“Every follower of Jesus has a not-so-great ‘before.’”
I would love to tell you who wrote that, but the authors of this devotional book that coincides with Season One of @theChosentvseries do not sign off on their contributions. Does it really matter? They all have incredible insight and knowledge and love for the readers and viewers.
The thing that struck a chord in me when I first opened this new little book and read Day 1, 2, and 3 was this; what happens before our epiphanies, our miracles, our “follow me” moments, is not the story to be told. I had it all wrong. What happens after is the meat. The spotlight needs to shine on Him. I say this because my whole purpose in sharing with you cannot be to glorify me, to tout my shenanigans and hope for a thousand LIKES, but to identify with you. How else will you know we have so much in common?
Our ego’s and our pride always get in the way of us doing the right thing for the right reasons. Even the most seasoned, mature Christians can get sucked in.
I strongly encourage you to watch the series I am referencing here. https://thechosen.link/1Y1R7 As we speak, the first three episodes of Season Two have just been released. Please, please, please watch the first season first. Go to your Google Play or App Store and download the app to your device. It’s FREE! And you can stream the episodes to your other smart devices. (ie: Roku, FireTV, your computer,etc, right from your phone) I cast it to my hubby’s FireStickTV but I also watched on my computer and hooked it up with an HDMI cable. If you don’t have any of those things, you can watch it on your phone or tablet.
But watch it!! You will be amazed, no matter what you believe at this point in time.
I digress and I apologize, but I am so in love with this series and the way it brings Jesus and all the other characters to life, into your home and your heart, like the best Netflix series you ever binged on, that I can’t say enough about it!
And now I understand why the book of Matthew is the longest of the four gospels, and why Simon-Peter was…well, Peter. My goodness! He’s like my twin in a man’s body. Feisty and impetuous and over-protective and passionate! With a mouth that gets in him in trouble! (I probably should’ve been a guy, by the way).
So, about my “before” …
I guess it helps if you believe we all are wired for certain things. That we all have talents and gifts that are meant to prosper us and the rest of the planet. That those of us that love to talk and write and study and dig are meant to deliver truths. And those of us that are artistic and crafty and inventive and altruistic are meant to engage the senses, provoke thought, and provide solutions. But why?
The beauty of reading the Old Testament is finally being able to see how God has never given up on us no matter how bad we are. That old saying, ‘history repeats itself.’ Oh my. It’s so true. Every couple hundred years we do the same thing, over and over, since day one. Are you kidding me?
In Isaiah 43 God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you,” in the midst of the Israelites’ rebellion!
What’s my point?
Even when we are at our worst, God still loves us, forgives us, and can use us to help others.
Allow me to quote the author again because I just cannot say it any better. These words ring so true with me.
“Our choices don’t derail His. What we see when we look in the mirror doesn’t determine what He sees or who we’ll be by His hand and so our brokenness doesn’t alter His plans. Nor do our circumstances, other people, or our own choices determine our value; our value is assigned by the one we belong to. So we don’t have to fear. Fear not, you’re not who you’re going to be. Fear not, God can redeem your choices and use them for good…Fear not, you were made for more than what you’ve experienced so far. Fear not, this is only the beginning.”
From THE CHOSEN – Book One – Forty Days with Jesus
To those of you who shake your head and walk away feeling like you just are too far gone, a hopeless case, too old to be able to make a difference in your own life or anyone else’s, plain unforgivable, please let me tell you I have been there. My ‘before’ encompasses some pretty despicable things, by anyone’s standards. But the only One whose standards matter are God’s. And He forgives me!
These beginning pages in the devotional focus on Mary Magdelene. Her ‘before’ was not illuminated at all. Why bother? Says the author, “There’s a reason we meet Mary subsequent to her healing – because that’s where the real story is.” We learn through the gospels she was an undesirable, hardcore, red-light district lady troubled by years of mental illness, likely PTSD, and sordid living. But when you know the backstory, when you study it just a little, and see the details that most people glaze over without thinking, you see that she was His most steadfast, most transformed, most valued of his followers. She never failed him when all the others did. She was there from beginning to end, along with the other woman who nurtured and protected the Messiah, his mother.
I love how the author writes this last sentence on page fifteen. “The woman too insignificant to even have her ‘before’ recorded was so precious to Jesus that she became the first person He appeared to after He rose from the dead, the first one to hear His tender voice, and the first witness of the culmination of all He claimed to be and do – and she got to tell the boys.”
Tee-hee! She got to tell the boys! I lovvvve that!
And I love you, too.
We have lots to share. I hope you will subscribe and that we can talk.
Most teachers of God’s Word suggest reading the book of John in the New Testament before reading anything else. John was close to Jesus and he learned the art of humility as he aged and spent more time with him. He was determined to get eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ comings and goings and miracles. Interesting rendition of this in season two of https://thechosen.link/1Y1R7
You can learn more about the apostle John here: https://www.gotquestions.org/life-John-Apostle.html
John was the man Christ trusted the care of his own mother to, part of the inner circle, with his brother James and the bad boy, Simon-Peter. And just so you know, Jesus renamed some of these guys. Peter started out as Simon, the cocky fisherman who became a major player in starting the early church, and who ended up dying on a cross himself one day.
Until next time, Peace in Christ. Be at peace with yourself, who you are in the eyes of your Maker, and forget the rest. It’s none of your business what other people think of you anyway!
Below is the link to purchase the book if you want one of your own. This is not an affiliate link. I am not paid to promote ‘The Chosen’ merchandise. I believe in this series with my whole heart. It’s what inspired me to stop getting distracted and move forward with this blog while I’m still learning how to do it right! Like life, you know. If I waited until I felt like I was a perfect teacher, I would never share anything and we wouldn’t have met. https://thechosengifts.com/collections/books/products/bound-devotional-book
Isaiah 43:1 says…
“Do not be afraid – I will save you – I have called you by name – You are mine”