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Friday, January 27, 2017

Living Your Faith

Recently I found myself re-telling the story of one of the first things that drew me closer to my wife in the early days of our relationship.  The individual I was fellowshipping with had asked about my Christian testimony and I quickly realized that it would be remiss without this integral part of the story!  

What used to catch my attention and amaze me at the same time was the way she talked about Jesus!  It wasn’t forced.  It wasn’t like she was looking for opportunities to slip a mention of Him into the conversation.  It just came out as a natural part of who she was!  I know that I have shared this in this blog before, but it seemed like Jesus was her best friend.

In my seventeen years of life up to that point, I had never heard anyone else talk that way.  Whenever I had heard someone speak of Him it usually came at an awkward moment filled with anxiety and condemnation.  I always remember my good Catholic Dad joking about the “Protest-ants” in regard to those who attended a church outside the Catholic faith and I tended to put up a wall whenever someone tried to “push” Jesus on me.

Sure, I believed in Jesus as the Son of God, but other than that, He always had been kind of a mystery to me!  In Parochial school I would see the nuns making the sign of the cross, bowing their heads or even genuflecting every time His name was spoken, as a sign of deep respect, but I had no understanding of the why, who and what of who He was… until I met this spunky, full of life, laughter and joy-filled young lady name Piper Canevari!

As I am sure I have mentioned before, that once we started dating we would hang out together at school and then talk to each other for hours at night after work, homework and dinner.  I guess you could sort of say that she and my conversation with her was my nightly desert!  I couldn’t (and actually still can’t) get enough of her!  Whatever she had… I wanted… and it seemed that it just oozed out from everything she said and did.  Many years later in my Personal Evangelism class in Bible College, I learned that what she unknowingly was doing was the best form of Christian evangelism known to man… and it is called: “simply living your faith!”

I quickly recalled all this as I was looking at Joshua 1:8 from the various Bible translations that I have on my digital Bible Study program.  In particular it was the beginning of the International Standard Version that sent me down memory lane.  My attention had been peaked when I noticed that some of the newer translations left out the first and I think very important part of this verse when the Lord is telling Joshua that “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…” (KJV) These modern translations kept the meditation part of God’s command but totally dropped the verbal part of the equation!

Then as I went back through many other translations I stopped at the ISV where it states: “This set of instructions is not to cease being a part of your conversations…” and with that I looked over at Piper sitting to my left at the dining room table and exclaimed: “That’s you!”  Over the years as we have traveled in many Christian circles, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone else talk about Jesus like she always has!  

He really was and still is a vital and intricate part of who she is and He just seems to flow through every conversation she participates in!  And to be honest, I can’t recall anyone who ever got upset when she mentioned him… Okay… there was that one cashier at the grocery store… but other than that… Oh yeah… then there was some of my family who didn’t quite get her at first… but really, that’s about it!

Piper has always lived her Christianity through her actions, encouraging words, helpful hands and that great big lovely and engaging smile!  It’s almost like you can’t help but want to know more about Him after you’ve been engaged in a conversation with her!

Do you know people like that?  Are you like that?  I think that our lives should portray the greatest living picture of who Jesus is.  It is easy to talk a good religious or pious story, but without having the other areas of your life in line with it, it just doesn’t work too well!  In closely observing my wife over these last 46 plus years, I have learned that it is not necessarily something that she has had to actively work on in her life.  It just comes out as a natural part of her unfaltering love of our Savior, her encouraging and uplifting attitude about life and her joyful disposition.  

You know… as I was saying to our older daughter yesterday… I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have heard Piper say something negative about someone else over the many years of our close relationship… and Jamie emphatically agreed!  

I wish I could say that about myself!  Can you?  Maybe it is time to make some changes in life!  Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting my life to advertise today?”

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