But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.1 Peter 2:9 (MSG)
As I read this verse on my computer screen this evening, I realized how lucky we are that we are chosen by God, to be a holy people, to do his work, to spread the good news of the gospel and the Love HE has for each and every one of us. No matter where we are in life or how messy our lives out. HE LOVES us just the way we are and HE wants us to come to him, to accept Jesus Christ, His son, as our Personal Lord and Savior. Accepting Jesus as my Savior, at the age of 11 was easy for me to do, because I had great role models in my life and knowing and believing I would have eternal life with God through Jesus Christ, was far greater a reward than I could ever hope or imagine. However, I realize that there are many people who have never had someone teach them about Jesus Christ or how different your life not only will be once you accept Him as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with HIM. I know this, because somewhere along the journey I fell out of step with the Lord; and that is a very hard thing for me to admit.
When I was blessed enough to become a wife and a mother, I stopped talking and walking with Christ. Well, let me be a little more specific, I talked with Him occasionally, but not daily and not all day, like I do now. My spouse didn’t want to go to church with me and I somehow felt if I went alone, what would people think and that was my downfall. I was so worried about what people would think, I didn’t give it much thought about what God or Jesus would think. Sad, I know. But for years, many years, I tried to do everything in my own strength, without the guidance of God or His Holy Word.
But God never gave up on me. Many times I felt drawn to Bible Study groups or churches, but the fear that I would be looked down upon, kept me away. Mostly the shame I felt, the enemy used that and that shame had such a grip on me, I just felt defeated. So, needless to say my children-our children, did not grow up grounded in the truth and their lives weren’t built on a strong rooted foundation as mine was, in Christ. Oh, they knew that at Easter, Christ arose from the dead, but it really didn’t have much bearing on their lives. And they knew Christmas day was about celebrating God’s gift to the world, Baby Jesus; but they really didn’t grasp or care to grasp why God sent Jesus to earth in human form.
I would try to teach them about faith and what faith was and when they struggled, I would say you’ve got to have faith. If something isn’t working, you need to try harder; don’t give up; don’t quit, but I didn’t say let’s pray and ask Jesus for His help. Because I had fallen out of being instep with the Lord, I didn’t think to share the great message with my children. And, if you are a Christian and a believer, you know how easy it is to lapse. Miss a service here, don’t take time to pray or talk to God or get in the Word, and pretty soon, you feel so far way~much like the prodigal son did.
After years of struggles and disappointments, I realized that something had to change. Was it me, was I the problem? Why had life become so difficult? I fell to my knees and I cried out to God, where are you? I need you? Why aren’t you answering me? And when I sat there, in tears, that continued flowing and didn’t think they were ever gonna stop-I felt this tug in my spirit, this tiny whisper, I am here. I have always been here, I was just waiting for you to invite me back into your life. What a powerful moment!
In God’s Word, he promises us that HE will never leave us or forsake us. THE MESSAGE TRANSLATION puts it like this:
Hebrews 13: Message (MSG)
5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?
And so it began, a new chapter in my journey with the Lord. I returned to the fold and HE welcomed me with open arms. While being prayed over, by a woman I had never met, but who has since became a great friend, I felt such peace, that I knew from that moment, God was with me-had always been with me-I just hadn’t noticed because I was trying to do everything on my own, instead of doing it in HIS strength!
You see, because we are of the world, it is very easy to think we can do everything on our own, in our own ways and our own power, but in the WORD (Holy Bible), God reminds us in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, He gives me strength.” God did not create us to do anything without Him. But he did give us free will to make our own decisions and choices. If we choose to do it without Him, we are bound to make a mess of our lives. We may have small victories, every now and then, but we won’t have the JOY and PEACE in us, if we don’t have HIM in our hearts.
I started dragging my children to church with me as young teenagers. I tried to get them involved in the fabulous, energetic, passion, on fire youth group at the church I was attending; but they weren’t interested. And by dragging, I mean sometimes they were actually kicking and screaming on the way in the door during weekly evening services. And I was quite embarrassed and shocked by their reactions. Mostly embarrassed. But one of the pastors told me not to worry about it. As a parent, it was my job to get them there and let God do His work. Seemed simple enough, but it was the farthest thing from simple that I could imagine. But each week, I would take them. And each week, they sat there, irritated and aggravated they had to be there.
Our children our 19 and 21 now, and oh, how I wish I could say that they found the Lord and walk with Him, but they are still fighting the fact that they need Him now more than ever. But I continue to trust God that He is in Control; that He has a plan and the best I can do now, is what I have been doing-pray for them, love them, let them see God/Jesus in Me and leave the results up to Him.
My greatest fear, as a parent, is that they will die, never accepting Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But through a friend, God told me, years ago, I have a plan for your children. Trust Me. And I am trusting Him.
So, when you decide to truly follow Jesus and take up the cross and walk with Him, you let go of your old life and shrug off the old things that made you the person that was used to be condemned for your faults; but when you accept Jesus, the slate is wiped clean; because HE has already paid the price for your sins-all of them-and you become pure and righteous-not by anything you did-but everything HE did. And you become a Holy People.
It’s pretty cool, actually when you think about it. I am Holy. I am also a mess at times; my life is utter chaos but I have the Holy Spirit within me. No matter where I am or what I am doing, HE is ALWAYS with me! I can choose to let the chaos rule me or I can let God’s Peace cover me and permeate my being and I can choose how I respond to whatever it may be-loving and kind or not so kind. I strive to be loving and kind. I don’t like to be the “not so kind” type of person, because then I am not a good representation of who Jesus is. And that is my goal. I want to be the person, that when people look at me, they want to know how can you be so calm in this storm?? AND then I can share JESUS with them.
So, just remember this: no matter how far away you feel from Jesus; no matter if you have never even given Him a thought, HE CREATED YOU, HE LOVES YOU & HE WILL MEET YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!