Philippians 1:3-4 (NIV): I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
A QUICK SNAPSHOT OF THE BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY:
We continue learning about Paul's journey to set up the first Christian church in Europe in the city of Philippi, including the pain and suffering that he endured while doing it. And yet, Paul chooses to rejoice.
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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.
We’ve been studying Paul’s joyful letter to the Church in Philippi that he wrote from a prison cell while awaiting trial in Rome.
I can imagine he’s got a lot of time on his hands, and when you have time on your hands, what do you do? A lot of us daydream! And so Paul’s there daydreaming about the people at the church in Philippi. And he starts to chuckle as he ponders about how much higher God’s plans are than ours.
You see, Philippi was never in Paul’s plans. However, God prevented him from going anywhere else, and one-night Paul had a vision from a man in Macedonia saying “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul obeys the promptings of the Holy Spirit, boards a boat and heads to Macedonia.
His first stop is Philippi.
Now he goes into town looking for a synagogue because that’s where Paul usually began preaching when in a new town, but this time there was no synagogue to be found. Jewish law required that there must be at least 10 Jewish men to make a synagogue, and we can only assume that there must not have been because Paul and his companions went outside the city to a riverbank, where women met for prayer. One of them was named Lydia. Paul sits down and shares his message of the gospel, and Lydia believes and is baptized. At that moment, Paul started the first Christian church in Europe, and Lydia was the first Christian in Europe. How cool would that be?
Paul continues sharing the gospel message for the next few days. A demon-possessed girl begins following him everywhere and mocking him. Paul gets irritated, turns around, and delivers the demon from her body. Paul gets in trouble, is brutally beaten, and put in jail. And that was within the first few days of Paul’s stay in Philippi. Welcome to Philippi.
And yet, we read Paul saying in Philippians 1:3-4, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy."
Paul is giving us another key in how to live a life of joy. See, when he’s looking back, Paul isn’t thinking of all the pain he went through. He’s thinking of the lives God changed. Including Lydia’s and the Jailer and his family who received Christ because of Paul’s imprisonment. He chooses to see the good even in the midst of darkness.
So, your simple truth for today: When all hope seems to be lost in your life, just like Paul, make the choice to rejoice. I’m not saying this will be easy, but when you make the choice to give thanks to God, you will begin to see God working even in the darkest hours of your life.
Hey, thank you for continuing to share this podcast with those God lays on your heart.
I’m Julie Carruth. And I’ll see you again tomorrow.