Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reflection - Doing ministry out of adversity

Source (book): "Faithful to the end", Chapter 13, Question 2, Page 188.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


Paul's zeal to be a witness for Jesus even when he was immobilised in prison.
PHOTO: Paul's zeal to be a witness for Jesus even when he was immobilised in prison. The lowest dungeon and loneliest trial provided him with one of the greatest opportunities to proclaim Christ. What does this say about doing ministry out of adversity?
  • The Lord Stood at My Side: Presence of Christ
  • God's assurance that His presence would be with us in fulfillment of His purpose
  • God helps during ministry out of adversity (Acts 26:22)
  • God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them (Exodus 3:12)
  • In Jesus we have God's abiding presence (Matthew 28:20)
  • The Lord is Using Me: Purpose of Christ
  • The Word can never be chained (2 Timothy 2:9)
  • Divine purpose for the chains (adversity) - to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12-13)
  • More restricted circumstances provided special opportunities for ministry
  • Prisoner on trial, but important people of Rome were "captive audience"
  • Even in chains still useful to our Lord in a special and unique way
  • The Lord Will Rescue Me: God's Promise
  • Even until death, our Lord will not abandon us
Our Lord who had died and was raised would personally guide us safely through death and usher us into the eternal kingdom in the presence of God. "Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever". (Psalm 23:6).
Picture posted by Spill the Beans (worship and learning resources for all ages) on 30 May 2012
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http://newkilpatrickblog.typepad.com/spillbeans/2012/05/powerpoint-backgrounds-for-sunday-3-june-2012-trinity.html



Consider Paul's zeal to be a witness for Jesus even when he was immobilised in prison. The lowest dungeon and loneliest trial provided him with one of the greatest opportunities to proclaim Christ. What does this say about doing ministry out of adversity? Share if you have found this to be true in your own experience.

Consider Paul's zeal to be a witness for Jesus even when he was immobilised in prison. The lowest dungeon and loneliest trial provided him with one of the greatest opportunities to proclaim Christ. What does this say about doing ministry out of adversity?


The Lord Stood at My Side: Presence of Christ [1a]
In all his feelings of isolation, with the treachery of some so-called friends and the desertion of others making matters worse, Paul was especially aware or the fact that the Lord had not abandoned him. He testified: "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength" (2 Timothy 4:17). Paul stated the stark facts: "no one came to my support" and "everyone deserted me" at his first defence (2 Timothy 4:16). Even in these sad circumstances, Paul sensed God's presence, and it was a deeply comforting and strengthening presence.


The Lord Stood at My Side: Presence of Christ
PHOTO: The Lord Stood at My Side: Presence of Christ
"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength" (
2 Timothy 4:17)
Paul stated the stark facts: "no one came to my support" and "everyone deserted me" at his first defence . But like his Lord who forgave His enemies and persecutors on the cross (Luke 23:34), Paul forgave his friends-turned-traitors (
2 Timothy 4:16).
Picture posted by delores, http://indulgy.com
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http://ind5.ccio.co/mD/I/R8/2f9d4e5e9a5df34d34632dcf95b6e595.jpg
http://indulgy.com/post/RoHgtyjJD2/timothy
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God's assurance that His presence would be with us in fulfillment of His purpose
From the day he met the risen Christ to his present imprisonment in Rome, Paul knew the abiding presence of Jesus. When he was in Jerusalem and stood before the Sanhedrin, Paul caused a great commotion when he spoke. There was such an uproar that the Roman commander, fearing for Paul's safety, had him arrested so that he could be safely lodged in the Roman barracks. The next night, perhaps as Paul was thinking about what would happen next, "the Lord stood near Paul" and His message was: "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome" (Acts 23:11). Paul was sent by the Lord as a prisoner to Rome. The future was not going to be easy, but God assured Paul that it was in fulfillment of His purpose and His presence would be with him.


