Tidbits of Treasure
There has been a strong pull in me, to share my love for God with others. I had wanted to speak publicly for a few years, however, God kept telling me the timing was not yet mine. When the day did come, my daughter gave me a letter regarding a day of reflection in preparation for their upcoming confirmation. The parents were offered time to speak on why their faith was important to them and I was contemplating my participation. Two of my older children had already gone through confirmation and never had this opening presented itself before. When I mentioned it to my my daughter, she asked me not to come, she was embarrassed at what the kids might say. I thought about it and I decided that sharing with them, was a good thing and I prayed the Lord would give me words they would understand. How hard could it possibly be to explain why I believe in God? Much harder than I had anticipated, but the words finally came together.
Like many of the children that would be sitting before me, I remember a time in my life when I didn’t like going to church and found it very boring. I had a hard time understanding what the Priest was saying. It never seemed to make any sense, and it certainly didn’t feel like it was applicable to today. I would go however, every week with my parents, because I had to. Eventually, the choice became my own to attend church. It didn’t happen until I was much older around 20. It was at that time that I felt the pursuit of the Holy Spirit in my life and as the bible says, my soul thirst for Him. I began looking forward to going to church on Sunday mornings, because the Priest would deliver these beautiful messages that made me want to live differently and to be a better person for Jesus. I left every Sunday with a tingling on my skin and a desire of wanting more; more teaching, more time with God, more knowledge of who He was.
This is the time where I believe understanding who God was and what He wanted for me became very important. I could not get enough of this information or have enough conversations with others. I could talk for hours about this subject, I still can. The moment however; when Jesus’ love for me became real, occurred while I was watching the movie, “The Passion”, by Mel Gibson. This movie brought tears to my eyes and a repentant heart, as I sat ashamed of the sin in my life and the pain that it inflicted on Jesus. With every whip I saw one of my sins lash across his back. With every piece of flesh torn by the scourging, was a choice I had made that was offensive to God, because it was sinful. The movie took an event that happened nearly 2,000 years ago, and brought it straight into the present time. It placed me at the foot of the cross where Jesus said, “Because I love you this much!”
I asked the children how many of them had ever had a sibling take the punishment for something that they had done wrong. Almost every hand in the place went up, and I even heard one student share, that it is was really the other way around. He was the one getting the punishment for something his sibling had done. I connected this to Isaiah 55:5-6, where it says:
5But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace, was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Those words tell us that the transgressions and iniquities for which Jesus suffered and died were not only for the people of his time, but for us. Each of us hung Jesus on that cross, and each of us have been offered this gift of forgiveness. The difference between the sibling’s punishment and Jesus’ was one of choice. The brother or sister, did not have a choice in the matter, Jesus, however; chose for you and for me, to give himself up to save our lives. He took our punishment. It was not the nails that held his hands and feet on that cross, it was his love for us.
This knowledge, turned everything around for me. Once Christ became real, I wanted to get to know him; just like the child who studies the stats of their favorite professional sports team and players. Why are these numbers important to them? What do they tell us about the players, the team? How does one get to know this information? Or maybe it isn’t sports stats the child wants to know, but “How Well They Know Their Bestie?” So they take a test, and find out. Maybe they find out they know their friend really well, or maybe the test lets them know how little they actually know about their Bestie. When a stat can’t be remembered, or one struggles to answer the quiz; generally, if that information is important to them, the children look harder to learn more. That is what “The Passion” revealed to me. It was the moment in my life where I realized that I did not know Jesus very well and I needed to know him. So searching the scriptures and listening to other people is how I began.
The teachers had asked for an answer to, “Why my faith is important to me?” Isaiah 41:10 came to mind; my favorite book in the bible. As a mini condensed version of the Word of God, I find it draws me in. With 66 books in the bible, the 66 chapters in Isaiah, summarizes what each of the individual books are trying to teach us. Plus it is the book where God puts out the question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And Isaiah answers “Here I am. Send me!”
The courage to step out comes from God. In Isaiah 41:10, we hear him tell the people of Judah what God said in their time of great fear, “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.“ This promise is important. We will experience suffering and difficulties throughout our lives. These situations can be hard and scary to walk through. What I have learned however; (by failing the, “How well do you know your best friend?” quiz; because Jesus is my best friend), is that no matter what I have to face in this world, I will never have to face it alone.
God promises good things for us; the devil on the other hand, brings us trouble, always trying to tempt us and lead us away from God. When we choose to follow Jesus, we can be confident that God’s there to take care of us. This type of faith comes when we absolutely surrender ourselves to God and say, “Yes, Jesus, I love you, and I want to live my life for you. I want to do everything that you have for me to do.” So how did I learn to love Jesus enough to give him control and allow him to direct my life? I read, and studied and meditated on the scriptures; just like the child studying the stats of his favorite player. Every day, I spend time reading my bible, meeting with friends and studying the word. I listen to Christian Radio, CHRI 99.1, and Christian music.
I have learned that my life belongs to God and he created me for a purpose, so I look to him to order my steps in a day and to direct my path to go where he leads me. I have learned that I am to love with my actions and to not expect anything in return. Jesus gave me that example to follow. He loved me so much, that he gave up his life to save me and he did it before I had decided to follow him. It has taken many years to grow my faith this deeply. It is not the same as any of the other members in my family. None of them can live off of my faith. Each one of them must discover Jesus for themselves and in their own way. They will make their own choice to trust and follow God, just as each one of you must do for yourselves.
The more time I spend reading my bible, talking with others and seeking His will for me in my life, the closer I feel to Him. The less I allow worry, fear and anxiety to steal from me, and the greater my trust and my love for Jesus grows. I cannot make any one of you want to spend time with Him, but I can tell you that nothing you do, no sins you commit, no choices you make, will ever stop God from loving you. You can never out sin God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. You cannot out run him, you cannot hide from Him. No matter where you are, He is there and He is waiting for you to choose to follow him. When you choose Him you cannot lose.