How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, and who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52: 7

 

As I sit here with my bare early morning feet before me, I don’t see anything that is particularly lovely. So, it is hard to envision the feet of the messenger in this verse as lovely, for they would be covered in the dust and the mud of a long journey, and their owner certainly would have had no opportunity or time to stop and clean up along the way. His imperative was to get to his people and to end the long suspense by informing them of the great victory that had been won over the enemy. Also, these would be the feet of a warrior fresh from a long campaign who had been living in the field with little or no creature comforts. Yet, these feet are lovely as they bring the news that the people of God have been waiting to hear throughout time.

 

In our times, these might be the feet of someone who has followed Christ’s calling into a far away country, they might be the feet of a pastor who stands before a crowd and speaks about the life-giving truth that the Spirit has revealed to him in God’s Word, or they could belong to any of us who takes the time to reach out with compassion, love, and grace to another person who is struggling to make it through the day. You see, the appearance of the feet is of no importance, and God doesn’t require any sort of skill, training, or experience to be the messenger, either. All that the Lord asks is that we be willing to go the distance.

 

Just as the messenger who was returning from this ancient field of battle knew the outcome, we also know the identity of the victor in this world’s struggles. We need to set out every day with the understanding that we are carrying that message of peace, joy, and salvation that is the good news of our relationship with Jesus Christ to the world that we will encounter. We can stand on the mountain tops that the Lord leads us to and shout out with enthusiasm and total conviction, “My God reigns!”

 

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Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loves us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

There are days when pain surrounds the heart. The losses that this world forces on us rub us raw, and any outer layer of protection that we might have nurtured and developed to surround that sensitive organ is removed, often in an instant. We are left speechless, breathless, and with nothing to hold onto or to bite into in order to relieve the aching in our heart. This is the unrelenting reality of life, and everyone faces it. No one escapes the circle of pain that loss draws tight and tighter around us. Yet, this is the place where God is also most present. This is the very place where Christ entered into our world at its most impassioned and painful peak.

 

Christ engaged the greatest form of earthly loss, which is death, directly, totally, and absolutely. He granted to people the Father’s assurance of life that extends through all of eternity and that eclipses anything that this earthly existence promises. In Christ, life is something that begins here and now, but it finds its full freedom and greatest expression in the glory to come as we dwell in the presence of God. However, we still live in this world, and we are faced with the challenges that come with the life that we have in the here and the now.

 

So God grants us certain assurances. He has defeated the ability of death to rule over us. Everyone who knows Christ is alive both in this world and especially after being freed from it. When we are assaulted by the grief and the suffering of loss, God is with us. His presence is real, tangible, and unending. He sits in vigil with us through all of the long hours of that night of sorrow. God pours out His love and His mercy on our wounded hearts. Then He leads us into worship; that is into personal and public sharing of the truth of His presence. Words that speak about our faith and of God’s working in our lives bring healing to the heart of the speaker and to those of the hearers. Christ also leads us into acts of care and expressions of love, for these good works serve to bring Christ’s body together in a manner that provides mutual protection and opportunity for healing for our wounded hearts.

The Lord sustains him on his sick bed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Psalm 41: 3

 

David had been ill. He was weak and his spirit was getting down, for he just didn’t have the energy or the desire to go about the business of life. Additionally, he was facing the usual array of challenges and threats that seemed to plague his life and that seem to haunt most of our days, as well. Enemies, opponents, and even people that he thought he could trust were obviously wishing him ill. This is a hard time and place to be in, and it is the sort of place where life takes everyone.

 

Sometimes the sickness is of the short term physical kind, at other times it has a long duration, and some illness is of the heart and of the soul. Whatever form it takes, it all can take us to a place where we just can’t keep going on our own. Maybe that is the point that God wants to get across to us. There simply are issues in life and times of coping with them that require something more powerful than what is contained in the boxes, bottles, and blister packs of magical medicines at the drug store. These are the times when we need to start our healing process from the spirit and let God’s healing Spirit bring us the strength to deal with the current situation.

