Joy Through Fire

Learning How To Find Joy Amidst The Trial We Face In Life.

Jermaine Arphul
Dec 6, 2020    45m
In a season that has brought many of us a lot of pain in suffering, we often feel sad and overwhelmed. But by turning to Jesus in our sadness, we can learn to find joy amidst the trials we will face in our lives. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Video: 00:07 (Video plays)

Jermaine Arphul: 00:51 All right, good morning 121. How are we doing today? Awesome. I love it. I love it.

Jermaine Arphul: 00:57 Well that was a video of some people, a church actually, in Burkina Faso in Africa in West Africa. And one, it's just really cool to see people singing right now, especially in 2020, so it's good to see people dancing and just filled with joy in the midst of a really hard year. And you can imagine it's hard here, let alone maybe a country like that, where there's not as many resources as what we have, and to see them singing is really cool. What's even cooler though, is that those people that we were just watching singing, they're part of a church which this church, 121 a little small church in Grapevine, participated in getting the gospel out to them so that they could receive the joy of the Lord.

Jermaine Arphul: 01:48 And so that even in the midst of fire, what you didn't see is just outside, there's persecution waiting for them, fiery trials, just because of their faith, right? They're still singing joyfully, right? This is what Eugene, kind of our go between with Pioneers America, and this church that we've partnered with to help spread the gospel to places like Burkina Faso. This is what they were singing, A Savior has been given to you, he was born in Judea. The prophets predicted that a Savior will be born in Bethlehem, in Judea. Isn't that cool, that is so cool, 6,000 miles away, our church was playing a part in people rejoicing in the Lord in the midst of persecution. Very similar to the passage that we're going to be looking at today, First Peter chapter 1 verses 6 through 9, as Eric read earlier today, full of joy in the midst of persecution.

Jermaine Arphul: 02:49 So last week we started off in our Advent series. Advent, is basically anticipation, anticipation of Jesus's second coming, and then reflecting back on his first coming. Right? And so just looking through the hope that we have in Jesus, Ross talked about the hope that we have in him. Our hope, our only hope, our living hope, is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. And so we need to hang on to that, because without that, we really can't have joy, we can't have the anchor of peace, and we can't receive the love of Christ. So kicking off the series, I love it, starting off with hope, is where we started.

Jermaine Arphul: 03:28 And today we're going to be talking about joy, joy through the fire. Listen, I've run out of all adjectives to describe 2020. I'm sure there's more out there, but I've used just about every one possible, every negative word possible, over the last 12 months. I'm sure there's more, but I'm not going to say anything other than it has been an ordeal. Amen? It has been tough. We have experienced, or maybe, you know, someone who's experienced, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of grief, a lot of sorrow, loss. So many things have happened this year, and we're not even done yet, so it's been tough.

Jermaine Arphul: 04:05 And Peter writes to the believers who have been scattered about all across Asia, and parts of the Mediterranean area, they've been scattered about because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They faced trials and persecution, strictly because of their faith in Jesus Christ. And Peter is addressing these Christians, the believers who believe in him, he's pastoring to them in a letter to them. And so, he first starts off by talking about who you are in him, you are chosen, you are elect, God foreknew you, meaning he set his love upon you. And then not only that, he caused you to be born again, right, to receive a new life in Jesus. And then also on top of that, he talks about in verse 3, you're alive through a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance that's imperishable, it's undefiled, it won't fade away. And guess what? It's reserved in heaven for you, for you, not the super Christian, for you, for me. That's what's reserved in heaven for you when you trust in Jesus Christ and the work that he's done.

Jermaine Arphul: 05:23 And you're protected, it keeps going on in verse 5, "You are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Looking back on that video, I could see why that church in Burkina Faso, even though outside their walls there was fiery ordeals, there were people waiting to kill them because of their faith in Jesus, even though there was fire going on outside, they still had joy because of who they are in Christ and what we get when we trust in him. Those first five verses should make us leap for joy every single day. That's why Peter says in verse 6, "In this, you greatly rejoice." What is this? What do you greatly rejoice in? Those first five verses, being chosen, elect foreknown, being born again into a great mercy, through the resurrection of Jesus. All of those things should make you jump for joy, and sing like the church and Burkina Faso sings.

