#Unanswered – The Chains God is Breaking

When God comes through His way!!

Mavuno

I want us to prepare for our prayer time with some thoughts by one of the people in the Bible who had the most experience of God’s power to break chains. Not only had God broken his own chains and saved him from his own twisted thinking but God had used him to bring freedom to many. Because of him, demons had been cast out, the sick had been healed and the good news about Jesus had spread around the Roman world. I’m talking of course about the apostle Paul. If any man had experienced God’s power to break every chain, it was Paul. And that’s what makes these words that he wrote later in his life so interesting. Read with me: Phil.1:12-21

The man who knew what it meant to see God break every chain was writing while in chains!

A little context about the letter to Philippians… This ancient city of Philippi was in the province of Macedonia and named after the Greek king and father of Alexander the Great, Philip, who had conquered it many years before. Paul first went there when he got a dream in which a man from Macedonia begged him to come and help. During his brief visit, a young girl followed him and his friends everywhere they went. She was possessed by a fortune telling spirit, which her owners used to make much money. Paul eventually rebuked the spirit and healed her meaning she could no longer foretell the future, which made her owners so angry they had him thrown into jail. During the night, there was a huge earthquake, and all the prison doors fell open. Instead of running away, Paul and his friend Silas stayed put, and in the morning, the jailor was so moved that he and his family became some of the first followers of Jesus at Philippi! the chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

So let’s fast forward – the letter to the Philippians was written years later, and Paul was now in Rome, once more as a prisoner. This time, there was no earthquake, and this time, the prison doors did not open and the chains did not break. However, by this time, Paul had gained an amazing perspective on chains. He was not afraid of them. Paul was not afraid of chains because he seemed to know something that many Christians today seem to have forgotten. It’s something you’ll rarely hear preached. But let’s back up a little bit…

v.12 ‘now I want you to know brothers that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel’. The book of Acts tells us that Paul had been in prison for two years in Ceasarea because the governor Felix wanted a bribe. Finally he had appealed to the emperor’s court. Because of his appeal, he was shipped to Rome, experiencing much discomfort on that voyage, including snakebite. Once in Rome, he had been kept under arrest, chained to Roman soldiers in four-hour shifts. You’d expect him to be complaining. But instead he says, ‘as a result (of my chains) it has become clear to the whole palace guard that I’m in chains for Christ’.

The palace guard also known as the praetorian guard was an elite unit of 10,000 soldiers who were the emperor’s personal bodyguard. They were important people in Rome. Normally it would have been very difficult to share about Jesus to these men. But now God had provided a way – they were chained to him in shifts. They had to listen as he dictated the books of Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and perhaps many other letters explaining about Jesus. They had to listen as he talked to the leading Jews who came in to inquire about his faith and as he shared about Jesus with others who visited him. And during dull moments of the day I am sure he shared the gospel with these young soldiers who were chained to him.

So you begin to wonder who was really the prisoner, as these young men were really trying mind their business but were dragged in and chained to the Apostle Paul! And one by one they were being reached and led into a growing relation ship with Jesus Christ. It’s almost as if God had sneaked Paul right into State House! In chapter 4:22 of this same letter, Paul closes by sending greetings from the saints in Rome and he says, ‘especially those of Caesar’s household’. That, of course, is the Praetorian Guard. Because of Paul’s chains, these choice young men, the elite of the Empire, were finding Christ, one by one. Because of Paul’s chains, a whole church was being started. Because of Paul’s chains, prisoners were being set free!  God is the chain breaker. He always sets free when we call on Him. But here’s the thing: the chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

What Chains Accomplish

Something else was happening. He says in v.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’. For some reason, Paul being in prison had forced others to be more fearless in representing God. Perhaps now that he was not there, others were being forced to enter into the space and to share their faith. Perhaps because they saw his example, some who had been afraid were now becoming fearless in talking to others about Christ. Rome not an easy place to be a Christian but because of Paul’s chains, others were now breaking free from their fears and sharing the gospel. You see, in keeping Paul’s chains on, God was breaking other bigger chains that would never have been broken if he had not been in chains. And Paul was able to rejoice in his chains because God was using them to set others free! The chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

Ultimately, this thing boils down to purpose. Paul knew what God’s purpose for Him was. We said earlier that even though we were each created for a unique purpose, we make a mistake when we think of it as our purpose. It’s not my purpose – it’s God’s purpose! And God’s purpose for me, the reason I was created, the reason I was put here on earth, is to advance God’s agenda. And that’s why Paul isn’t demanding that God set’s him free from prison. In fact if you read on, you realize he recognizes that being a follower of Christ always means he would face some opposition and difficulty – because God’s agenda is always resisted by the enemy. He says in v.20, I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be discouraged but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death’. Instead of crying out, ‘Lord break my chains!’ he was crying out, ‘Lord give me courage to advance your agenda, whether in chains or not!’

