Monday, April 27, 2009

1 Minute Bible for Men - "Peter - Captured by Conscience"

Peter - Captured by Conscience
Selections from Luke 22

When they had lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. When a servant saw him sitting in the firelight, and looked closely at him, she said, "This man was with Him too." But he denied it: "Woman, I don't know Him!" After a little while, someone else saw him and said, "You're one of them too! ... This man was certainly with Him, since he's also a Galilean." But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter.... And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Peter honestly didn't see it coming. Looking back, he's not even sure it would have mattered. He was just weakened by the fear, by the confusion, by the snap in Christ's voice after Peter had taken a sharp-edged swipe at that arresting officer. Could Jesus ever forgive him?
There is guilt. And then there is conviction. Guilt depresses, defeats, demoralizes. Conviction motivates and redirects. Guilt is a seed planted strategically by the devil that crops up at the most unexpected times to remind us how pathetic we are. Conviction is an uncommon gift from the Holy Spirit that may come wrapped in sandpaper and burn all the way down. But its purpose is to redeem, to restore, to renew. Embrace conviction - sandpaper and all. It's God's patient way of giving us another chance.

Look At It This Way ...I think of Peter, who denied Jesus not once, but three times. How easy it would have been for Jesus to treat Peter bitterly, to make him feel as small as he had acted. But Jesus didn't say a word. Is that because Jesus understood how easy it is for us to betray even our best intentions when we're over-whelmed by insecurity and fear? Was that the bro-kenness Jesus saw in Peter? Someone might suggest that surely there must have been cruelty in Jesus' eyes when "the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." We all know those "looks that can kill." Had Jesus' glance been a look of cruelty, Peter might never have been salvaged. Instead, what Peter saw was a knowing look of disappointment: disappointment, because love hopes for the very best; knowing, because love recognizes human frailty. Isn't that the way God works in our own lives? No one loves us more. And he loves us despite the fact that he knows us inside out. Instead of rebuking us cruelly, he gives us that knowing look of disappointment - and calls us higher. - F. LaGard Smith

A Final Thought:God knows how sick you are of that same old sin. He knows how badly you want to get beyond it. He knows it's more weakness than wickedness. And he's here to help you up.

(Thanks to LifeWay Christian Resources)

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