Monday, April 06, 2009

Beej and me on our last ski trip

This morning, I was rereading the story of Peter's denial of Christ. I have such compassion for him as I read, because I can so easily see myself in his place.

I think about how many times I get all fired up on Sunday when I listen to a message, and it inspires me on so many levels. I have great plans based on that inspiration, and when Monday comes, will begin to deploy them.

The problem is, a lifetime of Mondays have passed, and most of my plans have never materialized.

In our world today, there are so many ways that we deny Him.

We fail to speak up in conversations where He is being bashed. We fail to bring Him up period, at those times when we sense His leading to do so. We fail to thank Him for our food...especially in public. We fail to reach out to those He puts in our path, that He intends for us to meet the needs of. We fail to meet with Him regularly. We fail to memorize His Word, and then offer up the excuse that we do not know enough, when witnessing opportunities (planned or unplanned) come our way. Perhaps we are the one telling the off color jokes. We even deny Him by allowing worldly pursuits to replace Him on the throne of our hearts.

There are so many more ways, as well.

The point is that He still desires intimacy with us, even when we fail Him. We know we don't deserve it, and we even list reasons in our mind as we think of our failures...yet He extends grace.

To Peter, who denied Him three times, He restored Him three times. He was going to significant lengths to reflect how much He cared for Peter. He even included Him in conversations at the tomb, when he says, "tell the disciples and Peter"...

He knew Peter's heart and knew that he feared his abandonment of Christ had cost him dearly. He knew we needed to see that though Peter had denied Him, He was still wanted.

At times, we burn bright with passion, as Peter did when he promised to follow Him "even unto death." At other times, we ignore His presence and cling to what is bringing us momentary pleasure.

God has been doing significant work in my heart regarding the church at Laodicea and how it equates to where Christians in the US are today. My ignition switch has been flipped and the fires are boiling...and I realize how quickly my own judgment of others will in effect, deny my Savior.

I am no better than any other, and I must constantly be brought back to grace over the condemnation that tries to pour out of me, over the lapses of my Christian siblings. My own lapses are glaring. I have no right to condemn.

I am thankful that my Savior convicts rather than condemns. I know He does so in my life, and in the lives of others. Sometimes He will use me or my words to bring conviction, but I must be careful, because some see condemnation, where conviction is intended.

One of the things I miss about my son, at such times, is his uncanny ability to be used to bring conviction to the hearts of those around him. He did not judge, and likewise, he helped keep us from doing so.

We have all failed, and all denied our Lord and Savior. Especially this week, let us begin anew to intentionally impact our communities with the grace and love of our Savior. He will open doors. We must be willing to walk through them, no matter the cost.



At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that you should bring up that story. My Pastor did a sermon on that very topic not too long ago, and honestly you could have just substituted my name for Peter. There was a particular event I was thinking about for my denial, but, it is so true how we often "deny" Him in ways we aren't aware of, even though we should be. May God open our eyes to this so we can better serve Him.

Santa Cruz, CA


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