Suffering Intercessors & Struggling Prayer Warriors: It’s Okay to Minister From A Place of Weakness & Not Having It All Together

Today’s selected reading is found in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad among the nations, peoples and lands of the earth. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters one through five of this New Testament book. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:3-12).

            RECEIVING THE END OF YOUR FAITH, EVEN THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS! As I come to the first epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad among the nations, peoples and lands of the earth I cannot help but be brought face to face with that which is written in the first and opening chapter. Right off the bat and immediately within this epistle the apostle Peter writes unto these dear saints and servants of the living God, and seeks to encourage them concerning that inheritance which they have in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter opens this epistle speaking and writing unto these dearly beloved saints of the living God and writing how they were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, and were the elect of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. You cannot read the words which are found in the opening chapter of the epistle which is found in the New Testament epistle written unto the strangers which were scattered and not be brought face to face with the truly wonderful reality that while he was indeed writing unto strangers which were scattered in the midst of the earth, and while he was indeed writing unto pilgrims which lived, moved and walked upon the earth, he was writing unto those who had been specifically chosen by the living and eternal God. It is truly remarkable to read the words found in the opening chapter and to encounter a people who were indeed and were in fact scattered abroad within and among the nations of the earth, and yet even in their place of being scattered, and even in their place of being dispersed among the nations of the earth they were hand selected and chosen by the living and eternal God in Christ Jesus. Despite the fact that they were scattered among the nations of the earth—the foreknowledge, the wisdom and the divine will of the living and eternal God chose, ordained and appointed them as saints and servants within His kingdom, and as being disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more you read the words found within this passage of Scripture the more you will be brought face to face with the truly astonishing truth and reality that these individuals who were scattered among the nations, peoples and lands of the earth were divinely chosen by the living God to be His saints and His servants.

            At the risk of getting ahead of myself I find it absolutely necessary to turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the fourth and fifth chapters of this particular epistle, for it is within these chapters we are brought face to face with something that is truly remarkable and astonishing when reading this epistle that although these strangers were scattered in the midst of and among the nations of the earth they were still united together with their brethren within and throughout the world. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within the first epistle written by the apostle Peter is that although he wrote this epistle unto those who were scattered among the nations of the earth, he wasn’t writing to a people that were detached and disconnected from each other. It would be very easy to think about and consider that simply because we are hundreds, if not thousands of miles apart from each other that we are somehow detached and disconnected from our brothers and sisters which are present within and throughout the world. There would be those who would like to think that we are somehow separated and removed from our brothers and sisters within and throughout the world, and that we are not at all connected and unified one with another, and yet the truth of the matter is that regardless of and despite the distance which might separate us—we are all joined together and connected as brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ within the earth. I absolutely love reading the words found in this passage of Scripture and coming face to face with the powerful truth that although the strangers of God in Christ Jesus were scattered abroad within and throughout the earth—they were still united and connected with their brethren which were in other nations and lands, and which were in the midst of other peoples. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome truth and reality, for it helps us to truly recognize and understand the tremendous importance of the body of Christ. What’s more, is that I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order for us to truly understand the words which are found in this first epistle written by the apostle Peter we must needs consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote—not only in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the Romans, and not only in the twelfth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, but also the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Galatian churches, as well as the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these epistles concerning the tremendous ministry of the body of Christ within and upon the earth:

            “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, an all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicitiy; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:1-8).

            “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:1-7).

            “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; BUT THAT THE MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE THE SAME CARE ONE FOR ANOTHER. AND WHETHER ONE MEMBER SUFFER, ALL THE MEMBERS SUFFER WITH IT; OR ONE MEMBER BE HONOURED, ALL THE MEMBERS REJOICE WITH IT. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

            “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruptionpl but that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:1-10).

            “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. BESIDE THOSE THINGS THAT ARE WITHOUT, THAT WHICH COMETH UPON ME DAILY, THE CARE OF ALL THE CHURCHES. WHO IS WEAK, AND I AM NOT WEAK? WHO IS OFFENDED, AND I BURN NOT? IF I MUST NEEDS GLORY, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES. The God and father of our lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not” (2 Corinthians 11:23-31).

            I fully realize and recognize that you might not truly understand why I would take the time to include these words which were written in three of the epistles written by the apostle unto different churches, and yet the truth of the matter is that I firmly believe we cannot truly understand the words and language that is found in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter without and apart from understanding the ministry and unity of the body. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the first epistle written by the apostle Peter that at the very heart of the message he was conveying unto his hearers and audience was this unity, this fellowship, this partnership, and this interconnectedness of the body of Christ. The more I read the words written and found in this particular epistle the more I am brought face to face with the truth that although this apostle of Christ was writing unto strangers which were scattered abroad among the nations and peoples of the earth they were not only called and chosen by and in God, but they were also joined together with brothers and sisters within and throughout the world. We cannot read the epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad and not encounter the wonderful and powerful truth that although these strangers—undoubtedly those who would have been made up and comprised of Jews and Gentiles—were scattered abroad within and among the nations of the earth they were joined and united together. There is not a doubt in my mind that the first epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad among the nations of the earth is a powerful treatise and discourse concerning the unity and interconnectedness of the body. IN fact, I would dare say that if you truly wish to understand the words which are found within this epistle you must needs view and understand it from the lens of the brethren who have been called and chosen of God in Christ are indeed united to and with one another. IT is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable to read the words which are found in this first epistle and not be brought face to face with the overwhelming and beautiful truth that although these strangers were scattered among the nations of the earth, and although they were indeed struggling and suffering—they were not alone in their struggle, nor were they alone in their suffering in the midst of the earth.

