Jill's December J-Mail
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Jill spent much of her time on her recent ministry trip to India barefoot. It wasn’t that her shoes were lost with luggage or that she was enjoying a warm sandy beach. She was teaching a sanctuary full of Indian seminary students, and custom required that she remove her shoes before entering. Interestingly enough, her last teaching centered on Moses and his encounter with God in the burning bush, in which He told Moses to remove his shoes because he was on holy ground. In Jill's J-Mail, she teaches this lesson from Moses: God will use flawed people (like Moses and us!) to do His work if we are willing to bow before Him, barefoot, in awe and reverence.
Barefoot in My Heart Stuart and I recently finished teaching hundreds of missionary and pastoral students who were in seminary training in India. My last message in chapel concerned Moses and his renewed call to service after 40 years in the wilderness. Read the account in Exodus 3 & 4.
The bush burned with fire and yet was not destroyed, and Moses turned aside to see this strange sight. When The Lord saw that he turned aside to see. He called to him out of the bush: “Moses, Moses! Take off your shoes for you are standing on Holy ground.” The fire in the bush was the fire of God.
A divine conversation ensued that had worldwide repercussions for the Kingdom of God on earth! Moses was feeling sidelined, defeated, shamed and guilty. He had killed a man and fled from Pharaoh’s wrath. God had gone to much trouble training Moses in Pharaoh’s palace for his life work: delivering the children of Israel from bondage and taking them to the land promised to Abraham.
But the devil attacked Moses through a character weakness. Temper! In fact, all through his long life, he was brought low through an uncontrolled temper! He literally broke the Ten Commandments because he lost his temper! Read about it in Exodus. You always break the Ten Commandments when you let your anger control you instead of you controlling your anger!
This led to self-imposed exile while the people of God suffered incredible brutality at the hands of the Egyptians. But failure is never final for the servant of God. So one day, the Lord, concerned with His people’s suffering and wishing to deliver them, met Moses in his dry and barren place of failure and defeat, and the great adventure began. We thought about Moses’ story as I spoke about the students and the call of God on all of our lives and the fact that failure along the way is never final for the believer.
This is India, so according to custom, I slipped off my shoes every time I entered the sanctuary for the lectures. I lived barefoot in those days. Teaching the students barefoot greatly focused my attention on the story of Moses and the burning bush where God renewed his call and commanded him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground! I’ve thought of the many lessons that I, the teacher, (and hopefully the students) have learned!
It is only when we live barefoot in our hearts that we will hear our renewed calling to ministry. It is only when we live barefoot in our hearts that we will know the true fear of God and be suitably afraid of the great God we serve and wish to obey his calling however hard it is. And it is there, barefoot in the presence of His holiness, where He will give us the courage to go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do.
Here is a prayer I wrote at the end of my talks. The words were left with the students so they could make them into a song and remember the lessons of the bare feet.
Barefoot I bow at this altar of grace,
Barefoot and humbled with tears on my face.
Ashamed and repentant I hear the Lord’s voice
Barefoot and humbled He gives me a choice.
Holy the ground where the promise is made
Keep the fire burning Lord don’t let it fade.
Help me obey You despite all my fears
Help me to serve You the rest of my years.
Barefoot accepting Your plan once again
Give power for my fainting heart, peace in my pain.
Deal with the darkness give strength for my days
Barefoot and humbled I offer you praise!
Barefoot I bow at this altar of grace,
Barefoot and humbled with tears on my face,
Ashamed and repentant I respond to your call
Barefoot and humbled I give you my all!
Why not stand before the Lord? Slip off your shoes, wherever you are.
Listen! Can you hear your name? He’s calling you. What will you say?
Thank you for partnering with us,