God's assurance that His presence would be with us in fulfillment of His purpose
PHOTO: God's assurance that His presence would be with us in fulfillment of His purpose
When he was in Jerusalem and stood before the Sanhedrin, Paul caused a great commotion when he spoke. There was such an uproar that the Roman commander, fearing for Paul's safety, had him arrested so that he could be safely lodged in the Roman barracks. God assured Paul that it was in fulfillment of His purpose and His presence would be with him.
Picture posted by THE NEW TESTAMENT on 18 April 2010
THE NEW TESTAMENT, A Pictorial Archive from Ninteenth-Century Sources, Don Rice, Dover, 1986, p124, Fig.291

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5zpMiHgL9xc/WL51rywoz9I/AAAAAAAAmOA/Nqt8JNRgjr0NmI1ZkkXNgcuH0Bc3zXYQwCLcB/s1600/Acts2310jpg.jpg
http://www.k4.dion.ne.jp/~hasunuma/message/100418/Acts2310jpg.jpg
http://www.k4.dion.ne.jp/~hasunuma/message/100418/100418sum.htm
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God helps during ministry out of adversity (
Acts 26:22)
Later, en route to Rome, in Caesarea where Paul was in prison for two years, he stood before King Agrippa II and explained why his fellow-Jews were trying to kill him - it was because of his faithful preaching of the gospel of Jesus and his obedience to the Lord. Paul further testified: "But I have had God's help to this very day" (
Acts 26:22). It was in this same spirit that Paul, for the second and final time in a Roman prison, would mow testify that the Lord had not abandoned him, but had stood at his side, encouraging and strengthening him. Though many of his friends had deserted him, his divine Friend faithfully stood by him. The true Friend who "[laid] down his life for his friends" (John 15:13) and "sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24).


 God helps during ministry out of adversity (Acts 26:22).
PHOTO: God helps during ministry out of adversity (
Acts 26:22)
Paul stood before King Agrippa II and explained why his fellow-Jews were trying to kill him - it was because of his faithful preaching of the gospel of Jesus and his obedience to the Lord. Paul further testified: "But I have had God's help to this very day" (
Acts 26:22).
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
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http://wol.jw.org/ko/wol/mp/r8/lp-ko/w16/2016/740
http://wol.jw.org/ko/wol/d/r8/lp-ko/2016683
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God helps during ministry out of adversity (Acts 26:22)
PHOTO: God helps during ministry out of adversity (
Acts 26:22)
Paul stood before King Agrippa II. Though many of his friends had deserted him, his divine Friend faithfully stood by him. The true Friend who "[laid] down his life for his friends" (
John 15:13) and "sticks closer than a brother" (
Proverbs 18:24).
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania on March 2015
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God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them (
Exodus 3:12)
This friendship with Jesus does not happen automatically or accidentally. It is only possible by the grace of God and is based on God's promises. God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them. To Moses, God promised: "I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12). To his successor, Joshua, God gave the same promise: "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). After giving Joshua His promise, God urged him to be "strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:6). Paul must have experienced the same assurance. He not only felt the Lord's presence just as He had promised; he also felt strengthen as he faced the darkness surrounding him.


God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them (Exodus 3:12)
PHOTO: God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them (Exodus 3:12)
This friendship with Jesus does not happen automatically or accidentally. It is only possible by the grace of God and is based on God's promises. We not only felt the Lord's presence just as He had promised; but also felt strengthen as we faced the darkness surrounding us.
Picture posted by 泠汐舞天涯 Líng xī wǔ tiān yá, on 13 November 2014 at 6:48
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In Jesus we have God's abiding presence (Matthew 28:20)
Matthew tells us in his gospel that when Jesus was born, he was named Immanuel, in keeping with biblical prophecy (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). The name means "God is with us" referring to the truth that in Jesus we have God's abiding presence. At the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus issued the Great Commission to His disciples, that as they obey Him by making disciples of all nations, they could rest in the promise of His presence: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age" (Matthew 28:20).


Jesus issued the Great Commission to His disciples, that as they obey Him by making disciples of all nations, they could rest in the promise of His presence
PHOTO: At the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus issued the Great Commission to His disciples, that as they obey Him by making disciples of all nations, they could rest in the promise of His presence: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age" (Matthew 28:20).
Picture posted in Gospel on Pinterest
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The Lord is Using Me: Purpose of Christ [1a]
Not only did Paul enjoy the Lord's presence amid the darkness and disappointment, he also understood His purpose.

