Recently I was asked if I could do it over again I would:
I responded, “I would NOT do anything different!”
I would not do anything over again differently. Yes, there are things in that past that were mistakes. There are things that I look back and say “that was not a very good choice”. Yes I am sure that there are things that I will do in the future and after say the same thing. But I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
When I was in college I was a music major. We had to do juries at the end of each year. I was working on a marimba piece that was not quite ready and my professor said I can present it as a work in progress. This meant I could still perform it for my jury even though it was not 100% performance ready.
That is what I am. I am a work in progress. I am continually progressing to who I am supposed to be. I am not my own work in progress. I am God’s work in progress. He is molding and chipping away at His work. With every mistake I make, He makes me closer to who He wants me to be. With every bad experience, He chips out something I didn’t need and I get closer to what He needs.
I enjoy knowing I am exactly who I am supposed to be at this stage of progress. I am joyful to know I am not complete. Once something is complete what more is there to do? When you create something, whether it is a work of art, a house, a machine , or even a puzzle, what is left to do once it is complete? You can look at it and admire it, but then what? Nothing. It is over.
I am not ready to be over. I am content with my imperfections knowing that Jesus saved me from the condemnation of my mistakes so He can make me more like Him. What a glorious day it will be when He is done His work in progress. Until then I will enjoy the progression. I will enjoy His work.
Are you a work in progress?
Philippians 1:6 ESV And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
I am in awe of Your creation.
You created the oceans and the shores.
You created animals of all kinds.
You created me.
You created all in love and to love.
You created us in Your image and You are perfect love.
There is darkness in this world, loving Father, that Your light will always shine through.
Where people fail, and evil comes, Your love conquers because there is no fear in Your perfect love.
Pain has a place and it builds me up making me ever more aware of Your love.
No longer will I fear.
I will be more than a conqueror through You Lord.
I will continue to proclaim Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.
Jesus is love and there is nothing more to fear in this world.
This world’s pain is temporary.
Christ Jesus reigns forever.
I praise You, O Lord Jesus Christ.
For those of you who do not know I am a fitness trainer/ strength coach. I am part owner of a facility where we specialize in group training. Before each session we do a very important warm up. Most people will go to the gym on their own or their trainer may put them on the treadmill to warm them up. Just doing this, or a set or two of jumping jacks is not enough to get you ready for the workout. In fact, if you do not warm up properly your entire session is pointless.
There are some scientific reasons that I will not get into as to why warming up properly is important. I will tell you that it will decrease your risk for injury and get your body ready to work. Basically, if your warm up isn’t a quality warm up you might as well not train. The same holds true for competitive athletes before a game or contest. They must do a detailed warm up before playing the game. If a pitcher comes out of the bull pen cold and faces the first batter he is just asking for any number of possible injuries.
So our warm ups can be pretty intense. Some people might even use part of it as their workout. Then our work starts and near the end I like to tease the people training by saying “the warm up is almost over!” Of course the new people in the session look at me like “seriously?” and the veterans just roll their eyes at my attempt at humor. But seriously this is all the warm up.
Look how short life is. In James 4:13-15 he says “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
We are but a vapor. Our personal existence does not last very long. We are here today by the will of God. Some believe we are only here and then that is it. But I can not believe that. I do believe that this is the warm up. It’s the time to get ready for the actual workout. It is time to get ready for the game. It is time to get ready by making the warm up a priority and not just a walk on the treadmill.
I know James wasn’t speaking of what I am talking about in his writing, but his reference to us as a vapor, or as some translations say a mist, drives home how short our life is. He is also saying, if you read a few verses later, that if we know good and do not do it that it is sin.
Knowing that life is short, and it is not the ultimate goal, means that this is the warm up. One must do good to keep from sin because one day we will get called to play the game. We will get called to do the real work. We will get called to eternity. So we must love each other.
I grew up going to Catholic Church as well as Catholic school. Looking back I feel it gave me a foundation of faith, but it left a lot of questions. As I recall, the religious education really pushed the rules. Not so much the rules, teachings, and laws of God, but more the rules of the Catholic church. I don’t remember ever being told I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I remember doing all of the sacraments. I remember wondering why I had to tell a priest my sins when God already knew what I did. Couldn’t I just say sorry to Him? Then you tell the priest and he gives you penance. Usually it was in the form of prayers like Hail Mary and the Our Father. Both great prayers, but does giving that as punishment encourage a person to pray? And didn’t Jesus come to die in order to atone for our sins?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I am not trying to bash the Catholic faith. I just now wonder why they weren’t teaching about Jesus as much as they were the rules of Catholicism. It seems that there was more focus on their rules and sacraments instead of teaching the Gospel.
A great friend of mine recently asked me to be the God Father for his baby girl. I accepted this great honor and asked him if I need to be Catholic and if there is any paper work I need to turn in. He told me I can turn in paper work or just be a Christian witness. I do have paper work from growing up Catholic but I am choosing to be a Christian witness. (Why does the Catholic church need to keep documents of believers as proof that they believe?)
Last week I had to go to a class on how to be a God parent. I thought the class was great. The Deacon was passionate about taking the role seriously and not just having the title. I will confess this is the third time I am going to have this role and the first time I feel I know what it means. But this is also the role that the Church should have. Not just the Catholics, but the Church, who I believe are all Christian believers. We are all responsible for continuing to teach the Gospel to our youth. We are all responsible for helping put the anchor of faith in Jesus into our youth. (One thing that did bother me about what the Deacon was saying was that he seemed to put more attention on teaching “our faith” Catholicism instead of teaching about Jesus.)
I was never taught I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I know this now and I want you to know that YOU CAN HAVE A PERSONAL REALATIONSHIP WITH JESUS! You do not have to go to a priest and confess in order to start your relationship. If you choose to you can right now say:
“Jesus, I am a sinner. I have done so many bad things. I don’t feel I deserve forgiveness. I don’t feel that I know who You are. I have heard about you a little, but I don’t know You and don’t know how You can even know or like me. I hear people talk about You, but what they say doesn’t make sense. You died for me they tell me. All I have to do is tell You what I have done and believe in You and I am forgiven? Jesus, I am right now going to do that. Please forgive me. Jesus, if this is real I want to feel Your presence in my life. I want to believe. Help me believe. Please Jesus. Help me to believe.”
Pray this and see what happens. Will all of your worries and troubles go away and tomorrow you’ll be a millionaire? No, but you will begin to feel whole. You will begin to feel healing. You will begin to feel Jesus.
You see, I went away from Jesus until recently. I didn’t really know Him as a Catholic. People may ask my religion now and my anwer is simple. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. While it is simple to say, it is not easy to follow Christ but it is a beautiful walk.
So, are rules important? Yes! Jesus still wants us to follow God’s law. Jesus commanded us as well.
This is my command: Love each other. John 15:17
This is important to follow. If we follow all the other laws and don’t have love what good are we?
Enjoy this tune about this subject.
Don’t be afraid that you will be judged if you come to Jesus. Don’t feel you need to come to Him clean. He is here to clean us. He is here to love us. He came to save us.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17