31 thoughts on “Philippians 1:12-14

  1. Thank you, Ben. I’m awestruck with Paul and His posture toward his own suffering. It’s so obvious by his words that it comes from complete trust and dependence on the Father. It’s so comforting to know that God is truly worthy of that trust and dependence. We serve such an amazing, immeasurable, miraculous God. He has been so faithful in my life and carried me through some very tough things, things that could have crushed me. Without going into lots of personal details I can tell you that multiple times in my life when I found myself with zero personal resources to deal with grief, heartache and betrayal, I was at the end of myself. He was there. He would meet me right there and carry me. He met me in my cries of anger, pain and lament and said “I understand. I have felt what you feel and I’m not going anywhere. You aren’t alone. I love you.” Those experiences give me so much confidence in whatever I have to face in the future. They have shaped my faith in profound ways. Although they were some of the most painful things I have had to go through, I know God used them to bring me closer to Him and I can now meet others in the midst of terrible heartache with empathy and mercy, not in my strength, but His.

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    1. Wow, Houaeofbraun, what an incredible testimony. Thanks for sharing! I find myself awestruck by the Apostle Paul, too, which makes me even more grateful that the Jesus who changed Paul’s life is the very same Jesus who is at work in me. I don’t wish these moments of hardship on anyone, but I’m with you – God is at work in the midst of the pain, bringing us closer to him. He is so, so good!

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  2. Beautiful words, houseofbraun. Thank you. I know the same is true for me. Probably the times where I have felt closest to Jesus have been the times in my life where He was all I had. During my personal seasons of pain, (sometimes things happened to me, other times I created my own prisons of destruction), I have often been met with the quiet and gentle reassurance of God.
    One particular season I was working through my own junk and I had several months of recurrent nightmares. At the time all I wanted was for them to end because I wanted to rest. With encouragement and guidance of Christian counselors, I kept working begrudgingly and slowly through the pain and memories. Then one night God did the most amazing thing (I can still feel the way I felt when I woke up). I had a dream where I was being held by Jesus. He kept stroking my hair as if I were a child and telling me that I was loved. I have never and will never forget that gift of healing. It is so true that the spirit of Jesus helps us.
    For me, that is one of many ways God has lovingly shown up in the midst of suffering, reminding me He is near.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing, Laurie. I love that our Savior met you in such a tangible and tender way. It reminds me of The Prodigal Son and what that story reveals about the heart of God. During seasons of pain, whether out of our control or as you said, we find ourselves trapped “in the prisons of our own destruction,” our Heavenly Father always pursues and always sprints after us.

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  3. Beautiful shares! My personal testimony is of coming to terms with traumatic childhood injury. I had been recanting the truth to my Christian counselor and struggling with the concept of ever being able to forgive the unforgivable. My counselor was honest enough to tell me how and when forgiveness would happen is unknown. I was encouraged to pray and have hope God will make the way. I continued to pray to Jesus for relief of this burden of forgiveness. Many months passed when I received an unexpected call at work making it necessary for me drive home in the middle of my work day. As I started my car, the radio was tuned to Bott Radio Network. I heard the speaker say “you’ve been angry at the wrong person this whole time.” He went on to explain we get hung up on the wrong-doing of the person rather than the evil one provoking the behavior. The speaker suggested to consider the person who had done me harm was so weak of spirit that evil had “taken up residence in his soul and was running his life.” At that moment, my heart was open to learn a different way to view the wrong-doing. I knew immediately that God was speaking directly to me. I felt immediate compassion, instead of blinding, white hatred toward the abuser. I continue to pray for more compassion and release from the past. God certainly did for me what I could not do for myself. I had no intention of tuning in to the radio, but I heard the perfect words at the least unexpected time. I was never likely to forgive, however, I’ve been forgiven and I am able forgive today. #waymaker!

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  4. I am so blessed and encouraged by the sharing of these examples of God’s faithfulness. He is a mighty God and has been faithful in my life many, many times. One time that I’ll share was when I became very ill while on vacation out of town. The Emergency Room doctors advised me to fly home for hospitalization, tests and diagnosis. This was an extremely frightening time. One morning a nun came into my room and asked if she could pray for me. I was so overwhelmed by her prayer. I knew God sent her to me so I could hear his comforting and assuring words through her voice. God then brought a doctor to me who, along with a perfect bed side manner, diagnosed my illness and prescribed a medicine that successfully manages the symptoms – to this day. God was with me through out and continues to sustain me today. He is healer and comforter. God is good, loving and faithful!

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  5. Thank you for these amazing stories of how you have experienced encouragement in hard times. It truly does pump faith in my veins when I hear of how God has been faithful to others in difficult times! Such a great word, Ben. Thank you.

