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Building Bridges

 “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.”
Philippians 3:17 NIV

Earl Johnson was an upright man who spent his career engineering buildings and bridges, taking care of his family, and going to church at every opportunity. He was also my grandpa and was a great example of someone who pursued Christ with every part of his life. Every Sunday that I can remember, he stood at the church doors in his suit, greeting people and welcoming them inside to hear about Christ (so he built spiritual bridges as well as literal ones). He was a Gideon who handed out Bibles, and when I was in college I would visit my grandparents’ house and he and I would have theological discussions at the dinner table. Throughout the time I was in graduate school, he would regularly write me letters of encouragement that helped me persevere, and to this day I keep his Bible on the shelf next to my desk with his copious notes in the margins on every topic.

One of the most influential experiences I had with him was when he was in his 90s and I went to visit him in his retirement community. I asked him how he was spending his time, and he discussed that he was still greeting at church every Sunday, and passing out Bibles, but he also shared that his neighbor upstairs had cancer and was an unbeliever, so he had been visiting him to share the gospel in hopes that the man could be saved. This struck me because I was a young woman with plenty of drive and energy, but I wasn’t spending my time doing anything as important as that! Even though he was 92, bringing new believers into God’s family was still crucial to my grandpa. This showed me that my whole life from start to finish should be a continuous walk with God and if my job here on earth is to make disciples, then I should be spending every last breath trying. At the end of my grandpa’s life he could say “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).

I am a greeter at my church and every Sunday as I stand at the doors to welcome people inside to hear about Christ, I know that he built a bridge to the next generation with his example, and I am continuing to walk my path with Christ as Philippians 3:17 (NIV) instructs, to “join with others in following my example, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.”

Who in your life is an example of someone who pursues Christ with every step?

What distinguishes your faith so that others might see you as an example?

Walking with Christ,

Erin Tabor

 

 

Photo Credit: My own photo

Missing Jesus

“After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.”
Luke 2:43 NIV

Mary felt a gentle tug on her tunic.

“Where’s Jesus?”

She stooped and looked into the large brown eyes of the young boy clinging to his mother’s hand and brushed his tousled hair from his forehead. “I’m sure he’s with Joseph.”

As she lifted her gaze to his mother, tears left tracks on her dust-covered skin. “Jesus continues to remind me that he’s twelve now—’almost a man.’” She stood, brushed her wet cheeks with the back of her hand, and forced a smile. “I suppose I must grow accustomed to him not wanting to tag along with his mother on our trips to and from Jerusalem. He’d rather join in with the banter of the men at the rear of the caravan.”

She reached down and clasped the boy’s hand then continued on the way with her friend.

_________

“Where’s Jesus?”

Joseph kicked a stone along the dusty desert road and chuckled at his friend’s question. “I’m sure he’s with Mary. As much as he likes to be with the men, he worries about his mother. He knows it’s difficult for her to accept the fact that he’s no longer her ‘little boy.’” He shook his head and sighed. “She’ll adjust.”

_________

“Where’s Jesus?”

Mary’s almond-shaped eyes bulged as she stared into Joseph’s anxious face. “Isn’t he

with you?

He swallowed hard. “No. I thought he was with you.”

Her eyes darted through the crowd as she pushed her way past the weary travelers

then pointed in the opposite direction. “Joseph, go that way. We’ve got to find Jesus. I

can’t believe he’s missing!”

_________

 

“Where’s Jesus?”

What’s your reply?

Stop and look around you. Is Jesus missing from your days? How long has it taken you to notice he’s slipped into the background of your activities? Can you even remember the last time you heard his voice?

If not, don’t fret. God’s not abandoned you. Although you’ve drifted, he’s never taken his eyes from you. There’s no place he’d rather be than in the center of your activity. He promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Panic-stricken, Mary and Joseph returned to the place they’d last seen Jesus. Perhaps we should too. They found him in the temple sitting among the teachers discussing the things of the Spirit. Perhaps, we will too. When Mary asked Jesus why he had stayed behind, he replied, “Didn’t you know, I must be about my Father’s business?” Perhaps, we should be too.

Are you missing Jesus? When was the last time you opened God’s word, darkened the door of his house, or surrounded yourself with his family? Take time to be still and focus on his Word. Ask him to meet you there. You’ll find him—I promise.

Blessings,

Starr

 

Faithfulness

“They included all the little ones… For they were faithful in consecrating themselves.” 

2 Chronicles 31:18 (NIV) 

Ten years ago I walked down the aisle to the man I knew (and still know!) God intended for me to spend the rest of my life with. That day we pledged to have each other’s backs no matter what.

In this verse in 2 Chronicles the Levites (Israelites who aided the priests in their temple duties) were being commended for faithfully consecrating themselves unto the Lord. Faithfulness is a daily occurrence, not a sporadic implementation, but a steady determination demonstrated through action.

In high-school I faithfully attended church and youth group, but the hours in between were spent living selfishly for myself and unfaithfully toward the Lord. God saw my heart for what it was and He lovingly but firmly led me through some disciplinary action in order to align my heart and actions with His.

Just as I pledged to be faithful to my husband ten years ago, I pledged to be faithful to God when I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. I am very thankful I have been much more successful at remaining faithful to my husband than to the Lord, for no earthly man has the infinite amount of grace and mercy our Lord has.

In Romans 12:1 we are encouraged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. I hope we can all heed the example of the Levites in 2 Chronicles and be commended for faithfully living a life that glorifies the Lord.

God bless!

Noree

 

 

Photo Credit:   Me