In the Temple, Part 1

June 28, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

There are certain stories in the Bible that I’ve heard all of my life, and for some unknown reason I don’t “get it” for a long time.  Then suddenly new insight breaks through, and WOW!  I’ll never read or hear that story the same way again.

One of those stories is the finding of Jesus in the Temple, found in Luke 2:41-50.

I don’t know if you remember that one, so let me set the scene for you.  Mary and Joseph have traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.  They traveled with friends and relatives.  When the Feast was over, they packed up to go home.  Then a day’s worth of travel later, they realized something–they forgot Jesus!

Being a mom, I can imagine the panic as they ran from relative to relative, trying to find their son.  But he was not among the caravan.

Of course, they made haste back to Jerusalem to find their son.  It says that it took them three days to find Him, and when they did, He was in the Temple sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions.  Mary was frantic and asked why He had done this to which Jesus responded: “Why were you searching for Me?  Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Now before you jump to judging Mary and Joseph, I want to ask you a simple question:

How many times have you left Jesus “in the Temple”?  Have you ever walked out of the church doors and “forgotten to take Him with you”?  Have you ever been struggling and struggling and suddenly wondered why God feels so very far away?

Have you ever gone days or even months without talking to Him and verifying that He’s right there?  Have you missed His presence, or worse, missed His absence in your life?

I think we’ve all been there.  Even the very Christian among us have gone to church on Sunday and shown up at work on Monday with criticisms and hurts heavy in our hearts.  And oh, how lonely the journey can be when you “forget” to bring Jesus along!

But there is good news in this story.  You see, Mary and Joseph didn’t shrug their shoulders and press on.  No, they went back to get Jesus!

At first, they clearly didn’t know where to find Him as it took them three days to located Him, but Jesus gave us the answer of where to find Him… in the Temple!

Does Jesus feel far away from you?  Go back and get Him, in the Temple!  Does life feel panicky and worrisome?  I guarantee it’s because you’re missing His presence.  Seek Him out.  Don’t press on, figuring you don’t have time to go back.  You do.  In fact, going back is the only way you will ever learn to go forward again.

Take those three days if you must.  But if you don’t have three days, then take three minutes.  Breathe, and go back “to the Temple.”

In the next part, I’ll show you how to do just that.

*~*

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The Hole

June 25, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

I was reading “How People Change” by Timothy S. Lane and Paul Tripp the other day.  In it there is a story about a hole.  They call it the Gospel Gap.  Basically, it’s that hole in everyone’s life that can only be filled by God.

However, they say (correctly) that we try to fill that hole with all kinds of other things that don’t fit and instead get stuck in there.  As I read, I was reminded of another true story that happened in a town not far from where I live.

The reason I remember it is because my husband is a carpenter, and he works on schools.  So when it happened, guess who they called.

Here’s how it went.

I live in the Panhandle of Texas and that year it was dry.  I don’t mean drier than normal.  I mean it was DRY!  And windy.

Well, this school had a drain pipe at one end of the roof of the building.  The roof was sloped slightly toward the pipe so that rainwater would drain down it.  Great idea except they forgot one tiny detail–the wind.

It had been dry so long that the wind had carried all of the trash and tumbleweeds and junk over to that drainpipe where they lodged.  Some went in the drainpipe, some stayed stacked against it.

Do you see where we’re going with this?

One day, over that particular school they got what my mom always called a “gully-washer.”  In short, it rained several inches in one spot over the course of about an hour.

Following me, yet?  Do you see the problem?

Here’s a question for you–what happened to that rainwater?

Clogged drainpipe.  Lots of rain.  Nowhere for the rain to go.  It gets heavier and heavier until…

You got it:

The roof collapsed!

Which sent all that junk and all that water all over that part of the school.  What a mess!

As I read this description of things that clog our God hole, I thought about this school.  That’s what happens to us.  We start filling that hole with things–material things, ministry things, money, social networks, whatever, and pretty soon, the God water can’t get through!  In fact, many of us experience a “dryness” in our Christian walk when our God hole is being filled with other things.  We can’t quite figure out why we don’t feel close to God.  When water comes–either blessings or trials–it can’t drain out of us.

So it sits there and stagnates, and sometimes it actually collapses part of our life roof.  Maybe we hit burn-out.  Maybe our marriage hits the rocks.  Maybe we end up with kids we don’t even know.  Maybe we just feel our lives are one, freak thing away from completely collapsing.

The point is to start now to unclog that God hole.  Pull out the weeds of anger, resentment, and discontent.  Learn to forgive and to let go of control.  Stop putting all of your faith in material things and money.  As you do these things, replace their spot in your life with God.

Prayer.  Church.  Slowing down the craziness.  Good Christian music.  Quality time with your family.  Putting God first.

Whatever you choose, get that thing unclogged before you have a REAL problem on your hands!

*~*

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