BY CARL A. TRAPANI
I was reading the 27th Psalm the other day. As I did, I thought of how David’s words had brought encouragement to me and countless other individuals over the last 3000 years. Something drew my attention to a heading at the top of the chapter which in my Bible states, “David sustains his faith by the Power of God.” Suddenly, the full impact of this little footnote hit me like a bolt of lightning. I realized that what was true for David is also true for others. Faith is built on the foundation of what each of us experiences and witnesses personally. People of great faith have experienced God’s power in large measure. People of little faith have had little experience with God’s power. Since God is no respecter of persons, but is equal in his distribution of blessings; any lack, or problem of faith is on our part, not God’s.
THE LORD IS THE STRENGTH OF OUR ]LIFE.
How can we personally experience the power of God in our lives? By agreeing with God’s word and allowing it to function in our everyday lives. Don Gossett explains how he learned to experience God’s power in a life-changing way. In his best-seller, “What You Say is What You Get,” he tells of the dynamic experience that taught him the power of a positive confession of faith – and changed his life. His wife had developed a calcium deficiency while carrying their baby girl. As a result, their daughter was born with club feet and severe respiratory problems. The doctors put her into an incubator with plaster casts on her tiny feet. Every day, Don and his wife would sit by her little bed and pray. His wife continued to weaken after the baby was born, and when she returned home, she took to her sick bed. For several weeks Don lived under the strain of trying to help his wife, and visit his daughter, who was still in the hospital. All during this time, he prayed for God to heal them both. Finally, after several weeks his
daughter was ready to come home. When the doctor was changing the casts on her little clubbed feet, he noticed something unusual. Her feet were straight! God had performed a miracle! And though cases
like his daughter’s normally required years of medical treatment, her feet and legs were fine from that day on.
He brought his daughter home to his wife who was thrilled with what God had done. But their days of joy were brief, because his wife, still weak and sickly, suddenly developed rheumatic fever. Daily, she
weakened, and became ever worse. Don took care of both her and the baby, always praying for another miracle. One evening, as Don sat by his wife’s bedside reading his Bible to her, he stopped and said,
“Honey, did you hear that?” She said, “What?” He responded, “What I just read – ‘The Lord is the strength of my life.”‘ He began to repeat that phrase over and over again. Suddenly his wife’s eyes brightened. She began to say it with him, and as she did, she sat up in bed. Still saying the phrase over and over, she pushed herself off the bed, and for the first time in days – stood up by herself. Then, as she kept repeating “The Lord is the strength of my life…” she walked about the room. The more she walked, the more she repeated that power phrase. “The Lord is the strength of my life … The Lord is the strength of my life…” And she was healed!
THE POWER OF POSITIVE CONFESSION
Don Gossett says that the night his wife was healed was the night he began to realize the power of positive confession (What You Say is What You Get). He admits that he simply discovered a principle that the Bible has affirmed for centuries – the power of positive confession.
– “.Whosoever .. shall not doubt .. but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).
– “…Every idle word that men shall speak; they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement For by thy word thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
– “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23).
These verses point out that our words can work for us, or against us – depending on what we say.
THE POWER OF NEGATIVE SPEECH PATTERNS
The emperor Napoleon dreaded negative and discouraging remarks. He knew how demoralizing they were to his troops. For that reason, he gave orders to shoot anyone who spread negative or discouraging reports about the French army’s ability to win in battle. To prove how powerful a negative thought can be, just try to undo a criticism that someone has voiced about another person. It is extremely difficult to
eradicate the influence a negative or derogatory statement can have on our attitudes.
GOD OFTEN REBUKED ISRAEL FOR THE WAY THEY TALKED. THEY USED NEGATIVE SPEECH PATTERNS THAT EXPRESSED THEIR DOUBTS AND SUSPICIONS.
– “Ye have worried the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we worried him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” (Malachi 2:17).
– “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord… ” (Malachi 3:13).
The Israelites wearied God with their negative speech patterns and He judged them severely. In Moses’ time He had repeatedly performed miracles for them, yet they constantly expressed their doubts about His power to deliver them again. As a result, their murmuring and complaining brought them 40 years of wandering in a desolate place (see Numbers 14). Doubts and unbelief in God’s Providence continually
blighted Israel’s history. They refused to obey the prophets, and so they were thrust out of their homeland into captivity. When they gradually returned, they still were unconvinced of their need to submit to God’s power in their lives. Not until 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was overthrown and thousands destroyed did the Jews finally accept the Providence of God. One of the great enigmas of history is the survival of the Jews. I believe that since they had been so doubtful and unbelieving, God gave them what they believed in – which was the worst. In the last 100 years there has been a change among the Jews. Many of them recognized the influence of negative thinking and its disastrous results, and finally determined to work with all their might, and trust in God for His help. Now they are a state again, and have a powerful impact upon the world.
We should learn from Israel’s example. Just as negative faith was disastrous to Israel, so it will be in our lives as well. That is why we must eliminate the negative, and accentuate the positive in our speech patterns, and manner of thinking. Too many people including Christians have allowed their lives to become over-ridden with negative attitudes. ‘they constantly affirm the negative. “I know I’m not
going to get a raise.” I know someone else is going to get promoted over me. ” “I just can’t do any better. ” “I’ll never be a success. ” “I’m afraid to go back to school, people will laugh at me.” These statements and others like them actually are monuments to negative faith – which is unbelief and doubt. The only way to change the negative influence to a positive one is to blast it to bits with powerful positive statements – “I can… ” “I will try… ” “It’s possible… ”
Since God is the most positive force in the universe, it is necessary for us to be in agreement with Him, if we expect Him to bless and help us. “Can two walk together except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). You
cannot walk together with God in the realm of Victory, Triumph, Blessings, and Abundant supply, as long as you disagree with His word. Let’s encourage one another with positive uplifting words. Begin by
consciously eliminating negative influences in your own life. Remember, “The Lord is the strength of your life,” and “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” Positive confession brings
The above article was published in Wisconsin District News, Nov., 1991, p.2-3.
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