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Teaching - Say unto this Sycamine Tree

Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2013

This teaching is available in video format on YouTube channel - Andrew Shreeve


And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith. And the Lord said, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you

Luke 17:5-6


Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth

Mark 9:23


I love Jesus' teaching when He says, all things are possible! Jesus takes the lid off the impossible and allows us to dream and imagine what might be possible! Jesus has made it possible that our lives can be free from confinement and bondage!


There is no greater challenge in life than taking the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the nations. Obeying the "Great Commission" has tremendous and unlimited spiritual, mental, intellectual, emotional, physical and financial challenges (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-20). Without Jesus' awesome teaching on faith, we couldn't do it successfully. We could easily be tempted to shrink back into the 'safe zone' of some comfortable, 'worldly security'.


But Jesus said; if thou canst believe all things are possible. This statement gives us no excuse, or valid option, for shrinking back. Rather, we are encouraged to spare not, to lengthen our cords, and strengthen our stakes; for we shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and our seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. We fear not; for we shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded (Isaiah 54:2-4).


As part of the gospel, the Lord has commanded us to be bold, and to go forth into a world of uncertainty and darkness. But how can we truly obey this "Great Commission"? Only through having great faith! We all know in our hearts we need more faith, and Jesus tells us how to get it; we must learn to speak God's promises out loud to our fears and the ungodly obstacles which we all face.


There is something about speaking God's promises to our ungodly circumstances which increases our faith. The act of speaking God's promises is in itself an act of faith. It is bold and courageous. At first we may be timid and afraid to speak. But gradually, as we discipline ourselves to speak God's promises, we break down the barriers and a flow begins to come out of our hearts. What we are doing is aligning ourselves with the living Words of the Almighty God.


We see a powerful example of bold declaration which resulted in David being promoted from a shepherd boy to the eventual King of Israel. When David came down, from caring for the sheep, to bring his brothers food he saw an ungodly situation. The Philistine army, through the giant Goliath, was bullying and taunting a terrified, Israeli army. David said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1 Samuel 17:26) A key point to notice here is the term: uncircumcised. David thought in terms of covenant, and "uncircumcised" meant Goliath was not is a covenant with God (as circumcision was a sign of the covenant with God - Genesis 17:10-11). David then spoke boldly to King Saul, again based on God's covenant promises: "thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God… the LORD that hath delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:36-37). Once David had the favour of King Saul he then spoke to his enemy - Goliath: "thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the hosts of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hands" (1 Samuel 17:45-47).


David spoke boldly to all around him in line with the promises of the Lord. The prophet Ahijah gave to the wife of King Jeroboam a message for her husband, "thus sayeth the LORD God of Israel… yet thou hast not been as my servant David who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that which was only right in mine eyes" (1 Kings 14:7-8). The heart of David was to follow the LORD will all his heart; and this was expressed through his wholehearted words of faith and actions.


We also need to follow David's wholehearted example of following the Lord with all our heart. To do that, we need to increase our faith and follow David's pattern. The pattern is:

  • meditate the covenant promises of God
  • speak God's promises to the ungodly obstacles
  • put action to our words
  • seize the victory


A key concept to understand, to assist us in increasing our faith, is to see our faith as a seed (Luke 17:6).


Faith as a seed


For a seed to increase it must be planted. We plant our faith by speaking God's promises to the situations in our lives which we want changed into God's, revealed, written will. For a seed to produce fruit it must be watered and cultivated daily until it reaches maturity and fruitfulness. Similarly we must not neglect our faith seeds. Our faith seeds are the promises of God which we speak to our circumstances. We need to water and cultivate our faith seeds. We do that by continuing to speak God's promises to our situations until our faith comes to maturity. We know when our faith reaches the level required to change our ungodly situation, because at that moment our situation will change. Faith will always change the situation to conform to God's will. The reason the situation didn't change earlier was because we lacked the faith to move the mountain, or change the situation.


Taking responsibility for the increasing of our faith is very liberating. We no longer blame God for the failures in our lives. We have a clear focus regarding increasing our faith through consistently speaking in line with God's promises. This is very similar to the concept of biblical meditation.


Biblical mediation includes speaking God's promises out loud. It also has the idea of continual repetition, day and night (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2-3). Meditation is a scriptural way to prosperity and success. Joshua would never have conquered the Promised Land if he had failed to meditate the Lord's promises concerning the land - day and night. David would never have conquered Goliath if he had not developed the habit of meditation of God's promises (Psalm 63:6). Meditation strengthens our mind, will, imagination and emotions; it develops faith in our hearts and gives us the courage to step out boldly upon the leading of the Holy Spirit, sometimes only with the promise of God as our strength.


Pray with me, "Father God, thank you for the examples of David and Joshua who both spoke in agreement with your covenant promises, and as a result experienced great victory and success. Thank you that we can increase our faith through understanding the seed principle. We can plant and water our faith by continually speaking your promises to our ungodly circumstances. Thank you that your living, powerful Word will increase our faith and cause the ungodly circumstances to be removed from our lives. Please strengthen us to diligently plant and water your seeds of faith by speaking your promises to our ungodly circumstances every day. We pray this in Jesus' Christ name, Amen."

The Vision

Andrew Shreeve Ministries is led by the Holy Spirit, committed to the integrity of the Word of God, walking by faith and focused on preaching the gospel to all nations...