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Shalom everyone.

To the best of my ability I am going to, each Monday, sit down and share a few thoughts with you. So here goes for Monday, May 16, 2022:

As I shared this past weekend at Jacob’s Tent, it seems to me that many we know are going through difficulties of varying kinds. For some it is physical and health issues, for others it is financial stress and lack of resources. Then there are those who are going through something they can’t quite put their finger on just what it is (if that’s you, you understand what I mean) but it is leaving them in a state of emotional distress. So it occurred to me this past Shabbat morning that, maybe, many are being “sifted as wheat.” 

This idea, of course, comes to us from the Gospels when Yeshua said to Peter, “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat (Luke 22:31). Peter’s response to this was, “I will never deny or forsake you” which we all know is exactly what he did, not once but three times. Afterwards, he was very distraught and, I can only imagine, thoroughly and completely disgusted with himself. In that moment when the rooster crowed, Peter came face to face with what and who he really was — and it was not exactly what he had imagined the night before. Over the next few weeks, I have to believe that, more than anything, he wanted to disappear and melt into obscurity.

Thankfully, the Messiah was not going to allow that to happen. In fact, prior to all of this Yeshua had told him, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32). Yeshua knew he would falter when faced with what was coming but also knew that Peter would eventually emerge from the sifting process able to assist and strengthen others. This was affirmed after the resurrection when Yeshua instructed Peter, “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep.” In other words, put what has happened behind you and focus on what you are called to do.

So then, if you do feel that you are being sifted as wheat (and for the record, I certainly feel that way personally), then know that you are not alone. 

Perhaps the time is now for some of us to face certain things head on and, once and for all, overcome them. Through the prophet Amos, God foretold that many of His people would, indeed, be sifted “as grain is sifted in a sieve” but with the promise that, “the smallest grain shall not fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9). 

Therefore, as you endure your current hardship, consider that your Savior and Redeemer has prayed for you that your faith will not fail. Without a doubt, we know He does this for us seeing that He is our Advocate before the Father, always making intercession for us. And if He prays for us, let us conclude that His prayers will not go unanswered and that the purpose for the sifting will be realized. By that I mean, after you have emerged from the sieve and have returned to Him, turn your attention to why you had to go through the sifting — so that you might “strengthen your brethren.” 

In the meantime, seek out those who will encourage you even as you try to encourage others. Surround yourself with those who will hold you accountable and not allow you to disappear and melt into obscurity. Most importantly, remember that you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother and that He is pulling for you — He is on your side and He is praying for you!

Blessings and Shalom, 

Bill & Beth

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