Jermaine Arphul: 06:26 It reminds me of our family. We went, just recently, to Fossil Rim, it’s about an hour or so away from us in Glen Rose, Texas. We've got four kids, seven five, four, and one, and as you can imagine, anyone that has kids, younger kids, as soon as you get in the car to take a road trip, anything longer than five minutes, the first question is, are we there yet? And that is true, that is so true. That happened to us when we were going there, are we there yet? Our five-year-old was asking us that, and we're just like, Oh man, this is going to be a long ride, it's only an hour away. And so there's this anticipation, this hope of like, I can't wait to get there. That's what it's like for us as believers, we can't wait for us to be in a new heavens and the new earth, for it to be restored. Peter is telling us here, look, it's not that far away, heaven is the next exit for all of us who believe in him, and so we greatly rejoice, we jump for joy.

Jermaine Arphul: 07:27 Our kids, when we pulled up there, we said that they could unbuckle their seats because we were driving slow. Please don't call CPS, we were driving slow, right? We were ready to see the animals and all that stuff, so we said, okay, unbuckle. And they jumped out of their seats, because they were so excited, they were finally there. And my one-year-old immediately took off his shoe and threw it out the window, after they just told us not to get out of the car or throw anything out the window, that's how excited he was. That's greatly rejoicing, that's what we have in Jesus. And so Peter says in this, you greatly rejoice each day going forward, being made Holy, we're being sanctified by him, we're being conformed to his image. Heaven is the next exit, and so we jump for joy.

Jermaine Arphul: 08:14 What is joy? Well, before we go any further, we've got to define what the Bible says Joy is. So number one, look, the living hope that we have in Jesus, is paramount to go any further than where we're going. And my prayer is that if you're listening, watching, if you were with us today, the first thing is my prayer for you is to be born again, to understand that you are a sinner in need of grace. Because if you don't have that, the rest of this passage probably won't make a whole lot of sense to you, and so we've got to start there. So getting that hope that Peter is talking about. And then moving forward, what is that joy? Joy is the grace of God recognized. It's more than just a feeling, for the Christian, for the believer, joy is God's grace recognized, it's made available by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. It's in us, it's this deep abiding feeling that's in us, not based on our circumstance, not based on what's happening around us, it's deep in us, only made available by God and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

Jermaine Arphul: 09:32 Charles Spurgeon, a great speaker. He said this, he says, "Can a Christian greatly rejoice while he's in heaviness? Yes, most assuredly he can." "Mariners." He uses this example, "Mariners tell us that there are some parts of the sea where there's a strong current upon the surface going one way, but that down in the depths there's a strong current going another way. Two seas do not meet and interfere with one another, but one stream of water on the surface is running in one direction and another below in the opposite direction. Now the Christian is like that, he says, on the surface there's a stream of heaviness rolling with dark waves." Right? When you trust in Christ, God gives you a new heart. (Reference, Ezekiel) God gives you a new heart. He takes that heart of stone, and gives you a heart of flesh. Meaning you have a heart that feels, you feel for the brokenness of this world. And so yes, you are sorrowful, you are in grief, you do experience grief and sad emotions. But Charles Spurgeon goes on and says, "But down in the depths, there's a strong undercurrent of great rejoicing that is always flowing there."

