I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 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; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for joining us on the new week of Freedom Fighter blogs. Our prayer is that we will provide encouragement and hope as you think about Living Courageously.
This past Sunday our Pastor was preaching from the book of Philippians and one of his insights was the catalyst for today’s blog.
When Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison chained to a Roman guard. The guards rotated shifts every six hours so that Paul most likely had contact with every one of the guards during his imprisonment.
How people handle adversity will often speak of their character – what their made of. Some people will handle adversity like they have view most of their life – looking at it from the “glass half empty” perspective or the “glass half full.”
Throughout Paul’s imprisonments, the difficulties he experienced, somehow he never was a pessimist. He always looked at his challenges/adversity/trials from the perspective of how God might use this first for HIS glory, and then Paul’s.
Think about these words from his letter to the church at Philippi coming from someone chained to a Roman guard 24/7:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21
Do all things without grumbling and complaining. – Philippians 2:14
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted as loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all thing loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8
That I may know HIM and the power of HIS resurrection, and the fellowship of HIS sufferings, being conformed to HIS death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. – Philippians 4:4-5
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Wow! And these are just a few of the lessons Paul shared in the midst of suffering and persecution – lessons from a man who knew intense adversity.
What are some of the lessons that you have learned when you have faced times of difficulty?
Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President & CEO of America’s Keswick
Think About This: “To say that ‘prayer changes things’ is not as close to the truth as saying, ‘prayer changes me and then I change things.’ God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things.” ~Oswald Chambers
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint ~Isaiah 40:31