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“Strong Faith”

The Bible is filled with spiritual giants who exhibited tremendous faith.  At the top of the list, in my opinion, is the Apostle Paul.  Over and over Paul was beaten almost to the point of death and is found bound in chains sitting in a jail cell more than once.  He was chained and in jail (for preaching the Gospel), as the words to the Philippians were penned.  In a recent read of chapter one, some interesting things jumped out at me.  Here are a few thoughts that helped me.  Maybe they’ll help you too.

 

In verses 18 & 19 he records some remarkable words, “…I will CONTINUE to REJOICE, for I KNOW that through YOUR prayers and the help given by the SPIRIT of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my DELIVERANCE.”  Get the picture.  Paul is sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial knowing one of two things will happen.  He will either be set free or be executed.  Those are his options – set free or put to death!  Did you notice the confidence in his words, “I will CONTINUE to REJOICE, for I KNOW…”.  As he sat in chains, he acknowledged the prayers of other believers.  He was saying, “YOUR PRAYERS, are helping me!”  Secondly he acknowledged, “I’m also being helped by the Spirit of Jesus.”  Because of these two things (plus his own faith), he said, “I KNOW, I will be delivered.”

 

As you read the next couple verses he explains a bit of quandary.  In my words he’s saying, “Ya know, I’m thinking – if I get released that’s a good thing – but IF I die, that’s a REALLY good thing because I can be with the Lord TODAY!”  Let’s go back to his personal faith.  Because Paul knew where he would spend eternity, he was confident that one way another he really was going to be delivered!  His life was in God’s hands and he was comfortable with that.  Deliverance WAS coming and he was TRUSTING God with the outcome and his future.  Isn’t this a marvelous way to live?  What an example Paul lays before us.  All of us have deep concerns we’re praying over.  We have a hope for the desired outcome, BUT are we completely satisfied IF God chooses another route?  We might say, “If God answers this, I’ll be so happy.”  Are we close enough to trust Him with the “IF NOT’S” in life as well?  If you are walking with God, you have three things going for you…your own faith, the prayers of Christian friends and the help of the Holy Spirit.  Whatever you are carrying, put it in God’s hands and trust Him for the VERY BEST RESULTS!  His ways are better than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9).

 

Pastor Carnes