July 4, 2019
If you’ve seen any news lately you know that we live in a violent and ungodly time in history. Wars and rumors of wars abound. It seems as if there’s no end to the violence, hatred, and murders. The hearts of people are growing colder each day and unnatural affections are being touted as normal. It’s easy to become discouraged, but there’s always been violence in the world. The weapons we use to maim and kill may have changed, but the satanic influence over weak minds is still the same. Jesus spent much time in His ministry preparing His followers to live in this fallen world but not to be a part of it. He also taught those who followed Him to spread the Gospel and in one incident they came back to Him rejoicing that even devils were subject to them through the name of Jesus Christ. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.: Luke 10:19. The serpents and scorpions the Christ mentions in this verse are demons and evil power. Christians need not fear Satan, and whatever obstacles we face, we are to spread the Gospel. Whether we witness to a neighbor or are called to go to a foreign country, use the Biblical example of Missionary work to spread the Good News boldly and without fear. No matter how many demons flee before you when you speak in the name of Jesus, there’s something even more joyous to keep in mind. “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Everyone has challenges, but a Christian’s view of life shouldn’t be ruled by the fallen world, but by Jesus. Are you having trouble at work? If so, you can still rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life. Health and financial problems happen, but because your name is written in the Book of Life there should still joyfulness in your life. The good things? Oh, they’re wonderful but pale at the joy of the fact that your name is written in the Book of Life. Whatever comes your way, remember your salvation and find joy in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul lived in a time when the persecution of Christians was strong. Because of his faith in Christ and his boldness to speak God’s truth he was beaten and jailed many times. He certainly could have become discouraged and turned his back on Jesus, but Paul is an example of the attitude a Christian should have. He took every opportunity to glorify Christ. When in a prison in Philippi, he spent his time singing songs and praying. Instead of escaping when an earthquake destroyed the prison where he was chained he stayed and witnessed to the jailor, who came to Christ for salvation because of what he heard from Paul. Whatever circumstances we face in life, we can show our faith by what we say and do. Christians are just passing through this world and headed to our eternal Home and life everlasting with Jesus. When we look at this life as temporary our view of things changes. Every circumstance can be used to glorify God. That’s how Paul, while under Roman house arrest, was able to write a letter to the Philippians, which was full of encouragement. The congregation in Philippi had been established when he was on a missionary journey. In that city, he had been arrested and beaten and that’s where the jailor found salvation. Now Paul sat in another prison and encouraged the Christians in Philippi to live to glorify Christ. Whatever they faced he encouraged them to rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. We need to heed these words today. Whatever you face, rejoice in the Lord always.
If you think about all that’s bad in this world, anxiety and stress can show in your face. We read headlines that make it clear that the Biblical end-time prophecies are coming to life. Those headlines can bring stress even if you don’t relate them to prophecy. Other things can also ruin your whole day, like an argument with your spouse or trouble at work. Instead of stewing on problems, go to God in prayer. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. “Be careful for nothing” is one of those King James phrases that needs to be understood in modern terms. Modern translations say “don’t be anxious”. Anxiety can be caused by many things. Yes, an argument can make you anxious, but so can waiting for the results of medical test or a troublesome class in school, or worry over the world situation. Whatever has you worried and anxious, pray about it. The peace that comes from giving your cares to God can’t be matched by anything this world has to offer. No matter what the medical test reveals, if your name is written in Heaven then you have nothing to be anxious about. That tough class? Pray, study, pray. Let God guide your daily life and you’ll find His peace in spite of whatever you face.
We will always have problems on this side of Heaven. Jesus said we would, but He also encouraged us. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. The tribulation that Jesus spoke of would require faith to face. He told them that they would soon weep but the world would rejoice, which referred to His crucifixion. He warned His disciples that they would face persecution because of Him and be scattered. Whatever they faced they had to understand that Jesus had overcome the world. Today we all face the loss of loved ones and face fear when witnessing to family and friends. We fear persecution and in many parts of the world that persecution is violent. Whatever it is you face, be of good cheer. If you’re a Christian then you know that Jesus Christ has redeemed your soul and whatever happens in this life we can rejoice over our redemption and that our names are written in Heaven.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t among those who followed Jesus, and in fact, was one who persecuted them. His life was changed when he met Jesus. In the years that followed, Paul spread the Gospel but also face persecution. When he wrote the letter to the believers in Philippi he could honestly encourage them because he had lived through so many challenges to his faith. He faced shipwrecks, beatings, and imprisonment, but his faith stayed solid. He also had times when money was short and food was scarce. Whatever he faced he trusted Jesus, his faith was strengthened, and he found peace instead of anxiety. When he wrote to the Philippians, he was in one of those troubled times but had received help from his friends in Philippi. He thanked them for their kindness. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11-13. Whatever we face in life we must remember that Jesus overcame the world and nothing in this life can take away our salvation. Paul knew that whatever tribulation he faced, his strength came from Jesus Christ. That’s an example to us today. Whatever we face we can be content because of our faith in Jesus.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. Whatever you face in life, keep Jesus first and foremost in your thoughts and dwell upon the blessings. Whatever your past sin, if you’ve repented and asked forgiveness from Jesus, you’ve been forgiven. Jesus has forgiven you, now forgive yourself. Whatever fear you harbor, give it to Jesus in prayer and don’t dwell on it. If you learn to think about the good things in life, and there are many good things, you won’t be stumbled by the bad things. You’ll learn to be content. Remember, if you can’t think of anything else to rejoice in “… rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven.” Luke 10:20b.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.