Jermaine Arphul: 10:52 We can have joy in the midst of trials. Peter says this, continuing on in verse 6, "Even though now, for a little while, if necessary, you've been distressed by various trials." This verse has been just wrecking my brain for the last several weeks as I've studied this, because he is saying that you can have joy and be sorrowful, and be filled with grief, at the same time. Not having joy and not having sorrow, or having sorrow and not having joy, he says, you can have both as a believer. That is off the map for me, and it should be for all of us, if you really think about it. But like I said before, going back to our definition of joy, it's made possible. And one of the things that Peter is basically telling us to do as you look through the rest of this letter, is that we need to have an understanding of what those trials are. We have to have an understanding of these trials, so that we can arm ourselves, so that we can be prepared, so that our faith can be refined in the fire, so that our faith can be strengthened, so that when God looks at us, he sees more of his image. We don't abandon our faith, actually it causes us to press more into him, as we experience trials.

Jermaine Arphul: 12:22 So Peter says to us that trials are certain, they're diverse, and they're deep. Trials are certain, diverse, and they're deep, he says that to us in this verse. What are trials? Trials are, they could be physical trials, right? Getting cancer, or a stroke, or a heart attack, or dealing with birth defects, anything like that, where our physical pain, we experience physical pain. It could be mental or emotional trials, where we have to deal with just really, really hard things like depression, and anxiety, things that are really real for each and every single one of us. It could be spiritual trials, where we have to continually battle with doubts about God, and why we're going through certain things. These are all things that we have to deal with as believers.

Jermaine Arphul: 13:16 And Peter says in chapter 4 and verse 12, he says, "Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you." When I read that verse, I'll just be honest, I'll be like, thanks, Peter, I appreciate that. Don't be surprised, that's like me telling my wife, I told you so. Right? I'm like, come on, like, let me breathe, let me suffer, like just wallow a minute. And he's saying, do not be surprised. But then again, I started thinking more and more about what this means. And Peter is saying here to us, and to the believers here in the Bible, he says, you are, as a believer, you are in the same pattern as Christ. And if you start thinking about the life that Jesus Christ lived, you start to think that, oh my gosh, I'm walking in the same shoes as Jesus. And Peter says that your faith is making progress, but he also reminds us that there was suffering involved in the life of Christ. Glory, but there's also suffering, and as believers we can expect to experience the same thing as we follow in his footsteps. Romans chapter 8 verses 17 and 18, says, "And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Isaiah chapter 43 verse 2, says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you." God's saying I'm with you in the midst of all of that, such a comforting verse.

Jermaine Arphul: 15:24 So trials are certain, but he also says they are diverse, as I talked about all the different types of trials, the physical, the emotional, the spiritual trials, we all have to go through. Peter says, you're going to have to go through that. So arm yourselves, he says in First Peter chapter 4, verse 1 he says, "Arm yourselves." Get ready, be prepared. That's sort of thing bad news, we started off with good news, the hope that we have in Jesus, and because of that, we can greatly rejoice. The bad news is we live in a fallen and broken world, and we have to deal with this sort of thing, these trials that come our way.

Jermaine Arphul: 16:05 But Peter says arm yourselves, it just makes me think about this image of a football team, putting on their shoulder pads, and their helmet, because they're getting ready to go out and take some abuse, physical abuse, right, and they've got to arm themselves. I'd be crazy if somebody walked out onto a football field with no helmet on, right? No, they know what's about to happen, so they put their helmet on. For us, we must put on the armor of God, every single day, Ephesians chapter 6, and so we do that. Trials are certain, trials are diverse, it says various trials, diverse.

Jermaine Arphul: 16:48 And it says you've been distressed, distress is like grief, deep grief, anguish. Many of us have experienced that this year, in particular, I don't want to minimize what happened before. People have been experiencing loss for a long time and dealing with pain and suffering for a long time, but it seems to be magnified in 2020 because we've all been in the same boat in regards to having the quarantine for a little bit or longer, whatever. And Peter is telling us here, some trials are deep, and that's what it tastes like, that's what trials tastes like. It's spirits in deep anguish. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane for an example, to give you an idea of what that tastes like. He was sweating drops of blood, he didn't want to necessarily continue going forward, asking God to take the cup of suffering. That's the type of deep anguish, deep trials, that we have to go through as believers.

