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The Other Side of the Dungeon

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Day 6: The Other Side of the Dungeon


Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

Devotional Material

Spurgeon says of himself for days after the incident at the Surrey Garden Music Hall:

“Even the sight of a Bible brought a flood of tears and utter distraction of mind.”

Crushed spiritually and mentally to the degree he physically cannot function is where we find our renowned preacher. Not only was Spurgeon questioning his ability to preach again, but picking up a Bible brought an emotional torrent. Would he ever recover? He doesn’t yet know.

But he found help in the Lord.

He returned to his mourning congregation, hurting. Likely, he was filled with all sorts of competing thoughts, anxieties, and emotions. As this grieving leader took his place, he began to pray this gut-wrenching prayer:

“We are assembled here, O Lord, this day, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow…Thy servant feared that he should never be able to meet this congregation again.”

He was serious. It took superhuman strength to get up that morning, stand there, and pray. Spurgeon did what you and I need to do when he found himself in a dungeon experience. He refused to quit but exhibited perfect trust under delay and disappointment, just like Jesus called John the Baptist to do.

We know this evidenced through his life and ministry. He refused to quit and trusted God. Later he said this:

“I have gone to the very bottoms of the mountains, as some of you know, in a night that never can be erased from my memory…but, as far as my witness goes, I can say that the Lord is able to save unto the uttermost and in the last extremity, and he has been a good God to me.”

That is the essence of Jesus and the promise for your life today. Your God will be faithful to do the same for you. I don’t know how He will choose to do it. But please remember that if John the Baptist can find himself in a season of discouragement; and if Charles Spurgeon can go “to the uttermost and in the last extremity” and still find God to be good– we can trust this same God.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

Lift up your eyes, my friend!

Don’t you dare quit!

Your help is coming.


For His Glory and with much affection,



Conquering Your Dungeon

conquering your dungeons

Day 5: Conquering Your Dungeon

The first days are so painful sometimes but I know days five and six are coming. God does not leave us alone to climb out of our dungeons. He helps us in conquering them. Today’s message not difficult to write because I am so familiar with it. For me, the encouragement and strength as essential–the very purposes we are gathered. I pray God’s Word does not return void, penetrating your own heart and mind. He is about conquering your dungeon.


John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.


Devotional Material

Charles Spurgeon was a renowned pastor in London during the 1800s. He was not popular because he was soft on truth, nor did he pander to the critical base. It was his giftedness in preaching the Word. Spurgeon was able to present a truth, draw you in where you felt it is written for your particular need, and sense Divine inspiration.

This man, like our John the Baptist, was full of conviction, confident in his calling, with the ability to deliver faithfully. Spurgeon developed such powerful sermons that even translated in other languages across continents, just reading them could be used by God to bring people to salvation.

At age twenty-two, Spurgeon was newly married with two babies and already had what we would call a tremendous following. So much so that he and his congregation decided to rent the Surrey Garden Music Hall to accommodate the crowds they were anticipating. This music hall was built with a bottom floor and balconies where people sat facing the stage. Quarters would be close in order to hear the speaker without sound equipment. For an evening message, 12,000 people would attend. Another 10,000 would stand outside leaning in straining to hear something.

Problems Brewing

Such ministry success, however, brings out the worst in some people. A few minutes after six p.m. someone yelled “Fire! The balconies are giving way!” With that announcement came mass hysteria. People were still coming into the theater which blocked the exits. A balcony, indeed, gave way from the weight, but there was no fire. It had been a lie–intentionally told to create the hysteria and mass commotion. What resulted were seven deaths: people trampled by those trying to escape; and twenty-nine seriously injured. Spurgeon was helpless and had to be carried out on the verge of consciousness. He didn’t believe he would ever recover from the event.

Yes. In this world, you and I will have trouble.

But we know this tragedy does not mark the end of an era for Spurgeon for the same reason your difficult situations, tragedies, or deep discouragements will not mark the end for you. His story is not over and neither is yours!

Even before we know how the story ends we can make progress in our own realities.

  • Refuse the defeating thoughts battling within your mind.
  • Instead, embrace the truth of God’s Word that He will help you through this difficulty.

With much affection,



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Dungeon Experiences

Dungeon experiences

Day 4: Dungeon Experiences

Today we encounter John the Baptist in a dark and lonely place rather than in the front preaching to a crowd. He is in the dungeon. Sometimes when we are in the dungeons of life, we begin to question all that we once knew as true.


Matthew 11:4-6

And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:

the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Matthew 11:4-6

And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:

the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.

And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”


John is, indeed, having a dungeon experience.

