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.




The Empty Chair

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”

Luke 24:30–31, NIV
9326689187_83a6e4ccb9_z.jpg“Hey! That’s my chair!”

Silly as it is, I imagine at some point you’ve gotten upset when someone took your seat—or someone has gotten upset with you for taking theirs. If not, perhaps you played musical chairs as a child. How did you feel when there wasn’t a chair left for you? Did you push and shove to claim the remaining chair? Did you walk away upset because you lost the last seat?

Regardless of what we lose, we’re prone to get upset when someone takes something we believe is rightfully ours— even if there is music playing in the background.

No one likes to feel cheated, but what about when we cheat ourselves? Who do we argue with then?  Do we even know we’re cheating ourselves—or care?

The heartbreak is that we regularly cheat and steal from ourselves, but we seldom bat an eye about it. Then, to add insult to injury, we repeat the behavior.

We cheat ourselves out of quality time with those we love, fritter away hard-earned money, and squander our days. We choose the path of least resistance, make harmful food choices, and give television sitcoms priority over reading God’s Word. The Word is where I want to sit for a moment, so pull up a chair (your own, please) and let’s talk.

There are plenty of chairs at the Lord’s table. There’s one reserved for each of us, so we never have to worry about someone stealing our seat. The question is: do we want it? I ask this because there are often empty chairs at his table. Sometimes the empty chair is mine. Do you allow misplaced priorities to rob you of time in God’s presence too?

A few days after Christ’s resurrection, the Emmaus disciples failed to recognize Jesus. Not until they invited him into their house and received the Bread of Life from his nail-scarred hands did their eyes open to his identity.

Do you wonder where Jesus is in your circumstances? Wonder if he cares? If so, refuse to substitute fare from the world’s table for the Bread of Life that comes through reading God’s Word. God paid the ultimate price for our reservation at his table—the blood of his only Son, Jesus. To know that we’re cheating ourselves out of a relationship with Jesus Christ and do nothing about it is foolish.

If we could pull back the curtain of eternity and see what is to come, there would be no empty chairs at the King’s table. Push away from the world’s table and claim your seat. There’s a chair reserved for you.



When God Speaks: Heart to Heart

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
―Isaiah 55:11, NIV 

In the Scriptures, God expressed the fountain of His heart through prophetic scribes. Their writings continue to stand as a witness of His everlasting love and promises to humanity. Due to the faithful diligence of a few, the written Word of God speaks to and transforms the hearts of humankind to this day. This week, we’ll talk about hearing the voice of God through His Word and through the practice of journaling.


Heart to Heart

“Samuel was lying down in the temple, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’”
1 Samuel 3:3–4, NIV

Day_2_Photo_1_TV_Tower-203x300We have a small television in our bathroom that operates off of an air antenna. One morning, I was getting ready at the sink and my movements got in the way of the signal. Right away, the screen went black, and the words “Failed to receive broadcast popped up in large letters. As soon as I stepped to one side, the broadcast resumed.

That morning, God used an interrupted signal to connect me to Him. He reminded me of how constant activity hinders the reception of His voice. When I crowd my schedule with my own programs, I’m unable to receive His plans for me. God’s solution was simple: “Step out of the way of My signal and realign your heart with Mine.”

Journaling is a tool I use to connect with God. Contemporary author Donald S. Whitney expressed it like this: “A journal is a place where we give expression to the fountain of our hearts, where we can unreservedly pour out our passion before the Lord.” Within my journals, I record significant events, tape special cards and photos, sort through my thoughts, and process my feelings. But above all, my journals are a safe place to pour out the contents of my heart to God and record His words to me.  Day_2,_Photo_2,_Journaling

The process of hearing God’s voice is not as complicated as one may think. Anyone can hear God speak provided you’ve fulfilled one essential prerequisite―entering into a personal relationship with God. When we acknowledge our sin and our need for a Savior, we can confess our sin to God and receive His gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit then comes to dwell within us. It’s His presence in our hearts that enables us to hear the voice of God.

Aside from accepting Christ as Savior, another step to hearing the voice of God is to show up. Just as young Day_2,_Photo_3,_CrossSamuel in today’s text positioned himself near the ark of God in the temple, we also must position ourselves in God’s presence. It sounds simple enough, but relentless distractions creep in and attempt to crowd out our intended time with Him. If we persist in our commitment to focus our hearts and minds on Christ through regular times of Bible study and prayer, our ability to discern God’s voice will increase.

Tomorrow, we’ll resume our journaling discussion, but for now, if you’ve never acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Savior, I pray you’ll make the decision to do so. Even now, God is calling your name. Respond as Samuel did: “Here I am.”

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 10:9–10, NIV  

In His Love,