Week 32: Wednesday – Life is an Adventure!

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“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” — 2 Corinthians 4:16-18   

“We are only finite human beings. We can only see the present and the past. The future is a little frightening to us. So we need to hold onto God’s hand and trust Him to calm our fears. And at those times when we’re stubborn and resisting and God shakes us by the shoulders to get our attention, we’re reminded that we don’t call our own shots, that God has a plan for us, mysterious though it may seem, and we want to be in the center of it….All the risks notwithstanding, that’s still the safest place to be.” – Chuck Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will

One of the most awe-inspiring heroes of the early Christian church is a young lady by the name of Blandina. It is through stories like hers that we are given a glimpse of the kind of faith journey that the early Christians had taken: a journey of trusting God in every circumstance regardless of process and outcome. The legacy of heroes like Blandina to the church today is simply how she lived her life through hardship, persecution, torture, and society’s immense pressure for her to renounce her faith in place of her life.

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Here is what John Legg had written about Blandina’s life and legacy:

“Blandina was a slave-girl. Both she and her mistress were believers and it was feared that the young girl would be unable to stand firm. She it was, however, who amazed the pagans with her courage. She resisted all the soldiers’ efforts to make her deny her Lord. When torture failed she was thrown to the beasts, but survived on the first day of the terrible sport. Steadfastly she maintained her profession of faith in Christ and denied that the Christians practised wicked customs. Far from proving frail under trial, she strengthened others by her courage, including a fifteen-year-old boy called Ponticus. Ponticus died under torture, still refusing to deny Christ, while Blandina was at last killed by a wild bull. 

No one, young or old, of high rank or low, male or female, was spared by the persecutors. By the same token all kinds and conditions of men gave evidence of the grace of God. When a despised slave-girl could resist the combined power of officialdom and the mob, it is no wonder that the world was impressed. So the gospel spread throughout Europe.”

To give you an idea on the how vast the Roman Empire was during the time of the first and second century Christians, here is the map of the Roman Empire:

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Strength and courage are prerequisites to be able to resist the combined power of Rome’s officialdom and blood-thirsty populace. This strength, however, does not come from one’s own physical and mental tenacity but comes from faith–trusting THE powersource that NEVER conks out or runs out of energy. It is a kind of strength that comes from trusting Emmanuel. To a man or woman who lived during the time of the Roman Empire, Rome would certainly seem like a boundless empire that stretches as far north as Britain, far east as Mesopotamia, and far south as Egypt. The sheer magnitude of the empire would mesmerize anyone whose eyes are only fixed upon the empirical realities of our world.

“We must fight with a courage of a Joshua. I have learned one thing since I went into the school of Christ, and that is, God never takes a man for his purposes who is weak; he must have confidence in himself through Christ; must not hang on his own strength, but must have courage, and must believe that God is willing and ready to aid him.” — D.L. Moody

What Blandina had was a kind of faith that brought out a kind of courage that defied an entire civilization. Her sense of adventure was not rooted in the visible terrain that was before her but is rooted in eternity. She did not waver because, for her, her heavenly adventure is far more important and exciting compared to her momentary life on earth. It is almost certain that Blandina saw from a distance the march of the saints of the generations that would follow her. A march towards a future hope that is rooted in the certainty of God’s promises.

For Blandina, being part of this long march, also referred to Hebrews 12 as the Cloud of Witnesses, is far more important than living a life of comfort and momentary pleasure. Her definition of “adventure” is far more exhilarating! It is an adventure that includes the likes of Abraham, David, Gideon, Paul, and even the yet to be born saints of the coming generations! But it is, of course, an adventure only for the bold and the brave!

Here’s a song about the faithfulness of our Father in Heaven who by His grace enables us to take our own faith adventure!

 

“Never Once” by Matt Redman

“Never Once”
Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with usKneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

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