Monday, September 21, 2009

To the believer: Is it "good enough"?

In a world that is constantly vying for our time, attention, gifts, and resources, we have become accustomed to quickly discerning what we think is "good enough" for us, our family, our lives. As mothers we are inundated with choices about food, clothing, toys, activities, sports . . . the list could go on and on. But really what should we be spending our time investing in?

Recently I came across two verses that have challenged me about what I deem "good enough" for my time, energy, and resources.

Acts 17:17 - "So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place EVERY DAY (emphasis added) with those who happened to be present."

Rom. 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek."

The latter verse really made me stop: Am I ashamed of the Gospel? Or to ask the same thing another way, "is it 'good enough' for me to spend time, energy, and resources talking about?" I have to admit, if someone looked into my personal, daily deeds, they wouldn't answer this question in the positive. It is kinda like asking someone what they think is important. You can get a good glimpse at their answer by looking in their checkbook at what they spend money on. Under that same litmus test, you might say that I am not ashamed. I give freely of my money, time, and gifts to the church.

But the question that haunts me is, what about each day in my personal dealings . . . as I am in the marketplace (Acts 17:17)? Am I still not ashamed there? Is the gospel of Christ "good enough" for me to step out of my comfort zone and share it as I go about daily living, as I meet those who happen to be there?

It is! It is the power of God to salvation! It is not just "good enough;" it is the best thing out there! It brings life to the dead; it makes new the old; it frees the enslaved; it empowers the powerless; it strengthens the weak; it enlightens the darkness!

So, I will heed the voice of God. I will run my race with more determination. I will NOT be ashamed. I will reason in the church with the believers and I will reason in the marketplace everyday with whomever I meet. It is more than good enough for me - it is the most worthy thing of my time, attention, gifts, and resources.

Have you thought recently whether it is "good enough" for you?

post script
If you are wondering whether you are good enough for the gospel of Christ. In one respect, the answer is "no!" Now before you get offended or stop reading, none of us are. We have all sinned, which makes us less than equal to God (Rom. 3:23). But what is so great is that even though we are sinners, God loved us enough to make a way for us to spend eternity with Him and have an abundant life on earth until our death. He took the consequences of our sin, which was death, and died on the cross. Then He did something that we could not do. He rose from the grave (he defeated death!) and gave us the opportunity to live again.

Now, back to the question: "yes! you are good enough!" Jesus Christ did all this for everyone . . . even while they were in sin! He did it for you! He loves you that much! You don't have to be a certain type of person, of a certain family, etc. What you do have to be is repentant; meaning you have to understand you are a sinner (you do wrong sometimes) and you have to want to turn from that sin. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin and ask him to take complete control of your life. I promise, you will not regret it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I want a "Do Over!"

How many of us want to start over? We might have this desire in life generally or in a specific situation. Sometimes I feel this way with my children. We start the day already having conflict and I just want to scream, "DO OVER!" When my daughter wakes up on the proverbial "wrong side", I have actually sent her back to bed and told her to wake up a second time in a much better mood (a tickle treatment while she was down usually helps this!). Or even this feeling arises with my husband, especially when an important conversation starts out with the wrong phrase, tone, or gesture. "DO OVER PLEASE!"

Unfortunately, I can't even count the number of times this has been my mantra in trying to reach those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Whether it is saying something too "churchy", not being compassionate enough in ministering to someone hurting, or having to address a topic with a new friend with a politically incorrect answer, there always seem to be too many times when I wish I would have done it "better" . . . better in my view at least. I wanted a "Do Over!"

You know what is so good about even these times though? God still can use them. God still can use me, even when I want to scream, "DO OVER!" and He can make something good and glorifying to His name come from the situation. That's my God though, always taking something that is far short of perfect or good and making it useful, giving it a purpose. He can continue to do this in my life circumstances because He has already done it in my heart.

God, through Jesus Christ, has taken my sinful heart and given me a new one. He has taken that spirit of the law within me and given me instead a spirit of grace. He has taken my works of the flesh, which really weren't that great, and given me His Spirit of righteousness. Do you understand how big that is?! I wasn't deserving of any of these gifts! Yet, God loved me so much that while I was living in those works of the flesh (sin), He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sin and give me a new life. He gave me a "do over!"

I sure am thankful for "Do overs!"