pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Step Out

Reading: Acts 16: 9-12

When was the last time you felt God calling you to do something or when you felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit?  Depending on how in tune we are to our relationship with God, the guidance and nudges and whispers can come frequently.  These connections are like everything else in our lives: the more we try and allow ourselves to hear and sense God, the better we become at sensing and hearing His presence and guidance in our lives.

In the text today, Paul has a vision calling him to a new place of ministry.  He had been struggling with where to go next so this vision would have been like an answer to prayer.  For Paul the call was clear as day.  They get up in the morning, pack up, and head out for Macedonia.  New place, new people, new challenges.  Lots of unknowns.  Paul did not hesitate.  As one deeply in tune with God and the Spirit, God spoke and Paul went.

God sometimes calls us in a similar way.  He puts a call upon our heart and we feel the tugs to respond.  Or maybe it comes in an almost audible whisper from the Holy Spirit or in a nudge we can almost physically feel.  There is no denying that we all sense, feel, hear God’s calling and leading.  And there is no denying that at times we ignore, dismiss, … this call and leading.  We allow the fears, doubts, and unknowns to keep us in our safe, comfortable, easy place.  Step out.  We need to step out in faith and with the confidence that God goes before and that the Spirit walks alongside us.

We were each created to be used by God.  Each of us was created with our own gifts and talents for a purpose.  As we allow God and the Spirit to move in our lives, we are freed to experience and share the amazing power of God transforming our lives and the lives of those around us.  Step out and step into God’s plan for your life.

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Always By Our Side

Peter was the disciple most likely to talk or act without thinking. We have many examples of this too!  Yet Peter was also dubbed “the Rock” by Jesus for it was upon Peter that the church would be built.  Peter is also one of the disciples who we see struggle with his faith from time to time – most notably sleeping in the garden and denying Jesus three times in the courtyard.

We, like Peter, often fail in our faith as well.  Maybe our failure is to act at all – we stay in the boat or never come back around to that place that we felt called to lead.  Maybe it is a lack of faith to see something through once it gets a bit difficult.  But often our faith is tested and refined by the things we have no control over – the difficult person at work or the sudden illness or loss we face.

It is when we step out in faith or in the hard situations that we face that our faith often grows.  It is when we come to rely more on Jesus that we actually become stronger in our faith.  When we are weak, He is strong.  Peter’s faith shines brightest in this passage when he takes those few steps on the water.  May we also be so bold today to steadfastly step out.  We can do so, because like Peter, we have a savior who is right there the whole time. Jesus Christ is always by our side!

Scripture reference: Matthew 14: 22-33


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Finding the Courage to Step Out

As we are called into the world to bring Christ to the world, sometimes we are faced with difficult situations. In these cases it may require courage to step out in faith. The Bible is full of encouraging words that remind us that when we follow the call God places upon our heart, He will be there as well. In Psalm 27 we are reminded that “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (verse 1)

This Psalm goes on to remind us that God will keep us safe, that He will set us upon the high rock. In turn we sing our praises to Him and seek His face. Psalm 27 ends with these words: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

What in your life right now requires courage and bravery? Is it talking with that person you would rather not? Is it standing up for something that is not right – something that may be unpopular? Is it praying for that person who is a thorn in your side? Is it engaging the person that everyone else shuns? Often God calls us to step out in courage, to be the light and love where others are afraid to go.

But take courage for He has overcome the world! Jesus did not find defeat but victory. If we keep our eyes and hearts focused on doing God’s will and working in this world to bring peace, justice, and love, then He will be with us. We serve a mighty God!! He will go with you wherever He leads you today! May we go forth with a heart and mind bent on God, seeking opportunities to step out into the places where His courage is required, knowing that His hand will guide!