Have you ever had a love/not love relationship with a book? Ever knew a book was meant for you to read, but really wish you'd never heard of it at all? Ever felt God speaking to you as you read the pages, and KNEW He'd sent the book for such a time as this?
Well, if you haven't, and you don't want that kind of reading experience, stay away from "Sifted" by Rick Lawrence. But if life seems flipped upside down, nothing seems to add up, and yet you love God with a passion that runs through your very marrow, maybe you should run to the local bookstore and snatch up a copy.
Rick focuses on the Bible passage of Luke 22:31-32, when our dear brother Peter gets his emotions tangled with his faith and informs Jesus, God in the flesh, Creator of the universe and Savior of our souls that He "would not surely die!" Remember that moment?
Jesus, with a heart full of love, compassion and truth declares satan desired to 'sift Peter like wheat'. Trust me when I tell you we have no understanding of what that truly meant. If we did, we'd shake at the thought. I've had people toss that phrase out at me and I've nodded and thought, 'yeah, I'm being sifted'...no biggie.
Oh, but it's SUCH a biggie! To be shaken HARD, beaten and pitched into the air, where the ground truly falls out from under you and you have no clue where you might land, just an assurance of Who will catch you...THAT is to be sifted.
Don't believe me? Read Rick's book and see how he checks out the sifting of wheat in the days of Jesus...and may I say 'wow'...and I'm being so sifted, and it isn't fun, it hurts, it is a very big deal, and I do not like it at all.
Here's the cool thing, though...Jesus didn't just leave Peter there, and He doesn't leave us there either. With that same love and compassion and truth Jesus tells Peter 'WHEN you have turned back'...'strengthen your brothers'.
Why will Peter turn back? Why will you and I turn back? Because Jesus also says 'but I have prayed for you'. Here's an interesting fact...Jesus calls Peter 'Simon' in that statement...his old name. Seems important, right?
It is. So is this book. Each chapter takes a portion of the passage and breaks it down, using other Scriptures and examples to deepen the meaning, then puts it all back together in a beautiful yet painful portrait of being changed forever.
It's that 'glory to glory' thing the Bible talks about. It hurts. But it's worth it. It has to be, or God wouldn't allow it. A couple of times I questioned what I read, but for the most part, I found "Sifted" to be sound and reliable. I highly recommend "Sifted" to you.
My thanks to my friends at David C. Cook and at B&B Media for the chance to understand this season of my life a bit better...and to Rick Lawrence for taking a passage of Scripture I've always glossed over and bringing it to life.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Authored by Deena Peterson at 3:35 PM