I know the weather is bad outside and SERVICE was canceled for today but just because we don’t have service don’t mean we can’t have church. So right now I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from this morning’s Sunday school lesson.
The lesson for this morning is entitled Rejoice In All Circumstances, and the Scripture for today’s Lesson is Philippians 1:21-27. The key verse for this lesson is verse 12 where Paul says:
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel – Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
At the time Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison, for preaching the gospel. There were people in jail who were also preaching Christ, but they were doing it to make him mad. And to top it all off, Paul is not just in prison, he’s on death row – just because he was telling the truth! If anybody had a reason to be upset because of his circumstances it was Paul. Yet in the midst of this mess, we find Paul rejoicing!
I just want share several things I see in this passage that I think might encourage you today.
CIRCUMSTANCES are what happens TO you; ATTITUDE is what happens IN you.
Like Paul, we often have little to no control over what happens around us and what happens to us – BUT we always have control over how we respond to what happens. I don’t have to let the fact that bad things are going on around me make bad things come up out of me. I CAN REJOICE ANYHOW!!!
GOD is always up to SOMETHING.
Even though it seems bad and looks bad for Paul, he still can see God at work in his situation. Yes, he’s stuck. Yes, he’s being taunted. Yes, his life is at stake – but in the midst of all that GOD IS WORKING. He’s furthering His gospel. He’s spreading his message. He’s getting the word out – which means people can be saved. When the Bible says that God works all things together for good, it doesn’t just mean the things I like; it also means the things I don’t. Even though you may be going through hell, God is using your situation to lead someone else to heaven!
My VICTORY is in my PRAISE.
Note that Paul’s praise in his situation leads him a new perspective on his situation. Before verse 18, he is reviewing what’s wrong; after verse 18 he is reflecting on what’s right! No matter the situation or the circumstance, God will always provide a way of escape for us – and often times the way out is in our praise to God. He draws near with His presence, and with His presence comes His peace and His power. Who or what can withstand that?
Maybe today you are feeling a little down. Maybe your situation is a little overwhelming, or maybe you’ve just lost a loved one, or maybe your upset about being stuck in the house today. You are not the only one. God loves you, and he is encouraging you today to find the way out of what has you down. The way out is UP. Lift your hands UP. Lift your voice UP. Look UP and live…REJOICE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!