So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.Â That is why I am suffering as I am.Â Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Timothy 1:8-12 (NIV, my emphasis)
Henry raised some good questions yesterday and I am not ashamed to answer some of them!
“What made me into a Christian believer?”Â I had no other choice.Â Â I felt I had no other options.Â I was so confused and overwhelmed by the situations in my life and nothing seemed a viable answer.Â Divorcing my husband would not have made me happy.Â Going back to school and laying out a career-climbing plan would not have made me happy.Â I felt I had been told all my life that I never measured “good enough” or “right enough”.Â I felt that everyone who loved me put conditions on their love and did not accept me for who I really was.Â In fact, if they had really known me and the ‘stuff’ I had done, they would have disowned me.Â I had three children looking to me for answers and I did not know the questions!Â As a ‘last resort’ I began reading and studying the Bible, buying a devotion book and using that as a guideline to read the Bible every day.Â And then came a night in July when a man, maybe alot like Paul, who preached on Luke 9:25-26 and said Jesus’ words, “…if you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you on Judgment Day”.Â That scared the liver out of me!!!Â Logically, I did not want to walk forward in a church with 2,000 people and declare that I was a sinner but that Scripture scared me with its truth!Â There could have been a division of Special Forces with automatic weapons lined up across that altar stating they would shoot anyone who stepped from the pew … and I still would have got up and walked forward!
Over the next 13 years, I have spent most days with Jesus.Â I won’t lie and say it has been every day as a conscious choice but 99% of the days.Â Why?Â Because when I don’t, I feel myself slipping back to the old run-downed Jody.Â I am so very weak and I need Jesus’ strength and wisdom and extravagant love to get through every day.Â EVERY DAY! Yes, I make the choice every day to do that but I make that choice based on my daily experience of God in my life.Â Just today, God gave me the physical strength to do the day.Â He gave me insight and words to encourage a friend who needed it.Â He has been guiding Henry and me down an unknown path of publishing and writing and teaching.Â He has tangibly spoke encouraging words to me when my flesh tries to tell me that I am being ignored and reminds me, “It’s you and Me today, Jody.Â All that I am teaching you will not be wasted.Â I don’t waste anything!Â You keep listening and someday it will grow Kingdom Fruit!”
God is real.Â How do I know?Â Because He loves me.Â I am not ashamed — Let me tell you about my Jesus!