            SCATTERED, STRUGLING AND SUFFERING STRANGERS IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH! I find it truly worth noting and pointing out when reading the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this first epistle that he was writing to strangers which were scattered throughout Asia and the surrounding nations, lands and peoples, and how these strangers were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. These strangers which were scattered throughout Asia and the surrounding region were more than simply strangers in the midst of nations, lands and peoples, but we must also recognize and understand that these strangers were indeed and were in fact pilgrims whose citizenship was not here within and upon this earth. If there is one thing we must needs understand it’s that if we are indeed strangers and pilgrims here within and upon the earth—not even merely strangers and pilgrims in the physical and natural sense of the word—we are showing and demonstrating with, from and by our lives that this world is not our home and that we are indeed looking for something greater, and something that is beyond what is before and in front of us in this natural realm. It was Jesus Himself who emphatically declared unto His disciples that if they were of this world the world would indeed and would in fact love them. Since they weren’t of this world—not only would this world not love them, but they would also live their lives in such a way that might even invite suffering, that might even invite persecution, that might even invite affliction, and might even invite conflict and struggle. We must needs recognize and understand this truly captivating and astonishing reality when reading the words which are found in this first epistle written by the apostle Peter, for these words directly confront the tremendous reality that these saints and these brethren were scattered among and in the midst of the nations of the earth and were living their lives—not only as strangers in the physical and natural sense, but also as strangers and pilgrims in the physical sense. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews:

            “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dweling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16).

            “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).

            It is quite clear when reading the words which are found in these two passages of Scripture that there were those who lived and dwelt within the earth who chose to live as strangers and pilgrims in a land and place which they knew not of. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of those who lived as strangers, pilgrims and sojourners in the midst of the land is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote about when they described these individuals as living as strangers and pilgrims on the earth because they were looking for something that was enduring and everlasting. We cannot read the words which are found within these passages and not be brought face to face—not only with the reality of living as strangers and pilgrims within and upon the earth, but also choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin because we realize and recognize that this world is not our home. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found within these chapters that there is an intrinsic link and connection between our being strangers and pilgrims in this earth and how well we handle affliction, suffering, adversity, trials, troubles and opposition. I cannot help but read the words which are found within the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews and be brought face to face with how Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived as strangers and pilgrims in the midst of a land while waiting and living for a city which has its foundation made by the living God. Not only this, but I am absolutely astonished with what Scripture reveals and speaks concerning Moses, for the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote how Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter—thus refusing prominence, prosperity, wealth, stature, and the like—and chose instead to suffer affliction with the people of God. Moreover, Moses deliberately and intentionally chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. Taking this a step further the author of this epistle would go on to write concerning Moses how he esteemed the reproach of Christ of greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of these incredibly wonderful and powerful truths, for there is not a doubt in my mind that there is a tremendous and powerful link that exists between our recognizing and understanding that we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and our ability to endure and bear up under and in the midst of the suffering, affliction, adversity, tribulation, trials, persecution and the like.

