This morning at 6AM prayer we read part of Acts 25 as one of the "daily texts." In the reading Paul is brought up on false charges. He appeals to a "higher authority."
The lead pastor of the "network" that I had participated in until last spring led prayer this morning (as he often does on Mondays). He read the Acts 25 Bible passage and spoke about how we can find encouragement in the account of Paul's trial before Festus. We then entered into a time of spoken and silent prayer, praising God for all He does in our lives when times are difficult.
Some of us who were on the call have experienced false accusations in the past. Together, and as individuals, we have experienced God's protection, and we often find that the troubles brought upon us by others bring us to a place where we can better fulfill God's purpose in our lives.
After prayer, our prayer leader sent the prayer call participants an email. He apologized for a technical glitch we experienced on the phone and then said:
"... After our prayer time, I read this article. It is focused on what we prayed about. Be blessed!! http://www.churchpastor.com/2015/02/suffering-blindsides-minister/ ..."The other recipients of the email were the others who were in on the prayer call today. All of them are known to those of us at Crossroads who participated in the January "Leadership Days" in past years, and three have been on hand at Crossroads more than once either preaching or leading groups.
Last year, when the "network" fell apart, I was wondering what would happen. I had appreciated sharing in the mutual support of the prayer calls, message planning groups and leadership huddles--all of which stopped rather suddenly last March. The prayer calls resumed in the fall and I am thankful!
God is good. God has provided for each of those who were on the call today, and others, even though there was such unexpected interruption in their previous work and in our work together.
I find the same to be true for us.
According to the author of the article that Per forwarded to us,
"When we are faithful in the midst of our sufferings, 12 good things happen."Here are the 12 good things he mentions:
- God is honored,
- Jesus is pleased,
- And the Holy Spirit is given a situation He can use for God’s purposes.
- The devil is infuriated,
- Our enemies are puzzled,
- And the critics of the church are silenced.
- The church itself is strengthened,
- Believers going through tough times are encouraged,
- And the unsaved observe and want what they see.
- You yourself are blessed and strengthened,
- Your reward in Heaven is great,
- And your reputation goes through the roof (Luke 6:35).
"For believers—for faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus—suffering is not 'par for the course.' It is the course."