Stepping Forward in Faith

The Bible has a great deal to say about waiting for God, and the teaching cannot be too strongly emphasized. We so easily become impatient with God’s delays. Yet much of our trouble in life is the result of our restless, and sometimes reckless, haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, but insist on picking it while it is still green. We cannot wait for the answers to our prayers, although it may take many years for the things we pray for to be prepared for us. We are encouraged to walk with God, but often God walks very slowly. Yet there is also another side to this teaching: God often waits for us.

Quite often we fail to received the blessing He has ready for us because we are not moving forward with Him. While it is true we miss many blessings by not waiting for God, we also lose numerous blessings by overwaiting. There are times when it takes strength simply to sit still, BUT there are also times when we are to move forward with a confident step.

Many of God’s promises are conditional, requiring some initial action on our part. Once we begin to obey, He will begin to bless us. Great things were promised to Abraham, but not one of them could have been obtained had he waited in Chaldea. He had to leave his home, friends, and country, travel unfamiliar paths, and press on in unwavering obedience in order to receive the promises. Then ten lepers Jesus healed were told to show themselves to the priest, and “as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). If they had waited to see the cleansing come to their bodies before leaving, they would never have seen it. God was waiting to heal them, and the moment their faith began to work, the blessing came.

When the Israelites were entrapped by Pharaoh’s pursuing army at the Red Sea, they were commanded to “go forward” (Exodus 14:15). No longer was it their duty to wait, BUT to rise up from bended knees and “go forward” with heroic faith. Years later the Israelites were commanded to show their faith again by beginning their march over the Jordan while the river was at its highest point. They held the key to unlock the gate into the Land of Promise in their own hands, and the gate would not begin to turn on its hinges until they had approached and unlocked it. The key was faith.

We are destined to fight certain battles, and we think we can never be victorious and conquer our enemies. Yet as we enter the conflict, One comes who fights by our side. Through Him we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). If we had waited in fear and trembling for our Helper to come before we would enter the battle, we would have waited in vain. This would have been the overwaiting of unbelief. God is waiting to pour our His richest blessings on you. “God forward” with bold confidence and take what is yours. “I have begun to deliver…Now begin to conquer and possess” (Deuteronomy 2:31).

~ Written by J.R. Miller; taken from Streams in the Desert, January 26th entry, by L.B. Cowman


Photo Credit: Dennis Ottink

When You Want to Give Up

I haven’t been able to post in almost a week and a half, but that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t been at work.

In fact, quite the contrary.

The Lord has been teaching me through my circumstances things that I probably wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been going through a situation that has been extremely stretching. Okay, maybe overwhelming is a more accurate word for it – at least from my own perspective. But as I look back on this time of growth now, I am glad that God was patient and compassionate with me and brought me through to the other side.

I had been facing a task that to me seemed insurmountable. Every day it was there, and every day I pushed against it! I wanted to go back to bed and crawl up in a ball. I wanted to run and hide. I wanted to walk around the obstacle instead of facing it. But my Father spoke to me one night through an entry in my devotional book, Streams in the Desert. I’d like to share that entry here.

“Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)

This verse is God’s word of encouragement to us to lift the hands of faith and to fortify the knees of prayer. All too often our faith becomes tired, weak, and listless, and our prayers lose their power and effectiveness.

The Lord’s illustration here is quite compelling. He is pointing out to us that when we become so discouraged and fearful that even one little obstacle depresses and frightens us, we are temped to walk around it. We would rather take the easy way than face it. Perhaps there is some physical ailment that God is ready to heal, but it requires exertion on our part. The temptation is to find help from someone else or to walk around the obstacle in some other way.

We tend to find many ways of walking around emergencies instead of walking straight through them. So often we are faced with something that frightens or overwhelms us and seek to evade the problem with the excuse: “I’m not quite ready for that now.” It may require some sacrifice, or demand our obedience in some area. Perhaps there is some Jericho we are facing, or we are lacking the courage to help someone else and to pray through his concern with him. Perhaps we have a prayer that awaits completion, or a physical problem that is partially healed and we continue to walk around it.

God says, “Lift up the hands that hang down.” March straight through the flood, and behold! The waters will divide, the Red Sea will open, the Jordan will part, and the Lord will lead you through to victory.

Do not allow your feet to “be turned out of the way,” but let your body “be healed,” and your faith strengthened. Go straight ahead, leaving no Jericho unconquered behind you, and no place where Satan can boast of having overwhelmed you. This is a valuable lesson and is extremely practical. How often we find ourselves in this very situation!

Perhaps this is where you find yourself today. ~ A. B. Simpson

Pay as little attention to discouragement as possible. Plow ahead like a steamship, which moves forward whether facing rough or smooth seas, and in rain or shine. Remember, the goal is simply to carry the cargo and to make it to port. ~ Maltbie D. Babcock

If you find yourself today where I have found myself for the past several weeks, choose not to let discouragement take root. Don’t allow yourself to give in. Refuse to walk around the problem. Resist the temptation to give up.

As the entry from Streams in the Desert so aptly stated:

“March straight through the flood, and behold! The waters will divide, the Red Sea will open, the Jordan will part, and the Lord will lead you through to victory.” 

Photo Credit: F Romero

Turning Defeat into Victory

If a person allows it, he can find something at every turn of the road that will rob him of his victory and his peace of mind. Satan is far from retiring from his work of attempting to deceive and destroy God’s children. At each milestone in your life, it is wise to check the temperature of your experience in order to be keenly aware of the surrounding conditions. If you will do this and firmly exhibit your faith at the precise moment, you can sometimes actually snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat. Faith can change any situation, no matter how dark or difficult. Lifting your heart to God in a moment of genuine faith in Him can quickly alter your circumstances. God is still on His throne, and He can turn defeat into victory in a split second, if we will only trust Him.

– From Streams in the Desert, June 8th entry