some of you are facing some not so happy circumstances right now. you may be going through some very tough times and it brings up some very hurtful memories. some of you are having to swallow a bitter pill right now financially or physically or in a relationship. you think, “there’s nothing in my life worth being joyful about. how can i be joyful when everything is wrong in my life?”
i can always be joyful no matter what happens because i know GOD is in control. paul says in philippians 1:19 (lb), i’m going to keep on being glad [remember he’s in prison awaiting execution] for i know that as you pray for me and as the HOLY SPIRIT helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good.
he says, i’ve got a couple of encouragements here: you’re praying for me and the HOLY SPIRIT’s helping me. but here’s the real issue: GOD sees it all, GOD knows it all, GOD cares about it all, GOD’s in control of it all, GOD will use it for my good, GOD will give me the power that i need. so what am i worried about? nothing.
granted, this isn’t the way that paul had planned it. paul wanted to go to rome, rent the coliseum and have a billy graham crusade with him being billy graham. he wanted to share GOD’s love with all the roman empire. instead he goes with his hands and feet shackled, put in a dungeon for two years with a 24-hour guard.
i’m sure he shared JESUS CHRIST with every one of those guards. they changed every four hours – that’s a couple thousand guards over a two-year period. who was the real prisoner? paul had a captive audience.
the bible tells us that some of these praetorian guards took the good news back and even members of nero’s own family became believers. that’s what you call a chain reaction!
but not only that, he did something else while he was in prison. he wrote most of the new testament. aren’t you glad GOD made paul set still in prison? we wouldn’t have the new testament. if he’d gone out, mr. evangelist, and been traveling all over he would have never slowed down long enough to write what we now know are the inspired new testament books.
paul had a plan but GOD had a better plan. paul said, i trust GOD’s plan better than my own. therefore i am full of joy because i know GOD has a better plan.
just a thought from the front porch…