"Speak 'Nevertheless' Over Hopelessness"
The followers of Jesus Christ had suffered the greatest trauma that anyone could ever experience after He was crucified on the Cross.
They could not comprehend the events that had just taken place in Jerusalem. They believed Jesus had come to build His Kingdom upon the earth. They had waited for Him to overthrow the Roman Empire, freeing their nation from the yoke of oppression,
and even though they had watched and waited, it never happened. Their new reality was that it would never happen. The One whom they had followed for three and a half years was now dead, and not only was He dead, but He was buried in a tomb and a massive stone
sealed it. All they had hoped for and imagined would now never take place. They couldn't wrap their minds around all of it. They were devastated and felt lost. Where were they to go? What were they to do? They had no purpose.
Unfortunately, they suffered greatly because they had not received the revelation Christ so diligently sought to get over to them. He had told them He would suffer and die. Yet they refused to receive it because it did not line up with their agenda
for Jesus; they had written their own story.
As I reflect upon the feelings of the early Believers, I can't help but reflect upon my own life. Is there anything God has tried to get over to me and I'm
just not getting it because I've written my own story?
I always humanize the people I am studying, imagining what they must have felt or thought in the midst of their encounters or trials and relating
it to myself. Whenever I get to the crucifixion, I not only meditate upon the suffering of Christ when He paid the cost of redemption for the whole world, but I also think about the pain His followers experienced. I believe I would have felt the same as them.
So many of them had given up everything in order to follow Him.
The Story of Mary Magdalene: From Tragedy to Triumph
Mary Magdalene is one of my favorites.
According to all four Gospels, she was a witness to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible tells us that Mary was from the town of Magdala, giving the reason for her surname, Magdalene. Many theologians believe that she had been a prostitute
before she met Jesus. Even though the Bible doesn't unequivocally state that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute, the fact was that Magdala, where many fishermen frequently visited, was rumored to be a town that promoted prostitution. Moreover, she was a
woman with resources (see Luke 8:2-3). In that time, it was very uncommon for unmarried women to have finances; therefore, the conclusion was that she probably had been a prostitute.
"Soon afterwards He
went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources." (Luke 8:1-3 NRSV)
In the day in which she lived, unmarried women were thought
of in scandalous terms and were not accepted like they are today, especially if they were possessed with seven devils! She was rejected, used, and probably isolated until she encountered Jesus who cast those seven demons out of her. He set her free from a
lifetime of hurt and torment. She had finally found her purpose, and life took on new meaning for her. She discovered God's love for her. No longer was she tormented; no longer was she used by men. From that point on, she invested everything into following
I can't even imagine the pain that she felt as she stood watching as Jesus was beaten until He was unrecognizable. Her heart must have been in a million pieces as she witnessed the ordeal playing
out before her eyes. No doubt she wailed in pain, pleading for them to stop hurting the Son of God. The despair she must have felt as she saw Him lifted up on a Cross, nails in His hands and feet.
He hung, and then it was over. Jesus was dead. All of her dreams seemed to die with Him. Her heart and mind were in turmoil. Everything she believed was called into question. The thoughts that she must have wrestled with in her mind—Was it all not true?
Do I go back to my old life? Where are You, God? Why didn't You save Him? Why did He not come off the Cross and demonstrate His power?
Even in the state of pure emotional, mental, and even physical exhaustion
from the traumatic ordeal that she had lived through, her love for Jesus pushed her to still get up. Early that Sunday morning she went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried, in order to bring spices to care for the corpse of the One who had changed her
life. As she arrived, while it was still dark, she experienced a miracle, which she never expected.
Let me stop here a moment and say to you that the circumstances that you are facing may appear very dark,
but know this—even in the darkest of nights, your God is moving for you. I remind you that God works the night shift! Your God moves when it looks as though nothing is happening. You are about to experience a third-day resurrection. Dead things are going
to come to life. Dead dreams, dead promises, and dead relationships are coming back to life!
Mary Magdalene arrived before the breaking of day, expecting to find a sealed tomb with guards securing
it, but instead she saw the massive stone had been rolled away. She ran to tell Peter and John that "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him" (John 20:2).
emotions were in an upheaval. She not only was mourning the loss of her Lord, but now they had taken His corpse from the tomb. She could not even grieve, as was the custom. She must have been thinking, Why? What is next?
"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
"And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus
standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if Thou have borne Him hence, tell
me where Thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.
"Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am
not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God." (John 20:11-17)
Mary was the first person to see Jesus after
the resurrection. In an instant, she went from the darkest hour of her life to the brightest moment of joy that she had ever experienced. And let me say to you that like God did for Mary, He can suddenly turn your worst tragedy into your greatest triumph!
