This is an email of encouragement my cousin, Randy Murieen sent to a pastor friend. He shared it with others and I was blessed so much that I wanted to share it with everyone else.
Here we go, start at the beginning of Luke 22 as it leads up to Luke 22:31. Jesus knows what is in our hearts and if we are really the person we are saying we are! Peter was not the rock yet! But soon to be after he fell so in love with Jesus that he could never deny Him again.
Think of this, in the midst of our trials a miracle happens, our heart becomes His, we begin to love and trust God unconditionally!!! God loves us unconditionally, Job loved Him unconditionally. Do we? Or is he asking us 3 times if we love Him as He did with Peter? Many people never think of loving God unconditionally. No matter what happens to us, Peter soon did, Job did. Jobs wife blamed her husband and Almighty God- was that her faith test too? Job chose to love Him and told Him even though you slay me I will trust you! Many people do not grow spiritually because they blame God for the trial, they hurt and they do not understand why He would allow it? It is for our ultimate good. He has the right to test our hearts! He is purifying them. He is the Potter! We are the clay. In the end those who trust Him and allow Him to change them will be priceless fruit to Him! We are being redeemed into the fullness of Christ dwelling in us during the trial!! Yes, Christ in us the hope of Glory!! The first Adam failed, the second Adam is the Great Eternal High Priest that will never die and never fail!
How did Peter fall so deeply in love with his savior? The same way we do, through the trials!
To sift means to beat, separate, and reveal. As the husk is beaten off of the grain and separated and then who we are is revealed!! Jesus says if you want any part of me you have to drink my blood and eat my flesh! Many turned back! They still do today. Some turn away then come back and follow Him as Peter did. At first Peter said Lord I’m ready to go with you to prison or even unto death. After denying Jesus his heart was changed forever, to the point of asking to be crucified upside down….His undying, passion and alliance won many souls to his savior. He came from a not so certain identify, through the sifting process that turned him into a Lion! He learned who the real Peter was, the person God created him to be. Peter thought he knew himself. It took Jesus confronting him in the darkest hour then God revealed to him who he really was. Then God began revealing his love for him personally. Peter would never doubt again and go on fearlessly. We have to be with Jesus and have him show us who we really are. We will enjoy ourselves when we see who we really are! It is Christ in us! He is changing our very nature into His! Father make them one as you and I are one! Once we have our true identity in Christ! We know who we are! A new creature! And we will like being around other people who know who they are in Christ! We are made for the real fellowship in the second Adam not the falseness of the fallen first Adam.
Later on by one look from Jesus, Peter knows he is forgiven! He had denied him 3 times he was afraid when the servant girl recognized him. Later he preaches to 3,000. He has gone from fear to great faith! Jesus prays for him and tells him, "Peter now go strengthen your brethren!!" That became his life’s assignment and purpose on earth!! His writing inspired by the Holy Spirit has encouraged and strengthened us for centuries. Isn’t this every Christians life’s purpose? What a calling? We can strengthen each other and that person will go strengthen many others.
You have been faithful with a little, so He has given you much more, and many more souls to look after.
The greatest thing we have to give to the people around us is our true personhood in Christ! That is how others see Jesus in us! That pure unadulterated view of His love for Peter changed him forever. He captures our hearts the same way.
Satan understands us being sifted as he was sifted too! His pride made him fail his test; he chose to want to be above God rather than to love Him! God cast him down to earth!
We Christians are constantly being sifted, we may not recognize it, but we are either about to be sifted, or have just finished being sifted or we are about to be sifted again! That is the process of God increasing our faith in us, the rhythm of life! Since we are in the battle between God and the devil, The spirit of truth and the spirit of error, the antichrist spirit which is always operating, resisting the righteousness of Christ and the church. But the gates of hell shall not prevail…
Ryan if you take what is in the letter you wrote to me, it is the follow up FRUIT of this. These are only light afflictions; we have not suffered to bloodshed yet. I heard this; “no preacher is really a preacher until he has suffered for Jesus.” It is true, or we cannot identify with His deep suffering He endured in His Love for us! And the victory of overcoming the world for us so He could send us into it.
He did say to Peter I have prayed that your faith will not fail. So it appears that Peters faith was the trial…Jesus wanted all of his heart and no more unbelief and fear operating in him and organized the circumstances to train and test him!! Lord let us not miss the moments of your visitation when you are testing our faith!!! It is how we grow into people of great faith.
The sifting process is going on in our church as well as each individual. If we are following Him our faith is going to be sifted and tested and it will increase or decrease every day by how much His Word is dominating us in everything we think and do. We are either walking in faith (trust) or in fear (unbelief). We choose to follow you Lord with our whole heart in great faith and honor You. The man who trusts Him will NEVER be put to shame! He desires to impart GREAT faith in all of His people. To do GREAT things for those who know their God…. Do we really understand if God is for us who can be against us? May we all encourage one another and pray for each other’s strengthening. Amen!