I was reminded by someone today that my identity is not a ‘cancer sufferer’ or even a ‘cancer survivor’. My identity is in Christ. This may be mostly a cancer blog at the moment, and cancer might be a big part of my life right now; but I am always, first and last, a Christian. It is the most important thing about me, and that will not change, no matter how ill or well I am.
If you are a Christian and feel that you are defined by your illness or unhappy childhood or current circumstances, remember that God is the most important thing in your life. His name is bigger and more important than any other name. Jesus is bigger than debt. Bigger than illness. Bigger than divorce. Bigger than family. If you would like me to pray for you, message me or ask in person and I will be happy to.
I became one of those ‘born again’ Christians when I was 11 years old, but I have always known that God is real, and that he loves me. Christians use the word ‘testimony’ when talking about their story, and specifically their story regards God. It’s often about how they became born again; and also what God has done in their life.
My testimony isn’t an exciting one – I grew up in a Christian home – but, it’s still important. You may not think that your testimony is very exciting (or maybe it is) but it is important. Don’t forget to tell people your God story – everyone loves stories.
Darrell Tunningley (former drug dealer and car thief who became a Christian in prison) visited our church today and told us his testimony. He attended an Alpha course in the prison, lead by two ancient nuns and a vicar. The reason that he went to the Alpha course was the offer of free biscuits. The most powerful thing about the Alpha Course was not the intellectual debates or the impressive theological knowledge of the nuns. It was their love. They loved him with God’s love: not a romantic, or namby-pamby fake thing, or even maternal love. It was with God’s love. I do not think that Darrell would have ever got more from the Alpha course than free snacks, if the people leading it had approached him by thinking that they could argue him and the other prisoners into salvation. Or if they gave him a nice hot meal or new socks and a leaflet about Jesus, but didn’t actually care about him as a person. You can’t argue with love.
I guess that’s why God tells us to love him first; and next, to love other people. It’s vital.
This is a video where Darrell talks about how he was saved by God – literally saved from a certain violent or drug-induced early death.
If you stuggle to love other people (especially the annoying ones or different ones or stuggling ones) then ask God to help you love people with his love. It does work – I know because I have tried it. With certain people, you may need to ask God more than once.
Christian, if you are still alive, no matter how old or ill or useless you feel – then it is because God still wants you to do stuff for him – if you’re not sure what, it probably involves loving your neighbours, colleagues, friends and anyone you meet. And loving him first, don’t forget that.
And if you are not a Christian or don’t know what you believe, then I know that God has a plan for you too. He loved you from before you were even born and he’s calling your name. Please give him a chance- ask him to talk to you.
I read this in my Bible this morning before church:
1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.