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Step Away From the Shore

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Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

“Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water” (Matthew 14:25, NCV).

Friend to Friend

Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see. John Shedd says, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Faith is willing to take risks, embrace the unseen and step away from the safety of the shore. We fear the outcome or don’t understand the step God has asked us to take. We are afraid to fail and are more concerned about our “reputation” as a Christian than we are about being obedient to God. As long as the enemy can keep us preoccupied with a selfish perspective, our faith is impotent.

Authentic faith naturally produces action, but faith is hindered unless we abandon ourselves to that faith. Did you know that the African impala can jump to a height of over ten feet and cover a distance of greater than thirty feet? Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in any zoo by a three-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.

Many people say they do believe God is who He says He is and that He is able to do what He says he will do but falter at the point of believing that God is willing to work in their lives. If we don’t believe He is willing to keep His promises, we are not walking in faith. Oh, we find it easy to agree mentally with the truth that we serve a powerful God who loves us and has a great plan for our life, but that belief is worthless until it settles in our hearts and changes the way we live.  If we don’t live it, we don’t really believe it. If we are not willing to step away from the shore, we will miss so much of what God has for us in life.

The story is told of Will Rogers who came to his friend, Eddie Cantor, for advice. Will wanted to make some important changes in his act but was worried about the danger of such changes, explaining that he wasn’t sure if they would work. Eddie Cantor’s response was, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is!” The same is true of faith.

Faith believes that God is willing. The life of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s willingness to work in our lives. The disciples had personally witnessed God’s willingness to save His children. Yet, in Matthew 14, we find them in a boat, caught in a storm, afraid and still questioning God’s willingness to rescue them. Did they cry out in fear? Yes! Did He come? Yes!

Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water, between three and six o’clock in the morning, the darkest time of the night. I have often wished I could have been on that boat with the disciples, waiting for Jesus to show up. I imagine the questions and complaints were flying. “Why would Jesus send us out here, knowing the waves were high? Where is He? Why is He waiting so long to rescue us? Can’t He just calm the waves like He did before? I ministered all day long and this is my reward? Is He really coming? I don’t understand!” Sound familiar? It does to me.

We are quick to believe the lie that God is angry with us and as a result, will not bless our life or meet our needs. The truth is that God is willing and waiting to pour out His favor and blessings on a life of faith. Hebrews tells us that faith always honors God and God always honors faith.  “Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him” (Hebrews 11:6 NCV).

I think part of the problem is that we don’t know how to define “blessing.” A blessing is not always easy, painless, simple, comfortable or expected. A blessing often comes, wrapped in the mystery of darkness. But I am learning the truth that anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God, just as the disciples did, and He comes! Not because we have earned His presence or His mercy, but because we cried out with a tiny seed of faith, as His children, knowing He is not only able but He is willing to come. Step away from that shore, girlfriend. He will meet you there.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today with a faith that seems so small. I want to believe You, Lord. I want to walk by faith, knowing that You will keep every promise You have ever made. Help my unbelief, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 86:15 (NIV) “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

Record this verse in your journal. Then make a list of the words in this verse that describe God. What do these words tell you about God’s willingness to bless your life?

What is the first step of faith you need to take today? Are you willing to take it right now?

More from the Girlfriends

The “Fear Factor” is not just a television show. Many women deal with paralyzing fear on a daily basis. Fear makes everything seem bigger than it really is, wastes energy and contaminates life itself. Mary’s Bible Study, Getting a Grip on Fear uncovers God’s plan for peace and identifies five ways to deal with and be free from fear.

A daily time alone with God in prayer and Bible study will strengthen you to face whatever life throws at you. Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. The first study of 2013 is Power Up With Proverbsand it’s not too late to join!

FREE MP3s on Mary’s website in the Freebies Section!

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression,offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

8 Responses

  1. Marcia says:

    THANK YOU so much for todays devotional.It literally brought me to tears. This really was God speaking to me today and pushing me (yet gently) to where he needs me to be.

  2. Valerie Bentley says:

    Mary:

    The topic for today was right on time. I know it was God speaking through you directly to me regarding my faith walk. I have just begun engaging in Spiritual Warfare and I am learning as well as experiencing so many things. I know that the attacks can come in a myriad of ways but I ask my Sisters-in-Christ to keep me lifted up in prayer as I intercede for myself, family, community, Men & Women of God who preach and teach the gospel, My church family, Leaders in the entire world, children, adolescents, young adults, two-family homes and single-parent homes. Please continue to post these devotional because they are what I pray during my hours of work as well because I have been going through spiritual attacks by co-workers and bosses. Keep me and my family in your prayers and I will do the same for the GIGS as well.

  3. Vicki says:

    “Step Away From the Shore” spoke to an ongoing issue I have with my career…staying in a job where I feel stagnant versus starting my own business. My struggle is with knowing when to “be still” and wait patiently on God, and when to step out in faith. Thank you for this encouragement and wisdom.

  4. Karen Coppock says:

    Thank you for the devotional on faith. I think we all need to be reminded what it means. :)

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