VIDEO Beautiful Feet and Gospel Shoes

And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15

In this day of instant news, it’s hard to imagine how information traveled in the ancient world. For example, when armies went out to battle, runners would be dispatched from the battle scene to return and inform the king as to the outcome of the battle (2 Samuel 18:26). The prophet Isaiah wrote about the beauty of feet that came with good news (Isaiah 52:7).

Isaiah was speaking prophetically of the good news that Israel would be returning to her homeland from exile in Babylon. How beautiful were the feet of those who would bring that message! And Israel’s return from exile prefigured the spiritual release from sin provided by Christ. Paul quoted Isaiah 52:7 when he noted the Good News of the Gospel of salvation (Romans 10:15). And he also referred to the Isaiah passage when listing the believer’s armor: shoes that carry the Good News of the “gospel of peace.” How does the Gospel protect us? Because it is Good News! We are free from the captivity of sin.

Make sure to carry the Gospel of peace with you daily. Be ready to share it with those who need and want to hear good news (Luke 2:14).

Jesus didn’t commit the gospel to an advertising agency; he commissioned disciples. Joseph Bayly


Gospel Shoes

Unseen Wonder

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him. 1 Peter 1:8

In the twilight of her years, Mrs. Goodrich’s thoughts came in and out of focus along with memories of a challenging and grace-filled life. Sitting by a window overlooking the waters of Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, she reached for her notepad. In words she soon wouldn’t recognize as her own she wrote: “Here I am in my favorite chair, with my feet on the sill, and my heart in the air. The sun-struck waves on the water below, in constant motion—to where I don’t know. But thank You—dear Father above—for Your innumerable gifts and Your undying love! It always amazes me—How can it be? That I’m so in love with One I can’t see.”

The apostle Peter acknowledged such wonder. He had seen Jesus with his own eyes, but those who would read his letter had not. “Though you have not seen him . . . you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). We love Jesus not because we’re commanded to, but because with the help of the Spirit (v. 11) we begin to see how much He loves us.

It’s more than hearing that He cares for people like us. It’s experiencing for ourselves the promise of Christ to make the wonder of His unseen presence and Spirit real to us at every stage of life.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

Read 1 Peter 1:3–9 again. In what ways do these words show you how our God makes the inexpressible real to us? How open are you to the Spirit of Jesus, who lives in and among us?

Our Father in heaven, please help me to see the miracle of Your love and presence in Your Son and to believe in Your Spirit.

Holding On to Hope

1 Samuel 1:1-18

Clinging to hope is difficult when circumstances are miserable and show no signs of improving. This can be especially discouraging when we know that our all-powerful God could remedy the situation and fulfill our dreams but hasn’t.

This is probably how Hannah felt. She was heartbroken because “the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5). This alone was a source of great disgrace for a Hebrew woman of that day. But Hannah suffered even more because of the deliberate provocation by her husband’s other wife, who was blessed with children.

Yet Hannah was a woman of great faith, even in the midst of her disappointment and pain. She never gave up on God but let her pain drive her to Him. In desperation, she poured her heart out to the Lord and promised that if He’d fulfill her desire for a son, she would give Him the child.

Hannah’s example of faith is an encouragement to lay our hopes before God—the only One who can fulfill our desires or align them with His will. Then, knowing that all we have is His, let’s be willing to give back to the Father whatever He gives us.

Here a Little, There a Little

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)

The setting of this unusual passage is most sobering. Both the people and their priests in Israel’s northern kingdom (personified by “Ephraim”) were in gross rebellion and drunken disobedience to the Lord. They were even ridiculing God’s prophets who were trying to call them back, complaining that they were being treated like schoolchildren. In effect, they were saying: “Are you presuming to teach us as you would freshly weaned infants, going line by line, with rule after rule?”

Whereupon God replied that He would use people of another tongue to come in and teach them what they refused to learn from Him. These precepts He had been trying to teach them should have provided true rest and refreshment, but now learning these lessons would prove to be their undoing. What should have been a blessing to them would become their condemnation.

How desperately do modern Christians need to heed these same words! They profess to believe God’s Word, but they study it only superficially, compromise its doctrines, and disobey its instructions. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12). Most Christians of today, like the Corinthians of old, are still “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Thus, it really is necessary for their teachers to bring the Word of God to them “precept upon precept, line upon line, little by little.” “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). HMM

The Gospel According to You

Matthew 28:20; 2 Timothy 2:2

MATTHEW, Mark, Luke and John are not the only Gospels. There is the “Gospel according to you.”

Most people do not read the Four Gospels. Once in a while they hear a few verses in a sermon. Or read a chapter for conscience’s sake. Or listen to a message in Sunday school or at a funeral. But for the most part, the first Gospels lie untouched. A diamond mine on the library table waits to be explored… while we chase dirt and dollars!

But people will read the “Gospel according to you.” For if you are one of His disciples, you are a living “epistle… known and read of all men” (2 Cor. 3:2). The life you live is His personal witness, and it will be read and studied where the other Gospels lie unused.

