“That was a great meal,” Trevor told Jonathon, wiping his mouth with the paper towel his cousin had provided. “Yeah, your salsa really hit the spot,” Jonathon told the man with wide eyes, indicating Trevor had done well to get the heat factor just right.
“Good thing we can still enjoy spicy things and a little adventure even at our age, huh?” Jonathon said, even as he got up from the picnic table and began to walk over to the dock.
“Well, I’ll agree on your first point about spicy food, but I’m not so sure about the adventure part,” Trevor told his cousin, as he followed Jonathon out onto the dock.
“Well,” Jonathon told the man, “look at what you did today. You came all this way to surprise me, after all these years … without even calling first … wouldn’t you say that’s an adventure? That was a risk … and you bravely rose to the challenge. So, you see, you and I can still enjoy a little adventure, no matter how old we are. I don’t know about you, but I think we’re only as old as we think we are.
“Even though the number of our age keeps increasing every year, what really matters is that we’re adding life to our years – making the most of every opportunity we have to live life – for however long or short of a period of time God grants us,” Jonathon told Trevor. “That’s interesting,” Trevor said, “I was just coming to that same realization myself not long ago.”
Having started the reconnection process with his cousin during lunch, Trevor now felt more comfortable sharing with Jonathon the change that had occurred in his heart recently, and he now took this opportunity to relay to his cousin all he’d been through since they’d last spoken, including his desire to know what his next step should be as he began his new life in Christ.
“Well,” Jonathon said, after Trevor had brought him up to date, “you sure have been through a lot. And now, here you are, still standing. So, I venture to say, your next step should be learning how to walk. Even though you may call yourself an old man, you are only a newborn babe in Christ.
“The Bible says in 1Peter 2:2, ‘as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,’ so, Jonathon continued, just like a baby needs milk to grow and mature, a Christian needs to feed on spiritual food.
“The Bible – the Word of God – is spiritual food. It is the nourishment you and I both need to grow as Christians. Not only that, but, in any relationship, communication is vitally important. We can easily go to God in prayer and talk to Him whenever we want. Sometimes, it can be a little harder to actually hear back what God may be trying to say to us.
“However, when we make it a practice to read His Word we can begin to know what His voice sounds like. We can learn more about His character, and more about what He expects from us as His children. His Word gives us guidance for daily living.
“We can read about how God interacted with people in the past, and that can give us the blueprint, so to speak, of how we can expect God to interact with us today. Since God’s character and principles for living never change, we can follow the Bible’s teachings and can see how the Bible is relevant to us right now, even though it was written so many years ago,” Jonathon finished.
“Well,” Trevor responded, “that makes sense. I was wondering what I should do next, and had just prayed for God’s guidance right before you showed up,” the man said with a smile. “I guess He answered my prayers.
“I guess I need to start reading the Bible; start learning to communicate with God – both talking through prayer, as well as through listening to God speak to me through His Word,” Trevor said thoughtfully. “Thanks for the insight, Jonathon, I’ll take it to heart.”
“No problem, Trevor. It’s actually my pleasure. Ever since I got saved two years ago, and began to learn how to live as a Christian, God has led me to help others learn as well. I get great joy in seeing people’s lives transformed by the power of God when they surrender themselves completely to Him and His Lordship of their lives.
“I’ve learned that being intentional is the key. It’s not always easy, my friend, we have to make an effort. We have to be intentional. We have to purpose in our hearts that we are going to do things God’s way, for God’s glory alone – not for us to get a pat on the back, but for God to get the credit He deserves when it’s shown how our lives have been changed because of us living for Him.
“The Holy Spirit is the one who causes the change to actually happen, however, we are the ones who have to be open and willing to submit to Him changing us – from the inside out. It’s a process; it doesn’t happen overnight,” Jonathon informed his cousin, “but the Bible also says in Philippians 1:6 that ‘He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.’
“That means until the day we see Jesus face to face, we’ll be under construction. Our lives will be in the process of being transformed more and more into the image of Christ. So, we need to be patient – God’s not finished with us yet!” Jonathon declared.
“That’s great to hear,” Trevor remarked, “especially since I know I’ve still got a long ways to go.”
Pointing out across the lake to the trees beyond, Jonathon commented: “You see those trees off in the distance, Trevor? Well, sometimes our lives may seem like we’re in the middle of a forest and we’ll never find our way through to the other side. Some days may feel like a struggle just for us to put one foot in front of the other, not to mention actually trying to step over barriers that try to get in our way to the clearing, however, we can always remember that God is with us and He’ll give us everything we need to conquer new territory with Him.
“Again, we can look to the examples from scripture for how God helped people during those times as inspiration for how He can help us today as well. I especially like reading about the men of the Bible who followed after God – despite the challenges they faced – and how they overcame whatever they had to overcome in order to live their lives in a way that glorified God.
“So, when you read the Bible for yourself, Trevor, I’d like to encourage you to do the same. I think it would be an encouragement for you as well. I can show you some scriptures in my Bible, and I can write down the references for you before you leave so you can read them on your own after you go back home, if you’d like. That way, you’ll have a place to start,” Jonathon offered.
“That would be great, Jonathon,” Trevor replied, “that would really help me out since I would have no clue as to where to start otherwise,” the man revealed. “I know it can be overwhelming at first,” Jonathon said, “but it doesn’t have to be. Just think of it like walking – one step at a time. Don’t worry if you fall down now and then, all children do, especially as they’re learning to walk. The important thing is to get back up and begin again.
“God is a merciful and gracious God – He doesn’t expect more from us than He’s given us the ability to do; to handle. He’ll equip us with everything we need for the journey to live for Him. Our part is to receive His grace and use it the best we can to obey His leading and guidance – for His glory and for our own well-being,” Jonathon finished.
“Thanks again for your insight,” Trevor replied. “I’m so glad I came out here to visit you today. God knew what He was doing when He gave me the idea to make that salsa and make an effort to reconnect with you,” Trevor told his cousin.
“Yes, I find that God does, in fact, know what He’s doing,” Jonathon teased the new believer. “He is awesome that way,” the man remarked, joyous in his soul to share this knowledge with yet another new creation in Christ, for God’s glory.
(end of chapter 7)
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