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November 22, 2021

Ep.1205: How Can I Rejoice in Trials?

Discovering the profound power of gratitude in the face of adversity

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How does Paul's letter to the Colossians give us encouragement?

How does Paul's letter to the Philippians teach us to rejoice in all things?

What can we learn from the last letter Paul wrote from prison before his death?

Theme Scripture: Philippians 1:12-13

Every Christian wants to be faithful in living their life with thankfulness. One immediate question that arises is, what causes us to be thankful? What life experiences bring us to gratitude? Most of us would answer that we feel appreciativeness when things fall into place or when a hard experience yields a righteous result. These are great times to give honor to God, but what about when the opposite happens? What kind of acknowledgment do we give to God when our opportunities are cut off for no good reason? Would we be grateful if we were singled out to have our personal freedoms to spread the gospel stripped, and we were instead literally locked in our house? The Apostle Paul was. The last several years of his life were mostly spent as a prisoner of Rome. What was his secret to rejoicing?

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Imagine you lived at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, and you were converted to follow his gospel message. Imagine being so moved by that message you, for the next 20 years or so, travel throughout the Roman Empire preaching this gospel. The joy of the gospel provokes you to speak on street corners, in synagogues and before authorities. Through God’s love and grace, you heal the sick and debate religious philosophy. You are often falsely accused as a troublemaker and yet you never stop moving. But you never stop teaching, preaching, healing, converting. You never stop standing in public places for the name and cause of Christ. You rejoice! For 20 years, the joy of the Lord has driven you, inspired and provoked you to change thousands of lives.

Suddenly your freedom is a thing of the past.

You are taken prisoner and brought to Rome and confined to a rented house for two years. You are under constant guard. Now your only freedom is within the walls of that small house. Your life of adventure, fellowship and witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is over. Or is it?

It is here that you are presented with a major life choice.

Do you take these shackles as a sign that you had a good run? Do you see this as an ending of an era, and you have now been removed from active service? This could be an easy path to follow, but it is not the only path. You could decide that by God’s grace you are here. You could choose to bring as much gospel activity to your little house as can possibly fit. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul did.

Check out our November 22,2021 podcast, “How Can I Rejoice in Trials?” for more. We break down the mindset the Apostle Paul had while in prison by examining four of the letters he wrote while bound by chains. In these letters Paul’s rejoicing in God’s providence is palpable. His clarity on teaching the most important things is inspiring. Join us as we observe the Apostle Paul rejoice in his trials, and we then follow Paul as he followed Christ!


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