 

Whether it is a cold or the coldness of loss, regret, and fear that are grasping your heart and wrapping your mind in its grip of confusion and uncertainty, the Lord promises a cure. When we start looking closely at who God is and at how He works in our lives, He brings clarity to the mind and strength to the heart. God’s Word brings His promises. His Spirit brings hope and understanding, and His loving grace provides healing for all that is causing distress. God calls to us, and He asks us to turn to Him in prayer and in contemplation. God seeks us out wherever we have gone. His voice of truth brings restoration to our broken bodies and spirits. The Lord is merciful as He brings us His peace.

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Joshua 1: 3

 

Consider the possibilities. Think of the potential, and embrace the confidence that could come out of owning a promise like this. These are the words of God spoken to Joshua when he had just taken on the leadership of the people of Israel. He was about to take steps that would lead to the completion of a long journey. Joshua was about to move in a manner and in a direction that required that he have faith in God and trust Him totally. So God told Joshua to believe that everything was already handled.

 

Now, move ahead in time to now. How does this promise from God relate to this world? Is it possible to go out into our own land and to move through the day with the sort of faith based boldness, the fearlessness and confidence that was given to Joshua? From my perspective, I often spend way too much time in asking the questions rather than in trusting God for the outcome. He made a promise then, and that promise is still good today.

 

I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous.

Joshua 1: 5b, 6a

 

If we follow the direction of God to live our lives with an attitude of taking back our world, He promises to be with us for every moment of the engagement. What does it mean to take back our world for God? Firstly, God created it. It has been temporarily inhabited and damaged by Satan and his followers, but that inhabitation has a certain end, and they do not have absolute control. Secondly, God wants all of the people of this world to be in a close, personal, member of His family type of relationship with their Creator. Finally, God has created each of us with the skills and the talents that are needed to make the connections with people, and he desires that we would trust him and that his love for us would be important enough for us to share this love and truth with the people that we meet as we go through life.

 

So, trust God from the beginning to the end of the day; know that He walks with you through all of it. So, every place that you step is holy ground, for He is stepping there too, and every inch of it belongs to the Lord. Feel safe to love those that you meet, share Jesus with them in your thoughts and actions, and through words. Every person that you meet today needs to know Him, and Christ wants to know everyone of them. Today is the day to claim your corner of this world for its Creator and for your Savior.

 

 

And Jesus said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mark 4: 40

 

The story behind this statement is very familiar. There was a boat that was out on the open water of a large lake when the weather turned very nasty in a hurry. Now there were several able bodied and very experienced seamen in this boat, and they were, frankly, frightened and truly concerned that they were going to die. Yet, their leader, Jesus, was sound asleep in the back of the boat. At least to them, He seemed to be sleeping through it all so that He had no involvement and no influence on their survival. Of coarse, these great men of faith, these men who had walked away from their former life’s callings to follow after this man, Jesus, and to seek to do God’s work in their world had it all wrong. Now when I look at their response to the situation, they make me think of myself.

 

You see, I think that Jesus wanted them to keep sailing the boat in the full knowledge and confidence of God’s continual involvement and care for them. Although, Jesus did use the moment to demonstrate God’s mastery over all of His creation, it wasn’t really necessary for Him to do that. There are a lot of situations that I encounter and that most of do, too, where our tendency is to stop moving forward when we think that the way has become too challenging or the danger has exceeded our capacity to handle the risk. Yet, when we are traveling along God’s path and seeking to do the Lord’s will, we have His promise and His commitment that He is with us and that He will guide our steps and protect us.

 

The Lord wants us to realize that there are no seas too high for Him and that there is no wind so strong that His will can be crushed by it. Additionally, God’s hand will redirect the path that we are traveling if it is not one that fulfills His will. Jesus is telling us to trust Him and to keep using the skill, the wisdom, and the experiences that He has given to us in conjunction with the truth that He provides through His Word while relying on the Spirit of Christ and His leading to keep our boat upright and on top of the waves of the storms that strike us every day. Christ also wants us to draw near to His body so that we dwell in the comfort, strength, and wisdom of others who know Him. I don’t need for the winds to calm and the waves to cease, for the great miracle has already been performed in that Jesus is my Savior who will go with me through everything. He simply needs me to trust Him enough to have faith in the fact that the will of God will triumph in every situation that is encountered in life.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

