Take The Next Step In Faith
We are talking again today about walking with the Lord. Sometimes during storms and trials in our lives we can't see the path clearly. During those troubled times it may seem hard to walk with the Lord. When we can't see the way, we have to take the next step in faith. I have heard some say that faith is taking a flying leap in the dark, and I don't believe that at all. I believe that faith is taking the next step with the Lord, believing that He is always with you. Our example is found in Matthew 14. The disciples were right where Jesus told them to be and the storm still came. Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat to go to Jesus. It was when he looked at the storm around him that he began to sink. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." When you can't see the way, look to Jesus and step out in faith, trusting that He is always there.
"22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
The Next Step
As I typed these devotionals on the next step I was reminded of an old song that I knew from years ago. I like the old gospel songs and hymns. There is so much depth to their words. This song was titled, "The Next Step" and was written by Jack Campbell, in 1966. (I could not find an original copy of his words, but here are the words as we remember them.) I hope that you have been encouraged to take that next step. When times are hard, and things are not going the way you thought they would, keep on walking with the Savior, and take the next step.
"The Next Step"
Why worry about tomorrow.
Why worry when your steps are getting slow.
If your life has been lived for Jesus,
You don't have much farther to go.
For the next hand you shake could be the hand of the Savior.
The next step you take could be on streets of purest gold.
Your next meal could be the marriage supper,
And the next touch you feel He could be blessing your soul.
Be strong now and keep on going;
Don't be angry when things turn out wrong;
Don't lose hope, for it's almost over;
All the signs are pointing towards home.
Are you ready for that next step with the Lord?
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Revelation 19:7)
"1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)
Pick Up The Next Toy, Dirty Sock, Piece Of Junk Mail...
We started these devotionals talking about being overwhelmed by the things in our lives that need to be done. We have spanned our horizon and gone in several different directions, but today I want to go back to that initial idea. As a young mother, I was often overwhelmed with all the work that needed to be done, and our house was cluttered with things that just didn't have a designated place to be. It was easy to get discouraged because I simply could not keep up with the cooking and cleaning and taking care of five children. So today, if you find yourself if that situation, with toys scattered about, and dirty clothes piled high, or maybe clean clothes that you just don't have time to put away, I want to tell you, "I've been there." It is easy to look at it all and tell yourself that there is no use even trying. I want to share some things that helped me get through those days, those weeks, months and even years. First of all, I kept praying for a larger home so that we would have room for our growing family, and it seemed to be taking so long for my prayers to be answered. So, one day, I decided to be content where I was, and work with what I had been given, until it was God's will for us to move. Learning to be content changed my outlook from despair to peace of mind. Getting started in the mornings was hard for me, but once I got busy, I was a good worker. I made the children help toss all their toys into an empty clothes basket and take them to their room. I picked up dirty socks and other stray pieces of clothing that ended up on the floor. Dishes were the hardest, because it seemed as though I could barely get through one meal, and get it cleaned up, when it was time to start the next meal. I saw an article where the writer suggested taking a picture of the messy room. Work for 15 minutes, picking up, putting away, one thing, then the next thing, and take another picture after the time is up. She said that 15 minutes of steady work could make a big difference and encourage you to keep on going. I never actually took the pictures, but I could see progress in just those few minutes. Another thought that might be helpful actually came from my grandmother. After she got older she would ask me to sweep or mop for her. I was always glad to help her, and she would say, "Just give it a lick and a promise." She didn't want me to spend much time on her old floors, just get some of the dirt and dust up. When the work is too much to get done at one time, don't give up and leave it all. Do what you can, a few minutes now, and a promise to do a few more minutes later. I am one that likes for things to be clean, and I actually like to clean. But, with my asthma I have learned that I have to take things slow. When I work in the garden I have to be careful not to get too hot or too tired, or I won't be able to walk up the hill to the house. I do a little here and a little there, and again I have learned to be content with things a little messy. Life is really easier since I let go of wanting everything to look perfect when someone comes over. Our house is "lived in" and I try not to let it get really dirty, but things are often out of place. One more thing to think about is to keep your priorities in the right place. Children grow up, and one day you won't have their toys and little socks to pick up. Cherish them while you can. Love them and teach them the love of God. Spend time with your parents. When I lost my job we missed the money I was bringing home, but I enjoyed spending time with my Mom, and my children, and grandchildren. I tried, but never found another job, and I wouldn't trade these extra precious years I have had with my loved ones. God is still providing our needs, just as He has always been faithful to do. And we are thankful and content with all He has done in our lives.
Voice The Next Prayer And Praise
God can hear us when we pray out loud, and He can hear our thoughts in our heart when we don't have the words to say. I often pray silently, but as I think on these devotions today, I feel that God deserves to hear us pray out loud. One of my favorite verses since childhood is Psalm 5:3, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." I try to pray each morning, but my voice is often silent. I believe that I need to voice the next prayer.