            It is with all of this in mind I cannot help but be reminded of the words which our Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples when He was preparing them for His departure and return unto the Father who was in heaven. If there is one thing I absolutely love about chapters thirteen through seventeen of the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John it’s how although Jesus was preparing to return unto His Father who was in heaven He took the time to make ready and prepare His disciples for their remaining within and upon the earth. You cannot read the words which are found in these chapters and not be brought face to face with the truly astonishing and captivating truth that when Jesus knew and understood that His hour and time had come to be glorified and return unto His Father in heaven, He made ready and prepared His disciples. What we must realize and recognize and understand is that when Jesus sought to prepare His disciples for their abiding and remaining upon the earth in the wake of His departure unto His Father who was in heaven He sought to prepare them the presence of the Holy Spirit, He sought to prepare them to love others as themselves, He prepared them to bear and bring forth much fruit, and He also prepared them to be hated of all nations for His name’s sake. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth and reality, for it brings us face to face with the fact that when Jesus knew that He was going to depart from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven He was sure to prepare His disciples—not only to be hated of all nations for His name’s sake, not only to be put out of the synagogues, not only to experience suffering and persecution, but He also prepared them for intense suffering and persecution. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about the fact that so long as Jesus remained and abided on the earth He was the central figure and focal point of the opposition and persecution of the Jews and of the religious system of that generation, and yet when He departed from this world His spiritual body—the disciples which would later become apostles, and all those who would make up the Church here upon the earth—would experience the same degree and measure of suffering, affliction and opposition He did.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the departure of Jesus as He returned unto His Father who was in heaven, and although He would leave His disciples and followers within and upon the earth as strangers and pilgrims, He would not leave them powerless, nor would He leave them alone. Jesus was very clear when speaking unto the disciples that He would not leave them as orphans, but would come unto them. In all reality, we must needs realize and recognize that Jesus prepared and made ready His disciples for the empowerment and presence of the Holy Spirit—and not only the empowerment and presence of the Holy Spirit, but the empowerment and presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of suffering, affliction, persecution, adversity, conflict, struggle, and the like. You cannot read the words which our Lord spoke unto the disciples within these chapters in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not be brought face to face with the truly fantastic truth that Jesus made ready and prepared His disciples to suffer affliction, adversity, suffering, struggle, conflict and opposition—and yet in the midst of and in spite of that truth within their lives they would also witness and experience the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize that when Jesus departed from this world and returned unto His Father who was in heaven His spiritual body within and upon the earth would suffer and face tremendous affliction, persecution, adversity and opposition. Jesus knew that after He departed from this world and returned unto His Father who was in heaven that His disciples and followers would face and experience suffering and persecution. This reality was and is expressed in the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for within this passage of Scripture we find a great persecution breaking out against the early Church in the city of Jerusalem after the death of Stephen. So intense so severe would the persecution be that the disciples and followers of the Lord would be scattered within and throughout Judaea and Samaria.

            What makes the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter so absolutely and incredibly unique and powerful when you think about it is that you get the sense that the disciples and followers of Jesus were now scattered beyond simply Judaea and Samaria. As you come to the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter you are confronted with the truth that the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ went from merely being scattered within Judaea and Samaria to being scattered within and throughout Asia, Europe, and the nations and lands which made up the known world during those times. What’s more, is that if there is one thing this particular epistle reveals to us it’s not merely how the saints and servants of God were scattered among the nations of the earth, but rather how the body of the Lord Jesus Christ had moved beyond simply Jerusalem. Although the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ would be formed within Jerusalem it would not remain, nor would it be destined to remain in the midst of Jerusalem. It was Jesus the Christ who emphatically declared that after they were endowed with power from on high they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judaea, in Samaria, and ultimately to the uttermost parts of the earth. When we come to the first epistle written by the apostle Peter we encounter a profound truth concerning the body of Christ—and not merely that it is one body made up of many members, but rather that the body could indeed be and was in fact present within and throughout the world. You cannot read the words which are found in this epistle and not be brought face to face with the fact that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ was present within and throughout the world. Essentially, that which we find within this epistle is that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ had grown, multiplied and increased beyond Jerusalem—even beyond Judaea and Samaria—and was now present within and among the nations of the earth.

            I sit here reading and considering the words found and recorded within the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter and I can’t help but think about the fact that the words which are contained it would indeed present us with the fact that the body of the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t merely isolated to one single place, but the body of Jesus Christ could indeed be present within and among the nations of the earth. I absolutely love that which is written in the opening verse of this epistle written by the apostle Peter, for within this verse we find that the body of Christ had grown in such a supernatural and spiritual way that it was now present and existing beyond Judaea and Samaria, and now not only was it made up of Jews, but it was also made up of Gentiles. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in the opening verse of this epistle written by the apostle Peter and how the body of Christ had indeed and had in fact grown up and grown within the earth to now be present in areas beyond that place it originally began and started. By the time we come to the first epistle written by the apostle Peter were are confronted with the fact that the body of Christ which was made up of His disciples and His followers was now present within and among the nations, lands, peoples, cities, towns and villages which were present in the known world at that time. Oh as surely and as certainly as Rome would move throughout new and uncharted territories conquering and subduing as they went that the empire might expand and increase within the earth, so also would the gospel move throughout the earth—almost with as much fury and force as the Roman Empire had. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how powerful this is, for as surely and as much as the Roman army with its countless legions would move throughout the lands of nations and peoples conquering and subduing as it went, so also would the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ move throughout the nations, lands and peoples of the earth.

