Category Archives: Good news

Fix the Bad or Spread the Good?

“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains

You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”

There is so much strife in the world.  Right now, what I see is politics.  I intensely dislike the antagonism there.  My Republican friends post on Facebook about how stupid the Democrats are.  The Democrats post about how dumb the Republicans are.  It is just so hateful, so inconsiderate.

But this is nothing compared to the conflict all over the world.  It is utterly disturbing to see the fighting in Syria, the Middle East, and other places — people killing one another, full  of rage and antagonism, over and over, without end.

Looking at the above passage in Mark 13, there is a huge contrast between the strife foretold, and the building of God’s kingdom.  One makes it seem like the world is falling apart, and the other speaks of a kingdom that is GROWING through all the hardship.  One is bad news, the other is good news.

So does Jesus want us to fix the bad news, or does he want us to focus on the good news?

I think it’s obvious he wants us to focus on the good news.  Look at the wording of verse 10 again:  “And the gospel MUST FIRST be preached to all nations.”  That is the priority of Jesus. He doesn’t once say they should engage in the wars, or even fight it if they are arrested.

No, in fact, they are to use the conflict they encounter as a platform to be WITNESSES.

I think the same should be true today.  Our main focus should be on the spreading of the gospel, not in fixing the wrongs of the world.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I think there’s a place for righting injustices. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.  Isa 1:17a 

And most definitely we need to serve the poor and needy.  After all, pure religion is to take care of the orphans and widows. (James 1:27)  Jesus said that in caring for “the least of these” — the sick, the hungry, those in prison — we are caring for him.  And Isaiah said about true fasting: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”  Isa 58:7

But the gospel MUST be preached.  I guarantee, most of us want to put it on the back burner instead of the front.

So what is the “gospel?”   I looked through the first few chapters of Mark to see what good news Jesus was telling people, and I found almost nothing.  The only thing I saw was this:

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  Mark 1:14-15

The good news was that it was time for the kingdom of God to come.

And what did the kingdom mean to the Jews?  They thought God would make them a sovereign nation, as He did in the time of David and Solomon.  They would be an empire, great on earth.

But this wasn’t the kingdom Jesus was bringing.  Even if we don’t see him describing it, we can see what he was doing.  Jesus was amazing people with new teachings about God.  He was casting out demons.  He was healing the sick.  He was forgiving sin.

And that shows us that actually, JESUS was the good news.  He was the kingdom that was coming.  The king, God, was WITH men as never before.

Sure, God was with his people in times of old.  He told Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”  (Joshua 1:5)

But God wasn’t with men in a physical sense, as He was when Jesus came to earth.  And what a powerful time it was!  Demons were conquered.  Sin was forgiven.  Words of life were spoken.  Needs were met.  Bread was multiplied.  Love was manifest.

God was with them.  That was the good news.  And, of course, it became even better news than that, because Jesus made a way for people to be WITH God always.

So whether there were disasters or wars, or any manner of catastrophes, Jesus ushered in a time when it didn’t matter what was going on, because the Almighty God was WITH them.  He didn’t come to bring an end to their suffering.  He came to bring them power amidst the suffering.  THAT was the good news.

And it still is the good news.  Last night Ken and I were praying with our friends, Mike and Carol.  I confess, that when it gets to be about 8 PM, I am just gutting it out sometimes.  I love my friends, and I love to pray to God.  But I’m tired.  And so my prayers can be listless.  But last night I remembered the good news.  The powerful God was with me!  And I KNEW He would do exciting things because of our prayers.  So I started to be infused with strength and excitement.  I felt alive.

The gospel is such good news.  I could go on an on about the hope we have, the impossible prayers that have been answered, the miracle being a part of the family of God.  It’s not lackluster, it’s HUGE and glorious.

Thus, the gospel must be preached.  It is bigger than any catastrophe, because no matter what happens, we can be WITH God.  People need to know this truth that will transform them forever.

May this calling swell in our hearts.  Let’s not get distracted by ranting about the numerous wrongs in the world.  Yes, let’s seek to right injustices.  Yes, let’s spend ourselves on behalf of the needy.

But let’s also seek to give people the thing that will help them find hope and strength in their difficulties.

Let’s give them the Jesus who will make possible immeasurably more than all they can ask or imagine.

Let’s give them something that will last far beyond the troubles on this earth.

The world will always be falling apart.

With our help, there’s something more.  The kingdom that will always be growing.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Evangelism, Good news, Mark

The Gospel of Jesus: Much More!

No One Like Him

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  Matt 7:11

Ken has been reading “No One Like Him” by Thomas A. Jones, and yesterday he read aloud to me this amazing chapter on “His Good News:  Extravagant Generosity.”  It is so good, I want to make sure I remember it.  I am going to mark this as one of my favorite blogs.

