In The Midst Of Crisis, There Is Hope
How are you doing today, beloved one? How's your family? We have been praying for you and know that the Lord will use this time of isolation to speak to you. We are praying that He encourages your heart so you can face down the fear and hear God's voice during this storm.
Read these verses and put your name, family, or church in this verse.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints (your name) who are in (your city) Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us (me) in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us (me) in Him before the foundation of the world, that we (I) should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us (me) for adoption to himself as sons (or daughters) through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will," (Eph. 1:1–5 ESV)
- God has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing you need in Christ!
- He chose you before the foundation of the world to be part of His family.
- He adopted you so that He can be your Father!
Do you realize that these words of Scripture we are reading were written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison? They put Paul in prison to slow down the growth of the church of Jesus. The Roman Emperor, Caesar, thought he could stop the spread of the Gospel by silencing its leader Paul. It didn't work because Caesar did not know that you can't imprison the work of the Holy Spirit.
I'm sure Paul was frustrated by not being able to be with the people and churches he loved. I also know that pastors all over the world are also disappointed that they cannot be with their people because of the coronavirus self-quarantine.
So, what opportunities do we have today in isolation that we didn't notice back in January before the shutdown occurred?
Paul did two things while in prison that he wouldn't have done without being behind bars.
First, he leads many of Caesar's elite Praetorian Guards to Christ.
What better symbol of Roman strength and power than the awe-inspiring Praetorian Guard. These were the Navy Seals of their day. These were the renowned Seal Team Six. So powerful, in fact, that Caesar feared a military coupe by them. Their duty included being chained to Paul every day. How delightfully ironic are the words of Paul in Philippians 1:12-13?
"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and all the rest, that my chains are in Christ."
Paul understood that his imprisonment was an opportunity to reach people that were in jail with him. Think about all the neighbors living around you that are in the coronavirus lockdown living next to you. Could it be that God has positioned you to live in the neighborhood you are living in, so you can reach your neighbors with the Gospel?
The second thing Paul did was to write letters to his churches and leaders.
I think God knew that Paul would have never slowed down from his passion for planting churches and winning people to Jesus. So God's wisdom allowed Caesar to arrest Paul and put him in prison so that the New Testament could be written and the future church of Jesus Christ could have the bible to speak to us, the same way the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul in a prison cell.
"For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel." (Eph. 3:1–6 ESV)
So who are you reaching out to in your neighborhood? Who online? I think God inspired the creation of social media for a time like this. I want to encourage you to connect to everyone you know, learn the ins and outs of these platforms, and communicate the things God is showing into your heart.
In The Midst Of Crisis, There Is Hope.
That Hope is Christ in you, Beloved! He is the only hope for your family, your neighbors, and your city.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to love them to Jesus!
I am praying for you every day!
Email me with your prayer request! firstname.lastname@example.org
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Published on April 2, 2020.