Stepping Out in Style
Pedicures. Never had one, but I can say after a long day on my feet that a cleansing foot massage would be glorious. But to be sure, I wouldn’t treat it as I would a car wash. I’d arrive with clean feet.
So, I wondered what’s up with Jesus spending his final hours with his disciples by washing their feet? And the crazy tidbit thrown into the mix is that Jesus knew that Judas (one of his hand-picked followers) planned to betray him, and he washed his feet anyway. Now that’s some self-control.
We read that Jesus wrapped a towel around himself and must have knelt at their feet with a basin of water. Picture Jesus kneeling at twelve individual men’s feet. Dusty, dirty appendages that he touched personally. Imagine their thoughts as they waited for their turn. As Jesus washed and dried, he listened to Simon’s rebuke, “No, you’ll never wash my feet,” and Jesus’s response changed Simon’s ‘never’ to wanting more: “then also wash my hands and my head.”
Jesus clearly stated that all need to be cleansed by Me. This experience was not only an example in humility, but it was also preparation for the journey ahead. Their job going forward would be to make disciples. Time consuming work. Jesus washed 24 feet on his last night of freedom and that took time. Probably not what we’d choose to do if we knew it would be our last night here on earth.
Jesus went to the place of ‘further still’. Yes, this was ministry work. They already knew hardships. But it was also the dirty work, the intimate work, and in a few hours, they’d understand more fully that it was the sacrificial work that he calls all followers to.
Now, a pedicure involves much more than foot cleansing… it is truly digging deeper, rounding off the rough spots, trimming away sharp edges, and finally massaging moisturizers into the skin. Just like the walk of faith does in our lives. We root out misunderstood passages, prejudices, and pride by drawing close to the Teacher.
Jesus taught that all people are worthy of God’s love regardless of their lives, actions, or choices. No person is ‘too far gone’ to offer the hope of salvation, not even one’s ‘enemies.’
And like Mary who anointed Jesus’s feet with a year’s worth of nard, (fragrant oil) Jesus was fitting their feet to go into all the earth with the gospel of peace.
We walk in love best when we’re willing to get a little dirty.
John 13: Jesus washing feet.
John 12:3: Mary’s anointing.
Ephesians 6:15: Feet fitted with the gospel of peace.
Matthew 28:19 Make disciples of all nations.
#pedicure #footwashing #nevertoofargone #walkinginlove
I felt an impression this morning to read from the book of Isaiah and my thought was, Oh no, I don’t like Isaiah. It’s full of judgment. I just didn’t want to start my day off with sadness. I found myself complaining as I opened to chapter 12 and began to read. Thanks to the Lord, he turned from his anger and comforted me. God is my song and strength. I will trust and not fear. God is my salvation.
I took a deep breath and read on about drawing from his well and singing his praises. Which then moved to shouting with joy for the Lord is in your midst.
I paused and chided myself for grumbling. “God, I love Isaiah!”
I am reminding myself to not fear (or whine) when he leads me to read difficult passages. It’ll take working through hard places for me to reach the end of my story here on earth. And so often, like today, I am humbled by his compassion as he leads me to inspiring verses to start my day.
I will trust, and not fear for he is my strength and my song. Hoping you find strength for this day.
The Power of Touch
We sat silently together my hand in hers for the longest time. Her husband had died, and I had no words. I’m not sure how long it was that we sat there as I listened to a clock ticking in a nearby room. Suddenly she came to herself and said, “Thank you.”
Call it friendship. Call it empathy. But it’s beyond words, it is the power of touch.
We touch with words, “Thank you.” “You’re the best!” “I love you.”
We touch with actions. Bringing homemade soup to a sick associate. Grabbing a meal in a bag for a homeless person. Raking a neighbor’s leaves.
We touch without even knowing it. Passing someone crying on a bench. Hurrying past a disabled car on the roadside without calling for roadside assistance. Mindlessly letting the door close behind us into the face of someone else.
