Even before I was asked to talk today, I got the title for my message, but I didn't know what to say. Last night, even though I was confident earlier in the week, I sat with the Word "open," asking God to help me. I sat and waited, but I was also doing other things, getting up every five minutes.
November 13, 2023
Even before I was asked to talk today, I got the title for my message, but I didn’t know what to say. Last night, even though I was confident earlier in the week, I sat with the Word “open,” asking God to help me. I sat and waited, but I was also doing other things, getting up every five minutes. I was getting frustrated because I thought the ideas would come to me one by one, but nothing was happening.
Feeling really desperate, I even messaged pastor Sam, telling him to be ready because I might change my mind at the last minute. Then, I felt like God was telling me that He wanted to talk to me, but I was too busy trying to figure everything out on my own. He said, “Sit down, and listen.” That’s when I finally got the words for my speech.
So today, let’s take a moment to, you know, as the Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know.” It’s about not being too busy, just being still, and understanding that God is in control. So, are you excited to hear what I have to say? Yes? Great! I’m eager to share what God has been saying to me.
I want to start by sharing a little story about how this message came to me. A week or two ago, I was talking with a friend, and we were joking about how our husbands love to brag about us. Even though she’s not from our church, we both appreciate that our husbands aren’t just talkers; they practice what they preach. They live out the values they talk about. This, we concluded, only happens when you’re completely sure about what you believe. Having an understanding is good, but being convinced is crucial. So, I want to talk about that today.
As we chatted about how our husbands genuinely live out their beliefs, I couldn’t help but admire our pastor, Pastor Sam. He doesn’t just talk about his beliefs; he lives them with conviction. So, today, let’s discuss living with that kind of strong belief, being fully convinced in what the Lord says.
I might change the title later, but for now, I want to call this message “Live as if, Live as if It’s Already Happened.”
Today’s focus is from Romans 4:17-21. This passage is not just one of my favorites—it’s my absolute favorite. On my birthday, multiple people gave me cards with these verses, and I felt like it had to be a message from God. It’s something I really live by and stand by.
Romans 4:17-21 – As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Let’s say it together with full conviction: “Fully convinced!” It’s so beautiful. This passage tells the story of Abraham and Sarah, an elderly couple without children. Sarah was barren, and they had been childless for many years. At the age of 75, God appears to Abraham with a promise—not just to become a father, but the father of many nations. It’s not just our nation but many nations. Imagine, at 75, he receives this promise. And when does he actually receive the promise? At the age of 100. So, for 25 more years, he had to wait. This chapter is about Abraham’s faith, not in what he could do for God, but in what God could do.
His faith was anchored in the belief that God is faithful to His promises, that God stands by His word. This distinction between living from revelation and living with conviction is crucial. It’s easy to come to church on Sundays or attend small group meetings and receive a powerful message. Last week’s message, for example, was received quickly and easily. However, living with conviction is a different story—it’s about Monday to Saturday, the days when you don’t see the promises immediately coming to pass.
Receiving the revelation is easy—God is good, faithful, and promises great things. Whether it’s a car, land, a better job, a spouse, or children, it’s easy to accept these messages. But living in the period of waiting, when you don’t see the promises fulfilled, requires something deeper—conviction, being fully convinced. Despite what your body might tell you or the circumstances around you, it’s about being fully convinced in the God who made the promise.
Let’s explore this further by looking at Daniel 3:17-18 in the amplified version.
Daniel 3:17-18 – If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!”
This passage recounts the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three Hebrews who refused to bow down to the king’s idol. Despite the decree that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace if they didn’t comply, these three were fully convinced that God would rescue them.
Their revelation was clear—they believed God could save them from the fire. However, the conviction kicked in when they declared, “But even if He doesn’t, we will not bow down to anything else.”
Living with conviction means saying, “God, I’m convinced that you will rescue me, but even if you don’t, I will still give you glory and live for you.”
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Before the miracle unfolds, God grants you a promise to sustain you through the waiting period. Take Abraham, for instance. Long before witnessing the arrival of his son or the realization that he would become the father of nations, he embraced a divine word—a promise. “You are the father of nations. You will be called the father of multitudes.” This promise wasn’t just something he clung to; it became the force propelling him over the course of 25 years. Instead of merely holding onto the promise, the promise held him.
Don’t become overly fixated on chasing after a promise, questioning when God’s assurances will materialize, like waiting for a better job. Such relentless pursuit can lead to disappointment. While God sometimes provides a timeline, more often than not, he leaves it open-ended.
This, I believe, is intentional, as a specified timeline may tempt one to lose faith within that period. The crucial aspect is to grasp onto every word God speaks and trust in His faithfulness, even in the absence of a visible timeline.
It’s essential to believe in God’s faithfulness—He who promised is faithful. Maintain your faith, even when the fulfillment isn’t immediately apparent. Now, let’s explore instances where God repeatedly promised and renewed His pledge to Abraham.
Genesis 12:2 – And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
The initial promise unfolds: “I will make of you a great nation.” Yet, within the same verse, additional promises emerge: land, numerous descendants, blessings for him and his progeny, and the assurance that nations would find blessing through him. So, understand that the promise extends beyond you and your children; it encompasses nations.
