Walking on Water

Jan Antonsson

Walking on water

The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway 

December 30, 2017

Neosho, MO

“I belong to the Lord, body and soul” replied Mary, “let it happen as you say.” And at this the angel left her” (Luke 1:38, Phillips).

My thanks to 3 friends whose inspired comments sparked this writing. When they all come together at the same time, there’s a star in the East and I invite you to share my journey to wherever the Lord leads us.  In case you’re wondering about the title, it  came to me after I lay down for a nap, and I knew it was His to give, mine to write.

The first inspiration came from Jonathan Mitchell’s discussion of Acts 26:17-18, which is the account of the Apostle Paul testifying before King Agrippa about his unique conversion experience on the Damascus Road.  He recounted how he was blinded by a light “brighter than the sun,” thrown to the ground, and heard a voice call his name. He asked who was speaking:  “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now get up and stand on your feet for I have shown myself to you for a reason; you are chosen to be my servant and a witness of what you have seen of me today, and of visions of me which you will see. I will rescue you both from your own people and from the gentiles to whom I now send you (Acts 26:15-17, Phillips).  

Jonathan’s translation of verse 18, emphasizes three points which I had not focused on before. Jesus’ mission for Paul was, 1) “to open back up their eyes again; 2) to turn [their eyes; or: themselves] back from darkness into Light, and from the authority (or: privilege) of the adversary (the opponent), and upon God;  3)  to receive a flowing away and a release from failures, mistakes and occasions of missing the goal (or: a forgiveness of sins) and an allotted inheritance among and in union with the folks having been set apart in faith (or: made holy by trust; consecrated for loyalty) which [leads] into Me’ (Acts 26:18, Mitchell translation).

Jonathan has done a masterful job of showing that our Christian life is all of God, and nothing of us.  He’s the one who opens our eyes, turns us away from darkness, and gives us of Himself so that all we have to do is receive these gifts from him. This is exactly what Mary did, which endeared her to Christians for all time.  After Gabriel had explained how she, a virgin, would bear God’s son, she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word  (Luke 1:38, RSV). That is our confession of faith as well.

This in a nutshell. is the Gospel imperative. Some of us have to have a little help in getting there.  After Saul of Tarsus was knocked off his horse and blinded by the light, he received the message.  Peter had to have a vision from God before he would go to Cornelius’ house to preach the good news to this Gentile and his family.   Abraham needed to have a vision of God and him walking through the bloody pieces in order to believe that God was going to give him a son from Sarah’s 90 year old womb and his 100 year old loins as well as to deliver the Promised Land to his seed which would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens (See Genesis 15:1-18).  All these examples were so comforting to me, after I “got over myself”  and realized that God will do whatever it takes to a) get my attention, and b) get me to carry out His will.   This is the rest of God afforded to us, the people of God, when we are able to bear it (See Hebrews 4:9-10).

The second inspiration came from a friend who wrote, “Was wondering how I can be free of thoughts that are unwanted that come into my mind. The Evangelical world teaches that the devil puts these terrible thoughts in our heads to torment us and that is exactly what this feels like very often. Now surely this does seem to be the work of the devil and his demons but how can I be free. I do pray but the thoughts always return.  What do I do about the devil?  Any suggestions?”  End quote.

My answer:  Bless your heart, the devil didn’t put these thoughts into your heart.  Religion did.  Let me explain.  I was first a Fundamentalist, then an Evangelical, then a Charismatic.  The first group didn’t rail on about the devil much, but the second and third groups surely did.  Like you, I feared the devil’s wiles. After all didn’t the apostle Peter compare him to a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour?  (I Peter 5:8).  The Charismatics taught me to plead the blood, bind the devil and cast out the demons, which I did like a good little disciple. I saw the devil under every bush, and around every corner,  and this went on for months.  I had written on the blank back pages of my New Testament, a couple of pages worth of scriptures on how to get rid of Satan.  But still, I persisted in fear and trembling lest my sins should make me vulnerable to him.  This went on until one day, my dryer quit working.  No doubt the devil had done it, I decided, so I proceeded to plead, bind, and cast, but nothing worked.  My clothes were still wet and I was so frustrated.  God, in His mercy and grace, put a scripture on my heart:    Neither give place to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27, KJV). The lights went on; the flash bulbs flashed; bells rang, and I saw it.  In that way God has of preaching a whole sermon in a few words, I got it that I had been giving the devil space in my heart and mind.

