To all my friends and family in the Lord, my fellow believers in Jesus Christ in this physical world of ours, and in the blogging world, on social media, and on Christian support and discussion sites:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:2 ESV
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:3-6 ESV
I thank the Lord for you all! What a blessing you have been to my life! There were many years when I had little in the way of true Christian fellowship, spiritual and emotional support, and regular and consistent encouragement from the body of Christ in my walk of faith with my Lord. Those were desert times in my life, yet they were learning and growing times, too. I think, in fact, that having had those times in my life, that it makes me all the more appreciative of what God has now blessed me with in the way of Christian fellowship and mutual encouragement from within the body of Christ.
Just knowing you are there is an encouragement to my heart. I pray for you that God would encourage your hearts, as well, and that you would be lifted up in him in your walks of faith, steadfast in love, and assured of his watch and care over your lives. He loves you beyond measure!
I know that many of you right now are going through trials and tribulations which test your faith. I pray that God will make you strong in him, and that in Christ you will have the faith to endure much hardship on his behalf. I pray that you will be comforted with Christ’s love for you and that you will trust in his sovereignty and in his grace for your lives. All that we are going through has a purpose, and God will work out all things for good for those of us who love him – who follow him in obedience – who are the called according to his purpose.
You’re in My Heart
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:7-8 ESV
I do hold you all in my heart. What a blessing from God it is to know that we are not alone in this battle against the enemy of our souls, but that we have other believers in Jesus Christ standing with us in prayer, supporting us with encouraging words, and agreeing together with us in what needs to be done to bring this world of ours to its knees in humble submission to God. This must happen in order that they might find the only true hope they will ever know, which is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord. He alone can deliver them from their demons, and he alone can set them free to walk in victory over their enemy and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness.
I can’t tell you how many times the Lord has spoken to my heart on a particular issue facing us, as believers in Jesus Christ, only to read where he was speaking to one or several of you on the same subject, on the same exact day. That is a God-thing! He works all things together in conformity with the purpose of his perfect will. He does this, I believe, to confirm in our hearts the messages he has for us individually and as his body. That is such a tremendous encouragement when HE does this in us and through us for his glory and praise. Amen!
I have a deep affection in my heart for you all, even for the ones I have never heard from, but I know are there reading what God has impressed upon my heart to write each day. Some of you I have gotten to know pretty well, while others of you I know little of, and yet you bless my heart. I know God is using many of you to bless the hearts of many others, too. And, I find encouragement in that, as well, when I read what God is giving you to say, and when I read the responses you get from your readers. Even your readers bless my heart by the responses they give to you.
More and More
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Phil. 1:9-11 ESV
But, this is not about us, is it? What I mean is, this is not about us just patting one another on the back so we can feel good about ourselves. This is about encouraging one another to follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps and to be his servants and witnesses in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the regions beyond so that many more can come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. And, this is about helping each other to grow in our walks of faith so that we do not fail, and so we truly walk in freedom from sin and in victory over darkness and in the power of God living within us.
This is about love for God and sacrificial love for one another, sharing with one another the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ so that we may all walk in Him and in His righteousness and holiness. This is about caring for one another’s needs, and carrying one another’s burdens, too, and praying for one another and encouraging one another in our walks of faith.
I love the story in the Bible recorded for us in Exodus 17. God’s people were in a battle against an enemy. Whenever Moses held up his hand, God’s people prevailed against their enemy, but whenever he lowered his hand, then their enemy prevailed against them. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so a stone was put underneath him on which he sat, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. And, then God’s people won the battle against their enemy.
On a spiritual plane, what this is teaching us is that we can’t go it alone. If we have to, and God is our only support, he is absolutely enough!! And, sometimes that is exactly where we are, too. But, oh how wonderful it is when the body of Christ comes alongside us and holds up our hands, i.e. holds us up in prayer and encourages us in our walks of faith, for we do grow weary, at times, do we not?
And, just when we begin to feel that we are all alone in this battle, the Lord will encourage us through his Word or he will send someone alongside us to lift us up in prayer or with just the right words to spur us on toward love and good deeds, and that makes all the difference! And, they might not even know they are doing this, but they are just obeying the Lord in writing or in saying what God gives them to say, and the Lord leads us to hear or to read what He has given them, and it is as though the message is just for us. Do you relate?
But, notice with me here what happened first, before his hands were held up by others. He had a rock placed underneath him to give him support. That Rock is Jesus Christ, our Lord. If he is NOT our foundation, then having other Christians support us may have little impact on our lives. Or, we may find that we are finding our dependency in these others to hold us up, and when they don’t, our faith may fail. We cannot put our hope and trust in humans. Our Lord has to be our all sufficiency, and then if he blesses us with encouragers along the way, that is like getting a bonus, is it not?
Basically, if we are going to win this battle over our enemy Satan, we have to have Jesus Christ as our foundation and as our all sufficiency, no matter if we have human support or we don’t. And, then, when he does send helpers our way, our trust and reliance remains in our Lord, as it should.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
Thursday, January 25, 2018, 6:35 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. May it minister Your grace to each of our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name, and all to Your honor, glory and praise. Amen!