5 06 2016


How many of you today either have owned or do own a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors? The Converse Chuck Taylor, which was a favorite shoe of Elvis, who wore them in several of his movies was created by Marquis Mills Converse in 1908 in Malden, Massachusetts. The shoe was composed of a rubber soul and the upper part made of canvas. They were actually designed to be the elite shoe for the professional basketball league. It was in 1921, an American basketball player named Chuck Taylor joined a basketball team that was specially sponsored by the Converse Company and they just happened to be called The Converse All Stars.

 There was a time that Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars Sneakers were being worn by 90% of both the professional and college basketball players in our country. But if you, like me, have ever actually played the game with those shoes on, you know that there is very little protection for your ankles or your soles! This is why today the Chuck Taylor All Star Sneaker has evolved into the shoe of choice for many subcultures, particularly artists and musicians. I venture to guess that the only group that probably objects to this choice of footwear is podiatrists!

 Growing up in the 1960’s I wore Chuck Taylor sneakers but I was more drawn to another brand of shoes that my Parents never bought me. As a matter of fact, all the cool kids didn’t wear Chuck Taylors–but PF Flyers. I joke that I am still in counseling today because of this neglect! In 1933, canvas footwear pioneer BF Goodrich patented the Posture Foundation insole, an innovation in comfort and performance, and began adding the new technology to its action shoes. By the 1960s, PF was one of the most popular shoes in America. It was the shoe that helped millions “Run Faster and Jump Higher!” Johnny Quest wore PF Flyers and they came with a decoder ring. Today’s generation may recognize them as the sneakers worn by Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the movie The Sandlot.

 Whether it was PF Flyers, Keds, Chuck Taylors, Buster Browns to the present day offerings of Nike, Adidas, Reebok and more; there’s no denying that sneakers are absolutely still big business and the global market for athletic footwear shows no sign of slowing down. Did you know that God cares too about what find of footwear you choose to run this race called the Christian Life?

1 CORINTHIANS 9:24 says, Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” HEBREWS 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” ISAIAH 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14 says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And one more, Paul at the end of his earthly life summed it up this way to Timothy: 2 TIMOTHY 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

 Do you long to finish the race and keep the faith? Then you best be ready to fight the good fight and you can’t pull that off barefoot or decked out in your Scooby Doo Slippers! As Nancy Sinatra sang with her number 1 hit in 1966, you need to be wearing the boots that are made for walking because that’s just what they’ll do and one of these days those boots are either going to be marching in a victory parade behind Jesus or you are just going to be left out in the cold with spiritual plantar fasciitis. Just like you can’t play basketball in high heels though I have never even wanted to try or ever dream to win a marathon adorned with penny loafers or saddle shoes; so you too must offer up your feet to the Lord and like the shoe salesman of old allow him to properly fit you with the perfect choice of boots for battle! God literally has a pair with your name on it and for me they just happen to be a size 14, triple E, extra-wide because I have bunions the size of buffaloes on both feet and if I want to be in a position to move in step with the drumbeat of my Savior I can’t be wearing shoes that don’t fit! I actually do that every Easter and by the end of the last Service my feet are ready to revolt!

 As a matter of fact, wearing boots that don’t fit properly can be fatal. When I was in high school one winter, I went on a Youth Group Retreat with my church to Camp of The Woods in upstate New York equipped with boots that were two sizes too small. I had to curl up my toes to get my feet inside. On a hike out in the snow, my right foot actually froze within my boot and it took paramedics to cut me out of the boot and do all they could do to cure me as I got frostbite! Do your shoes fit you? Do you have them on? Are they laced up and ready to go so you can walk, follow, march, climb, fight, run, kick and jump without hesitation? Jesus demands his sheep to be wearing their supernatural spiritual sneakers. Sheep in their own strength are not known for their graceful movements. Yet we are promised that via the power available to us through the Holy Spirit, we are lambs destined to leap to brand new heights.

 Time is something we think we have plenty of but there is no assurance of that being a reality. Coaching kids today in baseball does at times drive me a bit nuts because it is not like the day that I played. In the old days, you could say to one of the kids, “Get up there to hit!” and all the player needed to do was grab a helmet and a bat and get into the batter’s box. Nowadays, it is a production number and then some. Each kid now has his own personal bag with his own personal helmet and his own batting gloves that need to be put on so he can use his own personal bat and by the time it takes to do all that, I could have built a whole new ballpark! I usually have to say, “Hey do you mind moving it along so you can possibly take a few swings before the season is over?” My whole point is that we need to come dressed not just to look like a disciple, but to be ready to move like one!

 The Roman Soldier’s war boot was called a caliga.  It was an open toed leather boot with a heavily nail studded sole that was tied to the ankles and to the shins with straps. Since the average ancient soldier marched on rough, hot roads, and climbed over jagged rocks, trampled over thorns, and waded through streambeds of jagged stones, his feet not only needed much protection; he rarely took his boots off while on duty! A known battle strategy in the days of Paul was that enemy soldiers would plant razor sharp objects on the ground facing the opponent. The idea was for these spikes to pierce the soles of the unprepared soldiers when they came charging in. Those without adequate protection under their feet would be severely wounded. Even the best soldier would be rendered useless once he became debilitated by such injury. A soldier whose feet were blistered, cut, or swollen could not fight well and often was not able to stand up and that created a perilous situation in battle.

 Believers need to be very ready with their boots already on and firmly planted securely upon the firm foundation and the solid rock of the word of God and the God of the word! We can stand our ground when God is the one who grounds our stand! So lace them up and let’s get going. We’ve got miles to go and only minutes to spare! Are you ready boots? Start walking!



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