JUNE 13, 2021

TODAYS BIBLE READING:

Ezra 6-8

John 21

Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ~Acts 1:8

TODAY'S WORSHIP SONG:  

10,000 Reasons

Jim Eliot, martyred missionary, said, "Most laws condemn the soul and pronounce sentence. The result of the law of my God is perfect. It condemns but forgives. It restores - more than abundantly - what it takes away." Chuck Swindoll said, "Our God is a master at turning devastation into restoration." Restoration is defined as returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. Every single one of us reading this post has blown it on numerous occasions. Not only have we blown it, because we are sinners, we continue to blow it. One of Satan's most effective tools is to convince you that because of what you have done, God could never forgive you or restore you. This is a lie, as we read in Romans 5:20, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded more,". It doesn't matter what we have done in the past: addiction, lying, cheating, etc. you name it, if we acknowledge what we have done before Him and repent for these actions, by His grace, He will restore us. So, whenever we are tempted to walk away in shame and defeat, even if the world is loudly pointing its finger at us, we have a Father whose arms are open wide and ready to accept us if we only repent and come back to Him.

We get a beautiful picture of the restoration of Peter in the book of John. When Jesus tells the apostles in Matthew 26:31, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night,". Peter answers in 26:33,35, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble...Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" Jesus responded in 26:34, "Assuredly, I say to you this night before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." We all know this story and can read it in John 18:15-18, 25-27; and witness the account of Peter's denial. Peter had hit rock bottom, feeling that his denial of Him left him hopeless. The Gospel of Mark is really Peter's account of the gospel, and we read in Mark 16:7, "But go, tell His disciples - and Peter - that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you." Peter was so hopeless that he wouldn't even include his name among the disciples. Then we read the beautiful account of the restoration of Peter in John 21:15-19, where we see Jesus ask Peter three times, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" To which we see Peter respond three times with, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." At which Jesus restores Peter into service by commanding him to feed and tend His lambs and sheep. Though Peter felt that he was now unworthy to even be called a disciple, Jesus not only reinstated him as a disciple but commissioned him for His service. Interestingly, there are four words in Greek for love. The first two times, Jesus asked Peter if he was willing to agape (love) Him, which is an unconditional, expecting nothing in return, unconditional type of love. Peter responded that he was willing to phileo (love) or brotherly love Him. The last time Jesus asks, He asks Peter if he was willing to phileo Him, and Peter once again responded that he was willing to phileo Him. Peter's response is not wrong, it is honest. Peter knows that Jesus said in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay one's life for his friends." Jesus exhibited this kind of love, Peter at this point in his life felt incapable of this. Jesus did not tell Peter that unless you are willing to agape love Me, we're through. No, Jesus met Peter where he was capable of being at that time.

Peter proudly proclaimed that he would never leave Jesus, only to flee, then deny Him three times. What have we done? We have all done similar. We like to rank our sins and shortcomings, but the reality is sin is sin. Unrepented sin is what separates us from Jesus. But no matter what that sin is or was, it does not keep us from restoring our relationship with God. Ask David after his adulterous affair with Bathsheeba, then arranging the murder of her husband, Uriah. Ask Son of Sam, who is now in a relationship with Jesus after being a serial killer. It doesn't matter what we have done, we must never forget, that "grace abounded more". Also, this does not mean that you have to change your career and become a pastor. Jesus is willing to restore you and meet you as far as you're willing to go. But we should be willing to be employed into His service in some capacity. We can all reach out to the unsaved world at work. We can all get to know Him better through His Word. We can all serve in some capacity at our place of worship. No matter how broken we might be or might have been, we are not disqualified to consider ourselves disciples for Christ, and be ready and willing for His service.

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