Peter denied Christ. Paul persecuted Christians. Yet, there is marvelous restoration in Christ for everyone who receives Him.
And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 Message)
Before Peter or Paul captured the beauty of their life in Christ, they saw their own glaring frailties and complete failures. They each failed miserably. Then they encountered the reality of Christ. In their weakness, He came into their lives with awesome encounters. It was at this point – their point of absolute weakness – that they are awakened to their absolute need of Christ to make them whole. Things have not changed much for us today. In fact, it has not changed at all.
About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.” Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him:” Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried. (Luke 22:59-62 Message)
The piercing eyes of Jesus, eyes filled with absolute love and mercy for Peter. Peter looks and is suddenly accosted by regret, guilt, and condemnation.
That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem. The believers were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. All, that is, but the apostles. Good and brave men buried Stephen, giving him a solemn funeral––not many dry eyes that day! And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail (Acts 8:1-3 Message)
Paul brazenly defended his religion, without mercy and without regret.
Both of these men soon hit rock bottom. It was at that point that Jesus reveals Himself to each of them. His grace is made perfect in their absolute weakness.
Transformation comes with confrontation.
Peter’s revelatory moment.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!” When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. (John 21:7 Message)
Then he said it a third time:” Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:17 Message)
Paul’s revelatory moment.
He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. (Acts 9:3-5 Message)
Restoration flows through each life in the wake of revelation – the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. His mercy. His grace. Jesus comes to restore and make whole, anointing men and women for His purpose, not in their relevant strengths but in their blatant weaknesses.
That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency:” Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight (Acts 2:14 Message)
He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. 6 I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next. (Acts 9:5-6 Message)
One day as they were worshiping God––they were also fasting as they waited for guidance––the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do. (Acts 13:2 Message)
There it is for me to see. Failure, utter failure, discouragement, regret and wholehearted restoration in Christ. This past year, in my own self-indulgence, always thinking about me, I discounted His love and mercy, His grace and forgiveness in my life. I often hurled accusations at my God for being absent, uncaring or an unloving Father. Over the past year, my faith in crisis, often felt like Peter standing close to the fire, blatantly saying, “I don’t know You.” I discounted all those past years when He met me supernaturally and loved me unconditionally.
Yet, today, after some God ordained supernatural days, transformation is flowing into my life. I did not ordain the time. I did not ordain the season. It is God.
February is a turning month for me. God spoke that to me, yet hope deferred blinded my eyes from seeing its truth and reality. Healing touches my heart. Hope is restored and faith gives me eyes to see what I could not see even 2 weeks ago. My encounter, my reality.
I failed miserably in many ways in my life. Yet, His grace is sufficient. I have stumbled and offended. I have allowed anger to rule my emotions. Yet, His grace is sufficient for me, in my weakness.
It’s been a long time coming. It seems as if scales are falling off my eyes to love and be loved. My spiritual voice is being restored with authenticity and honesty flowing forth. If you are reading this and have followed my journey, I would not be saying this just to have a good blog. God shows no favorites. He loves His children. What He does for me, He can and will do for you.
There are still good and bad days to come but here’s the difference. There were cracks in my foundation, blatant cracks in my life. I often felt like I have destroyed so many things – relationships and more – that there was no hope. Then while walking a few days ago, I kept thinking about Peter and about Paul. Jesus’ strength made perfect in blatant weakness. This strength is for me, right now in my life. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Seeing the reality of my life without Him. Seeing that I cannot go further in my own strength, I fall headlong into my own life. Then, He comes at that point and restores and renews and refreshes.
How did this happen? Well as I said, it is God’s unique timing and purpose. He led me to a conference where I encountered an anointing in the Holy Spirit. Hands were laid on me and freedom came. God’s timing. God’s way. Out of the cave, one step forward – in my weakness, He is strong. It could have come another way, but it did not. It could have come years ago, but it did not. It could have but His timing is perfect, NOW.
In Christ, Debra Westbrook
Please pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. Feel free to contact us on Facebook, or Twitter.
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