Sunday 17 November, 2013

Philippians 1:1-11

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 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. 7 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’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul has a way of encouraging the people he is writing to that I just love. His delight for the Philippians when he prays and his continuous thanksgiving for them in prayer “whenever he thinks of them” is fantastic. It’s easy for me to read over verses 3-4 and miss the significance they would have carried to the believers gathered together to hear Paul’s letter being read out to them. When genuine affection and encouragement is declared – it warms our hearts and energises our spirits. Someone taking the time and effort to declare their love and support of us – to speak out our partnership with them for the gospel – refocuses and refuels us for our calling in Christ.

It happened to me recently. It made all the difference in the world and brought me out of a place of discouragement and weariness into a place of confident trust that Christ has positioned me and is using me in the midst of what sometimes feels like overwhelming opposition.

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Lord – may I be an encouragement to the people around me following you just as Paul was to the Philippian believers.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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