The Saint Jesus Saw In A Sinner

A medical MRI exposes bone, muscle, and organs in detailed three dimensional pictures for detailed examination. The doctor sees every normal and abnormal feature to find what is wrong and determine a course of treatment. Imagine a spiritual MRI exposing memories of words spoken and actions taken, and the inner thoughts that you share with no one. In the presence of God, the thoughtful person realizes his own unworthiness and inferiority.

When God spoke to Job of his great power and wisdom, Job said he would cover his mouth and say nothing else, Job 40:3-5. When the prophet Isaiah beheld the glory of God, he cried out for he was “a man of unclean lips dwelling among unclean people” (Isaiah 6:1-7). The apostle had a similar experience with Jesus on the shores of Galilee.

In Luke 5, Peter allowed Jesus to preach from his boat to a large multitude on the shore. I imagine the powerful words of truth echoing off the water to the eager multitude and Peter listening attentively in the boat, perhaps mending his nets after the long night of fishing. Jesus asked Peter to go fishing again. Peter and the other fishermen had an unsuccessful night having caught no fish and his words suggested that fishing now would produce no better result. Encouraged by Jesus, Peter lowered the nets and caught so many fish that James and John were called to bring back the bounty. Peter returns to the shore amazed but troubled.

Peter saw Jesus as he really was

Peter heard the words of Jesus. The preaching of Jesus caused guards sent to arrest him to return empty handed marveling that no one spoke like Jesus, John 7:46. Jesus amazed the people by speaking with authority, Matthew 7:28-29. The preaching of Jesus pricks the heart and leads hearers to examine themselves. The reputation of Jesus’ power had spread throughout the region and Peter witnessed that power in his own boat. Peter did not see a great teacher; he saw the Son of God.

Peter saw himself as he really was

Jesus’ power and holy teaching cut Peter to the heart. Peter begged Jesus to depart from his sinful presence. Peter was not holy like Jesus and considered himself unworthy to be in the presence of such righteousness. Like lepers forced to warn others to avoid their defiled diseased bodies, Peter warned Jesus to depart from his spiritually wretched body.

Jesus saw Peter as he really was

Jesus didn’t contradict Peter’s self-condemnation. Jesus knew the hearts of men and knew Peter’s sinfulness. Though Peter begged Jesus to depart from him, Jesus invited Peter to follow him as a disciple. Far from being repulsed by Peter, Jesus wanted Peter to remain in his presence.

Jesus saw Peter as he could be

Jesus looked beyond the boats, the fish and the sea to a future Peter casting the net of the gospel into the mass of humanity to catch the souls of men. Peter the sinner would be transformed into a godly servant doing great work in the Lord’s kingdom. Peter’s heart was pricked by the presence of Jesus and he would prick the hearts of others by preaching the gospel of Jesus, Acts 2:36-38. Jesus saw the man Peter would be before Peter would see it in himself.

What Jesus sees in us

When we experience the presence of Jesus through his word, we are exposed for who we really are. If we do not resist him, his word will peel away the illusions we have about ourselves and expose our sinfulness in the brightness of his light. Do not fear this intimate dissection of the inward person (Hebrews 4:12-13) but understand that facing the sinful self is necessary to heal the cancer of sin within.

Instead of driving us from his presence, Jesus calls us to follow him. When we obey his gospel, the filth of rebellion and disease of sin is cleansed with his holy sacrificial blood and we are transformed to reflect his glory in our lives, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. We reflect his light into the dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). Our sinful self becomes part of our past and we are declared righteous though we do not deserve such a title, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Jesus can use us, as he did Peter, to accomplish great things in the kingdom. We can rescue others from the darkness and slavery of sin by sharing the gospel. We can build up fellow Christians and rescue those who stray from him, James 5:19-20. We can see in others what they do not see in themselves and encourage them to follow Jesus.

Jesus sees us as we can be when we see Jesus as he is.

The Process of Letting Go by Keith Stonehart

I can vividly  remember being 9 years old and gripping the rope I was holding on to with force that would rival a Python gripping his latest soon to be meal…Nervousness  was all over me like a bad suit and he had brought his friends fear and fear with him (yes, I said fear twice-apparently there is strength in numbers)  , but –  I being the stubborn hard headed punk I have always been ,  was determined to beat this…

Then it came – that one moment where this whole journey had led me to…The moment when I was forced to choose… To LET GO…

Seconds later I was submerged in the cool flowing waters of the Flint River..I HAD DONE IT!.. I had swung from the rope swing attached to the tree growing from the high bank of the river.. I had beaten the seemingly unbeatable  , little did I realize that the unbeatable wasn’t the rope swing that dauntingly hung high above the Flint River –  It was FEAR.

