“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the Word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then He sat down taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ ”
(Luke 5:1-4 NIV)
The words Jesus spoke to Simon have become powerful words for me. Have you ever been in a worship service and suddenly you feel as though you are the only one in the room and the speaker is speaking specifically to you? This happened to me as I sat in the closing worship service at the 2016 Women of Joy Conference.
It was Sunday morning and the friends I was with decided we needed to sit on the front row of the closing service. Lisa Harper would be giving the morning message to a room filled with thousands of women and a few men who were most likely recruited to be the designated driver for this event. I could not wait to hear Lisa speak and enthralled with the idea that I might have a brief opportunity to meet her after the service.
Before Lisa began to speak, she introduced her sweet daughter, Missy whom she adopted from Haiti. After Missy had wooed the group of ladies, Lisa began to speak. She began to talk about how people can feel unclean to the point they feel unworthy to approach God and receive his amazing grace. Lisa gave several testimonies of people who felt unclean and how God met them right where they were, picked them up and loved on them. Needless to say, these lives were changed for the better.
As Lisa continued her talk, she expressed how there were people in the very room we were sitting in that had not taken that first step of faith of approaching Jesus and inviting Him in and allowing Him to pick them up, love on them and give them a new hope. Then, she walked across the stage and began to say that there were people there that had taken that first step of faith but it was time to take a next step of faith. As Lisa spoke these words, she looked right at me and pointed in my direction. I felt as though she was pointing right at me and it was only she and I in the room at that very moment.
Heavy conviction fell on my heart because I knew God had been placing a specific calling on my heart. God had been working on my heart for the last couple of years to mentor other women in their Christian walk. God would nudge and I would push back. Yet as Lisa said; “there are some of you here that need to take a next step of faith“, I knew at that moment it was not Lisa Harper speaking to me but it was God giving me a point-blank call to take a next step of faith.
At the time of this conference and worship service, I was already assisting our Pastor’s wife with leading Women’s Bible Study in our church. I more less followed her direction. Yet, God was beginning to push me out of my comfort zone all the more. Our Pastor’s wife kept encouraging me in my leadership role and she would nudge me out of my comfort zone.
God’s plan unfolded. May, 2017 our Pastor and his wife took a new call to a new church. The next step of faith was in front of me. My passion for mentoring women in their faith walk became even stronger. Yet, I was shaking in my boots as I began to move forward to keep our Women’s Ministry going during the time of our church’s transition. I knew that being a leader/teacher is a huge responsibility and accountability is important. Yet, God was nudging me and telling me; “it’s time to take that next step of faith.”
Patriarchs and other people of great faith and their stories began to enter my mind. (Read the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11). I recollected their questions and how they would try to tell God they were not qualified. Yet, in the end each were obedient to God and God provided what they needed as they took that next step of faith.
When I begin my day each morning and take that first step out of bed I can still see Lisa Harper pointing in my direction and saying; “it’s time for some of you to take that next step of faith.” God reminds me at that moment that he will provide what I need for that day. As each day comes and goes, I can look back and see where God provided, where he blessed me and where he gave me strength in my weakest moments. ( Philippians 4:13)
Strength. To me I believe the word strength is the key word when it comes to taking that next step of faith. In Nehemiah 8:10 we read; “The joy of the LORD is my strength and I will serve him with joy in my heart.” God will give us the strength we need to put that next foot forward. As we take that next step, we should do it with joy in our hearts because we are honoring God’s call for our life.
Maybe God has placed a calling on your heart. Yet, you meet God with resistance as he pushes you to take that next step of faith. Let me encourage you to take a deep breath, take hold of God’s hand and take that next step of faith. Trust God and cast out your net just as Jesus instructed Simon in Luke 5:4. Then, as each day passes, acknowledge where God has provided. Allow God to be your strength when you think you can’t take that next step. And, as you take that next step of faith, I encourage you to serve with joy in your heart and seek the blessings God has planned for you to receive.
“Faith is when the dots don’t connect but you say, ‘at your bidding’……cast out your net.”
Priscilla Shirer…ARMOR OF GOD Bible Study