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02
Sep

Mud or Stars? Godly Vision in the Midst of tough times.

“Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw stars.”  This quote by Dale Carnegie challenges us to look up at the possibilities rather than down at the obstacles.

Positive thinking–a good idea.  But Scriptural thinking–there’s always real power in that.  The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Philippians from prison.  An amazingly joyful book considering its origin, don’t you think?

There was so much about his circumstances that he could not change, but he could change how he thought about these circumstances.  Let’s read from this remarkable book:

12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.  15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.                                    Philippians 1:12-18

Some things to note:

  • He does not sugarcoat his imprisonment–it happened TO HIM.  Out of his control.  Does this sound like any circumstance in your life recently?
  • His vision exceeded his personal gain or loss–”…what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…”
  • He controlled what he could control “–it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”  He kept on preaching in jail.
  • He found reason to rejoice in what he could not control–the attitudes and actions of others:  “The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”    

He is in prison, yet he finds a reason to rejoice.  

What personal “prison” do you find yourself in today? Don’t let yourself rot in that jail!  Will you reason through your current circumstances using Philippians 1:12-18 so you can see what God is up to?

Let’s draw strength from the example of the Apostle Paul and even get to the point of rejoicing because of what we see God is doing.

All grace to you,
Pastor Mike

If you have a testimony of how God has worked good in your life in the midst of our current tough circumstances, please share it with me at mike.oconnor@islandchristian.com

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