This reminds me of a story in Luke. ‘Just who is my neighbor?’ a lawyer asked Jesus. And as the story unwinds, we see a half-dead man lying on the side of the road being ignored by two presumably holy men. One a rabbi and the other a Levite (one who cleans the temple). The third, an enemy from a rival town decided he couldn’t just leave him there to die. He poured healing oil on him, bound his wounds, and brought him to safety. Even paying the hotel debt.
Jesus made it clear that this neighbor thing was more than looking for ‘a neighbor’, it was about being a neighbor. It wasn’t only caring about but caring for someone else. It’s an action. It’s moving to help when assistance is needed.
We read in Hebrews, that Jesus was not only a rabbi, but that he is our Great High Priest. And if you consider that before we knew him, we were in essence his enemies. Thus, our Rabbi, our High Priest, the one who could consider us an enemy, found us in our woeful state and tended to our needs. Pouring the oil of salvation in our open wounds. Covering our bodies with His robe of righteousness, and He paid our insurmountable debt of sin at the cross. No matter how we look at this parable, Jesus owed us nothing, yet gave us His all.
The choice is ours: we can walk in love or throw our hurts around like knives. We can tap our toes at the long check-out line, or we can pray for the harried clerk as we wait patiently.
It may be difficult to set aside fears and frustrations, but making the most of our moments makes our lives richer. If the Great Shepherd walked and served in empathy and compassion, can’t we? If the Holiest of all Rabbis willingly left the ninety-nine in the temple to minister the one in dire need. What are we willing to do?
Sometimes all that is needed is to hold a hand. But joining people in their hard places can heal their deepest hurts. It may be uncomfortable and it’s always a sacrifice, but they’ll never forget it. And neither will you.
Praying for you in your journey, my neighbors and friends. ￼
Hebrews 4:14 Jesus, our great high priest.
2 Corinthians 1:4 Comfort those in any trouble.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Hebrews 10:34 Stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
Luke 10:29 Who is my neighbor?
Rise Up, Clay Pots!
Unlike a cookie cutter press, consider that we are like clay being molded. Our circumstances and relationships help form the shape that we become.
We have a dent here when a friendship ends badly. Or a dig mark there when someone uses harsh words to condemn us. We may even have great gouges when a life partner is removed. We walk around cracked and damaged, each unique yet affected by the world around us. We cannot see ourselves as other’s do. The barometer of our experiences and pain colors our vision.
How are we called artwork? We don’t often think of ourselves as being works of art. After all, who would want someone’s cast off? Someone who’s done what we’ve done or someone as sullied as we are?
Perhaps we’ve come to think that we must fit into a specific mold to be considered ‘good’ or ‘valuable’. Where would you place yourself on a scale compared to a highly paid professional or a successful businessperson? Why would we think lower? Probably because society has a step ladder and uses finances as its gauge. It’s as if owning things and having a large bank account places people on a higher rung. So, we work to get ahead… um, ahead of who? Ahead of what?
No wonder our self-image is askew.
Back to the clay. If I put myself in the category of a walking lump with a huge hole from a past broken relationship, I begin to question myself. What did I do to deserve this? Why wasn’t I enough? Natural questions, but anytime I’m involved so is the potential of my sin nature. No one is perfect, not one. Certainly not me. So, my new question instead is: now what, God?
And God, being the Brilliant Potter that he is, takes me in his loving hands and reshapes me. He covers the edge of my gaping wound by moving some of my clay and slowly I realize that I’m now more in the shape of a bowl. My opening is at the top and I can receive whatever blessing he wants to rain down on me.
But not everyone is a bowl. No. In his creativeness, he transforms some into useful cups, pitchers, vases, and beautiful decorative pots. His creativity is endless. I only know that he has a purpose for each and every lump of clay he forms.
So even if the world looks at you and sees a walking saltshaker, know that you can be the seasoning God uses to add flavor to the lives of others. And instead of using the world’s ladder to judge your saltshaker status, imagine all the people who could be sitting around the table in heaven, because you’ve sprinkled their lives here with truth.
