Jesus' Footprints

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1 Timothy 1:12-17

Thank-you-Jesus-for-saving-my-life-1I was reading this passage and thinking of how we are all indebted to Jesus.  We have done terrible things in our lives but He showed us such love and grace that we could only respond in humility and gratitude.  There are times when my past comes back to haunt me but then I remember Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

Paul writes to Timothy about his past.  He shares how he was once an enemy of the church.  He blasphemed the Lord and persecuted His people but it was done in ignorance.  How many of us have not done things that we later regret out of ignorance?

Paul spoke of how Jesus poured out His grace on him.  “He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”  How many of us are called into ministry after the Lord has shown us mercy?  I have heard of men who once on the wrong side of the law become pastors.  At a Women’s Ministry program, a speaker shared her testimony of how life was for her before she found Jesus.  She used to be a drug addict.  

It doesn’t matter where or how we encounter Jesus.  What matters is that once we surrender to Him, He can do remarkable things in our lives.  When people see how the Lord has transformed a person you never would imagine would become a Christian, they can’t help but be amazed and curious.  When Paul began preaching after his conversion, many people were amazed.  They couldn’t believe that it was the same person who used to a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.  In his eyes, he was a chief sinner among the sinners whom Jesus came to save.  I can almost hear the regret in his words but he sees something positive in this.  As the worst sinner of them all, he can be used to demonstrate how patient Jesus is towards the worst of sinners.  He, Paul will serve as an example to all who in the future should trust Jesus for eternal life.

We, like Paul, are indebted to Jesus for His love, kindness, mercy, grace and patience.  He loved us even when we were rejecting Him.  All that time when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus loved him.  He knew Paul’s heart.  He knew that Paul was acting out of ignorance and He knew that He could redirect that zeal.  This explains why Paul was so passionate in his work as a minister.  He testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).  It is as if he were working hard to show Jesus that His mercy toward him had not be in vain.

Let us show the Lord how much we appreciate His grace toward us.  Let us do this by the way we live, how we treat others and in whatever work He has called us to do.

Thank You, Jesus for saving us and using us to bring other lost souls to You.

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When I read chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Job, I felt as if I was reading poetry.  The Lord’s words as He spoke of His creation and sovereignty are beautiful and rich.  We learn a lot too.  We learn that the ostrich is not loving toward her young.  She treats the, as if they are not hers.  We learn that God deprived her of wisdom and understanding.

He sends lightnings where He wants them to go.  They obey His command.  He hunts the prey for the lion and fills the appetite of their young.  He provides the food for the raven when its young cry out to Him because of lack of meat.  He knows when the wild goats give birth and the hinds calve.  He provides homes for the wild ass, and the eagle who at His command builds her nest up high.  Her home is on the rock where she can see her prey.  It is by God’s wisdom that the hawk flies south.  Every creation, all of nature responds to their Creator. God is reminding Job who is in charge and He is drawing his focus away from his situation and unto Himself.

God wants us to know that just as He knows every detail of the lives of the animals and nature that He knows every detail of our lives.  Just as He hears and responds to the cries of the raven’s young and just as He provides for the lions, just so He does for us.

Instead of questioning and wondering where God is during times of trouble and hardship, remember how He has taken care of us in the past and trust that He will in the present and in the future.  It is during these hard times that we ought to remember that God is in absolute control and that should give us some comfort and reassurance.

It is interesting that God speaks to Job in a whirlwind while with Elijah, it says, “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind, an earthquake; and after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice” – 1 Kings 19:11, 12.

God speaks to us in different ways—in whatever way that will grab our attention and by whatever means.  The way He responds to us depends on the situation we are in.  Sometimes as in Job’s case we are so caught up in our woes and troubles that we fail to hear the still small voice and when we have other voices clamouring for our attention that makes it even harder.  So, God has to do what He has to do to get our attention.  And other times we are able to hear the still small voice once we have stilled our own thoughts and blocked out the external noises and distractions.

Be thankful when God seeks your attention.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” – 1 Timothy 4:12

Teaching the next generation about God is the duty of all Christians.  Teaching our children who will in turn teach their children God’s law and share with them how God had demonstrated His presence and power in their lives.  The Ten Commandments were written for the Moses’ generation and the generations that followed.  “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and command that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?’ Tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.  But He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised on oath to our forefathers.’” (Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 20-23)

 

Moses had records of what happened in Egypt and when the Israelites left Egypt and everything that happened during their journey to the Promised Land so that these could be shared with the next generations.  We too could share God’s commandments with our children so that they could live the way God intended them to.  And when God works wonderful miracles and brings blessings in our lives, we get to share those with our children as well.  We could also share these things with other young Christians and non-believers.