Men do not read the beatitudes. But if you are poor in spirit, if you are meek and hungering for righteousness, if you are a peacemaker, pure in heart, they will not be slow to see it and call you blessed.

They may not study the Master’s life nor follow Him in His gracious ministry along the roads of Galilee. But if you go about doing good, speaking love and truth, radiant with His Spirit, they will be reading in you the Gospel after all. They may not know the parables nor delight in the beautiful imagery with which He painted the pictures of His kingdom, but if you walk in the light as He is in the Light you will be a living human symbol of His grace and truth.

What sort of Gospel is this “Gospel according to you”? Is it a whole Gospel, a full reflection of the original? Or, is it a partial and patchy Gospel made of verses snatched from here and there, just those passages that suit your whims and fancies?

Some of these human Gospels compare rather badly with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They come out strongly enough on those sections that happen to coincide with their pet, private notions, but they shine weakly or not at all where some personal sacrifice is required.

We have known some that talked a great deal about the wedding at Cana where there was plenty of wine. And they skipped altogether that passage about “offending one of these little ones” with its subsequent advice to pluck out whatever offends. Such Gospels are man-made parodies on the true and misrepresentations.

But the living Gospel that goes about reliving the Master here and now—what a beautiful Gospel is that! It is easily readable, truly practical, and breathes not the breath of libraries but of life. It translates the ideal into the actual, the theory into practice, and by it once again the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us.

And the Master Himself, who is really the Gospel, thought highly of these editions when He declared that not those who only prophesied in His name should be accepted at the Great Day, but rather those whose daily ministrations of love and kindness proclaimed more truly than any book they could write their loyalty to Him. Above hymn and book and sermon, He values the “Gospel according to you.”

A Permanent Guest

He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever … the Spirit of truth.—John 14:16-17

One of the lessons Jesus gave His disciples when preparing them to receive the Holy Spirit was that the Spirit’s coming would not be a temporary visitation—He would abide in them forever. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit provided temporary supplies of power to individual people for certain tasks. When these purposes were accomplished, He returned to heaven. The disciples were no doubt aware of this aspect of the Spirit’s ministry, but now Jesus gives them the breathtaking news that the Holy Spirit’s coming would be permanent: “He will abide in you and be with you forever.” What a revelation this must have been to the disciples! The occasional would give place to the permanent; the special would give way to the general. Jesus was saying, in effect, that the Holy Spirit would not come and go—a kind of “hide-and-seek” experience—but He would move within the inner recesses of their beings and abide with them forever.

This is probably one of the most important truths we can grasp from the Scripture, for there are many Christians who think of the possession of the Holy Spirit as tentative and momentary. However, that would defeat the very point and purpose of redemption, for as someone said: “The Holy Spirit is the applied point of redemption.” His coming into our lives must be permanent, or our redemption (at least its application) will be temporary. The Holy Ghost becomes a Holy Guest! And, thank God, a permanent guest!

Prayer

Blessed Holy Spirit, I am so grateful that You are willing to take up a permanent abode within my heart. With You abiding in me, I want for nothing and am equipped for every task. I am so thankful. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 1; Ezk 36:27; 1Jn 3:24; Heb 9:14; Rv 22:17

What was the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the beginning?

What is His ministry since Pentecost?

Real Men Do Cry

John 11:35

It isn’t easy being male in our politically correct society. From early pre-adolescent manhood, we learn that real men don’t cry and according to one book, real men don’t eat quiche either.

Other unwritten rules create a false impression of manhood. Besides having an instinctive compulsion to channel surf, not cry and not eat quiche, real men never ask directions. They never admit that they are wrong. Mistaken, yes; misinformed, definitely—wrong, no way. And while Mom can cry, Dad is only permitted to get angry.

Like many kids, whenever I was compelled to recite a Scripture verse from memory, I relied upon John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” As the shortest verse in the Bible, it’s a lifesaver. But this verse also reveals part of Jesus’ character that real men can emulate.

Artists have often portrayed Jesus in an almost too gentle, semi-effeminate way. But remember, He was a carpenter in the days before power tools and did the woodwork by hand. By the time He left Joseph’s workshop to begin His ministry, Jesus probably had calluses galore, since much of His time was spent in hard work.

Perhaps we get the soft side of Jesus from the Christmas carol that speaks of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” Let me assure you, there was no stunt double at the cross. The nails and spear were deadly and the agony real. Jesus carried a tree trunk across town while bruised and bleeding and was nailed to it. No one could challenge His manhood. When confronted by jeering accusers, He spoke of kindness and forgiveness in spite of the brutality He was facing. That beats anything a cinema tough guy can do.

Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus His friend and, contrary to male myth, asked for directions. “Where have you laid the body?” (John 11:34). There He wept for the death of a friend, for the result of sin and for generations to come who would need a Savior.

I admit that I do mist up a bit at times when I am moved. But I can’t ever approach the depth of feeling that Jesus experienced when He wept for me and my sin long before I was born.

Jesus was a real man and not the armor-plated, two-dimensional caricature of a Savior some would have us believe. He was tough and gentle, loving and strong. A man’s man.

A. Kenneth Wilson, The War Cry