12May

Facing trials where you are? Ask God to relocate your heart

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." ~Paul, Colossians 3:1-2

 

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy . . .” Acts 20:24, KJB

by Toni Birdsong
Tough circumstances. Difficult people. Mounting troubles. A future void of any guarantees. You can’t help but wonder: When will I ever catch a break?

It’s a logical question but what if the answer to that question is never?

• Would you still worship God with the same fierce devotion?
• Would your life still proclaim to others the goodness of God and the glory to come?

Turbulence defined the Apostle Paul’s post-Damascus life; still, he answered those very questions with a resounding “yes!”

His secret? He relocated his heart.

During his dramatic conversion from outlaw Saul to preacher Paul, God did for this sinner what only God can do. He uprooted Saul’s heart from the decaying earth and transplanted it into the depths of heaven.

Paul lived out an extraordinary earthly ministry by relocating his heart to heaven, which transformed his thinking and enabled him to endure extraordinary hardship. Think about it. From the day of conversion, Paul never caught a break. He was shipwrecked, run out of several towns, booed off big stages, brutally stoned, and repeatedly thrown in jail. Still, he lived with uncorked joy for the Great Commission. In fact, the book of Acts records in Chapter 13 that when the Jews expelled Paul and Barnabas from Antioch, the two evangelists “shook the dust off their feet” and moved on to the next town, “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

If Paul expected to “catch a break” in his turbulent life, he sure didn’t let on in his letters. We never read that he caved under the pressure, pulled the covers over his head, or peeled wheels for some much-needed “me time.” Nope. There’s no historical record that he obsessively analyzed his life, angsted over his critics, or wrestled down the “what ifs” of tomorrow.

No, Paul left those chains next to the lifeless body of Saul on that dusty Damascus road. And he never looked back.

That Paul could live like a free man while in prison confounded several of his captors. That he could sing and pray as his execution loomed compelled them toward Christ. That’s evangelism.

The way we live our lives through tough times will speak louder than the most powerful sermon we could hope preach. The deeper our praise in times of uncertainty, the higher God will raise our perspective until like Paul, we too will be able to say of the difficulties of life, “but none of these move me.” (Acts 20:24)

How do you maintain an eternal perspective through difficult situations?

Post/Tweet this today:
The way we live our lives thru tough times will speak louder than the most powerful sermon we could ever preach. #LiveSticky

 

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  • Anonymous

    Never catching a break, never looking back, praising while in physical bondage.. praying that “none of these move me” either. Praying that God through me speaks louder than the trial around me. Bless you for the encouragement this morning!

  • http://www.frugalcreativity.com Melissa @ Frugal Creativity

    This hits dead-center home for me right now. For years I struggled with depression. It lifted the same day I learned that I might have breast cancer. A biopsy confirmed that diagnosis, so now I’m looking at surgery followed by radiation.

    My prayer is not only that I would remain faithful to the Lord, but that He would use this trial in my life for His glory. I have learned that He will provide what I need to get through anything. All I have to do is continue to trust Him.

    Thanks for this post!

  • Anonymous

    Wow @c0cd253b6b7d5281eaa61740f95c2b52:disqus your comment breathed a new, incredible dimension into this post. Thank you for sharing that, the Lord’s voice came rushing in as I read each word—assuring me that His hand is the ONLY hand we can ever truly hold onto on this earth. I pray your grip is sturdy. Know that you aren’t alone, ever and that now, we too can joyfully come beside you in prayer. You are in ink in my prayer journal, sister. Please update us in the days to come.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you @dedraherod:disqus — doing the war dance on this end with you. Believing God, breaking chains and praying like Jesus is gonna walk through my front door this morning! God spoke through you in your comment, your words are like honey!

  • Darfleishour

    Toni, this is a great read and post! Thanks for sharing. Staying “in His grip”…. is the only way to walk each day! I love how you said the way we live our lives through tough times will speak louder than any sermon we could preach. Oh so true! Actions always speak louder than words and are always actually heard better through the ears! 😉 Continuing to stay “in His grip”!

