P31 OBS, Week 1 of: Living So That
My views of who God was and what He is capable of have all been in extremes. Growing up I hated him with every fiber of my being, I blamed Him for taking my Poppi away from me who was my only source of stability and my greatest cheerleader wanting me to be educated in a uneducated surrounding. I was only four when Poppi died and as I stood outside his house watching him being wheeled away on a stretcher I looked up to the Heavens, shook my fists and threw down with Almighty God. I declared war on Him that early cold morning in January and spent the next twenty four years of my life talking people out of Christian Faith. I was a bully, deep down thinking I would hurt him by taking away what He loved just as He had taken what I loved most.
God’s love for me ended up being stronger (of course) than my hatred for Him. As I began my journey to Faith someone told me (as so many people do with new believers) that if I read the Gospel of John I would start to fall in love with Jesus. I had read the Bible growing up; you can’t reason and intimidate people out of their Faith without manipulating God’s word and turning it around to fit your selfish agenda, after all. I read all 21 chapters in one evening. I was not left with the warm fuzzies. Instead I thought Jesus was arrogant, condescending, intolerant and well kind of a jerk. Verses like, John 2:4-11, 4:16-18 and the entirety of John 11 echoed in my mind. Each time I share my initial reaction to Jesus with fellow CHRISTians I get the same response: a mouth agape, head cocked back and slightly tilted in shock and awe that I could utter those words. I know it is shocking. As I have read through the first week of my current Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, Living So That by Wendy Blight I have found encouragement, motivation, a mutual love and admiration for God’s word, structure and powerful Spirit led messages. Completing Day 5 assignment I found a moment of understanding I never had about that Jesus who shows up in John 2:4-11; on page 37 Wendy writes, “His words confound me because they sound almost disrespectful.” Hallelujah and Amen finally someone gets me! It may be a small silly thing but it has motivated and inspired me to write this blog. I have not written since early February when the anniversary of losing my baby brother drove me to get out the despair. God has called me to get writing again for years and He can be pushy but I can be just as stubborn and full of fear and doubt of my abilities.
What I eventually realized was I wasn’t reading The Gospel of John through the eyes of a willing, hopeful child of God; I still had scales on my eyes that blinded me. I gave my life to Jesus on a chilly January morning and while I drove home I was hungry for God. I gave John another read that afternoon and the very moments of this beautifully written Gospel that I had haunted me are some of my favorite moments of Jesus ministry. I fell in love with my King, the Lord of Lords, Mighty Tower yes but for the first time in my life I felt unconditional love back and I continue to fall more in love and feel more loved by Jesus every day.
Jesus came so that…
Jesus came to earth to save us, to cleanse us so we could follow Him back to Heaven. Jesus came to earth so that we would have no excuse, we would know exactly what and how to live our lives for God’s glory. Jesus came to earth so we could experience Grace and see a living, breathing example of God’s love, power, strength and peace. Jesus came so that I could be free in faith and grace. Free from bondage of life long sin, free from conditional love, free from shame and guilt. Free to worship my savior! Jesus came so that I could be reborn as His child, cleansed, renewed and restored. Jesus came so that I could know love without conditions. That I could see and experience family (Zellers and HCC) and He equips me daily to share the great news of His coming! Jesus came so that we could see and feel how loved we are as God’s chosen children.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." ~ John 3:16 NIV