REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 20, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Engineering a Comeback”
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’”
Peyton Manning, a brilliant quarterback who led the Indianapolis Colts to multiple winning seasons, including a Super Bowl victory, was not re-signed in 2012 because of concerns over his surgically repaired neck. Thus, taking his new team, the Denver Broncos, to this year’s Super Bowl was a great comeback for him. It was much like his comeback victory in a 2003 game when he led his team from being down by 18 points with only five minutes left in the game. The real losers were those fans who, after giving up, left the game early. Had Jesus been there though, he would have stayed because he believes in comebacks.
The apostle Peter knew about failures. Even a child in Sunday school knows about his three denials of Jesus. Despite loving Jesus, Peter gave into momentary lapse of fear; but later, “he broke down and wept” (Mk. 14:72). So when the apostle heard from the women that Jesus had resurrected, he probably had mixed feelings: happy, because he gets to see Jesus again, but ashamed or even afraid, because Jesus gets to see him.
But Peter, upon hearing what the angel told the women to tell him, perhaps felt hopeful that the reunion wasn’t going to be that bad, for the angel had said, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’” How would you feel if your name is singled out in a list of people invited to a grand reunion with the Lord? Very special, indeed! Had the angel just said, “Tell his disciples,” Peter, feeling unworthy, might have felt, “the disciples, but not me.” Yet not taking any chances, Jesus had the angel say, “Yes, you too, Peter.” That was the very first step toward Peter’s eventual comeback, which culminated in his martyrdom for Christ’s sake (Jn. 21:18-9).
Maybe you are in the middle of reaping the consequences of your personal failures from the past. Small or big, they produce a sense of despair and hopelessness. But this morning, realize that the Lord is an expert in engineering comebacks that last. The first step is to see that the Lord still loves and cares for you. Take a moment this morning to speak to him about your comeback.
Prayer: My Father in heaven, I come before you today with a heavy heart and desperate longing for you to intervene in my life. Lord, I have made a mess of my life and I don’t know what to do from here and out. You are my only hope. Help me and hear my cries; respond to me in your mercy and grace. Oh Lord, I need once again a stirring up of my spirit by the Holy Spirit from within. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 9:36-7, 40 (ESV): “Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. . . . 40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.”
Acts 5:15 (ESV): “So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.”
Gal.2:9a (NIV): “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.”
Questions to Consider
1. Describe Peter’s comeback in light of some amazing things he did later.
2. How do you think Peter felt, seeing himself elevated to such a high degree in Christ’s ministry following his devastating failure?
3. When someone possesses the power that Peter had, one real temptation would be pride. How can we keep ourselves from falling into it? Do you struggle with that issue? How do you deal with it?
1. The man who had lost all courage to identify himself with Christ ended up becoming a key pillar of the early church, someone who raised the dead and whose shadows were even coveted by the people desperate for healing. What a transformation! What a comeback!
2. For most people, the response would be one of gratefulness and humility. Apostle Paul, who also made a great comeback to become very useful for God’s work, said this about himself: “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church God” (1 Cor. 15:9).
3. It would take more than just words to keep us humble, but we need the basic understanding that the gifts and talents were all given to us by the Lord. Therefore, we shouldn’t act as if we originated or earned them. We should stay transparent and stop presuming that we are above it all.
Perhaps your morning wasn’t so good (e.g., losing your cool), but how are you ending this day? It’s not too late; you can still call or write an e-mail to reconcile. Review your day here. Pray.