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ZMI Family Ministries International > Articles by: Starr Ayers

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

 

Something to Crow About

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways”
(1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)

“I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!” —Peter Pan

 

Chiming in on this mantra as a child, seemed like a noble quest—like something I should crow about—but in reality, as an adult, I know this way of thinking is only fun in fairy tales. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fun and games, but refusing to own up to grown-up attitudes and responsibilities ushers in mountains of hardship and pain, not only for me but for others.

 

God’s word tells us, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV).


What childish ways do you hold onto? In what areas do you refuse to grow up? Have you spoken like a child, thought like a child, or acted like a child lately?


I think not, you say?


Think again.


When was the last time you insisted on your own way? Took something that wasn’t yours? Didn’t care what others thought? Wasted time? Talked about someone behind their back or spoke unkind words to their face?


Stings, doesn’t it?


Believe me. I feel your pain.


Perhaps we should change our mantra. How does this sound? “I wanna grow up.

I wanna grow up. I wanna grow up. That’s me!”


Yep! Letting go of our childish ways is definitely something to grow as well as crow about.


Ready? All together now…

Blessings,

Starr

 

Day of Redemption

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
 1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV

I approached the counter and handed the clerk my purchase along with a 20% off coupon.

“I’m sorry, ma‛am,” she said. “You won’t be able to use this. Its expiration date was yesterday.”

Later, I went to a bookstore I haven’t frequented in a while. At the register, I piled my books on the counter, dug into my pocketbook for my annual membership card which awards a 10% discount, and handed it to the young man at the register.

“I’m sorry ma‛am. This card has expired. It expired—yesterday.”

Good grief. What is it with me and coupons? I have friends who save megabucks with them. Me? Not so much. Whenever I remember I have one, it’s either lying on my desk at home, I’m a day too early for the sale, it doesn’t work on the items I want to purchase, or it’s expired—just expired. Like…YESTERDAY.

On the rare occasion that I do pull out a coupon that’s redeemable, I squelch my overwhelming desire to grab the store intercom and shout, “The lady in aisle three just received $1.00 off of her in-store purchase.”

I’ve learned the hard way. Coupons work best when I deliberately set out to use them. Maybe even purchase items in advance, so that when I need them, I have them.

Over two-thousand years ago, God made all of humanity an incredible offer—one which has superseded every offer since. With the blood of his only Son, Jesus, he purchased our redemption in advance. He offered us forgiveness and the opportunity to live for eternity with him in Paradise. Good news, huh?

But all special offers have redemption dates. The opportunity to receive God’s gift of salvation ceases the day we expire. On that day our reward will either become a reality or a missed opportunity. We can’t afford to live on the assumption that when we get to Heaven’s pearly gates, Saint Peter will overlook the fine print. If we haven’t made the deliberate choice to accept God’s remarkable offer in advance, our day of arrival will be too late.

Have you received God’s gift of salvation? “Your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28), but it’s not too late. Choose to live deliberately and ACT. Acknowledge your need for a Savior, Confess your sin, and Turn to Jesus. When you do, you’ll gain the peace of knowing that when redemption day comes, you won’t hear “Expired,” you’ll hear—“REDEEMED!”

Blessings,

Starr