Restoring The Fallen

“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’
Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God,
but merely human concerns.’”
Matthew 16:22-23 (NIV)

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed,
and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor,
talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure,
which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem…”
Luke 9:28-31 (NIV)

Peter was one of the greatest individuals in the early church. He made remarkable statements concerning his beloved Master. His sermon in Acts 2 preached on the Day of Pentecost was wonderfully blessed and thousands were converted as a result of one sermon by Peter.

But Peter’s great gift meant he could commit great blunders and he did blunder as recorded in Matthew 16:22-23. A few days later Peter was rebuked by the Master for telling Him the coming crucifixion must never happen, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain for a remarkable scene. There Jesus was transfigured before them. They were joined by Moses and Elijah and then the three transfigured men spoke about Jesus coming crucifixion. Peter, James and John heard the conversation. It was a scene that greatly helped to restore Peter and help him come to terms with our Lord’s death and resurrection.

Any child of God may falter and sin terribly. David, who wrote such beautiful Psalms committed adultery and murder. We know that several well known preachers in the twentieth century fell into dreadful sin. So, no one is exempt from the possibility of gross sin.

But just as the Saviour restored Peter so He restores us when we fall. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) So any child of God who falls into sin will experience the Lord’s intervention just as Peter did.

When David fell, God sent Nathan to rebuke him (2 Samuel 12). Because David was a true child of God he repented and also wrote Psalm 51 a wonderful prayer to the Lord full of sorrow and grief. Our holy God calls on all of us to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2).

If you have fallen or know a believer who has fallen be assured your loving heavenly Father will intervene to restore you to a place of useful service.

Weary of wandering from my God,
And now made willing to return
I hear and bow me to the rod
For thee, not without hope, I mourn:
I have an Advocate above
A Friend before the throne of love.

O Jesus, full of truth and grace
More full of grace than I of sin
Yet once again I seek Thy face:
Open Thine arms and take me in
And freely my backslidings heal
And love the faithless sinner still.

Thou know’st the way to bring me back
My fallen spirit to restore
O for Thy truth and mercy’s sake,
Forgive, and bid me sin no more:
The ruins of my soul repair
And make my heart a house of prayer.

Charles Wesley

Everlasting Love

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

Looking back over our adult lives we see how we gradually modify ourselves in many ways. We are not what we were, and we are not what we want to be. But we forge ahead to become what we should be in the grand scheme of our heavenly Father.

As we progress, we sense the drawing power our heavenly Father daily exercises on our lives. We also enjoy the everlasting love of our Father as we continue the journey to the “celestial city”. We all need love and to be loved eternally is a tremendous blessing and motivates us to move forward with confidence and with enthusiasm.

This everlasting love is a love that is eternal, unfading and that cannot be withdrawn for any reason. It is as certain as the character of God Himself. The word of the Lord to Jeremiah stands true for every child of God. Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV) reads,

“The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The Lord knew Jeremiah before he was conceived and formed him in the womb and God lovingly appointed him to his work as a prophet. Just so He has known you eternally and has a unique role for you to fill as you journey on to heaven. Learn to lean on the Lord. Remember the words of Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

“The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

When we truly understand just how privileged we are as children of the most high God we will trust more fully in His amazing grace. A father of the modern missionary movement William Carey once said, “Expect great things from God attempt great things for God.

Knowing these things about God and your remarkable relationship to Him, exactly what are you expecting from Him? Further what great things are you attempting for Him?

Perhaps a great thing for you is to rid yourself of a nagging sin. Heed the advice of Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

Make the following hymn your prayer today.

O Master, let me walk with thee
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me thy secret, help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care.

Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear, winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way. 

Teach me thy patience; still with thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong. 

In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broad’ning way,
In peace that only thou canst give,
With thee, O Master, let me live.

“I Am He.”

“Now he had to go through Samaria.”
John 4:4 (NIV)

“The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’
Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’”
John 4:25-26 (NIV)

The writer of the fourth Gospel, John, was an old man by the time he wrote the Gospel bearing his name. One feature of many old people is how they can recall the distant past in great detail. This shows up clearly in John’s writing as he takes so many verses to tell a story of Jesus (42 verses for today’s story).

As we read John 4, John wrote that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”. Yet we know that most Jews of Jesus’ time would never “go through Samaria”. They all would go east, cross over Jordan, then travel north until above Samaria, turn west and cross over Jordan and into the Jewish province of Galilee. So why did Jesus determine to go against convention and enter Samaria when He had a perfectly good alternative?

Jesus had determined to meet a spiritually needy person in Samaria that day and so had to travel as He did. He told her He was the One promised for centuries by the prophets. Can you see how important one soul is to our beloved Saviour? He Who travelled from the glories of heaven, walked a dusty road into Samaria to draw a sinner to Himself. Such is the love of Jesus for the lost.

My dear reader, do you have a similar love for lost ones who are in such great need of redemption? Would you go anywhere to tell of a Saviour’s love for sinners? Do you even speak for Him to those near you? Will you pray for one opportunity today to tell of Jesus’ love for them? If not, why not?

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! lover of my soul;
friends may fail me, foes assail me,
he, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
he is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in him;
tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
he, my strength, my vict’ry wins.

Jesus! what a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
even when my heart is breaking,
he, my comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! what a guide and keeper!

While the tempest still is high,
storms about me, night o’ertakes me,
he, my pilot, hears my cry.
Jesus! I do now receive him,
more than all in him I find;
he hath granted me forgiveness,
I am his, and he is mine.

Beloved Disciples

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother there,
and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her,
‘Woman, here is your son’ and to the disciple,
‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on,
this disciple took her into his home.”
John 19:25-27 (NIV)

“From this time many of his disciples turned back
and no longer followed him.
‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:66-69

When I think of a beloved disciple of our Lord, two men quickly come to mind. John and Peter. In John 19:25 we read about a disciple whom Jesus loved and most scholars believe this is a reference to John. When we read Peter’s adventures with Jesus, he says profound words as in John 6:69 and Matt. 16:16.

We feel more comfortable with Peter because we can sometimes do well and other times we fail our beloved Saviour as Peter did. This is the reason we love David and shy away from Moses. David could be great and then he could mess up. Moses was so consistent that we feel out of place being near him.

We who have times of failure like David and Peter thank God that He has people of all types! We are part of a diverse family and all loved by our Saviour. He did not love us because we were lovable but rather, He loved us simply because He would love us.

Whether we are a Moses, a David, or a Peter, we all have our part to play for our loving heavenly Father. My work is not your work, nor is your work mine. I have mentioned before a Christian business owner who said to me once that he could not get up in church and preach as I do. He went on to say that his gift was making money to support the Lord’s work.

The home the beloved disciple had was spacious enough so the widow Mary would not feel a burden to this disciple of financial substance. Also, Jesus would no longer be there to meet his mother’s financial needs so He gave her care to one who could attend to her needs financially. The man I mentioned who felt his calling was to be a financial supporter of the Lord’s work is today’s version of John in this regard.

Where do you see yourself in the work of the Lord? Can you preach, teach a Bible study, make financial gifts to help widows, visit the widows and orphans, or verbally encourage preachers?

Find your calling and pursue it passionately today. You serve the best of Masters. He deserves your best. Be as passionate as Peter, as generous as John and as consistent as Moses.

Who Needs To Know?

“…he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and…he appeared to Cephas.[Peter]…”
1 Corinthians 15:4-5 (NIV)

“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle
and going about from house to house.
And not only do they become idlers,
but also busybodies who talk nonsense,
saying things they ought not to.”
1 Timothy 5:13

The night of the betrayal our Lord told the apostles He was departing from them. Peter asked where He was going. Jesus responded that Peter could not go with Him now but would come later. That was when Peter pledged he would follow Jesus to the death if needed. Immediately Jesus told Peter that he would deny his Master three times before dawn. (John 13:37-38)

It was true that Peter would die for his beloved Master, but he would have to grow in grace over many years before he would be ready to die a martyr’s death (John 21:18-19). As far as we know not one of the disciples witnessed Peter’s denials nor were any of them present when Peter met with Jesus after the resurrection. Paul just states that Jesus appeared to Peter.

We see how gracious Jesus was with Peter to keep the matter private. Such is the gentle Jesus with a beloved follower who has stumbled. Is this not a wonderfully encouraging portrait of our Lord? If you have fallen somehow and need to have the Lord visit you privately you may rest assured, He will treat you with the love and compassion you need. His love for you will keep your visit private and the matter will be settled never to be raised by Him again.

It does not matter how sinful you have been, the Lord came to call sinners to repentance. On the cross Jesus took a criminal into His kingdom even though the man had confessed he had done crimes worthy of death. Who except you and Jesus needs to know the extent of your sins? Come to Him and come now.

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool!”

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.”
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return you unto God!

He is of great compassion,
And of wondrous love;
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return you unto God!

He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
“Look unto Me, you people,”
Says the Lord your God!
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more.

Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”