Thursday, September 3, 2009

Danger Ahead

I read a verse a couple of weeks ago and when I read it I thought about it for a few minutes and then I tried to forget it! Let me show you the verse and think about it for a few minutes:

Acts 20: 22-23- 22"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.

So, what do you think? Is that one you want to commit to memory?! I think too many times I focus so much on safety and blessings that I almost despise adversity. How many times have you heard or prayed the following:

Lord keep us safe as we...
Lord protect us as we...
Lord help everyone to remain free from injury...

Do you realize that in the New Testament no one prayed for safety. Check it out. (I know, someone could have prayed for safety and it was not recorded) Do you realize that the only prayer for protection was when Christ prayed for his disciples in John chapter 17. Paul did not pray for safety before getting on a ship, Peter never prayed for safety prior to their arrival in a city. I began to ask myself if I actually believed that God could work through tragedies or adverse circumstances. Can God work in the life of someone who has lost their job or can He only work if we are gainfully employed? Can God work through someone if they have been in a terrible car accident or can He only work if we are in tip-top physical condition? Do I really believe that God is in complete control of my life and circumstances? Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying go out and pray for tragedies and hardships or drive your car into a tree so you can witness to the medical staff at the hospital; but maybe I just need to re-focus my prayers. In stead of saying God keep me safe and let no bad thing come my way, I should just try saying God work in whatever situation I find myself in. God bring glory to yourself in whatever challenge I face today. The word suffer or suffering is mentioned over 80 times in the New Testament and in none of those instances does it say run from it or try to avoid it at all costs. Listen to what Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians:

II Corinthians 12: 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Peter in his first letter said the following:

I Peter 4: 12-16 12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

I wonder where we would be today if after hearing what Paul heard from the Holy Spirit in Acts 20 he said "Oooh, No thanks Lord, I think I will just stay right here where it is safe and write a few more letters."

If the Holy Spirit spoke to you tonight and said at some point tomorrow on your way to or from work you will face suffering or tragedy so that He would be glorified would you get out of bed and go or would you call in sick?

No comments:

Post a Comment