Speaking to the Future

The Power of a Testimony

Testimonies have incredible power because they carry within them the seeds of faith it took to bring them to pass the first time. In fact, the word, “testimony” means, “to do again!” Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, states that “Testimony is the spirit of prophecy.” If prophecy causes change in present events, then releasing a testimony is like prophesying into the future

What this means is that when you hear or read a testimony, many times the same faith that produced the miracle the first time leaps into your heart and reproduces that same miracle in your life!

Focusing on what God can do

God told His people all throughout the Bible to record what He had done so when they experienced a new obstacle they could remember what He had done for them in the past and draw on that experience to gain fresh faith for the present. This is especially important for those who have not yet seen their prayers answered. It is so easy to focus on what God has not done, rather than focus on what He has done. This will also help you maintain a life of gratitude!

Another reason God tells us to write down our testimonies is so that our children, and our children’s children, will have faith in God!

“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102:18)

The testimonies of what God has done strengthen the faith in others to believe for the impossible. Testimonies remind us of the goodness of God! And testimonies allow others for generations to come to share in the amazing things God can do!

God’s Waiting Room

Waiting for the door to open

My wife Kathie and I have four children. They were all born in modern maternity wards that allowed our families and friends to be a part of the process (though Kathie had the rough part). In fact, the doctor actually let me deliver both of our youngest kids. I think he figured anyone with four kids ought to know how deliver a baby.

However, when I was born things were totally different.

While my mom enjoyed the pampering of nurses fluffing her pillow and meeting her every request (joking), my dad had to wait in a smoke-filled room with all the other nervous soon-to-be dads. Every time the door opened, the pacing would stop, and all eyes looked to see who belonged to the latest little package held in the nurse’s arms. Finally after hours of waiting, my dad heard the door open at 3 AM and the nurse say, “Mr. Phillips, congratulations, you’re the father of a boy!”

My dad was in a place called a “waiting room,” and though they are a thing of the past, there are still plenty of them in existence. The fact is, someone reading this is in a waiting room.

This is for you

You’ve been waiting, pacing, hoping for something, and as of yet there’s been no announcement or sign of it happening. However, it just may be that you’re actually in God’s waiting room. And it may encourage you to know that there have been many others throughout history who have also been in this room.

Like my dad, Abraham had to wait for a son, only instead of waiting for one night, he waited 25 years. Joseph was given a dream, only to watch his youth dwindle away for 17 years in an Egyptian jail. Job waited for healing and restoration. David was anointed to be King of Israel, but had to hide for years in the wilderness running for his life

What have you been waiting for? David wrote something important for you…

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalms 27:14)

What Do You See?

Milk and honey

What he saw captivated his thoughts. It was lush. Fertile. Beautiful. And it was all theirs! Moses said to the men around him,

“Now I know what God meant when He said,
‘I’m bringing you into a land flowing with milk and honey.’”

Moses was getting older, but his strength got a second wind as he thought about how God was fulfilling the promises made to him back in Egypt. Even though there appeared to be walled cities and some formidable opponents, hope surged in his heart. Surely these obstacles could be no greater of a challenge than Pharaoh and his armies. He could hardly wait for the men to get back who he had sent to spy out the land.

“Here they come!” someone shouted as the twelve spies came up the trail. The twelve of them didn’t appear to be very excited as Moses asked for a status report.

“We cannot go! The people are too big! The cities are too strong. We would be better off back in Egypt.”

Everybody listening began to moan, but Moses noticed that Jephunneh’s son and Nun’s son were shaking their heads. “Caleb and Joshua,” Moses asked, “what did you boys see?”

Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it…Do not fear the people, for the Lord is with us!(Numbers 13:30, 14:9)

God is with you

That answer proved to be a very key moment in the history of Israel, and in the lessons God deals with his people. It turns out that how you relate to circumstances is based on how much you really believe God is with you, and that nothing is impossible for Him.

What Caleb and Joshua saw and felt inwardly affected their hope, which in turn affected their destiny. This is true today. You may see things today that in the natural look impossible, but remember you’re not facing those things alone. Let hope rise in you today knowing that God is with you, and because of that nothing is impossible!

Trophies of Grace

Good questions

It’s often asked, “If God knew that people were going to sin, why did he create humans?” That’s a good question, but a more thorough question might be…“Why did God create the world at all?”