Jermaine Arphul: 18:01 This has been a really hard passage to prepare for. One, because I know many of us have experienced that, but two, because it's been personal to me and my wife, we've had the experience that as a family. Our oldest son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a couple of weeks into this whole pandemic thing in March, rocked our world. Wasn't like we got some kind of heads up notice, it was almost like we were having a kid again. It was like, oh, he's got it, and here you go, you're in the hospital a couple of days. He's going to have shots, four shots, every time he eats, we're going to have to deal with that for the rest of his life. There is no cure for that, as of right now, it's an auto-immune disease. Many, as we figured it out, as we've been walking this journey for the last several months, that many people, even in this room, have been going through that for years, and so you know what that's like. And what it has done, or what it did for to us, is that it really challenged us in our faith. It really challenged us in our faith, because our oldest son did not do anything, and yet he has been afflicted with this lifelong disease. And as a dad, you just want to be like, just give that thing to me, I'll take that. Why did you have to give it to him? Give it to me. My wife gave me permission to say this, she experienced, she's been battling with God in that. In the early stages was battling with God, and why, that question of why would you do that? Mad at God, and working through, is he really all that good? If he's so good, why would he give that to our seven-year-old?

Jermaine Arphul: 19:47 Many of y'all have asked that question, maybe you've not exactly experienced an affliction like that, but you've experienced that. That's how deep it is, and how it hurts. But Peter says, as we move forward in verse 7, you experience these things, "So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus." Now here's what this particular verse introduces us to, I'm not going to go deep into it because this is a whole sermon in itself, but it does introduce us to this question of the deep mysteries of the providence of God, in the pain that you and I have to walk through. See Peter saying, God is doing something in the midst of your trials. God sits above all of the pain and suffering. God is in control, in other words. God is in control, he's doing something, it's not random, or by chance, or just bad luck, it is the doing of God. He is allowing some of these things to happen, because he knows the beginning from the end, he sits higher over these things, ultimately.

Jermaine Arphul: 21:20 And as I was preparing for this, I'm going okay, so you're saying that it's God's will for our son to be diagnosed with this affliction. You're saying it's God's will for our friends. And our family, and our brothers and sisters, to be dealing with cancer? You're saying it's God's will to go through all of this pain? What, how is he still good in the midst of all that? And as I've thought through that, and prayed through that, God has said, no, it is not my will, in the sense that I want people to suffer. I didn't bring sin into the world, I don't want people to suffer, I hate cancer, I hate type 1 diabetes, I hate divorce, I hate murder, I hate abuse, I hate those things, that is not in my will. He doesn't delight in these things, but yes, in the sense, listen, yes, in the sense that God is sovereign, he sits above all of those. Yes, he could eradicate cancer tomorrow, he could take care of all of these different things, but in his wisdom, he doesn't do it. It's so tough to wrestle with, and come around with, right? As us who are lower than him, our ways are not his ways, it's tough to really wrap our mind around that.