            If there is one thing I so appreciate about what is written and found within the New Testament book of Acts it’s that much like the empire that was Rome which would move throughout and upon the face of earth conquering and subduing as it went forth, so also would the kingdom of God move forth within and throughout the earth with just as much intensity, force, ferocity, energy and speed. We read the words which are written in our history books concerning the expanse and increase of the Roman Empire and how Rome would invade territories, conquer and subdue it, and ultimately bring it under the control of Rome, and yet we must needs realize and understand that what we find and read concerning the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ, the kingdom of God and of heaven, and even the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is a powerful and wonderful picture of them invading, conquering and subduing—not physical land and territory, but rather the hearts and souls of men. While there was indeed a force upon the earth that would conquer and subdue physical land and territory there was another force upon the earth that would conquer and subdue the hearts and souls of men. The kingdom of heaven and the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus would indeed enter into and invade cities such as Corinth, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Philippi, Antioch, and other cities within the world during the days of the earth Church, and as a direct result it would bring down low in humility the hearts and souls of men and women. How absolutely tremendous and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that while here was a physical force within and upon the earth that was conquering and subduing lands and peoples within the earth there was another force that was moving within and throughout the earth—not conquering and subduing lands, but rather conquering and subduing the hearts and souls of men. While there was indeed an empire that was marching and moving in the midst of the earth there would also be a kingdom that would move within the earth in the midst of cities, towns, villages, and the like. Not only this, but we must also realize and recognize that eventually that kingdom, and eventually the body of Christ, and eventually the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ would make its way to Rome. Although Christianity would not conquer Rome as we know it—the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed capture the hearts and souls of countless individuals which were present in the midst of the city.

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad I can’t help but think about this concept of kingdom and empire being tremendous forces within and upon the earth. You cannot deny the fact that Rome was a powerful force that would move within and throughout the earth during the days of the apostles and the early Church, and would completely and utterly conquer and subdue all those nations, lands and peoples which were before them. The Roman Empire was the most powerful empire to ever exist upon the earth up until that point in time, and they moved within, throughout and upon the earth conquering and subduing with relative ease with very little that would stand in its path. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that it was in the midst of this incredibly strong and powerful empire that the living and eternal God would first send His eternal and only begotten Son preaching and declaring the kingdom of heaven which had come unto and among men at that time. Here was Jesus the Christ who was born King of the Jews, and this One who would be the Son of David who would eventually sit upon the throne of David and rule the nations preaching and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven being manifested upon the earth, and doing so directly in the midst of the most powerful empire that had ever existed within and upon the earth up to that time. If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely drawn to it’s when you think about and consider the fact that it would be here in the midst of this empire the living and eternal God would send His eternal and only begotten Son preaching and beginning to set up and establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, and then after His departure unto heaven His spiritual body would remain within and upon the earth continuing that manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the earth.

            It should be noted that when Jesus the Christ lived and moved upon the earth He preached and proclaimed the kingdom of heaven in the midst of Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria, and yet He would never move beyond those three regions. What’s more is that while in the flesh Jesus was confined and relegated to a single place at one time, and could not be in many places at once, nor even be in all places at once. After Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven, however, His spiritual body would initially be formed in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and yet would grow beyond Jerusalem and would even grow beyond Judaea and Samaria. Eventually and ultimately the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ would expand within and throughout parts of Asia and parts of Europe, and the kingdom of heaven would be manifested within and upon the face of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and remarkable reality, for it brings us face to face with the unbelievable truth that as surely and as much as the Roman Empire would indeed move within, throughout and upon the face of the earth with relative ease, so also would the kingdom of heaven be manifested within and upon the earth and would move with such great speed and ferocity among men. It is actually quite remarkable and astounding to think about and consider how at the same time Rome was conquering and subduing the earth there was another force that was moving within, upon and throughout the earth that was not only conquering and subduing the hearts of men, but was establishing a kingdom in the midst of the empire itself. While Rome was indeed expanding its territory, its dominion and its control upon the earth there was another force that not only was moving within and throughout the earth, but was also setting up a kingdom in the midst of the empire. At the same time the Roman Empire was conquering and subduing nations, territories, lands and peoples there was the kingdom of heaven which was being established right in the midst of it. What’s more, is that if you initially think about and consider the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth there was very little opposition to it. There would be absolutely no opposition from Rome to the public ministry of Jesus the Christ, and although Rome would crucify Jesus, they wouldn’t crucify Him because of an offense they had with Him.

            I absolutely love and am incredibly amazed with and by the awesome truth and reality that surrounds the first epistle which was written unto the strangers which were scattered within and upon the earth, for the very fact that we read of strangers being scattered abroad within and upon the earth suggests and speaks to the tremendous truth that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ would move within and upon the earth and would eventually and ultimately grow within and upon the earth directly within the Roman Empire. Despite the fact that the Roman Empire would indeed move within and throughout the earth conquering and subduing territories, peoples and lands that it might expand its dominion and territory there was another dominion, authority and government that was set up and established within and upon the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this truly is, for it brings us face to face with the fact that while an earthly empire and kingdom of man was moving upon the earth seeking to assert its government and dominion upon the earth there would be an entirely different kingdom that would be manifested in the earth—one that would not subdue nations, territories, lands, cities, towns and villages in the traditional and same sense Rome was. There would be a much greater force that would be moving within and upon the earth as the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ—these strangers and pilgrims which were present within and upon the earth—would indeed move within and upon the earth as they would manifest the kingdom of heaven and the gospel among men within the earth. Oh how absolutely fascinating it is to think about the fact that when Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven He would leave His spiritual body within and upon the earth that they might carry out and complete what He did not and could not do in the flesh.

