Church Blog
December 3, 2014, 12:00 PM

When Unsure, Just Take The Next step By Faith.

The Lord said to Moses , "Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward." (Exodus 14:15)

Many years ago  an English vicar, a sincere and sensitive young man, grappled with prolonged,  unresolved spiritual and emotional conflict in his life, by age 30, he had damaged his health. He took a trip to Italy for rest, but while there he contracted a fever and was confined to bed.

Finally able to travel again, he booked pasage aboard a sailing ship. But in the middle of the Mediterranean, the winds ceased, and the ship floundered for days. The dispirited young man could not take it any longer. Alone in his cabin, he wrestled mightily with God until he gained victory in his heart. Out of that experience, John Henry Newton wrote one of the most famous hymns in the English language:

"Lead, kindly Light! Amid the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on; The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead Thou me on; Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see, the distant scene; One step enouph for me."

On the despairing shores of the Red Sea, the Israelites could not see what was in the distance. They had no binoculars that could view Canaan or even the opposite shore. But the Lord gave them a simple plan: "tell the children of Israel to go forward."

The Israelites led by Moses were trapped against all odds in escaping the approaching Pharoah and his supeior army. Enclosed by the mountains, the Red Sea and the Army of Egypt, The Israelites were crying out to Moses, complaining that they should have never left Pharoah and the life they had.

I found that Exodus 14 provides a biblical step by step method to process difficulties by faith, in light of God's almighty presence, providence, promises, and power.

Just like the Israelites, the reality of  life, especially here during the 2014 Christmas season, is that through-out the world, people are struggling in their day to day lives. Fearing the unknown future, trying to figure out how to survive and keep their nose above water.

Rober J Morgan writes: "The Red Sea may roll before us, the desert may entrap us; the enemy may press on our heels. The past may seem implausible and the future impossible, but works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way of escape for His weary, but waiting children."

The 19th century expositor C. H. Mackintosh beleved the Red Sea did not divide throughout all at once, but opened progressively as Israel moved forward, so that they need to trust God for each fresh step. Mackintosh wrote: "God never gives guidance for two steps at a time. I must take one step, and then I get light for the next. This keeps the heart in abiding dependance upon God."

"The pillar of cloud led them forward day by day." (Neh. 9:19) Emphasis added

"Day by day the Lord also pours out His steadfast love upon me" (Ps. 42:8) Emphasis added

"Therefore we do not loose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewd day by day." ( 2 Cor. 4:16)

"Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens, the God who is our salvation." (Ps. 68:19) Emphasis added

Whenever I havent known what do do and get fearful and doubtful, I've just tried to exercise faith in Jesus words;  one day at a time, spep-by step, trusting in Gods promises that He  will speak to me and will guide me.  I decided long ago that sometimes plodding is better than plotting when it comes to finding God's will. We're  never sure what will will happen in a few days, few weks  or even a year from now.

Sir Willaim Osler penned these words: "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

Jesus taught us in the sermon on the mount: "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)

This Christmas season there are many who are worried about the future and what it holds. Fear grabs the heart and mind and decisions are made without Gods guidance. Instead of focusing on the Word of God and Gods relationship they focus on their anxieties and fears and  allow Satan, sin, and flesh to guide them.

When the Communist overran China, missionary Isobel Kuhn escaped on foot with her young son, Danny, across the dangerous snow-covered Pienma Pass. She finally arrived at Myrikyina in upper Burma, but there she was stranded "at the world's end" without money, unable to speak the language, and still half a globe away from home.

She writes: "I cannot tell you the dismay and alarm that filled me!"

But in her perplexity, she made two decisions. "The first thing is to cast out fear," she said. The only fear fear a Christian should entertain is the fear of sin. All other fears are from Satan sent to confuse and weaken us.

How often the Lord Jesus Christ reiterated to His disciples, "be not afraid!" So Isobel knelt and spread her heart before Him. "I refuse to be afraid and asked Him to cast such fears out of my heart.

Her second determination was to "seek light for the next step." She had no idea how to get out of Asia, but with God's help she could figure out what to do that day to provide food and funds, to find a safe place to stay, to find a means of communicating with the outside world.

Eventually she arrived back home, safe and sound, but it came by trusting God for guidance in small increments, taking the journey one footprint at a time.

When you do not know what to do next, cast out fear and seek light for the next step. Trust God for guidance in small increments; and if you can't see what lies dimly in the distance, do what lies clearly at hand.

Provebs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowlwdge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

" I have found that if we go as far as we can, God oftens opens up the rest of the way." Isobel Kuhn

Many times (especially during the Christmas season) we cannot solve problems, heal hurts, change circumstances, or win our battles. We must kneel in humble prayer, then stand to see what He will do. We must leave room for God, staying calm and giving Him time to work.

"Faith," wrote C. H. Mackintosh, "raises the soul above the difficulty, straight to God Himself, and enables us to stand still. We gain nothing by our restless and anxious efforts....It is therefore true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity, to stand still----to wait only upon God, and He will assuredly open a way for us."

Here are four suggestions of faith too help you overcome what ever struggles you are having during this Christmas season:

1.  Affirm His Nearness In Your Heart: Philippians 4: 1-7 and James 4: 8. Throughout the Bible we find God's people affirming this reality in their hearts.

2. Visualize God's Presence In Your Mind: Deuteronomy 33: 27,  Matthew 23: 37, and 2 Timothy 4: 16-18. The Biblical writers used such imagery.  Visualizing God's presence not only bestows comfort, but it restrains sinfu/behavior tendencies.

3. Access God's Nearness Through Prayer: Deuteronomy 4: 7 and Phillipians 4:6. The best way to develope an abiding awareness of God's presence is to speak to Him often in prayer. Prayer is the enviroment in which we most solidly connect with God on an intimate basis. We may not always feel His presence in an emotional sense, but by faith we enter His presence in a vital sense.

When Dwight Moody was asked how he managed to remain so intimate in his relationship with Christ, he replied:"There isn't any problem in my life, there isn't any uncertainty in my work but I turn and speak to Him as naturally as to someone in the same room, and I have done it these years because I can trust Jesus."

4. Reflect His Presence In Your Demeanor: Romans 8:28-:29, Romans 12: 1-2, and 1 Corinthians 2: 14-16. Our demeanor should and ought radiate the life of Jesus Christ in our hearts every day. People are watching us, our children are watching us. If they do not see the gospel power operating in our lives daily,  during the good times and bad times, how will we ever win them to Jesus Christ.

Remember that God sent His Son into a world full of chaos. Born of a virgin, a baby brought into this world to do one thing. To be crucified for our sins, to to take our just punisment and death. He is the Savior of the world!! " Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 Merry Christmas from Pastor Rick Sydnor