Holy Week Devo #4: The Mercy of The Cross

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Read Matthew 26:30-35

30And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”35Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

The Mercy of The Cross

Have you ever found yourself doing something you said you would never do? It happens.  As parents, we say ‘I would never hurt my children,’ then your frustration peaks, anger erupts and wounding words fly. A wife promises to be faithful, for richer or poorer, then financial hardship comes, fear and insecurity overwhelm, and she lashes out at the man who is sweating bullets to provide. Yesterday, Frank Page, the President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee (the SBC’s highest post), resigned over a “morally inappropriate relationship.” Page has been a faithful pastor and family man for decades, only to fall (at 65 years of age) to something he would have said a thousand times – NO!

In our journey to the cross, we see Peter, again, adamantly sure the Lord is wrong and that he will be faithful to Jesus to his death. Jesus says, Peter “you won’t last the night.”

I mean no condemnation to anyone, especially Peter or Dr. Page. I am very aware that I too, too many times to count, have sinned in ways I prayed I never would.

Mercifully, Jesus does not shame Peter, but says after all this I’ll see you in GalileeScreen Shot 2018-03-25 at 9.44.58 PMHe acknowledges the weakness, brokenness and propensity to wander that exists in every human heart, even those who have taken bread from the Savior’s hand. And Jesus says, I know you’ll fall away, see you soon.

Our wandering hearts are the sad reality of a broken world, racked by sin from the beginning. Sin takes on different forms, but none of us can evade the disease. We dislike some folks sin more than others, generally detesting the sin that hurts ‘me’ most… but we all have the curse.

Yet, Jesus did not come to curse, condemn or judge the world (John 3:17), but that we might be saved through Him. Jesus does not point out Peter’s fast approaching denial to kick him in the teeth with shame and guilt, but to help him appreciate the depth of mercy held by the cross. Jesus has mercy sufficient for all – and we all, including Peter, Frank, me and you are desperate for it. By faith the mercy of the cross is ours in Jesus.

Prayer:

Thank you for this love, Lord. Thank you for the nail pierced hands. You
washed me in Your cleansing flow, now all I know is Your mercy and your grace! Hallelujah, what a Savior! Amen.

 

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40 Days Devotional – Fidelity Matters

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Read Exodus 20:14

“You shall not commit adultery.”

Matthew 5:27-28 And Jesus said,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The statistics on infidelity are iffy, as most are reluctant to bring this sin into the light. Sexual sin has long been hidden in darkness, as shame resists exposure and the cure of the light of Christ.

So, depending on the research, rates of infidelity range widely from 22% to 63%. Recently, the Ashley Madison cheaters’ hookup website was hacked and 37 million user account details were leaked to the world. That is 60% of the 60.8 million married couples in the United States. Add to this pornography, which NBC News reported was a $97 billion industry in 2015, and it’s clear sexual sin is pervasive.

Why so rampant? Sex is obviously a more enticing sin than others (less than 18,000 murders last year in the U.S.). Our sexuality taps into something essential within us. We are sexual beings, both male and female, made for loving relationships, made to procreate, to enjoy companionship and intimacy by our Creator. Monogamous, faithful, intimate marriages are called to illustrate the fidelity God, who is ever faithful to each of us, giving endlessly to His bride, the church of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:32).

So why the huge problem? Satan attacks and distorts what is most important to God. Destroying sexual intimacy is one of Satan’s prime vehicles to target and hurt God’s children. Distorting intimacy with cheap substitutes destroys our intimacy with God. The beauty of loving relationships, the blessings of fidelity, and the glory of intimacy with God and each other is radically damaged. Intimacy is sullied, shamed and shattered, rather than celebrated and enjoyed in God’s given context.

Fidelity matters… a lot. If lost, it is worth fighting for, recapturing through repentance, by working together in the light to pursue our good and God’s glory.

PRAYER:

Father, no sin can separate us from you and no scheme of the devil can ultimately distort your love. So where we’ve failed, lead us to repentance, forgive us, and give us the will to fight together for the beauty of fidelity.

P.S. If you want support in the fight, on any level, please contact Pastor Rob (pastor.rob.gibson@gmail.com)