Stepping Out In Faith

Steve Arterburn

 

The waves crashed, the storm swelled, the wind howled, and the boat creaked and heaved. The apostles saw Him’Jesus approaching on the waves. ‘Lord, if it’s really you,’ Peter cried out, ‘tell me to come to you by walking on the water.’ Jesus bid him to come, so Peter stepped onto the tumultuous sea and began walking to Jesus. Then the apostle’s attention turned to the storm that surrounded him. His heart melted inside his chest, and his feet began sinking beneath the waves.

Men, being a Christian means stepping out in faith’believing that God is able to turn even the most tumultuous seas around you into a pathway toward Himself. You probably took familiar and safe paths in the past and found they didn’t take you where you needed or longed to go.

Please hear me on this: if you wait for all your fear to go away before you follow the call of Christ upon your life, you’ll never make significant spiritual progress. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s that stubbornness born of faith that causes you to move forward despite the fear you feel.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and don’t look at those unknown and untamed things swirling about. Call out to Him and move in faith toward Him ‘ His hands are always extended and open to you. Yes, you’ll feel fear and you’ll need His help. But move forward anyway. He won’t let you drown, and He’ll catch you if you start sinking.

Tearing Down Idols

Steve Arterburn

 

King Asa lived at a time when the Israelites had given themselves over to idolatry. They basically thumbed their nose at God and believed their way of living, contrary to His instructions, was right.

 

But when the king heard the message of the prophets, he destroyed the idols the people were worshipping. Asa restored the altar of the Lord. He even removed his own mother from her position of power because she’d been influencing Israel in their idolatry.

 

When you think of idolatry, you might consider it a phenomenon of times past. But that’s a big mistake. Our culture is rife with idolatry, and our own hearts are very susceptible to it.

 

As God continues His work in you, it’s crucial that you recognize the idols our culture bows before and that you don’t get caught up in treating them as idols yourself.  Things like money, power, possessions, titles, comfort, superficial beauty, or any number of things that usurp what belongs only to God.

 

In the end, you’re called to do something very much like king Asa did: crush and burn the idols in your own thinking and in your heart. Guys, God has called you to redirect your life in order to follow Him. That means moving against the stream of this world, and the things it worships in place of God.

 

But take heart: God always supplies the ability to accomplish what He asks of you. He’ll be there for you, empowering and encouraging you all the way home.

Vegas In The Middle East

Steve Arterburn

Take gambling-obsessed Las Vegas, drug-crazed Amsterdam, and the super-sexed red-light district of Bangkok. Now roll them together. That approximates the reputation of Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

God decided to take action against these cities. Abraham pleaded with God to halt His judgment so long as fifty righteous men could be found in them. At the end of Abraham’s pleas, the number was reduced to ten.

 

But Abraham was overly optimistic in hoping that ten righteous men could be found there. When God sent two angels to inspect Sodom, Abraham’s nephew Lot asked them to stay in his house for the night. What happened? In one of the Bible’s most grisly scenes, a rowdy gang of men gathered outside Lot’s house demanding that the guests be sent out so they could have their way with them. That’s where we get the term sodomy.

 

God’s patience was exhausted. He displayed His holiness and righteous judgment by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. But in His mercy, God allowed Lot and his family to escape judgment by leaving this horrible place. Yet, they were reluctant to leave!–

 

Men, Lot had grown accustomed to his evil surroundings. He’d learned to feel at home there. Can you relate? You’re called to live in this world, and it’s an evil world. The solution isn’t to search for paradise on earth. Only the coming of God’s kingdom will bring this. But at the same time, beware: don’t let this world make it’s home in your heart.