© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
A Divine Setup For A Step Of Faith
Do you feel as though you have been in a spiritual rut for the longest time and can't seem to get out? No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to break loose from the mundane and the usual. You have cried out to God for deliverance. Surprisingly enough, the only answer that came was the fiercest spiritual storm that you, your family, or your ministry have ever faced.
Believe it or not, God is answering your prayer. He is setting you up for a Step of Faith. Allow this message to explain.
Stephen Hill, in his book entitled, Daily Awakenings, quotes Hannah Whitall Smith, the renowned Christian author, as saying -
"A man was obliged to descend into a deep well by sliding down a fixed rope which was supposed to be of ample length. But to his dismay he came to the end of it before his feet had touched the bottom. He had not the strength to climb up again, and to let go and drop seemed to him but to be dashed to pieces in the depths below. He held on until his strength was utterly exhausted, and then dropped, as he thought, to his death. He fell---just three inches---and found himself safe on the rock bottom.
Are you afraid to take this step? Does it seem too sudden, too much like a leap in the dark? Do you not know that the step of faith always 'falls on the seeming void, but finds the rock beneath?' If ever you are to enter this glorious land, flowing with milk and honey, you must sooner or later step into the brimming waters, for there is no other path; and to do it now may save you months and even years of disappointment and grief."
To some in the Body of Christ today, the Holy Spirit is saying - "Let go and drop..." You've come this far by Faith. Don't be afraid! Take that "leap in the dark..." This is the moment you've been waiting for.
Remember - "...If ever you are to enter this glorious land, flowing with milk and honey, you must sooner or later step into the brimming waters, for there is no other path; and to do it now may save you months and even years of disappointment and grief."
"Step into the brimming waters." Never mind the fact that you have never done it before. Never mind that it seems impossible. Step out in Faith and Obedience to the Word of the Lord to you today. Don't look around to see what others are doing. Don't look at the circumstances or "brimming waters." Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus - the "author and finisher" of your Faith.
It's time to break loose from your "comfort zone"
...to do what you've never done before - the supernatural and the impossible
...to step out of the boat and walk on the water.
There was an incident in the Bible where the Lord Jesus set His disciples up for a Step of Faith. The only one who responded accordingly was Peter. Thank God that he did so - for now we have his example from which to learn.
This particular incident is recorded in Matthew 14:22-33. Let's look into the particulars to see what lessons we can glean from this story. There is a specific pattern that we can expect. Discover which stage you are at in the Divine Set Up for your Step Of Faith.
1. God Gives The Command
Matthew 14:22 says - "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."
Very plain and simple - the Lord Jesus gave His disciples the command to get into the boat and "go before Him unto the other side..." They really didn't want to venture out on the sea without their Master. They would've preferred that He come along with them.
Many questions may have arisen in their hearts and minds like - What will the Master do while we are gone? When will we see Him again? How long will we be separated from Him?
In spite of the many questions that may have plagued their minds, they simply responded to His order in pure obedience - they got into the ship "to go before Him unto the other side."
Perhaps you, too, have been instructed by the Lord to carry out a certain assignment. You find that you are not very sure about what is being asked of you. You have your doubts and questions. Like the disciples, you haven't been given any particulars - just a simple command to obey or a duty to perform - with no plan laid out, no details explained, or no words of assurance of God's Presence, Provision, or Protection in accomplishing the task ahead.
All you know is that God told you to do something, and you must obey - with no questions asked.
2. Christ Ever Lives To Make Intercession For Us
Matthew 14:23 says - "...He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone."
The Lord Jesus knew ahead of time that the command He gave to His disciples - when followed out - would lead them right into the fiercest of storms. Therefore, He immediately "went up into a mountain apart to pray." In spite of the stormy, tempestuous night ahead of them, He tarried alone for hours in intercessory prayer.
How comforting it is to know that - whenever the Lord Jesus gives us a command to obey - His prayers for Grace and Strength to carry out the order follow it as well.
Romans 8:34 confirms this thought, in telling us - "...It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us."
Also, we read in Luke 22:31-32 where Peter was about to face one of the fiercest "spiritual storms" ever, but not without Christ's intercession that his Faith would stand strong through it all - "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."
3. You Are Right In The Middle Of A Storm
Matthew 14:24 says - "But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."
The disciples were ordered by the Lord to get into the ship and go to the other side. They were sailing on the Sea of Tiberias which is less than ten miles in breadth.
After traveling four or five miles from shore - 25-39 furlongs(7- 1/2 furlongs making one mile) - they encountered a fierce storm. This storm didn't arise until they were right in the middle of the sea.
Did Jesus give them the command to go to the other side? Yes!
Then why do they now find themselves in the middle of the sea with their ship being plunged beneath the waves and tossed by the billows?
