We know that in this world we will have troubles! So when we have them, how will you choose to deal with your circumstances? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you worry about what is going on or what’s going to happen? Will you have hope beyond your circumstances? Will you trust in God? Will you pray and petition God? Will you turn back to God? Will you come to Him in humility? Will you thank and praise Him? Will you seek forgiveness? Will you lament? Will you find hope?
Today’s reading was an interesting as I turned to it as it was only 2 chapters: one from Lamentations and one from Philippians.
Where are you at today? Do you want me to pray with or for you? Let me know.
Are you seeing how your friends are? Will you stand in the gap?
Let’s take a look at these two situation and readings to help us right where we are at today…
1I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lordʼs wrath.
2He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
7He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
9He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
10Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,
11he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.
12He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.
14I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.
15He has filled me with bitter herbs
and given me gall to drink.
16He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
17I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22Because of the Lordʼs great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
34To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,
35to deny people their rights
before the Most High,
36to deprive them of justice—
would not the Lord see such things?
37Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
39Why should the living complain
when punished for their sins?
40Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
41Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven, and say:
42“We have sinned and rebelled
and you have not forgiven.
43“You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
44You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
45You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.
46“All our enemies have opened their mouths
wide against us.
47We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
ruin and destruction.”
48Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
49My eyes will flow unceasingly,
50until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51What I see brings grief to my soul
because of all the women of my city.
52Those who were my enemies without cause
hunted me like a bird.
53They tried to end my life in a pit
and threw stones at me;
54the waters closed over my head,
and I thought I was about to perish.
55I called on your name, Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
56You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
57You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
58You, Lord, took up my case;
you redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.
Uphold my cause!
60You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
all their plots against me.
61 Lord, you have heard their insults,
all their plots against me—
62what my enemies whisper and mutter
against me all day long.
63Look at them! Sitting or standing,
they mock me in their songs.
64Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
for what their hands have done.
65Put a veil over their hearts,
and may your curse be on them!
66Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the heavens of the Lord.
Imagine living thru such a time! Imagine seeing it! Imagine hearing it!
Now let’s read Philippians in Paul’s letter to see what he says…
Imitating Christʼs Humility
1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.