Joy in Jesus

Joy Devo

Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:3-6):

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Joy is a central theme in the book of Philippians. There are 15 explicit references to some form of either the noun “joy” (chara in Greek) or the verb “rejoice (chairo) in this short letter.

In Hebrew, the number 15 signifies a new direction. The number 15 in Hebrew, is “Yod Hey,” is a symbol of the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit, and this inspiration gives a new meaning to life and makes way for a new direction. Joy is what has been given to every believer in Jesus Christ. The number five is the number for grace and with fifteen being a multiple of five, fifteen implies salvation, healing, redemption, ascending, and fullness. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Paul writes 15 explicit references to a form of joy in this letter as he would also list 15 spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ in Ephesians 1.

The world tells you to pursue happiness but the difference with happiness from joy is that happiness is dependent upon what happens to us. One minute you can be happy, but the next minute when something bad happens where did my happiness go? Joy is different from happiness because joy does not depend on what is happening in my world in order for me to be joyful. Joy says God is in control of my circumstances. Our joy comes from and flows out of our relationship with God. Joy is a choice with the by-product of joy being peace. As I look to and spend time with Jesus, I enter rest, as I trust and delight in Him, and I find that joy abounds, overflows, is given to me in super abundance.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6).

When things are not going so well for Paul (he is in prison as he writes this), one of the things he does is he thinks about what God is doing through the lives of others and it causes Paul to thank God every time he does it. Thanksgiving in Paul’s prayers results in his prayers being full of joy (Philippians 1:3-4).

What is joy? The Hebrew word for joy is defined as cheerfulness, calm delight, and gladness.

Here in verses 12 and 14 of Philippians chapter one: “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel. When you see your trial as a future testimony, you can rejoice in knowing God can use it for the Kingdom.  “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear.”

What is it that brings calm delight to your life? For Paul it was brothers and sisters in Christ, which is wonderful. For you it might be your family that leads you to give thanks and brings you to a place of joyful prayers. Think about Jesus. No matter what we go through we just need to be reminded of who we are in Christ, and what is ours in Christ. That is why later in the same letter Paul says the following: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

If it were not for Paul’s prison time, we wouldn’t have much of the New Testament. His imprisonment had purpose and great value, it has been helping believers for centuries and many have been saved because of the things that Paul wrote in this letter to the Philippians that the Holy Spirit has used time and time again. 

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). I believe that verse 6 is also key to bringing us calm delight. Often in my life when I feel pressure, stressed, and not very joyful it is because something has happened that has brought me to a place where I start to doubt whether I am going to be able to accomplish at I think I need to do. When you put your trust in God that nothing will stop the work of God in your life, this will lead you to rejoice always. The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This is because you have put your confidence not in your ability, or in the apparent favorableness of your circumstances that are always changing. What you have done is you recognize He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. God has ordained special things in your life that you will get to be a part of that He will also complete. Sometimes we will experience some prison-like situations because the trials reveal the genuineness of our faith, which brings praise, honor, and glory to God. Our trials allow the testimonies to come forward and for others to hear and believe the Gospel message. So, rejoice that you are in Christ and He is doing a good work in your life.

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Turns Out…

Turns Out

Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:19):

“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

Paul is sure of something in his life that has not even happened yet. Our lives in Christ give us great hope that things will always turn for our good. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials, tribulations, persecution, or difficulties. Paul explains it like this, “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is no. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “More than Conquerors” is a Greek word that means a surpassing victory.

The love of Christ gives us a surpassing victory in all things we face in our lives (Romans 8:37).

There is something that I know about my life, things are about to turn. I am being given a surpassing victory and the way God has chosen to do it is through your prayers and the provision in the Holy Spirit.

God will use those things that look to imprison us to set the captives of sin free (to advance the Gospel) Philippians 1:12. Paul already knows why he is in prison and will testify to it. In verse 16 he says, “knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel.” You do not need to fear the path ahead if you know who goes with you and the provisions that have been made for you in Christ Jesus.

