Trouble comes. It’s never “if”, it’s “when”.
Perhaps the Bible seems even too heavy to lift, and where would you go anyway when you have the choice of 66 Books! Is your cry simply, “O God, help me!”
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians while he was in jail. This letter, only 4 chapters, turns a light on in the darkness – not always overnight, but read over and over again brings forth a joy, deep, deep inside -no matter WHAT is going on.
God showed me years ago,when I was suffering from some ‘post-partum depression’ , I felt He spoke to my heart, “Toni, you may have a life verse, and a verse for the month, or a verse for the day -but the Book of Philippians is your ‘life book’. So, I read nothing else except the Book of Philippians until the dark cloud lifted, and lift it did, and I was changed. (I remember staying in the Book of Philippians for 4 months.)
Today, I just want to skip through this lifelong treasure.
“Grace to you and peace form God…”, (Phil.1:2),Paul writes while he is in jail.
And he is a prisoner, yes, but he calls himself, (and Timothy), ”servants of Jesus Christ.’ (Phil.1:1)
Paul was put in jail, and unable to do the things he wishes and be around those he wants to be around, but he doesn’t write about how he can get out or his own concerns, he writes about how much he thanks God for ‘every remembrance’ of those he cares about and that with every prayer that he prays for them, he prays with joy,
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,…” (Phil 1:4).
Paul had such hope for all, he was so rich, yet he was in jail. He encouraged them all because he had them in his heart praying with joy,
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6).
His main purpose in life was that the gospel be shared everywhere. “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” (Phil 1:18.)
The main purpose for each of our lives is to give glory to God. We all were created to worship Him. Paul writes, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ,…that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…”
but, Phil 1:29 probably isn’t in those promises of God books, but it most certainly is here,
in the Book of Philippians, my ‘life book’: “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”
But we can ‘rejoice in the Lord’,(Phil 3:1), Paul writes, and he writes it again, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”(Phil 4:4).
How? When we go through suffering, how?
Because, “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you – energizing and creating in you the power and desire – both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Phil 2:13, Amplified.
That’s how we can rejoice always. And Paul tells us in Phil 4:5,6, (Amplified), “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition [definite requests] with thanksgiving continue to make your wants known to God.”
That’s how we can rejoice and ‘stand firm’ in the Lord. And something happens when we do this kind of praying, Paul tells us,
“And God’s peace [be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot
of whatever sort that is, (of whatever sort that is?!)
that peace] which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over
(shall garrison? which means ‘to station troops in place for its defense,)
your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Amplified).
And Paul’s whole life was Christ, his eyes were on Him,“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
and he encouraged us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”(Phil 2:5.)
And you might feel like you are being poured out, and even empty at this point, and Paul was too, and here is what he says, “Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”(Phil 2:17).
What a book to skip through, what an example Paul, and Jesus, so we must pray,
in the spirit of thanksgiving, trusting God, and God’s peace or that ‘tranquil state of a soul’ will come and we will be able to ‘fear nothing’ and be ‘content with our earthly lot or whatever sort that is’, and
‘God Who is all the while effectually at work in us – energizing and creating in us the power and desire -‘ (Phil 2:13, Amplified),God will works out the peace of heart, in you and me,
the give us the ability to…
“Rejoice in the Lord always,” (which passes all understanding, I might add because circumstances can be horrible, just like Paul’s.)
And I will add, one more thing,
Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil 4:4).
“To our God and Father be glory forever and ever -through the endless eternities of the enternities. Amen, so be it.” Phil 4:20.
“The grace (spiritual favor and blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, be with your spirit. Amen – so be it.” Phil 4:23.