In the chapter, Jones stresses that the gospel from the mouth and life of Jesus is incredibly, insanely good.  This gospel is that God will give MUCH MORE.

Here are some examples:

  • The woman at the well
  • The parable of the man forgiven the huge debt
  • The justification of the tax collector who prayed with the Pharisee
  • The story of Zacchaeus
  • The forgiveness of the woman and Simon’s house
  • The parable of the workers in the vineyard
  • The support of the man who confessed his doubt
  • The numerous healings of those with demon possession
  • The cleansing of the ten lepers
  • The forgiveness of the thief on the cross

In addition, Jones mentions that the core group of the Jesus’ followers had failed at the crucial hour and were therefore in their roles only because of “relentless grace” of the Son of God.

God gives MUCH MORE.  More than we expect.  More than we deserve.

Jesus characterizes this extravagant generosity, and THAT becomes our motivation.  As Jones says —

“Every standard Jesus sets for us, every challenge he gives us, every seemingly impossible moral imperative he announces must be seen in the context of this insanely generous love, the abundance of support, this extravagant generosity. Take away this gift, this offer, this lavishing of grace, and the call to follow Jesus would just be too hard the Sermon on the Mount would be a burden, and the idea of seeking first the will of God would wear us down.

There is something so great in the kingdom that the only appropriate response is a radical one.”

So my prayer for the new year is that we all would be able to see the MUCH MORE of Jesus, and that would be the impetus behind all we do.  Because the gospel is much more than a bunch of things we are supposed to do.  It is much more than a set of teachings, or even the story of a man who gave his life.  It is the story of a God whose very nature is to shower us with abundance, whose generosity defies logic, who delights in bestowing unexpected and undeserved blessings.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.   Eph 1:18-19

I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.   Acts 26:17-18a

He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”  Matt 13:52

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Favorite, Good news, Grace

The Heart of the Gospel

“…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”  Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”  Acts 2:36-37

Sometimes I think we can fill our life with the framework of Christianity — church, Bible studies, activities and fellowship — and still miss the heart of it all.

The heart of it all is that we messed up our relationship with God. We broke it. We created a gulf of estrangement between us and God.

Think of the times you hurt someone you cared about, how badly you felt. Maybe you can even remember a time when you damaged a relationship so badly that it was almost impossible to repair.

But we didn’t just mess up our relationship with a friend or family member, we offended our GOD. We damaged our relationship with our Creator, the Almighty, the one who has dreams for us, the one who’s given us so many good gifts, the one who loves us unconditionally.

“Against you and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”  Ps 51:4

You think your sins haven’t been that bad to cause offense? Who has been on the throne in your life? Be honest. Has your life been about you, or about God? Do you come to the Lord on his terms or on your terms? Have you embraced Christ’s mission of seeking and saving the lost? Have you taken care of the needy? Have you lavished God with love as you would someone you dote on, or have you actively given your heart to something else – your job, looking good to others, what you want in life, your comfort and enjoyment?

All  of these areas represent sin, and sin isn’t something God just swats away and everything is fine again. Every action has a consequence, including sin.

For the wages of sin is death… Romans 3:23

The consequences here aren’t just a broken relationship. We’ve gotten ourselves in some deep doo-doo. The result is a death sentence, physically and spiritually.

“What?” you say. “That sounds totally extreme. I’m just human. I’ve just done what everyone does.”

But although God is totally merciful, he is just. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8.

So how can we fix things? Actually, there isn’t ANYTHING we can do. No amount of saying we’re sorry and trying to live a good life will close the chasm we’ve opened. In Old Testament times, you could perform a sacrifice, and that would be a temporary solution.

But we need a SAVIOR.  Jesus bore the consequences of our actions. And if you think your actions weren’t that bad, look at the seriousness of the consequences – beaten and whipped to a bloody pulp, tortured with iron spikes between nerve endings, death.

God saved us and gave us a gift – eternal life. He clothed us with the righteousness of Jesus, because we never could be good enough on our own. God fixed the damage once and for all. He restored us to a place in his loving arms.

So this is the heart of Christianity. It’s being keenly aware of our estrangement from God, and ecstatically happy that this estrangement no longer exists. It’s bursting with gratitude for what God did to make things right, when we couldn’t do anything.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.  Romans 5:6-11

There is much more to the gospel that I can talk about, but I like to keep things simple.

I totally screwed up my relationship with God. He gave up his best to fix it.  Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Good news, Grace, Gratitude, Having the Right Heart, Things I Am Learning

The Magical WORD of Grace

Now, brothers, I entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  Acts 20:32

This is a great verse!  First of all, the Greek for “word” is logos.  It’s the same word that is used in John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . . Through him all things were made. . . “

There is power in a spoken word.  God, through Christ the WORD, spoke the earth into existence.  And in the same way, there is power in the WORD of grace.  As Acts 20:32 says, it will build us up!