  • Anonymous

    Love seeing your name pop up here @013475178e69016fe9fd47607f89fb46:disqus ! I think you can speak to this post better than most. You are an amazing mom and have cleared some hurdles that would have laid me out. Keep going, you are a Paul-ette! I wanna be too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671101964 Jennifer Adams Klein

    The most profound advice I ever received during a time of trial was actually from the apostle Paul: “Give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thess 5:18). Just choose to thank Him every day, every moment. It seriously makes your brain do a 180, and takes your soul along for the ride.

  • Anonymous

    I love getting advice from Paul & love when you pop up on my screen with your wisdom too @facebook-671101964:disqus ! Paul’s wisdom (downloaded from God) is sticky for sure!

  • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

    @c0cd253b6b7d5281eaa61740f95c2b52:disqus Dear Melissa. I echo Toni’s words. Lifting you up right now as the @stickyJesus sisters circle up. Hugs to you today.

  • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

     Oh, wow! What if it’s NEVER? Can I still walk in joy knowing that this earth is not my home? Can I rest knowing that He’s got it all under control in this little breath of time?

    I WILL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cindy-St-Germain-Kelly/100000424149398 Cindy St Germain Kelly

    good word when we feel overwhelmed by life happenings

  • Anonymous

    Greg & I were just talking yesterday during our trip back from Tuscaloosa about this very subject. There is so much I could say but since this is your blog, I’ll try to keep it short. 
    It takes the help of Almighty God to persevere under pressure. If we try to do it alone, we’ll take ourselves places we don’t want anyone to go. And get stuck there.
    Paul the Apostle shared that he had learned to be content in all situations. Whether abased or abounding. He then went on to reveal his secret for contentment “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”
    As someone who deals with chronic illness and pain one of my greatest concerns is that I won’t represent Jesus well. That people won’t see anything in me worth desiring. But then I remember the words of Paul the Apostle and am reminded that it is God Who does the actual work. He strenghtens me and keeps me through it all. I simply submit.
    I love that you wrote on this subject. As members of the body of Christ we need to know understand that life is HARD but God is faithful. We’ve got the mixed up notion that all has to be well for us to be blessed and joyful. Not so. But we do need God’s help to have heart in troubled times. I’m so glad He’s a 24/7 God Who is always on the scene.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Great post with a strong, sure message.  Thank you.  I would just like to add a tiny little reminder that the apostle Paul, as dynamic, committed, gifted and foot-sure as he was – was also a little difficult to get along with at times, made enemies right and left and dealt with some sort of mysterious thorn that tripped him up from time to time.  Just like the rest of us, he sometimes contributed to that long list of difficulties he faced!  We all trip ourselves up from time to time, don’t we?  And that’s part of the journey – an important part, sometimes, because that’s how we learn and grow and change and allow the Spirit to transform us so that we look a little more like Jesus, right?  

    And actually rather than never catching a break, I also think Paul caught some huge ones here and there – like a committed community of believers and supporters (in prayer and with finances) who came around him with love and care.  He also was given partners in his ministry who enriched his own theological musings, he had a network of people who helped him make it through all the tough stuff.  Maybe it has more to do with having the eyes to see a true ‘break’ when it appears.  Not necessarily what we might dream of as a break (as in a cessation of the struggle), but a real break – things like: true friends, companionship on the way, thoughtful conversation, heartfelt prayer.  These, too, are lovely breaks to be caught, even when – perhaps especially when – the going gets tough.

  • Carol

    This hit me right smack in the middle of what I am going thru right I feel like I can’t even come up for air it is one thing after another first of unemployed for almost 2 yrs and can’t find anything 2nd of all bought a used car from my uncle and he said everything was good on it well one week later water pump went out and took it to get it fixed today and more stuff was wrong with it so more costly and I have to leave it at the shop till I can afford to get it out and trying to keep a roof over my head SometimesI am like can things turn around a little bit.
    So I am like Lord Iknow you are there I am holding on Lord get me thru this .
    carol