Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Graciousness”
Our Bible verse for today: “… for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 (CSV)
Our thought for today: “Be gracious in times of adversity.”
Pastor Chuck Swindoll once wrote, “In all my years of walking with the Lord, I have yet to meet one Christian who has ‘lived happily ever after.’ On the other hand, I have met a great many significant saints who have endured affliction, loss, disappointment, setbacks, failures, and incredible pain through the years. And I have seen many of those same men and women cling to their joy, radiate hope, and sustain a winsome spirit, even through heartache, even through tears, even at death’s door.”
I agree with Chuck, I have never met a Christian who lived a fairy-tale life of pure bliss, just tip-toeing through the tulips and skipping along the yellow brick road of life. However I have known many Christians who faced the hardships and trials of life with a sense of peace and confidence and even joy, despite the pain and heartache. They were people who maintained a winsome personality and radiated a sense of hope and happiness, even though they were dealing with great trials.
Early in my years as a seminary student I had the privilege of knowing a woman by the name of Phyllis Forte. She was a member of our church and she was one of those great saints who simply radiated joy and love no matter the circumstances. Phyllis had diabetes bad and it was slowly eating her alive. Over the years I knew her I watched the disease take a toe, and then another, and then all of them, and then the entire foot, and then half a leg, and then the other leg started to go. Soon she was confined to a wheelchair and finally she was homebound and a shut-in.
I used to visit with her from time-to-time and we would even celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, just me and her at her kitchen table. No matter what she was dealing with personally, she was always upbeat and funny (and fun). She never wanted to talk much about herself or her problems. Instead she wanted to know all about me and my family. She wanted know how Linda and the kids were. She wanted to hear about what I was learning in seminary, whether or not I was taking proper care of myself, what I had for breakfast, and on it went. She was kind and gracious and a great joy to be with!
In Philippians 4:11-13 the Apostle Paul described a depth and maturity of faith that enabled him to be happy and content regardless of his circumstances. That’s because his joy came from within his heart and radiated out, rather than coming from outward circumstances and working its way in. His joy, contentment, and graciousness came from Christ and not from circumstances.
Paul and Phyllis were content, joyful, and gracious, regardless of the circumstances they found themselves in. May the same be true of us.