Jermaine Arphul: 22:40 But here's where I really am able to move forward through this, when I think about Acts chapter 2 verse 23, where Peter says this man, talking about Jesus, delivered over by the predetermined plan, the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, to be nailed to a cross by the hands of a godless man and put him to death. God ordained Jesus to suffer, to bring about good. Think about that, to bring about a living hope in us, so that we could be in this place where we have a great inheritance, that new heavens and the new earth, restored. Satan meant it for evil, for Jesus to die for evil, but God turned it around for good. And that's what we have to trust in, that's where our faith has to be activated, that's where we look back at Jesus. At the very beginning of the sermon, we talked about looking forward to what lies ahead, we look back at the the cross. And as we look back at the cross, our faith gets brighter and brighter, more precious, more valuable than gold. That's what Peter is saying here, we go through trials, not to decimate us, but it's to deepen our faith. God is in control. God is in control. Now, what is he up to in the midst of all that? What has got up to in the midst of our suffering? If you read the last part of that verse, it's so our faith could be found to be result in praise, glory, and honor, the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jermaine Arphul: 24:36 One, I've said this time and time again to our students, and to the parents of our students. We're finding out during 2020, God is showing you, he's not testing us like an evil guy turning up the heat on a toaster oven, trying to see how much fire we can take. He's showing you, me what our faith really is like, he's showing us what's deep inside of us. See our faith is all good when it's 72 degrees outside, and sunny, and no wind, maybe a light breeze, and we're golfing, it's nice and it's fine. But what's it like when it's 32 degrees, sleet, that sort of thing? Is God, our personal assistant, or are we in love with God, and we want to serve him because we appreciate him? God is wanting to show us, reveal to us, what's inside of us, when we go through the fire. And as we do that, it should refine us, it should make us more like him, is what Peter is saying, to result in praise, and honor, and glory at the end. To where God is saying, well done, well done. We look forward, we look back, and we realize that trials are certain, they're diverse, they're deep. We realize that God is in control, he's doing these things to move us forward, to make us more like him. He's allowing these things, I should say, to move us forward, to make us more like him.

Jermaine Arphul: 26:27 So now that we have an understanding of this, verses 6 and 7...See, I'll say this really quickly, I took a long time thinking about this because I'm the type of person where it's like, yeah but here's the thing, my son still has type 1 diabetes. This is great doctrine, but my son still has this, I'm still hearing people dying from COVID. This is great doctrine,, how does that apply? How can we apply that into 2020 in our everyday life? Is anybody else asking that question? I know I did many times. And what I realized is that I can't get that application, until I get the doctrine. I can't get through the fire, unless I know the truth about God. In this, you greatly rejoice, in the goodness of God and his great mercy, you greatly rejoice. That has to be true in order for your heart to catch up to what you know is in your mind.

Jermaine Arphul: 27:42 And when that happens, then we go to verse 8, and we see that Jesus is the pathway through the fire. Jesus is the pathway through the fire. Even though you have not seen him, you what? You love him. You look forward to the new heavens and a new earth, you look back at what God has been doing this whole time to bring us alive. And then you look into the cross, you put all of your focus, all of your heart and mind, into Jesus and you love him. And though you do not see him, but you believe in him, and you greatly rejoice with a joy that's unspeakable, inexpressible, and full of glory, attaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your soul. Jesus is the pathway through the fire, we have to look into the cross to get through it. I could sit here and give you stories about looking back, and be like, man, I could see what God's doing. But I'm talking about when we're in the midst of it, how do we get through it with joy? We look into the cross, we look into Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured all the pain and despising, Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2. What was that joy? It's you and me? Jesus didn't want heaven without us, and so he left his place with God the Father, and for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.

Jermaine Arphul: 29:19 Verse 3 says, now, consider that, look into the cross. Don't do what the world says, the world says...I got something from Ross, he sent me this booklet and I don't want to sound like this angry preacher guy who's coming at anybody who's not a believer, I know how that can sound. But what are some examples of what the world says, it says, you know, imagine happiness, just imagine happiness, and you'll get through it. Or memorize what it's like to be happy, and you'll get through it. Diffuse worry by just staring it in the face. All those things might be okay, but that's not what's going to get you through the fire. No, a practical example of how we get through the fire is, we get alone with God. Get alone with God, and not just in your quiet time for five minutes before you go to work, not just when you go to sleep, those are all good, but get alone with God for an extended period of time, solitude time with him.

