Mark 16:17-20 (NLT) These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
I am not the thrill seeker in my family. I have a fearless husband and some daring children who will ride just about any rollercoaster no matter how fast, high or even those that flip upside down. No thank you. Many years ago, our family went to Six Flags over Georgia. It was opening day for their newest thrill ride, “Goliath”. Friends, I cannot make these things up – I promise God works like this in my life. Anyway, the wait to ride was more than an hour. I did not want to go on the dumb thing but peer pressure from my family culminated in the sickening sound of the safety bar clicking into place and a siren blaring to clear the track. I was a mixture of terrified and mad all at the same time. At the end of the most horrifying ride of my life, I was furious. Not with my family, but with myself for allowing them to talk me into it. My stomach was now up in my throat. My head hurt. My voice gone from screaming. I made a vow that day to never ride another roller coaster again. I have kept my word.
Faith is a thrill ride all its own. It takes the same level of courage sometimes to step out in the unknown possibilities of God with nothing more than a promise. Yet, people will overcome fear daily to engage in pointless activities with no real gain. We will endure ridiculous wait times for “things” but refuse to allow God time to perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) Longing for satisfaction yet unwilling to release our settlements to grab hold of faith and embrace hope to the fullest extent. We want to live by faith but not act on it. I am challenged with new opportunities of faith each day. I make the decision to respond to faith with obedience. Obedience on my part will produce the promise attached to each possibility for with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
It is important to read and reread the Word of God. To study it, think about it, know it and meditate on it. Jesus is the Word of God. To know Christ and realize His Full Potential for us, in us and through us requires an intimate knowledge of His Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It gives us new ideas of how to live our brand new life. It is in this careful examination of scripture that order is established. One such order is this – faith doesn’t follow signs but signs, miracles and wonders follow faith. We can pray for such things but until our faith is relayed in our actions and attitude in life – there will be no such thing.
John 20:26-29 (NLT) Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Blessed are those who believe without seeing me. Jesus appeared to His Disciples and Followers. I am certain that these men and women needed to see the risen Savior and Lord after witnessing the torture and violent execution of Jesus. Jesus came to Thomas after he voiced his disbelief to the others. He allowed him to place his finger in the scars of his hands and touch his side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe! I wonder if maybe this word is for you today. I know that it is for me. There are seasons of waiting in the darkness of the valley that one step of faith vacates yet we wait motionless in doubt and disbelief. We know the Name of Jesus. We have heard the stories but faith is dormant within us. God is calling us out to unto the water.
Joshua 3:11-13 (NLT) “Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.”
What if God is testing you today? What if He is leveling up your faith? What if the promise for your life that you have been praying for, waiting for, and weeping over is just one step of faith away? What if God is calling you to get your feet wet today? It is totally possible and completely probable. The Bible tells us that it is impossible to please Him without faith. Faith is the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Those who believe must walk by faith into the yet to be seen realm of hope.
As soon as their feet touch the water…the water stopped flowing. If you read on further the faith challenges goes up a notch, as it is harvest season and the Jordan is overflowing its banks. Yet as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched the water, the water line receded. By the time they made it to the middle, the ground was dry and the Israelites crossed safely. Imagine if you were the first priest to step into the raging water…how scary that must have been? He couldn’t stop there were others following him carrying the Ark holding the Presence of God. The Children of God were intently staring right behind them. Come on! Take a step. The moment his foot touched the water – the atmosphere began to change.
Mark 2:4-5 (NLT) They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Seeing their faith, Jesus healed the paralyzed man. These men did not make some confession before Christ with a well-planned speech or even a heart-felt message that He was the Messiah. No, their faith was demonstrated by tearing the roof off a house and lowering their paralyzed friend to Jesus. This is faith. Real and authentic faith is a verb not a noun. Hope is the noun by definition. His Name is Jesus and He is our Hope of Glory. Faith connects us with hope. Faith tears down the roof. Faith steps into raging water. Faith gets out of the boat in a tumultuous storm. (Matthew 14) We must get our feet wet to see the signs, wonders and miracles prayed for. Revival is not for sedentary Christianity bent on mediocrity. It is for the thrill-seeking believer who knows the Word, desires God’s Plan and Promises and decides to get their feet wet in obedience. Even the most unlikely whisper from God can give us full restoration when activated by faith in His Voice and taking Him at His Word.
Do you remember Naaman? He had contracted leprosy. He sent word to Elisha and came to see the Man of God for healing. The prophet sent him careful instructions to go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was appalled and offended. In a rage, he left with no intention of obeying the instructions. His pride deeply wounded. If not for his officers reasoning, the man would not have gotten his feet wet or experienced the miracle of faithful obedience. His skin was as healthy as that of a young child. And so I am reasoning with you today…as a friend… what is the Lord asking of you today?
Matthew 14:28-32 (NLT) Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
Why faith? Why must our faith be tested? If grace is enough, then why is obedience necessary? Peter called to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” So often believers pray for more faith, yet do not understand the process of possessing such a thing. My own mother prayed to trust God more and three weeks later was scheduled for open heart surgery with many health issues arising since that single surgery. When she prayed for more faith, her health seemed just fine. However, when she asked the Lord for more trust to hold tighter to the anchor of hope and all its credibility – she entered great testing. Peter walked on the water as far as his faith in Jesus could carry him and then sank quickly. Faith is an exercise. It is putting one step of obedience in front of the other daily. Its importance revealed in the last part of the scripture – “You really are the Son of God!” Well, if you continue to read Peter’s story – you know that his life of faith was a roller coaster of ups and downs all the way to the Cross. But in the end, Peter knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and staked his whole life on it.
Simple faith requires simple obedience to produce its fruitfulness in our life. Our prayers for signs, wonders and miracles begin with faith. Faith willing to step out into the unknown to receive its unseen promise because our trust in God is greater than our fear of falling, flailing or failing. Faith is a thrill seeking venture because each step seems more uncomfortable than the last yet each blessing seems to overshadow the fear that once hindered our acquisition. If you take enough steps of faith, you will begin to discern that when the enemy tries the hardest to fill you with fear, discourage you, or in any way keep you from fully obeying the voice of God – it is because the miracle you have prayed for is closer than ever before. My advice to you today – do it! Whatever that crazy, illogical thing that God keeps speaking to you – do it! He is faithful to accomplish all that He has set forth for you to do! You just have to get your feet wet!
2 Corinthians 5:7 (CSB) For we walk by faith, not by sight.