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Why would God bench His best player?

In Acts 24:27, the apostle Paul had been benched—locked up in prison for at least two years in Caesarea. He was sidelined. How could this be the Master’s plan?

History reveals that, from the limited relational interaction that Paul was allowed, there came forth a mature, healthy community of Christ-followers. The church of Caesarea later became known as a theological epicenter.

Fast-forward to 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea, where many scholars believe that the Bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius, was responsible for providing the statement that was adopted as the Nicene Creed. Paul couldn’t have known that being a faithful servant in prison would have such a strategic significance in God’s long-range plans.

When I am feeling emotionally sidelined, or when I am not “seeing” great accomplishments for the kingdom, I must remain grateful and faithful. I can’t see God’s big picture, but my obedience and faithfulness matter. His plans are much greater and better than my limited view. He is at work!

This Week’s Prayer Focus [5 in 5]

Personal Prayer

1. Pray for an “open-handed” attitude as you live out life, family and ministry. Remember Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (NIV).

2. Pray out thankfulness and gratitude, recalling and speaking forth the Father’s faithful gifts to your life. This provides sanity and gives a healthy perspective.

3. Pray that your eyes may be open to the small and powerful. Those kingdom “wins” that are happening around you will help build your faith and courage, when you notice them.

Foursquare Focus

4. Ask God to give Foursquare churches “missional eyes” to see the harvest beyond our own fields.

5. Ask God to provide congregants who are “of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom,” whom God might appoint to send (Acts 6:3, NKJV).

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the senior pastor of The Springs (Tempe South Foursquare Church) in Chandler, Ariz.; Oasis (Sierra Vista Foursquare Church) in Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and Harvest Christian Fellowship (Sonoita Foursquare Church) in Sonoita, Ariz.
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