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Friday, February 21, 2014

Stepping Out Of The Boat

Exodus 3: 9 – 12, Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." NKJV
Jeremiah 1: 4 – 8, Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Then said I: "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." But the LORD said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you," says the LORD. NKJV
 Several readers have asked me for prayer because they were anxious about speaking or ministering for the first time. However, the Lord has instructed us in His Word that we must be willing to step out of our comfortable places and share our faith with others. Let me say that every minister has had to face the same nerves that you may be experiencing. Being a representative for the Lord is a huge responsibility and should be taken seriously. Nevertheless, you must always remember. It's not about us; it's about what the Lord wants done through us that matters.
Inevitably, when we “step out of the boat” to share our faith or to preach our first sermon, there is a process that we all must undergo before we become comfortable in front of a crowd. You will notice two common principles in both scripture references that I have chosen today. First, we see that Moses and Jeremiah have been instructed by the Lord to represent Him to His people; however, both of them have their eyes on themselves. We shouldn’t get into condemnation about this. The fear of being rejected is just human nature.
There is one important point concerning our humanity that needs to be addressed because it will help us. Even though human nature causes us to be self-conscious about speaking on behalf of the Lord, we must not allow any fear or selfish desire to cause us to make “IT” about us. It’s all about serving and pointing the way to Christ. Here’s an indicator that you have focused too much on “you:” If you speak about yourself and what you have to do for the Lord, then it’s not about Jesus.
After Moses and Jeremiah told God the reasons why they couldn’t take on such a daunting task, the Lord brought correction to the understanding of them both. God wanted them, and He wants us to focus only on the Lord and the task that is at hand. He does not want us to pay attention to ourselves or even to those to whom He is sending us to minister. God spoke to Moses and Jeremiah only about what He wanted them to say or do as His representative.
The second common principle we find in both passages is that God let Moses and Jeremiah know that He was with them. It may seem insufficient to calm your nerves, and it might sound like a cliché. Even so, it’s still what ministers and all Christians need… God is with us! Isn’t that all that Jesus had when He was on earth and represented the will of the Father to mankind? Yes! He said many times that He was not alone because the Father was with Him. He never, ever made it about Himself. Nevertheless, you will notice that His enemies ALWAYS tried to make it about Jesus instead of the Father.
When I began teaching a Bible study many years ago, I was bound by the spirit of fear. It was so strong that I almost fainted the first time I spoke. Why? I was very shy and self-conscious. I sure would’ve liked to have known then what I’m writing to you today. Now, when I stand before a congregation or a television camera, there are no butterflies in my stomach and no sweaty palms. I’ve learned how to keep my eyes on the Lord and to rest in His grace instead of focusing on myself.
You can do it too. Just take a step of faith, get out of the boat, and keep your eyes on Jesus. He will keep you from sinking into anxiousness and dread. The anointing flows freely when we just relax and allow the Holy Spirit to minister through us. After all, we’re merely conduits that God has chosen in order to pour favor and love on His people. So go out there, enjoy God’s calling, and let Him take care of the details. Just be prayed up and prepared in His Word.
Nothing like Serving Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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