When I was younger, one of my favorite poems was “Footprints in the Sand.” However, as I grew older, I heard criticisms against this poem, that it was misleading because God doesn’t carry us on our spiritual journey; we ourselves need to walk with His help, even through the difficult times. I have even heard of a similar poem vulgarly titled “Buttprints in the Sand,” which needless to say uses satire to prove this very point.
While I agree that our walk of faith is indeed a walk that requires our own efforts and resolve, I believe there is merit in the original poem, which at the end reveals that when there was only one set of footprints, it was not that God abandoned us, but that He carried us. Continue reading
Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” (Ps 35:27, ESV)
The Hebrew word for welfare in this verse, shalom, also refers to completeness, peace, tranquility, and contentment. Many seek after these things in life, and we often think that it is for our own good. But it turns out that God is also delighted when we are well and at peace.
The title of this post may seem peculiar because we hardly think of Nineveh, a metropolitan city of Assyria, being full of faith. They worshipped foreign gods, did not believe in God, and were so wicked that their wickedness came up before God (Jon 1:2)! Even the king of Nineveh himself admitted that the people were evil and that violence was in their hands (Jon 3:8b). How could such a city, great as it was, have faith in God?
[Jonah] cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ (Jon 3:4)
Perhaps there was more to God’s message. But all we see recorded is that Jonah basically proclaimed that Nineveh was doomed; that they were condemned already. If we were to hear such a message today, how would we respond? Continue reading
Oftentimes, we tend to think that our faith or the state of our spirituality is a result of our external environment —where God put us, the friends and family He gave us, the situations or trials He allowed us to encounter, and so forth. While all of these factors certainly influence our lives, they do not control or dictate our spiritual state.
Let’s look at the parable of the sower recorded in Luke 8:5-15. Had Jesus not explained the mystery of the parable to us, one possible interpretation is that we represent the seed, being sown wherever the sower pleases. This would have very well fit our theory that God puts us wherever He wills, which then directly impacts the outcome of our faith. If we go along with this theory, we may go so far as having pity on those who fell in unfortunate places like the rock or thorns, presuming they had no control of their fate.
However, Jesus revealed that the seed is the word of God. Therefore, we, namely our hearts, are the different types of ground. Continue reading
Doing the right thing is not always easy. In fact, the path to doing what is right is often lined with great difficulties, struggles, and uncertainties. Doing the right thing also does not guarantee that everything will turn out fine nor does it mean we will have the support of others. In fact, it can be quite lonely at times, with no one to encourage us or to take our place.
Saul tried to kill David countless times, but David never retaliated. Though he had two clear opportunities to kill Saul, he refused saying, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master… seeing he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Sam 24:6). David did what was right even though his servants urged him otherwise and he himself knew Saul would keep trying to kill him. Continue reading