The Next Step

We are taught to plan everything. We plan our school classes to major in specific subjects. We plan weddings, plan careers, plan vacations, plan our finances, plan for our future. Even God’s word tells us we plan when Jesus said who builds something without first planning. Luke 14:28 KJV  “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ?”

God himself has a plan. God has a plan for this world, a plan for mankind and even a plan for the devil and his angels. But we plan for things in this world. We plan for things in the flesh. We do very little planning for our life beyond the grave. Why would Jesus tell us to lay our treasures up in heaven if we were not suppose to plan for our life beyond the grave? Matthew 6:19-21 KJV  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
[20] But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
[21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

An example of laying treasures up in heaven is giving to the poor. Some have taught that giving to the poor has an exchange rate of dollar for dollar. But as we explained in our post Wealthy Believers Conclusion giving to the poor is Alms giving and God gives us dollar for dollar plus a reward in heaven. Jesus said give and it shall be given to you and look at Luke 12:33 KJV “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”

And Matthew 19:21 KJV  “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

But this post is not about treasures in heaven but about taking the next step. As believers we have specific promises from God. Just as God made promises to people throughout the scriptures God makes promises to us, believers.

God promised Noah he would protect him and his family from the coming flood. So God tells Noah to build an ark. But God didn’t leave the design of the ark up to Noah’s judgment. God told Noah how to build the ark. He told Noah what kind of wood to use, how many stories to make it, if there would be windows, how to seal the wood. You can read about it in Genesis 6 through chapter 9.

Noah was a regular person. His grandfather was Methuselah and his father was Lamech. Noah lived 600 years before the flood and 350 years after the flood. Noah died two years before Abraham was born. Some say it took 120 years for Noah to build the ark. I would need to go back and double check but it sounds about right.

What were the people doing while Noah built the ark? Laughing, mocking and Jesus even said, Matthew 24:37-39 KJV
“But as the days of Noe were , so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
[38] For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
[39] And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

But God doesn’t always explain things to us in such detail like he did with Noah. God tells us to do things one step at a time usually. Why? To see if we will believe God? To see if we will obey God? To test us?

Paul the apostle is a good example of how God will lead us today. Sometimes God gives us a clear picture but most often he leads us one step at a time.

Remember after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ  God sent the Holy Ghost just as Jesus promised in John chapters 14, 15 and 16. Jesus himself gave the Holy Ghost to his disciples the same day he rose from the dead to everyone but Thomas, see John 20:21-23 KJV  “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
[22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them , and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
[23] Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

So when Saul, later called Paul, got saved on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 Saul asks Jesus, what do you want me to do? Unlike Noah, Jesus tells Saul to go into the city ( of Damascus ) and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

It is not that Saul obeyed, but that is important,  but God had a plan and God chose not to reveal his plan to Saul at the time of his salvation. Many times when people first get saved they ask God, okay, what do you want me to do?

But notice how God handled the matter and we get clues on how God works with us. Yes, God had a plan already set. But God does not reveal his plan to Saul, the new convert. God instead reveals his plan about Saul to a man named Ananias who lived in Damascus.

Ananias was a disciple of Jesus. No, not one of the 12 but one of the 70? Or the 500? Scripture states there were many disciples but the 12 walked with Jesus. According to Acts 9 Ananias was a disciple meaning he had been saved a while, walking with the Lord so to say. And God revealed his plan for Saul to Ananias Acts 9:13-16 KJV  “Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
[14] And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
[15] But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
[16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

But notice, Ananias never told Saul what God’s plan for Saul’s life was. Saul, now called Paul never acknowledges what God’s plan for his life is until Paul is with Barnabas in Acts 13:44 – 52.

Paul didn’t know God’s plan for him as soon as he got saved but Paul started learning and spending time with God’s people and preached to everyone. But others knew God’s plan for Saul / Paul because God revealed it to them.

Friends, we all go through a learning phase once we get saved. And just because we may not know God’s plan for our life once we get saved, others may. When I first got saved I didn’t know what God wanted me to do. I knew what I loved doing but I never discussed it with others. Then one day someone came up to me and said they needed help in the music ministry. I replied, no one asked me for help. They said, I’m asking. I said okay.

When God’s people tell you they see God given gifts or talents in you, it might be wise to consider those comments, pray about it and venture out one step at a time to what God has called you to do.

Until next time.

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