This is why you don’t have to be afraid.

I am no stranger to the feeling of fear. Although that feeling doesn’t always come in the same form, it is almost always fear at the root. For instance, there have been many times that I prepared so much for something like a project or test or interview or any number of items, but I still couldn’t shake the nervous feeling of the pending unknown results of my efforts, or lack thereof. At other times, I used to feel anxious when circumstances came at me as a complete surprise. In either case the feeling was ultimately fear. It was a fear of something I could not control myself.

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The Sifting

Guest Author: Elsa Abraham

Jesus and His disciples had finished the last Passover meal and began conversing about what would happen shortly. The Lord predicted Peter’s denial, which Peter vehemently denied. In Luke 22:31-32 two specific verses indicate what would happen:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Satan is God’s enemy and the accuser of the saints. Before Satan could sift Peter like wheat, he had to have permission from the Lord. The Lord Jesus is our Great High Priest. Here, the Lord’s role was to pray for Peter. As our Great High Priest, Christ’s role is to plead for us before the throne of God. The Lord does not pray that the sifting does not occur, but gives Satan permission to do so. He instead prays that Peter’s faith would be unshaken. It is encouraging that Satan is allowed to sift us like wheat only with the Lord’s permission – even more importantly, that the Lord is pleading for us before the Father that our faith would not fail.

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Filthy Rags to Righteous Robes

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

What do you usually wear to a wedding? Have you ever seen anyone wear shorts and a tee-shirt to a wedding? No. How about pajamas? No. It’s common knowledge that those are not generally choices for wedding attire. People only show up to weddings wearing their best. That’s most likely suits for guys and dresses for ladies. We see a similar situation here in this parable that Christ tells the Pharisees. The parable is about a wedding feast that was hosted by a king. He goes out into the country side, to all the highways and byways, and invites everyone who had been sent the initial invitation to the wedding. However, each time that he goes out to call them, they harass, abuse and even murder his servants. Due to their disrespect and disregard towards him, he destroys them and then sets out to invite everyone else who was left on the streets. These were the people who formerly weren’t worthy of being invited. They were more than happy to join the wedding feast because they weren’t expecting to attend. There was only one small requirement: in order to come to the wedding feast and sit in the presence of the king, they had to be dressed appropriately. However, we see that one individual comes dressed in ragged clothes. Due to his inappropriate attire he is actually thrown out, along with those who initially rejected the invitation!

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Fan or Follower | Part 3

**Click here to read Fan or Follower Part 1 and Part 2

“Fans often confuse their admiration for devotion. They mistake their knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with Jesus. Fans assume their good intentions make up for their apathetic faith. Maybe you’ve already decided you’re a follower and Not a Fan; well, I hope you keep reading, because one of the core symptoms of “fandom” is that fans almost always consider themselves to be followers.”

– Kyle Idleman | not a fan.

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