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December 3, 2016


Prison’s not always a prison.  Rome made a little rented house Paul’s.  But no kind of prison can imprison the gospel message.  Nor imprison the spirit of the man whose gaze is fixed on the Jesus who called and saved him.  From that little house sounded out God’s love message to timid believers who found courage.  Even the whole palace guard took note.  “. . . the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” (Phil. 1:12)

Circumstances do not define you, and, for sure, they do not limit you.  So yours aren’t to your liking nor up to your expectations.  Join the crowd–and Paul.  Wasn’t he called as the Apostle to the Gentiles?  Now stuck in rented house and monitored by a guard.  But if you really trust God and are relying on His wisdom, you don’t go second guessing Him.  Paul didn’t.  He chose to keep meditating on those things that would show him Christ even in his circumstances. (Phil. 4:8)

God had plans unknown to the Apostle.  Besides welcoming guests and preaching and teaching from that confined pulpit, he wrote letters.  The Spirit saw that four of those letters made it into your Bible.  You read them all these centuries hence.  They are still encouraging you and teaching you and motivating you and helping to form Jesus in you.   

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33)

What’s happening in your life today?  Do you find yourself complaining and bemoaning the unwanted?  All that does is focus your attention on your problems.  Neither does it change them or improve them.  The form of this world is passing away.  But our Lord does not change.  Keep your eye on Him.  Let Him show you how He regularly brings good out of bad.

“His purposes will ripen fast,/ Unfolding every hour;/ The bud may have a bitter taste,/ But sweet will be the flower.”-William Cowper

Larry A. Shelley


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