Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Daily Walking

As I was listening to some music last week, I ran across a song that my mother loved so very much, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”. This traditional gospel song was the daily inspiration she needed to get through just one more day. Mom fought a valiant and extraordinary fight for over two years. After she endured round after round of radiation and chemotherapy and countless visits to see her oncologist, the cancer finally went into remission. However, her victory was short lived. In just a couple of months, the cancer came back with a vengeance. In just a few more months, Mom’s battle ended, but her victory was assured by her faith in the Lord.

In every painful step of the last years of her life, she continued to find comfort in her faith and grew closer to the Lord. Her daily prayer was very simple. She prayed for that closer walk with the Lord. Through all of the trials and turmoils she faced, her faith could not be shattered. It was tested daily, but it could never, ever be shattered. She knew that God the Father was there with her every moment. When she endured the side effects of the medications, she knew the Lord was there with her. Having a faith like that is very rare and very special.

In time, I learned what that sort of faith was like. My wife and I had to go through the fire daily when I endured my illness. After my first surgery, the surgeon came out to visit with my wife, Karla. He told her that I was hours to days away from dying. The infection was eating its way into my brain and was destroying the bones in my face. If it weren't for our faith, we would have just given up.

Finally, after enduring surgery after surgery, hospital stay after hospital stay and round after round of medication at dosages not recommended by the manufacturer, I am here today due, in no small part, to the prayers of my family and friends and the faith that I saw in my mother as she endured her medical treatment.

As I thought about the words of this gospel song, a verse popped into my head and began to make its way into my heart. That verse inspired today’s message.

Each of us must face trial and trouble every day. Most of these are small and more of an annoyance. They are inconveniences that quickly get under our skins and cause us to get frustrated with life. There are, however, those moments when what we face becomes life-threatening. Our faith is challenged by those horrible situations. It seems like all is lost and there is nothing left. I am sure that each of you have experienced something like that personally or have seen a family member go through those situations.

When I was in the hospital, there were long periods of time when I would be lying in bed wondering what would happen next. During the early days of my treatment, each moment was a battle just to stay alive and fight another day. Each moment brought another struggle and hurdle to overcome. By the time I was ready to close my eyes to sleep, I thanked the Lord for the strength and blessings that He gave me for that day. I did not ask Him for the next day. I was just thankful for the moment so I didn’t worry about tomorrow or the next step.

Jesus, in chapter six of the Gospel of Matthew, said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

I could either sit and worry about everything or I could simply trust in the Lord to guide my steps and keep me from falling. It was hard not to worry, but, over time, my faith became stronger.

I found comfort in a Psalm written by David. One particular verse gave me the strength I needed to get through the day.

David, in Psalm thirty-seven, writes, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Since I didn’t know what to expect each day, I had to trust that the Lord would guide my steps along this stretch of my journey. It was a very hard patch of road to walk. But, I had to always remember to live in the moment and take each step with the knowledge that the Lord guided my foot to the place He wanted me to be. Since He knew every detail of my life and my future, I trusted Him. There were times when it was difficult to take the next step. I wept and asked the Lord to take this cup from me. But, I soon learned to say the words that Jesus said when he asked for that very same thing, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Those are very difficult words to say. When you utter them, you are giving up your will and desires and placing your life into the hands of the Father. I wanted to, from time to time, snatch back that control, but I stopped myself.

I knew that there would be times when I would stumble, but I knew that the Lord would not let me fall. I knew that His mighty hand held my feeble hand as I took the next step that He set before me.

Just like my mother, my only prayer and desire was just a closer walk with Him. It was through that daily walk with the Lord that my faith was strengthened and that I could take that next step with the confidence of knowing that He would catch me if I were to stumble.

As you face situations in your life that shake your faith, I ask you to read Psalm thirty-seven and remember that you are His child and nothing of this world can separate you from Him. He loves you so very much and will give you the peace that you need and strength to get through the toughest times.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes in chapter eight, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No illness or tragedy can ever separate you from God’s love. Just remember that God directs your every step and will not allow you to fall. He will hold your hand and lift you up in victory. He will never leave or forsake you. When your faith in Him is that strong, you can most definitely stand firm in His grace. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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