Would the Master lead them right into a boisterous sea? Apparently so!
It may be your testimony today that things had been going smoothly for you, your family, or ministry, but now you find yourself in the middle of the fiercest storm ever in your entire life. Troubles and difficulties have arisen from seemingly nowhere to "break your spiritual vessel." You are being "tossed by the billows" and at times, feel as though you are "under the waves." You don't know how much longer you can go on, or if you are going to make it to the other side.
Just remember - Your extremity is God's opportunity.
4. The Darkest Hour Is Right Before The Dawn
Matthew 14:25 says - "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."
The Jews divided a night into three parts called watches which consisted of four hours a piece. Afterwards, the Romans added a fourth part to make it four watches, consisting of three hours each.
The First Watch called Evening was from 6-9.
The Second Watch called Midnight was from 9-12.
The Third Watch called Cockcrowing was from 12-3.
And the Fourth Watch called Morning was from 3-6.
The Scripture informs us that it wasn't until the Fourth Watch - which was around 3 o'clock in the morning - when Jesus finally came to His disciples' rescue.
Doesn't it always seem that the Master waits until the last minute to show up? Just when we think that we are "going under the waves" for the last time, then He appears on the scene.
Be assured of this - All is in God's Plan. He is at work and is in total control of the wind, the waves, and our lives - the "ship."
5. All Fear Must Go
Matthew 14:27 says - "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid."
God was setting these disciples up for a Step of Faith. And what is the Greatest hindrance to Faith?
Isn't it Fear?
Even though the disciples found themselves in the midst of a tempestuous storm and boisterous sea with their ship being grievously tossed, it only took one Word from the Master to calm the "storm" that was raging in their hearts and souls and dispel all fears - "...Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid."
For too long, hasn't your testimony been that fear has been holding you back - it has been binding your Faith?
It has -
...kept you complacent and satisfied in the "comfort zone" and prevented you from moving on in God
...restricted you from doing the impossible or stepping out into the supernatural
...held back your Miracle and hindered your Breakthrough
...blinded you to the Greatness of your God - focusing your attention on the noisy and very threatening tempest, wind, and waves instead.
Before you ever move out into the supernatural, all Fear must go!
Today, hear the Word of the Lord to you personally, and let all Fear be cast aside - "...Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid."
6. It's Time To Get Out Of The Boat
Matthew 14:28-29 says - "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come..."
Once Fear is cast aside, Faith takes over! Your Faith muscles seemingly go into action!
It is then that -
...you clearly hear the Word of the Lord saying - "Come..." - beckoning you to take that step of Faith and do what you never did before
...your focus is not on the outward circumstances, but on the Lord Jesus and Him alone
...you are ready to get out of the possible realm and move into the impossible to perform the supernatural.
At this point, all that you can see is the Impossible God and His Omnipotent Power and Enabling Grace. Faith is in operation - doing the talking and the walking. There is a Great Desire to leave the mundane behind and step out into realms never before traveled - realms that know no limits.
You could've never reached this realm if you did not go through the process - the process which began with a Command from the Lord and led into a fierce and threatening storm which revealed your extreme weaknesses and inabilities to save yourself.
It's Time like never before to Get Out Of The Boat And Walk On The Water!
You've been in that same place for too long. God is moving you onward.
Wait for the Command and Watch for the Storm if you aren't already facing one.
Know that God is setting you up for the Supernatural to happen in your life and ministry.
But you'll have to come to the end of your self and resources in order to make it happen.
Perhaps you have faced many storms in the past and even ventured to get out of your "boat" and walk on the waters. But in the midst of it all, you got your eyes off of Jesus..."saw the wind boisterous"...and became afraid. You sunk down and almost drowned. If it wasn't for the outstretched arm of the Lord, you wouldn't have made it - "And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him..."
Perhaps the Lord allowed you to experience this time of failure to make you fully aware of your weaknesses and teach you that you can't perform your duties in your own strength. They can only be accomplished through the Strength and Power of the Holy Spirit.
However, in spite of your past experiences, don't allow one failure to keep you in that same spiritual place or realm. Try again. Only this time, allow God to remove all Fear and Self-Confidence - while keeping your focus at all times, not on the outward circumstances, but on the Greatness of your God.
In closing, once again, we quote Hannah Whitall Smith, in saying - "...If ever you are to enter this glorious land, flowing with milk and honey, you must sooner or later step into the brimming waters, for there is no other path; and to do it now may save you months and even years of disappointment and grief."
The Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, lies ahead. But you will never experience it until you take that Step Of Faith - get out of the "boat" and walk on the waters.
"...for there is no other path..."
"...do it now..."
"...to do it now may save you months and even years of disappointment and grief."
May God Bless His Word.