Chained, but NOT Bound

Philippians 1:12-14

Phl 1:12  

I want you to know, brothers,[fn4] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

Phl 1:13  

so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[fn5] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Phl 1:14  

And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[fn6] without fear.

 

What happened to Paul had to be terrifying to the natural man; but, apparently, Paul had learned how to rise above the dictates of his flesh.

This holds for me a powerful example of what it means to keep my eyes on Jesus, not looking at nor considering the circumstances.

“Hey! How ya doin’,” the pastor greeted his friend.
“Fine…under the circumstances,” the friend replied.
The pastor retorted, “What are you doing under there?”

The humor in that setup continually reminds me to maintain my focus. Sometimes, the situation becomes heavier than others, and I falter. But, what I have discovered as I pray about my failure, is that the situation became heavier when I began to consider it. Therefore, I am still looking for the secret to not give in to the temptation to consider, worry, fret, question, or whatever my circumstances.

I am learning to commit my way to the Lord on a daily basis. I am learning to commit my thoughts. I am still learning what all that means and how it is carried out on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.

Paul found himself chained, his freedom to move about openly hindered. Yet, it in no way took away from his commission to preach the gospel.

Rather than be frustrated about his plans to travel, he just relaxed in the Lord and continued to do what he had always done–preach Jesus.

It is when I begin to focus on my plans for the kingdom and then see how they are not working out that I become frustrated. A lack of money can do it. A lack of a place to meet can do it. A cross word from a loved one can do it.

But, as we work our way through this study, I will eventually see why Paul was able to say, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Maybe I will be further along in my journey by then, and will have a more encouraging note to write.

NOTE: There is an ongoing study of the epistle to the Philippians. It is a verse-by-verse study by all who participate.
Won’t you join us?

The Reality of Our Circumstances

Lam 3:22-26
22  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.   KJV

In the midst of the current world situation, it is good to look at the reality of circumstances and remember a promise of the Lord such as this one.

What is the reality of our circumstances?

Reality must be defined from which perspective one wishes to consider it. In the natural, my current reality is that our income has been slashed in half. Add to that the word of the Lord to our hearts to move to a more costly part of the country, and nothing makes sense. Not only are we in a more costly region, we are in a high-poverty area of that region.

Jobs are scarce and factories are closing. People are frightened.

As I consider the natural from this light, it would be easy for me to become frightened also.

But, there is one aspect of our reality that sometimes gets overlooked as we reach for the panic button: “we are not consumed.”

Why? Because of the Lord’s mercies; because His compassions fail not.

Not only do His compassions not fail, they are new every morning.

That is a different reality, one that I would do well to make my constant view.

But when I look at my situation, it is easy to forget–ie, be unaware of the fact–that I made it through the night. I’m still here! I am not consumed. The world has not beat me. I’m ready to go again.

What is my portion? Is it a paycheck upon which I cannot depend?

NO!

The LORD is my portion!

He is good to me because I wait for Him. I seek Him; to know Him; to be more like Him.

Are you quietly waiting? Or, are your complaints, whinings, and fears screaming too loudly to hear His voice say: It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.(v. 26)

Yes, it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.