I want to share with you how that as I rode in my car over to the church, I felt the Lord move upon my heart about our Ladies prayer room. How it has sat neglected and unused for some time. I felt a great desire to be in that room tonight before service and to see our ladies coming together to encourage and lift one another up in the Lord. I felt the desire to have the Spirit move among our ladies to spur them on and to move in our church. I walked into the church building and began to turn on the lights and unlock the doors. I went into our ladies prayer room and began to clean and straighten it up. I couldn't do much with service only 30 minutes away but I thought to myself; "This room could use a good painting and a nice new dry erase board too for requests and verses. Perhaps one of those real pretty wall stickers would be a nice touch as well." The more I looked the move I was moved to do and the more I yearned to see our ladies coming together in the Spirit of the Lord to pray, pray, PRAY! I stood at the little podium that we had in the room with our church prayer list in front of me and waited... one, two, three ladies walked in. I said in my mind, "Well Lord, it's a start." We waited a couple more minutes and the ladies were talking amongst themselves about family mostly. Then 5 minutes before service I spoke up.
"Ladies, I'd like to get started if we could. I want to begin by saying that I'm not trying to be all official or above anyone by standing up here but I want to share what's on my heart with you. I want to tell you how the Lord moved on my heart that we should be in here praying again. We've left this room unused for too long. Our men are good leaders and good examples by being in the men's prayer room before every service, praying for those things which the Lord has placed on their hearts and I think we should follow suit. I know we are in a rush tonight but I want us to start coming together again. I want to see the Lord move in our ladies to not just share the latest news or gossip but to see us come together to encourage, to strengthen and to build each other up in prayer and in the love of the Father. I don't know about y'all but I been needing that and it's been missing here. I'm not saying y'all don't love the Lord or each other because you've proven that you do, but it's my desire to see us take that next step and come together here to pray. I hope you'll join me and encourage others to come in too."
We proceeded to say a few prayer requests as we were running quickly out of time, but you know, I felt God move in that short time and I know He will move all the more as we come together to pray for one another. I'm so excited about it! Oh how I've been given a refreshment tonight that I so needed. Not only that, but wouldn't you know that the message preached by the visiting pastor would be on just that! I wanted to share the passage with you and what I felt the Lord put on my heart through it. I've titled this post "Good, Encouraging Instruction! AMEN!" I hope it is that for you too! So here it is...
Philippians 4: 1-9 (kjv)
1- Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, (isn't that a wonderful beginning. to be loved and longed for..Mmmm), my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2- I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3- And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4- Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5- Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6- Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7- And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heats and minds through Christ Jesus.
8- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9- Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
GLORY TO GOD, AMEN!
As you'll see there are some things underlined in those verses because they are the things that the Lord pointed out to me. The Lord might point out other things to you, Reader, in those verses but I'm just sharing what I saw for a moment.
First, let me say that I love how this passage begins. Paul was in prison for sharing the Gospel at the time that God had him to write this down. Look how Paul begins. He tells us that we are beloved and longed for. Isn't that nice? Oh what encouragement there! I can feel the Holy Spirit just warming me from the inside out just by that introduction. He also shares that we are a joy. Warm and Fuzzy. :-) But he goes on to give us some important instructions that we might have the peace of God that goes beyond any human comprehension; that's the "peace which passeth all understanding" part. The words underlined are the instructions. Now I know that this was written to the Philippian church but God wouldn't have had it added to His Word if there weren't something we could glean from it and apply to ourselves as well so let's look at that, shall we.
First, he tells us to "Stand fast in the Lord." Don't waver, dear Christian! Don't be like so many today that are like the leaf in the wind being blown one way and then another. Know what the Word of God says, study it, cement it in your hearts and minds. Think on it and meditate on it all the day long. Don't be fool hearted and easily lead astray. MAKE YOUR STAND AND HOLD FAST!
Secondly, he tells us to "Be of the same mind in the Lord." The first was us alone with God and this one is when we are with others. Make sure that the people you are around and the people that you are identifying yourself with are all of the same mind of Christ as you are. We have often heard it said that we are who we spend time with so be careful who your friends are. I know, I know,... we have to spend time with those who may not be Christians like you and I because we are in the world still, but who is it you spend your most personal, close time with? We all have our circle of friends and family members that we spend quality time with. Are you choosing to be around people who will build you up in the Lord and challenge you in a positive way to grow in your walk with God? I think that is what is being pointed out here. Also, as a church body, we should be unified in Christ through the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking some inter-denominational nonsense here. For light can not have fellowship with dark so how can a church standing fast on the Word of God be "co-worshipping" with one that isn't? If they don't stand fully on the WHOLE WORD OF GOD then they don't stand for it at all. Period. But again, be sure you are of the same mind as those you spend your time with and especially when it comes to gathering together for worship and growing in the Lord. He also uses that word "beseech". That means it's an earnest and urgent request, a calling. In this verse he mentions by name Euodias and Syntyche. I don't know who these people were and I don't know if perhaps they may have been bumping heads about something that Paul specifically ask them to be of the same mind but we can draw an application just the same.