Adversity may bring greater opportunities and harvests than our prosperity
Paul could see that his final moments in the Roman prison were designed by God to allow him to be used by the Lord to bring glory to Himself. Even imprisonment could be a great opportunity for mission. In fact, sometimes our adversity may bring greater opportunities and harvests than our prosperity. When he was imprisoned in Rome for the first time, Paul heard about the preaching activities that was going on outside. Some of the preachers preached sincerely because the great missionary apostle was now immobilised and his work was curtailed - thus they preached all the more courageously and fearlessly. Others preached with less than noble motives - out of envy and rivalry, thinking that they could take advantage of the situation to compete with Paul or stir up trouble for him while he was in prison.

When all these news made known to him, Paul could rejoice that whatever the motives might be, his imprisonment had resulted in a surge of gospel preaching. "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice" (Philippians 1:18).



The Lord is Using Me: Purpose of Christ

PHOTO: The Lord is Using Me: Purpose of Christ
Adversity may bring greater opportunities and harvests than our prosperity. Even imprisonment could be a great opportunity for mission. Sometimes our adversity may bring greater opportunities and harvests than our prosperity. Some of the preachers preached sincerely because the great missionary apostle was now immobilised and his work was curtailed - thus they preached all the more courageously and fearlessly. Paul could rejoice that whatever the motives might be, his imprisonment had resulted in a surge of gospel preaching.
Painting by Sandy Freckleton Gagon - Tabitha Arise (Acts 9:36-42)
Picture posted by sandyart2015 on 13 February 2015

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https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/tabitha-arise.jpg
https://sandyfreckletongagonartblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/challenges-drive-me-to-paint/



The Word can never be chained (2 Timothy 2:9)
Even though he was immobilised in prison by "this chain" (Acts 28:20), Paul was never deterred from continuing to preach the gospel. It is evident that he was under some form of house arrest in his first imprisonment while awaiting his trial. He was therefore still able to have visitors, though perhaps in a restricted sense. The moment he arrived in Rome, he invited the leaders of the Jews in Rome to meet him so that he could tell them about Jesus. "From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets" (Acts 28:23). Some believed. Following this, Paul used his prison house to do ministry by welcoming all who came to see him. "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 28:31). Paul demonstrated what John Chrysostom observed as he reflected on 2 Timothy 2:9 - that the Word can never be chained. [4]



Even though he was immobilised in prison by 'this chain' (Acts 28:20), Paul was never deterred from continuing to preach the gospel.

PHOTO: Even though he was immobilised in prison by "this chain" (Acts 28:20), Paul was never deterred from continuing to preach the gospel. The moment he arrived in Rome, he invited the leaders of the Jews in Rome to meet him so that he could tell them about Jesus. Paul demonstrated what John Chrysostom observed as he reflected on 2 Timothy 2:9 - that the Word can never be chained. [4]
Picture posted by Amy Olson on 18 April 2016
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https://whereglorymeetssuffering.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/reflections-of-a-suicide-survivor/


Divine purpose for the chains (adversity) - to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12-13)
There is one more intriguing point. In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul wrote about his chains and saw a divine purpose for the chains. Paul explained "Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ" (Philippians 1:12-13). As a prisoner, Paul would have to be guarded by soldiers; these soldiers belonged to the palace guard and they would have taken turns, as assigned, to guard the prisoner. It is evident that Paul, though in chains, found the wonderful opportunity to talk about Jesus to the guards. As a result, many of them heard Paul's testimony and message. By word of mouth, the whole palace guard heard about Paul and his Lord Jesus. Paul must have marvelled at this. What better way to evangelise the palace guard than to become a prisoner guarded by them!

Luke, the author of Acts, must have witnessed how imprisonment did not deter Paul from his ministry. Paul could see that imprisonment provide special opportunities that he would not otherwise have had if he were free to move about. Such was Paul's trust in his sovereign Lord and His purposes, and his irrepressible (not able to be controlled or restrained) zeal for the gospel ministry.