Fear  , a true “4 letter word” If I have ever heard it.. While healthy fear is often referred to as “respect” and is the only way to  begin to learn about God (Proverbs 1:7) – this is too often the fear we don’t practice. We give ourselves over to fear of failure,rejection,pain and a laundry list of other hosts that feed on the energy we give it..And with THAT fear , we open the door to sin and welcome it into our lives like the sickness it is  – But , like every illness there is treatment -and in this case not JUST a treatment  but a CURE…


For many of us , our understanding of “Letting go” is associated with weakness and it is in fact –  quite the contrary. True strength comes from doing what we KNOW is right NO MATTER the consequence – This is the birth of COURAGE and beginning of the Process of Letting Go.. So allow me give this encouragement :

GIVE IN – Give in to the will of GOD by submission of your own will to HIS… Submission isn’t a power struggle but rather a mutual relationship of love ,humility and respect.. Understand the PRINCIPLE of submission and you’ll understand the PRACTICE of submission. – (1 Peter 1:14)

GIVE UP – Not as in failure , but but in Prayer.. Give the things that plague you to God. Psalm 118:5 says  “Out of my distress I called on the Lord;the Lord answered me and set me free” ..

MOVE FORWARD – Giving in to the Lord and Giving up your problems to him in prayer is absolutely the right and best way to BEGIN – but a beginning is ONLY  a BEGINNING if you move on..You MUST commit to moving away from where you came in to the fold ,lest you fall out.. For this read 2 Corinthians 5:17

Things are just things..and like everything around us -things decay and disintegrate..The harder you try to HOLD ON , the more they slip from your hands and take you with them on the path to destruction…Imagine for a second that you are at Heavens edge and God Almighty is standing there waving you to “come in” – only every time you make your attempt , you are blocked by a figure that you cant quite identify. The harder you try , the more its gets in your way..All the while God keeps bidding you to “Come in”..

Finally , you overcome your fear of what this figure will think of you, or what it might do to you ,or what it might say to others about you and you shove it to the floor and RUN TO THE LORD where he is patiently waiting for you to respond to his invitation..Just before getting to him you turn to look one last time at your menacing opponent only to realize that the ENTIRE time , the one in between you and the LORD – was YOURSELF..

What will keep you from God and his rest for you?..Nothing except YOURSELF and your FEAR…. So Let it GO – Let go of the rope that this life will ultimately hang you with and fall headlong into the cool  flowing waters of Christ… In him there is no fear ,only love.. No weakness,only strength.. No labor , only rest…

Linkin Park’s song “Iridescent” says it better than I’ve heard in quite a while..In the last line of the chorus that chant”Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known..Remember all the sadness and frustration..

And let it go.

I, for one , couldn’t agree more… The invitation to study the Bible is still open.. 😉

Revelation 21:4 -“   He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Guest post by Keith Stonehart from his blog Keith Stonehart is Dead

The God of Second Chances

In golf it is called a Mulligan. When playing games with friends it is a “do over.” We mess up something and we are given another chance to do it right. In our spiritual lives God gives us a chance to be reconciled to Him when sin separates us from Him. He forgives and gives us another chance to live pleasing to Him. Thankfully, He continues to give us opportunities to succeed after we fail.

When God brought the flood predicted in Genesis 6, He cleansed the world of wickedness and began recreating the world anew. The thoughts of men were on evil continually. They were lustful and violent and God was sorry that He made man. He was pleased with Noah and instructed Noah to build an ark to save his household and animals that would repopulate the earth. God gave men a chance to repent at Noah’s preaching but they ignored him, 2 Peter 2:5. By destroying the wicked unrepentant sinners God gave the world a second chance. Sadly, mankind has returned to violent and lustful thoughts and dwelling on evil continually. God has promised that He will destroy the world for good but is giving men an opportunity to repent even now, 2 Peter 3:9-13

Spiritually, we are cleansed from the filthiness of sin when we are immersed in water for the remission of sins, Romans 6:1-11, 2 Peter 3:21. We enjoy a new life in which Christ lives in us. The lustful and wicked body of sin is crucified and dead to us. God gives us a second chance to live a life pleasing to Him. The encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, recorded in John 8:1-11, demonstrates the merciful pardon that Jesus gives to those who sorrow for their sins and the exhortation to “sin no more.”

When we sin after becoming a child of God, we have the promise of God’s forgiveness if we repent, 1 John 2:1.  When Peter denied the Lord he wept bitterly for his betrayal. Yet Matthew 26:30-35, 65-68 records how Jesus forgave Peter. Peter became very useful in the kingdom of God and did not deny His Lord again. We can have complete forgiveness when we repent, 1 Corinthians 6:8-11.

