Hi! This is Tricia. I just wanted to spend a little time telling you all what God has been doing in my life lately. Chabwino? Is that okay?
God has given me the amazing gift of his son, Jesus. While God has blessed me with all kinds of other things in this life, there is nothing shinier, fancier, trendier or better than Jesus and the message he brought with him that through faith in his atonement and resurrection we could be reconciled to God. Because of Christ I will spend eternity with God... no death... no pain... just the life that God originally meant for his children. This is truly incredible!
I am ashamed to say that on a daily basis I am tempted to believe and often do believe that there is something better than Jesus. I look to other things to provide the comfort or solutions I require each day. Most recently it was a couch. And that is a long, ridiculous story that I will spare myself the details of.
But oftentimes the thing that I am believing in is actually myself. Yes, MYSELF. The teeny tiny God that I like to worship most often is myself. For all of you who know me personally, you know how silly this is. So through a very wonderful and mystifying series of events God has been teaching me all about exactly what I bring to the table... and that is NOTHING. Sure, I can rely on my own strength and wisdom, my own experiences, my own image, my store of intelligence or resourcefulness. I can make things happen through my organizational skills or my articulate nature. But God has been showing me just how true it is that everything I try to do without him, well, it's just garbage.
In John 15 Jesus taught his disciples that "Apart from me you can do nothing." It doesn't say that apart from Jesus I can do some sort of cool stuff, or maybe at least a little bit of good, or scrape by. It says that I can do NOTHING. Nothing of value at all. Isaiah taught that when we are not following God, the good things we do are actually just filthy rags in God's eyes. That's strong language. And yet somehow I am always tempted to think that I have something to give on my own. Like I have a second gas tank of my own that I can switch to if the Holy Spirit tank is empty.
Recently a non-Christian friend of mine had a near scrape with a possibly very dangerous situation. It could have been the last day of her life. I love her and I pray for her as I do for all my friends who don't know the love and grace of Jesus. In passing I read her post on Facebook about what happened and my instinct was to share the gospel with her. The Holy Spirit was screaming in my heart that I have one thing that I value more than anything else: Jesus. I have one thing that is of real value to my friend: Jesus. There is an old hymn that says, Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling. Friends, this is the truth. I have nothing in my hands that is of real value to anyone. But because of the grace of my heavenly Father who gave his Son for me, I have a Savior.
To any of my non-Christian friends reading this, and to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, this world is passing away and there is only one thing we have that will be of value forever and forever: JESUS. Instead of giving my friend the most loved and valuable thing I have, I gave her garbage. I was a coward and wrote something about being glad she was okay. I told myself that I was being loving and that is good too, right? No. Not right. I was more concerned about keeping things cool between us than about the thing that will bring her the most good. Oh, how often I have failed in this way. Lord, forgive me!! Forgive us all!
Father God, give your people courage. Father forgive us for worshiping other gods besides YOU, and for putting our faith in anything besides YOU. Thank you for your Spirit that reminds us each day exactly what we have in our hands. May the good we do never be separate from the gospel we preach and the God we serve. You teach us, God, that our faith is dead without good deeds; help us also to always remember that our good deeds are dead without our faith, without our Savior who gives life to all we do. Father, help us to be faithful in sharing about the only thing we have that is of any eternal value to anyone: JESUS. Give us eyes to see this life as you see it, and to see people as you see them. Help us to lay down our lives and our image for the sake of our friends. Father God, have mercy; help me to stop wasting my time.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.