Genesis 13:16 – I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.
Moving on to the second promise, Consider the vastness of the sand on the seashore; attempting to count it is an impossible task. That’s the magnitude of the descendants God promised Abraham.
Genesis 15:4-6 – And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
The third instance is a pivotal moment when Abraham, growing impatient, suggests his servant as an heir. God reaffirms, “Your very own son shall be your heir,” and takes Abraham outside, telling him to count the stars. The analogy signifies the countless nature of his offspring, and Abraham’s belief in the Lord is counted as righteousness.
Genesis 17:4-6 – Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
In the fourth instance, God deepens the promise, stating, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.” Abraham’s name is changed to Abraham, signifying his role as the father of many nations. The promise includes fruitfulness, the creation of nations, and the emergence of kings from his lineage.
Genesis 17:15-16 – And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah[a] shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
Now, the fifth instance, introduces Sarah, Abraham’s wife, into the promise. God renames her Sarah, promising, “I will bless her. Moreover, I will give you a son by her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Notice the inclusivity of the promise—God extends His blessings not only to Abraham but also to his wife.
Isn’t it remarkable that God doesn’t limit His promises to Abraham alone; He extends His blessings to Abraham’s wife, Sarah, as well? This aspect is crucial, emphasizing that if there’s someone in your life whom God has placed over you, honoring and standing with them brings blessings not just to them but to you as well.
Genesis 18:10 – The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
Abraham wasn’t the sole recipient of the promise; Sarah also received it. Although the initial word came through Abraham, God addresses Sarah directly in Genesis 18:10, saying, “The Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, shall have a son.'” Sarah’s reaction, a laughter of incredulity, comes from the fact that she was 90 years old.
Genesis 18:14 – Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.
In the final instance, Here, God provides a specific timeline, a departure from the earlier instances where the timing was not disclosed. Until then, Abraham and Sarah clung to the word God had released over them without a reference for when the promise would come to pass.
Romans 4:19 – did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness[b] of Sarah’s womb.
This act of consideration, occurring after the reception of the promise, urges us to ponder the meaning of the word “consider.” It’s a concept that God has been impressing upon me all week — to consider.
Upon examining the definition, to consider means to think carefully about and pay close attention, typically before making a decision. This resonated with a recent personal experience. On a Friday, I made the mistake of heading out without considering the circumstances.
Unaware that it was Diwali, I faced difficulties in finding transportation and spent nearly one and a half hours struggling to get back home. It was a challenging journey, and I realized I hadn’t considered the potential traffic, high rates due to the festive season, and the pollution. If I had considered these factors, I would have made a wiser decision to stay home, perhaps with an air purifier. The point being, considering factors before making decisions is crucial.
Now, turning to Abraham, the Bible reveals that he considered his body’s age and condition, as well as Sarah’s barren womb. At a hundred years old, he acknowledged the apparent lifelessness of his body and his wife’s womb. Despite this, he made a remarkable decision to trust God. This is remarkable because, typically, when we consider our circumstances, it’s easy to resign ourselves to the situation, saying, “My body is as good as dead; let me accept this.” However, Abraham chose to trust the One who made the promise.
So, the next time you consider your weaknesses, frailties, or the challenges in your life, family, or career, look beyond and consider the One who calls you.
Romans 4:20-21 – No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
The continuation of the verse in Romans underscores that Abraham considered not just his age, body, and Sarah’s dead womb but, above all, the goodness of God. The Bible emphasizes that God calls into existence things that are not as if they were, suggesting a pre-existing plan.
The calling of Abraham as the father of nations, the promise of Isaac, and the vision of nations and kings coming through Sarah were always part of the divine plan. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision; it was always the intention of God.
So, today, if there are hidden things in your life, seek revelation from the Lord. Ask Him to call into existence those things that were, making them manifest today. Moreover, God is not only the One who calls into existence things that were not but also the One who transforms ashes into beauty. In the Old Testament, ashes symbolizes death, worthlessness, insignificance, and the end. Yet, God has the remarkable ability to take those ashes and turn them into something beautiful—an illustration profoundly seen in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice transformed our insignificance and sinfulness into something beautiful.
Concluding the message, I want to emphasize the power of living “as if.” There may be moments in your life when you feel alone, weak, or weary in your faith and prayers, seemingly without the results God promised. If you’ve ever felt this way, remember, you’re not alone. Live as if it has already happened. While persistent prayer is commendable, it’s even more potent to shift from pleading to living as if the promise is already fulfilled. Trust in the goodness of God, who calls things into existence and transforms the ashes of despair into beauty.
Remember, God heard you the first time. You don’t need to keep reminding Him. Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain you. Often, we cast them and then take them back, thinking God might need our assistance. But God is more than capable. Your prayers don’t fall on deaf ears; He hears every word.
Here’s a practical tip: change the posture of your prayer from “Give me, give me, please, please, Lord” to “Thank you, Jesus, for it is done.” Shift your focus from waiting for the miracle to rejoicing as if you’ve already received it.
