Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Faith!! I Can Move a Mountain!!

The line of this blog comes from a wonderful Hillsongs songs that I have loved for years. The concept of faith is something I am only recently getting my head round. Here's the song by the way!

I think I always used to get rather depressed at Jesus' words; "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed ...". My conclusion? My faith is smaller than a mustard seed! But Rob Rufus's wonderful Kingdom teaching has opened my eyes to the glorious realisation that faith is something imparted to us from on high! I'm in the middle of helping transcribe one of Rob's more recent sermons; "The Struggle For The Authentic Part 3 - "Qualification for the Blessing - Faith or Works?" - and Rob brought this powerful definition of faith;

"Faith is a supernatural ability to connect with a living God with confidence. Faith is the substancein your heart of the things that you are hoping for and it is the evidence of what you cannot see. Faith has evidence - faith is not a blind leap into the dark. Faith is a leap into the light based on supernatural substance and evidence inside your spirit given to you by the Spirit of faith - the Holy Spirit.

When faith rises up in your spirit you have the substance to manifest your hope and what you are hoping for starts happening and the goodness of God starts happening around you - but you need faith for that ... Today we will pray that the spirit of faith will rise in everyone of our hearts to believe the good news of the message of grace and that what the enemy intended for evil over the last 2 weeks is going to be turned around so powerfully for our good - that we will come into a more delighting place of confidence in the grace of God than ever before".

I love that last particular phrase. That's faith! I've hinted at the last month or two of hell that I feel I've been going through - ending up with me currently being on anti-depressants. I always grew up with a deep suspicion of anti-depressants. Such was the deposit of legalism in my church history that my gut feeling was if I resorted to anti-depressants then I didn't have much faith in God. John Piper was quite helpful in getting me to agree to my G.P's request. But all that aside - the question that I'm sure anyone and everyone who goes through times of trial must ask is "Why?". As I mentioned before - God doesn't seem to want to talk to us about our circumstances but our destiny.

That aside, I've been searching my heart as to why on earth I have spent the last year of my life working somewhere that has ended so sourly. Why has the chance to spend time with those vulnerable and needy children come to an end and it's become nigh-on impossible for my health to be in such a place of negativity? I don't have any answers ... yet! But I love what Rob Rufus said;

"That what the enemy intended for evil over the last 2 weeks is going to be turned around so powerfully for our good - that we will come into a more delighting place of confidence in the grace of God than ever before".

That's destiny. That's something that I can feel my faith stirring towards and for! I know I am not the only one who is struggling in life so I hope this is a post of encouragement. We know that all things work together for those who love God. That's not just one of those rosy verses that look nice on your mother's fridge. That's reality!


Nick Cameron said...

Thanks for this Dan....one question though how can we stir up faith, how can we really see that daring faith to believe for the impossible when the valley is deep, when everything seems to get thrown at you at once?
Sometimes it seems like everywhere you turn just points to failures, non achievements or the enemy isolates you and then pummels you with the past (and the present!) - so in the depths when the pat answers don't help - how do we stir up that faith!? I am similar to you with that feeling of my faith isn't even as big as that mustard seed! Any insight?
Nick x

jul said...

Dan, you are a man of great faith. I know this by personal experience!

And for you taking the anti depressants shows how far you've come in trusting in God's grace (faith!), before you would have viewed it as weak and condemnable. But in your weakness THEN is Jesus the strongest!

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Nick,

A great question - its so easy to have the "cliche" Christian answers at a time like this. "Trust and obey for there's no other way" blah blah! Well you know me well enough by now to know that I despise the cliche answers ... so there will be none of those. If I don't know I will say so.

My attempt at an answer (and an invitation to those far more experienced in the faith than I to help answer it too) is to point to Rob Rufus's incredible insight into the fact that God won't and doesn't speak to us about our circumstances - but He wants and will speak to us about our destiny.

I - like you - have walked through the valley and have struggled to see how it will all end. But that thought about destiny, lead me to reflect on "the calling of God". I have re-visited the prophetic words that He gave me (a whole ton through your very self!) and have re-visited what God is calling me to.

It's a step of faith in itself to believe that God never ever shelves that calling, no matter how condemned we feel or how useless. But He simply waits for us to allow the gospel of grace to sink in and for our heads to rise up and to walk on.

So I would encourage you to go and re-visit your prophecy notebook, the words that you, me, Pete and Mal used to email to each other. Let them sink into your spirit and maybe just pray a simple prayer; "God where do you want my life to go? Where are you taking me?". If Rob is right - then THAT'S where God starts speaking again!