The word for “build” here is the same one used in the gospels about the wise man who built his house on the rock, and in Luke 14 about the men who wanted to started to build a tower and were not able to finish it.  It describes the physical development of a structure.

Hearing the WORD about God’s grace will develop us, strengthen us, transform us, work in our hearts and characters to build us into the people God created us to be.

What was the WORD of grace that Paul preached?

(Jesus talking to Paul) “I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.”  Acts 26:17-18

I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”  Acts 26:23

Paul’s WORD of grace was that we can:

  1. Receive forgiveness of sins.
  2. Become God’s very own, his beloved children.
  3. Be resurrected from the dead, just as Christ was.

Notice too, the wording in Acts 26:23.  Jesus came to “proclaim light.”  He had the WORD of grace.

Let us be built up as the heart of the gospel sinks down deep into our hearts — the realization that our relationship with God was broken and He sacrificed His very best to forgive our sins so we can be restored to His embrace for eternity.

It is simple.  It is all we need.

Let it become our core, the passionate motivation for all that we do.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.  Acts 20:24

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. I Cor 1:12

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Good news, Grace

The Divine Pursuit

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, Ps 23:6 (HCSB)

Christianity is the only religion where God pursues man.

“The truth is that the various religions of the world—whether Islam, Buddhism, atheism, or any of the others— place the responsibility for humankind’s survival and growth directly upon human beings. They must pursue God, knowledge, or whatever is essential to obtaining their salvation.”  Shawn Brace

It is intensely moving to realize that God has sought me all my life.   It is a story of divine pursuit, of orchestrating my life to have encounters with Him, of dramatic rescue from the slimy pit of my wayward folly.

GOD PUTS FORTH GREAT EFFORT ON OUR BEHALF.

Throughout history, God put forth effort to bless man, initiating, pursuing a relationship with him.

  • “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; . . .  and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  Gen. 12
  • The Lord will grant you that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated…The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to…The Lord will establish you as his holy people…The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity…The Lord will open the heavens to send rain on your land…The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.”  Deut 28
  • For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him  2 Chron 16:9
  • You did not choose me, but I chose you  John 15:16
  • The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.  Acts 2:39

The pursuit is indefatigable, a passionate expression of love:

  • The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  Jer 31:3
  • “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day”  Ez 34:11-12
  • I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.  Hos 11:4
  • If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  Matt 18:12

The pursuit is the most faithful thing we can imagine:

  •  I will never leave you or forsake you. . . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5,9
  • If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me”  Ps 139:7-10
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

He pursued us through pain, though humiliation, through fire and water, through death:

  • Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,. . . But 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.  Isa 53:3, 5
  • I am the good shepherd:  the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.  John 10:11
  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8
  • But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  Eph 2:13
  • he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross.  Phil 2:7-8

And once he has us, He continues to put forth effort on our behalf, fiercely protecting us: 

  • I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  John 10:29
  • If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  John 15:7

It is the best romance there is.  I could go on and on, but I will close by sharing the chorus of a song I wrote:

Oh, Lamb of God, my knight you are,

You gave all you had to rescue me,

You set out to gain the jewel of your heart

And now we are one eternally

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite, Good news, Grace, Love, Relationship with God, Self Worth

Is it Good News?

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  Mark 1:15

Why would Jesus have to preach that people SHOULD believe the good news?  If it’s good news, wouldn’t it be something people would WANT to believe?

But believing is hard. Because true belief means you change your life.

If you believe there’s a fire coming, you pack your things and get out of the house.  My father just went through this.  There was a fire only a mile from his house.  They had their car packed and ready to go.

Fire threatening my father's house

Fire threatening my father’s house

They believed the disaster was coming, but  how many people think that the disaster is not going to affect them?  How many people tried to sit out some of the devastating recent hurricanes?

All through history the Israelites didn’t really believe that disaster would come if they kept on sinning.  Moses warned them, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” Deut 8:17-19

Which brings us to the chief culprit when it comes to disbelief — PRIDE.  We begin think it’s all about us, and we forget how much of it is about God.

True belief requires humility. 

If we truly believe, we have to believe that God’s in control, not us.  God has the power, not us.  God gets the credit, not us.

I got with someone yesterday who is struggling in her faith.  She was perceptive enough to see that her pride is the reason she is struggling.  She can see that she has started to want God on her terms.  She’s started having an attitude with God if He can’t answer all her questions.

