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Michael Breissen was a new father, and he was not about to let his wifeís first Motherís Day pass uncelebrated. But she was a nurse, and on that particular Sunday was working at the local hospital, and they werenít able to celebrate together at home. So Michael plunked his new son, Jason, in the baby carrier, drove to the hospital, and in front of all the patients and co-workers he surprised Miriam with candy and flowers and balloons that said, "Worldís Greatest Mom."
It was a great Motherís Day. But after celebrating, it was time for Miriam to go back to work, and Jason and Michael to go back home. Michael gathered all the things that had been part of the celebration: the candy, flowers, and balloons. It wasnít as much fun taking those things out to the car as it was taking them in to the hospital for the surprise. He begrudgingly tossed the candy on the front seat and got the flowers arranged on the floor where they wouldnít tip over. He pulled the balloons in out of the wind and got everything arranged, and headed home.
On the way home, people began to honk their horns and flash their lights at him. He didnít realize what was going on until he hit 55 miles per hour on the highway. He heard a long scraping noise go down the roof, followed by a loud thump. He watched in horror in the rearview mirror as the baby carrier bounced off the trunk onto the highway and began to slide along behind the car.
Michael screeched to a halt. He ran back down the highway to the baby carrier. Jason was okay. As the waves of guilt and fear and relief began to wash over him, Michael fell on the highway and began to sob, which did not stop a passing policeman from writing him up, nor the local newspaper from writing a story about it. A reporter interviewed Miriam, who showed amazing understanding. She said, "Itís so unlike him. He really is a good father."
While thereís a part of us that says, "How could he?" thereís another part of us that relates to Michael Breissen. We recog-nize all the mistakes we have made, the dumb things we have done born out of hurry or frustration or distraction. We know that there is enough Michael Breissen in us that we could be guilty of such things too. Itís all part of being human.
The eighth chapter of Romans begins with one of the greatest promises in all the Bible. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And even standing by itself there is something in those words that makes your heart flutter. The significance of the fact that in spite of our sin, God doesnít condemn us is overwhelming in and of itself. But the truth of the matter is, when you read that verse in light of chapter 7, the personal application of its truth is even more invigorating.
You see, chapter 7 is one of the most powerful statements about struggling with sin in the history of all literature. What makes it so powerful is, that it is Paul providing us a glimpse into his own struggle. For me that is encouraging.
Often when I think of the apostle Paul, I think of somebody who is bigger than life. I see him standing up and defending his faith in front of the Roman governors and even the emperor. I remember him on his great missionary journies all over the Roman empire. We have all listened to him as he instructs the churches to be faithful, and as he
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