God's promises are never affected by our failures. He can use us at any age. ~Michael Youssef, Leading the WayBusy life, growing children, crowded schedules, and suddenly I'm in my mid-40s--where did my life go? What happened to all my grand plans? What have I done for my Lord in these 4-1/2 decades?
Too often our choices lead us away from the path God sets before us. I knew I was called to write from an early age, that God has given me the gift of understanding and sharing the Scriptures -- not from a pulpit, but from the written page.
How many times have I picked up a book or turned on the television instead of sitting at my desk with my Bible to write? How often have I opened an Internet browser to do a bit of research and wasted precious time surfing?
Why do I let myself be so distracted from the work I know God has for me? Why do I plunge ahead without His word as my guidance, only to come up dry and fruitless?
Return you backsliding children and I will heal your backslidings. (Jeremiah 3:22 NKJV)Thankfully our heavenly Father is full of compassion on our frail humanity. He reassures us that when we can't stand up for Him, He will lift us up.
Therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you. (Isaiah 30:18 NKJV)I am so glad God included the failings of the apostle Peter in Scripture. Watch how Peter's walk along the path God ordained for him, curves and bumps from mountain top to the pits of despair and back to glory:
On the Mountain Top -
He said to them, "But who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."Stumbling Down the Hillside -
Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18 NKJV)
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day.Face-planted in the Ravine -
The Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"
But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:21-23 NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."Back Up on the Mountain -
Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."
Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." (Matthew 26:31-35 NKJV)~~~Then they spat in His face and beat Him...Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."
But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"
And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:67-75 NKJV)
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words...Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst...Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." (Acts 2:14, 22-24 NKJV)
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:40-41 NKJV)
Peter went on from this GIANT u-turn to preach the Good News, to build up the believers' faith, to glorify God with his life.
Lord, I pray you can use even me with all my weaknesses--guide me in Your path and make this second half of my life what You always intended for me. Amen
For a thorough listing of Bible promises, I found on this site a compilation: Precious Bible Promises by Samuel Clarke, D.D. (1675-1729).