You Will Survive Part 1

“It was the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Lu. 22:7-8
 Peter and John followed the instructions given to them. Later, the rest of the disciples were now gathered together in an upper room, reclining at a table with Jesus. It would be Jesus’ last meal with these men. He had spent the last three and a half years with them. They were his friends, his comrades! He invested his life in these “unschooled, ordinary men.” Ac.4:13 These same people would soon carry the Gospel of the Kingdom to their known world. They were a bit rough around the edges, in fact while having dinner, they argued about who was the greatest among them because Jesus announced that he was about to be betrayed by one of them.
During these very tense moments, Jesus spoke these words… “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.” Lu.22:31-34
Please note: Jesus spoke to Peter directly that Satan asked to sift them all as wheat, not just Peter. A common perception is that it was only Peter who was going to be sifted. It was ALL of them who would experience sifting. The upcoming event of sifting would be the most difficult season of their life. Not a quick passing event, but a very painful season that would be ridden with trials. Their faith was about to experience the test of all tests. These men went into the sifting process as disciples and would finish as faith-filled apostles, the sent ones. There is no testimony without a test and their testimony would not be made known through the ages without the “sifting.”
In Biblical times, wheat or other grain was sifted through a sieve or large strainer. As it was shaken violently, the dirt and other impurities that clung to the grain during the threshing process would separate from the good, usable grain. As the wheat was thrown into the air, the wind would blow away the unusable chaff.
Sifting exposes what’s in our hearts, both good and bad. In this process we are faced with making decisions about what belongs in our life and what does not. The Holy Spirit helps us see what’s in our heart by exposing what may be hidden. This gives us an opportunity for repentance to take place, the stopping what we are doing and turning back towards God. Caution, repentance is not stopping what we are doing to pursue something else besides God trying to fill the void in our heart. Sin runs from God and repentance runs to God.
When you go through a sifting season you may feel like you have been abandoned by God. You might even have an attitude. Your sin is in clear sight and maybe you are condemning yourself, your shame feels overwhelming. #Good News. “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 Jn. 3:20 He knows the whole story.
You may be confused about what is taking place in this very vulnerable time of sifting. After all, you are being tossed into the air and the wind is blowing away the stuff you have been clutching. Sifting provides deliverance, the removing of the old so that you can live in freedom from the bondage of sin, # More Good News. Jesus is with you in the sifting. In fact, He is your advocate. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”1 Jn.2:1-2.
Not only is Jesus present, but the Holy Spirit is also present. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Rom.8:26 God’s will or purposes are accomplished in our sifting.
Take comfort my friend. God’s got you and you will survive. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said.  “What, then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness of danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ro.8:31-39
You will survive because God loves you and He is very aware of your situation. He will be present and faithful to walk you through any sifting.  He will give you the grace to weather the storm. “His grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Cor.12:9 
You will survive!

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