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Following His Footsteps

by on June 8, 2016

THE TRAVEL itinerary for day 1 says, “Get some rest on the flight…tomorrow you will be walking where Jesus walked!” Wow! I can hardly wait for the Berean trip to Israel in May 2017. For decades John and I have been looking forward to visiting the Holy Land. We can read and watch documentaries about significant historical events, but being in the locations where they took place always seems to add so much impact. I imagine this will be even more evident when it comes to being in locations where events from scripture unfolded. It sounds like we will probably be able to visit Mt. Carmel where Elijah challenged King Ahab, EinGedi where David fled from Saul, Capernaum where Jesus called His disciples, and cross the Sea of Galilee as the disciples would have done so often. Although the Jordan River probably won’t look much like it did when the Israelite’s priest crossed it with the Ark of God about 3500 years ago (now that it has a dam and other diversions for irrigation), it will still be great to be there and imagine the fear-filled excitement of that massive caravan of Hebrews, as they were finally crossing over to their promised land. There are so many sights with significant history within the small area of Israel that we won’t begin to hit more than a few highlights, but even still, the trip will allow us to walk in the path of so many of God’s people and follow the footsteps of Jesus.

Just thinking about those places fills me with awe, as I consider the powerful work of God, as He has faithfully cared for and worked through His people through history. But even as I consider so many inspirations events of Biblical history, I am reminded of God’s work in the not so distant past and His continual work today. The same mighty God who guided Moses to lead the Hebrews through their long desert journey also guided first century apostles to spread the good news around the Mediterranean and missionaries throughout the generations to take the gospel to distant lands. Our God, who gave Peter and the other disciples the courage to speak the message of Jesus so boldly in Jerusalem, still works in the hearts of pastors, teachers and evangelists worldwide. The Lord who stirred the hearts of His people to give generously to the building (and re-building) of His Temple, stirred hearts of faithful Bereans that stepped out in faith to build our church building years ago and still stirs us to support God’s work here and around the world. Just as the love of God was poured out by Jesus, as He took time for the little children, that same love is still being poured out by people everywhere who sacrifice their time to teach, guide and nurture children. God’s compassion for the sick and needy was poured out by his disciples and is still evident in so many who dedicate their lives to meeting physical needs.

God is still busy and His story continues. He has allowed His people throughout the ages to leave their mark in the world, so that we would have constant reminders of His greatness and be challenged to be part of His work. If you have been guided and encouraged by the footprints of the faithful who have walked ahead of you, it should stir you to leave signs of your faith for those who come behind.

It’s easy to get discouraged when we face challenges and when we see so many examples of people turning their backs to God’s ways, but scripture reminds us that life has never been easy, but God has always been faithful. We don’t need to visit Israel to see the footprints of God’s faithful people, because they can be found everywhere, if we open our eyes to see them. And every day provides us with opportunities to leave our own mark of faith in the world, as we do our best to follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave our own story of faith to challenge those who walk this path behind us.

I’m really looking forward to visiting the Promised Land and walking where Jesus walked. I also know I have a chance to walk where Jesus walks every day, because He is alive and at work in you, and wherever you go you are leaving His footprints.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

Suzy Bates

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