Let God turn your Mess Ups into His Set Ups

images-65One of my fond memories as a young boy was on the coast of Oregon in the shadows of the sand cliffs as the Sun set on the ocean in the cool of the evening. My parents had started a campfire and we were cooking hotdogs on the beach. It was such a soothing and refreshing moment that I imagine each time I read the story that we find in John 21:6-15.

The passage is of Peter and some of the disciples fishing after Jesus had been crucified. They were devastated and beyond discouraged which drove them back to their old profession of commercial fishing. And to add salt to their emotional wounds, they were catching no fish.

Out of their hopelessness they obey a person they don’t recognize, who tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. That’s as audacious as if a quarter back in the NFL would take instructions from a fan in the second tier of the stands. Yet they obeyed and caught a net breaking catch of fish. John cries out it is the Lord and the radically spontaneously actions of Peter confirms his agreement. He grabs his cloak puts

Peter was pushed to the point of quitting and going back to his old life style of fishing after the shame of feeling like a failure. –  Tweet  

it on and jumps overboard to be the first one to the shore where the resurrected Jesus has a fire prepared for them. As they all get there with their catch of fish, Jesus begins to cook breakfast for them and pointedly asks Peter three times if he loved Him. Once Jesus gets Peter to confess his brotherly love for Him, Jesus confirms the commission that was on his life, to feed the followers of Jesus.

This story all by itself stirs me, but when we understand the past events in Peter’s life it comes alive with the very mercies and love of God. You see Peter had just royally blown it! In John 18:16-28 we read in the midst of Jesus being falsely accused and on trial, instead of defending Jesus, Peter denies Him three times as he warms himself by a fire outside.

I believe it was this event and a whole list of other mess-ups that finally tipped Peters emotional wagon. He was the one who had gotten his eyes off of Jesus and on the waves beginning to sink. (Matt 14:23-32) Remember he also was the one who cut the ear off the High Priest’s servant (Jn 18:10-11) and at the mount of Transfiguration put his foot in his mouth. (Matt 17:2-7) We can’t deny the blooper when he rebuked Jesus for talking about His death. (Mark 8:31-33) Then who can forget about Peter and the disciples sleeping through the prayer meeting even after Jesus woke them up three times in this most crucial time. (Matt 26:41-46)

So you can definitely understand how Peter once he saw the evidence that Jesus was raised from the grave (John 20:6-8) could have become overwhelmed thinking he was a failure! Pushing him to the point of quitting and going back to his old life style of fishing. (John 21:3-4) That brings back to where we started, on the beach with Jesus cooking breakfast. Peter was devastated and convinced he was the all time failure. Yet Jesus was setting Peter up, wanting to take his mess-up and use them as a set-up for his come back. There on the beach was a fire and then three times Jesus had him say that he loved Him to replace the three denials and commissioning him to feed God’s sheep. In Acts we see Peter was then used to preach the Gospel message where three thousand came to believe in Jesus! (Acts 2:14-15)


He Still Loves Me even when I Blow It

637685246Peter in his zeal blurts out “I will never be made to stumble”. Again moments later, in rebuttal to Jesus’ prophetic word in Matt 26:34-35, revealing that he would deny Him three times; Peter emphatically declares, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Strong words that came from love and a life that was transformed by the Master. As well, the other disciples followed in voicing their commitment and devotion to Jesus that historic night on the Mount of Olives not knowing exactly what would shortly transpire.

The city was doing construction on the sewer lines in front of my Aunt and Uncles house many years ago while they were keeping my siblings and me for a summer. My brother and I were at the young age where curiosity can make you do things you shouldn’t. I remember so vividly my uncle sternly saying, before he went to work that day, “Do not play around or get down into that construction hole”.   Well… even though we had made a oath and commitment that we would never do that we were overtaken and enticed with adventure. Being able to resist no longer, my brother lowered me into the hole later that day for a harmless look. Then at the sight of my uncle coming around the corner he ran and left me in the

Jesus still loves us even after we have made great commitments to Jesus and then failing Him and totally blowing it.     (tweet)

hole. The willow tree that conveniently hung over in my sight was a perfect place for my uncle to get a branch and proceed with one hand to help me out and wimped me all in the same motion.

More than the sting of the whooping was the pain of knowing I had failed in my oath and commitment that I had made to my uncle. The thought of disappointing him and possible losing his love was worse than any other pain I was feeling. It wasn’t until later that a valuable lesson was learned.

In comparison I can vaguely imagine the feeling of disappointment that Peter Continue reading

Don’t Allow a Fall to Keep You Down!

590506608The scripture talks much about different individuals that have fallen and tripped along the journey of faith. In Prov 24:16 Solomon might have had his father in mind besides his own experience as he wrote, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” I think most honest believers would admit to a time or times that they have tripped and fallen during their race of righteousness. Yet, we will only lose if we don’t get back up.

Four years of preparation had now come to a close as he returned to the Olympics to defend his gold medal in the 10,000 meter race. Mo Farah of Great Britain had been diligent to push forward and discipline his body for this race. He had practiced and kept focus for these past years to continue at the top of the platform. A

Just because you have stumbled and even had a major mess up, it doesn’t mean your race is over      (tweet)

you know they don’t just give gold medals away for being nice and having good intentions. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into bringing the prize home! Even so, most of us will never understand the level of commitment and sacrifice that is put into being a world class athletic once, let alone a seconded consecutive time. All of this was in the mind of Mo as he waits for the starting shot to go off. The mental strain and voices from the crowd as well as that inner voice can become a runners biggest battle as the physical pain increases.

            Everything was going as a typical championship race. The crowded lanes, the different strategies being played out and the continual screams from the onlookers. Farah as well as his faithful friend and training partner, U.S. runner Galen Rupp,

It’s always easier to quit the race and not get up, but there’s no prize in that!     (tweet)

seemed to be moving forward in the crowded pack. Then in the 10th lap Farah’s foot hit Galen behind him causing him to fall. The announcers and the world looked on in horror as Farah tumbled to the track and like a gymnast he pops back up on his feet and continues to run. Determined not to stay down or make excuses he pushed on to Continue reading