Jesus warned Peter and the disciples, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31
This is challenging. This reminds us that there is only one super power, only one ultimate power; GOD! Satan has to ask permission, just like he had to do with Job. This raises the natural question, Why does God say "yes" to Satan? Why does God tolerate Satan, his plans and activities in this world? Why does God allow Satan to wreak havoc on Christians and this world?
The gift of sifting.
Sifting is painful, hard, and everyone wants to avoid it. Satan's request is the picture of a farmer taking wheat and beating it onto the meshing floor. Satan wants to beat the faith out of Peter, the disciples and all Christians through trials, temptations and suffering. Why is this a gift?
How precious are Jesus' words, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail."
I need to be reminded of this great reality and gift of Jesus. Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25, 1 John 2:1 powerfully communicates that Jesus is sitting at the most powerful position in the universe interceding for us. I need Jesus' prayers. You need Jesus' prayers.
How painful is the reality of refining? Peter needed it. Look at his arrogance and self-reliance. Peter replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” His response is dripping with pride. Pride is a sin that opens the door to Satan in our lives. This sifting broke Peter's pride and self-reliance. Reading Peter's epistle, we can see Peter's humility dripping from the pages. What a beautiful and strong servant leader Jesus refined in Peter.
What a gift Peter was to the other disciples after this sifting. God used Peter to strengthen the others and us still today.
Sifting is a gift.
Jesus is always praying for you.
Jesus sends other Christians into your life to strengthen you.
Jesus has strengthened you so you can be a gift to others.
Grateful for The Only Ultimate Power to allow a much smaller power to sift,
Ps 86:8-10 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
The Psalmist was so moved by the 'immenstrocity' of God that he could not help but praise God, worship God and tell everyone about how great God is.
I am struck by two truths that the Psalmist can not keep quiet about; that there is no other god that compares with God, and that all nations of people are turning to worship Him. What these two great truths be reality in our lives, our church and our community as well.
Pause for a moment and remember the showdowns in the OT between God and other gods....
Think of the competing gods in the NT....
What a magnificent God we have!
We need to be reminded about the Greatness of God. He is Creator. He is all power. He is all wisdom. He is eternal. He is every where all the time. He knows about every detail of what is going on in everyone and everything. He is love. He is holy and just. He is merciful Savior. He is Jesus, the only mediator between God and us humans. He is still on His all out search and rescue mission seeking to forgive and adopt Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, kind people, terrorists, people stuck in slavery and sex trafficking and more. He is also on the move seeking to rescue our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. He is always providing opportunities for you to be His hands, feet and mouth to show and share the Gospel of Jesus with them. Are you available? Are you willing? Are you attentive to the Holy Spirit?
Let's pray. Pray through worship and adoration. Pray through honest and humble confession. Pray through gratitude and thanksgiving. Pray Jesus' will be done in and through you and His church. After these prayers of worship, pray for Jesus to rescue the people surrounding us in our lives by using us.
Pray for the fall kickoff - New parenting series and free BBQ.
Isn't it good to seek to be close to Jesus and join Him in His ministry!
Praying out of gratitude,
Fall is an exciting time. Its a natural time of new beginnings, a new season, new schedule, new school, new teacher/professor, new clothes, etc.
As we kick off this fall season, I would challenge us to think about our prayer life. If you were to describe your prayer life to someone, how would you describe it? Take a moment and reflect what your conversations with God have been like, been about and how effective have they been?
Could it be described like Paul's instructions to the Christians in Philippi? "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil 4:6 Do you find yourself asking God for help for everything? Do you see your prayer life all about petitions, requests, sharing your needs and asking for God's supernatural intervention?
This is commanded in Scripture for us to do. Do we do it? This is an awesome privilege and at the same time dangerous. Dangerous because it can lead to seeing God as a Santa figure. If we do not get what we want, it is easy to give up on prayer, thinking we have failed God or that God does not care about us. When we get past this, we see the privilege of God's answers slowly coming into picture over time. Most often not at all like we first asked for.
Could your prayer life be described as personal connection, like Paul described to other Christians in Thessalonica? "Pray without ceasing." 1 Thess 5:17 A beautiful marriage is one where the husband and wife can be in the same room without talking yet being fully united and close. They do not have to say anything to enjoy each other's company. Is your prayer life like this with Jesus? Do you sense His invisible presence with you all the time in every situation no matter the pressure, stress, argument, what ever? This is a wonderful prayer relationship with Jesus.
Could your prayer life be described where you have shifted from personal prayer requests to worshiping God and praying His concerns? We clearly see Jesus make this shift in the Garden of Gethsemane. His prayers started out for Jesus' personal will to be done, "take this suffering from me," to God's will be done, "Not my will be done but Your will be done." This is a major shift and growth in our prayer life.
Could your prayer life be described as true intercession like Peter experienced in Acts 10? God gave Peter a vision about God's mission to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus' gift was not just for the Nation of Israel. It is for everyone. We see another example of this with Phillip praying and then suddenly he is explaining the Gospel message to the Ethiopian Eunuch. God loves to put His thought, His desire, His mission about someone in each of our minds and hearts so we can do true intercessory prayer. This is where each of our FAB 5 come from. This is where we may discover that we are awoken in the middle of the night to pray for someone, unbeknownst to us, they were in a car accident or facing a difficult situation.
This new fall season, let's continue to grow in our prayer life. Will you pray for me? Know I am praying for you.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.