Taken aside…In 1666, John Bunyan was imprisoned for unlicensed preaching. What came out of that dark, damp Bedford jail in England? Out of his captivity came Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and the most famous of all Christian allegories Pilgrim’s Progress.
Taken aside…Out of years of service in Japan and China, as a missionary in the early 1900s, and out of the imprisonment of her husband’s sickness and subsequent death, came Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s beautiful, classic devotional Streams in the Desert.
Taken aside…Catherine Marshall, at the age of 33, suffered two years of physical imprisonment with a life-threatening bout of tuberculosis. When her husband Peter died, she took care of their nine-year-old son Peter, Jr. Out of her suffering, she authored over 20 books, among them the well-loved Christy.
Taken aside…Paul, imprisoned. The most fruitful period of his ministry. What did he do? He praised God as a prisoner, not of disease or circumstance, but as a prisoner of the Lord. Out of those times came his letters of encouragement to the churches, giving untold generations the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and possibly Hebrews.
Have you been taken aside by some life-shattering circumstance? Do you trust that God will be with you through it and use whatever imprisonment you might be suffering for the benefit of others?
Today, I’m hooking up with…
“Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer planting grain: The hard path where some of the seeds fell represents the heart of a person who hears the Good News about the Kingdom and doesn’t understand it; then Satan comes and snatches away the seeds from his heart. The shallow, rocky soil represents the heart of a man who hears the message and receives it with real joy, but he doesn’t have much depth in his life, and the seeds don’t root very deeply, and after a while when trouble comes, or persecution begins because of his beliefs, his enthusiasm fades, and he drops out. The ground covered with thistles represents a man who hears the message, but the cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God’s Word, and he does less and less for God. The good ground represents the heart of a man who listens to the message and understands it and goes out and brings thirty, sixty, or even a hundred others into the Kingdom.” (Matt. 13:18-23 TLB)
The Lord says…
“If the ground is not turned, I cannot plant My seeds. A life as a lovely green meadow with its abundance of wild flowers is a fair picture of beauty. But there’s more to be had from the rich soil lying beneath the surface blanket of a lovely green pasture. Cultivating this meadow can produce a harvest of fruit, of nourishment, of good things for others.
The Hand of the One tilling the soil is the One Who loves it the most and sees the greatest potential in it for harvest. The roots beneath the surface must be ripped out that the ground might be tilled and furrowed, giving room to accept the seeds of growth.
Open your eyes and see as I see. I see beautiful golden fields of wheat, waving their ripened grain in the breeze, ready for harvest.
A life in the Hands of the One guiding the plow will be a fruitful meadow yielding a harvest of grain as bread-corn for others. A life uprooted and turned over, welcoming the plantings of the Master Husbandman, will gladden the hearts of others with its lovely field of produce.”
The deep furrows made upon your soul serve only to open it to receive the words, comfort, love, healing, and power of the Lord that they may take root and flourish with a crop of tasty fruit.
God is the Master Husbandman Who sometimes must dig deep into one’s life, knowing where the best soil lies, and dropping in His seeds of encouragement, peace, and blessings that they may grow for the use of others.
“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Tim 2:6 KJV)
The Husbandman knows His soil and purposes to have a harvest. Allow Him to do His tilling in your life and to plant the seeds of Word into your heart that you may give back to Him that bumper crop.