Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shepastor: "And Still He Loves Us..."

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22: 31-32, NIV

“I would never do that…I am committed all the way to the end…Lord, I WILL NEVER deny you…” At the time that Peter made these declarations, he probably was completely convinced that his words were sincere and definite. But our Lord knew the heart of Peter in ways that he himself did not understand. The Lord also understands that while not omniscient (all knowing), the enemy of our souls – Satan in ancient. He has been around long enough to understand the frailty of humanity and how to strike at us when we are in our most vulnerable moments.

Those who have walked with the Lord, love the Lord and have made life long commitments to the Lord are not exempt from the weaknesses of the flesh. We must be careful never to become “spiritually cocky,” thinking that we would NEVER do thus and so. Our daily prayer must be, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”

Denying the Lord comes in many and various forms. Standing up and defending the cause of Christ, declaring His name and His way based upon His Word is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s society. Remaining silent when we need to stand and speak truth to power is a temptation we in the Church are increasingly facing.

“We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,” (II Corinthians 4:7) and while it is our desire and intent never to deny the Lord, Jesus knows that at times we will fail. But as He spoke to Peter, Jesus still speaks to us, “…Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat, But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

With a measure of humility, remembering that we all fall short and are in need of the grace and mercy of our Lord, as we are forgiven, as we are strengthened, as we are lifted to a higher level of faith with a stronger ability to stand, may we remember those who are struggling, stumbling, tripping, falling…may we resist the temptation to judge, to be critical, to be condescending. With a measure of humility, may we instead reach out and do all that we can through the strength of Christ to lift others up.

What a blessing and comfort to know that in spite of all of our faults and failures, Jesus still loves us! What victory to know that Satan “must ask permission” to tempt us. What a consolation to know that our Lord has prayed for us so that we will never be kept in the grip of Satan!

During this Holy Week when we remember all that Christ did for us as He walked the earth and on Calvary, may we rejoice in His everlasting love and remember to lift and love one another, always rejoicing that in Christ, we are MORE than conquerors!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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