Bloom Where You Are Planted

I read a story once about a person who was walking in a field.  As they walked along they noticed all the weeds and dead grass as well as brush lying around.  Suddenly to their surprise, there, in the middle of all of that mess, was a beautiful flower.  It had bloomed out so beautifully and seemed to shine there.  The thought came to this person’s mind, Bloom where you’re planted.  It is a wonderful example for us as children of the Most High God.  Sometimes we are in places or situations where it seems hopeless and we don’t understand why God has placed us there or we don’t understand how we could possibly do anything for God there at all.  However, if we decide, that wherever we are, no matter how bleak, or sad, no matter how much of a mess is around us, no matter how dark it may be, we can purpose in our hearts to bloom where we are planted and God will honor that and use our lives for His Glory to bring others to Himself. 

Handout: Bloom Where You Are Planted

 Today we will review an event in the lives of Paul and Silas and how they trusted the Lord and in the midst of hard times.  We will see how they decided to obey God’s voice, and how they chose to bloom where they had been planted. We will also focus on the outcome of that decision.  Turn with me now to the book of Acts, the 16th chapter and beginning with verse 14.
 14. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
 15. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
 16. And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
 17. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
 18. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Paul could see that this woman was possessed and needed to be free from this spirit that was controlling her mind.  In the name and power of Jesus Christ he commanded the spirit to come out of her and release her from its control.  This was needful to the woman and helpful.  It was the goodness of God to free her mind from this bondage; however, we know that when good is accomplished, evil tries to overcome it. 
The devil isn’t far away plotting to get revenge for this good deed.  Let us read on and find out what happens next.  Let’s continue in Acts Chapter 16 with verse 19.
 19. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
 20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
 21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
These masters that were getting money from this woman’s bondage to the spirit, when they saw she had been freed from this spirit and that their profits would be gone, they were angry.  So they decided to try to get back at Paul and Silas.  The devil will use anything that he can and anyone that will allow him to in order to accomplish evil.  These masters placed more importance on money and gain than on the woman’s life that was being controlled by bondage.
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
In today’s society it is necessary to have money to live, to buy food, pay bills, etc.  Having money is not a sin, but loving it is.  Placing the importance of material things in this life more than the things of God is wrong and will lead to much evil and destruction of all persons involved as well as the innocent.  God knows our need and will supply them.  We do not have to step on others in order to survive.  We must trust God and live and walk in integrity.  God is our provider.  He will make a way for us to survive and provide for us by honest means.  Living with integrity means always doing what is right even if no one will ever see or find out.  God sees all.  We must live life unto the Lord in all things. 
Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Let’s read on about Paul and Silas beginning with verse 22 of Acts chapter 16.
 22.And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
 23. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
 24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
So here Paul and Silas have been doing what God told them to do.  Preaching the gospel to a lost people, and they had helped a woman be free through Christ.  They had done nothing but good but here they find themselves in a place where they are hated.  They have been beaten severely.  They have many stripes and they have been thrown into prison.  Just for a moment, try to imagine how they must have felt.  Of course Satan must have tried to get into their minds trying to make them doubt the Lord and his love for them.  I’m sure they were in great pain and discomfort.  What would you do in that situation?  Paul and Silas have two basic choices.  They can choose to feel sorry for themselves and focus on their situation and their pain.  They can get angry at God for allowing this to happen and just give up, or they can choose to focus on their Father instead of the situation.  They can choose to trust the Lord and in his love and know that wherever he has allowed them to be planted, they can bloom for his glory.  Come with me and let us read what they choose to do.   Let’s go to verse 25.
 25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
 26. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
 27. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
 28. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Praise the Lord, Paul and Silas chose to trust the Lord.  They chose not to give up but to bloom where they were planted knowing that God had a plan and was working things out for a reason and for their good.  How do we know that they were trusting God and blooming where planted?  1.  In the midst of all their pain, discomfort, and fears, they prayed to the Lord and then began to sing praises unto him, trusting him that he heard and would answer their prayers.  2.  When the Lord caused the earth to quake thus opening the doors to the prison and their chains being loosened, they did not run.  They stayed where they were.  They knew that God was working on their behalf. 