            I am here writing these words tonight and I can’t help but think about how long Jesus would have needed to be in the flesh, and how long He would have needed to move within and upon the earth to accomplish that which the Church did over a forty year period of time. I say over a forty year period of time because it would be in the year 70 A.D. the Roman Empire would invade Judaea and Jerusalem and would completely and utterly destroy the Temple of the Lord which was present in the midst of the city. Stop and think about the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples and followers when He declared that they would do greater works than He did because He ascended unto the Father who was in heaven. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus spoke and declared these words He wasn’t speaking of us doing greater works than He did in terms of greater authority, greater dominion, and greater power in the earth. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when Jesus spoke unto His disciples and followers and declared unto them that they would do greater works than He did He was speaking in terms of quantity rather than quality, for there would be eleven disciples—not including the other one-hundred and nine in the upper room, not including the seven deacons which were appointed by the apostles, not including the three thousand souls that were brought into the kingdom on the day of Pentecost, and even the apostle Paul—who would move within and upon the earth preaching the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and would help manifest the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when Jesus ascended unto the right hand of His Father in heaven He would leave a spiritual force and body within and upon the earth that would completely and utterly transform the entire earth, and would as the Jews in Thessalonica declare “have turned this world upside down and have come here.” After Jesus would ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven He would have a spiritual body within and upon the earth that would not only preach the gospel concerning the kingdom, but would also demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit, and would even bring the person and presence of the Holy Spirit unto men upon the earth.

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when we think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth of strangers which were scattered abroad within and upon the earth we must not only think of strangers and pilgrims upon the earth, but we must also think about those who would move within and throughout the Roman Empire in the midst of the earth that the kingdom of heaven might be manifested unto and among men. When the apostle Peter wrote unto the strangers which were scattered abroad upon the face of the earth it is a wonderful and powerful truth to the reality that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ had indeed and had in fact been manifested within and upon the earth, and had spread within and throughout the Roman Empire. Just as the Roman Empire would move upon the earth and would spread throughout the known world at that time, so also would the gospel, so also would the kingdom of heaven, and so also would the body of Christ move within and in the midst of the Roman Empire. It is truly something worth noting and pointing out that at the same time the Roman Empire was moving upon the face of the earth there would be an even greater force that would move in the midst of the empire itself as it would establish a kingdom upon the earth. Not only would there be a kingdom that would be established upon the earth, but that kingdom would be the kingdom of heaven and one that did not have its roots, nor its origins in the midst of the earth. There would indeed be a kingdom which would be manifested in the midst of the Roman Empire—a kingdom that would have an eternal King at the very heart and center of it who would one day rule the nations.

            Pause for a moment and think about just how absolutely captivating this truth truly is, for when you truly take the time to think about it you will encounter such a powerful understanding concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church upon the earth. As you stop and consider the words which were found within the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter you will find him writing to those who were indeed scattered upon and scattered in the midst of the earth at the same time a mighty and powerful empire would impose it’s government and authority upon the earth. The simple fact that the apostle Peter wrote unto strangers which were scattered abroad speaks to the fact that the body of Christ was indeed that force within and upon the earth that would exist in Asia just as much as it would exist in Europe. It would be in the book of Acts—and not only in the book of Acts, but also in the epistle written by the apostle Paul, and now the epistle written by the apostle Peter—we encounter and come face to face with the fact that the body of Christ would indeed be entirely different from the actual physical person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the body of Christ would indeed be made up of many members, and would exist beyond simply a single city and a single location. When we think and speak about the body of Christ we must needs recognize and understand that the body of Christ exists in Afghanistan as surely as it exists in New Zealand. The body of Christ exists in Chile and Peru as much as it exists in South Korea and Germany. The body of Christ is not limited, nor is it relegated to a single city, nor a single country, nor even a single continent, for the body of Christ can indeed and can in fact be in many places at one time. Although the body of Christ cannot be in all places and every place at the same time, it can indeed be within and upon every continent at the same time. In fact, if there is one thing we must needs realize and recognize concerning the body of Christ it’s that it transcends geographical borders and boundaries, and exists within the hearts and homes of men. The apostle Paul not only wrote that we are the body of Christ, but also wrote that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which means that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and manifested upon the earth as much as He was in the midst of the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

            With all of this being said—the more you seek to delve into the words which are found in this first epistle written by the apostle Peter, the more you will encounter the truth concerning these strangers which were scattered abroad upon the earth, and how they weren’t alone within and upon the earth. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ it’s that the spiritual body of Christ exists and is made up of many members within and upon the earth, and each and every one of these members are intrinsically linked, joined together and connected to each other. What’s more, is that concerning this spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize that the Head of the body which is the Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven while we who are His body remain and abide within and upon the earth. In addition to this we must needs realize and recognize that as strangers and pilgrims upon the face of the earth that this world is not our home, and that we dare not and must not live our lives as though this world is indeed our home, and that this world has something to offer us. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to this, for one thing we find about the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ is that in addition to it being scattered upon the face of the earth it would also be afflicted and persecuted. The more you read the words which are found in the first epistle written unto the strangers which were scattered abroad within the earth the more you will encounter and come face to face with this awesome truth and reality. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which were written in this epistle which are recorded in the first, fourth and fifth chapter:

            “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed int the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, YE ARE IN HEAVINESS THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS: THAT THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, BEING MUCH MORE PRECIOUS THAN OF GOLD THAT PERISHETH, THOUGH IT BE TRIED WITH FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:3-8).

