One of my mentors, the late Virgil Johnson, was a powerful apostle of signs, wonders, and miracles. I met him in my twenties when I was pastor at my second church in a small town in central Louisiana. Virgil moves with great strength and a big heart to share his knowledge of the kingdom and inspire people to fulfill their destiny under God's anointing. Aside from his bombastic personality and uncompromising courage in the Kingdom, he has few fellow servants who match his faith. For this reason, he has come under criticism from many leaders and fellow Christians who do not share his boldness. Instead of following Virgil's bold ventures of faith, they demolished him and opposed his work because they were afraid to see someone so "out there" they couldn't keep up with him.
Prophet Lars - I am Vodohod.
I am very grateful to Virgil for his willingness, as a very popular speaker, to come and preach patiently in my small secluded church. Over the years he became friends with me and constantly encouraged me to change my faith. During one of his visits, he declared from the pulpit that "Peter went ashore against the advice of eleven of the most spiritual men of his time." The Bible says many counselors are wise (see Proverbs 11:14; 15:22), but think about it—one day reading these verses, my father said to me, "Your counselors are only your counsels." The father continued, "Your advisers cannot give you what they do not give, but that doesn't mean they think they know better than you."
In Matthew 14:22-33, the disciples see Jesus walking on water, and Peter jumps over a fence into troubled water to meet Jesus. I have a question: why didn't the eleven disciples follow Peter over the rail of the ship? We don't see twelve people walking to Jesus on the water because eleven of them don't think it's a good idea. Notice that Peter doesn't stop talking to them before he jumps off the ship. He didn't say, "Hey, here's what I want to do; what do you think?” Had Peter done that, no doubt the consensus would have been, “Peter, that's an interesting idea, but you get a little nervous sometimes; maybe you'd better stay with us..."
Can you imagine what the disciples in the boat were thinking when Peter fell overboard?
Doubting Thomas: "I don't think it will work..."
Andrew (Peter's brother): "How do I explain this to our mother?"
Judah: "Okay then! How much is this little ESCAPADE? The treasury has had enough!”
Prophet Lars - I am Vodohod.
Worried that Peter didn't stop to agree? Aren't you glad he didn't get the other students to talk him out of believing he could walk on water? Ask yourself who do you want to be with? Do you want to spend time in the boat with the disciples, row for their lives, catch water as quickly as possible, or do you want to walk on water with Jesus? Let me tell you, you can't have both. You can't operate a sinking ship's bilge pump and walk on water with Jesus at the same time. If you want something else, you have to do something else, and that involves dealing with people around you who don't think your beliefs are a good idea.
I wonder if Peter stopped and thought about what the other disciples thought about his water-walking adventure? If he had no doubts, he would have stopped himself. what are you hiding? Who do you listen to? Do they build or destroy your confidence? Thank God for Peter and the other disciples who showed greater courage after the resurrection of Jesus. Even then, however, there are indications that the disciples and apostles did not always share the same vision of faith.
and you Are you willing to sacrifice the favor of others for a testimony of walking on water? Sometimes even those closest to you who truly care about you don't have God's opinion of you. The late John Wimber, leader of the Vineyard Movement, witnessed unprecedented miracles in his life. Early on, however, he reported that they had not seen a single healing for two years after he began emphasizing healing in his ministry. People who prayed for healing for others suffered from the same diseases as the sick and died! (oops!). Can you imagine two years of healing meetings and no one gets healed? Wimber took the matter to the Lord in prayer, and the Lord said to him, "If you don't like it, get out!" John replied, "Go all the way?" What do you mean?
The Lord instructed Wimber, "Never listen to anyone who criticizes you." This goes against conventional wisdom. Wimber went on to say that when they stopped listening to their critics, their close friends told them what they were talking about. Because Wimber also disobeyed their advice, some close friends became sworn enemies - I'm sure, at a higher and very painful price. Wimber stayed true to what God commanded him to do and witnessed one of the greatest ministries of signs and wonders in modern times.
and you Who do you listen to and who do you not? Ignoring enemies is one thing, but ignoring warnings of care and love from those close to you is quite another. Where is your faith? What and/or who influences you to be careful not to fail in the kingdom? Yes, there are benefits to teaching with humility, but if Job had done so, his end would have been disastrous. His own wife doesn't understand him or see things the way he does:
[Job 2:7-9 KJV] 7 Then Satan withdrew before the Lord and inflicted wounds on Job from the foot to the top of the head. 8 Take another tile and wipe his body. He sat down in the ashes. 9 His wife asked him, "Are you still clean?" Curse God and die.
What can we learn here? Not everyone in your life will be on the same page, especially in difficult times. In Job's story, no one gave him advice, nor did his wife provoke him until Job started fighting. As long as Job is blessed, their attitude is, "We're here for you, Job!" But when the tide comes in, all criticism that doesn't reflect God's heart or God's plan comes to the surface. What's the lesson? The trials of life you have gone through will stir the waters and the sharks of unbelief will begin to circle. If you answer them, they will take you!
Don't let other people's worries or unbelief drown out the water you are about to enter!
Remember - God is a jealous God. My dad used to say, "Whatever you put between yourself and God, God will remove it..." It was a sobering prospect. Listen, God has called you to be a water walker. Never forget that Jesus chose the seemingly most impulsive disciples as the rocks on which to build his Church. Rejection is careful failure. Listen to God's voice and obey, no matter what others think. This is the key to getting out of trouble. Start today!