Some of you have had your dreams crushed. You have cried tears of mourning, but I hear the Spirit of the Lord say, "You are going from mourning to morning!" God is breaking through the darkness to release a miracle
you could not even dream or imagine. He is able to do it, and I believe He is doing it right now! Remember, God works even in the night season. When you cannot see Him, He is still there, working for your good.
Breath of God Changes Everything
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in
the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." (John 20:19)
The disciples had gathered together and were hiding behind locked doors because of fear of the Jews. They saw what the Jews did to Jesus;
they knew what they were capable of doing. And while they were hiding in fear, Jesus came to them. The enemy thought he had them locked in fear, shrinking in the corner, afraid of what would happen, but Jesus came and unlocked them from the chain of fear.
He exchanged their fear for peace.
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost." (John 20:21-22)
Jesus then commissioned them and sent them forth to do the works of the Father, even as Christ had been sent to the earth. They, like Christ, were sent forth,
possessing an apostolic mandate to represent Jesus on the earth. He empowered them as He breathed on them.
The Greek word translated "breathed" is the Greek verb emphusao, meaning "to blow at or on; to
breathe on." Jesus was not only using this act as a representation of the Spirit but also as a means to impart new life into His disciples, with a new impartation of the Holy Spirit. He said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The Greek word translated "ghost" is
the word pneuma, meaning "a current of air that is breath (blast) or a breeze (divine); God's and Christ's Spirit, the Holy Spirit."
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
When God breathes on your situation, things begin to change. In the verses that were just discussed, God was breathing
a wind of impartation and life.
One of my favorite examples of God breathing is found in the Book of Exodus. God miraculously delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. He raised Moses up as a deliverer
to lead the Hebrew people out of oppression and into freedom. God displayed His power to Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and to the Israelites while they were still in Egypt. He mightily demonstrated His power by the plagues that caused Pharaoh to finally let God's
people go. However, God told Moses that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened and he would try to enslave the Israelites once again, but not to fear because God would bring their deliverance to a crescendo of sorts.
"For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that
the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so." (Exodus 14:3-4)
The Israelites were trapped having the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh's army quickly coming behind them. In other words,
they were between the devil and the deep blue sea! They instinctively became upset with Moses. They complained, "Why did you bring us to the wilderness to die? It would have been better for us to have died in Egypt." What they did not understand was that God
was turning their obstacle into their greatest miracle. (I decree right now that the obstacles in your life are turning into your greatest miracles!)
"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and
the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right
hand, and on their left." (Exodus 14:21-22)
God caused the sea to go back by a strong east "wind." When God breathes into a situation, life is given, things begin to happen, and everything changes. When
Jesus breathed on the disciples, there was an impartation of new life given to them. A mantle was placed on them, and they were sent forth with an apostolic mandate to build the Kingdom of God.
translated "wind" is the Hebrew word ruach, meaning "wind; by resemblance (breath) that is a sensible (or even violent) exaltation; figuratively (life)."
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; in My name shall they
cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." (Mark 16:15-20)
Jesus said, "signs shall follow them that believe." If you are a Believer in Jesus and the finished work He did on the Cross, signs should be following you. You have authority through the name of Jesus and the Holy
Spirit working through you. Your purpose is to "preach the Gospel," "cast out devils," and to "heal the sick."
The Triple Threat Anointing
the Great Commission, Jesus laid out the principles for the Triple Threat Anointing that He showed me in my dream. This is not the great suggestion! No, it is the Great Commission. A commission is an authoritative order. The word commission is defined as "the
act of committing or entrusting a person, group, etc., with supervisory power or authority; an authoritative order, charge, or direction."
I started this article writing about Mary Magdalene and her story,
but let's take a look at another one of the central characters God used in establishing the New Testament Church. His name was Simon; the Lord would later change his name to Peter. Most would consider him the most unlikely of candidates to be front and center
of the beginnings of the greatest religious movement the world has ever known.
Peter lived in Capernaum, a town near the Sea of Galilee. He and his brother, Andrew, grew up in a fishing village and were
born into a family of fishermen. It was an obvious choice for them to go into the family occupation, and that is just what they did. They partnered with two other brothers, James and John, in their fishing business. Though they were busy business owners, and
probably somewhat gruff fishermen, they were still intrigued by the things of God as evidenced by their traveling to the Jordan River to hear John the Baptist preach his message of "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"
It was around that time they heard the news spreading around Galilee—a dynamic teacher and a miracle worker was coming to town. Imagine their great excitement and anticipation. They, being Jewish, knew all the prophecies of the coming Messiah.
First and foremost in their thoughts must have been, Is this Him?
