Rising Up Again !!
Have you ever heard the quote, "Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more...And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less...Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love."_Phillip Yancey
Who hasn't failed at some point in life, or made choices we wished we could take back? Who hasn't said something we so wished would have never slipped out of our mouth, and afterwards had to suffer the consequences for it? We are all in the flesh and have been born with a sinful nature.
Galatians 5 :17: For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and desires of the spirit are against the flesh, for these are apposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Romans 7:18 says: I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.
The apostle Peter is a beautiful example of how we can experience God's grace, mercy, and restoration after immense failure. It was during the Feast of Unleavened bread, called the Passover that after they had eaten that Jesus would have to strongly correct Peter after boldly professing his love and alliance to him.
Luke 22:31-34: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you , that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Peter said to him "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death," Jesus said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny me three times that you know me."
The phrase "sift as wheat" is the process after wheat is harvested. It needs to be threshed or sifted. This process is done to remove the inedible chaff from the usable edible grain. The wheat stalks were taken to the threshing floor. The wheat stalks were beaten or trampled to loosen inedible chaff from the pure wheat. Some would have donkeys, cows, or oxen walk in circles over the stalks. The winnowing fork (pitchfork) was used to gather all stalk on the ground. They would throw them in the air so that the wind could blow away the chaff. All the good and usable grain fell back to the ground. The wheat then was placed into filtering sieve to remove remaining chaff, any dust or tiny pebbles. They would violently shake the sieve to create the sifting process.
He was saying Peter you are going to be going through a process of being violently shaken. Jesus knew Satan demanded to sift Peter and that what he was about to go through would be severe enough to not only shake his faith but possibly even lose it. He knew that when the sifting was over he would be able to use what he had gone through and experienced to strengthen others. It's hard even to imagine or see ourselves in a bad light. Or even imagine we could deny the Lord, the one who loves us the most.
It came to pass exactly what Jesus had spoken to Peter. After Jesus was seized, Peter followed Jesus closely behind and sat down in the courtyard. Peter's first denial was in Luke 22:56-57: "Then girl noticed him and said , "This man was with him." But he denied it, saying, "woman, I don't know him." Peter's second and third denial was found in Luke 22:58-60: "And a little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." But Peter said "Man I am not." And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, "Certainly this man also was with him for he too is a Galilean," But Peter said, "Man, I Do not know what you are talking about." Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed." Luke 22:61 "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: " Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly."
After Jesus death and resurrection, it would be a span of 40 days before he ascended into heaven. Within that time frame, Jesus appeared many times to the disciples and others. One of those appearances to the disciples was by the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus death Peter went back to his old way of life before He met Jesus.
John 21:3-17 "I'm going out to fish ," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "we'll go with you." so they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on they right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" he wrapped his outer garment around him and jumped in the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have caught." So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It as full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come have breakfast." None of the disciples dared to ask him, "who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" Yes, Lord, he said, " you know I love you." Jesus said feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "yes, Lord, you know that I love you," Jesus said, "take care of my sheep." The third time he aid to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said feed my sheep.
When he called him Simon he was referring to his name before he changed it to Peter. In essence what he was saying, "Simon, right now you are a small stone but you will become a rock." Mathew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."
Once we become a Christian and serve God, it does not mean that we are excused from any trials and tribulations in our life. Whatever we will go through and face in life we can be sure of this, that our God will lever leave us nor forsake us. We serve a God who loves us, who pursues us, who seeks us out and chases us down. We serve a God who desires to finish what he started in each and every one of us. God can take any mistake, or failure in life and turn it around and get you back on track again for his glory.
Romans 3:23-24 "for everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Jesus Christ when he freed us from the penalty of our sins."
Philippians 1:6: " Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."