Sunday, July 3, 2011

Before the Rooster Crows Part 2

David, Peter, and Paul, mighty men of God, who were determined to live for Jesus Christ, were men that resonated with my spirit. Whether it was their personalities or their passion for the Lord, I have been drawn to them over the years as I have read the Scriptures. I have viewed them as warriors for Christ. Many times as I would turn the pages of my Bible and read about their lives, I would often identify with them and learn from them. They would speak to my soul. However, years ago when I was new in Christ, I did not understand how Peter could have denied the Lord after all the time he spent with Jesus in the flesh! Peter was so devoted to Christ, and so it just did not make any sense to me as to Why or How he could deny the One True God. I thought to myself, "I would never deny the Lord," unfortunately, many years later I did, and Jesus Christ taught me a few things in the process.
Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me.

If you did not get the chance to read about my despair and inward denial of Christ, you can read it here at, Before the Rooster Crows Part 1.

We all know the story of Peter's denial. "Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Matthew 26:34 "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly." Matthew 26:75

Shortly after that passage, I read about how Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, three times. "So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."  He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.  John 21:15-17

"Feed My lambs.  Tend My sheep.  Feed My sheep."  Those words leaped off the page when I read them back in 1997.  My heart quickened and I realized that was something that I wanted to do!  What I did not know at the time was that God was going to take me through tumultuous storms and deep dark valleys for many years so He could prepare me to do just that…Feed His Sheep.

God has a specific purpose for each one of His children and sometimes it means that life will be filled with much suffering as we go through the sanctification process.  His molding and shaping of our lives can be very painful and difficult but He is making us more effective for His purpose and His glory.  As He was preparing to use me, my preparation came through long-suffering, persecutions, spiritual attacks, broken relationships, etc…in other words, Christ used PAIN AND HEARTACHE to shape me so He could use me.  "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-4 

So what is the sanctification process?  The word sanctify means: 
1. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
2. To make holy; purify.

God is setting all of His children apart so we can be used by Him.  Through a difficult time in my life, He was purifying me.  Here is something I did not realize at the time of my despair and denial two years ago.  I was in the midst of a spiritual attack, but this time was very different from other attacks that I had experienced over the years.  This one was stealth-like and it came out of nowhere and played with my emotions.  Now, what is so ironic and somewhat moronic on my part is that for many years I would counsel women and tell them that the Gospel message is not based on emotions.  Here is my own counsel, given over and over, yet I could not discern my own problem.  The attack lingered for weeks as the enemy was slowing breaking down my faith.  I felt oppressed and I was deceived.  Satan was gunning for me and he wanted to take me down.  Over time, the Lord lifted me out of that pit and He has since restored me.  The entire experience was about 6-8 weeks out of my life.  I did not dwell on my failure because Satan would have wanted that to happen, instead, I looked to the Cross for forgiveness and restoration.  "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."  Romans 8:1  Jesus doesn't condemn us but Satan does.

He uncovers deep things out of darkness.
So, here comes a piece of the puzzle that is so from the Lord and I just had to share it with you!  As I was preparing to write this post, I re-read the passage of Scripture regarding Peter's denial and I came across this verse,  And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."  Luke 22:31-32   

Now, let me show you some of the 'Whys'.  Here was the 'Why' of Peter's denial.  Satan asked to go after Peter and take him down.  The Lord allowed Satan to attack him.  The Lord went on further to say, I have prayed that your faith should not fail you...(but He knew it would), because it says right here in God's Word, "when you have returned to Me."  Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him.  Jesus knew that I was going to deny Him as well.  Let me show you another "Why" or should I say the purpose of the denial.  So Peter could strengthen the brethrenDid you catch all of that?  I hope you did!  I was SO EXCITED when the Lord pointed that out to me.  In my brokenness I did not understand 'why' I experienced all that I went through and in His perfect timing He revealed it to me, it just happened to be two years later.  He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light.  Job 12:22

As you recall in part 1 of this post, I, too, denied the Lord like Peter.  Satan was sifting me as wheat as well.  The Lord sent a stranger to intercede on my behalf to strengthen my faith because it was failing.  Not only did He send one intercessor, but He sent another one in the weeks that followed.  This intercessor I knew.  She is a beloved woman who embodies the love, grace and mercy of Jesus; in fact it oozes from her!  As I spoke with her and shared my struggles regarding my faith, the Lord used her to shower His unconditional love upon me.  In time, my faith was starting to grow again and I was getting back up on my feet so I could continue to follow Him.

Since I got saved back in 1996, I always wanted to be used by the Lord and offer my life up to Him, hence the title of this blog.  Remember too, I wanted to feed His sheep!  Two years ago, when I went through that despair, I could not see what my life would be like today.  I did not know that God was preparing me to go out and minister to others as I blog about my life story of pain and heartache.  (I did not even have a blog two years ago!)  I am humbled and honored that He has chosen to take me through all of that misery, heartache, and afflictions so I could draw closer to Him and ultimately so I could by used by Him to strengthen the brethren; those whose faith is failing and weakening and those who are hurting.  Perhaps it takes one broken vessel to know another one!

God is putting together the pieces of your puzzle as well.  Continue to wait on Him and trust in Him.  He will reveal His will and purpose for you in His perfect timing.

In our society we often ask God, “Why me?”  “Why, Lord?”  Why are you allowing this to happen to me?”  I have asked the Lord those same questions as I have faced my own trials, but now when a storm comes into my life, I say, “Why not me?”  “So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.”  2 Timothy 2:10

Because this is my story, you have seen my scars and although my scars may give you some comfort and encouragement as you go through your own troubles, it is not my scars that will bring healing to your life; but His scars will!  His scars will restore you and His scars will breathe new life into you and His scars will bring you hope.  It is His scars that we should look to when more scars are added to our own lives.

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."  Job 13:15  May we be found faithful to trust in Him as He slays us, knowing that He is setting us apart for His sacred service.


I am linked up with
Women Living Well
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6 comments:

Heather said...

Hi Jolene - I am so glad you posted this. I am so glad that this is the direction your story took.

I recently went through (I'm not completely on the other side yet) a trial of my own. I asked the Lord why He wanted me to endure this. I had a sneaking suspicion He wanted to use me for some purpose. Then a friend told me that he thought I should do some speaking or writing. Just tonight I was told that I was a woman of conviction and that my experience was helpful.

I'm not through this storm yet, but I can see more pieces of the puzzle. I truly believe that I have been, and am currently being, re-shaped and molded for a purpose greater than I could ever imagine and fulfill on my own.

Thank you.

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

I found you through the Women Living Well hop. What an amazing story. I'm following you now. I hope you can find the time to stop by my blog too!

Many blessings!

Jolene Engle said...

@Heather
Hi Heather,
I am blessed and encouraged to hear that you enjoyed this post! God always has a wonderful purpose for us...sometimes though we just can't see it at times. He is faithful and He will reveal to you (in His timing!) His plan for you to bring Him glory.
Blessing to you my friend,
Jolene

Jolene Engle said...

@Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog
Hi Holly, thanks for stopping by and letting me know how you find me. I am honored that you would consider following The Alabaster Jar. I am new to the whole blogging thing and I would love to stop by and see your blog and say hello!
Blessings,
Jolene

Pamela said...

Our minister used this verse in Job at my daughter's funeral. He's a God worthy of trust -- regardless of life's circumstances.

Awesome post.
Blessings,
Pamela

Jolene Engle said...

@Pamela
Pamela, you are most certainly right, we do serve a God who is worthy of our trust! The trials that I have experienced are NOTHING compared to you losing a child.
May you always feel the comfort of our Father's love.