            “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

            “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore unto the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” ((1 Peter 5:1-11).

            BE SOBER! BE VIGILANT! YOUR ADVERSARY! [THE DEVIL]! AS A ROARING LION! WALKETH ABOUT, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR! RESIST STEDFAST IN THE FAITH, KNOWING THAT THE SAME AFFLICTIONS ARE ACCOMPLISHED IN YOUR BRETHREN THAT ARE IN THE WORLD! HOW DO YOU RESIST THE ADVERSARY AND ENEMY! YOU RESIST STEDFAST! YOU RESIST STEDFAST IN THE FAITH! YOU RESIST KNOWING THAT THE SAME AFFLICTIONS ARE ACCOMPLISHED IN YOUR BRETHREN THAT ARE IN THE WORLD! RESISTANCE THROUGH UNITY! RESISTANCE THROUGH COMMUNITY! RESISTANCE THROUGH FELLOWSHIP! RESISTANCE THROUGH ASSOCIATION! Perhaps one of the single greatest trust surrounding the first epistle written by the apostle Peter is that he wasn’t merely writing to a group of scattered strangers which were upon and within the earth. If and as you continue reading the words which are found within this epistle you will discover and uncover the tremendous truth that those to whom the apostle Peter was writing were suffering and struggling strangers within and upon the face of the earth. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the truth that the apostle Paul was writing unto those strangers who were indeed scattered upon the face of the earth, and in the midst of their being scattered upon the earth they were in a place of tremendous and incredible suffering, affliction, adversity, tribulation, trouble, and the like. The epistle itself begins with the apostle Peter writing of a heaviness that had enveloped many of them as a direct result of their manifold temptations, as well as the trial of their faith. Essentially that which we find within this epistle is a people who were being assaulted on two distinct and two different fronts. On the one hand the audience to whom the apostle Peter was writing were those who were experiencing and walking through a tremendous heaviness because of the manifold temptations they were walking through, while on the other hand the audience unto whom the apostle Peter was writing were experiencing a tremendous trial of their faith. It’s interesting and worth noting that the apostle Peter does not speak to, nor does he at any point or anywhere reveal the suffering these suffering and scattered saints and strangers upon the earth were facing and experiencing. Upon reading the epistle in its entirety you will find that nowhere in the midst of it does the apostle ever truly reveal the suffering they were walking through, nor even the suffering they were experiencing.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous and powerful truth that is found within this epistle written by one of the apostles of Christ, and I am absolutely and utterly captivated with and by the fact that the apostle Peter spoke to one of the greatest sources of their suffering—namely, the adversary, the Devil, who walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It’s actually quite remarkable to read the words which are found within  this epistle and to find the apostle Peter not only speaking of an adversary who sought to devour them, but also instructing them on how to deal with and handle this adversary. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Peter instructing these saints to resist the adversary, the Devil on two distinct and two different fronts. On the one hand the apostle Peter instructs them to resist the adversary steadfast in the faith, while on the other hand the apostle Peter instructs them to resist the adversary the Devil knowing that the same afflictions are being worked and accomplished in their brethren which were present in the world. It is this second front which is truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it, for it is this second front which brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that one of the greatest weapons we have against a very real enemy and adversary which seeks to devour us is knowing that we are not alone. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within the fifth chapter of this epistle, for what we find in the fifth chapter provides us with a powerful revelation that when we resist the devil standing firm and standing steadfast in our faith we do so side by side and together with our brethren which are throughout the world. Oh although we might not physically be with our brethren, and although we might be able to stand together with them in person, we are nonetheless able to stand up with them in the common fight, in the common warfare, and in the common battle against the enemy and adversary. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for one of the greatest ways that we stand tall and stand steadfast against the enemy and adversary within our hearts and lives is knowing that we are not standing alone—and not only that we are not standing alone, but that the same afflictions we are presently experiencing are being accomplished throughout the world.