When Simon first met Jesus, he was married with a family. He owned a fishing business and was a hard worker, but he knew there was something
more. There was a longing in his heart for something greater. When Simon first encountered Jesus, his mother-in-law was sick with a fever. They asked Jesus to come and heal her. Jesus entered into Simon's house and rebuked the fever, and his wife's mother
was totally healed. In that moment, he witnessed firsthand the power and authority that Jesus possessed. However, this miracle was not what caught the heart of Simon. It was a later event that changed the trajectory of Simon's life.
I believe that Simon, like a lot of people today, received the validation of his identity through his career. He was a business owner; that's who he was. And he was good at it. In fact, it was what Peter returned to after the crucifixion and resurrection.
It was what he knew. He was comfortable with it. When he was under pressure, fishing was what he chose as an escape. He needed an escape because his world had been turned upside down by the Lord's death. However, Jesus was about to interrupt what Simon thought
he wanted and reveal God's destiny for his life. He was about to experience the more that God had for him.
Why is it that we often settle for the mundane when God is calling us to more? We are not on this
earth to live a nice, normal life, merely existing until we die. Out of all the generations, before and after, God chose us to be born at this time, in this generation. We are not here taking up space; we are here to unlock Heaven on Earth. We have the keys
to the Kingdom. God desires that we live in the more zone. More of God, the Father. More of Jesus, the Son. More of the Holy Ghost and power. We never get to a place in God where He is finished revealing Himself to us. He always has more.
This was the case with Simon. He was about to experience the more. One day, Jesus saw two empty boats, and the fishermen were washing their nets. Out of all the boats on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus stepped into Simon's boat. He instructed him to thrust
out a little from the land. As he did, Jesus sat down and started teaching the people from the boat. Simon's boat was his gift to God. In a manner of speaking, it was a seed to build a platform for the Gospel to be preached.
Whenever a seed is sown into good ground you can always expect a harvest from that seed. Giving is likened unto sowing a seed.
It is thrilling to me that Jesus chose to partner with Simon and
Andrew. We sometimes look at this story and determine that Jesus needed a boat in order to teach the people. It is true that Jesus used the boat as a platform for the Word to be taught, but He did not need it. My point is this—Jesus could have walked
on the water to preach His message, but He chose to use what Simon and Andrew had in order to release the fullness of God's plan in their lives. I am so thankful that God has chosen to partner with us to accomplish His purpose.
After Jesus was finished teaching, He gave Simon an unusual instruction, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught" (Luke 5:4).
I wonder if Simon was thinking to himself,
I am the professional fisherman here. You are the teacher. You do your job and I will do mine. Instead, though, Simon answered Him by stating his current circumstances, saying, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing" (Luke 5:5). If he
had stopped there, Simon might not have ever experienced his true destiny.
Many people are at the edge of breakthrough, but they refuse to move past their current circumstances. Could it be that you, like
Simon, are facing insurmountable odds against you? Have you been toiling all night and caught nothing? Have you been washing your nets, saying, "It's over. That didn't work out." I hear God saying something different to you. He is saying, "I have something
better for you!"
Back to Simon—no, Simon did not stop with his current dilemma of "We tried all night. It's over." He went on to
say a word that changed his life, a word God loves, seeing that He recorded it so many times in Scripture, always in connection with insurmountable odds. That word is nevertheless. Sometimes you have to look at your situation and say, "Nevertheless!" I know
it looks hopeless, but nevertheless. I know I tried before, but nevertheless. Start speaking nevertheless to your crisis right now!
Simon said to Jesus, "Nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net"
(Luke 5:5). This is the key to your breakthrough—believe His word to you. Find a promise from the Bible to stand on. One prophetic word from God can shift everything in your life. Whenever God gives you a prophetic instruction, obey what He tells you
to do. It may seem illogical, people may not understand it, but it doesn't matter whether they understand it or not. They are not the one needing a breakthrough. You are! That's why you must believe His Word, obey His voice, and receive your breakthrough.
It was pretty illogical for Joshua and the children of Israel to march around Jericho in complete silence one time a day for six days, then seven times on the seventh day. They were told on the seventh day and the
seventh time around, when they hear the blast of the horn, to lift up a shout. They had a prophetic promise that the wall would fall down flat and they would take the city. It did not make sense in the natural, but that is exactly what happened.
It looked absurd for King Jehoshaphat of Judah to send the singers out to sing praises when three armies were coming to destroy them. Yet this is what happened, and God gave them complete victory.
It also looked foolish when David refused King Saul's armor in favor of his slingshot and five smooth stones. Amazingly, the slingshot and stones were his weapon of choice against the mighty giant warrior, Goliath. He miraculously hit the giant
in his forehead and Goliath fell to the ground. David cut off that giant's head. All three of these great feats were accomplished through radical obedience.
