Saturday 18 Nov 2017
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Isaiah 55 : 1-2

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Put not your trust in flesh...

Luke 22:31-34 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.

The walk of faith is a challenging one, let no one be deluded about that and we must be careful not to allow anyone to inspire us with any sweet doctrine or teaching to the contrary. 

You may be asking why would I subject myself to such an experience, why allow myself to go through persecution, trials challenges and yes even personal sacrifices because of faith? Well it is worth going through because of what is at stake and because of what the walk of faith exercised in Christ promises us, especially the great gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. I am always careful to stress this important truth because life in general is filled with challenges and they offer their own rewards. Indeed the path to anything good is filled with challenges...this I believe is what simple common sense teaches us. But with the Christian faith the promise we stand to inherit is more precious than any reward we can think of, it more than makes up for whatever challenges and sacrifices we might have had to put up with.

You see many are easily discouraged from coming into faith because of the cross which they are called to carry as a result, many simply look at their current state and conclude that they do not have what it takes to submit themselves to such discipline. Although they find what is on offer appealing enough but the prospect of the challenges that awaits simply dampens the joy of coming into what is on promise. Why are they so intimidated? Because they wrongly believe that they are called to face these challenges in their own strenght. There is another group of believers, and Peter from the passage today clearly demonstrated that he belonged to this group. This group consist of those who in their zeal to answer the call, end up trusting in their ability and strength to pull it off.... it is only a matter of time before they would discover just like Peter did, that the scripture was right when God said...
Zechariah 4:6-7 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it! ’”

Peter did not grasp the message when our Lord said to him I have prayed for you because Satan desired to stop you for that was the whole essence of his plan to sift Peter. He did not grasp the message when our Lord said to him, that after you have been restored, comfort and strengthen others..he downplayed the importance of the message which our Lord was trying to pass to him, rather he was counting and boasting on the ability to be faithful to his calling in God by trusting in his human ability and strength, he reckoned his zeal was enough to see him through..to his dismay and embarassment, he found out that no man can please God except through Christ, and no man can stay faithful and loyal to God without the assistance that is available through prayers and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me sum this up, the promise which our faith promises is one which cannot be attained by human strength else only the strong and worthy would be able to come into it, the opposition that would arise in order to hinder us from obtaining the promise is not human nor can it be stopped by human strength...Heaven recognises this as demonstrated when our Lord prayed for Peter...heaven as a result has also made available every assistance to help us to endure as well as to prevail over these challenges so that we would not miss out of the promise. We access this help through regular prayers..hence we are told, "Men ought to pray".

There is one more point I would like to add, the help on offer may not stop us from facing these challenges, it may not stop the wind of trials from coming our way, but one thing is certain, the promised assistance will ensure we do not miss out on what is on offer in Christ.... for that is the sole reason why it was commissioned on our behalf. 
The help on offer is a guarantor hence the one who is committed to the Helper and the process that makes it available can boast of victory even in the midst of trials-Ephesians 1:13-14. Peter was indeed sifted by Satan...but he emerged from the debris to fulfil his destiny. Our Lord agonised all through the night in the weakened body of flesh which he had to endure, but as he prayed he received the ministration or help of angels to sustain him.He went on to to keep his appointment with the cross and obtained the glory that came with it. From the experience he turned to his disciples saying to them watch and pray...Luke 22:39-46.