I wrote the following in 2005 the summer we had all the hurricanes hitting the gulf coast which included Katrina. The impact it had on our area was felt...many victims found refuge in our town. It brought our community together to help feed and give shelter to those who lost their homes. Felt a need to post it as a reminder. Pray for those in Japan and also for all those that are sick and lonely and dear to our hearts.
Sept 13, 2005
Sept 13, 2005
To my friends and family... just a note to encourage, wherever you may be? With trials and hardships we all experience in this life, sending a reminder that we do have a hope. The hurricane aftermath and many other situations I know of concerning friends and family who are sick or struggling prompted this writing. The Lord reminded me of several testimonies in His written word that encourages our faith and this is the reason for me sending this to you. I pray it will encourage you this day as it has encouraged me. Galatians 6: 2: Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
The book of Philippians was written by Paul, remember Paul’s history? He was once Saul the religious zealous Jew who killed early believers because of their faith in Christ. Jesus loved Saul, “ right where he was“. Acts 9: 3-6, As he reached Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied." Pondering on this verse I wonder how many prayers were being prayed by the new Christian community to our Father for help in safety and protection from Saul. I wonder how many early saints, “such as Peter, John and Matthew “ were on their knees praying for Saul’s conversion and asking the Father to forgive him, just as Christ was hanging on the cross, asking the Father to forgive us, “ for we do not know what we do” Luke 23: 34. See the hope we have for our friends and family who have not come to know Christ as of yet? For those who are not living as the Lord would have them, God does have a purpose and a plan for each one of them... Just keep pleading in prayer.
Paul wrote the book of Philippians while in prison. Even though he was writing in prison this writing is filled with joy. The words “joy” or rejoice” are used fourteen times. Philippians 4:11-13: I am saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need, & I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Paul writes in chapter 1, starting in verse 3, I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this , that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. As I ponder this writing in scripture, I picture Paul in prison and the atmosphere in which he is living. Is Paul cold or is he hot as he writes, do they let him use the bathroom elsewhere, does he have a bed or does he sleep on the hard ground, how much food do they feed him or is he hungry? I then think of the prisons in my life and none can compare. What a testimony in hope with Paul’s life, while in prison he is encouraging us on the outside. He knows the hope we have in Our Lord and he is reassuring us that whatever our situation is in life, God will not abandon us. Our Lord started a purpose, a reason to live out our allotted time and He will be with us to completion. Whether we are in prison, grieving, hurting, sick, fearful of the future or whatever.... Paul while in prison again writes to Timothy, 2 Timothy 4: 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith... Many Christian circles talk about faith and if you only have faith things will work to our advantage. Paul’s faith was that of, “things would workout to God’s glory and God’s purpose for Paul life”. Even in prison he encourages us with his faith and the fruits of joy and rest are very evident in his testimony. What a testimony!
Another great man in the Bible that had ups and downs in this old world was King David and he shares in Psalms 112:6-7 Surely he will never be shaken, a righteous man will be remembered forever He will have no fear of bad news his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. Psalms 46: 2 God is our refuge & strength an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way & the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it’s waters roar & foam & the mountains quake with surging.
Jeremiah was a young man called by God. His first 20 years under Josiah, a good king who tried to bring the people back to God, gave Jeremiah his learning field a good start. After this Jeremiah was often in danger because of God message for God’s people. Through it all God protected Jeremiah so Jeremiah could continue God’s plan and purpose. Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you & not harm you, plans to give you hope & a future....
In closing my thoughts to God in prayer:
Heavenly Father thank-you for your word and the encouragement it gives us. Teach us, Help us all to have the faith as Paul, David and Jeremiah. In time of need, give us your power and grace to keep our eyes on you and show us your joy. We pray for the joy of the Lord in our lives, even in our own personal prisons. We need the joy that is complete, a joy that endures, a joy that can only come from You. Lead us all in the race You have set before us and give us Your strength to finish it as you would have us. Teach us all,” the secret” you taught Paul while in prison of being content in any and every situation. Gently guide us and show us where we need to grow in you. Sanctify us with the work of your Spirit and through belief in the truth. Lord you have the answers to life and help us to listen. I pray for all those who are without a home due to the hurricane. Be with them all and meet their needs daily. I pray for my love ones that are sick, heal them, but most of all give them Your Joy. For my loved ones who have lost a precious loved one and are grieving, Lord I pray you touch their minds and hearts and show them, their future in the race. Give them the strength each day they need and encourage them with Your love. Give us all Joy and a Faith that will continue to grow in You and that endures forever........ AMEN
Love To All, Julie