“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak,” Ephesians 6:19-20 KJV.
Don’t let anyone act as an umpire declaring you out or unfit because of circumstances you suffer with.
There are plenty of people out there who take upon themselves the role of your judge and jury. Their whole aim is to disqualify you.
We base our confidence on the “price paid in full” by our savior Jesus Christ. There was nothing lacking in the sacrifice that Jesus made.
All circumstances were included in that price for your life from beginning to end. What God was faithful to start, He will be faithful to complete in us.
Personal circumstances don’t limit the work of God in our lives, for He continues to work all things for good in our lives.
If Satan himself comes to destroy our bodies, the word of God declares what was meant for evil will be turned around for good.
We are to thank God in all circumstances, because no matter how bad our circumstances may appear, He promises that we will triumph in Christ Jesus.
You may say triumph? In this mess? How can any good thing come from these circumstances?
You may be in prison, convicted of some crime that you may or may not have done.
You look at the bondage and wonder how can God be working something good by this prison.
Just as there are real prisons, with real criminals, there are spiritual prisons, emotional prisons, physical prisons, prisons of our own making.
Being a prisoner is not limited by locked bars and legal decrees. A prisoner can be walking about in society looking every bit whole, but chained to weights and bondages. There are also prisoners because of their faithfulness to God.
The determination to hit the mark of the high calling, caused a wave of demonic persecution that sought to completely disengage the threat to the enemies plans.
You may be one of those who are being hailed with arrows and bound to circumstances that you have no control over.
God wants you to know He is with you and is working a higher purpose through it all.
I look at the stroke victim and believe God for their healing. I see an individual who is a prisoner within a body that won’t work properly. Inside, the person is free but outside they are bound. The frustration they must feel is mind blowing.
We, the body of Christ, are going through many hard trials and circumstances, many of us are bound with no control over them.
We can sit in our homes, go about our daily activities, be in a large group of people and still be in a type of prison of circumstances and feel alone.
There are some things we can rebuke, cast out or get over, but when winter comes, the sap goes to the base of the tree.
In America we are good at painting a pleasant picture of the life of faith.
Not many speak of the trials and circumstances we “all” go through. It is not a popular message, so needless to say, a lot of hurting people are suffering in silence wondering what’s wrong with me?
Didn’t I pray enough, didn’t I rebuke enough?
Some prison sentences must be gone through. After all, God is the one designing the lessons of our lives.
After you have rebuked every devil, confessed every scripture and you still seem to be in a prison, the word of God says to stand. God has a higher purpose for the darkness of the dungeon.
The trees sway when the winter winds blow, and some of the brittle branches break off, but the sap goes to the base point.
You may feel dead, dry and brittle, but know you are loved and that the sap of the tree, who is the Zoe “God kind of life”, is within you both to will and do His good pleasure.
I look at an example of faith in the Apostle Paul.
You may or may not know that Paul spent a wide expanse of time, perhaps a decade in various prisons, beginning with his arrest in Jerusalem about A.D.58 and ending with his incarceration and final martyrdom under Emperor Nero in A.D.67.
I look at the circumstances in the natural and think how can any good thing come out of this persecution of Paul.
Alone and cold in the dungeon, the beloved Paul wrote many Pastoral epistles that speak to us today. Paul wrote weighty powerful letters in prison, right where he was.
Saints, no matter what type of prison of circumstance your in right now, know assuredly that God will use you right where you are.
“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory,” 2 Timothy 2:9-10 KJV.
All of the suffering and persecution in your lives has a higher purpose beloved.
Satan thought he could shut Paul up. Bound and put into a pit, his ministry flourished. Paul’s writings became weighty and powerful through trial.
His faith was not a formula or a quick fix program, his faith was produced through many experiences that tested it.
Paul said, “I have learned to be content.” Paul’s example revealed the prize of patient endurance.
He boasted of his afflictions that the power of Christ would rest on him. He spoke of his imprisonment, how he was driven into exile, and how he had been stoned etc.
If speaking these things then wasn’t wrong, why are so many popular teachings focusing on not confessing anything negative?
It sounds like denial to me. Let the rock throwers hit me in the head, it doesn’t hurt, as I don my mask and cloak.
I was once in a particular church that taught Job was a mistake. “If he would have confessed right and feared not, the book of Job could have only been a few chapters long.”
Suffering has never been a popular message, and the church in a lot of areas has neglected to properly prepare the body for these types of trials.
The idea is, “if everything seems perfect and I feel good, then I’m okay with God.”
Beloved, if you are His chosen, no matter what circumstances you go through, you are still okay with God.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my My name’s sake,” Acts 9:15-16 KJV.
“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God,” Acts 20:22-24 KJV.
The LPRD promises us that He will bring us out of the iron furnace. Only He knows the end results of our trials.
Our way of escape from these circumstances may not be God’s way. We must trust the LORD in all of our circumstances and know He is working all things for our good and for the sake of the gospel.
“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, establish, strengthen, settle you,” 1 Peter 5:10 KJV.
I thank God for the faithfulness of Paul through trial, for his life as ambassador brought health to the body of Christ through the wealth of his writings. His life as a missionary did much, but his writings in prison greatly exceeded any previous work.
You may be a lonely minister reading this, thinking that your stuck in a prison of circumstances and your life is over.
It’s not over! See, write, pray, believe, stand, wait, be the example as a ambassador of your heavenly country.
Help those who are suffering, show them they are loved more than they know.
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body,” Hebrews 13:3 KJV.
You might be bound up, tied, chained and isolated from the world, but no matter how bound your circumstances are, the word of God is not bound!
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God,” 2 Timothy 1:8 KJV.
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear,” Philippians 1:12-14 KJV.
I think about all the saints that have gone on before. Many thought their generations would see the return of the Lord.
Just as we believe we will see His return in our lifetime. What type of legacy did our relatives leave behind?
Our lives are open books, living epistles seen and read of all men. Paul left a legacy of experiences that we all can learn from.
His reward was Christ and I bet Paul cast his crown at the Lord’s feet when he arrived to his prize.
Paul was human, and I bet he had lots of regrets and even questioned some of his sufferings.
I bet he was cold and the darkness of that pit at times would close in on him. He found the one who sticks closer than a brother. Even in prison alone, he was not alone.
If you are in a prison today I want to encourage you, your not alone.
You are loved in the midst of all the turmoil and mistakes. He made provision for all your life, including the trials and circumstances that are beyond your control.
If you have sinned, he is faithful and just to forgive you of all your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
All you have to do is repent and turn towards the lover of your soul with your whole heart. He will never leave you or forsake you.
In closing, remember that personal circumstances don’t limit the work of God in our lives.
Let none of these things shake your confidence in God’s love for you, and do not let these things move you.
Let God use you right where you are!
In HIS Grace and Mercy,
~ Sherry Edwards Mackey
Sherry Edwards Mackey
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