Read Philippians 1 - 4
In Today's Reading:
Paul's prayer for the Philippians; the privilege of suffering for Christ; unity gained by humility; exhortation to rejoice in the Lord
The Apostle Paul first preached in Europe near the city of Philippi. On the Sabbath, Paul went to a place of prayer by a river where he met Lydia, a businesswoman from Thyatira. Lydia was saved along with a few others, and a church was planted there (Acts 16:13-15). At a later date, as a missionary prisoner at Rome, Paul wrote to these converts.
His imprisonment gave him the opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with the elite guard of the Roman Empire. This was a great opportunity to tell many of them about Jesus the Messiah, who was foretold in the Scriptures, as there was a change of guard three or four times a day. He wrote to the Philippians: The things that happened to me have fallen out (turned) rather to the furtherance of the Gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest (known) in all the palace (military headquarters), and in all other places (1:12-13).
Paul encouraged the church to hold forth the Word of Life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain (2:16). Our occupation in life may be in politics, the military, business, education, manual labor, or homemaking, but our primary concern should always be that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
We all have a natural desire for physical comforts, security, and material things. However, in making our decisions, our first loyalty should be to Christ. There is a storehouse of spiritual wealth and peace in Him that surpasses all earthly possessions in importance.
Paul had renounced a prominent career for a life of unceasing hardship and persecution which was destined to end in violent death. Knowing what the future held for him, he said: According to my earnest expectation and my hope . . . Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:20-21). We too should be able to say with Paul: I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish), that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:8).
1:7 meet = right; 1:8 my record = my witness; bowels = affections; 1:12 have fallen out = have turned out; 1:14 waxing confident = gaining confidence; 1:22 wot = know; 1:23 in a strait betwixt two = hard pressed between the two; 1:28 to them an evident token of perdition = to them a clear sign of their destruction; 2:3 vainglory = boasting, empty conceit; 2:22 the proof of him = he has proved himself; 3:1 not grievous = not a hardship; 3:2 dogs = Gentiles; 3:20 conversation = citizenship; 4:6 be careful for nothing = don't be anxious; don't worry; 4:14 communicate with = express your concern; 4:18 I have all = I am fully satisfied; 4:22 chiefly = especially.
Pray for Country: Central African Republic (3 million) in the center of the African continent · Major languages: French and Sangho · Religious freedom · 47% Protestant; 34% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 3% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to forgive your sins (Psalm 25:11).
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 9:6