I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. PHILIPPIANS 1:12
When new Christians begin memorizing Bible verses, Philippians 4:4 is almost always included: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” But when those young Christians discover that Paul wrote that verse while confined to prison, shackled in chains, the words suddenly take on a whole new meaning: rejoice always, even when your faith might cost you your life! Crises have a way of forcing us to clarify what we actually believe. Paul was excited when his faith landed him in prison, because he discovered that the gospel was being preached even more. In other words, his crisis was not a crisis of faith; it was a crisis because of his faith. And it was a crisis that resulted in his faith being strengthened, not weakened. When Peter was charged with being friends with Christ, he denied that the relationship existed (Matthew 26:69-75). The shame he felt caused him to clarify his faith, and it never failed him again. The next time you face a crisis, your faith will be clarified one way or the other—either strong or weak. Plan now to be pleased with what that crisis reveals. The purest suffering produces the purest understanding. JOHN OF THE CROSS - Dr. David Jeremiah Turning Points with God
Romans 12, pretty much right in the middle, says: "Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality."
If the phrase has ever been used, in this instance it's certainly true: You have your marching orders. Here in Romans 12 we who are in Christ are told many things but today we look at this one place. We are told how to behave, how to be, towards others in Christ. Not avoiding them, not looking the other way when prayer requests are offered. Not hanging onto whatever is in our possession when the Spirit prompts to give. Not behaving as the world does in regards to treating one another.
We, individually, as well as corporately, have responsibilities in Christ Jesus.
We who are in Christ are to display what Christ is to each other so that those who are not in Christ, as of yet, might see and yet still glorify God in Heaven.
We are not here, after coming to Christ, to honestly live out our dreams and wants. It's still possible that those might yet still come true if they are in agreement with God's plan for you and I, but it shouldn't be a given.
Rejoicing isn't always easy to do. Especially after hours, days, months, or even years of emotional and or physical hardship. Rejoicing is a key thing that can improve health when done with the right reasons.
I admit it's been difficult in the last year to rejoice. My body is getting older and is having problems. My life's direction has been radically altered. My desires aren't what they used to be in light of those things. Learning to cope with both makes it difficult at times. I often probably sound like I have been defeated when I know that I am not in Christ. I am just worn and tired. The extremes that life had been for me are rough.
Some, as I have shared, think that a rest is in order. Yet, you read here in Romans about: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality."
We have a list of duties, requirements even, of behavior and actions or activities.
A transformed life should include and involve what we read here.
We indeed will be shown, told, and instructed in this life about living for yourself, about being all you can be, about literally how to put yourself first.
Christians will be taught how to try to merge worldly thoughts and ideas into their lives in such a way as to minimize and mitigate their walk with Jesus.
How deeply we involve ourselves in our world's ideals today impacts our effectiveness in serving God tomorrow.
It certainly will impact our ability to rejoice.
It's difficult when your body isn't cooperating to rejoice. Yet many have pushed through and still do it. I haven't gotten there yet lol.
It's difficult when life's problems persist in wave after wave of issues to be able to rejoice. Even persistent small waves can accumulate and still do damage to a shoreline.
I probably sound like a whiner to Jesus in my prayer life some times. Like others in the faith it seems like I too get told: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NASB "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Life can and will be rough for those who live in Christ Jesus. Our world rejects the Gospel because it's in darkness until it sees the light of Jesus in us. It then either attacks or accepts what's revealed.
My thoughts today are indeed on the things going on in my world here in my new hometown. My 'world' may be smaller than it was in Columbus but by no means is it less detailed. Choosing to live in Christ Jesus I will face opposition and opportunities. Opposition will come from any direction. Opportunities should be prayed about before jumping into. I am more committed today to being found by God DOING what I am here to be doing than I truly was in Columbus. I may not be understood by some for this commitment but it's not between myself and them. It's between myself and my King.
Where are you in your commitment to living for Jesus, if indeed you have come to Christ and are saved?
If you haven't come to Christ, what's holding you back? What you'll lose? Trust me, whatever I no longer have, I have found that I never needed.
I will still look for reasons to rejoice. It indeed does bring healing to my bones.
Prayer is a wireless connection that can only be interrupted by me.
Pray for me in finding my path here in my new hometown. Pray for each other that we all are found by Jesus, at His return or when we are called home, to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Rejoice always and again I say Rejoice.
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