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about this reality and concept of standing firm and standing steadfast against the enemy and adversary which seeks to devour us it is that not only are we not standing alone, for we know that our brethren within and throughout the world are walking through the same conflict and struggle as we are, but we also have a great High Priest at the right hand of the Father who can indeed and can in fact be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Pause for a moment and think about just how awesome and incredible this truth truly is, for when we stand firm and stand steadfast against our adversary who seeks to devour us—not only do we know that we have a great high priest who is able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but we also know that we are not standing alone. One of the single greatest truths that is found within this passage of Scripture is that when we resist the enemy and adversary we resist him knowing that we are not standing alone and that we have brothers and sisters within, throughout and across the world who are walking through and facing the same afflictions, the same adversities, the same struggles, the same conflicts, and the same suffering we might very well be walking through. What’s more, is that we must needs recognize and understand that suffering is never an isolated incident which takes place in a vacuum, but it is something that touches the hearts, the souls, the minds, and even the physical bodies of our brethren within and throughout the world. Oh would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that when you suffer and when you struggle you do not suffer, nor do you struggle alone? Would it surprise you to think about and consider that when you walk through afflictions and adversities you are not walking through them alone, but are indeed walking through them together with your brethren within and throughout the world. Oh if there is one thing I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs have within our hearts and our lives is a willingness to be able to stand together with our saints and brethren which are present within, throughout and across the world. Oh what if when and as we walked through our suffering we didn’t merely focus on the suffering we are going through, but we are actually able to focus on the suffering of others? What if when we walked through suffering, adversity, afflictions, conflict and tribulation we were able to look beyond our own suffering and actually intercede on behalf of our brethren within and throughout the world who are walking through the same thing we are?

            I cannot help but be absolutely and incredibly intrigued and captivated with the fact that while it cannot be denied that we might indeed and might in fact be walking through afflictions and adversities, we also know that our brethren within, throughout and upon the world are walking through the same affliction and adversity. Oh what if—in the midst of our suffering, in the midst of our struggle, in the midst of our conflict, in the midst of our tribulation, and in the midst of our affliction—instead of perhaps focusing solely and squarely on our own suffering and our own situation we actually committed ourselves to rising up in prayer and intercession for our brethren within and throughout the world knowing they are walking through the same affliction and suffering we are? What if as we ourselves are walking through such intense suffering and affliction we are able to look and live beyond ourselves and are actually able to look unto and look upon the suffering and affliction of others all around us—and not only look unto and look upon their suffering, but also walk with them? I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest—perhaps even one of the strongest—actions we can take in the midst of our suffering and affliction is choosing not to walk through it alone, and to instead of focusing on ourselves and what we are going through we stand together with our brethren which are present within and throughout the world who are going through the same thing. Perhaps one of the truths contained within the epistles which were unto the saints in Ephesus, Philippi and Colossae is that while it is true these epistles were written by the apostle Paul while he was in prison, he was able to in the midst of his own suffering, and in the midst of his affliction pray and intercede for and on behalf of the churches and the saints of God which were present within and throughout the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely tremendous and incredible this truly is, for it directly confronts within our own hearts and lives something that is so absolutely critical when we are walking through our own suffering and affliction.

            The more I think about and consider the words which the apostle Peter wrote concerning the knowledge that the same afflictions are being worked and accomplished in our brethren which are in the world the more I can’t help but think about and consider how one of the greatest actions we can indeed and can in fact take when we ourselves are walking through suffering, adversity and affliction is when we are able to look and live beyond ourselves and unite our hearts and our spirits with our brethren throughout the world who are walking through and experiencing the very same thing. I find myself becoming increasingly convinced that one of the strongest and most powerful ways we resist the devil who seeks to devour and destroy us not only when we realize and recognize that the same afflictions are being accomplished in our brethren which are in the world, but also when we choose to unite ourselves together with our brethren. Oh stop and think about what it would look like in the spiritual and supernatural realm when although the saints and servants of God might indeed and might in fact be suffering and struggling in the midst of the earth they are able to stand together in prayer, and stand together in faith, and stand together in intercession, and stand together in the fight against the enemy and adversary. What would it look like to the enemy and adversary if instead of the saints and servants of God buckling, crumbling and folding under the weight and pressure of their suffering, they actually rose up in the midst of it—and not only rose up in the midst of it, but actually rose up together and stood side by side with each other? Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely powerful it is when suffering and struggling saints within, throughout and across the world are able to rise up and stand up in the midst of their suffering and their affliction in this life and not only intercede one for another, but also resist the devil standing steadfast in their faith. Oh I am absolutely convinced that it isn’t enough for us to simply resist the devil standing firm and standing steadfast in our faith, for coupled together with that must be a wonderful and powerful sense of standing unified with our brethren which are in the world as we resist the enemy and adversary. Stop and think about what it would look and sound like if in my suffering and affliction I prayed and interceded for you, and if in your suffering and affliction you prayed and interceded for another, and how in the midst of the suffering and affliction there was another brother or sister who was praying and interceding for you, and how in the midst of our individual and collective suffering and affliction we are able to stand together in intercession for and on behalf of others?

