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At the End of the Chain

At the End of the Chain

Words of Faith 7-31-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019


Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 1  

[12] Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel. [13] As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. [14] Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.


        Can you imagine what it was like to be a Roman soldier assigned to guard the Apostle Paul? He was not your usual prisoner.  A second-century document describes Paul as " …a man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed, full of grace. For sometimes, he seemed like a man, and sometimes he had the countenance of an angel." Then there was that twinkle in his eye every time they brought in a new guard.   

         Most prisoners would be either angry or depressed.  Not Paul.  He had a most unique perspective on the circumstances of life even when he was in prison. God is at work, even in these chains.  Chains?  Indeed, he was in chains for Christ!   

         Henry Blackaby author of "Experiencing God," suggests that this is the starting point for discovering God's Will: the affirmation that "God is at work all around us.” God is at work, even in circumstances that seem contrary to the call we are answering.  

         For Paul, his circumstance was a Roman prison.  He was a Roman citizen, so he was probably under a sort of house arrest by which he lived chained to a Roman guard.  Staying put was quite contrary to Paul's nature!  But, rather than have a pity party about the terrible circumstance, Paul just looked at who God has provided at the end of the chain!  A new fresh guard, at every change of shift, to witness to!  What an opportunity!  Chains intended to restrain the Gospel were actually working to advance the Gospel throughout the whole palace guard. 

        How frustrating it must have been for those in command to discover that the guards sent to this post were dying (to self) and being raised with Christ!  They probably came out laughing and singing from time to time!  Even more, Paul was aware that his "plight" was actually serving as an encouragement to others in less dangerous circumstances so that they might speak out freely. We can almost hear them say: "If Paul witness in prison, perhaps we can, too." 

       Are you in chains today?  I don't mean the chains of sin.  Those need to be broken.  But what about the chains of some circumstance that you would never have chosen?  Is there a situation that seems contrary to the direction of God?  Is there a difficult relationship, a job that is not perfect? 

       The truth is that God is at work all around you to this very day (John 5:17).  Is there something God is doing at the end of that chain?  Is there a person He is loving, drawing, seeking?  Is this actually a fabulous opportunity that God has designed?  If we are in chains, let us be in chains for Christ.  Nothing is more exciting than discovering what God is doing at the end of that chain.


       Lord, show me what You are doing in my world and in my circumstance.  Show me where you are advancing the Gospel. If there be any chains of circumstance in my life, I surrender them to You that I may be in chains for Christ.  Give me the courage to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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