Divine purpose for the chains (adversity) - to advance the gospel
PHOTO: Divine purpose for the chains (adversity) - to advance the gospel
(Philippians 1:12-13)
In his epistle to the Philippians (a city in Greece), Paul wrote about his chains and saw a divine purpose for the chains. Paul explained "Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ" (
Philippians 1:12-13). Paul, though in chains, found the wonderful opportunity to talk about Jesus to the guards. As a result, many of them heard Paul's testimony and message.
Picture posted by Vennfage - Paul's scrapbook
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More restricted circumstances provided special opportunities for ministry
Now Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time, and this time it was far more severe and difficult, more dreadful and final in mood. Paul was heavily chained in a prison dungeon. He had very limited access to visitors and his movements were severely curtailed. Luke must have looked upon Paul with great concern. What would this irrepressible servant of God do and how would he feel? It would be so difficult for one as active and zealous as Paul to be cut off from ministry. But Paul was not discouraged. Trusting in his Lord, Paul knew that even these more restricted circumstances provided special opportunities. Thus he wrote that his prison experience was for a purpose, and that Jesus stood by him and strengthened him "so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it" (2 Timothy 4:17, emphasis added).


More restricted circumstances provided special opportunities for ministry
PHOTO: More restricted circumstances provided special opportunities for ministry
Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time, and this time it was far more severe and difficult, more dreadful and final in mood. Paul was heavily chained in a prison dungeon. But Paul was not discouraged. Trusting in his Lord, Paul knew that even these more restricted circumstances provided special opportunities. Thus he wrote that his prison experience was for a purpose, and that Jesus stood by him and strengthened him "so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it" (
2 Timothy 4:17, emphasis added).
Picture posted by Nack on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 5:33 PM
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http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mpfqeahcdmc/UkNt16cUAJI/AAAAAAAAAUQ/VWcPufqwfQM/s1600/37paul_prison.jpg
http://wellherecomesjesus.blogspot.sg/2013/09/finding-joy-in-christ-week-2.html
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Prisoner on trial, but important people of Rome were "captive audience"
Though Paul was severely immobilised, he had to appear in court. In his first defence, he had all the time to make his position clear, to explain the gospel and point to his Lord. Some important people of Rome were there. It was a wonderful opportunity and surely the Lord's sovereign arrangement. The words "fully" and "all" suggest that Paul saw how great an opportunity this was for him to proclaim the gospel. Though he was the prisoner on trial, the people in the court were his "captive audience" for they all had to hear the whole story. What was more, they would then go out and talk about it to their relatives and friends, even if they did not believe Paul.


Prisoner on trial, but important people of Rome were 'captive audience'
PHOTO: Prisoner on trial, but important people of Rome were "captive audience"
Though Paul was severely immobilised, he had to appear in court. In his first defence, he had all the time to make his position clear, to explain the gospel and point to his Lord. Paul saw how great an opportunity this was for him to proclaim the gospel. Though he was the prisoner on trial, the people in the court were his "captive audience" for they all had to hear the whole story. What was more, they would then go out and talk about it to their relatives and friends, even if they did not believe Paul.
Painting by Nikolai Kornilievich (1850 - 1921) - Trial of the Apostle Paul (1875)
Picture posted by art-catalog 2003-2016

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Even in chains still useful to our Lord in a special and unique way
Even in his chains, Paul must have rejoiced that he was still useful to his Lord, and not just useful, but useful in a special and unique way. Paul was so deeply loyal to the Lord Jesus and so thoroughly committed to the ministry of the gospel, that not even the terrible experience of imprisonment in a system ruled by a mad and wicked emperor, the desertion of his friends, nor the creeping shadow of impending death, could suppress the faith and zeal of this great apostle.


