Key Verse: Philippians 3:10
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”
Paul (formerly known as Saul – read Acts 9:1-22) is a prisoner in Rome. What a man! He writes this letter in which he uses the words “Joy,” “Rejoice,” “Rejoicing,” “Glad,” “Gladness,” etc. 11 times. We should feel more joyful already! Paul’s incarceration did not inhibit his vision for his future. He states his goals: (1) “That I may gain Christ.” (2) “That I may know Him.” (3) “That I may know the power of His resurrection.” (4) “That I may know the fellowship of His sufferings.” (5) “That I may be conformed to His death.” (6) “That I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (7) “I press on!” (8) “I forget those things that are behind.” (9) I reach “forward to those things which are ahead.” (10) “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!!!” Anyone who is forward-looking, like Paul, will experience “JOY” also.
Paul’s warnings at the beginning of today’s reading come from his own background. He had been the chief legalist, and he had boasted for years of his standing in the Jewish denomination known as the Pharisees. Now he quickly makes it clear that none of these religious accomplishments are worth anything, in his opinion, in comparison to his relationship with Jesus! Let us be constantly conscious of the fact that we who believe IN Jesus (not just about Him) are not into a religion (outward observances) but are in a personal relationship with Him.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, You are closer to me than the breath of my lungs. You are my Friend, my constant Companion, closer than anyone else could ever be. I pray all those goals listed above by one of my fellow believers in You, Paul. “This one thing I do!” Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I think that over the years I’ve received hundreds of letters, phone calls, e-mails, and personal encounters where someone is suffering from depression. Of course, I always suggest professional help for severe cases, but without exception I have said something like this, “If I were your physician and gave you a prescription, would you have it filled, and would you faithfully take it?” “Yes,” they would answer. “Well, here it is” I would write or say. “It will take you 5 minutes each day. Read the book of Philippians once every day for 30 days. This letter of Joy will rearrange your thinking and you will begin to rejoice.” For those who have taken my prescription, no one has ever told me that it failed to do the job!
Yours for giving this reading a fair shot at bringing new “JOY” into our lives,