Happy New Year, Princess Warriors. I know. I know. I’ve fallen behind (again) on my blogging. And God has given me ample ideas to expound on.
So, staying true to the new format, my personal update is quite simple on the surface. We had a wonderful Christmas. I watched the glittery ball drop on New Year’s Eve, while screaming well-wishers and New York party-goers looked on with animated glee. I didn’t have the same level of enthusiasm as the revelers in Times Square, but with drooping eyelids, I was still able to muster a “Happy New Year” to my family, and felt the nostalgia of yet another year and another decade passing. More importantly, I felt that familiar expectancy and hope that comes with any new beginning.
I took note of the many things I’m grateful for, and set my sights on running the race before me.
Okay, so that’s partly true, but there’s more to the story. I am bombarded by worries, concerns, fears, and more often than I care to admit feel my relationship with Christ could be far deeper. I beat on myself mentally over the many areas I fall short in, forgetting the extent of God’s grace and love for me.
Thankfully, as always, God knows exactly what we need. He certainly knew what exactly this princess warrior needed: a major reminder of the most basic truths: God’s Grace is enough. His work accomplished it all. If I believe in Him, I will not perish but will have eternal life. Good stuff to remember all the time. Unfortunately, we too often read the words of John 3:16 and don’t allow the amazing, life-saving message to sink into our souls.
My friend gave me a gift basket for Christmas. It was filled with all sorts of goodies. One of those goodies was a copy of Max Lucado’s book, 3:16 The Numbers of Hope. I would recommend this book to anyone. Granted, I love Max. He has a way with words that get to the heart of the matter, making God’s grace evident to readers like me who need a fresh reminder of what’s real and what’s not.
John 3:16, the universal verse that many people, both Christian and non-Christian can recite. Shall we?
“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.”
As Max explains:
That’s REALLY, REALLY good news for those who believe. Unfortunately, we, like so many before us, tend to complicate what God’s saying. We want to add rules and regulations like the Pharisees of old. We don’t admit it, but we somehow believe that something more is required. How could God possibly love us that much?
When we sin, He so generously provides a way out. We don’t have walk barefooted across hot coals, or scourge our own bodies. We confess and trust that His sacrifice was enough if we will but believe and be born again.
We have, as Pastor Lucado so rightly points out, written our very own Bible verse: “God helps those who help themselves” (Popular Opinion 1:1) He goes on to say: “We’ll fix ourselves, thank you. We’ll make up for our mistakes with contributions, our guilt with busyness. We’ll overcome our failures with hard work. We’ll find salvation the old-fashioned way: we’ll earn it … Christ, in contrast, says to us … ‘Your part is to trust. Trust me to do what you can’t.’”
Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I have spent time, way too much time and effort, trying to be “good enough” for God, when the Only One good enough is Jesus Christ. He did all the work that needs doing. We simply need to be believing.
This year, this new decade, is wide open before us. As daughters of the King we have yet another opportunity to reign real, brining hope to an often hopeless world, and love to people who feel unlovable. Unfortunately, if we are unable to except God’s gift of grace, and the new life it brings, we will be unable to share His Good News with those around us. When we waste time trying to “work off” sins that have already been forgiven, we discount God’s mercy and call Him a liar.
Strong words? Yes. True? You decide.
Maybe you, too, need a refresher course on God’s amazing grace. It’s so easy to get caught up in “being a good Christian.” We are busy, busy, busy, but are we busy for the right reasons?
Why not take a few hours and read this book. I know it reminded me why we need to celebrate. We really are free from sin and death. We truly have a hope and a future. We are children of a God who loves His family and was willing to sacrifice everything to gain our love.
So, if your Holiday Season wasn’t everything you hoped it would be, please, remember God is everything He promised to be. And that is something (Someone) you can place your trust in.