Jermaine Arphul: 30:42 As a youth minister, we have some of the best, best times when we go out on camping trips, or do things like Disciple Now, where we get out of our everyday lives and we spend some focus time on him. And what happens is joy. Circumstances don't change, we'll walk out of that, there's still things going on, there's still fiery ordeals happening all around us, just like the people we watched before. But the way we get through it, is we focus on him. And I say, to myself, as I'm preparing the sermon, I don't have time for that. Solitude time, I don't have time, I've got four kids, one wakes up at 4 30 in the morning, every single day, it's like Groundhog day for me. I don't have time, then I'm doing my ministerial duties. I don't have time, Megan and I, we hardly have time to go on dates. Oh, not to mention, we have to work with our son who's got type 1 diabetes, we have to work with that. How am I supposed to get alone with God for an extended period of time? Some of you, you may have things going on in your lives where it's very similar, you have a lot of work, you travel a lot. it's just hard. Make time.

Jermaine Arphul: 32:03 My wife and I, this December, this Thursday and Friday, she's taking some time to get alone with God. And I'm watching the kids, pray for us on December 10th. Right? We're making time though. We looked at the schedule, we looked ahead, said we're going to do that. And then I'm doing it on December 11th, pray for her. She can do it, she's a champ, but pray for me. We're going to have a great time on December 10th, I just don't know if it's going to be within the rules of mom. But here's the deal, make time, you get alone with God, it's worth it. Take a day off from work. One of the things I love about our lead staff, is they basically make staff take solitude time to get alone with God, where we come refreshed, and we find the joy of the Lord. Our circumstances do not change, remember what joy is, it's not about our circumstances. It's about a deep abiding love for him, only made possible by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

Jermaine Arphul: 33:20 So when you're in those moments of solitude, when you have that extended time with God, here's what you should do, plant and pray your tears. If you're in the trial, if you're in the fire, and you're experiencing things that is not according to your plan of how you want it to go, it feels like life is chaotic. Turn to him, and give him all of those white hot, theologically incorrect, prayers, go to him with those and watch what happens. The Psalmist in Psalm 126, if you read Psalm 126, it's like six verses. The first three talk about just how happy they are with God, and all the things that he provides. So happy, the circumstances were going great, but then all of a sudden things change. We don't know why, there's some theologians who argue about what happened. But all we really know, is that things went South. And all of a sudden, the tone changes to verse four of Psalm 126, "Restore our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting." You see that, plant and pray your tears. We don't bow to our emotions and let it just control us, but we're not stoic either and stuff, all of it inside. We go to God and we plant our tears, we plant our frustrations, we plant all of our why questions, we pray them to him. And the Bible says, "We shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."

Jermaine Arphul: 35:20 Just like the church in Burkina Faso, they have joy in the midst of persecution, in the midst of trials. I think it's so cool that our church has been able to play a part in spreading joy, a little church in Grapevine, 6,000 miles away, spreading joy. So before we show this video of Eugene, kind of our go-between, between us and these churches, and these little church plants in Burkina Faso. I do want to say that in your quiet time, in that extended time with God, eliminate all the distractions, take your iWatch off, if you got a laptop, you know, for work or whatever, just shut that off. Just get alone with him, get alone with him. I've got a video here from Eugene, he's going to say a few things really quickly to encourage us and basically saying, thanks. And then I'll give you one last final thought.

Eugene: 36:32 Dear brothers and sisters, life in Africa can be very tough. And Christmas is one of the times, one of the moments, one of the periods where true joy breaks through the difficulties and persecution that people of Africa live in. In Burkina Faso, and neighboring Mali and Niger, there's been a lot of terrorist attacks in recent years and even recent months. And they are constantly living under the treads in Ghana, we have had bits and pieces of social unrest, and all around Africa, and it can be very difficult. Islam is growing, and bringing in a lot of fanaticism back to Jesus and in light of Jesus. The son of God, the hope of the world constantly breaks through, and Christmas is a good time where we remember the grace of God and, you know, joy comes in again. Christmas time in, especially West Africa, happens in a time when the weather is really harsh. It's the Harmattan period, where we have lots of dry, hot winds blowing down South from the Sahara, it's very dusty and extremely cold at night. But through it all, the joy continues to come through. So as we celebrate Christmas in this time we want to share our joy with you, and so here is the conclusion of the songs from John Kelly. [inaudible], [inaudible], saying the savior that was promised to the world has been born in Bethlehem.