The best answer is that God created everything for his glory. He created a world that would display his glory most fully and most perfectly. That is to say, every aspect of God’s character could be shown in its most extreme form.

If God had created a world in which no one sinned, what aspects of his character could he have shown? His creative power? His loving-kindness? His provision for his people? Yes. But what about his mercy? Or his justice?

Going deeper

Think about this, how would we know about God’s loving-kindness and creative power to their fullest extent without knowing that Jesus died in our place, and then was raised from the dead? Listen to how Paul expounds on this in Romans 9:22-23…

In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. (NLT)

God’s wrath being held back from people who deserve it demonstrates the riches of his glory. Just as the power shown in His creation reveals his glory, the power that forgives reveals his glory.

God is the champion at bringing people from a place of destruction to a place of total victory. As they reach that place of victory they become trophies of his grace, and they are set on display as a fragrant reminder of his glory.

Different Options


Heaven is our model

Jesus lived by only doing what He saw His Father doing. Learning to recognize the Holy Spirit’s presence and following His lead enables us to do what Jesus did. And these works of God are not limited to church meetings. We must learn how to take this anointing to our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods and expect similar results. Healing, deliverance, and spiritual breakthroughs become options we offer people wherever we go. Whatever the point of need a person has, God wants to move.

When you have an encounter with God, your hunger for the presence of the Lord increases and miracles are a by-product. God will meet you, change you in your encounter with Him, and as you change the impact on the world around you changes.

You are not just spectator

Encounters with God are for everyone and everywhere. He is looking for those who will listen and those He can trust. God looks at the heart and reveals Himself to those who love Him. There is no need to strive anymore. Working from God’s presence is more effective than working for His presence. Waiting patiently for God is never passive.

Signs and wonders are a practical means to display the love and power of God. The initial pressure isn’t to get people healed, but to display the love of God. And the love of God does not omit power encounters that bring healing and deliverance.

The best way to reach someone who doesn’t know Jesus is from a consistent lifestyle of love and power. Classical evangelism has become very clinical unfortunately it isn’t very effective. But the person who stays filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and loves people, will see a natural outflow of miracles and salvations.

God’s Will for All

God’s will to save?

We all know someone who needs Jesus. And no matter what spiritual state that person is in, we can be confident that it is God’s will to save them.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

To the same degree that salvation and eternal life are available to all men, physical healing is also available. Both salvation and healing are a part of the same redemption.

Jesus healed ALL who came to him

He never turned away a sick person, nor did He ever explain their sickness as a necessary part of their spiritual growth. He never made anyone sick, nor did He ever tell someone to wait for their healing until some condition was met.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing ALL that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

James gives us further insight into healing…

Is ANY sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:   And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)

Will God honor His Word?

Earlier we read that God is “not slack concerning his promise”. One preacher put it simply when he said, “If God said it, that settles it.”

It doesn’t say ‘all things except some sicknesses.’ Anything that doesn’t reflect the nature of God Himself is something that you can be delivered from. Therefore we can have confidence when we stand on God’s word for anything, including healing.

How to DO Christianity

Is It God’s Will To Heal?
The will of God is simply this: “On earth as it is in Heaven.” And when we pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done,” we’re praying for God’s kingdom and will to be realized right here, right now. This is a life changing, paradigm-shattering way to “do” Christianity.

All the amazing things that are free to operate in Heaven—joy, peace, wisdom, health, wholeness, and every other promise of God—should be free to operate here on this planet, in your home, your church, your business, and your school. What is not free to operate in heaven—sickness, disease, spiritual bondage—should not be free to operate here.

Jesus is perfect theology
People often use the subtle language of “God allowed it” when referring to difficulties like sickness and disease. This kind of language sounds spiritually mature but is rooted in allowing our experience to define our theology, and explain what we don’t understand. If God “allowed” it then it can be said that he caused it. But this is not what the Bible teaches.

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
(Acts 10:38, NKJV)

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
(1 John 3:8, NKJV)

Jesus reveals God’s will. Jesus healed everyone he came in contact with. He also destroyed the devil’s unrestricted power to use sickness and disease as means of attack.

Almost fantasy
When we make this our mission, lives are set free, bodies are healed, darkness lifts from people’s minds, and the rule of the enemy is pushed back in every way imaginable. Businesses grow healthy, relationships flower again, people re-connect with their calling and purpose in life. Churches grow, and cities feel the effects of having God’s kingdom flourishing within them.

