BELIEVE IN THE PROMISES OF GOD!
– Joni Ames
I was thinking the other day about how, the older I get, the younger old age looks! As I read about Abraham being 100, and Sarah being 90 when they finally had their promised child, I marveled! Being in my late 50’s, with many promises yet to be experienced, I’m encouraged through their legacy of faith to keep pressing forward in order to see the birthing of my promises as well.
The Word of God is full of many accounts of how the persistent faith of average people becomes the finished product of mighty miracles. I believe the Word of God truly is our manual for life, as the scripture says, “It contains everything we need pertaining to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) The reason? Because it has worked that way for me.
Throughout my life, I have learned to go to the Bible as my number one resource manual concerning life. It wasn’t always that way. I often looked to other people for advise. However, that never caused me to experience peace of mind or personal fulfillment. It was only through going to the Word of God that I found those things.
EXAMPLES OF FAITH
It causes one to pause and consider our ways as we read of the many trials and pitfalls that Abraham, and each of our Biblical heroes encountered, yet continued to press on and pursue the promises until finally achieved. In today’s world of “instant” food, “fast service,” and drive throughs, people are so accustomed to a “name it, claim it, get it,” attitude that they go into a major mental setback when things have to be worked for. That’s why many are snared when they realize that there is a price to be paid for walking in the anointing. The price is of time, experience, study, prayer, and true relationship with the Lord. Knowing the Lord in a “gnoskis” – intimate way. (ref. http://www.intimacywithgod.com/knowgod.html
While traveling in the ministry the Lord has called me to, I often have people come to me and ask me to lay hands on them and “impart” to them what I have. I have jokingly said, “What? You want my bills, the long hours on the road, and the exhaustion too?!”
The type of relationship with the Lord that yields the anointing comes only by being willing to spend time with Him. We spend time like we spend money. The problem is, when we spend money we can earn more. However, when we spend time, it is gone forever. Therefore it is wise to spend time on that which matters, so that there is everlasting fruit. When we do so with the Lord, we will never regret it. He is faithful to produce what He promises!
IN THE BEGINNING
One of the most important things we all have to battle in our relationship with the Lord is doubt vs. faith. We must learn to not second guess ourselves and our ability to hear His voice. The Word clearly tells us that we, as His Sheep, know His Voice. (ref; John 10:27)
Again, that “knowing” is in an intimate, “gnoskis” way. Much like being able to know the sound of our loved ones so well that we know the sound of their cough, sneeze, or even their footsteps. That type of relationship only comes through time spent with a loved one, as we pay attention to them in such a way as to learn and recognize those sounds.
I met a man once who was very kind to the women he dated, yet wondered why they would dump him for someone else. He longed to have a relationship that would lead into marriage, and couldn’t understand why they would leave him for a less kind suitor. As I watched him, I saw that he was constantly looking past them when they were together talking. It caused the women to feel uncared for. He did the same thing when conversing with business contacts, which also caused him loss of business deals. We can’t get to truly know someone in an intimate way by looking past them.
Many people read the Word of God that way. They read the Word the way they speed read books. They jump over vitally important sentences, which does not allow you to have the understanding needed. Especially when it comes to the Word of God. We must cautiously, lovingly, embrace each sentence and caress the meaning within each chapter and verse in order to truly understand its’ meaning. That’s why the Word tells us that “untaught and unstable people twist the scriptures because they don’t know God.” (ref.: 2 Peter 3:16) – Through “gnoskis” knowing Him and His Word, we will also know ourselves and our path in a more defined, purposeful way.
“LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION”
Being in the proper geographical location can mean everything to walking in our purpose, call, and destiny. In Genesis chapter 12:1, God told seventy-five year old Abraham, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”
In verses 2 & 3, God told Abraham that, if he did that, these would be the results:
(2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing;
(3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
God promises that our obedience in such a move brings great reward. “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (ref; Matt. 19:29)
I found this to be true in my own life when, at 29 years of age, I moved my two small children and myself away from everyone and everything I knew to go to work at Jim & Tammy Bakker’s PTL TV Network/Heritage USA. I have never regretted it. It was the beginning of the Lord changing me and reshaping me and my mind, heart, and spirit for His use. He has given to me “family” in the Body of Christ that has stood by me through many trying situations. And He has given to me a life of serving Him and His people that has brought forth great fruit. When God promises something, He delivers!
Even more recently, the Lord spoke to me to move to West Virginia just before the whole mortgage and financial collapse. He warned me that troubled times were up ahead, and that it would be important to downsize and simplify my lifestyle. Additionally, that in the days ahead, loved ones needed to be closer together to help one another.
RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS ARE KEY
Abraham did some stupid things, but his obedience yielded great rewards and he became “very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis 13:2) In fact, his obedience even caused his nephew Lot to also prosper so much that it says in verse 6, “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.” They were so prosperous and their blessings so great that they had to part company and each of them dwell in their own region!
Quick obedience equals quick results. As soon as they obeyed the Lord and parted company, God met with Abraham to bless him even greater, with vast amounts of land and the promise of an equally vast heritage. Let’s read about it in Genesis 13:14-17:
(14) And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward;
(15) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.
(16) And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
(17) Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
THE TEST OF TIME
“Through faith and patience, we inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:12)
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16a)
God’s promises stand the test of time. It is up to us to stand the test of time in our faith and still believe, and not settle for less, no matter how much time passes before the promises given to us come to pass.
I had many prophetic words that were given to me twenty years or more ago that are just now coming into greater levels of fulfillment. There have been times when I thought maybe I was believing in a fable, or had done something that canceled the promises. The truth is, just like a baby has the best chance of surviving if they are in their mother’s womb the total nine months, so it is with the promises of God. They must go “full term.”
Waiting is hard, but there are many “ladies (and men) in waiting” – just like Sarah who simply have to await the timing of the Lord. In the process, we need to “occupy” until it comes. That means, “To seize possession of and maintain control over by or as if by conquest.” It is faith with works. (ref. James 2:14-26)
When I was 29 years old, we had a New Year’s Eve service at the church I attended. A kind older gentleman had taken scriptures and put them on index cards for each one to pick out of a bucket as their “word for the new year.” Mine was Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things told her by the Lord.” I have clung to and cherished that promise all of these years! Yes, Lord! That was the response to Mary the Mother of Jesus regarding her promised child being the Messiah. His Word truly stands the test of time, and He is no respecter of persons! It is my promise as well! And so since I believed it, I pursued it. I choose to continue to press towards the mark of the prize! (Philippians 3:14 & 1 Corinthians 9:24)
God is faithful! No matter what happens, His Word stands as Truth, and continues to withstand the test of time! I am His witness and know and have experienced this personally, intimately, and assuredly! There is no one and nothing more sure than Him!
Father, thank you for Your Word, Your Son, Your Holy Spirit, and Your Love! You are Faithful and True, and I love you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
– Joni Ames