Take A Step – Sheree Choake
28th April, 2019.
TAKE A STEP!
-Fiona’s message – RUN TO IT!
–as I praying about today’s message, I couldn’t get those words RUN TO IT out of my mind and I was asking God what it was, apart from them being a blessing to me, and I believe He wants me to speak today to those who love the thought of RUNNING TO IT, but for you there are some very real blockages that are hindering you from doing it.
–many, many years ago, when I first became a mum, I read an article about a woman who had had 4 or 5 children, and before she had her first baby, she was a fit and healthy lady who wore size 10-12 clothes. Now, however, after having her children, she was a very large lady, told by the doctor that she was morbidly obese. Because of that, she was always too tired to do anything with her kids because now she was such a large lady. She even stopped walking out to her letterbox each day because she was so embarrassed and easily lost her breath just from doing that, which was only about the length of a basketball court. The furthest she did walk was to her clothesline to hang out her washing. Her husband did the shopping on his way home from work and she pretty much stayed at home 24/7. Her children were embarrassed by her if she attempted to go to the school which was around the corner from their home and so she stayed at home and her problem became worse and worse. She became depressed and started thinking unhealthy thoughts about giving up on life. A friend of hers called in to see her on one of these low moments and her friend’s words changed her life.
Her friend said to her, “Don’t look at what you can’t do, take a step toward what you can do!”
She determined then and there that that was what she was going to do. She could walk to the clothesline, so she would do it everyday, not just on washing days. And she did. Then she began walking to it twice, then 3 times. She began walking to her letterbox, then around her home. She began putting healthier food options on her shopping list, she began shopping, walking to the school to walk home with her kids… all because she took a step! Her stumbling block was trying to look too big, wanting to jog before she was able to even take a step. Take a step toward what you can do! She ended up writing a book about everything she learned and made millions!!
–now that might not be your stumbling block, but the principle I want to speak to you about today is the same, we need to take a step out, even when we feel stuck.
“Don’t look at what you can’t do, take a step toward what you can do!”
–last week we celebrated the incredible gift of grace bestowed upon us because of the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. That gift of grace seemed impossible and dead and gone on Friday, but became the triumph of God on Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead AS HE DECLARED HE WOULD. You see, with God, what He says in the Word is what is true, not necessarily what things look to be in the natural. On Friday, He was dead. On Sunday, He was alive as He had previously told His disciples that He would be! God’s Word trumps the world! God’s Word trumps circumstances. God’s Word is truth and cannot be overcome.
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.”
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him..
For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does.
–frames – we’re going to be a bit interactive today…
–everything we look at, we view through a lens or a frame and our past experiences and teachings and hurts and joys and triumphs determine the lens or the frame you look at circumstances through.
–black frame, represents the frame of disappointment. If you’re looking at things through this frame, you’ve been hurt, more than once in a certain area and you expect that whenever a circumstance occurs that looks similar or you have to trust or persevere, you look waiting for things to go wrong. You don’t expect people or God to change anything. You just accept that this is they way it is for you!
–let me tell you, this frame is a pessimistic world view frame that is stealing away from you God’s promises over your life.
–what are those promises??
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
-2 Corinthians 9:8
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
These are just some of the promises God has spoken out over your life! Biblical scholars estimate that there are over 3000 promises in the Bible for us to hold on to! Out of 31, 173 verses in the Bible, more than 10% of them are promises over our lives.
–white frame – this frame, looks at times that have been good, things have been great, but you believe the blessings have come from within. You have had to work hard to earn what you have, there has been no provision of God, it’s just been hard work!! You are responsible for the good things you have received and so when things may not be working out, you believe you just need to work harder, or that it’s your fault completely when things go south!
–the problem with this frame is that it is also a lie! There are times when we strive and achieve, but when we cannot do it any longer because of age or circumstances, because of health or other reasons, we begin to beat ourselves up because we believe we have to earn everything and we forget about God’s grace.
–we cannot earn our way into the Kingdom. We cannot earn anymore of God’s love and provision than what we already have. We already have all the good stuff…we have to be gracious and humble enough to see that it is not us, but God working His promises and love through us.
God is the source and sustainer of everything, everything finds fulfillment in Him…
For the source of Your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to You.
–gold frame- this frame is viewing things through the lens of God’s Word. When we look at what is in front of us through God’s promises, or from a place of strength knowing His will, we have assurance that He WILL work everything together for the good of those who love Him! God knew how powerful this was when He instructed His people to teach their children and tell the story of the Passover and other times when He saved them. Remembering times when God has been faithful in the past builds a platform on which you can stand to believe for the next thing.
Remember how you transplanted us here like a tender vine from Egypt. You cleared the land for your vineyard, evicting the nations from your land and planting us here.
We’ve heard true stories from our fathers about our rich heritage. We will continue to tell our children and not hide from the rising generation the great marvels of our God—His miracles and power that have brought us all this far. The story of Israel is a lesson in God’s ways. He established decrees for Jacob and established the law in Israel, and He commanded our forefathers to teach them to their children. For perpetuity God’s ways will be passed down from one generation to the next, even to those not yet born. In this way, every generation will have a living faith in the laws of life and will never forget the faithful ways of God.
