// Don Duncan
THE JOURNEY OF LIFE is like being on a boat. It's our vehicle to get us where we are going—to reach the destination God has for us. As we're sailing to that destination, we encounter storms. The enemy brings winds and waves to get us into fear and doubt. But the winds and waves that are meant for our destruction can be the very things that power us to our destination.
There's a story in the Gospel of Mark of Jesus and His disciples getting into a boat to cross over to the other side of the lake. On their way, a storm arises—one the disciples had never encountered before.
MARK 4:37–40 (NIV)
37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
Storms give us an opportunity to identify where we really are in life. Sometimes, we're living on cruise control, so to speak. We get complacent because things are going so well. Our faith isn't tested in those moments. But in the midst of a storm, we can see where our faith really is, or where there is fear in our lives.
THE BEDROOM WALL of Cliff Graham's oceanfront house in Kihei, Hawaii, was covered with pictures of extreme surfers catching and riding huge waves. Every morning when Cliff woke up, he would gaze at that wall, dreaming of one day achieving the same feats. The 20-something California native loved the ocean, beaches, and conquering the biggest waves. And his love for surfing eventually led him to the Lord.
Some time later—as an instructor in wind and wave surfing—Cliff sat on the sand at Kamaole Beach II watching the blue ocean waves come and go. His tide clock watch reminded him of the predictability of the tides. And he could know the exact times of sunrise and sunset. He realized that if left alone, the beach would take care of itself. But man-made things would rot if not kept up. There must be a Creator, he thought.
Cliff cried out to God, "Whoever You are, I want to know You. If You have a plan for the ocean and a plan for the sun, You must have a plan for me. I'd like to know Your plan. I'll do whatever You want if You'll reveal it to me."
Cliff found a small Christian church on Maui and began to grow spiritually. He was diving into the waters of the living Word.
// Kenneth E. Hagin
EARLY IN MY MINISTRY I was pastoring a church in the oil fields of east Texas. One of the deacons of the church had a good job working for Humble Oil Company. And he was always faithful in his support of the church.
One day he said to me, "Brother Hagin, can you explain something to me? I've been a Christian for 13 years, and I've been faithful in paying my tithes and giving offerings."
I knew that was true. He was a regular tither whose support really blessed the church. "What is it you want to know?" I asked.
He said, "Well, I don't know why I'm doing it. I've never heard any teaching or preaching about tithing. When I got saved, they told me I was supposed to do it, so I did. But I don't know of anything that's ever come of it in 13 years. If I've ever gotten any blessing out of it, I don't know it."
I was amazed. Here was a good man who had been tithing strictly from the standpoint of slavish duty, and it hadn't worked for him. So I took a few minutes and told him a little bit of what I'm sharing with you.
// Kenneth E. Hagin
IN JESUS' ministry, healing wasn't always instantaneous. John 4:52 says, "Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." The Bible says that the nobleman's son began to amend from that hour—at the hour Jesus said, "Thy son liveth" (v. 53). What does that mean? That means he began to get better and better until, finally, he was all right.
On one occasion I was preaching in an Assembly of God church in California. A woman was brought in an ambulance to the church auditorium. I never saw so much medicine and equipment keeping one person alive. She couldn't breathe without a machine. And a special nurse was with her all the time.
It took me a minute to find a place to lay hands on her, because she was nearly encased with various medical paraphernalia. I laid hands on her and prayed. I knew the power of God went into her. And I asked the nurse, "Can she hear?"
She said, "Yes, she can hear and understand what you say, but she can't talk." So I said to her, "The healing power of God was administered to your body. I felt it flow out of my hands into your body. It will heal you. Believe that." Then I went on to pray for someone else.
// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
I WANT TO ASK a thought-provoking question: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? A pessimist always sees something bad in a good situation. An optimist will always see something good in a bad situation.
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. "I'm the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it—and missed. "Strike one!" he yelled.
Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down, he swung again and missed. "Strike two!" he cried.
The little boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike three!" "Wow!" the little boy exclaimed. "I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"