God delivered me.  Every time I thought about the devil, that verse popped into my mind and freed me from my fear.  God was doing it in me, I realize now, though I hadn’t formalized those conclusions at that early time in my walk with Him.  Still, I knew that if God said it and He had spoken that verse to my heart, then He would take care of it.  Oh by the way, after I got this message from the Spirit, the dryer started to work again and I had no more problems with the devil.  God has His ways of getting our attention. 

The third inspiration for this writing came from my good friend Win Parker.  He’s writing a book entitled, What I Think I Know About God, and this snippet will whet your appetite to read the whole thing, as it did mine

“Rules and regulations, prohibitions and prescriptions abound. But when the prophets arrived on the scene, they seemed to be saying, “You missed the whole point. “All I wanted was your love and to have a relationship with you. I hate all the blood and gore. They were meant to point you to Me. Some of you, like David, got it. They danced in My presence and rested in My provision for them. But you slaughter animals and sometimes even your sons and daughters to please Me. Away with the sacrifice! Away with the ritual! Let’s sit down and talk. Let’s get acquainted. Let’s have a feast. I want you to fall in love with Me.

“Just so in the New Testament. “Come, see My Son in whom I’m well pleased”; listen to Him; fall in love with Him. I don’t care how you keep the Sabbath, how many miles you walk on that day. Don’t you get it? I’m crying out for your love, your attention, your trust, nothing more, nothing less. How far do you want Me to go to show you My love? The cross? OK, here He is, My Son, hanging on the most painful and humiliating death instrument ever invented. Now do you get it? No, I see you don’t. You’re still looking for correct doctrine, good smooth administration and correct rituals.

“Praying one day, this all dawned on me: He doesn’t want correct doctrine, He wants a relationship. So, I prayed, “Only You, Father.” It was a prayer that shook up my entire life. He began revealing Himself in many different ways including, surprisingly, a correction of my doctrinal beliefs, my administrative errors and the rituals through which I had formerly attempted to please Him. It was a bumpy ride, but unsettling only in that it was so joyous, the excited cries of the Matterhorn ride in Disneyland.

“Throw away the rule book. Write a love letter instead. Listen to His voice in nature, scripture and especially in your spirit. He’s always there, listening to your inner chatter and attempting to reveal Himself to you. All it takes is turning your attention toward Him. He does the rest.  End Quote.

Now about the walking on water part?  That’s the easiest thing of all.  When we were losing our house in 1997, I heard these words and got a melody to go with them, and knew we were in for an adventure. It’s a little chorus called 

                                              “Walking on Water”

  1. Get out of the boat, come, walk on the water, come walk on the water and come unto me.  I’m calling you out; I’m out on the water; I’m setting you free.
  2. I’m out of the boat, I’m walking on water; I’m running on water; I’m coming to thee.  Oh Lord I am sinking, I see the waves crashing;  I feel the fear trashing all hope left in me.
  3. And Jesus says, “Come, just walk on the water; just come take my hand now and just look at me.  Now you’re not sinking; don’t look at the storm now; don’t look at the water; look only at me.”

That was and still is the best advice I had to get me through the trauma of those days.  We did walk on water with Father God keeping us steady in the palm of His hands while He shut us down in California and moved us here to Neosho.  He does all things well.

Father, You are the creator of heaven and earth and also the storms which threaten to rock our little boats at times. You do it because You love us so much, You want us to see You only in our lives, not the trauma, not the drama, and not the possibility of failure, only You.  You gave it all for us and all You ask is that we receive You.  Father, empower us by the Spirit to receive Your love, Your mercy and Your grace in spite of ourselves.  We praise You now and forever more.  “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.”  Amen. Jan Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

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