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Apr 23Liked by Daniel J. Roberts

One of the key components of my journey that is similar to what is discussed in the above thots.

Phil 2:14-15 - - AMP - - 14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves],

- This passage was a life transforming passage about 15 years ago. The following is what I learned and how it changed my life.

- We are in control or our lives or we are in charge of our lives anytime we are evaluating our experiences as being good or bad. We are our Lord and King’s business and we then carry out his business in the situations he has given us. This is absolutely true and will transform anyone who will interact with our Lord and King in the core of their being so that they begin to give up a desire to be in control that is at the very core of their being. I’ve seen this happen and it is a journey of great joy. And I have watched men who rejected the concept and my sorrow continues. The process begins with rejoicing in the circumstances our King has given us. That rejoicing will rip out hearts at it very core as we being to give up or evaluation of the good or bad of our experiences and begin to rejoice that this is just our King’s way of bring light into a dark and confused world. This was my journey.

15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world,

- Giving up our control allows us to be out Lord’s servant bringing his life and light to a dark and confused world.

- Trust me when I say that a prison is a dark place filled with men who are crooked and wicked. To be a bright light in that dark world is an amazing adventure. The stress was from management not from the men but the decisions of the leadership caused great distress among the men.

Phil 1:12-14 - - 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.

- As I began to be truly thankful my life changed.

- The question is: are we willing to be like Paul and take the King’s blessing even if it is a blessing that includes prison and the possibility of losing or lives in that prison. I choose to surrender my control and accept our Lord’s will and purpose for each day. Interesting.

- Stories can be told but just one for today. A few years after prison I met a man in Walmart who I actually didn’t recognize (it seems that good food and fresh air changes a man) but he recognized me and was thankful to meet me and he was encouraging that he was living life free from the ravages of the criminal life. He wasn’t a Christian but he had done some amazing transition that gave him the potential of a very different ending for his life.

- I’ll skip the man who clearly was speaking to beings who were in the room but who I could not see.

- The men who gathered and prayed. Interesting time.

- The man who was so changed his girlfriend didn’t recognize him but liked who she saw.

- The man who’s dream of bombs following him into a house and the house being blown up.

- The man who, about every week, saw his friend that he had killed while handling a pistol.

- And, of course, management’s decisions to continually, it seemed, change program for men who, very often, had grown up in chaos and were in desperate need of stability.

James 1:2-4 - - 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

- Once we travel from thanks to rejoicing, we finish with pure joy.

- Like Paul able to reach the Imperial Guard because he was in prison. The perfect plan to reach men who otherwise would, most likely, never interact with a Christian but God did a work so that these men would have the opportunity to hear about the good news of Jesus. What a Hoot!!

It’s been an interesting journey traveling to that place of rejoicing and finding pure joy in what this world defines as difficulties. Wouldn’t change a thing of all the experiences that previously were described as bad or terrible. What a time to rejoice with pure joy looking back on life and God’s great grace.

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