Each day is a new day, and God’s mercies are new every morning. With every sunrise comes the opportunity for a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing and interacting with the world, a new way of being, a new way of doing and a new way of living.
When you hear someone mention the phrase “The chance of a lifetime”, what kinds of thoughts come to your mind? An actress being offered the role she always dreamed of? A small businessman being presented with an opportunity to sign a million dollar contract? A first generation college student receiving an offer of admission to a top university? An obscure singer being pursued by a major music company with the offer of a record deal?
For most of us, when we hear the phrase “the chance of a lifetime” these are the types of scenarios that come to mind. We think of that one big break, a happenstance of being at the right place at the right time, that if not seized with all one’s strength, might likely never come again. This week however, I want to challenge us to think about this expression in a way that is more…
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In church yesterday, the message was entitled, Finding the Will of God. The Scripture text was out of the book of Acts 16:6-38. The Pastor who spoke yesterday made some points that I want to share with you. First, don’t get frozen into doing nothing. There are times in each of our lives, sometimes seasons that are far too long, where we are ‘waiting on direction from God.’ We don’t move because we have not ‘heard’ God’s voice. We wait and wait, often becoming bewildered, even frustrated. Yet the reality may be that we are not hearing God’s voice because we have failed to move. In the book of Acts chapter 16 when Paul went on second missionary journey, he knew God was leading him to preach the gospel to the gentiles. That being said, in his knowing, he did not sit around and wait for a map laid out from point A to point B. Instead, he began to move. The Scripture tells us that he and Silas “traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word of in the province of Asia.” (NLT) After they were prevented from carrying out their plan to preach in Asia, the Holy Spirit again stopped them from preaching in Bithynia. The emphasis here was that God’s specific will to Paul and Silas became clear only when they started to move. Paul knew God had a plan, and he knew God would speak. He did not get frozen into doing nothing because he did not have all the details of where he was supposed to go. Thus, the first point is just because you don’t have the big picture does not mean you should not move forward. Don’t get frozen into doing nothing just because you are not aware of all the answers.
The second point was progress begins with faith. Simply put, because Paul believed, he went. We will never move forward in an area of life where we have no faith to do so. There are individuals who will spend their whole lives in one place, never accomplishing anything that is in their hearts. They will never live up to their full potential because they constantly allow fear and unbelief to dictate the possibilities of what could be. We can only make progress when we chose to believe more in God’s power than the circumstances of our lives.
Third, Guidance comes when we move. As Paul and Silas stepped out, there were some closed doors. That is natural. Closed doors are a normal part of the journey. Paul and Silas tried to go into two different geographical regions based on what they thought. When they were not allowed to go into those regions, they did not sit around and beat themselves up. Instead, they moved on. The clarity came one night when Paul had a vision. In the vision, a man from Macedonia was crying out for him to come and help them. While neither the journey nor the destination was easy, in the end a young slave girl, a jailer and his family, and many others in that region came to know the Lord. Their lives were never the same. Guidance came as they moved.
Finally, God will reveal all we need to know as we go, which may be the same thing as the above point, but it sounds nice. It was as Paul and Silas went that God revealed exactly what they needed to know and what they needed to do. The Bible tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. It also says, if we put our trust in God and not in our own understanding that he will direct our paths. Some of us have had dreams in our hearts for years, dreams that have be placed inside of us by God. Sadly, as time goes on, we sit and wonder why nothing has happened. We are waiting for that miraculous day when God will finally move. The problem comes when we fail to realize that God is waiting on us to take action in response to our faith.
Remember, God will reveal all we need to know as we go. Guidance comes as we move. And true progress begins with faith. For some of us it is time to stop talking about it. Stop praying about it, stop sitting around, and thinking about it. Place your faith, your hope, your trust in God, and just do it.
Have a blessed week,
This week’s Bible readings: