When You Turn Back

Did you ever notice when Jesus met the disciples on the seashore with a breakfast of grilled fish which he cooked for them after his resurrection, he called Peter Simon?

Jesus didn’t call the apostle Peter, the rock; the name Christ gave him. Instead, Jesus called the apostle by his birth name. I hadn’t paid much attention to that detail until I prepared this month’s Easter posts.

Also, I love the fact Jesus didn’t say if you turn back. No. Jesus said when you turn back.

Thank you, Jesus, he tells us the same.

It’s not one strike and we’re out. Not even three strikes and we’re out. Jesus tells us after we fail, after we fall, when we turn back to him his grace is sufficient. His sacrifice is sufficient. He is sufficient.

Do you think when Peter heard Jesus call him Simon, it was similar to the feeling we get when our parents call us by our first AND middle names? Maybe.

Jesus spoke Simon’s name twice. He needed Simon Peter’s full attention. The words Jesus spoke were extremely important. Especially given Peter’s previous denial as the Lamb of God awaited crucifixion.

Yes. Jesus named Simon the rock, however, Peter needed to understand in addition to his strong side, Peter also had a vulnerable side. Just like the rest of the disciples. Just like the rest of us. Every single one of our strengths can be turned into our weaknesses. Those are the areas where Satan shows up. He takes the good and twists it into something bad.

Peter felt confident he would never forsake Christ. Satan took that confidence and twisted it into self-pride. That prideful spirit allowed Peter to care more about protecting himself, and what others thought of him, than he cared about protecting Jesus.

Each of Christ’s disciples have a vulnerable side, a target Satan intends to penetrate to destroy our testimony about who Christ the Risen Savior is. It is a target Satan can only attack with God’s permission. A target of temptation Jesus prays we will withstand  through the power of the Holy Spirit in those who belong to him.

Peter’s story didn’t end when he denied Jesus around a fire the night Christ was betrayed. After he repented, turned back, and set out to proclaim Christ and him crucified, Simon Peter preached a sermon during Pentecost that saw thousands confess Jesus as Lord. And that was just the beginning.

Like Peter there are times we fail. We deny we ever knew Jesus through our careless words and actions. Jesus knows the outcome before Satan even draws back his bow and sends fiery darts our direction.

Like Peter, when we fall we have a choice.

Will we let our failure define us, give up, and walk away? Or will we acknowledge our fall, get back up, repent, and when we turn back, strengthen those around us?

Who knows? But one thing is sure. Whatever we do after we fall is just as important as what we did before we fell.

Grace. God’s grace. Grace that is greater than all our sins.

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Simon, Simon! Listen! Satan has received permission to test all of you, to separate the good from the bad, as a farmer separates the wheat from the chaff. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you turn back to me, you must strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31-32 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

When We Let Jesus Down

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’ve been rather introspective of late. I’ve thought of things I could have done better. Situations where I should have acted differently. Words spoken that would have been better left unsaid.

Could have. Should have. Would Have. Ever been there?

Of course, on the flip side of all that there were days I did get it right. I did the correct thing. Latched onto the opportunity. Said the right words.

But not always, and that’s what’s bugging me right now.

And that’s what got me thinking about one of Jesus’ followers. Peter.

He meant well. He tried hard. Yet, he also failed. Not all the time, mind you, but often enough we have a record of the times he fell listed with the times he rose above.

Jesus told Peter ahead of time Satan asked to sift him like wheat. He followed that bleak news with a promise, however. Jesus was praying for Peter.

I believe Satan asks to sift us, too. Don’t you think?

Why wouldn’t he? After all, he wants us to believe his lies and fail miserable as a result. The great news is, just as Jesus promised to pray for Peter, he prays for us, too.

It encourages me to know Jesus didn’t wash his hands of Peter when he failed and let Jesus down. Nope. Jesus loved him regardless. In fact, Jesus knew before Peter was ever born, and definitely before he chose Peter as one of the four in his inner circle, that Peter would deny ever knowing Jesus.

So, remembering Peter didn’t always live up to the standard set before him, and the fact Jesus continued to love him and died for him, and welcomed Peter with open arms gives me hope. It gives me confidence.

Because of God’s unconditional love I can keep moving forward toward the goal set before me by the power of Christ in me.

Even when I fall sometimes.

Jesus won’t wash his hands of us. In fact, he holds his arms open wide for us to come running into his safe embrace.

Isn’t that a comforting thought?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have you, to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith should not completely fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Joys of Being a Homeowner

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

It’s wonderful to return home after time away. To relax among the familiar. Sleep in your own bed. Putter around the yard.

It’s not so wonderful, however, to return home to find a mysterious liquid stain on the ceramic tile in the living room under the entertainment center, a leaking pipe in the kitchen, and a broken air conditioner unit outside.

The night Pilot and I returned from our trip to Colorado last month, he noticed a liquid stain creeping out from under the entertainment center in our living room.

The next day I heard water running in the kitchen as the clothes washer drained.

The day after that we both heard a screeching, grinding noise coming from the air conditioning unit outside.

Hmmm.

Welcome home.

The running water?

I discovered it was a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink.

But you want to know the really great thing about the leak? Sitting under the pipe was a large, empty flower vase. That’s right. The water drained into the glass vase instead of all over the cabinet floor.

Only God.

After a trip to the hardware store, Pilot fixed the leak in no time…and left the vase right where it was.

The screeching, grinding noise?

A worn out condenser motor and capacitor.

Fortunately, the air conditioner repair man was able to come to the house the day after we called. He happened to have the correct parts needed and was able to make the required repairs during that service call. And the day was cool and overcast so no need to run the a.c. until it was fixed.

That mysterious liquid stain?

Have no idea.

Our first thought was the refrigerator which backs up to the wall near the leak. But when we pulled it out from the wall, nothing, fortunately. While we were on our trip our area had copious amounts of rain. Possibly, the water seeped from the ground near the area where the sunken living room is.

Who knows?

Each of these incidences could have been cause for frustration, annoyance and alarm. Especially since we returned home tired and Pilot needed to be at work the following day.

Just as Satan pursued Peter, he pursues those of us who claim Christ as Lord and Savior. The deceiver wants to frustrate us, cause us to become angry, make us give up. He strives to make our lives miserable.

But in the midst of the battle, we have a Mighty Advocate who sits on his throne in heaven at the right hand of his Father and pleads our case daily.

Feeling like things are falling apart around you? Leaky pipes. Broken appliances. Mysterious whatevers.

Your health. Job. Finances. Relationships.

Whatever Satan tosses at us, we need not despair. Instead we should hold onto the hope we have in Jesus because greater is HE who is in us, than he who is in the world.

Amen?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Simon, Simon, how Satan has pursued you, that he might make you part of his harvest. But I have prayed for you. I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers here. Luke 22:31-32 (Voice)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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