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OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY TREE

Logan, Leah, Danika, Katy & Meagan

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.    —Hebrews 12:1–2a (NIV)

 

Our Heritage

forest FTR TSP 122497265My family tree is a mix of various nationalities, which makes it difficult to figure out my biological pedigree. Thankfully, I’m more concerned about my spiritual background and about learning from the Bible characters who have helped to shape the person I am today. Joseph, a teenager, was sold into slavery in Egypt; yet he and others prospered because of his faith in God. Joseph’s story reminds me that God is with us even during tough times. King Solomon used the wisdom God had granted him to teach others about God. His wise advice recorded in the Book of Proverbs is still applicable today. Paul traveled the known world to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul’s letters in the New Testament continue to teach us how to live a Christ-filled life. Whatever my biological background, I know who I am in Christ.

—Logan Smith, 18

 

Our Heroes

Joseph is my hero. After being sold into slavery, he worked diligently in Egypt, earning his rise from slave to second-in-command. Even when faced with sexual temptation, Joseph stood firm and remained faithful to God. When he was finally reunited with his brothers, who had betrayed him, Joseph did not seek revenge but instead forgave them. Astounded by his faith in God, I often ask myself, Am I a Joseph? Do I forgive others? Do I honor God above all else? Do I see my life through God’s eyes rather than my own? I pray to be more like Joseph. What Bible hero challenges you to be more faithful?

—Leah Bryan, 19

 

Our Role Models

It’s easy to feel as if I’m the only one struggling to follow Christ. Yet the Bible is full of stories of those who have followed Christ, even in times of adversity. Stephen sacrificed his life, refusing to deny the truth of the Gospel. Hot-headed and impetuous Peter loved Jesus enough to proclaim his love, even though it cost Peter his life. Paul, a man who persecuted Christians, was called by Christ to spread the Good News to the Gentiles. Lydia, a wealthy merchant, opened her home and her heart to those who would hear and preach the Gospel. These and other God-fearing men and women give my life perspective, my heart courage, and my soul hope.

—Danika Cooley

 

Our Family

Roots2 TSP 115817569If you’re like me, your eyes have glazed over while reading those long, boring genealogies in the Bible. I used to think these lists were irrelevant—until recently. The Israelites could trace their roots all the way back to Adam, reminding them of their place in God’s family. Jesus tells us in John 1:12 that through him, we too can become children of God. I now take joy in reading the ancient genealogies, because I know somewhere toward the end of the list, God has added my name to the family tree.

—Katy Steele, 21

 

DIG DEEPER

The List Goes On

Recently, my family started researching our genealogy. Now that I know the names of my ancestors from hundreds of years ago, I can’t help but wonder what they were like, how they lived, and what they left behind. Then my thoughts go deeper: What would my ancestors say to me if they could reach across the centuries? What could they teach me about life and faith? Soon I begin to ponder my own place in time: I wonder if my descendants will remember me, if my presence will positively influence their future?

Knowing your name is one of many in a long list may make you feel insignificant, but one life can make a difference for the generations that follow. How will your life affect future generations? What will you teach them about life and faith?

—Meagan Briggs, 24

—from devozine (May/June 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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