Saturday, June 18, 2011

God shall provide - June 18th, 2011

For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:16-20

History and Context:
As noted in my post Stand Fast in the Lord, the church in Phillipi was one of the first churches in Europe. This means these are some of the first believers in what we now know as the "Western World". He visited them around 49-50 AD and then at least two more times after that in 56 and 57 AD. One of the first Christians in Phillipi was the jailer who was assigned to guard Paul and Silas (and the other prisoners) when they were thrown in prison. God used an earthquake to set them free and to convince this jailer of His reality. (Acts 16:25-34) This letter was written in response to the church sending Epaphroditus to Paul to help him in his time of need. This is the end of the letter to the church in Philippi.

The Text:
Philippians 4:19 is a very popularly quoted verse, but to truly understand it, it is important to look at the surrounding verses. The church in Philippi helped Paul at least two different times. They sent him aid in Thessalonica and then again here they sent him help through Epaphroditus. They were a generous church! In response to their generosity, Paul says, the famous scripture, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Now this scripture is amazing because he does not only say that God will supply all their needs. He say God will do accordig to God's own riches in glory! How rich is God? that is beyond comprehension. Paul is not saying that God will provide just barely enough to survive; he is saying God is going to provided in abundance, in His riches. But then we see the next verse, "Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." This must be our attitude when we recieve something from God. To Him be the glory!

The Challenge:
As usual, the challenge depends on where you are at, but it is simple either way. If you are not already in a state of generosity, start being generous. Find a missionary to support (preferably one in which you can be confident he is working for the Lord), start giving to your local church, next time you're at dinner with someone pick up the check. There are so many ways to be generous. But first and foremost, be generous towards the Gospel and towards the poor and needy.

If you are already in a place of being generous then the challenge is even simpler. Relax! Stop stressing over your needs. God's promise is that He will provide. Of course always be listening  in case he wants you to do something differently, but overall put it in His hands and He will be faithful every time!. I have seen it over and over again in my life.

The Prayer:
Lord, help me to identify the ways in which you want me to be generous. Free my hands from my money and help me to support the people who are continuing your work. Also help me to reach out to the poor and needy. Then let me relax and understand that you are taking care of all my needs and that you are always faithful. Thank you Lord! In Jesus name, Amen!

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