Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Studying Philippians Day 3

Philippians 1: 12-14
Please read the verses first and allow the Lord to speak to you. Share with me what you have heard!

Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel

"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. " (1:12) 

Paul, in chains, recognizes that God is using his own time in prison to bring the Good News of salvation even further. While Paul is sitting still, the Gospel is going forth! Nothing- absolutely nothing will thwart God's plan for furthering the Gospel and seeing the lost set free!

My other thought on this verse is how precious is God in His love for Paul. I can only assume that Paul was frustrated or even angry at first in being captured and made to stay put. His calling was to spread the Gospel, not sit in a jail cell. But God, in His kindness, knew Paul's heart and knew that jail time was hard enough without thinking that the Gospel was now being hindered to reach the people. So, God moved on the hearts of certain men to go and move in their calling to share the Good News. Paul could now sit and be still with no worry for the Gospel. His work was getting done by others.

God knows our hearts. He knows the plan for our lives. We need to trust Him, when it looks like our life is taking detour. He will either use the detour to continue the plan or that He will bring us back on the right road again. Peace is trusting God. (I need to write this up in big letters in my home!)

"As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ." (1:13) Okay, this has got to be the coolest verse! The commentary reads: "It has become apparent to all who know of Paul's situation that he is imprisoned, not because he is guilty of some crime, but on account of his stand for the gospel. 'whole palace guard' A contingent of soldiers, numbering several thousand  many of whom would have had personal contact with Paul or would have been assigned individually to guard him during the course of his imprisonment." Not only has God raised up other men to be missionaries to replace Paul, but He is using Paul's detainment to bring 'several thousand' Roman soldiers to Himself!!!! Paul would not have been given an audience of Roman soldiers to hear the Gospel if he were free! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20) How excited Paul must have been to know that his very presence in jail was doing more to advance the Gospel than when he was free! God is so good to us and gentle.

The verse from Ephesians 3:20 is especially close to my heart. It was seventeen years ago this past February that my daughter was born with a lung disease. She was rushed by ambulance to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughter at one day old. We followed by car. Upon her x-rays and examination the doctor's said that there was nothing they could do for her that night and that we should go home. HOME? I asked to stay with her, to sleep in the waiting room, but they said no. She was in the NICU and all visitors had to go home. That night was excruciating for me. I just sat there. Sat and waited for a phone call from the hospital. The next day they understood better what she had, CCAM, and she was going to be prepped for surgery. Day three of her life the surgeon told us to say goodbye to our only daughter. He said that she may not make it through surgery, but without surgery she would certainly die. She made it through a very long surgery. Ninety percent of her left lung was removed. The doctors said that without that lung she will have a life filled with surgeries up into her teenage years, she will never be able to run or do sports, she will have scoliosis, and many other medical problems. That's when we all began to pray. My mother-in-law declared Ephesians 3;20 over my daughters life and told everyone to pray and believe. We did. At my daughter's six month check up her x-ray defied the doctor's reports. My daughter had two full and viable lungs! At the end of that appointment the doctor said to forget everything he had told us about our daughter's future health problems and that we would never need to see him again! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20)  My daughter is a dancer! She plays the piano and sings worship songs to God. Whatever you are going through offer it up to God and ask Him to do 'immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!' Believe that God is GOD. Believe that He is all He says He is. Believe that He cares for you that much. Believe and trust and have peace that God is in control.

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." (1:14) That has to be a God thing. I'm sorry, but if I had heard that our fearless leader was in jail, not because he did something wrong, but because he shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I would have been filled with fear. My immediate thought would have been, "I can't do this anymore-I don't want to go to jail!" But God poured into the brothers in Christ an excitement and strength to pick up where Paul left off. Like with soldiers in war, if one brother falls, the others are even more empowered to fight! 

Prayer for Today:
Lord, give me courage to share my love of you with others. Give me your eyes to see the lost and broken. Give me your heart of compassion and boldness to give away what you have freely given me.
Lord, help me to not get discouraged when my plans don't go the way I want them to. Help me not to worry and fret that I am off the path I thought I was suppose to be on. Help me to trust that you will use detours in my life to make me trust you more. Thank you that you're always planning to do 'exceedingly more than we could ever think or imagine!' Thank you that you are my peace and I do not need to be afraid. I surrender my fears to you. All the hurt and pain that causes me to fear are in your hands. Help me to be at peace in trusting you. I love you with all my heart and desire to be ever closer to you. Amen.

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