Even in chains still useful to our Lord in a special and unique way
PHOTO: Even in chains still useful to our Lord in a special and unique way
Even in his chains, Paul must have rejoiced that he was still useful to his Lord, and not just useful, but useful in a special and unique way. Not even the terrible experience of imprisonment in a system ruled by a mad and wicked emperor, the desertion of his friends, nor the creeping shadow of impending death, could suppress the faith and zeal of this great apostle.
Picture posted by Intellectual Reserve, The True Church of Jesus Christ
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The Lord Will Rescue Me: God's Promise [1a]
Paul so rejoiced in the Lord's presence and His purpose that he saw in his imprisonment and sufferings that the gospel ministry would be extended in unexpected ways. As he looked into the uncertain future, aware that he may receive the death sentence and suffer martyrdom at any moment, his heart was filled with a certainty that rested on the Lord's promises. It is possible that he was thinking of Psalm 22 as he wrote these stirring words of confidence in the face of adversity: "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18). He testified how the Lord had delivered him "from the lion's mouth" (
2 Timothy 4:17). That was possibly a reference to his experience in court at his first hearing. Before the emperor and his officials, he must have felt like Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel 6). But God was with him, and in the same way He had delivered Daniel from the hungry lions by shutting their mouths, God had done the same for Paul in the Roman court.


The Lord Will Rescue Me: God's Promise
PHOTO: The Lord Will Rescue Me: God's Promise
Paul so rejoiced in the Lord's presence and His purpose that he saw in his imprisonment and sufferings that the gospel ministry would be extended in unexpected ways. He may receive the death sentence and suffer martyrdom at any moment, his heart was filled with a certainty that rested on the Lord's promises. "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18). He testified how the Lord had delivered him "from the lion's mouth" (
2 Timothy 4:17).
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens - Daniel in the Lions' Den (1615), (chapter 6 in the Book of Daniel)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Sir_Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Daniel_in_the_Lions'_Den_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_in_the_Lions'_Den_(painting)
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Even until death, our Lord will not abandon us
As Paul awaited his second appearance in court, he was not sure what lay ahead. He may die soon, but whatever happened, he could trust his Lord. Even if he were put to death, he knew that his Lord would not abandon him, but would walk through death with him. As the psalmist in the well-known 23rd Palsm loses his audience when he comes to the valley of the shadow of death and speaks directly to God, so Paul knew that while no human being would be able to walk with him into death, his Lord would surely go with him. His Lord who had died and was raised would personally guide him safely through death and usher him into the eternal kingdom in the presence of God.


Even until death, our Lord will not abandon us
PHOTO: Even until death, our Lord will not abandon us
Paul knew that while no human being would be able to walk with him into death, his Lord would surely go with him. His Lord who had died and was raised would personally guide him safely through death and usher him into the eternal kingdom in the presence of God. He may die soon, but whatever happened, he could trust his Lord. Even if he were put to death, he knew that his Lord would not abandon him, but would walk through death with him.
Picture posted by Psalms About Death Quotes
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Share if you have found this to be true in your own experience. [7]
"'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:39 (NIV)

As I sat in the church pew with my head bowed in prayer, I heard a voice reverberate so thunderously in my heart that it startled me.

The voice was blaringly loud, as if it had been announced over the loudspeakers. I opened my eyes surprised to see that no one else was taken aback. All was calm.

And so began my encounter with God.



Encounter with God - Three powerful, commanding words: 'Go and share!'

PHOTO: Encounter with God - Three powerful, commanding words: 'Go and share!'
Sharing can be from our unglamourous past that was fascinatingly unattractive and which we don't like it.
Picture posted by lahilden on 4 May 2011 - London's Quest, a hidden time portal against will
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http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=1&p2_articleid=25



I felt God speak loud and clear a short message that held life-altering repercussions. Three powerful, commanding words: "Go and share!"

I became overwhelmed with emotion. I was awestruck that God had spoken to me at all, but even more so at the three words I heard. Go and share? Go and share what?

Then it hit me. Fear immediately overwhelmed me and I sank into the pew, trembling at what I thought God might be asking. I began to question God, Surely You can't mean share my past, Lord. "Surely You don't mean go and share what I prefer to keep secret." Yet, that is exactly what He meant. And I didn't like it.



Fear immediately overwhelmed me.

PHOTO:  Fear immediately overwhelmed me. "Surely You can't mean share my past, Lord. Surely You don't mean go and share what I prefer to keep secret." Yet, that is exactly what He meant.
Photo of Isabella Niloufar as Salome under a cascade of sand
Picture posted by National Theatre on 27 January 2017 at 4:01 AM - Common and Salom

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I didn't want to go, much less share. I didn't want to be transparent or vulnerable. I gratefully accepted His forgiveness and healing, but I wasn't ready to accept His call to give me a purpose. The man who was healed from demon possession in today's key verse experienced similar feelings.