You see, Paul knew who he was and where he was going. He knew that this world was not his home. He was only here on assignment. And whether he faced good times or bad times, in the end, after accomplishing God’s purpose for him, he would return home to His heavenly father. He would return to the place he had ultimately been created for. He would be seated with Christ in the heavenly realms to rule and reign eternally. And so he was not afraid of suffering or death. For him it was a win-win proposition. If I stay alive, I continue to serve God’s agenda, which is the only reason I am here on earth. If I am killed, I go to heaven, which is a far better place than here. I can’t loose! [Did you ever realize that Lazarus was not raised from the dead for his own benefit? It was for God’s agenda. He actually died again! Paul knew this…] the chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

And so instead of being bewildered or angry when things did not turn out, Paul looked for every opportunity to represent God’s agenda. Every pain he faced became a platform to fulfill God’s purpose. Every trial he endured became a testimony about God’s grace. And He experienced real joy in seeing God breaking chains, whether his or others. The book of Philippians is one of the most joyful books in the bible – and it was written in prison! Paul was able to rejoice in good times and in tough times. He was ready for any struggle as He accomplished his God given purpose. Paul looked forward to going to his true home after completing his assignment. And he was victorious! You see, the victorious Christian life is not the trouble free life, but it’s the fear free life! It’s only when we have perspective that we can be truly fearless – the chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

That’s why we keep praying. As we come to our time when we pray for healing, we come as different people. We are no longer babies – demanding that God answer our prayers the way we want. If my healing somehow glorifies God, AMEN! If my lack of healing somehow glorifies God and breaks other chains that I’m not even aware of, AMEN! Whether I understand how this thing works or not, I choose to trust in God. I choose to rejoice that He has counted me worthy to live for Him and even to suffer for His name. I pray because I know He will break chains – whether it’s the ones I’m seeing right here, or other bigger ones that I cannot see right now.

Many of us are here and we want healing. We want breakthrough. We can be honest about that. But we come with a different motive this time than before. We come to say, ‘God, my prayer is that you will heal me so I can glorify you. My prayer is that you will turn my finances round so that I can glorify you. My prayer is that you save my marriage so that I can glorify you. My prayer is that you give us children so that we can glorify you. That is our desire. If you should grant it, we will do all in our power to carry out our purpose and bring glory to you. But should it be your desire that the things we’re praying for don’t come to pass, then may our pain become your platform. May our attitude open doors for many skeptics to see the power of the living God to sustain. Break the chains that need to be broken, either the ones binding me right now or if it pleases you use my chains to break the bigger chains binding those around me. May your kingdom come and your agenda be advanced through my life! Because I know that the chains that God is freeing are not always the ones I’m seeing!

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5 Responses to “#Unanswered – The Chains God is Breaking”

  1. I thank God for Mavuno church because there is nowhere else i could to get what i getting from Mavuno- healing, deliverance and blessing.

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  2. Quite a reading!!

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  3. Pastor M.

    This last Sunday it was made clear to me how God Works. Sometimes I know it, other times I don’t. The challenge for me is to remember all the time that whatever happens to me the end in mind is that the Glory to return to God. This is my story. My parents in law have a big farm that lies idle because there is no one to work on it. So last year I decided to do some farming. I went ahead and asked for permission which was granted. I had done this earlier but i got discouraged and stopped because my father in law kept making it difficult for me. So last year i thought i have been married long enough and now i have the guts to withstand any pressure. And sure enough there was a lot of pressure from my father in law but some how I pulled through and harvested like 35bags of maize. I also harvested potatoes and some beans. My father in law took the proceeds from the potatoes. For some very strange reasons I havent got any one to buy the maize and now weavles are having a party.

    In other words since jan 2013 up to now I havent earned a single coin from that shamba, last yr it was three acres this yr i trusted God More and did 8 acres. What do you call that?. Faith or foolishness?

    Just yesterday i was informed my inlaws sold some potatoes and just as the money was being paid my father in law took it. Am not sure if I will get it. Most probably I wont.

    Every month I have to send money home for workers. This yr alone up to today ave spend more than 280000, last yr, It was the same story. All in the name of having an alternative source of income as Pastor Muriu would say. Many time I send money and am left straining. Like 2 months I missed tithing. All in the name of paying workers.

    As you spoke on Sunday about God loosening the chains we cannot see. My mind went to the many workers who work on the farm and the way ave like created a livelihood for them. When they call me to tell me, it goes something like this “please try and send the money by friday coz on saturday we are going for the group (Chama ) meeting and we need to make conributions. As a result they are able to take their children to school and better their lives. So as am in chains looking for a buyer to buy my maize. Some other chains are being broken. As we discussed the sermon on our way home my husband told may be you need to share your story.

    I had some reflection and i was able to see how faithful God has been in many ways. So am happy to feed the weavils if it will bring glory to God. But I am still praying that I get a buyer.And I will sell the maize when my father in law is not around.

    Nevertheless I will still continue Trusting the Lord. I dont think I have another option. Do I?

    Anne G.

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  4. Fearless 2.0 Says:

    Blessed, ain’t that the truth! Sunday was so deeply moving, no words are sufficient. And this week I have had to remind myself that I cannot be fearless unless the situation I am in is fear inducing. What is important is hat I am fulfilling His purpose for my life.

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  5. Paul Otieno Says:

    Be glorified Father. Even if we do not understand all that we face and try to fill in by self encouragement, forgive us and lead oh Holy Spirit. To the ultimate joyful glory of God.

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