Friday, November 13, 2015
"Grow On" - 11/13/15 - Acts 1-3
"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of The Lord"
These words were spoken by Peter in his second recorded sermon after seeing Christ be taken up into Heaven.
Peter. The same man who said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed.
Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter.
Peter remembered what The Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.(Luke 22:60-62)
Peter. The same "Peter who followed, but at a safe distance"(Luke 22:54), when they were putting His Christ on trial.
Peter. He never lost his focus on Christ - until it was spoken that he also was with Christ.
At that point his focus changed. It settled on "self" and he went into a defensive, self protection mode, not trusting God to take care of him. He stood away from Christ - as did Judas. The difference in these two was Peter's focus went back to Christ. "At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, The Master turned and looked at Peter."(61). It doesn't say their eyes met across the crowd, but I feel they did - for Peter then remembered. "He went out and cried and cried and cried".
Guilt. Shame. Grief. Brokenness.
And after his brokenness, came rebuilding. Through his rebuilding, "times of refreshing may come from the presence of The Lord"
When our focus is off of ABBA, we begin to believe He is not aware or even involved with what is going on in our life. Being so caught up in "self" we forget He is all knowing, all seeing, everywhere at one time, we begin denying Him in our thoughts, actions, words. Not having faith or trust in His ways.
And then we see Him looking at us.
We need accountability - it causes repentance, turning away from sin, following closer to Him. The guilt and shame, can either convict us to change or consume us to such a point we begin to spiritually die.
You can either be overwhelmed and broken down by the burden of guilt and shame
Accept what Christ did on The Cross and grow on. Casting the burden onto His waiting Shoulders - learning from it - gleaning from it for your journey ahead.
It all goes back to our to where we choose to focus.
In New Testament times, capital punishment was sometimes carried out by tying a murder victim's body directly onto the perpetrator's back. Wherever he went he was literally weighed down by his crime, with no way to escape the stench of decomposing flesh. Eventually the bacteria-filled corpse infected him too, and he died an agonizing death - as we will also die when taking on guilt and shame.
Peter broke down.
But he didn't turn away as Judas did. When He is with Christ later, he accepted the gift of forgiveness and laid the burden of guilt and shame at His feet. Christ is designed to handle our burdens - we are not. It will consume us - it will break us - it will slowly rob life from us - as it did Judas. He never refocused on Christ, "Then he went out and hung himself". (Matt 27:5)
You can slowly die from the burden of guilt and shame or grow on in Him.
It's your free choice to accept -
"But you are first in line: God, having raised up His Son, sent Him to bless you as you turn, one by one, from your evil ways.”(Acts 3:26)