Posted by: bshelley | May 6, 2008

Seeking God’s Heart- by Bryan Shelley

Entry for May 6, 2008

Today’s Verse: Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, NASB

Since I am a rather “full figure” guy, people often ask me if I played football. The answer is yes, however it was a brief stint in Jr. High School. My answer is consistent and pretty close to the truth, a handy place to approximate for a gospel preacher. I always say, “No, I played the tuba because I have a very low threshold for pain.” No one in their right mind wants to have to endure trials and difficult times in their lives. The rain, however, does indeed fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. We all find ourselves at times having to walk willingly or not through disaster, death, illness, loss and struggle against temptation. I saw a poster at the Marine recruiting office a few days ago that said, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I am playing with a sermon with that title. Another saying along the same line is, “That which does not kill us makes use stronger.” I am not so sure that one is so hot. During the struggle, in the valley of pain and despair, it is difficult to refocus on possible positive outcomes. Here, Paul says even though he had been beaten, jailed and stoned for the cause of Christ, “circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.” He never lost his focus on the most important purpose for his life as a disciple of Christ. We can, if we will, turn our personal struggles into ministries if we will let God work in us and through us. How often can you remember someone you know showing heart encouraging faith and strength in the very depths of a painful illness? I have seen some of the most incredible ministry by the sick for their family and friends. They are focused on helping others deal with the pain of loss even though it is them who is facing the next life with immediacy and assurance of faith that ranks up there with anyone in Hebrews 11. God can use our struggles to help us to grow. He can use our victory in His strength to minister to others in like circumstances. Whether you find yourself in the valley or on the mountain top today, let us, like Paul, declare that we know that indeed God can and will use us and our temporary circumstances to His glory. Share words of hope and comfort to all those around you today. He will use you in mighty ways.


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