–personal experience here????
–if you know that God IS FOR YOU, and can shift the frame in which you are looking at your circumstance through, you can step out in faith knowing that God is FOR YOU and that because He cannot lie and He promises His children GOOD things, you can confidently take a step…because sometimes you need to take a step, before you can run!
2. The Second stumbling block is FEAR.
–fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm
–we are often told that the opposite of fear is faith, but that’s not true. The opposite of fear is courage, fearlessness and confidence.
–so many times the Bible tells us to not be afraid, to take courage, to not be anxious about anything, yet there is also healthy fear!
–there is fear of the Lord and the fear that God built into us when He created us that keeps us safe!
–the Bible tells us that ,”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..” so how can FEAR be a stumbling block??
–the fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins, so that is where we have to come back to…trusting in the Lord.
–when God told Joshua to take courage, to not be afraid but to trust Him as he was leading God’s people into the promised land, He promised He would be with him.
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
–was God asking Joshua to do something BIG and SCARY?? Yes, but He promised He would be with Him! He gave him the way to be successful… stand on the Word given!
–we live in a world where there is more and more and more anxiety being diagnosed all around us. In my 30 years of teaching, I have never known soooo many students who have been diagnosed with anxiety. I have also never had so many parents contact me telling me that their children are anxious and worried about a learning task or experience. I know that what I am about to say is very simplistic and there are children who suffer from anxiety that has deeper origins. However, as parents we need to allow our children to experience things that cause stress so that they can see that they are able to overcome it and succeed! We need to teach our children, our young people that not everything comes easily, without struggle or pain. But overcoming such times, times that require courage builds confidence and trust in God. Success breeds success and we cannot gain success if we do not step out and face tough things!
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
–don’t let fear of man or circumstances stop you from taking your step. Do you need to do things afraid sometimes?? Yes! Does God promise to be with us? Of course!
–it is through the struggle that a butterfly pushes off its cocoon. Without the struggle, it’s wings are not strengthened enough for it to be able to fly. It has to go through the struggle for it to become a butterfly, not a buttersit or walk… it needs to struggle.
–often we need to step out while afraid.
-Moses did. He was afraid as he stepped into the Red Sea. Without taking a step of trust in the midst of his fear, would the people have crossed on the dry land and have been saved?? He had to courageously take a step – of faith!
Exodus 14:11-16, 21-22
What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.
–what is God asking you to step out with courage and do??
3. The third stumbling block I want to address today is UNFORGIVENESS.
–have you ever tried to push a shopping trolley that was moving okay, but you hit something tiny, like a small stone or piece of food dropped and it just refuses to budge then and it goes in all crazy directions?
–living with unforgiveness is just like that! In fact, it can keep going for a while but not with the same ease and control as it had before. Our lives are just like that when a little unforgiveness creeps in which we don’t deal with.
–and do you know the scary thing, once we become offended with someone and don’t let that offence go and forgive, we then look through the lens of the offence and can see nothing else. Everything to do with that person or circumstance is only seen through our held onto offence and until we confess and forgive, we cannot see clearly to take our step forward.
A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense.
Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!”
–you see we cannot move forward when we are tied up with unforgiveness. Forgiving someone doesn’t allow them to go scot-free, it allows you to be free! It also releases them into God’s hands and lets Him deal with whatever it was that caused the offense or hurt or pain.
Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.
Don’t ever say, “I’m going to get even with them if it’s the last thing I do!” Wrap God’s grace around your heart and He will be the one to vindicate you!
Today we have looked at just 3 things that keep us from running into God’s blessings. I’m not going to pretend that these are the only things that stop us from taking that step, but I do truly believe that there are people here today who are tied up in Offence and Unforgiveness, others who are holding onto Fear like it was their friend instead of trusting God when He’s saying to you…step out, run to Me, take that chance…I know the plans I have for you ARE GOOD. And, there are others still who need to change their perspective and look at their circumstances with a Godly lens and not a worldly one. The world will tell you lies as the bible tells us that Satan is a thief and a liar and is the Prince of the World.
2 Corinthians 4:4
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
–but the good news this verse talks about is that Jesus HAS OVERCOME this world. His promises are Yes and Amen. We just have to look through the godly lens of Scripture, stand on His WORD in all circumstances, we need to share testimony of God’s goodness, continue to tell the stories about how He has overcome things within your life and pray without ceasing.
–where are you today? Are you running toward God? Are you needingto step over a blockage in your path to help you on that road toward Him?
–if you would like someone to pray through any of these things with you, to support you, don’t leave today without taking a step.
“Don’t look at what you can’t do, take a step toward what you can do!”
–prayer of salvation –
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me, thank you for giving up your life and dying on the cross for me, thank you for the gift of salvation. Come into my life and be my Lord. Thank you for Your promises over my life. Help me to walk in Your ways. Amen.