The understanding of God’s Kingdom being established right here, right now, will free up your life in ways you have never seen before. Things will begin to happen regularly that are so extraordinary it’s like a fantasy. But it’s not a made-up lifestyle; it’s the lifestyle for which you were made to live…and do.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

The power of the offended mind

Jesus’ ministry was marked by significant miracles until came to His hometown of Nazareth. As was his custom he went to the synagogue. As He began to teach, the people were quite amazed at His wisdom. They were also very impressed with the healings they were seeing.

It seemed like God was really moving amongst them, until somebody yelled out,

“Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t this Joseph’s son? He grew up here! How can He do this stuff? And where did He get this wisdom?”

They were offended, but not in the typical sense. Their feelings weren’t hurt. They weren’t caught up in bitterness. They simply could not handle that someone familiar to them was operating in the anointing. Instead of being filled with faith and expectation, they became hardhearted and rejected Him.

This unresolved question became a strong enough mental stumbling block that it shut down Jesus’ anointing. He could do no miracles and teach with no power. This was a body blow to Jesus.

Stunned by his own neighbor’s and family’s lack of faith, Jesus responds, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and friends.”

Your Nazareth

You may not have grown up in Nazareth with Jesus, but you may have been around the same church, and/or around the same group of people for a while. When something new or different happens it’s difficult to receive or even recognize.

Not understanding is okay. Restricting your spiritual life to what you understand is not. This stubbornness of soul is the cornerstone of quenching the Holy Spirit. Such a controlling spirit is destructive to the development of deeper release of God’s power.

God responds to your faith but will not surrender to your demands for control. Encountering God requires a heart-felt embrace of what you do not understand, and possibly even from someone you ALREADY know.

Your heart is more clearly seen by what you’re willing to embrace without offense, than by your expression of faith only in what you already understand.

Extreme Boundaries

Faith explores the realms opened by the promises of God

Jesus reveals the nature and heart of God. Jesus is also the greatest revelation ever received by mankind of God’s promises. These promises are the playing field of our faith. But this playing field is only as big as our recognition of God’s goodness.

Too often we expect the worst, even though God has promised his best. This happens when we fail to make the connection of God’s goodness with his promises. This kind of thinking creates conflict, especially as we try to discern the source of a problem. Many even attribute the clear work of the devil to God Himself because they believe that God authors bad things for our good. In other words, the end justifies the means.

We would not accept this standard of logic in any other area of life. Yet it has become common in the theology of many because they do not understand the cornerstone of all theology—God is good.

Receive your assignment

When the issue of God’s goodness is settled, your assignment becomes much clearer. When you really believe that God is good, things will begin to open in your understanding that were previously out of reach.

Instead of living in reaction to problems or wondering who’s at fault, hope for breakthroughs and solutions begin to rise within you. You will live proactively, looking for places for God’s promises to be fulfilled as his goodness is revealed.

It is time to get the issue of God’s goodness settled and move out with hope. Out of this conviction you will look for chances to let your faith explore the boundaries of his goodness. These boundaries are much more extreme than you could possibly imagine.

Risk Management

Walking by faith takes us out of our comfort zone

I love security. I enjoy predictable things. I feel safe with my family and friends, at my home and job. But if I’m committed to following Jesus, I have to give him the right to disrupt my life with his agenda.

The goal of enjoying a happy, comfortable, predictable life is quite contrary to Jesus’ goal of using our lives to make an eternal difference in other people’s lives. In other words, Jesus is calling us to trust Him, and to put his kingdom and the people he cares about ahead of our own priorities…

  • Even if it is uncomfortable
  • Even if means plans have to be changed
  • Even if there are no “safety nets”
  • Even if it gets “messy” or “complicated” or “awkward”
“Faith is spelled R-I-S-K” (John Wimber)

God designs situations that make us feel unsure so that we have to look to him as our only source of guidance and strength.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

There comes a time in our relationship with God where he invites us to take more risks. These are moments of faith that require us to fully trust him with the possibility of losing something. Yet, through the noise of fear and doubt, God’s voice leads us and his power enables us and gives us far more than we risked losing.

God is relentlessly faithful and honors every risk we take out of obedience to him. And on the other side of the risk we become closer to God than we could have ever imagined.