Internet Cafe

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Never Too Late for a Fresh Start

The Internet Cafe Welcomes BACK a wonderful friend and contributor...
Sue, from Praise and Coffee!!

Hello! First I want to say that I am thrilled to be back. I took a much needed break this summer as we were traveling, but it feels good to be back, kind of like coming home! I love what you've all done with the Cafe' and consider it an honor and a blessing to be writing side by side with such wonderful writers. Thank you!

I got a call from an old friend the other day. She was struggling with the guilt of backslidding. She wondered how could she have gotten to this place of depression and bitterness? She had let the pressures of this world and her surroundings get the best of her so that she lost her own sense of who she was. She’d gone from a happy wife and mom, to a truly desperate housewife.

It reminded me of something I read that week:

Acts 3:11-20
11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Can you imagine? Put yourself in the place of these “men of Israel.” I would have been horrified when I finally grasped the truth of what I had done.
Peter was not easy on them either, he said “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One…”
And “You killed the author of life…”

By the time these men realized what was happening, they probably wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Much like my friend wanted to do that very day.

But then, Peter changes his tone…

17 "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus.

Peter goes from calling them “men of Israel” to “brothers,” and then he acknowledges that they had no idea what they were doing when they killed Jesus.

Then he does something so beautiful, he offers them mercy. He says, “repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.” But he doesn’t stop there, he goes on to offer them grace, “that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (that same Lord that they murdered).

When I read this, I thought…that’s me. I’m the one who put Him on that cross, it was my sin. And just like Peter told these men, they were to blame- I know that I am to blame. But also, the forgiveness and grace offered by Peter are also offered to me…and you (and of course my dear friend).

How beautiful is that?

I love how the Lord allows us to see how ugly and destructive our sin is, but then draws us to His heart to receive His unconditional love.

Yes, this is a message of salvation, but it is also a word to those of us living as Christians. I know that I have not mastered the sinless life yet and I’m guessing that no one reading this has either. However, I’m so thankful for God’s forgiveness, and not only does He forgive, but He refreshes too. ~sigh~ He is so good.

That is exactly what my friend needed to hear. She needed to see in God’s Word that no matter what she's done, she can always run to Him for forgiveness and a new start.

I encourage you to read these verses and look at yourself. Is there an area in your life that has become sin? If so, bring it to the Father, receive His forgiveness and let Him refresh you.

Father, I ask You to minister Your forgiveness and love to our hearts. Help us to know that we can never go farther than Your grace can find us and bring us home. Help us to see the pitfalls for what they are and first and foremost to avoid them. But if we should fall, I thank You Lord for picking us up, making us new and refreshing us. Be the lifter of our head.
In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, amen.

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Blogger Denise said...

Beautiful my friend, bless you.

November 2, 2008 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

Very well stated. I love His mercy and am glad that it's new every morning.

November 2, 2008 at 5:23 AM  
Blogger Nancy Douglas said...

Thank you for sharing this. God's love is always ready and waiting to cleanse us of our sins. Then, true restoration can begin. How great is the love of God!

November 2, 2008 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

It is so great Nancy! :)

November 2, 2008 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger TCKK said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. In my Sunday School Class this morning my plans are to talk about David and his sin with Bathsheba. He was punished for this sin but he was also forgiven when he repented and he was still called a Man after Gods own heart. I think the scriptures you used will go along with that very well.
Thank you for your insight. And as Homesteader in Training said above, Thank you Lord that your mercies are new every morning.

November 2, 2008 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

Thank You...I am sending a link to her to my daughter. Great article.

God Bless You!

November 2, 2008 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Thanks Sue for this wonderful reminder.

God is so gracious, so loving and forgiving.

Welcome back!!

November 2, 2008 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

So true! And God's gracious forgiveness would have meant little to them if they hadn't been confronted with their sin. The "bad news" makes the Good News precious!

November 2, 2008 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

YAY!!! Sue's back!!

November 2, 2008 at 11:48 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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