Note from Jesus
How do you find the strength to go on when times are tough?
That’s a really important question because a lot of people will follow Me only when things are going well and when they get everything they want out of life. However, life can be tough. This situation is especially true if you are My faithful disciple in a locale that does not accept My call to radical discipleship.
In the verses below, the apostle Paul is imprisoned because of his faith in Me. He is not sure what will happen to him. However, he is confident that he will honor Me and that he will be delivered either from death to a life of service or through death into My presence. His goal is to live for Me no matter the cost.
But how could Paul have this goal and live up to it? Notice three things highlighted in the verses below:
- The prayers and encouragement of other believers for him.
- The power of the Holy Spirit at work in him.
- His intention to honor Me no matter what he faced.
These principles are not a magical formula, but they provide the time-tested power that fuels perseverance and assures ultimate victory.
Build your relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ. Have them partner with you in prayer. Ask them to encourage you to be faithful, to serve selflessly, and to be strong.
Take the time to learn about the work of the Holy Spirit to empower and strengthen you. Believe My promises to you about the Holy Spirit. Read My words on the eve of My crucifixion about the coming of the Spirit as your helper (John chapters 14-16). Trust in the Spirit to be at work in you to empower, purify, transform, and resurrect you.
Finally, I challenge you to commit to living for Me no matter what comes your way. Be “all in” with that commitment. Choose to live for My glory with Me as your Lord.
I want you to be able to join the apostle Paul in saying, “For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength.” This concept is more than a slogan. It is a proven lifestyle that leads to eternal victory and glorious celebration!
Verses to Live
The following words from the apostle Paul are powerful. He spoke them when facing possible death while he was imprisoned. Some opponents claiming to be believers were trying to cause him problems and hurt him. Through it all, Paul was confident. He was confident in Me, confident in his commitment to me, confident in the work of the Spirit to deliver him, and confident in the prayers of those who were faithful to pray for his well-being!
What matters is that in every way, regardless of the motives — whether pure or shady — the great story of the Anointed is a cause for joy. I will continue to rejoice because I know that through your encouragement and prayers and through the help of the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed, I will soon be released from this dark place. I don’t expect that dishonor and shame will plague me in any way, but I do hope that I will continue to be able to speak freely and courageously about Jesus, and that now and forever the Anointed One will be glorified and placed above all else through this body of mine — whether I live or die. For my life is about the Anointed and Him alone. And my death, when that comes, will mean great gain for me. So, if it’s His will that I go on serving here, my work will be fruitful for the message. I honestly wouldn’t know how or what to choose; I would be hard-pressed to decide. I lean toward leaving this world to be with the Anointed One because I can only think that would be much better. To stay in this body of flesh — even with all its pains and weaknesses — would best serve your needs. Now that I think of it, I am sure of this: I would prefer to remain to share in the progress and joy of your growing belief. When I return to you, we will celebrate Jesus the Anointed even more.
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:10-13 NLT)
Response in Prayer
O LORD, God Almighty! Thank You for being ever near through the Holy Spirit and through taking on human flesh in Jesus. Thank You for fellow disciples who love me and pray for me. Thank You for the confidence that I have in the Spirit to deliver me. Now I ask, please dear Father, that You strengthen my resolve and grow my confidence. Strengthen my commitment to serve You no matter what I may face. I confess that I am a little fearful in asking for this because I do not want to face trials. Nevertheless, dear Father, growing in character and commitment is more important to me than my comfort. So I ask this prayer — trusting in Your mercy and grace — to do what is best for me to Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.