Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Blessed Assurance"1 (Lyrics)
At the end of January this year, we had a warm spell with brief flurries that deposited a thin mixture of snow and almost frozen water on the ground. Then, the temperature started to drop. That thin mixture was still a bit soft when we had a fresh skiff of snow overnight.
I had an early morning appointment. When I returned home, I discovered that our snow removal crew had blown the fresh snow off the patio. However, their wand-type snow blowers had not been able to remove the fresh white snow that my feet had pressed into the top of the now solidly frozen original layer. There were my footprints — clear evidence of my walk from the back door to the garage.
I'm old. One of the things that older people do is to think about and tell stories about their lives. As I thought about the footsteps on my path to the garage, I began remembering the many places where I had left my footsteps and the people with whom I had interacted in those places — literally all over the world. As I did so, I felt a deep gratitude towards those places and those people. I have been richly blessed by the opportunities that I have had to live out my call to ministry and to learn about our world and its people — God's people.
I experienced that call when I was about 16. After discussing this with my minister, I had a conversation with the session of our congregation. The session recommended me to presbytery for certification as a candidate for the ministry. Next, I met with the Students and Colleges Committee of the presbytery. They discerned that my call was indeed a gospel call and recommended me to the presbytery.
During the conversation with the committee, one of the topics was predestination.
Ephesians 1:5 – [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (NKJV)
After the committee had made its decision, a retired minister took me aside and said something like the following. "About predestination — I'd like you to know that we never know where we are going in response to God's call. It's like coming to an open door and deciding to go through it, and doing the same through successive doors. Then, when we get to a certain point and look back, we finally have a sense of what our life was predestined to be and will continue to be." That has been my experience. That has been the path that my feet have walked, and the footsteps that I have left behind bear witness to that walk.
As you read this, may you find here, and in what you are experiencing in your daily life, your call to deepened commitment, wise discernment, courage to walk through whatever doors open to you, and a life of faithful service.
Prayer: Loving God, we thank You that You have Your way of calling people to serve You as ministers and as faithful church members. Help us to find and follow Your call on our lives. Amen.
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Beautiful words, thank you.
Thanks for the encouraging words, John.
Thank you, John, for sharing your story to encourage us.
Amen. Thank you so much! May God bless and keep you always.
Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.
Thank you, John. I hope you are doing well.
Thank you – this message describes my faith /life journey. I am very grateful for God’s guidance step by step.
Great message this morning, I had to look at my life and ask if I am who he made me to be. Through the Holy Spirit I strive to be the person he indeed predestined me to be, warts and all. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words with us. Great job!
Thanks, John, for your encouraging words today. Yes we never know exactly when and where our footsteps will take us in our daily lives but It is so important that we take the Lord’s directions to heart, and serve as He directs. Blessings for this special writing which I really enjoyed reading.
Good morning, John,
Thank you for the lovely reflection and the realistic consideration of predestination. It seems you had very good mentors and thus became a spirit-filled mentor and minister.
Blessings on all your footsteps.
First of all, John, thank you for your devotional which contains good reminders for us no matter our ages.
Second of all, when you said, “I am old and what I think of….”(paraphrased), I thought to myself…well with that snow, ice, etc., he is going to say “I am old and think about falling…”. You fooled me entirely!
Thanks for today’s devotional, John. I enjoyed your reflection on life and the footprints we leave in ministry. I stopped worrying about predestination early in my ministry but I found your words interesting and thought-provoking today.
Please be careful walking on the ice. Three of my dear ‘old’ friends have had bad falls lately – not fun at all, as I’m sure you know. I’m trying to stay upright!
God bless you and keep you well and please keep writing devotionals.