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Gratitude and Standing Firm

Gratitude and Standing Firm – Philippians 4
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. [Phil 4:4-5]
It seems strange that a prisoner incarcerated unfairly would be encouraging the church to rejoice; especially when we consider the conditions Paul faced in a Roman prison would have been worse than any Thai or Malaysian prison we might see on TV news today.
But Paul’s attitude teaches us an important lesson: our inner attitudes don’t have to reflect our outer circumstances. Paul was filled with joy because he was certain that no matter what happened to him, Christ lived in him and he lived in Christ.
It’s easy to become discouraged when we’re faced with unpleasant, unwelcome circumstances that seem without end. Little things can seem larger than we can handle, and we’re reminded again of our helplessness and our total dependence on Christ.
To rejoice in the Lord and to give thanks in all things is to live in the full knowledge that our Lord is near. Paul knew this, and lived this, and did his best to remind other believers that in the midst of shifting circumstances we need not fear anything:
6Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [4:6-7]
Thanksgiving is a virtue that flows from the belief that God is always with us, and gives us exactly what we need to do his will. It’s not what happens to us that matters – rather, how we respond to what happens. For in Christ we find our strength to overcome anything.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. [4:13]

BULLETIN INSERT Lismore Anglican Parish
7.30am Lismore, 9.30am Dunoon Sun 9/10/2011

Philippians 4 [NRSV]

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,* help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice* in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.* 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved,* whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about* these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoice* in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it.* 11Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The friends* who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.