Sometimes we also need to voice the next praise. If God has done something for us, and giving us His Son to save us was the greatest gift ever, then we need to voice our praise. When Mike Shoe opened up Sunday School he said that his grandma told him the birds are the only beings that obey God all the time. They praise God with their songs. He said, "Have you ever seen a sad bird?" The Psalms are filled with songs of praise to our God. Let's voice our prayer and praise to our merciful God, for He alone is worthy!
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." (Psalm 98:4)
"1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100)
"I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." (Psalm 104:33)
Do The Next Thing With Someone Special
I enjoyed being a Mom and doing things with my children, but being a mother to five children was very time consuming because there was always work to be done. It was a never-ending job washing dishes, washing floors, washing clothes, and washing hands and faces. Now that our children are grown, with families of their own, I love spending time with our grandchildren, and my time with them is very special. With our different families, in the past month we have walked with them to see their goats and chickens, cheered them on at basketball games, read books to them, and let them help plant some seeds in little cups. Yesterday, I spent several hours at the zoo with nine of the grandchildren. During the last few years, all of the older grandchildren have helped me bake special treats, helped me in the garden, and canned their own jar of dill pickles. I try to have something special to do with them when they visit. Jedidiah and Elsa spent the night with us one Sunday night and after breakfast Monday morning Elsa crawled up beside me and said, "What we gonna do today, MeMaw?" I told her there were books, and games she could play, and dolls in the baby room. She looked up at me and said, "No. I mean what are we gonna do? Me and you. We?" It blessed my heart that she wanted to do something special with me. So we made Get Well cards for Jedidiah's Sunday School teacher. We did some science experiments with baking soda and vinegar. We sprayed water on their plants that are coming up in the cups. And we made homemade doughnuts. Those were all little things, but it was a special day because we did them together. My encouragement today is to do the next thing with someone special. Even when it's a little thing, doing it with someone you love makes it special. After what seemed like weeks of rain it was bright and sunny one day. My Mom called me that evening and she said, "The sun came out today and it is supposed to be sunny again tomorrow, so we need to go somewhere." So I said, "Okay, let's go somewhere." We went shopping together, which I think is one of my Mom's favorite things to do, and we had a good day. In the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep, they called their friends to celebrate with them. It is great to have family and friends and we need to cherish our time together. "And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost." (Luke 15:6) "And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost." (Luke 15:9)
Take The Next Step With The Lord
Yesterday I mentioned that Elsa asked me what we were going to do... me and you... we. It was such a joy to me that she wanted to do something with me. As we walked down the driveway to put the get well card in the mailbox I thought about how much better it is to walk with someone, instead of walking alone. Those thoughts made me wonder, "What if I got up each morning and asked the Lord, What are we going to do today? What if I asked the Lord to walk with me each day?" That is the inspiration behind our devotional today, "Take The Next Step With The Lord." To walk with the Lord we must be in communion with the Lord. The Lord asks in the book of Amos, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3) We also have the example of Adam and Eve. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8) Because Adam and Eve had sinned against God they were afraid and hid when God came to walk with them in the garden. Another thing about taking the next step with someone is that you must be going in the same direction. When we walk with the Lord, He will lead us in paths of righteousness. "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:3) One more thing we need to do to walk with someone is to walk the same pace. When I worked in town, three or four of us would take a break and walk about a mile in the afternoons. We were able to walk together and talk together because we walked at the same pace. Many times in our Christian walk we want to run ahead of what God has planned for us. Then, there are other times that we are content to just sit still and not go forward at all. Walking with the Lord is learning to go with Him without running ahead or falling behind. We have two examples of men in the early part of the Old Testament who walked with God. "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) "...Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9) Both of these men walked with God and were saved from the judgment. Let's take the next step with the Lord.
Take The Next Step For Your Health
When God made Adam and Eve He gave them two legs and two feet so they could walk. It was healthy for them and people back then probably didn't travel very far. I wonder how long people walked everywhere before someone decided to try to ride on a donkey, or a camel, or horse. It may have been funny to watch those first attempts and maybe a little dangerous. Now we have all types of transportation and many people walk for exercise, rather than necessity. I know several people who wear fitbits and one thing they said about them is that it will keep a track of their steps. I am curious as to how much it is helping them meet their goals. I would like to walk, but our road is really busy. And I am not the type to get in my car and drive somewhere so that I can walk. I think that is one reason I enjoy working in my garden so much. It gives me exercise and provides some fresh vegetables. But, until then, I am trying to ride my exercise bike, in the house where it is warm and dry. I keep hoping the "easy" exercise will help my breathing and help me get ready for some real exercise when I can work out doors. This was more like a little blog today, than a real devotional, but maybe it will encourage someone to take the next step for your health. Walk to your mailbox. Do some stretches between commercials. Walk around in your house. Start out slow, and then keep going. I have read that walking does wonders for your health. Paul told Timothy "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (I Timothy 4:8)