Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Philippians 1:2-6 We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ. (3) Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. (4) Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. (5) I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. (6) There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.


In verse 4 is is the first of many times Paul used the word joy ("glad heart" in The Message) in this letter. The Philippians were remembered with joy and thanksgiving whenever Paul prayed. By helping Paul, they were helping Christ's cause. The Philippians were willing to be used by God for whatever he wanted them to do. When others think about me, what comes to their minds? Am I remembered with joy by them? Do my acts of kindness lift up others?

The Philippians first heard the Good News about 10 years earlier when Paul and his companions visited Philippi (during Paul's second missionary journey) and founded the church there.


This passage is so challenging to me, from the very first sentence, "we greet you with grace and peace that comes from God our Father, and our Master, Jesus Christ." Grace and peace just flowed out of Paul. This man who was under constant scrutiny, criticism, pain, battle after battle along with false accusations yet he me everyone with grace AND peace! That is amazing. I'm not very sure that I would be that gracious or peaceful. But here's the key... "that comes from God our Father and our Master Jesus Christ." The more time he spent in fellowship with the Father through his relationship with Jesus, the more grace and peace he was able to pass on.

He even goes on to say that every time he thinks of his brothers and sisters in the Lord, that he breaks out in thanksgiving to God for them, and then each thanksgiving is a trigger to prayer. And he found himself praying with a glad heart.

Wow! What a word from God for me today. Too often, when I think of someone, it isn't grace and peace I am offering them. Nor do I break out in thanksgiving for them. And the trigger that I pull is not prayer, but complaining and criticizing about them. If I'm not careful, I can even slip off into "spiritual" gossip. Where I say things like, "please pray with me about ___________, you know they are running their mouth again." Well...what am I doing? Running my mouth! I need to change in this area...today!


"Lord, I praise you and adore you. You are worthy of so much more praise than I can give you. Thank you for your Word. It gives life and direction. As I read this passage today, my heart was stirred to change. I want to offer grace and peace to everyone I meet, everyone I think about. When they come to my mind, I choose to give them unmerited favor and blessing, and speak Your peace over them. I ask that you help me, through Your Holy Spirit, to give thanks first of all for every person that comes to my mind. Then, that thanksgiving will be a trigger to pray for them. I thank you for bringing this powerful truth to my mind. In Jesus' name, amen!"