirmation, we acted upon this and contacted the local missionary who informed us that the leaders would not gather together unless we paid for all their expenses to do so. We were talking about all conference costs, food costs for the several days, and even reimbursement of some travel costs. We were talking about a large sum of money! We estimated about 100 people would attend and committed ourselves on that basis.
Have you ever discovered that sometimes God gets you over the line of obedience before actually revealing the fuller picture of what He has in mind? Well, this was such a case.
A short time after our initial commitment, I received the e-mail to say that the number had now grown to over a hundred and fifty! Did we wish to proceed? Well, had God spoken or not? Was His faithfulness in any way restricted to a certain number? We told them “Yes, go ahead!”
Then came the next e-mail. The number had grown to 200! How did we feel about the zeroes that were being added to the budget?!! Then the next e-mail. It was now over 400!
We were already out of the boat believing the Lord to miraculously provide for 100 or 200, why not 400! We were utterly sunk if He didn’t come through either way. We said “Yes, proceed with as many as you can get there!”
We committed to send the first amount of finance on a certain date and booked our airfares with our Visa. And we prayed! Not religiously toned, well cultured, articulate, intelligent prayers; but more like “God heeeellllp!!” Not in anxiety or panic but with an incredible excitement and anticipation. Not “if” but simply “how”.
To cut a long story short, the phone began to ring, the letters began to arrive, people felt led to come and see us. In it all came. The last $2000 came in the day before we flew out to East Africa! God is a God of the eleventh hour.
The conference and the entire trip turned out to be a miraculous time of intervention for that region, with ongoing fruit to this very day.
That was but one of such trips and similar challenges of financial impossibilities that the Lord has led us through. In over 35 years of God-reliant ministry we have never had to be a day late in payment of an account due to finances. Now, that is a God of faithfulness! Like Joshua of old, we must be those who have forged a non-negotiable conviction concerning the integrity of God.
There will never be a time when stepping out in true faith does not cause a sense of trembling within. As one highly decorated war veteran said at a rally I attended: “true courage is not the absence of fear, it is the conquering of that fear”.
I have been in this spiritual war now for about 42 years and I still get those “butterflies” in the stomach when God challenges me to put aside the logic and simply step out in obedience. Hey! Sometimes those butterflies inside feel like eagles!
But, my friend, eagles [and butterflies] are born to fly! And that is what obedient faith does: it releases you from the gravitational pull of humanity and logic, and empowers you to fly above them, lifted by the fresh wind of The Holy Spirit in your heart.
© David McCracken Ministries, 2008, 2011
Used with permission