Month: February 2020

Where Do Your Shoes Take You?

John 4:4
And He had to pass through Samaria.

Written by: Russ Ripley

Many of us read this verse and think: “What is the big deal about Samaria?” During this time devout Jews would walk miles around just to avoid the region of Samaria. Samaritans were Jews who had intermarried with people from other nations and were considered “unclean.” But Jesus “had to pass through Samaria.”

One time my wife and I were walking though the mall. There were many young people hanging out in groups that day. One such group had a number of “those kids.” You know the ones I mean. They had very different clothing, piercings, tattoos, weird hair, and the like. At that moment, both my wife and I see one young man with giant spiked white hair. The spikes had to be two feet long. I reacted “like a Pharisee,” but my wife immediately started walking toward him. I thought “oh no, what is she going to say?” Instead of a judgmental response, like the one I had built up in my head, she said “Can I ask you a question?” The young man responded with “sure.” I thought ‘here it comes, here is where she tells him how messed up that is.’ But no, she asks the question, “How do you get your hair to do that?” No judgement and no condemnation—she was just building a relationship. They talked for quite some time. I don’t know if that young man was changed that day, but I was.

Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” because there was a woman there who desperately needed to hear from God. She needed to hear the words in John 4:26, “Then Jesus told her, ‘I AM the Messiah!’”

Where do your shoes take you? Eph 6:15 says, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” Jesus walked to the broken, the lost, the forgotten, and to me and to you.

Fight-2.7Thought of the day: Where are you walking? Do you walk “around” those who are not like you? Do you walk around those who sin differently than you? Or do you follow Jesus to Samaria?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus and His extraordinary love. Help me to see people as You see people. Help me to listen to the Holy Spirit and go where He tells me to go and say what He wants me to say in love and peace. Amen.

Investing and Preparing

Romans 10:14-15
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Written by: Matt Swartz

In the past, I never invested much in shoes. They were something I bought on sale and the goal was to get the cheapest pairs of shoes I could find. All that changed when I picked up two hobbies that have made up for all the cheap shoes I ever bought: running and hiking.

For both of these activities, you learn a critically important lesson: invest in your feet. Buying the cheapest shoes available is a great way to injure your feet and then find yourself on a slow road to recovery. You begin to build a mindset that the shoes you buy are an investment and a tool to accomplish the mission.

The passage for today gives a beautiful picture of how refreshing it is when someone brings the good news of the Gospel. It talks about the power of being sent out on the most important mission in life: sharing the good news we have received about new life in Jesus with others.

We need to be ready to share the amazing news of God’s love with a world in desperate need of hope. That will mean “investing” time to prepare so when the moment comes, you will be ready! The simplest way to begin is to learn how to share your story of how Jesus has changed your life. A simple way to do this is to share what your life was like before saying Yes to Jesus, how you finally said Yes, and how God has changed your life since.

Invest time in preparing your story. You may not know everything, but you at least know how God has and continues to transform your life. Your story matters. Tell it often and tell it well!

Fight-2.6Question of the day: Who do I need to share my story with?

Prayer: Jesus, I am thankful You have changed my life. Please help me to be prepared to use my story of how You have changed my life to draw others to you! Amen.

Help for the Journey

Psalm 121:1-8
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Written by: Alfred Burgess

We all need help in life. The Beatles used to sing: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” The commercial for the Lifeline product carries the tagline: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Where do you go when you need help? Do you call on family? Friends? Dial 911? It’s good to have a support system in place, but we need to look further than that. History and experience teach us that no safety plan, no insurance policy, and no security system can keep us absolutely safe in this life. We can follow all the safety rules, take every precaution, exercise, and eat well, and things can still go wrong.

And that’s why we need to look to God for help. It was Ben Franklin who said, “God helps those who help themselves,” but the scriptures teach us that God helps those who seek His help. None of us are safe until we take refuge in God.

Psalm 121 is a psalm about trusting in God’s providential care. It is a travel Psalm. We travel every day to school and to work with friends, family, and co-workers. We take the good news of great joy with us wherever we go. It travels with us, but do we rely on God’s help and protection as we go each and every day?

Do you need help with this today? Then this psalm is for you. Psalm 121 teaches three big truths about God’s help and care for you as your feet take you on the journey.

I. The Creator is your helper (1-2)
II. The God of Israel is your protector (3-6)
III. The LORD will keep you from all harm (7-8)

Fight-2.5We are on a journey to God, and Psalm 121 is a wonderful song for the journey. The maker of heaven and earth watches over every aspect of your life. He protects you from all harm. There are no accidents for those who belong to God.

And that means you do not need to worry or to be afraid of anything. Nothing can happen to you without God’s knowledge. Nothing can harm you under His protective care. Even the worst things that happen to you – whether illness, loss or even death – take place under God’s providential care. God is for you, not against you. He is committed to your good, and you can trust Him in all things.

Take comfort in this. Learn to trust God in all things and to look for the good in all the details of life. God cares for you. He will provide for you. He is there to help you. “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

Beautiful Feet

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Written by: Kyle Glenn

A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to go on a 10-day hike with a group of 12 other men. The ascent took us to an elevation of over 20,000 feet. We began the hike in over 100-degree temps. Rain accompanied us most of the way up until it eventually turned to snow.  You can only imagine what my feet looked like at the end of the hike. Let’s just say they were not beautiful.

In verse 7, Isaiah does not say the mountains are beautiful, he says the feet which walk upon them are. What makes them beautiful? It is the message that they carry. Isaiah describes to us that the message carried by Jesus and His followers is one of life, good news, and peace. There is no mention of the problems the messenger might be having. The beauty of the messenger is found in the message they carry, not in the circumstance of the messenger. Jesus is the one who ultimately carried good news to us. Despite the nail scars in His feet, the feet of Jesus were beautiful; they brought life to us.

It may not be upon mountains, but today, many of us will walk into a room with little peace. We might enter into an environment with little hope, a home that feels like it is in despair or an office that is lacking joy. But because Jesus goes before us, beauty will enter the room. With the power of the Holy Spirit accompanying us, our feet carry the good news of great joy.

Fight-2.4Thought of the day: When you enter a room, your home, your office, or a coffee shop, what message are you carrying? Is the room more peaceful because you are there?  How might you bring encouragement to those you pass along the way today?

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being my messenger of good news, peace, and joy.  Thank You Holy Spirit for going on the journey with me today. I ask for wisdom to see what You see today, the courage to do what needs to be done, and perseverance to finish the day well.

Sharing Jesus

Colossians 2:4-6
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.  At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Written by: Gina Rock

One of the things we often overcomplicate is sharing our faith. If we truly know and believe the good news of Jesus, we should be compelled to share it with everyone around us.

Maybe we don’t feel we have adequate knowledge of the Bible. Maybe we don’t want to offend or impose. Maybe we simply don’t know where to start. Paul outlines how we should go about sharing our faith in his words to Colossae.

Pray for open doors.
Pray for clarity.
Walk in wisdom.
Be gracious.

Fight-2.3Thought of the day: If you have said yes to Jesus then you have what it takes to share Jesus. Who in your daily life needs to hear the good news?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to tell others about Your great love. Open doors to share my faith. Give me clarity of speech. Help me steward those opportunities wisely and let me be gracious. Amen.