Friday, May 08, 2009

His Love that will NOT let you go

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:18-20 (NIV)

18 With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood. 20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it.’”

Matthew 27:3-5 (NIV)

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Good morning!

My heart was breaking as I listened intently to the preacher’s life story. He was raised in a home where his family sold drugs to support their own addictions. He grew up watching the ones he loved daily drug themselves into the zone, a stupor where no one has to assume responsibility for their words and actions. As a young boy, his parents would have him carry the concealed illegal substances across state lines in a backpack. They were able to hide their own guilt by forcing their son to physically carry it for them. One crime led to another and it wasn’t long before the teenager found himself serving time in a state penitentiary.

A prison minister’s love for the lost made all the difference. He came each week, sharing Christ’s love with the incarcerated. The young man spent days pouring over the words of Scripture given to him during a worship service. Physically, he was locked up behind thick steel bars. When he gave his life to Christ, repented of the mistakes he had made, both knowingly and unknowingly, his soul had been set free by faith.

Once he was released, the man re-entered the world expecting never to return to the life he had once lived. He believed he could leave the sins of his father behind and begin a brand new life. It was not long before Satan’s fiery darts began striking the young Christian. He experienced a series of devastating blows – losing his first real job and realizing that potential employers want nothing to do in hiring ex-cons. With no money to pay the rent, he found himself living on the streets once again. He was completely heart-broken and disillusioned when his wife left him the day they were locked out of their apartment. In deep despair, he stopped trusting the Lord and let go of Christ’s hand, falling back into the way of life he simply despised.

Choices do have consequences. Little children who are wrongfully subjected to the sins of their parents are not responsible for their parents actions. And yet, like most little children do, we tend to blame ourselves for our parents’ poor choices, carrying the dead weight of their guilt around for years. Some experience instantaneous freedom from the sin cycle while others seem to perpetuate it over and over again as adults. Living a life of remorse and guilt will steal away your very last breath if you let it.

Judas Iscariot walked with the Lord Jesus Christ for three years. He listened to the Lord’s teaching and saw the incredible miracles happen first-hand. He knew Jesus Christ had the power to overthrow Roman rule. By making this one fatal choice, Judas set into motion a plot that could not be reversed. Scripture tells us that Judas hung himself on a tree in the field he purchased with the thirty pieces of silver; it is presumed that the rope or branch broke and his body split open upon impact and his intestines spilled all over the ground.

Can you walk away from Jesus Christ twice and be completely forgiven? This preacher would tell you unequivocally YES! Christ has the power and is willing to forgive every wrong choice we have ever made, even if, at some point, we let go of His strong hand. You see, when God forgives you, He forgives you completely. The slate is wiped clean. He doesn’t bother keeping track of your sin. You need to let go of the things that have caused you great remorse, because the Truth is this: Jesus Christ will never let you go. And once you’ve given your life to Him, He will follow you to the ends of the earth to redeem you, if you will just simply humble your heart and ask.

Don’t follow in the footsteps of Judas. Confess your sins at the foot of the cross, where you will find His love that will not let you go. Come to Jesus and live!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


© Copyright 2009, Deb Spaulding

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