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Summary: We need to deal with our past in order to experience not only the forgiveness that Jesus brought to us on the cross , but to understand that his grace is sufficient. Forgiving ourselves is part of the Christian package. Beloved, His grace is sufficient!

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For those unfamiliar with an Anglican Service there are four Scripture readings before the message. Today’s readings were: Acts:9:1-20; Psalm 30; Revelation 5: 11-14 and John 21:1-19.

Today’s Gospel reading .... points to a person who Jesus had called to be ............a fisher of men.

He was always taking some hasty action that he (Slow) regretted later.

He was always saying things he wished he had not..

But the denial of the Lord ..... must have weighed heavy on his heart.

He said he would never deny Jesus even if the others would. Yet ......he did.... 3 Times!

He probably thought he was permanently disqualified from ever doing the Lord’s work again. (Pause)

At the beginning of this chapter Peter says, "I’m going fishing."

What he was really saying is, "What is there left for me to do but to go back to my previous life. I have totally failed the Lord. I am guilty and I cannot forgive myself."

He goes off with the weight of guilt hanging heavy on his shoulders,.... He returns to his old life.

His Yoke is very heavy.

He probably replayed the tape of his denial of the Lord ......over and over in his mind.

He could not forgive himself and maybe he wasn’t sure if the Lord would even forgive him.

Beloved....Life at times can be very hard. Forgiving Self is not as easy at it may look to others (Pause)

There was a man trying to cross the street.

As he steps off the curb a car comes screaming around the corner and it heads straight for him.

The man walks faster, trying to hurry across the street, but the car changes lanes and is still coming at him.

So the man turns around to go back, but the car changes lanes yet again and is still coming straight toward him.

By now, .....the car is so close ...and the man so scared .... that he just freezes and stops in the middle of the road.

The car swerves at the last possible moment and screeches to a halt right next him.

The driver rolls down the window. The driver is .....a squirrel.

And The squirrel says to the man, ...."See, it’s not as easy as it looks?"

Beloved..... It is not as easy as it looks when you are trying to forgive yourself for something that you have done wrong.

There are certain things that you and I have done in our lives .... that we punish ourselves for .....over and over again.

At times they seem almost impossible to overcome. (Pause)

So ...what can we glean from these Scriptures that will help us get past those things that keep us chained to the past?

That day on the shore Jesus invited Peter and the other disciples to a breakfast of fish that were being cooked on a charcoal fire.

He said, "Come.... Come and have breakfast ..... bring some of the fish you have just caught."

Now there are two times in Scripture that discuss a charcoal fire.

One is in the passage we read today and I am sure that it was a reminder to Peter .....of the charcoal fire .....where he had denied knowing and being a disciple of Jesus.

There was the Charcoal fire of denial and this charcoal fire of fellowship and redemption.

Jesus took the initiative to invite Peter to breakfast around the charcoal fire.

Sadly, too often, and especially when experiencing inward pain, we do not pick up on our Lord’s invitation.

We do not hear Jesus when he says to Us, Come...."Come to me all of ye who are weary and heavy laden, (Slow) and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)

His Yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Why do we not hear our Lord’s voice or his invitation, .... because too often we make ourselves so busy with what each day has in store for us.

Or we are beating ourselves up over the past and are stuck in our guilt.

Jesus is calling, "Come " Come come to the charcoal fire and Fellowship with me.

We all are included"

Jesus says, "Come, Come. Enjoy each day." But often we feel undeserving.

Jesus is saying, Come "You are invited. ....Come and fellowship with me."

Peter may have thought in his heart he has been disqualified..... That he was beyond forgiveness.

The biggest obstacle to self-forgiveness ..... is often the tendency to wallow in our own self guilt.

We draw those feelings up around us like a blanket and we cover our heads.

We refuse to push the stop button on our suffering.

We at times refuse to forgive ourselves and in a way it becomes a crazy form of penance. We feel we must suffer for what we have done.

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