Exploring New Trails
10/4/2011

Exploring New Trails

"Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt." Numbers 14:3-4 (NKJV)

I remember a few years back, my wife Carol and I were up in Utah riding sport utility ATV's through the mountains.  We were scouting out some new trails south of the town of Richfield. We had heard there were some waterfalls to check out and we were excited at the prospect of going somewhere we had not been before.  I took my map and we headed out with high hopes of finding something new.

We had ridden up some pretty big mountains - climbing up on the ridges looking down at the streams flowing within the valleys, we dropped off the side of the mountain and weaved our way through the forest and across the creeks.  It was exciting to find new trails, and the newness kept both of us intrigued about what was next, but it was also a little unnerving because neither of us knew what was ahead.  At one point I contemplated turning around and going back to what I was familiar with be cause it was safe.

In a lot of ways the same thing happens to many of us as Christian men and women as we seek to grow in our spiritual walk. There are times when we attempt to try new things and get away from the safe, familiar surroundings we have become accustomed to.  Maybe the Lord laid it upon our heart to get involved in a women's or men's bible study, but the newness of extending ourselves can cause some anxiety and we may be tempted to pull back and retreat to what we feel is a safer place - we can resort to come quietly on Sunday morning to find our well worn familiar place of sitting.

We can see this very thing happening to the children of Israel as they began to doubt God's calling (Num. 14:3-4).  They became anxious about going forward into unfamiliar territory and so they looked for someone to lead them back to what they knew to be familiar - even if it wasn't better, or what God had intended for them.  Now we may be tempted to cast judgment on them for doubting God and wanting to turn around, but we would be wise to learn from this story instead, and even ask ourselves these questions: 

  • Am I any different than the Israelites?  
  • Can I learn from their mistakes and their lack of faith?  
  • Do I trust God with my life, and the plans that He has for me?
  • Will I let God work in, on, and through my life?  
  • Will I allow Him to lead me down the paths of ministry - one I would normally not explore?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you today.  Perhaps God is leading you to go forward in your walk   Perhaps He has laid it upon your heart to get involved into ministry and to let Him use you.  I know it can be a little intimidating but trust me; there is no better reward than to be used by the Creator of the universe, and to serve others He has brought into your life.   Pray about serving in these areas and experience exploring a new trail for yourself.

STUDY QUESTION: What kind of plans does God have for us according to Jeremiah 29:11?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to help serve others in the ministry God has prepared for you?

APPLICATION:  Seek God in prayer.  Ask Him to show you where He would want you to serve, and then take a step of faith.  

Father, thank You for leading us out of the bondage of sin.  I place my faith in You this day for where You have planned to lead me, and I willingly follow in great anticipation.  Help me be what You have called me to be in the lives of others.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott




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