Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
Over a lifetime, you’ll probably be able to count those special Christian friends on just one hand. But there’ll be one person, one very unique friendship that will stick out in your mind. A bond between the two of you that defies time, miles, and blood…a brother or sister in the Lord, that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be there for you, no matter what. Jonathan and David had that type of relationship…a connection that David called, “wonderful, a love more wonderful than that of women.” (II Samuel 1:25-26) If you haven’t reached out to this special person in a while, I urge you to do it today…if nothing more than to just thank them for their friendship, and celebrate the love you have for each other in Christ.
Paul made it a habit of practicing gratefulness. In not only this letter to the Philippians but in his letter to the Romans he showed his appreciation and encouragement. In Romans 1:8 he writes, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” Why did he do this? Well, in Philippians 1:7 Paul goes on to add, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.” Paul not only practiced a grateful heart, but he went on to affirm the good in people. For when we show appreciation, say thank you, and speak positive words into someone…they are built up, edified, and given new self-worth.
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.
The first time Jonah heard God say, “Go!”…He ran in the opposite direction. So surprisingly, when Jonah head God say, “Go!” this time, he obeyed. So what changed? Not God. His command was simple, straight forward, and didn’t waver in what He wanted Jonah to do. Nor was it the people of Nineveh who God wanted Jonah to warn. They remained a perishing and lost people of the Assyrian capital. No, the only thing that had changed was Jonah’s heart. In the belly of that great fish, Jonah had received a second chance…and with it then came an attitude adjustment on Jonah’s part. For our God is the God of second chances…from Jonah, to the Ninevites, to us… the Lord gives all of us second chances to change.
What does it mean to you to be born again? Maybe it’s been a long time since you even thought about it, especially if you’ve been a Believer for years. When you said “Yes” to Jesus, you underwent spiritual rebirth. What was once corruptible became incorruptible, and passed from death unto life. When we are born again, all is made new…for by God’s great mercy and the sacrificial blood of Christ, we are saved from our sins. To be born again means we are truly a new person standing before God…righteous and blameless in His sight.
Here, Paul is quoting Joel 2:32… showing the readers that there is no difference between Jew or Gentile…God is the same to all people groups. In Acts 2:21, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter also quoted Joel 2:32 to the bewildered crowd that had gathered after hearing their native languages coming from the apostles . Both Paul and Peter stressed that anyone could summons God’s help…any race, any gender, any person. And when that person called on the name of the Lord…they would be heard by God and delivered. For there is no one that is beyond God’s reach…no one that can’t say, “I need Your help God!” and God won’t rescue.