When I think about how I want to experience 2018, and especially how I want to experience God in 2018, I am forced to take myself back to the origin day, November 14, 2017. All the priming of life’s events completed my readiness for the masterpiece of salvation, and made me acutely aware of my need for the renovation only a risen Savior could provide. November 14, 2004, 7 days following my mother’s passing.
A funeral is a prime opportunity for the message of salvation to be taken seriously. We are reminded of the brevity of life, “here today, gone today,” as my Grammy would say, and it puts us all into a frenzy of considering our eternity. Many get saved to ensure they can slide into heaven, just in case they drop dead in the next week or two, while few truly walk away feeling like and believing themselves a new creation in Christ.
Having journeyed thus far as a Christian (backsliding and all), I am stuck on two questions:
Why did you first believe?
Why do you still believe?
I believe it is essential to re-vist the reason each of us first accepted Christ, to remind ourselves of the glorious testimony cultivated from our rescue, restoration and renewal. Moreover, the reason we first believed, should now be a foundation for the reasons we are still believing. You see, I know that faith and trust increase with experience, and therefore, as the months and years pass, our experiences of God and with God should have grown exponentially. We should not be able to “tell it all.” Consider that if the ONLY reason you’re still believing in Him is the same as when you first believed with no additional support, you may have to take inventory and adjust your position to experience Him. Yes, God is forever worthy of praise, and if He never did another thing, He still has done more than we could ever earn, but the reality is that He is always doing, blessing, keeping and loving.
Listen beloved, people NEED to know why you still believe. The world needs to know, and YOU need to know. After all that you have been through, after you've worked so hard to be successful, after so many nights praying and walking in faith but still having hardships, WHY DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN JESUS? After getting rejected and ridiculed, WHY DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN JESUS? After fasting and praying for a miracle but cancer still took that loved one, WHY DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN JESUS?
Take some time today to write why you first believed and why you still believe.
Why did I believe? Why did I become a Christian?
The truth is, my mother died and I was alone. Suddenly, I was an orphan and for the second time in my life, I felt the embrace of Jesus (Psalm 27:10). No, Jesus did not physically appear to me as He did Apostle Paul, but the Word brought me unknown comfort, it was life’s bread when I was starving [John 6:35), and everlasting springs when I was dying of thirst (John 7:37-39). That, is how I knew that for the second time in my young 13 years, Jesus, the Bread of Life, who was in the Word and is the Word, embraced me.
Why did I continue to believe?
Daily His love manifested in new ways, He allowed me closeness (intimacy) and lavished me with joy and peace. His favor was evident in my life, but even if it was not, He kept me from so much danger, even in the midst of abuse. He kept me from suicide and insanity. Amidst a diagnosis of infertility He gave me a miracle baby. In the presence of lack, He gave me a song and hope. I would seriously walk around singing and smiling. In the presence of loss and pain, I poured out my broken heart in His presence and received a testimony, a light to hold up in my own darkness. In the presence of rejection, He taught me grace, forgiveness and self-appreciation. Jesus taught me that I am enough, because He makes it so. I am worthy, because He makes it so. And when I say worthy here, I distinctly mean that nobody could make me feel inferior anymore, I was worthy of love, respect, honor, good things, laughter, and peace, because Jesus makes it so. I have something to give, a purpose of great proportions to fulfill on this earth. I was not a man’s doormat or play thing to molest, I was not society’s statistic, or poverty’s next victim, I was not an aimless wanderer carrying the luggage of my talents, passions and skills. I was and am worthy. Through every heartache and headache I brought upon myself, His embrace was still there, and I would hear Him calling to my heart saying, “you are loved.” Listen, I still believe because I am loved. I am loved. I. AM. LOVED. Each day, that love is transforming how I live, think, speak and compels me to desperately help others see that they too are loved. I still believe because it is still the truth that Christ died and rose again for my life, that I would be able to believe.
Let me just tell you, God is going to do something beyond anything I have ever known in my life in 2018, if I faint not. And I believe the same for you. God isn't getting ready to, He is going to continue to show Himself to us in new ways, and we will get to serve Him in new ways, and see how much greater and deeper His extravagant love is for us. We will get to love Him back in 2018 by how we live and give, how we love other.
What about you? Why did you first believe? Why do you still believe? What are you expecting from God in 2018.
Grace & Peace
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