Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
God is not unfamiliar with our lives - joys and troubles. From our next breath, our first breathe and - to Eternity.
Haggai in the power of the Holy Spirit had something to say even to a prodigal son 2:23
"'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty."
And in a similar situation Habakkuk said, in his third chapter with the Holy Spirit:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
We are all going to have lack of love in our own families. We will be disappointed and disappointing even to those closest to us. And we Will we see beautiful times in life. God tells us in forgiveness, in mercy, we have a path forward. When we were young, God spoke through our parents in this old phrase, "Don't cut off your nose, to spite your face."
Even the phrase of sows sparingly and reaps sparingly can feel limiting. God calls us to different seasons - Stanley Marcus famously said, "Give Not what you want to give, give what they need to be given." Motel 6 perhaps said that best with, "We will leave the Light on for you." When Philippians was written there was not any television, but if you want to see God everywhere - you will. Seek and you shall find. That is Good News.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So sometimes we don't have peace. The disciples found that to be true - rather a lot. And we need direction. Psalm 90 tells us something:
Lord, you have been our refuge,
from one generation to another.
Two men walked into a Alzheimer Bar. One man said this is so sad, Mom isn't like she used to be. - this isn't her home. The next man entered the bar and he said, I'm so glad for my mom. She has a new friend and she and that lady are sitting and holding hands and telling each other they have been friends for life. Mom is finding peace in the day.
We get a choice in life. To love the ones who God has given us. To be merciful.
Jesus worked with the worried, the ineffective, the afraid, the wobblers - He called them James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). Those Guuuuys. And they wouldn't listen well, playing sibling games and telling Him to rise up. And so He went and found more men. Simon Peter. His brother Andrew, and James and John,- two sons of Zebedee. Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were Simon, known as the Eager One,[Zealot] and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.
Now being the Son of God, Jesus - they had no problem that there were 2 James, 2 Joseph (Jesus' late earthly Father), 3 Simons, 2 Judas.
No problem telling these men on a journey apart. Because at one point - they all failed Jesus. And Jesus did not stand up once to say that even if they called His name - He was not going to listen or care or love. He never disassembled them to put them down. Because Jesus knew that these worriers, fumblers, failures, successes, were all going to go to different Seasons in Life.
Instead most of them greeted Him honestly. Gideon was surrounded by people deciding what was the right thing. It was Liberarian Heaven. However, in the time of Judges - where God asked for self-governance - it was winding down.
Gideon said to God, Judges 2,
"15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you and [help you with what God says He will do]
Gideon had something inside him that we all have - we know we have - limits. Flaws. Sins. Just like...James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). Simon Peter. His brother Andrew, and James and John,- two sons of Zebedee. Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were Simon, known as the Eager One,[Zealot] and Judas Iscariot.
God uses what is broken and weak. It's up to us not to Columbine. When we seek God, we find God. God saves those who cry out to Him. And we, in return, fail to lash out. Fail to neglect. Fail to have revenge. Fail to remind people of their inadequacies. Fail to mention our blessings to hurt others.
We instead say, "All have fallen. All fall short. We journey together. Because God who is Greater. Calls us to Love. God has given us a new day with new mercies to rise again."
Jesus appeared to have cut out James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55) when He was compassionate to Mary. Because even after... Life... Jesus was resurrected in John 21:20-25 the Risen, Victorious Jesus was dealing with His creation in a human fuss up And Thank GOD! No one could even say with disgust "Christians". Because the word had not been invented yet! No, Jesus gave Mary to John because of the path - Jesus was giving His Path. (To...people...squabblers, worriers, malcontents, these fussies He wants to save. Don't huff Christians.)
And let us never, never, never give up the rest of the story - one so casually given - telling of a Hope, Faith, Love that continues and continues for two millenniums - 1 Corinthians 9:5. The Lord's brothers, His chosen people including the disciples - go forth to say again and again 'God is Love'. And they go forth doing His work like people who squabble.
God believes the Good in people. His Holy Spirit living in them. God is patient to draw forth Love.
God never promised us anything but troubles. Jesus just boldly stated, "In this life there will be troubles." We can concentrate on 1 Corinthians 9 being another disciple dust up - or we can proclaim that even in a dust up - Jesus is Proclaimed and we find that - the Lord Jesus' Christ's belief in mankind and the world - is worthy of His interest, love, salvation, mercy and grace. God is Showing us Good from those Who Love the Lord. We see in 1 Corinthians 9 - the Love they had for Jesus is Going Forth.
Let the Light of Christ Shine.
We earnestly pray in Jesus Christ the Lord - be our center Jesus! Alleluia. Alleluia.
To Eternity and Beyond
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †