Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Joel 1-3; Philippians 4
In the book of Joel we find the prophet helping God’s people deal with natural disasters as he explains the significance of them. As natural disasters hit, it is troubling that only a few people ever ask, “What is God trying to teach me?” What is our first response when trials come into our lives? Philippians 4 tells us to “rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say rejoice.” (vs. 4) It doesn’t give any qualifiers other than to always rejoice. How are you doing with this command? By the way, it is a command and it is NOT a suggestion. It is an imperative that clearly says, “You rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” How does that happen? It happens when you and I are completely convinced that God is in control and that He can never make a mistake. We are not always able to rejoice in our circumstances, but we can always rejoice in the character and control of our great God in the midst of our circumstances. We can rejoice when we find out we have cancer, have lost our job, or have a tooth ache if we are convinced God is in control and cannot make a mistake. The context of this passage is two ladies in the church who are not getting along. What do we do? We trust the word of God and let it have its perfect work in our minds as we grow in grace so that God and His word are glorified. The question is always, “who do we want to please most?” When it is most important for us to please the Lord, we obey the word of God no matter what our flesh wants. We trust God to know what is best. Therefore, we run to Him in prayer, making our requests known to Him while thinking on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. This obedience to God’s word and conviction that God knows what is best produces contentment in everything God allows into my life. Then we can say with Paul, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (vs. 11) Our confidence to have the proper attitude of heart that produces my countenance and actions is that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (vs. 13) When I have the conviction that God is at hand and doing what is right, I am committed to bringing glory to Him through my attitude and actions. Then I can rejoice in the Lord always and in all things give thanks. It is this attitude of trusting in the Lord with all my heart that produces the desire to partner with God in His program. As I am faithfully giving to God’s program, committed to bringing Him glory through my contentment I can rejoice that God promises to meet “all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (vs. 19) Oh how the selfish Christian gives up so much. No wonder so much heartache is rooted in people trying to get their way instead of yielding to God’s way. It doesn’t say, but my guess is that these two women needed to rejoice in the Lord and get out of the way so they were not a distraction or discouragement to the work God wanted to do at the church in Philippi. Their selfishness was affecting the unity of the church because they refused to rejoice, be content, and to be participating in the ministry. Paul exhorts someone to help these women learn to rejoice! How are you doing in this area?
• Lord, please help me to trust you in every circumstance and to convince you of my growing faith by my contentment to accept your way as perfect. May my confidence in your wisdom and the grace you promise to be sufficient be shown in my countenance and actions.
• Lord, thank you for your faithfulness to me. I know that everything you allow into my life is ultimately for my good and your glory. Please help me to never disappoint you in my lack of faith. Help me to be convinced of your faithfulness to me in every circumstance.
• Lord, please help me to enjoy the participation in your program. Help me to be sacrificial, sensitive, and secret in my giving. Please help me to be motivated only by my love for you, faith in you, and ultimately for only your glory.