Third, we see that a certain work is brought to mind in "fellow labourers". Paul says he is "intreating" us. That's a lot like "beseech". It is an earnest plea to help one another in the gospel. He speaks specifically about the women who helped him. There's a good verse to use if you ever have a feminist on your hands who says that the Bible was written by a bunch of male shovenists who think a woman is property and it never talks good about women (or some other such non-sense). Paul speaks kindly about the women who helped in the ministry here and he tells others to help them back. That is wonderful praise for what God did in the hearts of those women to help in the gospel. But our take from this can be that we should always, always be in a mind to help others in the ministry. Do you know of anyone who may be struggling? I'm sure we could all think of someone who has a need that we could help with and isn't it wonderful how when we help someone in need that God has placed on our hearts, that He also in turn blesses us and gives us what we need.
Fourth, we see of course that we are to REJOICE! This was so important that he said it twice. REJOICE IN THE LORD AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE! It can be so hard sometimes to find things to rejoice about. The world gets us down, the devil gets us down, our flesh gets us down. It can be pretty discouraging and depressing at times. But even in the darkest of hours, if we care to see, we can find the smallest things to rejoice about. I kind of get the mental image of a penny on the ground and that saying "See a penny, pick it up..." those little blessings are like those pennies. They may seem small at first and not worth a whole lot but after a little bit of picking up pennies, they start to add up and you begin to realize you're a very rich and blessed person.
Next we are told to let our moderation be known unto all men. Now it was explained to me that this meant that we are to treat everyone the same. Which I know is true, if God is no respecter of persons then we shouldn't be either but, I wonder if this doesn't also apply to our testimony before others. moderation has to do with restraint. I just wonder if I'm making too big of a stretch in saying that we should let our restraint of the flesh and things of this world because of our love for God and our desire to live for Him be known to everyone we meet. I'm not sure about that part if I were to be honest. There are somethings that the Lord is still working in me about and I admit I don't understand everything He says in His word but I desire to learn and grow so I'll leave this verse with the thought that even if I don't yet fully understand how I'm suppose to do it, I at least know that I am and that I can trust that God will reveal the How and why in His perfect timing and some of the how and why are in these very verses.
Verse six tells us to BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING.... it talks about our prayer time in our walk with God. We are given the idea that when we come before the Lord to let our requests known to Him it should be done in humility and meekness of heart with thankfulness. We can go to God about anything and everything but, as my daddy use to say when we would get a little too sassy, "remember who you're talking to..." We are talking to the HOLY, ONE TRUE GOD, CREATOR OF EVERYTHING, ALL MIGHTY LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS. That is not to be taken lightly. He is a loving and merciful God but He also should have our respect and reverence. He wants us to talk to Him about everything; from the big stuff to the little stuff, He loves us and wants to hear it all. Don't be afraid to talk to God about anything that is on your heart just make sure you're doing it the right way.
We are then told about something we are blessed with in verse seven. This is a special gift from God, a peace that goes beyond any comprehension. When things are at their very worst, the lowest of the low... there is still peace to be had in God. That's shouting ground there! GLORY! It doesn't matter how bad it gets, there is peace, there is rest, there is love, there is joy.... The world doesn't understand it and sometimes we Christians don't either but there it is, all in it's wonderful glory! The peace of God, which passeth ALL understanding, SHALL KEEP your hearts and minds THROUGH CHRIST JESUS! It's a guarantee and a promise full and free!
Finally, this whole thought is ended by a reminder of the things we should keep our hearts and minds on. The things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, virtuous, praising to God; THINK ON THESE THINGS. The things of God we have learned, received and heard; we are to do and we are NEVER ALONE for the God of peace is ever with us. Another wonderful blessing and promise to the children of God. Makes me think of the old hymn; "No never alone, no never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone..." *sigh* oh what joy, oh what peace, oh what love our God gives to us!
I hoped you've gotten something out of this. I know I sure have. I pray the Lord uses this for His honor and glory. May those who have trusted in Him as their Savior continue to grow in their walk with the Lord. Those who have not, I pray you will. You wont be the same again, and that is a wonderful thing.