The Journey Thoughts

December 8, 2016

Right before Jesus was to face the crucifixion, he had a conversation with
his disciples. He talked to them about what greatness really meant.  He was
telling them that to be great they had to be like a child; and to be a
leader, to be like a servant.  The service now would enable them to sit at
His table in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Then he told Peter this: " Simon,
Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed
for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back,
strengthen your brothers. 'Lord,' he told Him, 'I'm ready to go with You
both to prison and to death!' 'I tell you, Peter,' He said, 'the rooster
will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me!'" Luke
22:31-34  When I read that, I am drawn to Job, where Satan is having a
conversation with God about Job, and God allows him to make Job suffer.
Notice here that Jesus prayed for Peter, not that he would have protection
from Satan, but that his faith would not fail.  He knows he will fail, and
tells him when he has turned back, to strengthen his brothers.  Peter is
adamant that he will not fail, yet he fails exactly as Jesus has told him.
I know that when I am in prayer to our Lord, I feel there is nothing that
could shake me, nothing that could drive me to my knees, and I become like
Peter, stating that I will never fail our Lord, then before the day is over,
there will be times when it is clear that I fail.  I know the times, for the
feeling it brings in my heart.  But turning back once again, I also feel
strengthened.  It's like braving a test you have never done before.  It
almost seems like it is impossible, and you contemplate giving up, but
instead you press on.  When you have finished, you feel good; you feel
strengthened, for you know that you can accomplish that which seemed
insurmountable.  Have you had encounters like that?  Perhaps you are going
through one right now and feel like you just can't make it.  Let me
encourage you brother and sister.  Keep putting one foot in front of the
other. Put your trust in Christ that He will enable you to make it through.
Let Him become your strength, and you will start to see through the haze of
failure, the finish line. You will be refreshed and strengthened.  After
that, you will be that much stronger to encourage another.  Our Lord prays
for Peter and the disciples to keep the faith during trials.  Even Jesus,
right after this, when He was in the garden praying, it was a prayer for
God's will, even though He asked the Father if this cup could be taken from
Him.  What was more important was that He was doing the Father's will, and
that gave Him strength.  I know there will be days ahead, and even today
perhaps, that we will find our faith shaken, but all of this is for our
strengthening.  When we exercise for the first time of the year, or go
beyond our present limits, our muscles ache and the pain can be debilitating
for a season, but the end result, if we continue, is stronger muscles.  The
same is with our spiritual health.  Exercising it is by stepping out in
faith, when we are faced with challenges.  When it seems like going forward
will hurt, and we will suffer loss or pain. This may be a cause for many to
step back not wanting to be in pain, but pain will only last for a moment,
but strengthening results.  A stronger faith will continue to grow and we
will be able to help those around us by everything that we have had to
experience.  So, my friends, keep the faith, even when the going gets tough,
and remember the Lord has not left you, He is helping you grow stronger.

Pastor Andy

Father, thank You for strength when I feel too weak to continue.  Thank You
for helping me persevere, when my flesh wants to give up.  I pray that all
who read this today, will see You in their weakness, will feel Your presence
in the stillness of their pain.  I pray then for: Kathryn, the Dement
family, churches in Thackerville, and Gainesville, who need a shepherd, for
Mary Ruiz, Betty H., Veronica, Douglas, Fritz, Kaitlyn's grandfather,
Carlie, Lynn, Don, Barrett's, Josh, Eric, Peggy, Rheba, Ada, Harriet,
Carol's family, Mary, Dillon, Tara, Kristena, Kristen, Marcy, Kenny,
Carolyn, Gene, Terry, Angie, Isabel, Ellen, William, Dwight, Jim, Vanessa,
Becky, the Markle family, the Young family, Travis, Max, Rita, Pastor
Berkey, Nancy, June, JT, Eva, Candace, Meredith, Barbara, Mike S., Ramona,
Loren, Ben, Robby, Kathy, Montella, Charlie, Kim, Nada, JV, Shelly and her
mom, Richard and his dad, Terry's dad, Pam and her son, Kelly and her son,
Julissa, Abby, Malachi, Corbin, Ryan, Olivia, Jeremiah, Joanna, Tom, Evelyn,
Joy, Ruth, BJ, Ida, Briggs church, Jackie Ann, Tonia, Todd, Liam, Aiden,
Alan, Fisher, Tuly, Michelle, Trevor, Maria, Choya, Alex, Ken, Sandy,
Andrea, Shannon, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Tyson, Wendy, Joyce, Shelbi, Gus, Lisa,
Alice, David, Phyllis, Devon, Marlaina, Cynthia, John, Annette, Kim, Gary,
Gavin, Shawn, Laurie, Heather, Codi, Ron, Deane, Dan, Pam, Mike, Austin,
Fred, Dotty, James, Scott, April, Craig, Hunter, Asher, Lynette, Patrick,
Kathy, Jennifer, Abe, Trent, Garret, Mayeaux, Ben, Jason, Ashley, Marc,
Macy, Jade, Bob, Tracy, Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Jeff, Laura, Matt,
Bethany, Matt, Liz, Mike, Megan, Carmello, Kaitlyn, Tim, Michele. I pray for
strength in the face of increasing pain and the ability to work with my
hands.  I pray for You will over all these in Jesus name.

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