“ARE YOU THE ONE or am I completely off base?”

“I mean, I thought you were, I think you might be, but… It’s so dark and lonely down here. This is radically different from what I imagined. I’m just not sure anymore.”

Can you relate? John needs A STRAIGHT UP ANSWER.

“Are You the One?”

Jesus offers John’s messengers an answer in Matthew 11:4-5. They are to report what they see and hear from Jesus. He doesn’t answer like John wanted, does he? Ever been there before?

“Should I keep going? Maybe I should put it on the shelf? Do I confront? Is it time to quit? Should I stop thinking about this possibility altogether? Lord, I need to know!

John’s Answer

John’s answer does not arrive in a tidy “yes” or “no” format, but it is conclusive. Jesus calls John to consider how he recognized the Messiah in the first place. What did the Word of God say the Messiah would do? How would the people know when they found Him (Isaiah 61:1)?

John was having difficulty seeing truth in the midst of discouragement. Sound familiar? What you thought was going to happen is not jiving with your reality? You begin to question your ability to discern God’s voice in your life? Did you just make the whole thing up?

Jesus then does something precious. He adds this onerous line (Matthew 11:6):

“And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

What does He mean by this? One commentator suggested the language means something far from being offended by Jesus but that the “one” in question exhibits “perfect trust under delay and disappointment.”

It’s as if Jesus is saying, “John, blessed is the one who is not offended by me but considers what I am doing compared to what the Scriptures declare the Messiah WILL DO and keeps the faith! Trust that you can hear your God under delay and utter disappointment even in a dungeon because you will be blessed if you do!”

Sometimes God meets us in our need just like John. In the middle of our discouragement or disappointment of how we thought our life should measure up, God lifts our eyes to a greater calling. Positively Jesus met John in his dungeon experience and restored him to believe again.

Do it in our Dungeon Experiences

Lord, do it for us, too!

When you are having a dungeon experience, allow Him to meet you right there. God can restore your hope and lift your eyes to believe again, too.

I pray that even if you and I have to experience delay and utter disappointment we will do exactly what John did. May God clearly meet you in your need today.

With much affection,



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Experiencing the Dungeon

experiencing the dungeon

Day 3: Experiencing the Dungeon

I don’t know if you have ever found yourself in a place you never thought you would end up, and it just doesn’t make any sense–but this is where we meet John the Baptist today. He has been in the front, heralding the Messiah. But that was then. Now he is in prison, experiencing the dungeon. Life is not turning out like envisioned. And I’m wondering if you can relate?


Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Matthew 11:2-3

Devotional Material

We find John in the dungeon (Matthew 11) sending his disciples to Jesus. He wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah.

Is he serious? This IS John the Baptist, isn’t it? Here is the PILLAR of a man who, a few chapters ago, was declaring that Jesus was The Guy. His whole life pointed toward it. John KNEW he was right and found great joy in proclaiming this truth.

What in the world is going on?

The same thing that goes on with you and me.

You and I can have our own dungeon experiences.

John is discouraged.

Remember his calling?

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Malachi 4:4-5

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ John 1:23

His faithfulness had landed him in prison where he can’t draw crowds to “prepare the way” or “turn Israel from their sin.” No one can “make straight the path” when they are sitting in the dark. This is NOT what he imagined for his life. And he is alone.

The Problem of Isolation

It’s when you and I are alone that Satan takes the great opportunity. Your mind begins to entertain thoughts that on a good hair day when your skinny jeans fit just right, you’d NEVER allow. For John, that’s when people were repenting. Hearts were changing. Ministry was flourishing. Those kinds of negative thoughts are quickly passed over.

But not in the dark. Not in the flea-infested, filth-infused dungeons we sometimes find ourselves within. You don’t dismiss those thoughts when all hope is nearly gone. You can’t extinguish them when what you thought was God’s instructions for your life seem more like something you constructed mentally. Maybe you never heard Him at all. Then everything you thought you believed with your whole life becomes cloudy.

This is where we find our POWERHOUSE John the Baptist. He wants a STRAIGHT UP answer from Jesus.


There are times when we find ourselves in such a state of discouragement we question the very person of Christ and His presence or direction in our lives. If John can find himself here, you and I can maneuver our way into the wilderness of doubt in half the time.

Let’s learn from John two things:

  1. Go straight to Jesus in your doubt and discouragement. This is the key for all suffering.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus the hard question and wait for the response. John needed answers, direction, and his hope restored, just like you. Jesus will keep you from falling.

Let’s do the work with Jesus today. I am praying that we will.

With much affection,



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