Tuesday, March 28, 2017


"Be encouraged with the knowledge,
 that in all of our imperfections, 
He loves us madly anyway."

This morning I read Luke 22 and by the time I was done, I felt like I'd just left the ring after fighting for the heavyweight title. There were a few hits I took in this one that I wasn't expecting. Thankfully my guard was completely down and God had His way straight into the heart of a few choice matters.

Round 1

In verses 31 and 32, Jesus says, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of 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."

I am all in for reading the words of Jesus. But sometimes I really believe it is just as important to read what He doesn't say as much as what He does. Jesus said that He prayed that Simon's faith would not fail. Why? Because He already knew that his flesh would.

As much as we might like to think that we have grown in our walks to the point that we remain above reproach in all circumstances, at all times, that simply is not reality, the human condition, or possible. Jesus knows this. It's why I believe He prayed that Simon's faith would not fail. If his faith remained in tact, then he could turn back. He could acknowledge that Jesus knew his faults, shortcomings, and future failures and loved him anyway. And in keeping his faith protected through prayer, Jesus knew the future role Simon would fulfill in order to encourage and strengthen the others.

Round 2

In verse 46 Jesus tells the disciples to get up and pray so that they will not fall into temptation. I don't know about you, but when I think about falling, I imagine losing my balance or getting tripped up by something I wasn't anticipating, like a step, or a wall. It also makes me think of being caught off guard and unprepared.

I would say that all of us have trigger points. Things that are almost like a reflex action. Someone asks you the right question, and you are more than happy to answer with exactly what's on your mind. That doesn't mean that what's on your mind is what you should say, it just means that's what's coming out.

I have learned to identify a few of my triggers. I can recognize them for what they are and have prepared responses for those questions and situations. It prevents me from falling into temptation and helps me to honor God with the words I speak. But it doesn't end there. It has to go beyond to my thoughts. Even if what I am thinking isn't audible, I need to also consider the purity of my heart and pray about that trigger the minute it is pulled before any bitter root can even think about planting itself. This isn't easy, and I am certain I have triggers of which I am not even yet aware. But, being prayed up has had a huge impact on helping to identify them when they rear their ugly heads. Somehow God knows just the verse to bring to mind when He needs to mention an unsightly behavior.

But there is another aspect to this. The idea of falling into temptation also makes me think of Satan dangling the bait and waiting for me to bite. As much as I know my triggers, he knows how to distort them enough to make me fall headlong, again. He is craftier than we realize when it comes to getting us to grab that carrot with both hands. For me it usually comes with a phrase like this....."Oh, I thought....." Those words are dripping with a poisonous apple. The moment you hear them, shut down the conversation immediately because that will send you into a tailspin exlpaining just how wrong that "thought" was. #Experience #LessonsTheHardWay

Round 3

Verse 61 is where Jesus turned to look straight at Peter and Peter remembered the word He had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."

I would first like to clarify that this is what did me in. Second, I would like to say that I don't have a theological degree of any kind and so this shouldn't even be written in light pencil. And finally, this is something I can say I have seen evidence of in my own life and I suspect that perhaps if you think about it, there might be some in yours.

Have you ever had your morning quiet time, read a devotional, listened to a podcast, gone to Bible study, left church after a great sermon and had Jesus whisper something in your ear, and His Spirit clearly convict you of a change or action you need to take? And subtly throughout the rest of the day, these gentle reminders come but you keep thinking.....later, I will, not yet. By the time you hit the third one......Cock-A-Doodle-Doo. Perhaps not audibly, but I now believe that if I get a soundtrack of my life when I get to heaven, there will be a background noise of roosters crowing in time to the beat.

And the winner is......

Jesus with a technical knockout.

As much as I felt shut down by the end of this chapter, I also felt encouraged. Jesus never has it in His mind or heart to condemn us. He wants us to learn and grow and in the process get closer to and more dependent on Him. If He didn't love me, He wouldn't take the time to wake me from my slumber. 

As I drove my 13 year old to school this morning, Sidewalk Prophets "You Love Me Anyway" was on K-LOVE. Rather than close with a prayer, I'm sharing with you a portion of the lyrics. Be encouraged with the knowledge, that in all of our imperfections, He loves us madly anyway.

I am the thorn in Your crown
but You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
but You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
but You love me anyway
I am Judas' kiss
but You love me anyway
See now I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
but You love me anyway

No comments: