October 6, 2006

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

 When I was little, I used to hear about inviting Jesus to come "live" in my heart. I remember being a bit confused by this when I was very young, because to a child, this can seem like an odd possibility. How would Jesus get in there and what would He do all day? But now that I am older, when I really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Our heart is the organ responsible for pumping our blood to every part of our body. Without it, our other organs and extremities would receive no nourishment, and would die. Inviting Christ to live in our hearts is essentially giving life to our entire being. The word "live" in our hearts is important because He is capable of living within us. John 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. We are just the messengers delivering what Jesus has to say. Psalm 49:3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. In John chapter 15, Jesus talks about the vine and the branches. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. My brother, Jeff, would have never given himself the credit for what a great teacher he was. Rather, I know he would have said what a great Teacher he had, and he was only an instrument for what God wanted to say through him. Jeff was loved by so many people because he lived his life with the love that Jesus had. He was able to do this because Jesus was truly living within him. John 15:12-13 "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Jeff had such a love that if he knew his death would bring glory to Christ, and if it led even one person to Jesus and to heaven, then he would know it was worth it. God knew from the time Jeff was formed what He would call him to do one day as long as Jeff was willing. I think it is so neat how many of his students loved Jeff's Bible classes more than any other class. When I was in school, I used to wonder why I needed to know some of the things I would stress myself out over. When would I ever need to recall algebraic equations from memory? The Bible on the other hand, is the foundation of everything we believe as Christians. Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. I believe that Jeff instilled God's word in the hearts of so many, not just his students and coworkers, but also to his family: His own children, his siblings, his wife and his parents. When this whole cycle of events started a few years ago, I started praying so hard for my family. What would something like this do for each individual's faith, especially if the outcome was not what we hoped for? I knew how God was working in my own life, but how could this situation benefit anyone? Romans 8:18,28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us... and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I can already see God's grace over our family. He is already working things for good in the hearts in all of us. He is drawing us closer, and I am thankful for the willingness to be drawn in. Because of Jeff, we were able to see a glimpse of how much God loves us. Please continue to pray for all of the lives that Jeff inspired, that they too will allow God to draw them in to the love He wants us to feel right now. I pray that I can live my life the way the God has called me to do, so that as Kaylee, Josh, and Nathan get older, they are able to see a part of their dad in me, not just their father on earth, but their Father in Heaven as well.

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