We find ourselves living in troubling times. As long as I can remember, I’ve believed in God. It’s how I was raised. But, for most of us there comes a time that we may question our faith. I don’t mean to doubt it, but to look further into the reason we believe. Is it just because as a child you were told that there is a God?
I understand that people will doubt in these times that there is a God, but stay with me. God isn’t punishing us, although we deserve it. In this morning’s sermon, our pastor, Jon Porter, taught from Philippians 1:12-30. (You can view this week’s online version of the sermon here.)
Paul finds himself in prison for preaching the Word of God and proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay. But, Paul found good even in his imprisonment. Even as a prisoner, chained to a guard 24/7, Paul was given an opportunity to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where better to find those who’d never heard the gospel than in prison? Paul was able to find joy, no matter his circumstance.
Can you say the same thing? Even in the pandemic and the fear of evil in this world by way of racism, riots and looting, I think we can see God at work. Do we find ourselves given a new platform? I know Milan Christian Church has been given an online presence that we didn’t have before. But, not only that, it gives us renewed vision to search out local ways that we can reach out to those in the communities around us who are in need. How can we be the hands and feet of God if we gather in a church building on Sunday and do nothing to reach the lost?
You know, this pandemic and the racial tension we feel is not a surprise to God. He knew it was coming. Could he have stopped it? Sure. Would we have gotten the message? No, sometimes we need to live it to understand what God has been trying to tell us all along. God knows what we’re enduring and he’s right here with us.
Paul’s teaching of the gospel gave the Christians in Rome the boldness to carry it on to other people. Are we setting an example for others? Do they see in us a Christ that they’d want to hold onto? We should rejoice in what God is going to do, not what he hasn’t done yet. When the time is right, we will see it all unfold before our eyes.
Notice during these times, Satan is trying to send us down all kinds of rabbit holes as he tries to divert us from our mission. He tries to scare us with threats of violence and danger, keeping us in our homes for fear of harm. Sometimes, it’s unwanted circumstances that lead us to where God is leading us. Give this time to God and see what he can do with it!
We know the end of the story, right? We know that God wins! Now is not the time to retreat, but the time to advance. To glorify God and show them the way to follow Christ.
Our prayers matter to God. When you tell someone that you’ll pray for them, do it. They trust that you’ll do what you say. We need each other right now and for some of us, social media is the outlet we use. I don’t always write down the prayer requests, but I don’t want to forget. So each time I tell someone that I’ll pray, I do it right then. Prayers don’t have to be a big production. God is always listening.
So look for joy in the everyday things. Nothing can steal your joy if you live for Christ. See joy in spite of your circumstances. There is no excuse not to live for Christ.
I hope that you have found comfort in the message today. There is a link to the sermon above for you to check out if you’d like.