When Paul wrote this passage he was in chains, having suffered multiple beatings, stonings, starvation, and FELT persecution.
His suffering went far beyond people saying mean things on social media or spreading rumors.
It wasn’t a motivational quote he uttered as he posted a selfie at the top of a mountain.
“I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty. My heart overflows with joy when I think of how you showed your love to me by your financial support of my ministry. For even though you have so little, you still continue to help me at every opportunity. I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. You’ve so graciously provided for my essential needs during this season of difficulty.”
— Philippians 4:10-14
This morning, may this be your anthem in times of trial but also in times of victory — that God strengthens and supplies you in every circumstance!
A couple years ago, I was waiting at the doctor’s office when 3 men in hand- and foot cuffs were ushered into the waiting room.
I assumed they had to be suspected of, or convicted of violent crime because they were under the surveillance of six prison guards. Two guards were assigned to each man, and they arrived separately.
As I sat there, thinking about the thieves that hung next to Jesus on the cross, I was reminded of the one thief’s cry for Salvation, his sincere repentance, and Jesus’s promise of redemption.
“One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us [from death]! But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable]. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:39-43 AMPC
It’s so easy for us to judge those around us. These men did not look any different from the other people in the room. If weren’t for the fact that their clinking chains echoed through the hallways, they would probably not even have caught my attention.
As I mulled over the two thieve’s diverging reactions to Jesus and the fact that He was willingly crucified, I was overcome, anew, with a realization of the immensity of God’s Grace — the ministry of reconciliation!
“But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].”
2 Corinthians 5:18 AMPC
People are not in need of powerful sermons or public protests. They don’t need “turn or burn” appeals.
That’s not the heart of the Gospel — which is the ministry of reconciliation, the declaration that the Kingdom of God has come near.
The world’s need is simply this — unconditional love.
Surely it’s not easy — especially when we feel like some are not deserving of love.
But, if one sinner repents because He recognized God for Whom He is, and received forgiveness, are we not to share this GOOD NEWS with every man?
The Gospel is the Good News of reconciliation for all men from every tribe and every tongue and every nation for all time.
The love with which you love shapes your legacy. So, share the Good News. Make disciples. Impact generations.
A while ago, I read a quote by Charles Spurgeon that was something along the lines of, “If ever you come across a piece of Scripture you can’t face, read it until you can.”
This simple statement changed the way I read Scripture.
You see, there are many passages I avoid — no, not drawn-out lineages, rules for the building of the temple, or ‘scary’ things I don’t understand — but passages that CONVICT me.
It’s often easier to avoid the things from Scripture that convict us, rather than to work through them, asking Holy Spirit for fresh revelation, and fresh grace so that we might continually grow in relationship with Him.
You don’t have to be a Scholar to read and understand Scripture. If teenage fishermen were entrusted with this Message, and we have the Holy Spirit, it shouldn’t be hard to read, understand, and apply the FULL teaching we have through Scripture.
Nowadays, we have various options available to us — beautiful hardcopy, leather bound editions in many languages, or digital easily-accessed apps which give us the Bible on multiple devices. But this is not how Scripture started out. Most of the New Testament was written as letters to new believers to the many new churches that were found across the world. The Old Testament is made up of chronicles, stories, laws, prophesies, et cetera!
There is so much more to the Word than black and white (and red!) letters which provides us with a manual to living a God-filled life.
The Word is living and powerful and active!
When you’re offended by something, view this as the perfect opportunity for God to renew your thinking, for Holy Spirit to establish a new heart within you, for you to grow into the likeness of Christ. Don’t change Scripture to fit your convictions. But align your convictions to the Truth of the Word so that you might discover and grow in the fullness of all that God is, and who He is in you and through you!
There are a lot of people these days who are “cherry picking” scriptures which support their lifestyle choices, while they often ignore the context, as a whole, from which those scriptures are drawn.
This first verse here in Romans 8 is one of those scriptures. For, these people assume they are “in Christ Jesus” merely because they made a profession of faith in Christ, or merely because they made some acknowledgment as to who he is as the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God. Or, perhaps it was because they repeated some words after someone in a prayer where they were then congratulated that they are now in God’s family.
But, is that all there is to it to be “in Christ”? Or, is there more to it?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life…
In the busy season, Rapid14 is home to over 100 missionaries, AMT students, and expedition members.
Nomads, Missionaries, World Changers, Expats — terms we use to describe some aspect of what it means to live in a culture, a country or a nation that is not native to you. Kids grow up in multi-lingual and multi-cultural environments, and we often have to learn new languages.
We adapt to the ‘difference’ between this new ‘home’ and wherever we grew up. It might be something as insignificant as not having network coverage when you’re out in the bush, or it might be something ‘big’ like living within a 7-hour drive from your nearest grocery store.
So, what makes Home, ‘home’? I believe the answer is TEAM, and by team I mean family. In Overland Missions we are surrounded by a network of amazing people who provide spiritual, physical, emotional and real-time support. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll never be ‘alone’.
When I was very young, my understanding of ‘a missionary’ was based on the cork board with the world map at the back of the church. In some obscure little corner, there would be a picture of an unknown farce, ID-photo sized, and a red ribbon connecting the picture to some remote area on the world map. And then, once a year, there would be a special offering to help out the poor missionary who’s probably living under a bush, starving, in some Unknown Country.
This is not what HOME is to missionaries, though.
Rapid 14 is the headquarters for Overland Missions in Africa and all the work that happens on this beautiful continent.
It is here where Expedition trucks are built, torn apart, and re-built. It is the admin office that’s in constant communication with America to make sure there are enough funds ready to get the work done. It’s the dining room that feeds thousands every year. It’s the 5-star view that attracts government officials and local friends daily. And yet, it is so much more!
It’s the place that’s quiet enough to hear God speaking nations into your heart, yet loud enough to often hear singing from across the property. It’s a place where mothers homeschool their children; where couples fall in love and start their life together; and where friendship looks more like family.
It’s where words like “can’t” and “won’t” are replaced with “let’s make a plan.” Rapid 14 has seen birthday parties stop to pray for a friend in need and prayer meetings break out into dance parties. There are barefoot children growing up together, countless meals eaten together, and tears and laughter exchanged-together. It’s a place that takes seriously the words “go into all the world, preach the gospel and make disciples” and makes dreams a reality.
Rapid 14 is the home that welcomes and refreshes weary travellers and sends them out again ready to win the nations for Christ.