Saturday, January 26, 2008

Embracing the Difficulties for the Progress of the Gospel

The text:
Philippians 1:12-14
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

I remember the first time this really dawned on me what Paul was saying. I was about to go to a home to speak with both parents and teen about a rough time they were going through. I was reading the book of Philippians that day in personal study. Then I saw it. Did you? The Apostle Paul, imprisoned, was rejoicing that the gospel was progressing because of his imprisonment.

What? Where is Paul praying to be released? Where is Paul seeking God's face to comfort him? Where is Paul begging God to allow him freedom once more to be more effective in his ministry? Why isn't Paul seeking release from the circumstances?

It dawned on me. Paul had figured it out. He knew that God would allow certain uncomfortable things to come in our lives, so that God would: 1) receive glory, (2) His gospel would progress, (3) the world would see it [the whole Praetorian guard] and (4) believers would be embolden by it [most of the brethern...have far more courage to speak]. So what it would boil down to would be whether I would begin to notice the 'difficulties' in life in such a way that I would pray that God would, (not release me from the circumstances), but rather, allow the circumstances to unfold in such a way that He would receive glory. I would pray that I would respond in such a way that the gospel of God would progress...that the world would be changed, and my brothers and sisters in Christ would become even more bold in their ministries.

That is a huge paradigm shift for not only the culture in which we live, but for the Western church.

One of my memory goals for this year is to memorize Ephesians. My goal for January is to have vv.1-12 down pat. I am actually ahead of schedule and have up to v.14 almost word for word. However, my translation of Ephesians is faltering. For some reason I cannot keep it going - even though I love doing it. Pray for me. I want to accomplish this. Goals without accountability are bound to fail.

I just finished listening to an audio-book entitled, 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam. It was my first audio-book. I am unsure that I like audio-books. I have to really concentrate on what is being said, or I find myself drifting off into thinking of other things. I love history, especially military history, and this was an interesting 'read'. It wasn't outstanding, but if you like this sort of thing it would be worth checking out of a library. I wouldn't necessarily buy it.

Believe it or not, I am actually trying to sell some of my Limited Edition Gevalia coffees. I have too many for personal consumption and need to jettison some from my cupboard. If you're interested, go to eBay and search under my username: grizzlie101. I currently only have two boxes up, but will be posting more soon.

Speaking of java, I haven't had any today and it's getting close to 11:00. All I have had is a McD's sweet tea - and that is weak. But I was out and about and had to get something. So, I am off to create some coffee delight. God bless, hope your weekend is a good one.

Al, did you read the entire post?

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