You may be saying to yourself, That is
great that it worked for them in the Bible, but it won't work for me. Don't believe satan's lie! Their God is your God. He is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is no respecter of persons. If you will listen for His instructions and obey Him
with radical obedience, then you, too, will receive everything that God has promised you.
The Rewards of Radical Obedience
When Simon obeyed the instruction
of Jesus, he caught so many fish that the nets broke. Let me interject here—if you have a business, the answer to your business is in His Word. Moreover, the answer to your ministry is in His Word. Finally, the answer to every one of life's questions
is found in the Word and your obedience to His instruction. Get radical, believe with audacious faith.
God knows exactly how to reach us and speak our language. For Simon, Jesus reached him through instruction
for his business. For you, it might be through your children, your marriage, or through your profession. Whatever your language is, God knows how to speak it to reach you. He knows everything about you. He also knows all about that lost loved one for whom
you are praying. Don't give up! Keep praying. He knows their language, too.
I heard a story about Reverend Billy Graham. He decided to go minister on the streets with Arthur Blessitt, the preacher who
has carried the cross all over the world. Being as recognizable as Billy Graham caused a great security concern. They decided that Billy Graham would wear sunglasses and a baseball hat and that would disguise him enough to go.
As Reverend Graham was ministering to one man and telling him all about Jesus, the man interrupted and said he was not interested in hearing what he had to say. He further said there was only one minister he would listen to and that was Billy Graham.
Reverend Graham pulled off his glasses and his hat and said, "God sent me to you today. Today is your day." This story proves my point—God knows exactly what it takes to reach you.
There is an apostle
friend of mine from the United Kingdom who is incredibly accurate when he moves in the gift of the word of knowledge. He was flying back to London after ministering in the US and had a layover in Chicago. He received a word of knowledge for a woman who was
standing in line in front of him at the ticket counter. The Lord told him to tell her to leave her place in line now and run to Terminal 3, Concourse D, and there she would find her brother whom she hadn't seen in 29 years.
The woman was on the phone speaking in another language when the word came to him. He had to interrupt this woman's phone call, and she was a stranger to him, to give her this word. He was radically obedient. The woman ran and went to where he had
directed her. Some time later, she returned to the terminal where Apostle Oscar waited, but she was not alone. She came screaming with joy along with her brother, Dennis. They began to ask questions and he was able to lead them to Christ. God knew her language
and what it would take to reach both her and her brother.
When Simon let down his net, he and his partners caught so many fish that their nets broke and the boats began to sink under the weight of all
the fish. When they made it to shore, Simon fell to his knees. He first responded with fear, recognizing that he was sinful, but Jesus passed beyond that because He was after Simon's heart. Jesus released his true destiny that day when He told him that he
would be a "fisher of men."
Jesus said, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him" (Luke 5:10-11). And that day,
Simon, his brother Andrew, and their business partners James and John were so greatly impacted that they forsook everything and followed Jesus.
Peter was known for running off at the mouth, but he had
a heart after Jesus. He could be, at times, impulsive. He was the only man other than Jesus who ever walked on the water. Don't focus on the fact that he took his eyes off of Jesus and onto the storm and then began to sink. The focus should be that he stepped
out of the boat and walked on water. He did it! The other disciples never knew the thrill of walking on water, but Peter knew it. He left the other disciples behind, debating whether Jesus was a ghost or not. Peter took action. The other disciples will never
know if they could have walked on the water, for they were too scared to try.
Some of you reading this may be afraid to try something new. When I was younger, I only wanted to participate in activities
that I felt confident doing. I was too afraid that I would look foolish if I tried something new. I regret being trapped in the boat of fear. I wish that I had been a little more like Peter, refusing to let fear dictate to me to stay in the boat.
I think it is important to speak of not only Peter's faith, but also of the time his faith was weak. Peter has been the most favorite among all the disciples because many can identify with him. One moment he was as
bold as the lion, and the next moment he was weak. The time of his weak faith happened later after he had walked on water. Peter told Jesus how he would never deny Him. I believe in his heart he meant it when he gave his absolute affirmation that he would
never forsake the Lord. Nonetheless, we know that he did just that as Jesus prophesied he would do. Peter did, indeed, deny Him three times before the rooster crowed.
However, in a beautiful picture of
the mercy of God and the love Jesus had for Peter, he was set apart by name from the other disciples when the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. In other words, God had sent a heavenly messenger to make sure that Peter knew that he was still included among
the disciples, and complete restoration was his portion even after his denial.
(To purchase Andrew Towe's book, "The Triple Threat Anointing: Moving in the Supernatural Power of Salvation, Healing and
Deliverance," click here.)
(Used by permission via Destiny Image)
By Andrew Towe
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321