There are times in life when we go through trials and tribulations and
instead of learning from them and bettering ourselves, we become bitter
and stay in a rut rather than stepping forward and moving on better and
stronger than we were before. We must always keep in mind that we will go
through trials and tribulations in life and should have the attitude of
King David who said "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff
they comfort me." He is the strong tower that holds us up and keeps us
strong. Be encouraged to keep God first in your life at all times and
trust that He will bring good out of every bad situation that comes your
way. Problems shape and mold our character to be stronger and more
tolerable than we were before so you be encouraged and know that you are
well able to stand up and continue on. (John 16:33) (Psalm 23:4) (Job 23:10)
I hope you are blessed, encouraged and strengthened by today's message.
A SLAVE TO HIS DESTINY
One morning a sixteen-year-old boy was kidnapped from his house by a band
of knife-wielding thugs and taken to another country, there to be sold as
a slave. The year was 401 AD.
He was made a shepherd. Slaves were not allowed to wear clothes, so he was
often dangerously cold and frequently on the verge of starvation. He spent
months at a time without seeing another human being -- a severe
But this greatest of difficulties was transformed into the greatest of
blessings because it gave him an opportunity not many get in a lifetime.
Long lengths of solitude have been used by people all through history to
meditate, to learn to control the mind and to explore the depths of feeling
and thought to a degree impossible in the hubbub of normal life.
He wasn't looking for such an "opportunity," but he got it anyway. He had
never been a religious person, but to hold himself together and take his
mind off the pain, he began to pray, so much that "...in one day," he wrote
later, "I would say as many as a hundred prayers and after dark nearly as
many again...I would wake and pray before daybreak -- through snow, frost,
This young man, at the onset of his manhood, got a 'raw deal.' But therein
lies the lesson. Nobody gets a perfect life. The question is not "What
could I have done if I'd gotten a better life?" but rather "What can I do
with the life I've got?"
How can you take your personality, your circumstances, your upbringing, the
time and place you live in, and make something extraordinary out of it?
What can you do with what you've got?
The young slave prayed. He didn't have much else available to do, so he did
what he could with all his might. And after six years of praying, he heard
a voice in his sleep say that his prayers would be answered: He was going
home. He sat bolt upright and the voice said, "Look, your ship is ready."
He was a long way from the ocean, but he started walking. After two hundred
miles, he came to the ocean and there was a ship, preparing to leave for
Britain, his homeland. Somehow he got aboard the ship and went home to
reunite with his family.
But he had changed. The sixteen-year-old boy had become a holy man. He had
visions. He heard the voices of the people from the island he had left --
Ireland -- calling him back. The voices were persistent, and he eventually
left his family to become ordained as a priest and a bishop with the
intention of returning to Ireland and converting the Irish to Christianity.
At the time, the Irish were fierce, illiterate, Iron-Age people. For over
eleven hundred years, the Roman Empire had been spreading its civilizing
influence from Africa to Britain, but Rome never conquered Ireland.
The people of Ireland warred constantly. They made human sacrifices of
prisoners of war and sacrificed newborns to the gods of the harvest. They
hung the skulls of their enemies on their belts as ornaments.
Our slave-boy-turned-bishop decided to make these people literate and
peaceful. Braving dangers and obstacles of tremendous magnitude, he
actually succeeded! By the end of his life, Ireland was Christian. Slavery
had ceased entirely. Wars were much less frequent, and literacy was spreading.
How did he do it? He began by teaching people to read -- starting with the
Bible. Students eventually became teachers and went to other parts of the
island to create new places of learning, and wherever they went, they
brought the know-how to turn sheepskin into paper and paper into books.
Copying books became the major religious activity of that country. The
Irish had a long-standing love of words, and it expressed itself to the
full when they became literate. Monks spent their lives copying books: the
Bible, the lives of saints, and the works accumulated by the Roman culture
-- Latin, Greek, and Hebrew books, grammars, the works of Plato, Aristotle,
Virgil, Homer, Greek philosophy, math, geometry, astronomy.
In fact, because so many books were being copied, they were saved, because
as Ireland was being civilized, the Roman Empire was falling apart.
Libraries disappeared in Europe. Books were no longer copied (except in
the city of Rome itself), and children were no longer taught to read. The
civilization that had been built up over eleven centuries disintegrated.
This was the beginning of the Dark Ages.
Because our slave-boy-turned-bishop transformed his suffering into a
mission, civilization itself, in the form of literature and the accumulated
knowledge contained in that literature, was saved and not lost during that
time of darkness. He was named a saint, the famous Saint Patrick. You can
read the full and fascinating story if you like in the excellent book How
the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill.
"Very interesting," you might say, "but what does that have to do with me?"
Well...you are also in some circumstances or other, and it's not all
peaches and cream, is it? There's some stuff you don't like -- maybe
something about your circumstances, perhaps, or maybe some events that
occurred in your childhood.
But here you are, with that past, with these circumstances, with the things
you consider less than ideal. What are you going to do with them? If those
circumstances have made you uniquely qualified for some contribution, what
would it be?
You may not know the answer to that question right now, but keep in mind
that the circumstances you think only spell misery may contain the seeds
of something profoundly Good. Assume that's true, and the assumption will
begin to gather evidence until your misery is transformed, as Saint
Patrick's suffering was, from a raw deal to the perfect preparation for
Ask yourself and keep asking, "Given my upbringing and circumstances, what
Good am I especially qualified to do?"
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Psalm 34:18-22 "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and
saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the
righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his
bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they
that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The LORD redeemeth the soul of
His servants: and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate."
John 14:26-27 Jesus declares "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath
begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today's Selected Poem: THE VALUE OF A SOUL
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem94.htm
Today's Selected Testimony: HOW GOD LIFTED MY DEPRESSION
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony72.htm
In Christ's Service,
Gods Work Ministry