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The Scriptorium

Next Steps Faith

We don't have to know it all. Acts 10

The Gospel to the Gentiles: Acts 10 (7)

Pray Psalm 25.4, 5.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Sing Psalm 25.4, 5.
(Festal Song: Revive The Work, O Lord)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Read Acts 10.1-48; meditate on verses 4-6, 19 and 20.

Preparation
1. What did God reveal to Cornelius? To Peter?

2. What was God’s larger plan for them both?

Meditation

Paul had it just right when he wrote that we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5.7). It pleases God to reveal the path He has marked out for us in small steps. He tells us just enough to let us know what we must do, but He doesn’t tell us everything. Our duty is to keep walking, looking to His Word and listening for the guidance of the Spirit – in Whose power we walk (Acts 1.8; Gal. 5.16) – so that we faithfully accomplish every next step in our journey with Him.

This is precisely what we see in this beautiful story of Cornelius and Peter. God told neither of them what He was about to do. If He had, we can imagine (a) Cornelius might have said, “Whoa, hold on here”, and (b) Peter might have said, “Say what?” We saw God do the same thing with Saul and Ananias. God delights for us to move into His story by increments – here a little, there a little (Is. 28.10-13) – so that we share in the joy of seeing the divine economy unfold in all its beauty and the Kingdom advance by God’s power (“Aha!”, vv. 34, 35).

Obedience is the key. We learn what our next steps must be each day (Matt. 6.34) by meditating on God’s Word – as Cornelius and Peter did – and waiting on the Lord in prayer to discern how to fulfill what the Scriptures teach, one next step after the other. Cornelius and Peter obeyed explicitly as much as they understood of God’s Word to them. That’s all God asks of any of us.

If we’re faithful in the small stuff and obedient in every next step, God will meet us, use us, bless us, and show us His glory in everything we do (1 Cor. 10.31). Let the Word of Christ indwell you richly, and do not grow weary in prayer (Col. 3.16; Lk. 18.1). Trust God to show you every next step in your journey of faith, and go forward in it boldly, joyfully, and expectantly.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“God delights for us to move into His story by increments…” Slowly. Fully. Trustingly. Faithfully. If we understood everything, it wouldn’t be faith. And “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb. 11.6)

Our main goal in life must be to please Him, so we must have faith. We move into His story without fully understanding. In this God finds delight.

Jesus was the only person who knew the beginning and the end. Of His Own life. And even for Him, it was difficult.

He knew of His death, and the means needed to fulfill the prophesies. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…smitten by God, and afflicted…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53.4, 5). “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (Ps. 22.1)

He knew His calling. And He sweat great drops of blood in anticipation of its fulfillment. He prayed: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk. 22.42).
“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk. 22.44).

God in His mercy does not call us to bear the knowledge of our beginning and end. We could not carry the heavy weight of that burden.

But He does call us to follow Him. Incrementally. Daily. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand” (Ps. 84.10). “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6.11). “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9.23). “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3.8).

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before
Every day with Jesus I love Him more and more.
Jesus saves and keeps me and He’s the one I’m waiting for.
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
(Robert Claire Loveless, 1936)

“Trust God to show you every next step in your journey of faith, and go forward in it boldly, joyfully, and expectantly”! His grace is sufficient for that! (2 Cor. 12.9)

For reflection

1. What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight?

2. How can we know what our next steps of faith should be?

3. Jesus saw the end of things from the beginning. So we don’t have to. Looking to Him and seeing Him, we see all we need to see. How should knowing this guide your time of study in Scripture?

Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God’s word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ…Without dispute or delay Cornelius was obedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls, let us not lose time. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 10.1-8

Pray Psalm 25.11-22.
Ask God to direct your steps today, to keep you through temptations, sustain you amid trials, and guide you in the path of righteousness. Listen for His guidance every next step of the day, and be ready to show His love and share His truth as He leads.

Sing Psalm 25.11-22.
(Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
For Your sake, Lord, forgive.  All they who fear You, Lord,
Shall know Your blessings day by day and follow in Your Word.

Your friends are they who fear and seek Your holy face;
Your covenant with them You share and save them by Your grace.

Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.

Consider all my foes, who hate me all the day;
and rescue my poor soul lest I should stumble in the way.

Preserve me in Your way, redeem Your people, Lord!
We wait for You and refuge seek in Your own faithful Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

We have such a great salvation in Jesus Christ that it embraces and transforms all the small stuff and next steps of our lives. Our book, Small Stuff, can show you how your every next step can further the Kingdom and glory of our Lord Jesus. Order your free copy by clicking here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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