Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Go directly to the ER!

Update: my husband is having an angiogram this morning. If needed, the doctors will do an angioplasty to enlarge whatever blockage in his carotid arteries that caused the heart attack. Last night, he was feeling great, just as he felt before all this happened. His attitude is amazing and he reaffirms over and over that “we live each day by the grace of God.” The hospital will call me when he is back in his room, so I am trying to catch up on email and phone calls.

God continues to teach me. Sometimes His lessons seem unrelated to what is happening, but I know that He does not make mistakes, so am paying attention this morning to His Word.

Today’s verse is the last one in Mark 14. Jesus had told Peter that he would deny Him. Of course Peter denied that. He said it would never happen. He would be faithful to the Lord as long as he lived. He sounded just like me when I say, “I’ll never do that” or when I do something stupid and say, “Yikes, I’ll never do that again.”

But Jesus knows me, and He knew Peter. He knows I am prone to sin, and even though He has forgiven my sin and given me new life and the power to obey Him, there will be times when I set my heart to behave, or to “never do that again,” and my best intentions will fly out the window.

Peter’s did. Verse 72 says, “A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept.”

Peter did deny Jesus, three times, just as Jesus said. A pastor once told me that sin isn’t the issue—everyone sins. The issue is what do you do about it.

Christians should feel bad. Paul wrote about that sorrow. He called it a “godly sorrow that leads to repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:8-12) and the Bible explains how true repentance opens the heart so God can produce change.

Sometimes when I mess up and think about what I have done, I make excuses, or blame someone else, or make vows to not do that again, but when it comes down to it, the response God wants from me is the one He got from Peter. Sorrow. The Bible is clear that the power to change is not in my vows or determination, but in realizing that sin is more powerful than my resources. There is nothing I can do but be overwhelmingly sad and turn to God. When I confess my sin, not deny or excuse or fight it, “He is faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from my unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I can’t fix this myself.

I suppose the old nature and sin in me is like Bob’s heart attack. I can’t predict it or see it coming. The only thing I can do when I recognize what is happening, is to quickly take myself and my symptoms to the ER (Eternal Redeemer), the Great Physician. He is the only One who can remove the sin and repair the damage.

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