Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God's Word Inspires Family Members

Hello friends! I have been out of the nightly news and blogging loop for the past 12 days now while I accomplished a major task back east. Will share details when I have the time.

The Christmas rush is upon us...more so for me because I lost 12 days of preparation. However, I'm calmer this year than in past years, despite the fact that I'm so far behind in all that I usually try to accomplish before Christmas Day.

I have SO MUCH to share! In particular, I have a very special update on the spiritual experience I had shared previously on this blog about my Dad years ago! Hope to get that post up very soon!

During my travels back east, I received a very sweet message from my second cousin Jackie.  She's more like a niece to me.  At age 7, she was one of my two flower girls in our wedding 28 years ago!   Jackie bought me a writing journal. On the cover, it reads, "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8"

Inside she wrote:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your support and prayers; your faith is so inspiring to me, especially during this difficult time in my life.

Merry Christmas!


I had tears of joy in my eyes when I read that!

One evening while we were together with her mom, Carol, I was extremely tired from all that we had to do while toiling at the task at hand. I felt too tired to go out to dinner with them. I just wanted to lay down and sleep on my motel bed! But they sat down on my bed and began asking me spiritual questions. They had seen the open Bible on my nightstand, with a bookmark in it.

Earlier that day (it was Sunday, December 11, 2011) I was wearing a t-shirt that had the acronym "NOTW" on it. Jackie mentioned that she noticed it and inquired about the meaning. I turned to the page I had bookmarked where Jesus tells his disciples that He is "not of this world."

Jhn 8:23 And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

I briefly explained what had happened by referring to the previous Bible verses in the same chapter which told the story about the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees were questioning Jesus:

Jhn 8:3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,

Jhn 8:4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught [fn] in adultery, in the very act.

Jhn 8:5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded [fn] us that such should be stoned. [fn] But what do You say?" [fn]

Jhn 8:6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have [something] of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with [His] finger, as though He did not hear. [fn]

Jhn 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up [fn] and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

Jhn 8:8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jhn 8:9 Then those who heard [it], being convicted by [their] conscience, [fn] went out one by one, beginning with the oldest [even] to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Jhn 8:10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, [fn] "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? [fn] Has no one condemned you?"

Jhn 8:11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and [fn] sin no more."

Jhn 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Jhn 8:13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, "You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true."

Jhn 8:16 "And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I [am] with the Father who sent Me.

Jhn 8:17 "It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.

Jhn 8:18 "I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me."

Jhn 8:19 Then they said to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also."

Jhn 8:20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

Jhn 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come."

Jhn 8:22 So the Jews said, "Will He kill Himself, because He says, 'Where I go you cannot come'?"

Guess what? By the time our conversation concluded (both Jackie and Carol added much to the conversation and offered up some good questions and comments) I wasn't tired anymore! I like to think that the Holy Spirit refreshed me from my physical weariness!

Near the end of the conversation, I was having difficulty finding the second verse in John where Jesus again said, "I am not of this world." (It is John 18:36). I was looking in John chapter 16 for that verse, and of course, I was unable to find it. So, instead I just chuckled a little and read John 16:33 to conclude our little impromptu Bible study:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble (tribulation). But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Jackie said to me, "you speak of Jesus like he is an old friend." I can't remember exactly what she said after that, but it was something like, 'your faith is so real...or genuine.'

I was about ready to tear up on the spot! Such kind words. Jackie had been going through some tribulation in her own life at that time and I had been praying for a better outcome. Unfortunately, the life-changing event didn't turn out the way we had prayed it would, but another opportunity has since surfaced.

Yes!! Jesus is a friend who sticks even closer than a brother to His own! How wonderful that our little Bible study in that motel room, held just before we headed out to dinner, helped to inspire two family members that I love! I was so very grateful for their help during the project at hand! I certainly could not have done it by myself. And, to know that sharing God's written Word: the Bible, and God's living Word: Jesus, with them helped to inspire them is what the Great Commission is all about!

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