Jermaine Arphul: 38:33 That is just another strong testimony of how far and how wide the grace of God goes, it just goes everywhere, and it's deep. And I just think that it's so cool that we have been able to participate in that as a church. And I was talking to someone on staff in regards to today, about this particular topic of having joy through fire. And that particular person just said, you know, I feel kind of bad. I've seen you go through some things as a family, and I I've been surrounded by it, but I personally haven't experienced some of those things, those trials that you're talking about, and I don't necessarily know what to do. And I would say to that, if you're feeling that way, I would say one of the things that you can do today is grab one of these pamphlets that are going to be outside as you walk out. We're going to have some opportunities for those who are participating with us online, for you to participate in this global worker's prayer guide. I would say the first thing that you could do if you want to participate, is to pray, pray for our church partnership in Burkina Faso, pray for all of our missionaries that we have all across the world. Pray for them, that is definitely one thing that you can do. The other thing that you can do is this, is be there for each other, be there for each other.

Jermaine Arphul: 40:06 Nineteen and one hundred thirty-three, those are two numbers that I cannot forget, it just keeps ringing in my head. Nineteen weeks in ICU, one hundred thirty-three days total in the hospital, my friend, and he gave me permission to share this with you all, was in the hospital for 19 weeks, 133 days, with COVID. No pre-Existing conditions, nothing. He was with his boys on July 4th, got flu like symptoms, and before you know it, his oxygen levels at 63. Which if anybody knows anything about that, that he said that the nurses in the ER were just appalled that he was still standing. [inaudible] had multiple surgeries on his lungs because of the ramifications of COVID. Had never, outside of his two sons being born, had never been in the hospital before. And at that time, and even still now, thank you, he couldn't have any visitors, he was alone. Many of us may feel like we're alone in this season of life, and our youth here at 121, and his church at home, we did something where we just prayed for him, and his church did a prayer night for him. And the nurses that were there, thank the Lord, they were believers, they prayed with them. He said I was alone Jermaine, but I never really felt alone, because people from your church, from my church, home in Arizona, and all over, were coming out to pray for me, and be there for my wife and for my kids. I never felt alone because believers solid happened in responded. And just a couple of weeks ago, he walked out of that hospital, that's so cool. And here's the thing, the doctors made him make a video to his sons to tell them that basically goodbye, because they wanted him to do a lung transplant, and he didn't want to do it. And so they said, well, you're not going to make it, and so they made them do a video. He was crying when he was telling me this story. They have no medical reason for why he is still alive today, but we know why, my friend said, you know why Jermaine, that's because God is good, all the time. And it's because of us praying for him, and never making him feel like he was alone.

Jermaine Arphul: 42:54 Do you want to spread joy right now, pray, get alone with God, come out refreshed, and go do the same for others. Watch joy, spread like wildfire.

Jermaine Arphul: 43:08 Let's pray. God, thank you for your love, and your grace, and your mercy, I'm so grateful that we have a living hope in you. And as a result of that, we greatly rejoice even in the midst of trials. And when those trials come through, we're going to be sad, you give us permission to grieve. But we also know that you're doing something in the midst of that, and so we're going to trust in you in that, so that our faith can be strengthened. And then we come out of this, we're going to be looking back at you again with words that are inexpressible, filled with joy, because of what's happening deep inside of our hearts as a result of your love, and your grace, and your mercy. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name, we pray.

Jermaine Arphul: 44:01 Let's be still and just reflect, maybe there's something I said today that just spoke to your heart, that you want to pray about and reflect on. Maybe you want to pray over the church in Burkina Faso, or maybe there's someone that you know of that you're thinking of at this time, take some time to reflect and be still.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
Read More
121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051