“Step Where I Step” + LINKUP

 

Step Where I Step - I recently started attending a Bible study taught by a dear friend. During this week’s lesson, she told a story that I loved.

A young man who was an avid hiker wanted to propose to his girlfriend, but he want to do so at a particularly scenic spot in the mountains where he hiked. His girlfriend, an “indoor girl,” agreed to go, but was having a difficult time with the trek. As she struggled with the ascent, he encouraged her by saying, “just step where I step.”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival

 

Step Where I Step

 

And that’s what she did, step by step. That “indoor girl” followed the young man she had grown to love and trust.

She made it. He proposed.

And later she said, even though it was challenging, it was so worth it! In fact, she said, it wasn’t as hard as it looked.

As my friend, Marie, was telling the story, I thought about the Christian walk. It, too, can be a challenging journey. It’s filled with steep ascents, unexpected turns, scary cliffs and falling rocks. It tests our stamina and our courage, at times.

But I wonder, do we make the journey harder than it needs to be, because of our failure to truly follow in the foot steps of our Savior?

 

Step Where I Step - A young man who was an avid hiker wanted to propose to his girlfriend, but he want to do so at a particularly scenic spot in the mountains where he hiked. His girlfriend, an "indoor girl," agreed to go, but was having a difficult time with the trek. As she struggled with the ascent, he encouraged her by saying, "just step where I step."


Follow Me

 

Just as surely as He did to those first twelve disciples, Jesus says to each of us, “follow me.” Just step where I step.

Too often, we’re walking in our own strength, trying to do what we should through self-effort and wondering why it’s so hard.

We end up exhausted, burned out, or frustrated, because the Christian life can’t be done in our own strength (Matt. 9.26).

This isn’t just a problem for new believers. In fact, as we grow in Christ we may be more prone to self-effort. After all, we know the drill. We speak the language. We know what we should say and do. We’re not as desperate for His help and guidance, not clinging to Him one step at a time. We’ve walk the path before and can easily think, “I’ve got this.”

God knows our tendency and out of His love for us will take us on new paths, steeper journeys than we thought possible, so we see our need for Him. When He does, we’re sometimes shocked at our responses.

We may respond with sinful anger that we thought we’d dealt with years ago or find ourselves tempted with another sinful habit.

In our heart of hearts, we sometimes think “after all I’ve done to serve You, Lord, why would You allow this?”

Why would my child rebel after I’ve raised her right?

Why would my business fail after I’ve tithed all these years?

Why would my spouse walk out?

How can I be struggling with this?

It’s not fair!

That’s when we must look to Jesus and the path he walked ahead of us. We need to step where He stepped … when He was betrayed, misunderstood, falsely accused, arrested and crucified. We need to follow in His steps as He forgives those who reject and sin against Him today.

We need to forgive the unforgivable (Rom. 5.8; Eph. 4.31-32).

We need to love the unlovable (Matt. 5.43-48).

We need to submit to the harsh and unreasonable (1 Pet. 2.18-21, 3.1-2).

We need to bless those who revile us and do us wrong (1 Pet. 2.23).

We need to refuse revenge and overcome evil with good (Rom. 12.17-21).

We need to release the prodigal to His love and consequences, yet stand ready to welcome him home (Lk. 15.11-24).

We need to refuse to be like the prodigal’s brother (Lk. 15.25-32).

We need to follow His steps as He loves and forgives us when we turn to other gods and commit spiritual adultery (Jas. 4.1-4).

 

Step Where I Step - We won't make it to the summit by hacking out our own path.


The Impossible

 

We’ll soon realize that we can’t do that in our own strength. We won’t make it to the summit by hacking out our own path.  Continue reading

“Habits that Rob Us of God’s Blessings” August 21

 

Habits that Rob Us of God's Blessings - Are there habits that can rob us of God's blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives? Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?Are there habits that can rob us of God’s blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives?

Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

 

Habits that Rob Us of God’s Blessings

 

Proverbs 23.19-21:

Dangerous Habits

 

Verse 21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

Proverbs warns us about many lifestyle habits that can ruin our lives and keep us from enjoying the blessings of God. In this verse Solomon addresses drunkenness, gluttony and drowsiness.

The drunkard is looking for relief from her troubles, distraction from what she considers a life of boredom, or the fun and excitement she craves.

The glutton over-indulges on God’s blessings, whether food or something else.

The lazy person wants ease and relaxation to the point of neglecting his responsibilities.

These three character issues show up in different ways. The most obvious is the man or woman who gets drunk on alcohol or becomes addicted to drugs. Or the person who gorges on sweets or snack food, sometimes purging later. Or the person who refuses to work consistently, preferring to live in mom and dad’s basement or spare room.

ReadingBut it’s also the mom who over-indulges in romance novels. She may take care of the physical needs of her children, but lives for nap time when she can escape into some exciting, romantic (sometimes steamy) adventure.

She’s missing out on the blessings of truly enjoying her children at each stage of life. And she often becomes discontented with the husband and life God has given her. Preferring to escape into her fantasy.

A dad who’s obsessed with video games or sports. He’s living for the week-end when he can don his team’s jersey or play his game for hours.  His children and wife take second place to his escape and he loses out of the joy of family.

The parent or spouse who escapes into his or her smart phone or computer, sometimes hour after hour when everyone else has gone to bed. Sometimes while family members sit right beside them. They miss the opportunity to build genuine, healthy relationships.

The employee who lives for the week-end or the next vacation. They deprive themselves of the satisfaction of a job well done.

The child or adult who expects everyone else to wait on them hand and foot or to meet their every need. They miss the blessings that come with service and loving others.

Proverbs 27.20 says, “… the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We can never get enough of the things the flesh craves including leisure time, new and exciting kinds of entertainment, food and fun. Escape is only temporary. When we sober up, the problems are still there, often worse because of our neglect. We end up being left empty and devoid of any peace, joy or satisfaction.

The desire for these things leads to poverty, not just physical poverty, but poverty in their relationships and, often, poverty of the soul.

Instead, if we will allow God to fill us spirit, soul and body, we will find that the things of this world pale in comparison. And we are free to enjoy God’s blessings in their proper place and amount.

Psalm 90.14 is a great prayer. It says:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days (ESV).

And in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says:

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God (Eccl. 2.24).


Habits that Rob Us of God's Blessings - Are there habits that can rob us of God's blessings? If so, what are they and what do they look like when they show up in our lives? Also, is it possible for evil and suffering to lead to good? And could we be in danger of following men and not God?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 33 & 34:

Even Evil Can Result in Good

 

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

When we hear of a child being molested, for instance, we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it?  Continue reading