So, rise up clay pots, walk in love, and trust that the painful markings this world gives can be used by the Master Potter for much greater things.
Blessings my friend,
Suggested Readings: Jeremiah 18:4, 17:9, Isaiah 64:8
You’ve hit a rough patch before, right? You’ve run out of options. You turn your eyes to God and are surprised that His eyes are already on you. Opening His word, you ask for wisdom; and he promises to give it.
What power is it that takes a written phrase and speaks to our hearts? We read this powerful scripture aloud and somehow the atmosphere hears his words. With our voice, we are aligning ourselves with HIM; with his kingdom and his power. He says, “Ask me for My answer.” So, we do.
Now we listen and await his response. Sometimes the answer is an overwhelming, in your face, open door, and other times it means waiting in silence for years as he moves things into position for the perfect answer to our request. And if that’s you. If you are in year three and are still waiting, keep in the Word! Keep washing away the impurities we’ve picked up from those around us. Stay focused on walking rightly and when that door opens, we’re going to fall down in worship, overwhelmed that the Creator of the Universe thought so much of little ol’ us to give such a wonderful gift.
El Roi translates into ‘the God who sees.’ He sees you. He desires you to know him more, and he’s never too busy to respond to a heart that’s seeking him.
The deepest honor we can receive is the honor God gave to young Joseph. First, He gave him the dream. Then came years of silence as he was rejected by brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison. We don’t have access to Joseph’s thoughts or how he struggled with comprehending how his dream would ever come to pass, but in our humanness, we can imagine that he did indeed struggle.
Then our hearts soar as he is released from prison. And when we read that Joseph rose to become the second highest man in the kingdom let us not make light of the silent years. The young boy matured into adulthood and continued to walk righteously even when he was alone in a foreign land. God was aligning the world and used these hardships to move Joseph into position for Joseph’s dream to come to pass.
So, if God is trusting you in a time of waiting, be encouraged. His silence was an answer to that faithful young man, and it can be shouting that he’s working things out for you too.
Washing by the water of the word. Ephesians 5:26 El Roi. Genesis 16:13 Joseph’s story. Genesis 37-41
#Provision4theVision, #SilentYears, #Favor4theRighteous
As the creator of the universe, God could have presented Himself to the world in any way He wanted. We are witnesses to His originality and love for beauty in the mere panorama of the sphere we occupy. As king over heaven and earth, He could have come as regal as any; after all He is called the King of kings. Imagine the pomp and celebration that would have ensued had He suddenly appeared with His host of angels. And yet when we read about His humble beginnings in a barn, and that He had nothing to draw us to Him in the natural sense, now any man can identify with Him.
Christ chose to come in this nondescript way so that we couldn’t say, “Oh well, I’m nothing like Jesus.” Because honestly, we’re all like Him in our humanness. We’re just common beings living in a fallen world, and sometimes we’re kicked by the very people we hold close to our hearts.
We’re born with a wrinkly face that only a momma could love, oh but the heart. It’s the overflow of the heart that shows the true character of a man. And we can see by His friend’s testimonies that Jesus loved. He loved His enemies. He loved His family that tried to stop His ministry. And He loved His friends that scattered and left Him alone in His hour of need. He even reinstated them after His resurrection. And He’s still loving today.
So, draw near. Confess your frustrations to the One who knows how hard this season of life can be. To the One who endured everything that this world threw at Him. To the One who defeated death so that you and I could live.
Tis true, common people who are hard pressed are not crushed. We may be struck down, but we’re not defeated. We rise. Like Christ, we learn to love those who hurt us. We forgive as He forgave. We know that they don’t know what they are doing. We also know what we need to do. We’re learning to walk out the Great Commission. Every day introducing people to the love of Christ that radiates from within us. And perhaps, just maybe they will get a glimpse of Him in our actions, in our words, in the love in our eyes. And oh- what a glorious thought this is… perhaps they too will fall in love with the Lover of their souls.
Let it be so, Lord Jesus. Let it be so.
Isaiah 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Suggested reading: Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:8-12