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This week, we come to the end of our series, “Take Courage.”  However, this will not end our opportunities to be of good cheer, because God’s promises, provision, and power are all available to us!   God’s promises, provision, and power become available to us through prayer, and these things help us see a greater purpose for our lives.  All of these things lead us to the last sermon of this series, “Peace.”  The last few months have been filled with unrest, confusion, suffering, and even death!  Sadly, the pandemic is not over, and we still have months of social distancing ahead of us!  We are in need of peace, but unfortunately it is difficult to find in the distress, division, and despair that is around all of us.   In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses this word, “take courage” only once.  In John 16:24-33, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death and resurrection, but they are struggling to understand.  He tells them that they will have grief and trouble, yet he will give them the gift of joy and peace!  These words help us connect to a peace that is beyond our understanding, that can give us courage during difficult times.  As you read John 16:24-33, we pray that you will be filled with the peace of Christ because Jesus has conquered the troubles of this world!  John 16: 24-33: Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)