Sunday, April 24, 2011

Risking It All for God

            A few months ago I felt led by God to give my 2-week notice at my job.  Since I did not have a job lined up to replace this job and other job opportunities were not panning out, I hesitated.  I began to doubt and question this leading, saying that it was not a wise decision and it just did not make sense that God would call me to do this. (I was not thinking of the Bible passage Proverbs 3:5, 6 where it tells us not to lean on our own understanding.)  As I continued to work at my job, this urging from God became clearer and more constant in my life.  I began to pray about it and read God’s Word, secretly hoping I could find a way out so I would not have to take this giant leap of faith. (I am known for playing it safe.)  Yet time and time again God presented me with evidence that He, in fact, had this planned for me to give my 2-weeks and trust Him with the results.  He reassured me with sermons, Bible verses, books on taking leaps of faith and trusting in His power, as well as words of encouragement from a few close believers.
            In regards to my job decision, the first Bible story that God brought me to was in Matthew 14:22-33.  This passage talks about how Peter was called by God to make a giant leap of faith by stepping out of his boat onto the water to follow Him.  If Peter had based his decision solely on his senses and his own understanding of the situation, he would have never stepped out of the boat and trusted God.  As a result, Peter would not have been able to be blessed from his obedience.  But most importantly, he would have missed an opportunity to witness God’s amazing power and continued faithfulness.  Just like Peter, if I had focused on the obstacles that were clearly evident rather than viewing my circumstance with eyes of faith, I would have missed out on the job that God had in store for me in which I hold as of this past Monday! :)
            The thing that convicted me most was the thought that I am a hypocrite if I say I have faith but don’t take steps of faith with confidence that He will provide.  I wrote this devotional in hopes that it encourages us all to take big risks for God.  Let us make a change and dare to fail for once.  Stop playing it safe.  The bigger the prayer, the greater the results!  Joshua 10 is a great example of this where he prays to God that He would make the sun stand still – and God did just that!  I pray this message gives you the confidence to pray bold prayers like Joshua and trust that when we obey God, He will not disappoint us.

God Bless!
<3 Shannon

“Ready Now” – Desperation Band

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Reality of God's Word

Each day that we get to live on this earth is another chance to seek God's wisdom even further.  I am so thankful for every opportunity God places in front of me.  One opportunity that God placed in my life recently was pursuing school for ministry.  Going through one of my classes I heard a funny story that I want to share with all of you.

 It was a sunny morning as 14 year old John Smith walked into his into his classroom and sat at his desk.  As he sat down in his chair he noticed a note sitting right in front of his hands.  Quickly he looked up to see if any of his classmates were looking at him, but to his surprise everyone in the classroom was busy with their own conversations with each other.  As he opened the note and read the first two words he froze up.   The words read, "Dearest Johnny."  John could not stop thinking of those two words.  John was thinking, “I wonder what tone, what type of context the writer was using while writing those two words.  I wonder if the writer was so passionate about me and wanted to express to me how deeply they had felt about me."  As he continued through the note his eyes grew bigger and bigger with each word that passed by.  It took John 25 minutes to read a half page letter.  He dug into each word of the note as he read it over 3 times.

I tell you this story for many reasons.  One is that a lot of us we can relate.  Have you ever had a secret admirer? Or were you the one writing the letter?  Either way, this is story is an example of how we need to read the Bible. 

As Christians, we view the Bible as God’s Word.  “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We need to view the Bible just as John read his note.  We need to read it carefully.  We need to realize that the stories in the Bible are real history, with real people, and real situations.  We need to understand the culture and why the people did what they did in their own particular situation.  There are several situations that I have run into where people don’t view the Bible the way God intended for us.

Every so often I hear churches say that they are going through the entire Bible in “X” amount of time.  In this situation I do find it hard to hear.  Each word, sentence, paragraph are so important in the Bible.  Have you ever heard of someone say that the Bible is contradicting?  How about someone telling you they just don’t understand the Bible?  I want you to realize that the Bible is not meant to be contradicting or confusing.  God wants to reveal His word to His children.

The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

I pray that you read the Bible like my example with John. There is meaning in each word, sentence, and paragraph of the Bible. Please don’t overlook what God has in store for you. I want to encourage you in faith! Just as in Matthew 10:16 – “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”

God bless you all!

Bobby C.