When the prison keeper realized what had happened, he was in a panic and was going to kill himself knowing that he would be punished severely if the prisoners escaped on his watch.  Instead, Paul with his faith in the Lord says don’t hurt yourself, we are all still here.  No one has left.  This was great witness to the prison keeper.  He knew then that these men had something special on the inside of them.  They did not run.  He could see that the Holy Spirit inside them was something that he wanted.
When we bloom where God has planted us, no matter how rough it gets, or how painful it may be.  Hallelujah when we trust him, we can rest assured that He will get glory and He will use us for great purpose.  He will deliver and he will honor you for living in integrity and for obeying him.  Praise Him!!!  Praise the LORD!
 29. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
 30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
 31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
 32. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Hallelujah, by blooming where they were planted, Paul and Silas were witnesses.  They were lights in a dark place.  All the prisoners were listening to their songs of praise to God.  They had planted a seed and God had given the increase in that prison keeper’s heart.  Praise the Lord; he came running to them wanting to know what he must do to be saved.  Glory to God!  Do you have lost loved ones or people that you have tried to witness to about Jesus and salvation?  Do they seem as if they are further away from God than ever before?  You may not be able to see any difference. 
Precious child of God, sow that seed in their hearts and in the midst of the desert, just stand and bloom where you have been planted.  God will give the increase and the Holy Spirit will draw them to himself.  Trust the Lord to grip their hearts and soon they will run to him!  Thank you Father!  Thank you Jesus!!!
 33. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
 34. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
 35. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
 36. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
God not only saved the prison keeper, but his whole family as well.  He delivered Paul and Silas from the hand of those that wanted to kill them.  He freed them from prison and he let them lead many to the Lord.  What satan had intended for evil, God used it for good!  Child, if you are born again, if you have been washed in the blood of Jesus, your Father is the same Father of Paul and Silas.  He loves you just as much as he loved them.  He will do the same for you as he did for them.  Just trust Him and wherever he has placed you, do his will. 
You may be living in a place or in a situation that is difficult.  You may be in a place in which you are surrounded by danger.   However, if God has planted you there, it is for a reason and He will protect you and provide for you.  You can bloom where you are planted.  You can be the light in a place where darkness rules.  You can be the one that is a lamp for those who cannot see.
Never give up.  Place your trust in the Lord and praise him.  He is working behind the scenes on your behalf.  He will not fail you and He will deliver you.   He will always make a way for you to prosper in his will if you obey.  Hallelujah.
Hold fast in the Father and hold tight to his promises.  You can find rest in his bosom.  Bloom where you are planted, you will never cease to bear fruit for the Father and his kingdom.
Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in HIS law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalm 1:3 “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, the bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Psalm 1: 4 “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
Psalm 1:5 “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”
Psalm 1:6 “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
*Reminder:  Remember to love and serve others in the attitude of Christ this week and always.*
Dear Righteous Heavenly Father,
We come to your throne in the name of your only begotten Son Jesus yet another week in awe of who you are and that you can do all things.  We thank you Father for another week to serve you and praise you.  We thank you Father for your word and the examples of faith within its pages.  We praise you that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever and that you change not.  We thank you that what you have done for others, you will do for us.  We thank you for your faithfulness and for your laws.  We thank you for your love and for your grace.  Father we thank you that you have provided a way that we can bloom wherever you have planted us.  We thank you that your ways are past finding out and that we can trust you even when we can’t understand.  We thank you that in your mercy and in your great love you are always working behind the scenes for those that obey you. 
Father, we thank you that you are our great provider.  Thank you for helping us to understand that your promises are always and forever true.  You are truth and you are steady.  We thank you for your strength.  Thank you for making your strength stronger in us when we are weak.  Father help us to walk in your ways and delight in your ways so that you will give us the desires of our heart.  Father help us to seek you to know what you would have us desire.   Your ways are always best.  We ask you to watch over us and protect us and our loved ones yet another week as we try to do your will.  Thank you for your many blessings and for your hand of protection.  We ask that you save the lost and bless the saved in the name of wonderful, sweet, lovely, Jesus we pray and ask…Amen.