Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Studying Philippians: Day 2

Today's reading: Philippians 1:3-11
Please read the verses first and allow the Lord to speak to you. Share with me what you have heard!

Thanksgiving and Prayer:

"I thank my God every time I remember you."(1:3) I remember years ago, I received a letter in the mail from my childhood best friend. On the back of the envelope she had written this verse. I remember reading it over and over again and I standing there amazed and touched that she was grateful for me. I was by no means a perfect best friend. I teased her, fought with her, loved her, and basically did life with her. For all my faults, which are bigger to me than my kindnesses, she was grateful for me. She loved me despite my failures. Paul wrote this verse to the Philippians. I am sure they weren't perfect either, none of us are, but he was grateful for their devotion to God and their faithfulness to him.

Lord, I pray for a heart of thanksgiving for all those you have put in my life, past and present. Help me to be grateful for those who have treated with kindness and even those who have hurt me. The kindnesses allowed me to open up and be more free, and the hurtful ones allowed me to draw closer to you. There is no waste in your economy. Lord, help me to thank you every time I remember them.

"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (1:4-6)  Paul prays, "with joy" for the Philippians. They received the Word, were saved, and walking with Jesus. These people gave him joy. Joy in the midst of his imprisonment. They loved the Lord, prayed for him and supported his ministry. How I hope I am a joy to others as I follow Christ.

And here is the famous verse, of which I LOVE: "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." The commentaries explain, "Paul is confident not only "for" what God has done for the readers in forgiving their sins, but also of what he has done "in" them. "Work" refers to God's activity saving them. His return, when their salvation will be brought to completion." I have been walking with the Lord for over thirty years and you may read that number and think, "Wow, she must be a great Christian!" but I'm not, and many days I'm a mess. I still struggle with many of the same insecurities that I had many years ago. And there are many, many, many days when I get down on myself for not being wiser, free-er, more loving, more forgiving. But on those days, I read this Scripture: He who began a good work in you WILL carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus. I WILL be healed. I WILL be changed. I WILL be more like Jesus. I WILL. And so will you.

"It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus" (1:7-8)  I read that Paul is in chains for preaching the gospel- in chains. He sacrificed his life for Christ to bring God's Word to us and he writes "all of you share in God's grace with me." I don't know, it stirs in me that sense of hierarchy or justice. Isn't Paul a 'better' Christian than me? How do I share in God's grace with Paul? Shouldn't I deserve or get less than him? I should get 1/1,000,000 of the grace Paul got. But, No! God loves us all equally. His grace, unmerited favor, is just that- unmerited. His grace is for all of us- equal. And I'm so glad. I need His grace- abundantly! in overflowing amounts! My heart finds peace in being reminded that His grace is on me.

Let's actually pray Paul's prayer from 1:9-11  together:
Today's Prayer: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God." Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment