“Thanks and Prayers”
Pastor David Moore
Old Testament reading: Psalm 121:1-8 (NRSV)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Theme: How we frame something that helps determine our perspective. Today we continue on Philippians with Paul in chains to a praetorian guard, 24/7 and wondering how these lemons will be turned into lemonade.
New Testament reading: Philippians 1:12-26 (NIV)
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
God is the ultimate lemonade maker.
Life gives us lemons and instead of panicking or complaining, we start to think about how God is going to make lemonade. ~D. Moore
Verse 19: For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance (salvation.)
Paul responds by saying, “I rejoice because I know that suffering and tragedy, whether I end up exalted or not, is saving me. It is making me into the man I am created to be (refined).”
Paul defines life. Verse 20-21: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
The most important thing for me, if I have Christ, I am living despite any and all circumstances. ~D. Moore
Paul could have framed life for pleasure, be stoic and try to live morally. But for Paul life was framed through Christ. ~D. Moore
God was willing, and is willing, to do anything to have us with Him. ~D. Moore
What can our response to that possibly be? If you really think about that, reflect on it, it has to change us. Because we look at Jesus, our friend, our brother, our king, our savior, is for Him to live in me, then for me to live in Him. It is You, Lord. What can the world can take from you at that point? Your life? Paul says no big deal. Now the question is whether we are going to continue trying to find our lives in something other than God, or in Christ alone. ~D. Moore
I challenge you, where are you going to find your life? Something in the world or in Christ alone?
God bless, have a good week.