This tormented man lived as an outcast for many years, naked and alone in the tombs of Gadara, near Galilee. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees and shouted at the top of his voice, begging for mercy from God. Jesus commanded the demons to leave him and then cast them into a herd of pigs that rushed down the steep bank into a lake and drowned (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39). The man was healed physically, but more importantly, spiritually.



Jesus commanded the demons to leave the  tormented man and then cast them into a herd of pigs that rushed down the steep bank into a lake and drowned (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39).

PHOTO: Jesus commanded the demons to leave the  tormented man and then cast them into a herd of pigs that rushed down the steep bank into a lake and drowned (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39).
Picture posted by mormon2011 on 18 April 2011
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BgCxIOa0gA



He was so overwhelmed with gratitude for what Jesus had done, he begged to travel with Jesus and stay by His side. But Jesus had other plans. Instead, Jesus told him to go and share his story. And he did.

What had once been a burden to bear became a powerful story of holy transformation. This man's past, and the healing he experienced, became the foundation of a purpose in life that he would have never imagined - living his life as proof of the life-changing power of Jesus.



What had once been a burden to bear became a powerful story of holy transformation.

PHOTO: What had once been a burden to bear became a powerful story of holy transformation. This man's past, and the healing he experienced, became the foundation of a purpose in life that he would have never imagined - living his life as proof of the life-changing power of Jesus.
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The man's story became a testimony when he was willing to share it with others. How many people believed in Jesus and are now spending eternity with Him simply because this former demon-possessed man willingly allowed his terrible past to become a story of redemption and purpose?

People can deny Christ, dispute Scripture and ignore prophecy, but they cannot deny, dispute or ignore God's transformational power in someone's life. Our stories of pain, adversity and overcoming in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power, evidence that God really can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for good.



Our stories of pain, adversity and overcoming in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony of God's faithfulness and power, evidence that God really can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for good.

PHOTO: Our stories of pain, adversity and overcoming in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony of God's faithfulness and power, evidence that God really can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for good.
Picture posted by Katja Zimmermann, Author
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http://katjazimmermann.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/unsplash-nathan-anderson-Kopie.jpg
http://katjazimmermann.net/presse/



I've since learned it is always God’s desire for us to go and share our stories, whether we want to or not.

God never wastes our pain. Only we do that. God has a plan for great purpose and a beautiful future for all who believe in Him. Not despite our past, but because of it.

"Lord, help me find the courage and the desire to share what You have done in my life. Turn my past into my purpose and refuse to let my pain be for nothing. In Jesus' Name, Amen."



Dear Lord, help me find the courage and the desire to share what You have done in my life. Turn my past into my purpose and refuse to let my pain be for nothing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

PHOTO: "Dear Lord, help me find the courage and the desire to share what You have done in my life. Turn my past into my purpose and refuse to let my pain be for nothing. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
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https://souldelight.org/page/2/



Tracie Miles is a national Speaker and Author with the internationally known Proverbs 31 Ministries and has spent the last ten years inspiring women to live intentionally for Christ.
PHOTO: Tracie Miles is a national Speaker and Author with the internationally known Proverbs 31 Ministries and has spent the last ten years inspiring women to live intentionally for Christ.
Her newest book is Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live, which released April 2017.
She is also the author of two best selling books, Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past To Create A Beautiful Future and Stressed Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World. She is also a contributing author to the popular Zondervan NIV Women’s Devotional Bible, and the
Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional Book.
Tracie is a monthly contributing writer for the
Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today daily devotions, which reach nearly one million people per day around the world with encouragement from God’s Word.
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RELATED RESOURCES:
To read the rest of Tracie’s story and be inspired to allow God to turn your past into your purpose, purchase Tracie’s new book Your Life Still Counts which releases today! Click here to find out how you can get a free Bible study guide, videos and additional free resources to help you embark on a great adventure of faith.

Looking for a great winter or spring bible study? Consider offering Your Life Still Counts as your next church Bible study. Click here to receive a free video from Tracie with more information.