Are you sharing your salvation story to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ? How has God turned things for you in the past, how He has prospered you here and now in this season of your life even with what is happening in your life today? Do you have an expectation of God working all things together for your good, giving you a surpassing victory in Jesus’ name? God’s blessings are not limited by where you are at in life, if He did it for Paul in prison think what He might do in your life.

Paul says something that is subtle but it is also so profound.

“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear” Philippians 1:14. The only way that you can share the Gospel without fear is if you see the love God has for you.

Prayers and Provisions of the Spirit

Prayers and Provisions of the Spirit

Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:19):

“For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” 

You do not need to fear the path ahead if you know who goes with you and the provisions that have been made for you in Christ Jesus. Paul in uncertainty is certain of his deliverance and it comes from the prayers of the believers at Philippi and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus.

In the same chapter Paul wrote in verses 12 and 13 that he is in prison for his faith and he wants us to know that what has happened to him has actually served to advance the gospel. God will use those things that look to imprison us to set the captives of sin free (to advance the Gospel) Philippians 1:12. The only way that you can share the Gospel without fear is if you see the love God has for you. God can use your situation for His salvation to reach others. 

“For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).

“Deliverance” is the word for salvation (soteria). Because we know that the apostle Paul is in Christ, he is already eternally saved, the definition he must be using is deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation from his enemies. This is fascinating to me because somehow Paul knows he will be delivered here.

How can I be certain of anything in uncertain times? There is a clue in the text in verse 19 as the word for prayer is not a normal Greek word used for prayer. THE church is asking God for something specific- their prayer is focused, united, and Spirit-led. The church is asking God for something specific (deēsis): a need, seeking asking God, wanting something specific (Paul’s deliverance). 

For Paul there is a certainity in the uncertain because the prayers of God’s people where coupled with the provisions of the spirit of Christ. The Spirit led them in how they should pray, what was God’s will for Paul in this situation was his deliverance. Praying in the Spirit is relying on the Spirit in prayer. Because the Spirit moved on the Body of Christ to pray for Paul’s release from prison, he is certain this will be the outcome.

What is praying in the Spirit why is it important and how did it give Paul confidence in uncertainty?

Make Jesus your resting place, and all will be well. You will sleep in the storm. To pray in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and worship in the Spirit (John 4:24) is to come before the Lord according to His appointed means—that is through the One whom the Spirit magnifies, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-27), The Holy Spirit also takes our prayers and perfects them before the Almighty (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit prays within us when we cannot utter a word (Romans 8:26). When you are praying in submission to the Lord God and His Son, the Holy Spirit within you will testify to Jesus in His Word, in your prayers, and even in those other believers praying with you. These things and so much more are ignited by the dynamite of praying in the Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit is God’s glorious means of advancing His will on earth as it is in heaven.

Partnership in the Gospel

Daily Reading: Philippians 1:1-6- Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1 is a powerful letter of great joy that has a minor theme of partnership woven throughout it. One of the strongest partnerships mentioned in the Bible was that of Paul and Timothy.  Both men were instrumental in founding the church of Philippi mentioned in Acts 16. Right from the start of this letter, we learn a valuable lesson that we will benefit greatly as we start to see our ministry work not as Lone Rangers but as partners together (Philippians 1:1).
Ministering unto others is a difficult undertaken and it is helpful to do it together with a partner for multiple reasons.  When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he could send Timothy to the Philippians and he already had established a relationship with them.  Besides having a great partner in the Gospel, two things you are going to especially need as you minister; grace and peace (Philippians 1:2).
As you follow the progression of Paul’s writing is that one of the benefits of receiving God’s grace and having a sense of the peace that Jesus has given to us is that both grace and peace leads to thanksgiving (Philippians 1:3).
Since we have peace with God through Jesus we can be assured that our salvation is secure in Christ. Christ is working in and through our lives and because of this, there is confidence in the Gospel going forward (Philippians 1:6).