Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. – John 21: 3 (NLT) Once we have been saved by giving our life to Christ the devil understands two things very clearly. He first understands that he has lost the war for our soul. Secondly however he understands that he must strive now to make us ineffectual for the work God has called us to. Yes, you read that right. God has work for us to do beloved. According to the Bible He has planned our work well in advance. You may not realize this but you might be the only true witness someone ever gets of Jesus Christ. I understand that in a “show me now” world that the concept of waiting to see is not appreciated but this is what the Bible teaches us: I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. – 1Corinthians 3: 6 (NLT) The truth is we never know if we are planting or watering but either way – God makes the seed grow. There will be people in heaven when you get there based strictly on having met you! At least there should be. The enemy however is in the discouragement game. He will constantly accuse us of not being good enough or smart enough. He will be the first one whispering in our ears when we fail. Let’s get some things straight now. None of us are good enough and all of us will fail. But the grace of God is sufficient for us beloved. Before we think we can pack up our ball and go home we must realize something: For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. – Romans 11: 29 (NLT) NEVER. God is not going to change His mind about us. He does not have a “plan B.” I love the key verse because it gives us insight into the humanity of Peter. Sometimes we read these stories in the Bible and we place the heroes on a pedestal that we cannot reach. That they are some kind of plaster saint above the common frailties we have to go through as humans. Peter though; Peter was all too human. Yes he had the courage to step out of the boat but he also took his eyes off of Jesus and sank in his own circumstances. Yes he correctly answered that Jesus was the Christ but in the very next story he tries to rebuke Jesus and is called Satan for it. Yes he was part of Jesus’ inner circle but he also denied even knowing Him three times despite being told he would! That is where we find Peter today in our key verses. Disgraced and humiliated at his own failings. His Lord has been crucified and he let Him down at His greatest moment of need. Sure they all did but Peter was supposed to be different and Peter went as far as to call curses down upon him if he were lying about the denials; which of course he was. We see here in the key verses his life comes full circle. After three years of following Jesus, Peter returns to what he knows – “I’m going fishing.” Remember that is where Jesus had found him and where he promised to make him a fisher of men. But that was all before the rooster crowed and Peter failed the Lord so spectacularly. Before the devil started whispering in his ear about going back to his old life. Perhaps this writing finds you at a crossroads as well. Perhaps you have felt like you have let the Lord down in some capacity. Or perhaps you just feel like giving up. Like this walk was not what you had expected it to be. That the narrow road is just too hard to maintain. If so, read the ending of the key verse. They fished all night but caught nothing. We cannot go back beloved. There is nothing there for us anymore. We have moved on. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied.Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. – John 21: 4-6 (NLT) No matter how badly we might fail the Lord we can no longer do anything without Him. With Him however, we will find our nets full if we would just follow His instructions. God never expected perfection from us – only perseverance. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1: 2-4 (NIV) It is the trials that produce the opportunity for perseverance and the perseverance that leads to our maturity in Christ. I understand that your failure may have been great but realize that Peter denied even knowing who Jesus was! Three times! Yet Jesus restored him and He wants to restore us as well when we fall down. When we find Peter next he is not fishing for fish anymore. He is in the upper room receiving the Holy Spirit and then giving the first ever sermon for the church. Despite the denials and the failures here was what God can do through us if we would just submit: Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. – Acts 2: 41 (NLT) As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed. – Acts 5: 15-16 (NLT) Beloved we need to realize today that Peter had no idea this would be the end result of his restoration. God doesn’t show us the 3000 saved or the healings that will come from our shadow. This is what He can do however with a yielded life. This is what He can do with our failures. We hand Him lemons and He saves 3000 people. But it starts with understanding that failures are opportunities for God to become even bigger in our lives. We must understand that failures are the building blocks of our perseverance. That within those failures are choices we have to make correctly. We can say – “I’m going fishing” but we will not catch anything. We can say – “I’m going back to the bar” but we will not belong there anymore. We can say whatever we want but His call is irrevocable. Our failures are the opportunity to not give up beloved. The enemy would like nothing more than for us to give up because he knows that there 3000 people out there that were supposed to hear from us. He knows what God could do with just our shadow if we would simply not give up. Peter would go on to build the church. The man who once denied Christ three times would insist on being crucified upside down because he did not deserve to die as his Lord did. Think of all the lives Peter touched between the time he almost decided to go back to fishing and the time God called him home. Likewise, we do not know the impact we were meant to have for the kingdom of God between now and the time God calls us home. We do not know who will be in heaven for just having come across our shadow. Don’t give up beloved. Don’t give up. Rev. Anthony.