First Baptist Church of Blackwell
Friday, December 13, 2019
Still Overwhelmed by Grace!
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The Ancient Paths

    Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find              
 rest for your souls…                     
                                                (Jer. 6:16)

Our spiritual fathers learned their faith lessons by going through fires and trials.  They had to learn the art of patience and hope, and they had to learn the power of perspective.  Now don’t misunderstand, the power of perspective does not mean we put a good spin on everything unpleasant, nor does it mean we view the world with rose colored glasses.  It means we consider life not by its trials but by their result.  Let me illustrate.  When Joseph unfairly went through 13 years of imprisonment his response was “you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”  When Moses lived on the backside of the desert for 40 years he was being prepared to lead the children of Israel through that very desert for 40 more years.  When John Bunyan endured imprisonment for preaching he responded by writing “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” 

   John Bunyan’s own remarks about his days in prison include this:  “I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now [in prison].   Those Scriptures that I saw nothing in before were made in this place and state to shine upon me.  Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now.  Here I have seen Him and felt Him indeed…I have had sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world…I have seen here that which I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to express…I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all times and at every offer of Satan to afflict me, as I have found Him since I came here.”  (Grace Abounding).

   That’s what I mean by perspective.  We have to learn patience and hope, and we have to learn perspective -- considering life not by its trials but by their result.  When we do, we will be like the fathers and we will bless the very prison that bound us, afflicted us, and tried our faith so heavily.  In the prison of affliction the world hopes to destroy faith, but in that same prison God works to strengthen our faith and to cause it to shine like gold tried in the fire.  If we can learn these truths, one day our children will look back on us and say – Oh, how we miss our fathers…they always had a word of hope, a different perspective, and an inner strength and calm that seemed to settle every question and every situation. 

Bro. Randy