I’ll share a personal experience that changed my life. In the face of a discouraging report, my husband told me, “Rejoice. Live as if you’ve already received it.” So, we celebrated, danced, and lived in gratitude, rejoicing as if the promise had manifested.
Don’t wait for the miracle to start rejoicing. Instead of singing with defeat, live today as if you’re already in the promised land because, in truth, you are. The promise is yours, and you’ve received it. Whatever you’re contending for, start thanking God and live in gratitude and faith. Faith is the conviction of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen. Trust that God, for His name’s sake, will fulfill His promises.
I encourage you to live in this mindset and let gratitude and faith guide your actions. As believers, our challenge often lies in an insatiable appetite for new revelations. Yes, His mercies are fresh every morning, and His revelations are new each day. However, the constant influx of information might lead us to forget what God has spoken to us.
Take a few minutes to reflect on what you’ve heard. What is that one thing God has been consistently telling you? If you can’t recall, ask God now. What is the word that will sustain you until you see the promise fulfilled? For me, it has been a simple yet powerful assurance: “I have never left you; I am with you.”
Instead of overloading your mind with various messages, leave room for God to speak to you through His promises. While seeking fresh revelations is essential, also ask God, “What do you want me to know today?”
We just sang, “We wanna see you, show us your glory.” Now, in stillness, ask God, “What is it that you want me to know today? What is the word you are speaking to me?” Close your eyes, make a simple prayer, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. If God is saying something, write it down. Sometimes, we need to sit in stillness and wait for the Lord to speak.
Take two minutes, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you. Listen for a verse, a picture, or a reminder. Write it down if you can. Let’s wait on Him, trusting that His promises are great, and He will speak to us.
Rest in the assurance that the promise is already within our grasp. Let’s transition from a mindset of scarcity to one filled with gratitude, acknowledging the blessings that are already present. Be unwaveringly convinced that the God who makes promises is faithful. Whether or not you’ve received a specific divine message, recognize that your journey is ongoing; God continues to communicate. Persist in the pursuit of God, living in the fullness of seeking the divine rather than fixating solely on the promise. God is both the promise and the ultimate gift.
I’d like to share my testimony. At the age of 14, I began grappling with a health condition that was officially diagnosed when I turned 17.
However, symptoms had manifested since I was 14. In 2020, a particularly harrowing incident occurred, making me believe I might not survive. That night, in intense pain, I clung to my loved ones, especially Sam. Unable to find a doctor that night, we rushed to the hospital the next morning, precluding any sleep. Before the onset of Covid, in January 2020, I received medical attention. The doctor prescribed a pill and asked me to return for further evaluation.
Upon returning, I received a disheartening report indicating a worsening of my condition. Despite feeling defeated, I had prayed for healing since the age of 14. Communion and healing prayer calls became moments where I fervently sought complete healing, even in the face of discouraging reports. By 2022, negative reports persisted, and my condition fluctuated. A transformative conversation on living in victory prompted a change in my prayer approach. I began expressing gratitude for the anticipated healing and rejoicing in faith.
In 2022, after a scan, the doctor reviewed my report and declared that the evidence did not conclusively indicate the presence of my condition. This marked a significant turning point. Although skepticism lingered, something within me shifted. I chose to live in victory, thanking God for the healing despite contradictory reports. Subsequent scans in a reputable hospital affirmed the absence of the condition, yet symptoms persisted.
Having received a report indicating healing, despite the persistence of symptoms, I refused to wait for a future day of complete restoration. I embraced the victory already declared in my medical report, a testimony to God’s faithfulness. The initial glimmer of hope emerged when the doctor stated, “We cannot conclude that you have this condition” due to the absence of signs in the report. Unlike past experiences where negative reports led to discouragement, 2022 brought a pivotal moment, prompting us to forgo further doctor visits based on the positive report.
This year, despite initial skepticism, we decided to seek another opinion. At a small clinic, the second test, although initially doubted, once again showed no signs of the condition. Dismissing it as possibly lacking the necessary resources, I laughed off the report. However, a strange pain led me back to the doctor, this time at a reputable hospital. Even there, they questioned the notation of the condition in my history, as I exhibited no signs of it in my body during the scan. The journey continues, but this serves as a testament that sometimes hope can arise from unexpected places.
The story doesn’t conclude at that point. I’ve undergone healing—confirmed by my reports that show no presence of it in my body. However, oddly enough, the symptoms persist. Yes, the symptoms persist. While my medical report asserts my recovery, the manifestations linger. It’s as if I still carry the condition, yet I’ve chosen not to accept that narrative any longer. I won’t be held captive by the expectation of a future day when I might experience complete healing. Instead, I am currently embracing and living in victory.
I share this to encourage anyone who may have received a positive report but finds the physical effects still evident. Keep holding on, persist in pursuing the One who heals, the One who makes promises. Your situation might not align with the report, but continue to believe. In my own experience, I’ve witnessed a good report without an immediate physical transformation. So, I urge you to remain steadfast.
I acknowledge there may come a day when I can confidently declare the absence of any trace of the ailment. Even though it may persist now, I claim my healing. My journey stands as a testament to God’s unwavering faithfulness. If He can bring about healing for me, He can undoubtedly do the same for you.