A Magic Marker and a Map
He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.
— Romans 4:20
When we first began our TV ministry in the former USSR, I traveled long distances to reach cities where I could become personally acquainted with the directors of massive TV stations and begin a relationship with them that would enable me to negotiate for time on their stations. I always traveled with my associate — and in the early days, I often took my eldest son Paul along with me so he could see and experience the miracles God performed to open doors for our TV ministry.
On one such trip, late at night, faith erupted in my heart for the expansion of our TV ministry across all the former USSR. I’ll never forget that moment! Prior to that revelation, we had begun to broadcast the message of the Gospel through our TV program, but I never realized until that night how vast our TV outreach was destined to become.
After a full day of exhausting travel and meetings with TV station managers — just when I thought I was about to go to bed for the night — a “spark” of faith suddenly ignited in my heart. It was like dynamite had been detonated in my spirit, and I knew that something massive had been moved in the spirit realm. My spiritual eyes were opened in an instant, and I supernaturally knew that this TV outreach was to be far larger than I had ever dreamed.
I asked my associate for a large folded map of the USSR that we carried with us, and I found myself unfolding it and laying it out on the floor of my hotel room. I asked for a magic marker. As if a divine hand was guiding me, I took that magic marker and begin to circle huge geographic areas where the Holy Spirit drew my attention. I knew the Spirit of God was instructing me to take the teaching of the Bible to these vast territories through our television ministry.
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There had never been Christian TV in the Soviet Union, so we were breaking brand-new ground. Hence, I knew that all the areas where the Spirit led me to circle were virgin territory for the broadcasting of the Word of God. It wasn’t long before the entire divine strategy was laid out on the map before me.
My associate and son watched as the Holy Spirit guided my hand and the magic marker. I circled one region, then another, and another, until a massive chain of connecting circles covered one side of the map all the way to the other far extreme. It reached all the way from Riga in the west, across the cities nestled in the Ural Mountains, all the way to Siberia, and over to Vladivostok in the Far East. Also circled were Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and all the southern Muslim Republics. To top it off, I even sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to circle vast territories in Russia’s northwest lands.
When I finished, I looked at my associate and Paul, and they were astonished. They had witnessed an entire vision supernaturally manifested right before their eyes as I moved that magic marker! That night we laid our hands all over those circled areas and claimed them for the Kingdom of God. I even laid my whole body across that circled map and prayed for the anointing of God to open doors we didn’t know how to open. There was no doubt that a major event had been supernaturally birthed by the Spirit of God at that late hour in that hotel room. By midnight, it was conceived, put on paper, and already committed to the hands of God in prayer.
When we returned to our office, which was at that time in Jelgava, Latvia (where we also lived in those early years), I took that large map, framed it, and hung it in the hallway of our offices. It became a reminder of the vision God had supernaturally given us — a reminder of where we were to go and what areas we were to tackle to get our programs on the air. At the time I didn’t realize that to broadcast in all those areas would make our TV ministry the largest Christian broadcast in that part of the world — over a network of stations that would reach millions upon millions of TV viewers.
But that was just the beginning. Once the vision was conceived and put to pen and paper so others could see it, the work had to begin. That meant I would have to travel intensively to all those regions. But first, God would have to open the doors for me to meet with the top TV directors of the largest stations in all those areas. Since most of them were Communists and atheists who were opposed to the Gospel, this would take a miracle.
Step by step, God gave us appointments with powerful TV directors — and we watched as those huge, circled areas were seized by the Spirit of God for the broadcasting of our programs. In a relatively brief period of time, doors began to open; agreements were signed; and our TV programs were broadcasted all over the former USSR. It was a first for Christian broadcasting in the former Soviet Union.
Naturally speaking, this all seemed impossible. But exactly at that time, God quickened my heart to the story of Abraham and Sarah. Although they were too old to produce children, God made a promise to them — a promise and vision that seemed too fantastic to believe: that they would give birth to a child in their old ages. Romans 4:20 tells us that in spite of the overwhelming odds that seemed to be stacked against them, Abraham believed what God had told him. It says, “He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”
Abraham could have doubted the possibility of having a child, or he could have easily convinced himself that this dream was impossible. But the Bible says that Abraham “…staggered not at the promise of God…” (Romans 4:20).
That is exactly how I felt about the vision God had put before me. I knew that God had spoken to me, and as impossible as that vision seemed in the natural, a faith was ignited in my heart that pushed me into the realm of supernatural possibilities. Just as Abraham “staggered not” at the promise of God, I found myself standing in faith, confidently assured, that I had heard from God. Although this vision seemed bigger than anything I could ever accomplish, it was one that had been birthed by the Spirit of God — and I knew in my heart that I could not “stagger” at what God had shown me.