Our world is filled with greased ropes. Some are vertical and others are horizontal, but the effect upon life is much the same. We are in a position where we need be able to trust in something to help us get out of the hole or away from the beast. As we search about for that means of escape, our eyes come upon a climbing rope, a stout dangling vine, or that convenient swinging bridge that always seemed to be there for Indiana Jones at the appropriate time of need. But in my view of this scene, the rope is always coated with slippery grease, the vine is thorny, or the bridge is weak and failing. The sure escape suddenly becomes a fatal trap. The object of my faith proves to be untrustworthy; so, my escape is now an illusion.

 

Of course, this is fantasy, the stuff of dreams and of children’s play. Still, there is much of life that operates in the general arena of the action-adventure film. This place where we live is a harsh landscape with many wild and dangerous creatures roaming about in it. In order to live confidently and with the sort of boldness that Christ calls us to possess, we must have faith in something that is greater than ourselves or than those opposing forces that we do encounter. I believe that the someone is Christ, and the something is God’s Word. From a point in existence that is before there was time, God has provided the promise of His unshakable love for His Creation. He has been present for all of our times of struggle, through the danger, and in our periods of doubt and rebellion. Our thoughts and actions can be painful to God, but they do not ever cause Him to abandon us.

 

In light of God’s faithfulness, why should I look anywhere else for answers to life’s challenges? He provides me with truth that is unshakable when my ears are being filled with the polished language of deception. Christ lights my path and leads me out of the twilight of doubt and ambiguity that is at the center of the modern world’s moral dilemma. My Lord calls me to engage with a community of faith where I will find people who are listening to the same voice of truth and who desire to follow the same Master above all others. God, Himself, is defined by faithfulness. He will take us as far and as high in our pursuit of His righteousness as we are willing to go. Christ gave all for me, for you, for all of humanity, and for all of Creation. We can trust Him absolutely. Our confession of faith in Jesus, the Christ, will never be in vain.

 

When Jesus saw the man lying there (by the healing pool) and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

John 5: 6

 

This is the question that God asks people every day. These words are the opening of a dialogue that has been going on between the Lord and us since the beginning of time. We often respond by telling Him that we are completely healthy and that there is nothing that we could possibly need that we don’t already possess in ourselves. Sometimes we say that we are too far gone to be worthy of the effort to heal us. Then others say that we’ll check back later, you know, go to the doctor if we decide that the need is great enough or the symptoms linger too long.

 

These can be adequate responses when we are dealing with something like the flu; yet, even then, waiting to allow the physician access to our illness can be catastrophic or even fatal. How much more do we need treatment when the illness carries an absolutely fatal prognosis? The man that Jesus came upon waiting by the spring was just like everyone else in this world. He was ill, crippled by the effects of disease, injury, and neglect. He knew that he desired to be made whole, and he had no idea about how that was truly possible. Hopeless, helpless, and beyond desperation, he waited for the miracle but didn’t trust that there would ever be one. He dreamed of walking upright while knowing that this would never be his waking reality. Jesus walks into the lives of everyone, everywhere. Christ’s Spirit is resident in the souls of each person who has allowed Him to heal us; thus, Jesus goes with us through every day that we live. Sure, there are still symptoms of the illness, and there are days when these relatively minor ailments get us down, but the fatal disease, the heart infection of sin has been permanently conquered. Each of us who knows Jesus as the healer of our souls needs to share the joy of getting up off of the sick bed that evil tried to tie us to with the fatally ill who surround us daily.

 

Jesus allows us the privilege of walking into the lives of others and of inviting them to do as He said to the sick man, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5: 8 In fact, Christ commissions His people to do this. He commands us to go into the world and to live in a manner that brings His glorious presence and His loving grace into its darkness. We are to take the message of healing to the fatally ill in our lives. We should carry the simple yet profound truth of God’s perfect love to each and every person that we find waiting for the miracle by the side of the pool, for Jesus wants us to bring His message of faith, trust, and hope to His beloved lost sheep. He wants us to do as He continually did and walk into people’s lives with the question whose answer brings eternal life.