That's certainly been my experience. Even though I feel at the lowest point of my life ever - I feel such a marvellous sense of peace and acceptance and trust that even though I don't know what the future holds, I am willing and ready - and God's moving His chess pieces into position!

Thanks Julie so much for your encouragements - you are such a joy to me! I say again - I would never have survived this far without friends such as yourself which I can be so honest with!

Sheila said...

Hi Dan!
Yesterday, the Holy Spirit impressed me to deliver a word to you. I have sat on it a full 24 hours - because, to be honest, I don't understand WHY He'd do that. The Lord has given me small words of encouragement for you in the past...and to be blunt, I don't want to seem like a wacko who has nothing better to do than surf the internet. I am barely making time to be here tonight.

I am busy beyond my own belief...my life is full, my ministry to my small church, and to our network of churches (when I am asked to minister) is vibrant. I don't need anyone's approval - even in the "natural", God has gifted me with many faithful friendships, a very secure and content personality, and a full schedule. Yours is one of a handful of blogs I visit, and the Father keeps bringing me back, and it is a mystery to me why He, every now and again, asks me to tell you something! ACK!

You are a dear one, don't get me wrong...but I don't know you. There are so many people I see daily and weekly (and I do give them the word of the Lord, when God gives it to me) - so I have to wonder, "Why Dan?" :-)

His heart must be fully set on you.

I am here to tell you that, even on your worst day, in the light of your deepest failures (and some of them are deep, I sense)the Father has invested something into you that He is determined to see through to completion.

Here is the word: the Holy Spirit impressed me to deliver Psalms 23 to you, in the form of a prophetic word...very personal. Please hear this as though for Dan only, and as though it was the very first time you have ever heard it.

I, the Lord, am your Shepherd, Dan. You shall not want. I plan on making you lie down in green pastures. I will yet lead you beside still waters. I will restore your soul, again and again and again. I am determined to lead you in paths of righteousness, son - for my Own Name's sake.

Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are to fear no evil, for I am and will be with you. My rod of discipline and my staff of direction in your life, though painful initially, will become a source of comfort to you - proving your great worth to Me as a son. What son whom the Father loves, does He not correct?

Dan, I will prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies, just to torment them. I will bless you in spite of yourself - as you are sometimes your own worst enemy. I will anoint your head with oil - setting you apart for a good work, and soothing your anxious thoughts. You'll have that overflow of the Spirit you have longed for.

*Surely*...surely My goodness and mercy will follow you - "cleaning up after you" as it were, mending fences, righting wrongs, causing those you come in contact with to extend great grace and favor to you....and I will do this all the days of your life. Can you wrap your mind around such grace?

You will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I, the Lord, change not.


And there you go.

I offer this to you in gratitude for your hard work on your blog, for being as sensitive to correction and input from spiritual authority as you know how to be. Obviously, that authority is not me...I am referring to others. (I know nothing of this in the natural - I am flying blind here...if I am missing it, you can say so. I've missed it before, that's no nevermind to me. I'll say, "Oops. Sorry.") :-)

I would have sent this to your personal email address, but I don't have it any longer, and...I just think it is best to be very public, here. That way, the pastoral oversight you have, can verify this word, or not.

Avail yourself of such lavish grace, my friend. The Lord has set His great love upon you - in spite of yourself. (As He does for us all, in spite of ourselves!)


Dan Bowen said...

Wow .......

Wow .......

Thank you so much my dear friend Sheila! Thanks for having the faith and the courage to step out and bring this ... absolutely awesome word to me. I can't even begin to describe to you how utterly "spot-on" it is for me at the present time and the MOST absolutely amazing encouraging statement from God through you ever!

I will consider, think, pray and let this prophecy sink down into my spirit - I promise you that and of course will let you know any more thoughts, responses I have - but my gut reaction is "I am LOVED - for God to speak words of comfort to me!". :)

Thanks again from the bottom of my heart!

lydia joy said...

Dan ~ after I read your most recent post, and then read Sheila's above comment and word to you, I was thinking about it all, and a thought came to me from something I had heard Bobby Connors wife (sorry forget her name) say at the revival one night when Bobby was leading it........I can't remember exactly what she said, but I felt it went along with what Sheila shared, the part in Psalm 23 about walking through the valley and your more recent post about how the red lights are going to soon turn green......anyway, she said " remember you are walking THROUGH the valley, in other words on your way out of it........." I always used to look at that passage and felt stuck in the valley. So, I hope that adds confirmation to your word and Sheila's and is at all encouraging...........Be blessed!!!

Nick Cameron said...

Dan - Just wanted to say thanks for the answer to my question - well helpful!
Nick x