His Footsteps, One Step At A Time
It brings great comfort to my heart because I'm often perplexed about the next steps. But all you have to do is obey God one step at a time.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. We’re sharing together from the Gospel of John. We’ve come now, to Chapter 20. And, we come upon Mary Magdalene. This lady of whom we read, that our Lord Jesus had delivered her from seven demons. How grateful she must have been all the rest of her life, for that deliverance. Which leads me to say, parenthetically right here, that your love for Christ may very well be related to your experience of His power in your life. Power to deliver you, not necessarily from demonic oppression. This may not at all be true of you, but the power to deliver you from, let us say, worry, or jealousy, or a bad temper, or a gloomy disposition that complains, or greed, or love of money, or lust. Well, you can name whatever it is in your life that needs His delivering touch.
What I say is, our love for Christ may very well be related to whether or not He’s delivered us from anything. You want to think about that in your own life? No, I’m not advocating that you sit around contemplating your woes, and get some kind of a spiritual inferiority complex. We’re not talking about that. We’re simply saying you love Jesus as much as you sense that He has done something in your life. You think about that. Let Him work His miracle power in areas of your life that need His Dvine touch.
Well anyway, here’s Mary Magdalene. She got up early before it was daylight. We talked about that a bit the last time we got together; love sent her to the gravesite. Love also sent her with the news. There are two evidences here in the 20th Chapter of John about the fact that she went and told what she knew, Verse 2, “She ran and came to Simon Peter and John, and said, ‘They’ve taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him.'”
And then later on, in Verse 18, after she’d had a personal meeting with the risen Lord, Mary Magdalene, it says, “Came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her.”
We don’t hear much about Mary Magdalene anymore. God puts people on stage, and then at His pleasure, seems to remove them. Someone pointed out to me, I think it was Edwin Orr, who is now with the Lord, dear friend of many years, a great revivalist, and also a chronicler of the historic movements of revival that have shaped history. But he pointed out to me that some people who have been greatly used in times of revival, when God sovereignly was moving in various areas, and sweeping thousands of people into His kingdom, people who’ve been greatly used dropped right out of sight afterwards and never were heard much of again.
God uses people when He wants to. And because He’s greatly using you, at this point, does not guarantee that He’s going to keep on. Phillip the evangelist-we referred to him some time ago in our broadcast, do you remember? Phillip the evangelist was having a great citywide campaign. You could compare it to one of our Brother Graham’s citywide crusades. It said, “The whole city was moved.” Now that’s pretty much of an impact, and Phillip was preaching Christ to them. In the middle of all of that, God said, “There’s a man that I want you to meet, and he’s down on the road that goes through the desert.” So, Phillip leaves all of that spectacle of great interest and success and goes and talks to the Ethiopian, who is on his way back home. Leads him to the Lord and baptizes him, and sends him on his way, rejoicing.
The point I’m making is let God choose how He is going to use you. I remember someone saying, when I was still in college, “Don’t offer God your talents, just give Him yourself.” And, the speaker went on to say, “You really can’t come to God and say ‘God, I have a beautiful singing voice, please use my voice.’ Or, ‘God, I can write, please use my pen.” Or, ‘God, I can manage, please use my abilities.’ Or, ‘God, I can preach, please use my sermons.'” Don’t tell God what He’s supposed to do with you. Just give yourself to Him. I found it then, and I find it today, very good advice. God knows what He wants to do with you. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. He has a plan for you. Job said, “He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
You have there… that makes good preaching preachers, you have there a good sermon outline, the present circumstances, the direction in which you’re pointed, and the ultimate triumph; you can preach that one can’t you. Well, let God determine what He’s going to do with your life. You say, “I don’t know, I wish I knew what to do.” You don’t have to know, He knows. Let Him lead you, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delighteth in His way.
God knows each footstep. “And when He putteth forth His own sheep,” Jesus said concerning the Good Shepherd Himself, “When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth ahead.” You will find His nail print, footsteps every step of the way. You don’t have to know it all; all you need to know is that Jesus knows it all and He knows where He’s going. It’s a great truth isn’t it? It brings great comfort to my heart because I’m often perplexed about the next steps, but all you have to do is obey God one step at a time. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
I often think of the days when I lived as a little boy on the farm in Ohio, midway between Fremont and Tiffin, Ohio, near a little town called Old Fort, that’s where I went to school in the consolidated school there at Old Fort, Ohio. It was kind of a wide place in the road, if you blinked you would miss it. But in those days, you had to get up early in the wintry morning and help with the chores. I never did much milking, although I learned how to milk a cow, but I had to take care of the chickens and the pigs. And I had to turn the milk separator to separate out the cream from the milk. Any of you ever have to turn the milk separator by hand? You remember the little musical whine of those disks as they whirled around at a great speed separating out the cream. [chuckle]
Oh, those sounds and experiences come back across the years, but you know what I remember? I remember going out toward the barn following the footsteps of my Uncle Frank and trying to keep close to him because you couldn’t see the barn yet; it was too dark. But what you could see was the light from that lantern which illuminated the next step. In the old days they had lamps filled with some kind of oil and a wick that shed a tiny light, and in some cultures they actually wore such a lamp upon their feet; they tell me. And other lamps were held of course in one’s hand, but the light they shed wasn’t very strong; it illuminated for them the next step. And that really is all you’ll need.
Whether you’re a little boy on a farm, going out to do the chores, or whether you’re a grown up now and involved in things much more important and complex, you don’t need really anything more than God’s guidance for the next step. And you may have it, if in faith you ask Him to guide you. “The Lord shall guide thee continually,” says the promise. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” You can invert that sentence and it makes sense, “As many as are the sons of God, they are led by the Spirit of God.” Either way it’s eternally true; God does lead you and does guide you, and He does give wisdom. “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God That giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” Yes He does. You can depend upon your blessed Lord. Aren’t you glad that’s so?
Well we were talking about Mary Magdalene and love sent her with the news twice; once the news of the empty tomb, second the news that she had met the Lord Jesus Christ. And then love for Jesus shared the heartbreak of His death. You find Mary standing outside the sepulcher; “Mary stood outside the sepulcher,” this is Verse 11, “Mary stood outside the sepulcher weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain and they said, ‘Woman, why weepest thou?’ She said, ‘Because they’ve taken away my Lord, I know not where they’ve laid Him.’
And when she had thus said she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, knew not that it was Jesus. He said, ‘Woman why weepest thou, whom seekest thou?’ She thought He was the gardener, said, ‘Sir if you’ve taken Him away tell me where you’ve laid Him, and I will take Him with the desperation of love.’ And He said, ‘Mary.’ She turned herself and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Rabboni, Master.'”
A meeting with the Lord Jesus. Love shared the heartache of His death, and love found it’s answer in His Presence. Now, I’m not one to indulge in maudlin sentiment, you know that; I’m pretty realistic when it comes down to it. But I have to tell you that your life will be different once you share the heartbreak of Calvary. Linger in the presence of your Lord until your eyes fill up with tears at the realization that Jesus Christ laid down His life for you. He died for you.
And then stay in His Presence until He speaks your name, as He spoke to Mary, and reveals Himself to you. Jesus said that for the person who really loved Him and kept His commandments, He said, “I will manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21, “I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.” Jesus wants to say your name in love as you stand outside the empty tomb to worship.
Dear Father God, today, oh may we have a personal knowledge of Jesus our Lord. Warm our hearts with His love, shine through us with His Presence. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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