I am reading Acts right now in my Daily Bible reading. It is one of my favorite books…mainly because in the beginning Peter gets his chance at redemption. If you have been reading this blog long…you know I absolutely LOVE a good redemption story!! (See Michael Vick post for the most recent example) And what better way to encourage women in their daily walk with Christ than to remind them of those stories!
The last time we see Peter before the book of Acts he denies Jesus 3 times and feels like the scum of the earth. Or maybe lower than that resulting in the “ugly cry” depicted in Luke 22:62. “And he (Peter) went outside and wept bitterly”. I have had a few ugly cries myself when I have realized things I have done that broke the heart of God. And I have even had the nerve to try to blame God for not stopping me! The conversation went something like this in my head…”WHAT WAS I THINKING?????” Followed by “Lord, why didn’t you STOP me??? You know you could have...how can you ever forgive me for being so stupid??”. And then the answer goes something like…”Kristy, child, I give you free will and I also give you an escape route…YOU MISSED THE narrow OPEN WINDOW because you were too caught up in your sin while going through the wide door! Now repent and move on child of Mine!”
But I am encouraged because Jesus reinstates Peter (see John 21:15-19). And praise His name that is what he does with us! And then LOOK what Peter does with the 2nd chance in Acts!!! He gives basically the first Christian sermon we see in scripture (by someone other than Jesus of course), he heals people, he baptizes people, he risks life and limb to tell people what Jesus has done in his life, arrested and freed by an angel, arrested some more and freed again.
What do I do with my 2nd chances? When I mess up and repent do I lead others to Jesus so they can avoid my mistakes? Do I shine so bright that others want to? Do I love on people the way Jesus did and the way Peter did? Last night I read about Peter going to Cornelius’s house and converting the Gentiles and the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10) Peter showed love to them because God changed his mind about the Gentiles being a lower class and unworthy of Jesus’ redemption. Have I allowed God to change my mind about people who are “different” than me? Do I show them the love of Jesus the same way I show it to my family and friends?
At our church we have an opportunity that many folks do not get to show love to people not like us. We participate in a program near and dear to my heart called Backpack Buddies. Each week we provide a limited amount of food for 125 children at Wilson’s Mills Elementary that may or may not have food on the weekend. I say “may or may not” because I do not know. Nor do I honestly care. Whether the parents signed up for the service out of need or just to “abuse” the system is completely irrelevant in my eyes. The only thing I see with my eyes are children’s faces…God’s children. Hungry or not…they know that some people at a church they may never attend sends them food and snacks for no other reason except love and maybe a feeling of responsibility to the community.
This Friday we are stepping out and broadening our commitment to them. We have accepted donations for BBQ Chicken plate tickets to provide our Backpack Buddy families. Four tickets per family…a total of 500 tickets. Our church body (and some other gracious folks) came together and provided out of sacrificial love and obedience $3,500 to pay for these tickets. I have never felt more excitement over what God will do with this obedience. 125 families touched. They may or may not come to eat on Friday…but they have seen love and provision from our God. And to be a part of something like that is an unimaginable blessing.
Be a blessing today…I say that a lot and I don’t say it out of habit. I truly mean it. Be a blessing today. In life there are really only two options…to bless or to curse. Which are you choosing? If you aren’t sure…look at yourself through someone else’s eyes…and see what they see.
PS – Spread the word about the Chicken Fundraiser THIS Friday!!!! Eat in, Take out, or Delivery for 10 or more plates…$7/plate Serving from 11 until 7pm or we run out! And if you can take off work and HELP!!! Be there around 8:30am in the kitchen! =) Not that I would BEG for help or anything…lol