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1 Samuel 9:1-14; Acts 6:15 - 7:16; Luke 22:31-38

SCRIPTURE

Luke 22:31-32 — And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

THOUGHTS TO PONDER

When I grew up on the farm, we had to put our oats through a kind of sifter to get rid of chaff, dirt, small stones, and weed seeds. I had to invent a similar sifter for my compost. Compost can make the difference in mid-summer gardens. I was able to get loads of it free from a city leaf dump. The first year I spread it on my garden, but discovered that it was full of plastics, twigs, and other refuse. In order to make it useable I had to sift it through a screen. It took a lot more time and energy, but in the end it was worth it. Even Satan knows the value of sifting. The ancient method of sifting involved throwing the wheat seed in the air to let the wind blow away the chaff and waste. Jesus warned Peter that the winds of adversity would be blowing at him from every direction. They would even be strong enough to blow him off course, but all was not lost. Jesus’ prayer was that Peter’s faith would be strong enough to bring him back to give strength to the others who would be similarly “sifted”.  We all face times of “sifting”. The good news is that Jesus does not just “write us off”! Instead, Jesus prays for our return and our usefulness in strengthening others too. Have you identified the “sifting” in your life? Is your faith helping you return (repent) so that you too may be of use to the Lord?

Though Satan my be given power to carry out his goal, we know that in our darkest hour our Lord is in control. (Satan's ploys are no match for the Savior's power.)

PRAYER

Help me be strong enough in my faith so that when I am “sifted” I will remain close to you, dear God. I pray that I might cast off all those things that I do contrary to your will. Thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ and for not “writing me off” when I have gone astray. In His name I pray. Amen.

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