Day 84: March 25, 2023

Even Captivity Can be Fruitful

Key Verse to Read and Treasure:

Build houses and live in them. Settle in the land. Plant gardens and eat the food you grow. Get married and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons, and let your daughters be married. Do this so that they also may have sons and daughters. Have many children and grow in number in Babylon. Don’t become fewer in number. Also, do good things for the city I sent you to. Pray to the LORD for the city you are living in because if there is peace in that city, you will have peace also. (Jeremiah 29:5, ERV)  

For Insight

It is the Lord’s delight to take your darkness and turn it into light. To bring good out of trials and fruit out of barrenness. It seems the devil has never equated the fruit the believer bears to be a result of the suffering they have experienced and endured.

In 95 AD the Apostle John or, John the Divine as some were known to call him, was exiled to the Greek Island of Patmos by the anti-Christian government under the Roman empire. Patmos was the place where those convicted as government agitators were sent. John was sent to the island because he was seen as an agitator and peace disrupter because he continued to testify about Jesus as the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord and Savior.

Just like Joseph who had lived thousands of years before him, God turned John’s time of imprisonment into a Holy Spirit empowered and spiritually fruitful time. While John was on the island, he converted those exiled and seen as unredeemable, to Christianity, he was taken up to heaven by the Holy Spirit, shown things no human had seen or heard about the past and future and wrote the Book of Revelation for believers to know what he witnessed. His impact was so great, hundreds of years later Patmos became the destination of worshipers as they came to visit and worship at the Basilica built in John’s honor.

Life in the True Vine sows fervent, fervent devotion and testimony into our soul. The trials, struggles, and sufferings we experience become the place where a passion to minister and witness to the lost is cultivated and birthed.

The devil wants and plans on our shriveling up and dying on the Vine under the heat of suffering. He counts on us losing our spiritual strength, our zeal, and weakening our convictions. What he does not plan for is that we become what Jeremiah wrote,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Trees planted by the water do not die in the heat. They do not bend over. They are rich and full and vibrant. Their roots are continuously fed and nourished by the waters. The farther their roots spread the larger their branches grow up and out.

Jesus feeds us during suffering, trials and times in captivity. He breaks the chains but before he does, he plants a seed in our heart. Those who have separated themselves from their life-source will eventually die without the Vine to draw from. Those who dwell flourish.

John didn’t shrink back. He did not give up preaching. He did not lose his courage. He did isolate himself or throw pity-parties because he had been taken out of the main population, but he made Patmos his mainstream and the fruitful garden where he testified the crucified and rise Savior and won souls to Christ. He did not decrease but grew in numbers.

Only You, Lord can take what others and even the devil views as life-stealers and causes them to become fruitful times, ripe for bearing fruit and witnessing to others the power and love of Jesus Christ. Amen

 For Application

Do you believe the Lord’s promise to work for the good of those who love him?

What trial, suffering, challenge, or oppressive situation can you see God working out and through in your life?

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