Abraham was a man who made many mistakes along his walk of faith, but Romans 4:20 says one thing he did right is that he did not “stagger” at what God had promised him. Regardless of his humanity and blemishes in his character, Abraham knew that God had spoken to him, and he held tightly to what God had promised.
The word “stagger” in Romans 4:20 is derived from the Greek word diakrino, which means to waver. It pictures one who is doubtful, constantly changing his mind about what he believes, wobbling in his faith, and vacillating back and forth. In other words, this person is unstable in what he believes.
James 1:7 declares that a man who wavers cannot receive what God has promised: “For let not that man [a wavering man] think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” And then in verse 8, James likens a wavering man to a “double-minded” man. In Greek, the word “double-minded” is dipsychos, and it pictures a man with two minds. One mind directs one way, and the other mind directs another way. As a result, he is pulled in two directions, constantly fluctuating in what he believes. One day he believes; the next day he doesn’t believe. Thus, even if God has made a promise to such an individual, this constant vacillation will keep him from receiving it. Being “double-minded” is serious business — so don’t be double-minded!
Those who do not stagger are single-minded about what God has told them. They stand in a solid, convinced position, and they hold tightly to what God has told them. Heart, soul, and mouth — all are in agreement with that which God has promised. Although they may have imperfections that seem glaring to them personally, this one quality of being single-minded and unwavering is enough to bring the manifestation of what God has promised them, regardless of their other flaws.
Abraham took such a position of faith. He was single-minded about what God had promised, and he did not move, budge, or waver. The vision he saw went directly into his heart, and he did not vacillate on believing God would fulfill His promise. That confident foundation of faith carried Abraham through many years of waiting — and because of this non-negotiable stance, he and Sarah received the son God had promised.
That is what happened to me in the early days of our ministry in the former USSR. God spoke. I believed. And a sure confidence came into my heart that carried Denise and me through numerous battles and challenges until, finally, we began to see our TV program spread far and wide across the former Soviet Union. Because we did not stagger at the vision God had revealed, the Gospel ended up being broadcasted into millions of homes across the 11 time zones of the former USSR. It may have seemed far-fetched when God first revealed His plan, but God delights in making the “impossible” possible for those who do not waver in their faith!
What are you believing for in your life right now?
Has God shown you a vision for your life that you know you are supposed to accomplish? God wants to do the far-fetched for you! But like Abraham and others who have seen the impossible come to pass, you must be steadfast and stable in your stance of faith — not moving, not budging, and not wavering. You must resolve to stand in faith and give glory to God that what is impossible with men is possible with God.
Today I encourage you to pray the prayer below and speak out from your heart the following confession. Ask God to ignite faith in your heart that will cause you to become immovable in your stance of faith regarding what God has promised you. Never let the devil convince you that your dream is too far-fetched, because with God, all things are possible!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I thank You for revealing Your plan for my life. When I first understood the greatness of what You wanted to do through me, it boggled my mind. But now I understand that all things are possible to those who believe. Like Abraham and others who have seen You do the impossible in their lives, I believe that I will see my seemingly impossible dream come to pass in my life. You will always do exactly what You have promised to do. Ignite faith in my heart to believe, and help me stand firm, stable, and unwavering in my faith. Help me stay focused until I receive the manifestation of what You have revealed to me about my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I boldly confess that I will see the manifestation of what God has revealed to me about my life. Naturally speaking, it seems grandiose and far-fetched, but God delights in doing what seems impossible for those who believe, and I am among those who believe. I declare that my faith is confident and solid — that I do not waver or wobble in my faith! And I do not doubt the vision that God has shown me concerning my life. It’s not a question of “if ” it will happen, but merely a question of “when” it will come to pass. Until then, I will remain spiritually strong and stable, not staggering at the promise of God!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of other men and women of God in the Bible who received a grand vision and stood in faith until they saw it manifested? Why not make a list and encourage yourself by the examples of others who believed and received the manifestation of their promise from the Lord?
- How would you describe the vision that God has shown you for your life? Do you understand in detail what God wants to do through you and for you? Have you really meditated on it to the point where it has percolated deep in your spirit and you know that you have it by faith? Are you ready to take action through preparation for that vision to come to pass?
- What impossible things have you already seen God do in your life? It would be very healthy for you to meditate on those things and strengthen your faith by remembering them.