So I turned, where else, but to the book of Philippians. Or, more appropriately, God led me to the book of Philippians. I've read it over and over again during the last few weeks.
I've decided the reason I like this book of Paul's so much is that he doesn't pretend. He doesn't pretend that life is going to be easy. He doesn't pretend that if a person does everything, or most everything right, that their life is going to be rosy. He never suggests that life is going to be a cake-walk and that everyone gets to go home with a cute cupcake.
Paul's life was hard. And, I get the impression from reading Philippians that he loved it anyway. That he wouldn't have traded it for anything. Well, anything except for seeing Jesus face to face.
Paul tells me that real joy, not necessarily happiness, is possible in the "whatevers" of life.
I've lived like that before and I want to live like that again.
The truth is, I've experienced my greatest joy at some of the worst times in my life.
I want that of kind joy back.
So, October is going to be my JOY month. Yes, there will be Florida football to watch, cooler weather to enjoy, a birthday celebration on the 27th, and aisles of trick or treat candy to resist. But for me, this month is going to be about letting God teach me about His JOY all over again.
As I have been reading through Philippians, I have been highlighting all the reasons that I can have JOY in whatever life throws at me. A JOY that is found in believing in the One my circumstances will never change.
In high school and college, I always learned best by writing things down and seeing them in black and white. So, everyday through the month of October, I am going to be blogging about one reason I can experience JOY in whatever. I'm sure there are many reasons that Paul gives that I will miss. And, my simple theology might cause a few ?????????'s.
I know that God's Word is powerful. That it is alive. And I pray that the words of Paul will be both powerful and alive in my life.
And I hope to know The One who makes JOY possible more than I have ever known Him before.
You are welcome to follow me this month, as I review and meditate on the reasons I have found in the book of Philippians for real JOY in any and all circumstances.
#1 GOD FINISHES WHAT HE STARTS.
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work, until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." v.1:6
I am not a finisher, and I don't like that about myself. But God is. He doesn't quit.
From the creation to fulfilling a promise for a baby. Setting apart a people for Himself, freeing the captives, winning battles. Leading a group of stubborn and stiffneck wanderers into the Promised Land. . . God never quit. Walls torn down. Kings crowned. A temple built and rebuilt. He never quit.
God didn't quit until the the promise of a Savior was kept. And He didn't quit until the world was reconciled to Him through that Savior... Jesus Christ.
And, three days later. . .
He never quit and He never will.
So today, October 1st, I can have JOY because my God doesn't quit. Because my God won't quit and give up on me!
GOD IS GOING TO FINISH ME!