And God doesn’t give us  an answer to all our questions.  His thoughts are not our thoughts.  He says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Job 38:2  When we question him, we speak words without knowledge.  When we think we know better than God, we obscure His plans.  Job finally realizes, “I have stated things I didn’t understand, things too mysterious for me to know.. . .” Job 42:3

I just listened to a great lesson on pride by Jon Sherwood.  Check it out.  Nebuchadnezzar: A Proud King

So we have to stay humble.  Here’s the realization we have to come to.  GOD —  WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE — IS THE VERY BEST  “GOOD NEWS.”

This week there was a huge Facebook discussion going on concerning whether the gospel is really good news or not.  The question was asked, “How can the gospel be good news if the majority of people aren’t going to be saved?”

Here is part of my answer:

“All through time, from Noah to the history of the Israelites, God gave people chance after chance and they didn’t just sin a little, they sinned big time, embracing idolatry, injustices, etc. So God implemented plan in place whereby he would atone for our sin with his son, where he would put his law in our hearts (Jer 31:33), where he swore never to be angry again (Isa 54:9). He gave us his righteousness. (2 Cor 5:21) The Holy Almighty bent over backwards, and then some, to help us out of our sinful predicament. If this isn’t good news, I don’t know what is!”

Writing this reminded me that what I have is GOOD NEWS.  Sometimes I forget now good it is.  True belief is seeing that we DO have good news.

I’m studying the Bible with someone right now, and I’ve been reluctant to talk to her about life changes she needs to make.  They’re big uncomfortable ones.  I keep thinking about what she has to give up.

But what I am giving her is so much more!  We studied the cross, and I remembered the vast scheme of God to exert His divine power, stretch and reach out to man time and time again, give His very best.

I watched a video this morning that illustrates this so much.  It’s about a guy who met and studied the Bible with someone.  This person became a Christian, and went on to meet a wonderful young woman and get married.  I thought, “This is what I’m doing — helping people write wonderful stories for their lives.”  Check out this video here

We can help write wonderful stories for people, and for ourselves.  The irony is, that we do this by NOT focusing on writing it ourselves.  If I seek to craft a wonderful life for myself, I will fail.  But if I serve God, and seek to glorify Him through helping others, the wonderful story is the result.  THAT is good news!!

We lose our lives to gain them.  We humble ourselves and He lifts us up.  In closing, here are some scriptures on being poor in spirit that have helped me to gain a better perspective.

  • These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. Is 66:2
  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit Ps 34:8
  • And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
  • My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Ps 51:17
  • Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. Ezra 9:4
  • Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. II Chron 34:27

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Abundance/Greatness of God, Evangelism, Faith, Good news, Humility

The Good News

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”And this is the word that was preached to you.

I love this passage at the end of I Peter 1.  It points out the power of the word to change hearts, to regenerate us, to take us from our sinful selves held captive by conflicting desires and make us new, a child of God, pure with His righteousness.

And I love this passage because it describes clearly how Peter believed that the message they preached about Jesus wasn’t just a sharing of what they had seen or heard, but was actually giving people the seed that would generate the process of rebirth in them. Peter didn’t just consider the Old Testament writings as the powerful word of God, but the good news they related was the word of God as well.

The passage contains a selection from Isaiah 40.  How can I discuss this in the context of that mighty chapter?  There is so much good in it, beginning with the voice of the one crying in the wilderness, and ending with the famous verses about those who wait on the Lord rising up on wings of eagles.

But as far as the word goes, the chapter makes it plain that the good news of the Lord is to be broadcast with joy:

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”

Isaiah says it WILL be such wonderful news:

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.

The good news is that God will bring salvation with his mighty arm, the Lord Christ.  As it says in Isaiah 9:7, Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The good news is also that God will show himself to be an amazingly loving and caring God:

He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

We were vising church this past week, and we heard a sermon by Joel Dalrymple at the Jax Beach Church of Christ.  He talked about Peter.  He started by discussing how Peter was called through a miraculous catch of fish, and saw himself as unworthy before God.  And then at the end of Peter’s life, he again saw himself as unworthy as he carried the guilt of his betrayal of Jesus.  Yet both times, the message of Jesus to him was to not be afraid, and to join him in his work.

We all feel unworthy before God.  I know with my physical and emotional challenges, I certainly do.  Sometimes lately I don’t feel like myself, and I don’t feel like being giving to God or others.  It is discouraging.

But it is good to remember that God’s message to me is not condemnation, but mercy and the giving of a purpose.  There is good work for me to do.  And the work for me to do is to go out and share the good news, the very good news that I am living out — that I am unworthy, but Jesus’ love for me far eclipses my shortcomings and presents me with the gift of having the very best thing to do.  As Paul said in Ephesian 3:8, Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.

So I am increasingly encouraged that I have the gospel, the powerful word, to share with others.  May I put my hand in God’s and let Him lead me, trusting him completely, without the fear of my own shortcomings, and doing the work He gives me to do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Good news