Advent 2012: Preparing the Path: Beyond the Circumstances

As we did throughout Advent 2011 and Lent 2012, we are blogging our way through the Advent 2012 Lectionary Readings. We love this time of year, and sharing with you in this way. Our overarching theme during this season is “Preparing the Path” and our prayer is that as we march together toward the manger, we will prepare the way for Emfmanuel.

A reading from the Paul’s epistle to the Philippians

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

— Philippians 1:3-11 (NIV)

I want to live a life so confident in God’s goodness, wisdom, and power that even if I were in prison, I would continue to press on in the work of God’s kingdom. That’s the confidence in God that Paul shows in Philippians. I see so many glimpses of Paul’s uncompromising trust in the nature and character of God through these verses.

  1. He believes that prayer moves the heart of God. If he didn’t believe in the power of prayer, he wouldn’t be continually praying.
  2. He trusts in God’s justice. He does not show frustration in his circumstance of being in chains for Christ, nor does he succumb to a spirit of self-pity and despair.
  3. He uses the time as an opportunity to be praying, thanksgiving, writing, discipling believers, encouraging, making plans, remembering the goodness of God, and rejoicing!

Let’s allow this Word of God to transform us today–not allowing our circumstance to be the be all and end all. Rather, let’s not allow our circumstance to influence our behavior at all. Let’s be so wrapped up in who God is, that our actions are those which we would want others to imitate (Philippians 3:17, 4:9)!

Studying the Word at the Church in Ephesus

Studying the Word at the Church in Ephesus

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