Monday, September 5, 2011

Extreme Thoughts

Excerpted from Extreme Devotion, a book of 365 true accounts of men and women who totally sold out for Jesus.

Russia: Prince Vladmir

“Move it, Prince!” laughed the guard, grabbing the young man’s arm. “Let’s see how you like your new accommodations.” The guards shoved Prince Vladmir from the royal house of Ghica into the harsh prison cell. In one corner, he could see prisoners taking clothes and blankets from a thin, dead prisoner. In the back he could hear the screams of a prisoner being tortured.

This place was a long way from the life of luxury he had known at home. Yet Prince Vladmir survived the dehumanizing conditions in prison by holding on to his faith in Christ who comforted him and guided him. A cell mate of Vladmir once said, “Nowhere have I heard purer prayers and more thoughts of eternal value than in Communist prisons.”

Vladmir’s eternal thoughts from this time were published in a powerful book. He wrote, “Blessed are those who spread joy that arises out of their own suffering. He who denies himself for others clothes himself with Christ. Seek one who does not dare approach you. Give to the one who does not ask. Love the one who pushes you away. May my joys never come through the sufferings of others. May my suffering bring some joy to others.”

Who would dream that such “pure prayers and thoughts of eternal value” would come from a dethroned prince who survived the dungeons of communist cruelty?

Negative thoughts can affect us profoundly. If we focus our minds on our sufferings, we can grow bitter and resentful as a result. If we choose to think positively in the midst of a crisis, however, then we can lift ourselves above our circumstances. Not only can we save ourselves from discouragement and despair, but we can also help others. Vladmir experienced joy in his sufferings. Are you prone to negativity when you are going through trials? Remember, you cannot control what happens in life. But you can control your attitude. Refuse to be negative. Ask God to give you a positive perspective on your trials, and open your eyes to help others.

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