Posts

#Lent14 — The Path That God Walked

As we have done in previous Lent and Advent seasons, we are again blogging our way through the Lenten Lectionary Texts.  In this season, our prayer is that we will bless and inspire you in your walk between the Now and Not-Yet of the Kingdom.  We pray that our meditations will be life-giving to you in your journey.

A reading from the Psalms.

You said to me, “I will point out the road that you should follow.  I will be your teacher and watch over you.  Don’t be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey.”

All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked, but your kindness shields those who trust you, LORD.  And so your good people should celebrate and shout.

— Psalm 32:8-11 (CEV)

This is the Word of the Lord.

Over the past few months, I’ve been meditating on the idea of the Ancient Path.  It all started in about October of last year when in my reading I read again the sixth chapter of Jeremiah and came across this verse:

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”  — Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

One of the things I’ve learned in discussing this verse (and others from the Old Testament that talk about the “way” or the “path”) is that in the Hebrew there’s an idea of the ancient path being the “path that God has already walked.”

Think about that.

The path that God has already walked.

There comes a point in each of our lives where we are faced with a decision to make.  In those moments, we must seek out which is the right path.  Which is the path that holds the way that enables us to further the Kingdom.  Which is the path that God has already walked.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the principle of community development that says that God is already in the place to which He has called you.  He’s already there—long before you get there.  And He will remain there—long after you leave.  Yet, remember, if He’s already there, that means He’s already walked the path to get there.  He blazed the trail.  And, now, He calls to you to walk along it.

Stand at the crossroads and look.  Ask for the ancient path—the path that God has already walked.  Walk down that path.  And, there, you will find rest for your soul.

As you stand in the place between two decisions, ask God to show you the path which He has walked, and walk down it.

There is a peace that comes from knowing that you’re on the path that God has already walked.  It’s a peace that says, “No matter what comes up, I know that God has already walked past it.”  He’s already taken care of the briers and the sharp rocks and the fallen trees.  He knows what’s on it.  AND, can be trusted to help you walk down it.  Trusted to show you the next step to take.

“By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.” — Psalm 119:105 (MSG)

As you walk down the path, with God’s Word leading you step-by-step there is an additional promise to remember.  The prophet Isaiah reminds us that as we walk that there will be a voice BEHIND us saying “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21(NIV))

So, walk securely down the path that God has already walked.  His Word guiding your steps.  His Voice behind you whispering in your ear.  

Walk on.

A trail at Haupoca, Chihuahua, Mexico

A trail at Haupoca, Chihuahua, Mexico

 

#Advent13: An Ancient Path

As we have done in years past, we are again blogging our way through the Advent Lectionary readings.  We love this season as it allows us to take time to slow ourselves down and walk between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is time for us to live in full knowledge of the “Now” of the Kingdom without rushing the “Not Yet” of the Kingdom.  Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.  Our prayer is that these posts will serve as devotional meditations to focus your heart and mind on the imminent coming of our King!

A reading from the Prophet Isaiah.

The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands. The desert will sing and shout for joy; it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see the LORD’s splendor, see his greatness and power.

Give strength to the hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. Tell everyone who is discouraged, “Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.”

The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. Streams of water will flow through the desert; the burning sand will become a lake, and dry land will be filled with springs. Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow.

There will be a highway there, called “The Road of Holiness.” No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it. No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way. Those whom the LORD has rescued will travel home by that road. They will reach Jerusalem with gladness, singing and shouting for joy. They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief.

— Isaiah 35:1-10  (GNT)

The Word of God for the people of God.

Isaiah is writing to a people in exile.  These are a people who have been through it—and most of it of their own accord.  They failed to follow God. They were exiled from the land that was promised them—a land that they never fully occupied.  And, now, on the banks of the Euphrates they wonder how to sing the praises of God (Psalm 137).  The Prophet—the same one who told them they were headed for exile—tells them that a road is being paved on which they will head home.

Isaiah’s prophecy doesn’t just hold hope—confident and joyful expectation in God’s goodness—for the Israelites waiting rescue from the grasp of their captors.  It holds hope for us.

As we travel throughout the world and talk to front-line workers, one of the—almost unanimous—prevailing themes that comes out of those discussions is that they are tired.  The are worn out.  The work is hard.  It’s long.  It’s often without immediate fruit.

One of the things that God has challenged us to do in our ministry to the “give strength to the hands that are tired.”  To speak courage to them.  To remind them of Who is on the throne of the Kingdom in which they live.

On more than one occasion as we have sought out the word of the Lord for where we were to go, this passage has been a part of that word.  A reminder of the call with which God has challenged us.  Go.  Give strength.  Speak courage.

And, that’s what we do.  Our “mission” is to speak life.  To impart blessing.  To pray over.  To give courage.

One of the most important things that you can do for us—and for our friends in the nations—is pray that we readily recognize the “Road of Holiness”—the ancient path.

In another of the exile prophecies, Jeremiah (6:16), tells the people to “stand at the crossroads and look.  Ask for the ancient paths and where the best road is.  Walk in it, and you will live in peace.”  Pray that we will always know which is the ancient path. That we may be able to stand alongside the workers in the nations and help them see the ancient path.  That we may strengthen them as they walk along the path.

It is the ancient path that we walk between the first lighting of the Advent Candles and the lighting of the Christ Candle.  It is the ancient path that leads us from the now to the not yet.  It is the ancient path that takes us from our home in Edmond into the nations and back again.  It is the ancient path that leads us all into the nations—be it physically, in prayer, through finance, or inviting the nations to us.

Strengthen the hands that are tired.  Give strength the the legs that are weak.  Speak courage.  Speak blessings—impartations of life that call one into their God-given destiny.

And, in this, we see the Kingdom come.  We see the now move closer to the not yet.  We see God’s desires accomplished in the nations.

An Ancient Road, Perge, Turkey

An Ancient Road, Perge, Turkey