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Just As I Am

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Just As I Am

Acts 3:1-10

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John.  Then Peter said, "Look at us!"  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk.  Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

I don’t know if you have caught this yet about me yet, but I love to be in God’s house.  I love to fellowship and get to know God’s people.  I enjoy the time shared as we get together and worship the King of Kings.

As I read this story of old, I love the fact, first of all that Peter and John were not only heading towards the temple in the middle of the afternoon, but they were heading for a time of prayer!!!  They understood the importance of humbling themselves in prayer because Jesus set that example for them.  They were going about their normal routine.  They had not planned on something temporarily hindering their progress.  They were probably talking about plans for later, or remembering something God had done earlier, or were just enjoying the beauty of another day.  Life was unscripted and unrehearsed.

In another scene of the same timespan, there was a man who was crippled from birth.  The Bible doesn’t say how old he was, but one thing is for sure; he was accustomed to life as he was living it.  It was totally within his norm to beg for the next meal, or for money to pay for his needs.  It wasn’t out of his comfort zone to have people wait on him and take him where he needed to go.  He didn’t have access to a Hoveround, and the Scooterstore did not have a location near him.  He didn’t have a cute little device around his neck that he could press if he had fallen and couldn’t get up.  911 wasn’t even a thought.  But, here is the humorous thing about this scene, if you are able to find one.  Here lies a life that, in anyone’s opinion, is not beautiful or desireful, sitting in front of the Temple gate called Beautiful.  What even sticks out equally as much, is that the Bible says that he was daily brought to the Temple to beg.  There is something about God’s people…God’s Temple.  Even those who are not his, who may not even believe that God exists, somehow find themselves seeking his attention and even his blessings in the trying circumstances of life.

Herein lies the crossroad.  This beggar finds himself in his normal position, as does Peter and John.  We are not made aware if they had crossed paths previously, but this was his day.  Today was the day of salvation for this crippled beggar.  God had finally called his number, noticed his pain, and decided it was time for him to receive glory for a miracle that was about to take place.  He also took into consideration all of those who were standing around and would notice this possible once in a lifetime miracle.

Then, the confrontation.

The crippled beggar asks of Peter and John for any monies they may be able to give.  Something inside them is stirred, and they lock eyes with this helpless man.  The man, hoping to receive something for nothing, in turn, locks eyes with the disciples.  Then, without much thought or consideration, Peter and John assess the situation and realize that silver or gold will not help this man fully.  And it’s not like they probably have much assets to give away anyway.  But, they have something instilled deep within them that will have a much greater result.  Jesus gave them power over situations in this life.  Here was one of those situations.  And it was time to release some of that power that God built within them.

“Look at us!”

If you want God to move in your life, then you must be willing to focus on him.  Full attention is required if you want God to move.  The word says, draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you (James 4:8).  Are you ready for him to do something in your life?

Life change.

Once this man’s focus was on God’s chosen people for that time and that situation, there was a life-change on the horizon.  What Peter said, in plain American terms, was this; “What you think you want or need, I can’t give you, but I can release to you what you are wanting deep down within you.  In Jesus’ name, walk!!!”

Simple, and yet so effective.  No long, in-depth prayer.  No calling of the elders or prayer team to see something happen.  There was no purposeful intention to make a scene.  And what does the Bible say happened?  Peter and John grabbed him by the hand, lifted him up, THEN his feet and ankles became strong, and THEN he walked and jumped and leaped into the Temple giving God praise.

His life was forever changed.  No longer did he have to be carried to the Temple to beg; no more waiting on others to see things happen in his life.  Now, everything that he could experience and would experience would be to God’s glory.

But here’s the thing to remember: God is looking for those who will come to him and live for him just as you are.  You see, you can’t prepare for what God has in store for your life.  You can’t make yourself more appealing to him, or be a “better” person than you are right now.  He made you to be who you are.  Yes, life situations and decisions have altered the course that God planned for your life.  But he has already prepared a detour road that will get you right back where he wants you.

The beggar didn’t take the time to consider if he was the right man for God to do something in his life.  The disciples didn’t question whether or not God might or might not heal this man.  They were all exactly who God wanted them to be at that time, and changes took place.

Now, not only did three people see God’s glory in this miracle, but others who were around were amazed and in awe.  The story goes on to say that Peter and John were jailed for their preaching and boldness and the number of believers grew that day to about 5000.

Come, just as you are today!!!

Don’t try and hold onto worldly acquisitions as an excuse.  God will burn those sins and tendencies as you open yourself up to him.  If you’ve been saved for a while, and yet you still are holding onto worldly desires or habits, maybe it’s time for you to surrender more of you to the one who surrendered everything for you.  “It’s too hard!!!”  you might say?  Don’t you think being beaten beyond recognition with the cat of nine tails would rank as too hard to handle?  “I don’t think I can do without it!!!” may be something that comes to mind, but consider this…..Can you risk eternity for some momentary satisfaction?  “Are you trying to say I’m not saved?”  No, I’m not your judge, but Jesus did say that we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow him. (Matt 16:24)  Jesus also said in John 15:2, that God cuts off branches that do not produce fruit, and he prunes those branches that do produce, so that they may be more productive.  He also said that you know a tree by the fruit that it bears in Matt 7.  He trims off those places in our lives that are unsightly or dying.  He watches closely and keeps us in position to benefit the Kingdom.  He isn’t looking for any reason to cut us off, he’s looking for every reason to make us more and more like Jesus.

So, come, just as you are right now.  He’s here to meet your need exactly as it is.  He isn’t concerned about the conditions you are looking at.  He isn’t waiting for you to do anything more than just respond…right now…Come!!!

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