We cannot make people to accept our beliefs. The beauty of life is the choices we make. In fact, I believe this is one of the main things that define us as a person- the choices we make. As the song says, yes, we are indeed more than the choices we make; however, the choices we make culminate together to make us the person we are.
Everything in life is a choice. Every single choice we make has a consequence- good or bad.
I am somewhat of a klutz. Try as I may, it is almost a given that at any meal I am going to drop something on myself. The example I use to teach my kids choices and consequences starts with this anomaly about their Mommy.
Each morning when I get up and choose my clothes, there are going to be consequences. If I have an appointment or event where I need to look nice, I need to keep in mind how prone I am to dropping food. If I wear a white shirt and drop something on myself it is going to be glaringly obvious. If I wear a darker shirt or a print shirt, it won't be so obvious.
I like using this as an example because it is a benign situation. The world is not going to stop if I wear a white shirt and have a spot on it during an appointment. However, it will probably be a bit embarrassing.
Kids are naturally curious, so when they discover that someone has a different belief than they do, it brings about curiosity and questions. My kids were stunned to realize that not all of their friends believe in God. I told them that everyone has to make that choice for themselves. I cannot choose for my kids to believe in God, and they cannot choose for their friends to believe in God. They can only make that choice for themselves, personally. Each one of us will give an account for our own lives. I will not give an account for your life- you will. (Romans 14:12)
Some people believe it is not right to question God, must less question whether or not He exists. I believe questioning things you believe is healthy. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."
I had not heard this quote until a few years ago. By this point in my life I had already come to understand God's grace and mercy. However, I wish- oh, how I wish- I had heard this quote MANY years ago.
My number one spiritual gift is faith. Faith is belief that is not based on proof. Or, as Hebrews 11:1 says,"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. "
I have never doubted in the existence of God. I just did not believe I could ever please Him. All I understood was man-made rules, what God "expected" of us, and how displeased with us He is if we do not "live up to His expectations". Living with this understanding and belief, I could not be "good enough". I would mess up, and feel miserable. I would promise God I would never, ever make that mistake again... only to do it all over again, sometimes in the very same day.
Once I truly understood that this is the very reason why God sent Jesus to die for our sins, it all made sense to me. I was raised in a Christian home and went to church every time the doors were open. Yet, I viewed God through legalistic lenses, not through eyes that understand His Amazing Grace. I feared Him, and I do not mean in the reverent, holy fear. I was so afraid that at any moment He was going to get fed up with my mistakes and that would be it for me. When I finally gave up on religious rules and started living a life of Freedom in Christ, everything changed.
Last night, while talking to my new friend on twitter, she told me she thinks I am too hard on myself when I said none of us are good enough... not even me. I am sure she understood me to mean that I believe that I just keep trying to get "it" right, and just can't seem to. I used to be that way, but not any longer.
That is the beauty of God's grace. I don't have to try to be good enough. Now that I understand God's grace, it is my desire to live a life that is pleasing to Him. When I mess up- on a DAILY basis- I know His grace is sufficient. I no longer buy into Satan's lies that God is disappointed in me.
I think the real question comes down to this. Who determines what "good enough" is? In a world where everything is subjective, how can I have peace when every one's definition of "good enough" is different? If you have ever lied, it could be said that you are untrustworthy. I do not know anyone who has never told a lie!
The world compares actions and deeds against another person to see how they measure up. That means someone, somewhere down the line, is on the losing end of measuring up.
With God's grace, we all have the same opportunity. None of us have to be on the losing end, because God does not compare us. It is our choice, plain and simple. Good deeds do not save us. Accepting that there is nothing we can do to earn eternal entrance into heaven is very freeing. For someone who likes to be in control of things, it is a double edged sword. Trying to control everything to be good enough, I eventually fail. I have to give up control. Which means the burden is not on me. It now belongs to Jesus. No, this does not mean I go out and do evil things, believing that I will be forgiven. It's not a free ticket to do wrong. It's the opposite. It's the desire to do what is right, but when I make a wrong decision I know I am not condemned. This is truly freedom.
As I said above, all things in life comes down to choice. America, we are at a cross-roads in our history. I ask again if anyone will humble themselves with me in prayer for this nation. We must turn away from the ugliness, repent for where we have gone wrong.
I pray again today for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I believe that God has mighty things in store for this lady. I pray that her rehab is going well. I am sure it is exhausting for her, so I pray that He will give her strength as she does her various tasks through rehab, and rest when she is finished each day. I pray that she will have grace on herself, not to push herself too hard, but to push hard enough that she grows stronger each day. I pray that she will be able to forgive the man that did this to her. I pray that she does not let unforgiveness stay in her heart and make her bitter. Bitterness destroys a person. I continue to pray for her husband Mark Kelly. May he draw his strength from The Lord.
I pray for today's court proceeding. I am very frustrated that our legal system takes so long to hand out justice. I read an article that said this case could drag on for years in the courts. I pray that this is not the case. I pray, by some miracle of God, that this will be swift and just. I still pray that this man's heart will be broken for God, and that he will seek forgiveness for the evil he has committed. But I pray that he is not allowed to manipulate the system and avoid justice. Ms. Giffords, Mr. Kelly, all those who were shot or lost family or friends that day, and the nation as a whole deserve to have this dealt with and resolved.
I am so thankful for the opportunities that God has granted me. I am thankful to be used by Him each day. I am thankful to have a life of peace. I am thankful to be a wife and mother. I pray blessings on this day. In the Name of Jesus- Amen.