Encouragement From The Word

Sifting

Sifting.

When we think of sifting, we tend to think of wheat, even though most of us probably have never actually done that, unless we’ve lived on a farm.

Sifting is the separation of the grain from the chaff.  The grain (wheat is the commonest one) is useful, but the chaff is not.

Metaphorically, the Bible makes use of this term in a number of places, particularly in the separation of followers of Jesus from those who don’t follow him.  Jesus even told Peter, as Jesus was preparing for his death on the cross, that Satan wanted to sift the disciples like wheat (Luke 22.31).  In that case, the evil one’s desire was to attempt to separate believers from their faith.

There’s a lot of that kind of sifting going on in the world today.

The devil is doing his level best to try to get followers of Jesus to walk away from the Lord.  He is putting all manner of trials in people’s lives in an attempt to separate people from Jesus.  He is trying to sift us.

But guess what:  he can’t pull it off.

Why not?

Because Satan doesn’t have that kind of power.

It actually takes very little to fend off the devil.  All you have to do is resist.

How do I know that?  Well, there’s some personal experience, but better than that, I know it because it’s right in God’s Word:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4.7, NLT)

That’s all it takes.  You need merely to resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  As a follower of Jesus, you have the power of the Holy Spirit living in and through you.

Can I ask a favour of you?

Whether you’re in a challenging season or not, I’m asking you to commit that verse to memory.

Even if you don’t feel like you need it right now, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will need that word of encouragement at some point along your journey of faith.  If you put that piece of Scripture in your arsenal right now, you’ll have it forever.

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Memorize that, starting today, and then you’ll remember, at any point that Satan is trying to sift you, that all you have to do is resist, and he’ll leave you alone.  This may sound simplistic, and I assure you, it may be a long process; it may even be a daily struggle.  But if you resist, again and again, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will overcome.

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

(By the way, I’ll be talking about Satan’s role in the end times on Sunday, and this verse will play an important role.  You’re welcome to join us at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, or on our YouTube channel if you’re too far away to come.)

Biblical Messages

Beautiful and Faithless

As you’ll hear at the start of this message, the original title, and what appeared on the church sign, wasn’t quite congruent with Nahum 3 (or Romans 13.8-14)!  Have a listen, or watch the Facebook Live video below.

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Biblical Messages

CHRISTIANITY 101: Things Are Getting Better

Darkness can seem powerful.  When you walk through a dark room, it is as if inanimate objects take on a life of their own, and jump out in such a way as to cause you to stub your toe.  Our minds play tricks on us.  We think that some horrific creature is going to attack us.

We associate darkness with evil, and for good reasons:  a lot of violent crime takes place under cover of darkness.  Satan is known as the prince of darkness.  When we close our eyes, we see only darkness, knowing that there is a remote possibility that we will never open our eyes again.  Literature, even the Bible, practically equates darkness with evil.

But the funny thing about this terrible, awful darkness is that it can be dispelled very quickly.  A lot of darkness can be dispelled by a little bit of light.
“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”, said the founder of Amnesty International, quoting a Chinese proverb.  “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle”, said St. Francis of Assisi.

People light candles at all sorts of events for various reasons, but almost all of them have this in common:  hope.  Where there is light, there is hope.  Where there is light, we know that things are getting better.

So it is for us:  the apostle Paul told the church in Ephesus nearly 2000 years ago, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Eph 5.8a, NIV).  When we are light, we are getting better.

Based on Ephesians 5.8-20, you can listen to this message by clicking here.