As many of you know, Sherry and I made a decision in late Spring to step out in faith with Restore Ministries and pursue becoming a non-profit ministry out from under the umbrella of our church. We felt the Lord was moving us to expand the territory of Restore, to be available to minister in other churches and communities where the Lord might choose to open doors. It was a great step of faith for us and it has been an amazing journey so far.
As I was praying last night, I was reminded of the story in Joshua 3 about the priests carrying the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant represented the very presence, person and promise of God. As the people of Israel set out to cross the Jordan, invade, and possess the land, they could not do it in their own strength. It was God Himself who would go before them as their source of victory. Use your imagination and try to place yourself in that scene.
"And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord---the Lord of all the earth---set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. So it came about when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest, that the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. Joshua 3:13-17
I remember in 1997 when I went to Israel and visited the river Jordan. At the river on a beautiful day I watched my husband baptize believers in its waters. I can only imagine how the Levite priests must have felt as they came to the overflowing banks of the river carrying the ark on poles on their shoulders. They had to trust to take the step into the water that was covering their feet. Then they saw the Jordan waters part and they had to trust to take the next step. They had to trust that God would provide what they needed to cross into the territory where He was leading them. They came to the edge of the impassable river and had to step into it. God miraculously parted the waters and suddenly the ground became dry. They had to stand still on the dry ground while all the people of Israel crossed. They had to obey, trust and wait in faith.
Sometimes God calls us to step out in faith, to carry His presence and promises into the territory where He has called us to go. It takes courage. You have to face your fears, you have to take the next step, you have to stand firm on His faithfulness, and you have wait for Him to move. We have seen God provide in amazing ways over the last few months. One of the most daunting things about establishing a ministry is the finances involved. As we have taken the steps toward non-profit, we have been astonished at the governmental and professional fees required and wondered how we could possibly meet that need. But we serve a God of miracles and faithfulness.
The Lord has provided for every step along the way with incredible generosity and encouragement from others!
The Scriptures are full of people who faced challenges of faith, but chose to step out in obedience and trust in the faithfulness and strength of God.
Consider the words of Paul as he faced the challenges and trials
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that
we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves,
but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5
Paul cries out, “Who is adequate for these things,” but then
answers his own question. It is God and God alone.
Our assurance is always in our God.
We all face formidable obstacles and challenges in our faith
journeys. Perhaps you have prayed and feel the Lord is directing
you in a different direction. Or maybe you just need to know
the presence and power of God in a difficult situation that
you are facing today. Maybe you are wrestling with taking that next
step of faith. God alone can give us the courage to step
into unpredictable waters, to step into the future that the Father
has planned for us. We can trust that His presence will go
before us, move within us and press in behind us. We can trust
that His plans for us are good. Sometimes we just have to take the first terrifying step into the water.
Trusting Him for the next step of faith,
We invite you to come and pull away for a weekend of restoration and renewal as you spend time in the richness of God’s Word, prayer, worship and the beauty of His creation. This retreat weekend is designed to help you explore and experience the heart of Jesus found in John 13-15 as we study His last hours with the disciples. When Jesus was about to leave the disciples for heaven, He invited them to join Him in an intimate and powerful union with the words “Abide in Me.” He offers the same life to you. Join us as we open the treasures and gifts waiting for those who choose to answer His invitation. Come, join us and discover the blessedness of a life connected to the Vine, our Savior.
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