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Monday, March 17, 2014

Building Strong Bodies...

Trials, temptations, disappointments - all these are helps instead of hindrances,
if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of character but strengthen it.
Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. 
James Buckham

A stunning, golden field of wheat has the potential nutrition to feed a multitude.

Convert (verb) - In all of its defined uses, the meaning is essentially the same: transform. I tend to think in terms of Uncle Ben’s converted rice television commercials from my childhood. 

Converted rice, I now discover, is prepared from brown rice that has been soaked and pressure steamed to force water-soluble nutrients into the starchy endosperm. Then it is dried and milled. It means less cooking time and more nutrition. 

It doesn’t just happen spontaneously. Rice (or wheat) is subjected to a process, money is exchanged for a different value, ownership is transferred, character is changed, and form is transformed. All of the original properties are given up for a new constitution. 

Although these all denote a process, every process has a first step.

Some religious folks think conversion means something else. Their definition seems to be: “To cause to adopt a different religion, political doctrine, opinion, etc.” Yet, what is transformed in this case seems only to be allegiance. Is that all Jesus was referring to when He said, “Unless you are converted and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:33)? Or when he told Peter, “Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, AKJV)?

Most modern translations use a different verbal phrase to describe the second part of the process Peter was about to go through: repented and turned again (NLT), turned back (NIV, HCSB), come back (ISV), restored (Aramaic BPE, Darby), recover (GW). The result of the process was to be Peter’s mission: to strengthen and establish his fellow believers.

It now becomes clear that Peter's first step was a choice to be made. 

Gill’s Exposition explains Satan’s desire to have Peter and the others under his power, not to separate the chaff from the wheat, but to make them look like all chaff, by covering the wheat of grace with the chaff of sin and corruption… to toss them to and fro as wheat is in a sieve… to afflict and distress them… by scattering them both from Christ, and one another; by filling them with doubts about Jesus being the Messiah and Redeemer; and by frightening them with the fears of enemies and of death. 

Fear is one of those sneaky little things within us that is all but involuntary. Yet, it must be conquered if we are ever to be of any nutritious value to anyone. And the conquest will very likely be in a situation we are unable to control. It was Peter’s fear that surfaced when he denied knowing Jesus that same night. Peter’s choice was what or whom to fear -- which process to subject himself to.

The pressure, the heat, the discomfort are all part of the conversion process, when the husk breaks open. We can avoid it, of course; we have the same choice Peter had. But without this real conversion, we can only appear to be real wheat. 

Isaiah 35:3
"With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees" The Message.

Isaiah 41:10
"Don't be afraid, because I'm with you; don't be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I'm truly helping you. I'm surely upholding you with my victorious right hand" ISV.

Luke 22:31-32 
"Satan has pursued you, that he might make you part of his harvest. But I have prayed for you. I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers here" The Voice. 

John 16:33
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" The Message. 

1 Thessalonians 5:14
"We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone" NASB.

Excerpt from:  
While it is Called Today - a 30-day photo devotional for living well 
by Dee Marvin Emeigh

(c) 2014 Dee Marvin Emeigh
all rights reserved


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