Taking a Faith Step

Sweaty palms. Tight chest. Heart racing. Breath escaping. Body shaking.

I open my mouth and no words come out; instead tears form and heat fills my cheeks as I bolt from the stage to the nearest bathroom.

ANXIETY: Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.

This particular circumstance was my Year 11 solo performance. I’d never sung in front of anyone except my singing teacher before—and public singing was my number one greatest fear with public speaking coming in a close second. Why did I choose to sing then?

Essentially God had put a dream on my heart.

When I was 12 years old, I had a vision from God. In this vision, I saw the students at my school truly engage in worship for the first time and I was the one leading them. To be honest that was TERRIFYING to me..

Also keep in mind that I wasn’t popular in the slightest, a little nerdy kid with glasses (not even the cool kind). I loved studying, was always really quiet and often went unnoticed by most. This dream sat inside of me for a long time. I even tried to fight God and reason with Him:

‘Yes, God, I’ll join the chapel band but I’ll play guitar at the back.’

‘Yes, God, I’ll join the band but no one will ever listen to me because I’m not cool enough.’

‘God, You don’t understand! People will make fun of me; I can’t sing!’

But I knew He would not relent. I prayed about it and cried about it. I was so consumed with fear that it paralysed me. Then one day God showed me this verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV—‘For God has not given us a spirit of FEAR, but of POWER and of love and of a sound mind.’

God showed me that ANXIETY = FEAR, and that FEAR is actually something that we can control, but not in our own strength.

He has given you His power, with Him you already have everything you need to do what He has called you to do.

FEAR is a by-product of the negative voices we allow to speak into our world. This includes our own voice, our distorted perception and our feelings about ourselves. When we feel inadequate, we run away because it’s easier than facing what’s in front of us.

As children of God, we need to listen to His voice and drown out all other noise.

God will never ask you to do something you can do in your own strength; the whole point is to rely on Him! You don’t need to do it yourself, He has given you His power, with Him you already have everything you need to do what He has called you to do.

My first ever music solo was a complete disaster! I left feeling discouraged, humiliated and more nervous than ever. I thought I would never be able to fulfill the dream until one of my friends prayed for me and God brought to remembrance this verse: Philippians 4:6–7: ‘Do not be ANXIOUS about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God; which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’

God has not called us to live an anxious life. Although we will all face anxiety, God has made it clear that when we bring those anxieties and fears to Him He will give us peace. I prayed that Scripture over my life every day leading up to that chapel service and when I got on that stage all those fears melted away. I just focused on worshipping God and it was great! Not only that but the culture of worship that began that day still remains in that school six years later because of one giant faith step. From there God continued to strengthen me to lead in our youth worship team, to worship lead in church, to become the youth pastor and also to speak in schools, churches and even overseas. Crazy what God can do, right?!!

If you are feeling ANXIOUS I want you to know that God is greater than your fears and doubts and He has called you to a greater life than you can ever imagine. Anxiety is not what God has given you but He has given you a spirit of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND. Now go live like it!

Four Types of Desire: 3

‘A man who has friends must himself be friendly.’ Proverbs 18:24 NKJ

Relational desires: Jonathan was heir to the throne, but he voluntarily gave it up because he knew his friend David was God’s choice to be king. Jonathan desired to be a friend more than he desired to be a king. How often do you find that? And he didn’t become David’s friend because he was pursuing some ‘discipline of spiritual friendship’. He simply liked David, and that friendship changed the course of Israel. We all have relational desires we don’t pursue. Unless a deep, meaningful relationship falls into our lap, we give up. However, friendships like that don’t just happen; Jonathan had to overcome unbelievable barriers to build a friendship with David.

Sometimes you will have to do the same, and God will help you. Author John Ortberg writes: ‘My friend Chuck has the spiritual gift of breakfast. He meets people in a Southern franchise called the Waffle House. The waitress loves to wait on him because he tips well and makes everybody laugh. He’s… really funny and utterly unguarded about his own brokenness, which makes people open up to him … He feels God’s presence most powerfully when he sits in the Waffle House and is allowed to see someone’s soul. It’s not the coffee that brings people to him; it’s the rivers of living water flowing out of him.’

If you’re naturally shy, here’s a tip: chances are the person you’d like to reach out to is shy as well. Go ahead, make contact and see what happens. Who knows, you could be the answer to their loneliness and they to yours.

SoulFood: Gen 40–41, Jn 18:1–18, Ps 147:12–20, Ecc 4:9–12

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Genesis 40–41 ()

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40:1 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody.

And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.” 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”

16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” 18 And Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you.”

20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

41:1 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18 Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19 Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21 but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22 I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. 23 Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. 28 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.

50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. 51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house.” 52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”

56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

John 18:1–18 ()

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18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

Psalm 147:12–20 ()

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12   Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
    Praise your God, O Zion!
13   For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
    he blesses your children within you.
14   He makes peace in your borders;
    he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15   He sends out his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16   He gives snow like wool;
    he scatters frost like ashes.
17   He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
    who can stand before his cold?
18   He sends out his word, and melts them;
    he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19   He declares his word to Jacob,
    his statutes and rules to Israel.
20   He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
    they do not know his rules.
  Praise the LORD!

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 ()

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Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Sat 08 December, 2018


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