Out for a Walk

Every morning, and most evenings, I am greeted by the oddest sights… I see a whole bunch of couples out for a stroll.  Most of them seem happy, which seems strange to me. I’m sure almost all of these folks have perfectly decent cars in their driveways, don’t they?

I spoke with my Dad a few days ago, and my youngest son asked his Grandpa if they could go golfing, together, sometime.  My son is pretty young and has never golfed, as far as I am aware. Now I think my Dad would absolutely love to take my kids golfing.  Me, I always figured if you’re just going to go chasing the fool ball all over the place, it’d be easier to — I don’t know — NOT hit it in the first place.

The few times I went along with my Dad, when I was a kid, I started to get a hint of why he enjoyed the sport, and it’s probably why all those crazy couples will get out in the morning and traipse all over the town.

They’ve all discovered the joy of walking together.  They’re on a journey and enjoying the company along the way.  They’re sharing life, talking almost as much as walking, sometimes laughing, sometimes not, but always sharing.

In Hebrews chapter 11, we read of a man named Enoch, who was commended for his faith.  

By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God.

— Hebrews 11:5

Enoch was a man who pleased God.  I’d sure like Him to say that about me, someday, wouldn’t you?

What was His secret?  For a hint, we’ll need to look closer at Enoch from his other appearance in the Scriptures, all the way back in the book of Genesis.  In chapter 5, we find this:

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

— Genesis 5:21-24

Did you catch the repeated phrase describing Enoch?

Twice, we read: “Enoch walked faithfully with God”.

What a beautiful depiction of Enoch’s life, and what a profound turn of phrase.  Just like the couples walking together, and the group of golfers, Enoch knew the joy of walking together with someone — with God.  

We can too.

Walking with God isn’t quite the same as taking a morning jog with a partner, but it’s not quite as different as you might think, either.

For one, walking with God involves movement, it involves effort.  I’ve seen some of those folks running in the morning who are straining to push themselves to go further, last longer, move quicker.  I’ll bet some of them are even sore after the run. Often, God is going to ask us to push ourselves, trying things that are uncomfortable that stretch us in unexpected ways.  Stretching and straining are how we grow.

We’re not supposed to stop, not until we’ve reached our destination, anyway.  The Bible tells us God is making us into the image of His Son, and that means change, it means movement. He’s leading you onward. You’re not supposed to find a comfy spot to stop. He has so much more in store for you; but, only if you start heading where He’s leading.  What is He asking you to stop? To start? To keep doing? Have you asked Him, lately? I dare you to try. 

Oh, and guess which one has a better view of the road ahead?  If one of the two ought to lead, I think we know which one it should be.  Oddly, I keep trying to go where I want to go.  I’ve got the route all mapped out (most of the time) and if I follow my plan, I’ll definitely end up somewhere, but the results won’t be as rewarding as they could’ve been.

I’ve never seen people on a walk (golf course or not) keep going in absolute silence, have you?  Walking with God means communicating with Him, too.  He wants in, not to boss you around, but to have a lifelong conversation with you. 

Sometimes He’ll talk, sometimes you will — He’s listening.  Tell Him anything you like, and enjoy the refreshing time talking with someone who you don’t have to trick into liking you.  You don’t need to try to pretend to be anything with Him — He already knows exactly who you are, and He loves you.

Paying attention to what He has to say, through His written Word, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, following the example of Jesus, and our own heartfelt and thoughtful prayers (both talking and listening) can help us stay on the right path with Him.  

If we want to walk with God, we’re going to have to get moving, follow where He leads no matter how challenging the path, and trust Him enough to openly and honestly share our lives with Him.

If we do, if we really walk with Him, we cannot imagine where He will lead us, and that’s a promise from Him.

 

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John 21 – Taking the Plunge

As we take one last look at the gospel of John, chapter 21, we find Jesus appearing to His disciples again, this time on the shore of the sea where they’ve been fishing. Fishing… all night… with nothing to show for it.

This little fishing expedition was Peter’s idea, and his day was about to take a major swerve. They couldn’t tell who was calling to them from the shore, but whoever it was, He had the knack for fishing. When He told them to let down their nets, they caught so many fish they struggled to haul them all in.

Peter’s mind must have flashed to the loaves and fishes that fed the multitude, or Lazarus coming out of the tomb. He knew the man on the shore had to be Jesus.

We could learn a lot from Peter’s reaction.

Continue reading “John 21 – Taking the Plunge”

John 20 – Three Appearances

Just when all hope seems lost, Christ steps into the situation, and changes everything.  His followers, His friends, they found out how much He could change in the gospel of John, chapter  20. As we rejoin them, they were in bad shape: all mourning, many terrified, convinced their hope had been snuffed out when Jesus died.  Most were huddled in a room, hiding from the Pharisees, expecting to be killed if — no, when — they were caught.

They were exactly the kind of people who needed the kind of transformation only Jesus could bring.  In truth, they may be more like you and me than we would like to admit.

Continue reading “John 20 – Three Appearances”

John 19 – “It is finished.”

“It is finished.”

Jesus’ final words from the cross echo throughout every generation.  To His friends and family at the cross, it must have sounded like an admission of defeat, of giving up.  To His enemies, they sounded like their victory, as this one who claimed to be God, this one whose words had proved so revolutionary in the past, this one was finally silenced.  

They were wrong.

Continue reading “John 19 – “It is finished.””

John 17 – a Prayer for Us

“That they may be one as we are one.”

In Jesus final moments before His betrayal, arrest, trial, beating, and execution, He prayed for His disciples, both the ones with Him at the time and all who would follow after. You can find the prayer in John chapter 17, and I hope you’ll take some time to read it.

As I did, I was struck by one request Jesus made for all of us: Continue reading “John 17 – a Prayer for Us”