 

Before he died, David said to his son, Solomon, “So, be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires:  Walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep His promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kings 2:2-4)  Solomon later advises, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

 

As a child I was taught that Jesus loved me and that is why He died on the cross for me.  I was taught that Jesus loved all children—children of all colours. I was taught the Our Father prayer and other prayers.  Even now I’m learning things from my mother and my aunt.  I’m learning things from God who is my Father.  He is opening my eyes to what I am reading.  Even though I have read the Scriptures before, I feel as if I’m reading some of it for the first time.

 

Solomon’s advice to the young is, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.  Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10)  When we are young, we want to enjoy life, have fun, and be adventurous.

 

When we are young, we don’t want to take life seriously or responsibility for our actions.  We just want to have a good time.  When we are young we think we are invincible, untouchable.  We think we can experiment with drugs and alcohol and not be affected; we think we can handle them.  We drag race and not think that we can get hurt or hurt someone else.  We do anything to get into a fraternity or we are willing to do anything to be accepted into the in-crowd.  We want to seem cool to others so we do things that we are not comfortable doing just to impress other people.  When we are young, we are easily influenced and vulnerable to peer pressure.  We don’t want to be seen as the geek or the wallflower.  We want to be popular.

 

Young people should be taught that it is cool to be a follower of Jesus.  It is cool to obey His commands and hold on to them.  It is cool to read the Bible, go to church, pray, meditate, help others, tell their friends about Jesus.  It is cool to do volunteer work, Bible study, work hard in school, do well in their studies and stay out of trouble, say no to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.  It is cool to serve others.  Jesus wearing just a towel got down on His knees and washed the feet of His disciples.  It is cool to feed the homeless, visit the sick, help the poor and to treat others as you want to be treated.  It is cool to be part of God’s crowd rather than the in-crowd.  It is cool to stand out as a committed believer than as the popular girl or boy or the jock.  Young people should be taught that following God is the coolest thing they could ever do and the wisest.

O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust” – Psalm 7:1

 

The more we know someone the more likely we are to trust that person.  The more we spend time with God in meditation and reading the Bible, the more we will know about Him.  I have learned that He listens to me, He answers my prayers and He helps me when we ask Him and He keeps His promises and He disciplines me when I need it. 

I trust Him with my life because I know that he wants only the best for me.  He Himself declared, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

I trust God because of what He has done.  He has demonstrated His love for us through Jesus’ death on the cross.  Jesus died for our sins and reconciled us to God and now we don’t have to worry about anything.  God will take care of us just as He took care of His Son while He was here on earth.  Peter encourages us to, “therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) 

When we let go and let God, we are releasing ourselves from constantly worrying about the future and things we have no control over.  By letting go and letting God, we are showing Him that we trust Him to do what He has promised to do and that is to take care of us.  “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

So when it comes to faith we need to walk the walk. To walk with God is to follow His ways, to surrender to Him, to do as He commands and to follow His example.  As Christians, it is expected of us.  “And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)  It means that we should give Him lordship over our lives and that we should move forward in faith.  Abraham walked with God and when God told him to pack up his belongings and move to a strange land, Abraham went forward in faith.  Noah was a righteous man who walked with God.  Enoch walked with God.  By faith the disciples followed Jesus when He called them and by faith they stayed with Him when the others no longer walked with him.  Their reason for staying with Him was, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (John 6:68-69)

By faith they continued to walk in Him—sharing the importance of Jesus death on the cross, the promise of salvation and the good news of His resurrection.  By faith they trusted God to see them through the many tribulations they faced during their ministry.  They were steadfast despite adversity because they were walking in faith and had dedicated their lives to Jesus.  “But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:20-21)

Jesus had warned them that they would be persecuted, put in prisons, brought before kings and rulers for His name’s sake.  He warned that parents, brothers, relatives and friends would betray them and that some of them would be put to death.  “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12-17) But, Jesus also had this assurance for His disciples, “But not a hair of your head will perish.  By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:18-19)  As long as we walk by faith we will never be lost or alone.  God is with us.



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