Never too far gone…

Yesterday my husband taught the Sunday School lesson. Seriously there is no prouder moment for me as a wife than seeing my husband preach the word of God as eloquent as he does. His voice is strong and it carries across the room. His posture is always upright, and I already think he’s incredibly good looking as it is, but when he’s standing up front with all eyes on him and sharing the message of God’s incredible grace, he’s even more handsome.  One of the best things about it, is my husband is not like me. I love talking to groups, I love giving speeches, teaching lessons, I don’t mind the attention, but he does. weddingHe is always nervous, always so deep in prayer, second guessing himself or his lesson, and he’s a really harsh judge on himself. I wish he could see himself through my eyes when he teaches. To know how wonderful he really is. It seems to come so natural to him when he teaches, and  you know it’s what God has called him to do when you see it. I love it! I could watch him all day….not just because he’s ridiculously good looking (thought that helps)…not just because he has a great voice for the message….but because I’m learning something, too.

My husband has taught me so much, helped me understand so much more about God’s word since we’ve been together. He has helped me grow, and I love how we both can take one message and share our own perspectives of it. My favorite part is when he is teaching something that I have read and known so many times, I can still learn something new from it.

Yesterday his message was over forgiveness. Not just your typical forgiveness lesson when you sin, to ask God to forgive you. It was over different levels of regret and how you respond. We looked at the guilt Judas Iscariot had over betraying Jesus for money. Then we also looked at Peter’s response to his own guilt after swearing to Jesus he would never betray…only to see how Peter denied Christ three times. Two disciples who walked with Jesus for a few years, witnessed the miracles, got a front row seat to the most incredible history of all time, heard first hand all the wonderful lessons, and even got to be a part of it, would both betray Jesus in the same hour!  But the story doesn’t stop at their betrayal.

We read in Matthew 27, how Judas was overcome with guilt because he knew Jesus was innocent but he set him up anyway. Judas tried even giving his money back that they paid to hand him over. Judas’ guilt was more from fear and even though he had heard the message a thousand times of how to move forward from it, be free from it…he hung himself. Judas never accepted Jesus for who he was and chose misery for an eternity because he thought he could find the easy way out. How different would his story have been if he found Jesus, begged for forgiveness, repented, etc.? If that had happened, surely we could have read another incredible chapter or more in the Bible. What a great story that would have been! Could you imagine? But that’s not how it happened at all. Sadly his guilt was all within himself. This makes me sad, because there are so many people who hear the gospel, hear the truth, learn about, sometimes are even in church every Sunday, but they don’t accept it in their heart. They don’t accept that there is a God who judges, or really understand God’s eternal love. Or there are people that sinned so badly, they don’t believe God can forgive them from that and when they die….it’s another soul lost. It happens every day, just like how it happened to Judas. Does that not break your heart? Because it breaks mine. I wish I could let everyone feel this peace, love, hope that I feel all from having a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s beyond anything else I can describe. But it takes faith, and unfortunately, not everyone wants to see that.

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But let’s look at the other disciple who betrayed Jesus, let’s see how the other story was written. We read in Matthew 26, Luke 22, and John 18 the different versions on Peter’s denial of knowing Christ. Jesus has predicted Peter’s betrayal in Matthew 26:31 and Peter swears it won’t happen, and if you just scroll down 30 more verses, we see Peter fall. It was the same day, just hours after making the oath, just 30 verses and we witness it. He was filled with fear of being related to Jesus and swore he did not know Jesus. Not just once, or twice, but three times. It reminds me of how some Christians will want to say their Christians but when someone calls them a Bible thumper or something to mock them, they will so easily be willing to back up and try to display un-Christlike behavior to save their own reputations. We read in both chapters that once Peter realized he did in fact betray Jesus three times, he was so overwhelmed with guilt that we see he weeps bitterly. If you read Luke 22:61, it specifies that the Lord looked down on Peter after that rooster crowed, and Peter just cried. Peter was so sure he would never betray Christ, he was so certain of his faith, but the moment he was tested, he failed thrice. Have you ever felt God looking at you when you sinned? Could you imagine actually seeing his eyes stare into yours when denying him? It’s no wonder Peter was so moved to regret and weeping. But here is the best part….Peter’s story does not end there. It doesn’t stop at his sin and betrayal of Jesus. Just like yours doesn’t.

My husband then moved us further in John…we read in John 21, how Jesus reveals himself to his disciples after he’s resurrected. Let me tell you something true, I had read this chapter/verse many times, but while my husband was reading this to the class, I heard it different for the first time. I grabbed a pen and underlined this verse because it was beautiful and spoke to me. In John 21:7, once Peter realizes it is Jesus talking to them, he jumps off the boat, into the sea to get to Jesus as fast as he can. He could have easily come in the boat with the other disciples, but Peter couldn’t wait. He wanted Jesus, as fast as possible. He dove in head first. I love this….I love it because it reminds me of my testimony. I was a wild party girl who strayed way too far from her path. I didn’t have a clue how to get back on track. I knew I needed God more than anything but I just didn’t know how to fix myself. It had been years since I was in church or had someone guide me spiritually. My husband—who at the time was just a friend—invited me to church and that moment I heard pastor’s message that God had intended me to hear, I was so overcome with emotion that I went down to the pulpit and just sobbed. I remember pastor’s wife coming up to me and asking if I was ok and I just said “I haven’t been here in so long, this is just exactly where I needed to be”. I wasn’t referring to be HERE as in the church, the city, or where I was physically, I was referring to HERE spiritually, with God, in His house. I knew at that moment, there was no place I’d rather be than in Jesus’ arms. I dove in head first and I never looked back. My friends at the time couldn’t understand, still probably don’t. Most of them aren’t even a friend anymore aside from a post on Facebook. But that doesn’t matter. I still love and appreciate them, but I knew I had to live for Jesus from that point forward because life without him was too hard. This was my Peter moment.a9e81985edb1b2b57aeb288f960ca66f

After Peter got to Jesus and they had their whole conversation where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, not just once, not just twice, but three times. It was to confirm his love and
restore Peter. Jesus gave Peter the command to Love his sheep, tend his sheep, and feed them. Peter did as Jesus asked, we read about his incredible journey throughout the rest of the Bible. It’s beautiful. It’s refreshing.  Peter’s story didn’t stop as his sin and betrayal of Christ like Judas Iscariot’s did. He received forgiveness, redemption, and an eternity with God. It is my hope that everyone can one day have this.

Here is an awesome video that captures this with Peter. By The Skit Guys.

There is no sin too big, too great, too bad, or too much for God’s forgiveness. Don’t allow your sin to hold you back from an eternity of peace. You really don’t know what you’re missing if you are.

Now….all of this from my husband’s wonderful Sunday School lesson that was only 30 minutes. Can you believe that? Now you know why I’m so in love with him and couldn’t be more blessed that God gave me him.

Thank you Lord for my incredible husband. Although I complained about the time it took to get him, you brought him to me at the perfect moment in life. Thank you for having him invite me to church so I could hear the message you had for me. Thank you Lord for your grace and forgiveness, although I don’t deserve it one bit, you loved me anyway. For that I am eternally grateful. Help me to share your glory, your love, and your gift of hope and peace with everyone.

Amen.

 

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One Comment

  1. Becca says:

    Fantastic!

    Like

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