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
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)
What was the first thing that Daniel did when heard the decree of King Darius ordering the death of any who petitions any god or man other than the king himself? He went home and prayed to God, thus disobeying the king’s decree. The Bible notes that he did this “as was his custom since early days”, indicating that this was not something new for Daniel to do. In fact, these thrice-daily prayers were his usual spiritual cultivation. And these prayers were so important to Daniel that he deemed them worth defying the king for, so important that they were worth dying for.
Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.
While preparing for a J1 class and looking through a closet of old textbooks and activity booklets, I noticed something unusual. A few of the activity books had names written on them, which was strange because we only kept blank versions of the activity books. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the activity book belonged to another sister who was around my age. And sure enough, behind her activity book sat my own J1 activity book – from 10 years ago.
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me. (Ezek 3:17)
In the book of Ezekiel, God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman twice. His mission was to warn the Israelites of coming judgments. However, his mission was also to preach a message of hope. The message of hope was given only to the righteous “remnant”.
Jesus told His disciples, “…be witnesses to Me…” (Act 1:8) before He ascended to heaven. He also told His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Mt 28:19,20)
Jesus bids His believers to be His witnesses and watchmen like Ezekiel. What are our messages? Continue reading