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find myself being absolutely and completely captivated with and by the awesome truth of what it would be like if in the spiritual and supernatural realm there were suffering and struggling saints who were willing to look beyond their own situation and circumstance and were able to intercede and pray for another—perhaps even others—whom they know are walking through the same affliction and suffering within their own hearts and lives. I can’t escape this absolutely astonishing truth of what it would look and what it would sound like if in the midst of my suffering and affliction I was able to look and live beyond my own suffering that I might stand together with and pray and intercede on behalf of another of my brothers—perhaps even a brother who is present within another country across the world who is walking through suffering and affliction themselves. I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest needs found within the hearts and lives of the body of Christ is a readiness and willingness to be able to look and live beyond ourselves in the midst of our suffering and in the midst of our affliction—and not only resist the enemy standing steadfast in our faith, but also standing united together with our brothers and sisters who are walking through the same affliction and suffering as we are and as we might be. Oh how absolutely incredible and powerful it is to think about and consider what it would look like, and what it would sound like as the saints and servants of the most high God were able to look and live beyond themselves—particularly and especially in the midst of their suffering and affliction—and were able to stand together with their brethren in prayer and intercession. SUFFERING INTERCESSORS! STRUGGLING PRAYER WARRIORS! WHO TOLD YOU HAD TO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER TO INTERCEDE FOR ANOTHER? WHO TOLD YOU HAD TO BE STRONG TO INTERCEDE FOR ANOTHER! WHO TOLD YOU NEEDED TO BE WALKING THROUGH PEACE AND REST TO INTERCEDE ON BEHALF OF OTHERS? Oh there is a serious misconception and deception among us within the church that we need to have it all together and that we need to be strong to intercede for others. There are those who would like to think—even those who have preached—that we must needs have everything together and be absolutely strong in order to intercede for and on behalf of others. The truth of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth, for nowhere in Scripture does it ever state or say that we need to have it all together, nor that we need to be strong that we might stand together with our brothers and sisters in intercession and prayer.

            It is my personal belief that one of the greatest demonstrations and manifestations of strength within our hearts and lives is when—although we are struggling, and although we are suffering, and although we don’t have it all together and are in the midst of conflict and battle within our lives—we are able to stand up and stand fast in prayer and intercession on behalf of others who are suffering and struggling. Oh would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that perhaps one of the greatest places you can be in when you are praying and interceding for and on behalf of another is when you are walking through the same thing they are, and when you yourself are experiencing suffering and affliction? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider how sometimes the greatest intercession and prayer that can indeed and can in fact rise up within you is not when you have it all together, nor even when you might be at your strongest, but rather when you are indeed suffering, when you are indeed being afflicted, and when you are indeed walking through perhaps one of the most intense trials and tribulations of your entire life. I firmly believe that there is something truly powerful about suffering intercessors—those who although they themselves are walking through suffering, affliction and adversity are able to unite their hearts and their spirits with their brethren which are in the world and rise up in prayer and intercession. There is nothing stronger and nothing more powerful than those saints and servants of the most High God who although they themselves are suffering and struggling in the midst of the earth are able to rise up in prayer and intercession for and on behalf of others. There is something truly powerful about you who are suffering and walking through affliction, and me myself who is walking through suffering and affliction, and not only are we able to pray and intercede for each other, but we are also able to stand firm and stand strong together. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how awesome and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for within this reality we are brought face to face with the powerful truth that more often than not strength is not found when we are standing alone without and absent conflict and struggle within our lives, but rather when we are suffering and afflicted and in the midst of that suffering and affliction are able to stand together, and stand united with others who are facing and experiencing suffering and affliction. Oh more often than not true strength is not found within our hearts and within our lives when we are standing tall and standing secure absent any trial and tribulation, but rather when we are standing together with our brethren—even in the midst of the suffering and affliction we are walking through.

Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—I leave you with the absolutely wonderful truth and with the powerful reality that more often than not true strength and true intercession comes not when we are in a place of peace and rest, but when we find ourselves in the thick of conflict and struggle within our hearts and lives. If you have been one who has been taught and led to believe that you have to have everything together before you can intercede and pray for another brother or sister who is walking through suffering and affliction, I implore and urge you to deliver yourself from that false and faulty mindset. There is absolutely no scriptural evidence that supports this—this despite the fact the fact that some might use the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the churches in Galatia when he wrote concerning those who are strong supporting those who are weak. We must needs recognize and understand that this chapter begins and opens with the apostle Paul writing and speaking of that brother or sister who is caught in a fault, and how those who are strong ought to come alongside them and help restore them within this life. As you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the fact that the apostle Paul invites and instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, and that we have a divine mandate of the living and eternal Christ to help shoulder, bear and carry the burdens others are walking with and carrying upon their shoulders and within their hearts and souls. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that we as the saints of God have never been told that we must needs have our lives and have everything together in order for us to stand together with and stand up for our brothers and sisters who are walking through intense suffering and affliction. I firmly believe that true strength not only comes, but is also found when—even in the midst of our suffering and our affliction—we are able to stand together with our brothers and sisters in prayer and intercession. Truth strength comes not from a place where we might have everything together, and might be walking in and experiencing tremendous peace and rest within our hearts and lives, but rather when in the midst of our suffering, in the midst of our conflict, in the midst of our affliction, and in the midst of our suffering we are able to stand together with our brethren which are in the world knowing that the same afflictions are being accomplished within them, and knowing that we have been given a charge and an assignment to stand together with them in prayer and intercession.

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