I HAVE BEEN greatly encouraged of late when reviewing from my journal records some of the ‘words and promises’ the Lord has spoken to my wife and me over the years. Many have come to pass, while others are still to happen. Those still before us make us aware that our race is not yet over.
Many years back, when we started out on our mission journey of faith, choosing to sell everything and move to Asia with two small babies in our arms was an act of obedience to His words and promises to our hearts. We drew great strength and encouragement from the book of Joshua, in particular chapter one, where he too was starting out in his new leadership role.
Not only did God choose Joshua (1:1) – as He has chosen you and me – He also assured him that he was not alone (v 5), and commanded him to be strong and courageous (v 6), to be obedient (v 7), to daily read and meditate on the Word (v 8) and not to be afraid (v 9). A great platform to build on for one’s service to the Lord.
Towards the end of Joshua’s life, he looks back and declares, “Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (23:14). Wow! The Lord’s integrity and character can be trusted!
When driving recently, we saw a bright and beautiful rainbow appear in the sky just as the rain was easing. As it began to fade, it was suddenly replaced by an even brighter and bigger second rainbow. We know that the Lord told Noah in Genesis 9:11-18 that He promised never to send a flood to destroy the earth again, and as a sign of His promise would send a rainbow to remind him (and us) of His promise.
I hope that you, like us, are encouraged to look back and see what the Lord has done, and are yet even more excited about His words and promises that are still to come to pass. For World Outreach International, the word of the Lord resonated in our hearts last year when it was declared that the ministry was coming into a season of accelerated growth, that a harvest would happen not only in fields where we are already working, but also in fields we have not yet sown in.
These words and others the Holy Spirit has spoken to our hearts have inspired my WOI colleagues and me to make plans accordingly, so as to facilitate what the Lord said He would do. Just as importantly, His words and promises to us have influenced our prayer life as well, as we declare and claim these yet to be realised promises, in order for His kingdom to expand even further.
Back in 2003 at a gathering of WOI leaders in South Africa, the Holy Spirit spoke that the organisation’s future major focus was to be ‘Impacting least reached (ethnic) people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ’. With that word pulsating in our hearts ever since, decisions have been made to see His purposes come to fruition through WOI. More than twelve years later, we can look back and see the Lord was good to His word, with tens of thousands of unreached people having since invited Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives.
Let us not be distracted by all the anarchy, religious strife, political inaptness and economic uncertainty that prevails in the world today. Rather, let’s look back at the Lord’s faithfulness, and then declare and hold onto the words and promises He has spoken to our hearts that remain yet unfulfilled. For just as the rainbow reminds us that God has kept His promise not to flood the earth again, He can also be trusted to fulfil His promises we hold dear to our hearts.
By John Elliott