Never In Vain

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Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever… If you reject the ragamuffin gospel and turn your back on Christianity, do so because you find the answers of Jesus incredible, blasphemous, or hopelessly hopeful. ~Brennan Manning

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain…. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Galatians 2 and Philippians 2

Oh beloved, it is true. Everything we are doing in our service to our King is so backwards to the ways of the world. None of it makes any sense to those who see things only from the perspective of body and mind.

Even those around us who are somewhat (or very) religious, can look at a soldier of the cross, and begin to think that we are taking things just a little too far. Who do we think we are to be going off and actually believing that the Bible is to be taken seriously when it says that G_d wants everything?

Much of what we’ve done, much of what we were, and so many of our relationships seem in vain.

Some of us were so broken. And many of you brothers who are reading this were probably some of them. We were hopeless. Anything that might be done in our lives was going to be in vain. We were addicts who would rather stick things in our veins than be set free. We were (we thought) doomed. And yes, even we, many of us – have been set so free that we can hardly even believe it.

Many of us are were in family situations that were completely unfixable. Humpty-dumpty, and his shattered shell, looked like he was in much better shape than our relationships. And still, into this situation G_d did pour so much Love and grace that we have been restored.

Often, we are in jobs that we know have potential to feed us, but where we don’t feel we can make any difference in people’s lives. Sometimes we wonder how we are ever going to get out of the dead-end that we are in. And even here, G_d uses us in ways that we might not even expect. A co-worker finds Jesus. A boss is moved by the integrity of our work.

There are many other instances and examples here, I am sure you can name more areas where things seem hopeless and vain, and G_d shows up and shows off…. But this week, I was even more impressed at His ability to do things exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we hope or imagine.

This fool of a writer is also an international educator. I teach Bible, Worldviews, Apologetics, and Honors Philosophy at a school in Northern China. That I even get the privilege of teaching subjects like this in a controlled country is a amazing! But has been even more amazing, is my lack of faith in my calling.

Christian Education seems so slow. It has little flash-bang. No altar calls. Not emotional pleas for kids to come to Christ. And yet, this week, I have been listening to some 12th grade seniors who grew up in Asia, in non-believing and Buddhist and Confucian homes declaring that they have embraced Christ and gave powerful arguments as to why this was true. I had honestly wondered if we were making a difference in so many of these kids lives. Were we just burning up a lot of Kingdom resources giving simply a quality education to kids?

Wow, was I wrong.

Can we see it? The beauty of this slow approach to presenting the Gospel is that many of the students have not made emotional decisions. They have, rather, decided with their heads and their hearts – based on the information they are

getting in their Biology, Bible, Science, Philosophy, PE, and Math classes. They are seeing that G_d is in all of the knowledge they are getting – and this makes all the difference.

So, are you feeling like the place where G_d has you is useless? Don’t. He has never done anything vain in your life till now. And nothing He is having you do is going to be in vain. Trust Him. Let Him pour you out as HE sees fit. We will see the fruit. Just give it time.

Tonight is your night beloved. Time to believe you are valuable in His Kingdom. No matter what you are doing for Him.

Makala_FF 2016

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

 

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 145; Proverbs 27

Daily Quote: “My spirit turns to Thee and clings, All else forsaking, unto Thee; Forgetting all created things, Remembering only “God in me.” O living Stream; O gracious rain, None wait for Thee, and wait in vain.” ~Gerhard Tersteegen

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread. ~Psalm 37:25

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