Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
When Paul wrote these words to the church in Philippi, he was in prison and in chains, and yet he writes this letter which is filled with thanksgiving and hope. How does he do it?
Philippians 1:12-14 – Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. (NIV)
Paul had a purpose in living, and that was to live for Christ. He had the gift of living life to the fullest, wherever he was, and in whatever circumstances or opportunities that God brought before him. I think that really is a gift.
I have a friend who tells me that at the close of each day, she disciplines herself to list the things for which she is thankful in the day. Even if it's been one of those days that one wants to forget, she finds things to be thankful for. I think if we learned to be more thankful for each day and the opportunities it brings, we would also become more aware of those opportunities and the many ways that God is working in and through us.
The Lord is near!
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, we come this day in thanksgiving. We are so thankful to you for this day that you have given to us, full of hope and promise. Open our eyes today to see the opportunities that you set before us, and teach us to live today for you. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.