It hit me like a brick in my face. This message I read convicted me like nothing before it. And I realized that my reason for wanting to share with you was not pure, until now.
The author of this passage is relating how passionate and bold these men, (and women) of the early church were, and how their “…relentless passion…seems kind of rare these days. How come? Well, for starters, they weren’t in love with themselves or their own stories…They weren’t belaboring their ‘before Christ dysfunction with all its juicy, sensationalistic tidbits. When you look at biblical examples, it’s amazing how few words are given to their broken pasts—the almost exclusive focus is on Jesus.”
Pow. Brain explosion. Time to re-examine, re-focus, re-group, re-write.
Three people collaborated on this new little book I just got. I adore The Chosen tv series and everything that supports its on-going global spread. This new devotional is part of my support. It’s the first one out since the end of season one of this amazing series. I could guess by the context it was one of the women who wrote this particular message of the day. She referred to a couple of verses in the book of Luke, where Jesus is speaking to his disciples;
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” https://my.bible.com/bible/59/LUK.9.23-24
And I must add the very next verse because it is a favorite of mine…
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” https://my.bible.com/bible/59/LUK.9.25.esv
Those words. Even those of us who believe and follow have a hard time with the concept of self-denial, aka ‘losing his life,’ for the sake of anyone. Even God! But those early preachers and teachers faced the same kinds of death Jesus did, and did it willingly, for the greater good, because they loved him.
When Jesus was speaking these words to his disciples, those twelve guys that brought the Good News of salvation to the world, he knew they would lose their lives for real! In horrible ways, just like his own death on that cross! He wasn’t referring to that, though. He meant that we are to live life for the greater good of the world. To look beyond our own little lives to the stuff that matters for generations to come. Not an easy task.
My desire, my reason for being here is to help other imperfect people like myself get to know God on a personal level because most of us never did that as kids or young adults. If you never get to know him, the desire to please him isn’t there. If we went to church as kids it’s because we had to, and if we practiced a faith it was not life-changing by any means. Not at my house anyway! We went through the motions.
Most of us on the fringes don’t know the peace that comes from a relationship with our Creator, which, by the way, is not the universe. Sorry if that sounds snobby, but it’s the reality of things. We were not created by the cosmos. Some of us may find peace in meditation, in crystals, in rituals of other religions, but there is nothing like Christianity. And you can’t let the people scare you away.
I’ll admit that Christians can be pretty scary and a little over the top, but so can lots of other people.
My prayer is for you to come to understand why our Bible tells us we can only find eternity with God through Jesus. I didn’t used to believe that. It’s irrefutable, though, once you look behind the curtain. Even a little bit of biblical / historical research points to that truth. But you can always read, “The Case for Christ” and others like it if you need lots of facts and don’t trust the Bible to be the historical, accurate, God-breathed truth that it is.
My way of relating to all the other imperfect people out there has always been to share stories. Why share stories? So others that were raised in a crazy family, with a penchant for bad boys, muscle cars, and motorcycles can relate. There’s nothing more intimidating or uncomfortable for people like me than trying to explain to a pristine Christian my old lifestyle. People are just so judgmental, right?
So, here’s the thing. I am not. I have no room to judge.
Know this much about me:
I study the bible now but didn’t until 2009 after a stupid, almost tragic, back yard accident.
I am old, and blessed to be alive, not a vegetable, and not in prison.
If not for the birth of my daughter there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be alive at this point just because I was reckless. I am currently making a list of all my close calls. I must have gone through at least three guardian angels by now!
I believe with all my heart that the reason I am still here is for you. Because I have a purpose to fulfill. And because there’s a good chance, if you saw my blog title and photo, we may have a lot in common, and you just may consider giving God a chance, like I did.
That’s my reason for being here.
I would love for you to subscribe and comment and share this blog with others while I’m still learning how to perfect it.
Thank you in advance.
Let me share another favorite verse of mine:
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. https://my.bible.com/bible/116/PHP.2.13.nlt