Fashion Watch

Fashion Watch blog photo chosen

Some years ago, my two children accompanied me to a Christian bookstore so I could spend my birthday money on a new Christian t-shirt. I chose a bright red shirt which featured half of a sentence on the front and the profound remainder of the sentence on the back. My daughter wanted to have a matching shirt. How could I say no to that?! We found an identical shirt in her size and then set about to find a shirt for my son also. His shirt made a different but still profound statement. It was not their birthdays, so we used money from their school clothes budget to make the purchase. My children attended public school, and by wearing their shirts there, they connected with believing schoolmates, as well as addressed questions from those who did not.

Not long after our trip to the store, we had the opportunity to accompany my husband on a trip across the country. He had a speaking engagement 2,112 miles from home. I had no reason to be there other than to support my husband. Or so I thought.

My children and I have flown several times to visit family out of state. As we travel, we wear our Christian t-shirts. We have had the opportunity to share Jesus by doing so. On this particular trip across the country, we donned our newly-purchased shirts and ended up having several interesting encounters. The shirts caught the eyes of many. Sometimes the attention was strictly visual. Other times, it became verbal. Some complimented us. Some told us they believed in Jesus also. And some asked for an explanation of the meaning of the words.

Our trip lasted for six days. During this week, I purchased a watch that soon quit working. On our final day there, we had some free time before heading to the airport and decided to return the watch. There was a slow-moving line of ten people waiting at customer service. My husband and the kids decided to walk around for fifteen minutes while waiting on me.

As I stood there looking around and greeting passers-by, a man in a motorized wheelchair got in line behind me. When I turned to greet him, he responded by asking what Jesus would think of the shirt I was wearing. It seemed time stood still at that moment, and there was nothing but this conversation to tend to. I explained to the man that I am a passionate follower of Jesus. The man replied that he should be more like that. When I asked if he was a believer, he said he wasn’t, but he should be, but he couldn’t be because he had too many questions. I explained that our knowledge and comprehension of God is limited, but we can ask God to reveal Himself to us. I further explained that God had the most important question for him, wondering where he wanted to spend eternity. The man told me he didn’t like it where it was hot, and I responded that the choice was his. The conversation then shifted to the weather and where we lived. I was suddenly called to the service counter where the clerk proceeded to tell me I was in the wrong line and would need to go to the jewelry department. I turned to tell the man goodbye, but he was already with another clerk.

I hurried back to the jewelry counter, with only minutes to spare before needing to rejoin my family. I laughed as I told the clerk I had just spent the last ten minutes in the wrong line. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked, “Didn’t the clerk at the front door tell you to come straight back here for a jewelry return?” I smiled as I told her no, because I knew God had appointed that time for me to talk to that man. This was about more than temporal time—this was about eternal time.

After finishing in the jewelry department, I quickly walked around looking for the man to at least find out his name, but I never saw him again. To our family and praying friends, he is “The Nashville (insert name of store) Man,” but God knows his very name. Oh, how I long for his salvation. Please join me in praying for him, and remember that people are watching you, clothes and all.

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside*, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Colossians 4:5–6 NKJV

 

*“Those who are outside” refers to unbelievers.

©Text and photo, Francee Strain, February 29, 2020

Unbound–Part 2 of 3

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A glorious day came and went long ago. We were not there to witness it with our own eyes, but we can witness it with our hearts. Our eyes of faith can be opened. Our eyes can be unbound from disbelief, disillusionment, and distraction. A direct and intentional focus on an event that changed history will result in a direct and intentional focus on an event that will change the future.

Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified on a cross to pay the price of each and every sin that would ever be committed by all of humankind. He took the penalty that was ours. His back received the stripes of a beating. His head wore a crown of thorns. He was separated from God the Father while the work of redemption was being done. And finally, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” The debt we owed but could never pay was paid. The forgiveness we could never earn was freely poured out. This day changed history. But then…

There came another day. The third day. “The Bible tells us about some women who were grieving because Jesus had just been crucified on the cross. They were headed to His grave to prepare His body for burial, but instead they encountered an angel who invited them to “Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matt. 28:6). This was an invitation to a past tense event, to see the place where His body had been. Jesus was no longer there because He had risen—He is risen! Talk about a cure for their grief! Talk about a cure for ours!” 1

Jesus was unbound from the graveclothes. He was unbound from the sting of death. He was unbound from the tomb. Do our eyes of faith behold Him? Do our hearts hear His voice calling out to us in love? Do we let this day change our future? Do we accept what He did for us, and do we accept that He lives, ready to prepare a place for those who will believe? His resurrection day was a glorious day, and ours can be, too. Choosing Jesus as our Savior will unbind us from our sin and shame. We will no longer have to bear these burdens because He bore them for us and purchased our redemption. The yoke of bondage was broken when He burst forth from the tomb!

And there will be one more day that is glorious. This will be the day when all who have chosen Jesus as their Savior experience His resurrection power for themselves.  He will gather all His own to be with Him forever.  No longer will death have dominion, for eternal life will triumph. Jesus’s payment nearly 2,000 years ago will be valid on that day for all those who asked God to accept the payment on their behalf. 

So, what about the now while we await that glorious day? We can choose to open wide our eyes of faith and see the Deliverer who unbinds hearts. This faith brings freedom. This faith leaves us unbound. We can be free indeed because He is risen indeed!

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 NKJV).

 

1 Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 65.

Photography,  ©Francee Strain