Girlfriends in God - Aug. 18, 2009

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August 18, 2009 
Three Strikes and You’re Out? Says Who? 
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth 
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV emphasis added).

Friend To Friend 
June was a senior on the debate team when she presented a pro-life argument.  She did her research and displayed amazing pictures of the development of a child in his mother’s womb.  She won the debate and received the highest grade possible.  It was six months later when she had her first abortion.

See, simply knowing the truth does not assure that we will walk in the truth.  June knew the truth in her head, but did not have the courage to apply it to her own life.  “I could not speak what I supposedly believed any longer,” June lamented.  “I was a defeated failure.”  June went on to have two more abortions while attending college and eventually dropped out of school.  Pregnant for the fourth time, she packed her bags and went home to her parents.  As far as they knew, this was her first pregnancy.

This time, June knew she would have her baby…and she did.

Peter, the disciple, and June walked a similar path.  While June denied her children the right to live, Peter denied his Savior’s Lordship.

During the last meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples before he faced the cross, Jesus warned them that he would be leaving soon.  “Lord, where are you going?” Peter asked.

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you.  Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (John 13:37, Matthew 26:33).

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me?  I tell you the truth (He always does), before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:36-38).

“But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Mark 13:41).

I imagine Jesus simply looked at Peter with a knowing eye and a wounded heart.  Sure you will, buddy, he must have mused. You will die for me, but not today.

Peter was so sure of himself as he stood before the debate team and presented the facts.  And yet, before the sun rose over the horizon he did the very opposite of what his self-assured, overconfident words proclaimed. 

“You are not one of disciples, are you?” a girl asked at the door to the High Priest’s courtyard.

“I am not,” Peter replied.

“You are not one of his disciples, are you?” someone asked as Peter stood warming his hands by the fire.

“I am not,” Peter denied.

“Didn’t I see you with Jesus in the olive grove, and aren’t you the fellow who cut off my relative’s ear?” challenged another.

“I am not!” Peter declared for a third time.

The moment the third denial escaped Peter’s determined lips, a rooster crowed.  As the new day broke over the horizon, Peter’s heart broke over his sin.  Peter wept bitterly over his cowardly actions.  This brash, boisterous, demonstrative fisherman had cowered under the accusing gaze of a mere servant girl.

I am fearful that we have put this story on a shelf for safe keeping.  We, as believers tend to follow the baseball rule book rather than God’s Word when it comes to the failure of our brothers and sisters - three strikes and you’re out.  But the Umpire of the Universe calls it differently.  He puts on the cloak of mercy and grace, calls us to repentance, and invites us to get back in the game. 

Let’s Pray 
Dear Heavenly Father, I have failed so many times.  Thank You for not turning Your back on me, but welcoming me home with open arms.  Help me to extend the same grace to others that You have extended to me.

In Jesus’ Name, 
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 
Can you think of a time when you felt disqualified because of a particular sin or mistake?

What do you think God would say to you about that?

Can you think of a time when you gave up on someone because of their failings or felt they should be disqualified because of a sin…even if they had repented?

What do you think God would say to you about that?

More From The Girlfriends 
Today’s lesson was taken from Sharon’s book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves.  The enemy would have you believe that you are a hopeless failure, but God says that your sin can be forgiven and you can start anew!  His mercies are new every morning.  To learn more about Sharon’s latest release, read an excerpt, or watch a video interview, visit the books and audio page of her website or click on the title, , I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves.

Also, if you would like to comment on today’s devotion, visit www.sharonjaynes.com/blog 

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Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106
info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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