Redeemable Qualities (Day 3 from Cleansing Thoughts)
When we look at the lives of these three men, we see one thing in common; their lives were directed by circumstances outside their control, and yet through the power of God, they overcame them. You and I are no different, Romans 8:28 (NIV) states, “We know that all things work together for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God looks beyond our circumstances and whispers in our ear, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) You see God look beyond who we are to who we are becoming in Christ. Even in life’s difficulties we can know that He is working on our behalf to fulfill His purpose in our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) states it this way, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.” We may not always understand the direction our life is going, I certainly didn’t, all I knew was hurt and the pain it caused. It wasn’t until I came to know Christ, to understand his promises through His Word, and the biggest of all, to trust Him that I became “ . . . Confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).
One thing most Christians fail to understand is that when we accept Christ that doesn’t mean all our troubles will disappear. Remember Paul, I would like to share his personal testimony after his conversion with you “. . . I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been I danger from rivers, I danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NIV). That’s quite a testimony, wouldn’t you say? I’m afraid most of us would have became very weary in the battle, many would have been so wounded they would have been carried off the battle field, but I wonder how many would have done what Paul did.
Paul and Silas were traveling together ministering about Jesus among the people. When they came to Macedonia when they were “. . . met by a slave girl who has a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned. Great deal of money for her owners . . .” (Acts 16:16, NIV). Everywhere they went she follow them shouting “. . . “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved. She kept this up for many days. Fondly Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her” (versus17-18). When her owners realized their income was lost they took Paul and Silas before the authorities, who had them striped, beaten and thrown into prison. Later that they began to pray and sing hymns to God, around midnight there was a violent earthquake that shook the foundation, the prison doors opened, and chains fell off. In the morning the authorities had them released. It’s an amazing story, and I suggest you read Acts 16. In this one chapter you will read about ministry, deliverance, the power of prayer and praise.
Have you ever wondered why, as a Christian, you still go through so many trials and tribulations, so much pain and suffering? Well I have! Then in my studies the Holy Spirit directed me to 1 Peter 1:6-7, “Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” NIV). After reading this text I could see myself down a country road and ended up stand in front of a fork in the road, and I heard, “I’m offering you a way of escape.” As I stood there considering my options The road to my left was wide and and looked to be well traveled, much like the one I had been walking on. The one on my right was much narrower and I saw a small sign so I got closer to read what it said, it was just one word “Calvary.” I chose the one my Savior took, It was hard to travel, but the right one for me.
I encourage you to get a copy of Hinds’ Feet on High Places, and meet yourself o the pages as you journey with Much-Afraid to the High Places. Child of God stop living in the past and allowing life’s circumstances to determine your future but rather put your life in God’s hands and allow His grace to set you on the right path. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:5, NIV). Let’s pray together, “Heavenly Father, touch this life that has been hurt and rejected by circumstances brought about by others. Show them the power of Your redeeming grace. Set them on the path you have chosen for their life. May Your Word to be a light to guide their way and Your healing touching touch bring the release of love into the darkness of their life. In Jesus name we pray.”