Dear Lord, The lowest dungeon and loneliest trial provided Paul the apostle with one of the greatest opportunities to proclaim Christ. Thank You for having us aware that doing ministry out of adversity is not just us alone but with God's Presence, Purpose and Promise, as in the following.
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, The lowest dungeon and loneliest trial provided Paul the apostle with one of the greatest opportunities to proclaim Christ. Thank You for having us aware that doing ministry out of adversity is not just us alone but with God's Presence, Purpose and Promise, as in the following.
  • The Lord Stood at My Side: Presence of Christ
  • God's assurance that His presence would be with us in fulfillment of His purpose
  • God helps during ministry out of adversity (Acts 26:22)
  • God's consistent promise to those He calls is that He will be with them (Exodus 3:12)
  • In Jesus we have God's abiding presence (Matthew 28:20)
  • The Lord is Using Me: Purpose of Christ
  • The Word can never be chained (2 Timothy 2:9)
  • Divine purpose for the chains (adversity) - to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12-13)
  • More restricted circumstances provided special opportunities for ministry
  • Prisoner on trial, but important people of Rome were "captive audience"
  • Even in chains still useful to our Lord in a special and unique way
  • The Lord Will Rescue Me: God's Promise
  • Even until death, our Lord will not abandon us
Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!"
Picture posted by Denise, Atomic Fangirl on 03 October 2014 - Best of Me, Michelle Monaghan
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https://atomicfangirl.com/2014/10/03/a-few-more-best-of-me-images/


Reflection - Doing ministry out of adversity
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Reference

[1a] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright  2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART FOUR: FAITHFUL TO THE END, Chapter 13 "Faithful To The End" (2 Timothy 4:16-22), Page 176-188.

[1] Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broasman, 1931), 683.

[2] Billy Graham, Angels: Ringing Assurance that We Are Not Alone, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 3-4.

[3] James Paton, ed., John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides, An Autobiography (1889, 1898; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), 200.

[4] John Chrysostom, Homily 4 on 2 Timothy, translated by Philip Schaff, Nicene Post-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff, first series, vol. 13 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing, 1889). Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/230704.htm.

[5] Helmut Thielicke, Being a Christian When the Chips are Down, translated by H, George Anderson (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 28.

[6] C.S. Lewis, from the essay, "Christianity and Culture," in Christian Reflection, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1992), 14.

[7] Tracie Miles, How God Turns Your Past Into Purpose, posted on 21 October 2014, http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/how-god-turns-your-past-into-purpose/

Link
Your Life Still Counts - http://www.p31bookstore.com/products/your-life-still-counts

Bible study guide - http://traciemiles.com/submit-ylsc-purchase-receipt/

free video from Tracie - http://traciemiles.com/ylsc-bible-study-leader-information/


NIV, New International Version, Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Timothy 2:9 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+2%3A9&version=NIV

2 Timothy 4:16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+4%3A16&version=NIV

2 Timothy 4:16-22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+4%3A16-22&version=NIV

2 Timothy 4:17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+4%3A17&version=NIV

2 Timothy 4:18 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+4%3A18&version=NIV

Acts 9:36-42 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9%3A+36-42&version=NIV

Acts 23:11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+23%3A11&version=NIV

Acts 26:22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+26%3A22&version=NIV

Acts 28:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+28%3A20&version=NIV

Acts 28:23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+28%3A23&version=NIV

Acts 28:31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+28%3A31&version=NIV

Daniel 6 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+6&version=NIV

Exodus 3:12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3%3A12&version=NIV

Isaiah 7:14 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+7%3A14&version=NIV

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Luke 8:26-39 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=+Luke+8%3A26-+39&version=NIV

Luke 8:39 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+8%3A39&version=NIV

Luke 23:34 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+23%3A34&version=NIV

Mark 5:1-20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+5%3A1-20&version=NIV

Matthew 1:23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+1%3A23&version=NIV

Matthew 8:28-34https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+8%3A28-34&version=NIV

Matthew 28:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A20&version=NIV

Philippians 1:12-13 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+1%3A12-13&version=NIV

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Psalm 22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+22&version=NIV

Psalm 23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+23&version=NIV

Psalm 23:6 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+23%3A6&version=NIV