If you have been forgiven by God and are His child, don’t waste your second chance. If you are not a child of God, come to Him in obedience so your sins can be washed away and you can enjoy a new life in Him.

Turning Spiritual Defeats Into Victories For God

Samson, the once mighty warrior of Israel, was enslaved and blinded by his enemies. The Philistines who once feared him now mocked him. They made him turn the grinding wheel at the mill, a job usually performed by beasts of burden. And when they gathered for a feast, they brought him from the prison to embarrass him and make fun of him for their entertainment.

Perhaps when Samson lost his eyesight his insight increased. If it did, he would have reflected on how his impulsive choices and passion for the wrong things continued to get him in trouble. His poor choice of women, based on their physical beauty not character, caused him problems and ultimately led to his current tragic situation. It may be that he realized that his divinely given strength, which was now lost, was from God and that he should have had strong spiritual strength to match his physical power. What we do know is that in the final moments of his life, he trusted in God’s ability to  use him for good even in this desperate condition.

When the Philistines were holding a feast in the temple of the idol Dagon, they brought Samson from the prison to humiliate him for their entertainment. As Samson stood near the supporting pillars of the temple, he asked God to give him strength like he had before. God granted the request and Samson pushed away the pillars of Dagon’s temple killing more of the Philistines as he died than he did while alive. God brought a victory over the Philistines through the humiliation and defeat of Samson.

Christian Defeat

Christians know the pain of defeat. We did or said something wrong. We knew what was right but did wrong anyway. We felt the sting of disappointment and the shame of sin. But as Christians we also were comforted when we knew God would forgive us for our transgression. Perhaps we had a hard time forgiving ourselves even when we knew God forgave us. Although God gives us victory over sin through the blood of Jesus, there are often other victories that God can give us in this defeat.

Warn and Rescue

If you have been delivered from a sin, addiction, or other destructive behavior then you know how to help others who are in that situation. A person who has been delivered from drug addiction or alcoholism can help another addict in a special way because they have practical advice, gained from experience, to help rescue the person. They know the thinking and attitudes that must be overcome to break the addiction. Those who have committed fornication can warn others of the guilt and consequences that accompany such sin.

When Peter wrote, in 2 Peter 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked”, wrote from experience. Perhaps he could still hear himself tell Jesus “even if all the other disciples deny you, I never will deny you” and the people in the courtyard, “I do not know the man.” When Peter warns us not to be arrogant about our ability to remain faithful in temptation, he speaks from experience. He was able to use his defeat, the denial of Jesus, to teach others to remain faithful.

Teach Others of God’s Grace

When we have made shameful and disgraceful choices, the peace we have from God’s forgiveness can be an important message to share with others. While passing through Samaria, Jesus talked with a woman who was embarrassed about her marital choices (John 4). When she was convinced Jesus was the Messiah, she went to the people of her town and invited them to meet Jesus. Consider the testimony she used to invite them to see Jesus: “Come see a man who told me all things I ever did.” The things she did were nothing to brag about, and likely the people knew well that she had no pride in her choices, but she used her defeat to bring souls to the one who could give them all victory over Satan.

We do not need to sin so we can gain experiences to help others. God wants us to live pure and holy lives in the midst of a wicked world. But when we do sin and are defeated by Satan, we can use our experiences to help others out of the same kind of sin and demonstrate what a loving, merciful, and forgiving God we have.

Forgiving Ourselves

You know, based on God’s promises, that He has forgiven you. But if you’re still agonizing about what you did (or didn’t do) and feeling great guilt, perhaps you have yet to forgive yourself. When you acknowledged your sin you already made the hardest decision–facing yourself and making changes. Sometime when you pray, thank God for the guilt and shame that moved you to repent and leave a destructive path.

Your past will not define your life and you should not look at yourself through the lens of your past. There are many people who have been down the same road you traveled who are fine teachers, loving spouses and parents, and good examples for others.

Sometimes we hold onto guilt and have problems forgiving ourselves because we feel that we are letting ourselves off too easily. Holding guilt allows us to punish ourselves and, when reaching some spiritual summit, reproach ourselves saying, “You’re not so good. I remember when you…” It is ok to let go of your guilt. Acknowledge that your inward pain has been your punishment and prison for past sins and give yourself a pardon.

Forgiveness is the greatest thing you can give others and yourself. Grieve your sins, the embarrassment you feel/felt, the sorrow for letting others and yourself down, the actions you regret–yes grieve them–then let them go. You have punished yourself well enough–I think anyone could say that you have not let yourself off easily–you have the right to free yourself and enjoy true peace and happiness. You will never forget what you have done, but when you forgive yourself, it finds a place in your past that can only give you a small tinge of pain when it is brought to mind, but it will not bully and berate you anymore.

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