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Debby Bailey



Sometimes we have the misconception that we have to be perfect to attend church. We want to conquer our sins and display ourselves as lily-white, picture perfect Christians before we submit to the authority of Jesus Christ and join a body of believers.

When we think this way, we have put the cart before the horse.

It is only once we have submitted ourselves to Jesus and have the Holy Spirit actively working in our lives that we can begin conquering sin. It is not an overnight process.

We conquer sin day by day as we walk with Jesus and develop a loving relationship with Him.

I heard a quote that I though was very apropos: "Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints." Since we all have sinful human nature, we desperately need to go to the "hospital" to get well. God is the source of our healing.

In Proverbs 3, He asks us to trust in Him with our whole heart and acknowledge Him in all our actions. In verse 8, He says: "It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones."

We may live under the fallacy that we have drifted so far from God that we can never come back to Him.

We may be living an immoral life; perhaps we have committed a crime; or maybe we have just been living such an apathetic life that we don*t know where to start making changes in our lifestyle. The place to begin is to go before Jesus and be completely, brutally honest. Express your pain, your anger, your indifference and ask Him to create a new heart in you, to come into your life and be your Lord and Master.

Picture this scenario. Peter has been living and working with Jesus through his three and one-half year ministry. He knows Jesus intimately and He loves Him.

When Jesus tells Peter He is going to be crucified and that Peter will deny Him three times before the cock crows, Peter vehemently denies he would do this. Let*s read what happened when Peter was confronted. Luke 22:60-62 says: "But Peter said, "Man I do not know what you are talking about."

And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times."

And he went out and wept bitterly."

We have done many things in our lives which we are not proud of; whether we admit it or not we know that God sees us; however, none of us have ever had to look directly into the eyes of God after we have just sinned.

Now Peter had two choices: he could have walked away, feeling like a failure or he could have repented, come back to Jesus and then went forward in his Christian walk. Peter chose the latter.

When he went out and wept, he was convicted in his conscious of the wrong he had done and his deep need for Jesus.

When we sin, we face the same choices that Peter did. Peter did not let this incident incapacitate him for the rest of his life. Yes he was ashamed and embarrassed before Jesus, but instead of giving up he let it spur him on to a life of even greater service.

Don*t ever let anyone convince you that God is harsh, cruel or unforgiving. Never fall into the trap of thinking that you have done something so awful that you can never come back to God. Instead, open up your heart and use your past mistakes as a catalyst to a greater commitment to Jesus and a deeper appreciation of His mercy. His forgiveness and His unfailing love.