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  6. Several years ago, my husband and I were on a flight from Houston to St. Louis. We were on Southwest, hurry up, get on board, find a seat and sit down! Both of us are very tall so he usually takes the aisle and I will take the window and if someone wants the middle, I will offer to move and let them take the window. That day, a woman came to sit in the middle and I said, here take the window if you would be more comfortable and I’ll sit next to my husband. She went into a violent outrage with me, cussed me out, cussed my husband out, and I thought the flight attendant was going to remove us all from the plane. Ultimately, she took the middle seat but continued her string of expletives. i decided to put headphones in, block her out, and opened my Bible to reread my devotion that day. If I’m being completely honest, it was a way to sort of flip her off and show her my piety. How He loves me by David Crowder began to play. I heard a voice, deep in my soul, say “pray for her.” My reply? There is no way I am praying for her. I am angry. Not happening. “pray for her.” Nope. “Pray for her.” I looked over out of the corner of my eye and I saw her head bend down and tear drop fall off her nose. Sigh…I took her by the hand and I said, Look, I don’t know what just happened here, but it’s ok. She cried. And then the unthinkable…I asked her if I could pray for her and she said yes. When I was finished, I asked her if she knew Jesus and she it had been a while. She began telling me her story. She was returning from her brother’s funeral, her mother had passed away just before Christmas, her niece had died unexpectedly from an undetected heart condition leaving behind a husband and 2 small children AND she was a disabled veteran after serving 3 tours in Afghanistan. Wow! My Bible was open to John 16, and I spoke His words, now is your time for grief but one day you will rejoice again and no one can take that away. And then, of course, John 16:33. We talked the entire way back to St. Louis, my husband helped her with her luggage, and the people around us were left speechless. One lady caught up with me and asked what I said to her and I simply replied Jesus. I’m sorry this is so long, but every time I retell this story, I get teary eyed. I don’t even know her name. She doesn’t know mine. But this is what I do know, Jesus called me to show up for Him that day. I was an unwilling participant at first, and then He continued to nudge me. I was Jesus on a Southwest flight. I will never know what has happened to her or the people around me that day but the answer will always continue to be “Jesus.” Jesus happened that day.

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    1. Amazing, Jessica! I love those nudges from the Holy Spirit telling us to do something…even when it seems crazy. How cool that God showed up and moved at that moment. I’m happy you were there for that woman to live out Peter’s words – you shared the reason for the Hope that you have with gentleness and respect. Way to go! Praise God!

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    2. Thanks for sharing, Jessica! I love it when the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something, even when it seems crazy. Thanks for living out Peter’s words, sharing the reason for the hope that you have with gentleness and respect. Praise God!

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  7. What incredible testaments of the Lords faithfulness, and sweet reminder to read in Philippians tonight. As a senior graduating from Baylor University and having my life changed since being here, the Lord has been evident in it all. I came to school having the perfect plan for my life, and that plan came crashing down on me – leaving me exhausted, confused, and scared. I remember feeling hopeless and not knowing what to do or where to look for next steps. This moment caused me to turn to God and surrender all aspects of my life to him. As I sit here today, writing from the desk of my home having finishing my last final of my undergraduate career I can confidently say that the Lord knew exactly what he was doing when I got kicked out of the business school (HA). My passion for social justice and advancing the kingdom through compassion led me to social work. The Lord continues to be faithful and has proven that time and time again. Reminding each other of the Lord’s faithfulness truly gets us through the hard times, and reminds me in particular the goodness of God.

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    1. Dana, that’s so cool. I love how God met you in those circumstances and faithfully carried you through to the other side. Let me know if you ever want to process post-grad life. I have the privilege of leader our community for twenty-somethings at The Crossing and would be happy to help you get connected. And as a Baylor bear myself, congratulations on graduating! Sic ’em!

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  8. This is challenging. Paul’s letters are so awesome. So awesome that I could never really identify with the same hardships and trials” that he endured. And what boldness for Jesus he displayed. To be clear in my little “world,” Jesus has made a huge impact on me. Hardest to endure is the suffering of loved ones. The helplessness one feels when one of your children is in so much distress and you cannot “fix it.” Oh, how hard it is to let go and let God…so easy to hear “have faith” but to put it into practice during those trials. I heard early in my walk with Jesus something to the effect: “you cannot do Christianity by yourself ” You have to live it with others, to share with others. It is with fellow Christ Followers that we can then be “much more bold to speak the word without fear”. (v14 ESV)

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    1. Yes, excruciatingly hard to “stand by” while child suffers. I know that one. Has been my greatest test in trying to trust God. But trust is a must or perish in anxiety. Trust in His mighty, unending love and good plans for them. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. Wow!!! These stories of how God moves in our lives gave me goose bumps!!! There are miracles that happen everyday all around us! Thank you for sharing your testimonies and stories.

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  10. This quarantine has been a gift to me in the sense that God allowed me to see clearly my neediness and addictions I turn to, in lieu of Him, to fix them. Then, online groups and Bible studies opened up and I asked God to help me wean from my addictive behaviors and begin to latch onto Him more than I have dared.
    Through the “we” Body of Christ that I am currently connected to here in our Phillipians focus and a few others, I am so filled up with the blessings of God’s Presence, promises and yes, grace and peace, that I see a big difference in how I am now responding to things.
    For example, yesterday-Mother’s Day, our day was altered by car problems on 270 and towing and sitting in a parking lot waiting. Normally, I would be inwardly fretting, maybe freaking out and definitely complaining.
    But I couldn’t. God’s goodness and examples of His faithfulness are so near the top of my mind from our fellowship in His words that I easily asked for His Blessing in car troubles, in waiting in a parking lot, in communicating to my husband and children about the situation in a thankful, grateful way. 3 hours later, we were home again and able to enjoy our mother day plans bc of the sweet Spirit God gave. I tell you it was Him, not me. It was my “choice” to set my mind and heart on Him the week before the trial and in the trial, and it was Him; His Presence as I recalled His words and Promises in lieu of many other thoughts that could have set in. A Mother’s Day miracle.
    His Grace and Peace now…in the midst of the not so pleasant. I pray to become a Blessing hunter. Searching for His Presence, His gifts in every circumstance and condition. Because of our time together in His words here my Sisters and Brothers, I am more confident than ever, that a Blessing can be discovered in everything.
    Thank you so much for strengthening me with our bond to each other through Him.

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  11. I know that back in 1999 I had to have a major surgery. I was alone and I was always praying to god to please take care of me regardless of the outcome .the night before the surgery he came to me and said don’t worry we’ve got this. It turned out my surgery went from a 3 hour to a 7 hour and when I came to I had pain meds for2 day but really never felt pain ,then I told them I only wanted tylenol because I didnt want to become addicted. I was in the hospital for 14 days and everything was perfect because God had me in his hands.

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