Take God at His Word

As we continue to consider “What characterizes our movement?” from The Navigators Vision Statement, we come to another characteristic of Kingdom workers: “They believe the promises of God.”
“You impress me as one who feels he is a man of destiny, one destined to be used of God,” Lorne Sanny once said to his mentor, Navigator founder Dawson Trotman.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” came Daws’ reply to the man who would one day succeed him. “But I know this. God has given me some promises that I know He will fulfill.’’
On another occasion, Daws remarked, “These promises were the brick and prayer was the mortar that put them together.” Thus began the Navs’ legacy: We believe in the promises of God; we take Him at His Word!
During a recent staff recruiting event held at Glen Eyrie, fellow Navigator Tom Bourke led about 80 of us on a slow walk to Dawson Trotman’s grave. Along the way, Tom stopped and shared promises that God had given to Daws through the Scriptures. He then shared the ways that he and Ann had received and claimed the same promises in their own life and ministry. I wish I could adequately convey how deeply moving that experience was. What a heritage we have!
This rich legacy did not begin with the promises God made to Daws; it goes back to the promises God made to Abraham. The foundational promise that all nations would be blessed through him has now passed to us:

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
—Galatians 3:8-9, ESV
In Jesus, all of the promises of God are YES to us (see 2 Corinthians 1:20). The gospel itself is a YES in several ways. It is a YES to all the promises God had made to Israel. All of those promises find their fulfillment in Christ. The gospel is also a YES to all who previously found themselves outside the power of the covenant promises. All can now be included through the power of the gospel. Through the gospel we inherit the promises of God and become partakers of His very nature (see 2 Peter 1:4).
In your life and ministry, are you claiming certain promises that God has given you? I’m trusting that God will make promises to His people for their neighborhoods, families, and nations, and that we would have the courage to believe Him! I am convinced that a truly generational ministry will only be realized through the promises of God!
Our culture of the “instant” is a real threat to our connection to these promises. Tom Yeakley, author of the very helpful book Praying Over God’s Promises: The Lost Art of Taking Him at His Word, gave this warning:
We are impatient. We pray for something for a week and give up or go on to something else. In Luke 18 before Jesus tells the parable of the widow coming before the judge, we read this: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1, NIV).
While Tom’s words give me pause, I am hopeful. Our move to Seattle and ministry in U.S. cities have been largely fueled by faith in God’s promises. Here in Seattle, we have been praying for nearly 10 years, pleading with God to fulfill Ezekiel 36:37-38 in our city:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
—Ezekiel 36:37–38, NIV
Over the past several years, I’ve observed that God has laid these promises on the hearts of other people in other cities around our country. God has not called us to be great people of destiny, but He has given us some promises that I am absolutely confident He will fulfill. Let’s continue Daws’ legacy and take God at His Word!
For Your Consideration:
  • What are some promises of God you have claimed for your life and ministry?
  • How have circumstances or setbacks made it challenging to hold on to those promises?
  • Select a few of your key promises and talk to God about them. Thank Him for His Word and affirm your belief that God will do what He has promised.
Al Engler is the director of Nav Neighbors. To contact him or to learn more about his ministry, click here

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles unpacking the Navigator vision. The series begins with Unpacking Our Vision: An Introduction.