Do your circumstances dictate whether or not you are willing to share your faith? 

Financial difficulties, health issues, death of a loved one, natural disasters, marriage problems…many reasons…too many to name… 

In a moment our circumstances can change.  You could be driving down the road, feeling all is well with the world one minute and then get hit by a truck the next.  It’s possible to be cleaning your house, singing praises to God, wondering what to make for dinner and then get the phone call that will throw your world into disarray.  You might be imagining the boss has called you into his office for a raise and be given a pink slip instead. 

In a moment, life can change.

How will you respond?  At times we are knocked down with such violence it takes a while to get back on our feet.  But once you’ve had a chance to breathe, what will you do?  What will you say?

Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. ~Phillipians 1:12-14

Can your circumstances turn out for the greater progress of the gospel? 

At times I feel my body is my prison.  At times I wonder if we’ll ever get past our current storm.  At times I consider walking away from it all.  But then I go to the scriptures and I am reminded again, it can be done.  I can persevere through the One who endured to the end of His life and afterwards became the first fruit of the harvest.

But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again…there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised. ~1Corinthians 15:20,23

Each Friday I will be posting on the week’s discussion from the book of Philippians at Philter 48.  You can check out the other posts by clicking the link provided.


20 responses »

  1. This is a challenging post Sis. I know my world was turned around when I received that phone call about Daddy and while my initial response was in faith, there have been moments since that my faith has dwindled, where I have questioned the prison [storm] and asked God where He is in all of this. I suppose this is where the difference comes between knowing and feeling. All this time I have known that He is good and His mercy endures forever even if I didn’t feel it and I stood firm on my belief that He is real even in moments where I couldn’t feel His presence.

    I love you and pray that God would continue to strengthen you in this season. Thank you for allowing Him to use you to strengthen me during mine XO

  2. It is hard, Gch, so very hard. Your storm hit with such violence, I’m not sure you’ve gasped for air enough to breathe yet. It takes time. Be gentle with yourself. He is there even when you can’t “feel” Him. He’s watching over you with an amazing grace, so much more grace than any of us can comprehend. Love you, Gch!!

  3. You know … reading this … I wish you could have known my mother. You would have loved her. But more than that, she really could have identified with your feeling of imprisonment. I don’t know if you visited the link for her site in my Storm Story … but she had cancer when she was 16 months old, and given large doses of chemotherapy and radiation to ensure her survival. Her survival was a miracle. Her kids were miracles … but she lived with a broken body. When she died, my Dad said that the healthiest he ever saw Mom was the day he married her. Her body was continually getting worse. The radiation (as we now know) continues to kill and never goes away … and the large amounts she had been given as a child slowly killed her body and ate away at her bones and muscles. She was such a champion though. Like you. When she got to the point where she could almost never go to church anymore (one of the things she loved most!) people would come over to cook meals and spend time and minister to her … and frequently leave feeling ministered to. She taught me what it means to be a champion. She continued fighting ’til the day she died, but refused to give anything but God the glory. As her body became weaker, her faith became stronger. I watched that happen. She wasn’t always strong. In fact, she came through much insecurity and weakness. But in her weakness, God was strong.

    I know my little paragraph on her life isn’t the same as really knowing her … but … well, I wish you could have known her. I know she would have cheered you up, and imparted strength from a position of knowing what it’s like.

    Letting our circumstances … even the storms … not only bring glory to God, but also work good things in us … it’s almost a miracle how God does that. But the storms really do make the earth come alive.

    🙂 Love you!

  4. @annie: I can’t remember if I left you a note on your storm story or not, but I know a little girl who is going through chemo and radiation for Wilm’s right now… I worry for its effects on her future but am so grateful that they are giving her such a good prognosis. While reading your mom’s story was a little scary as to what could happen, I also was reminded that beautiful things may come from her hard time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you, Annie. Yes, I did read your mother’s story. She seemed to be an amazing woman. What a blessing for you to have had her example in your life. I do pray someday my kids will be able to say such things.

  6. I am really enjoying this study. Praise HIM through our stinks sometimes. and sometimes its suffocating, but these verses give such hope to me..if my low times,pain, and imprisonment can bring Glory to awesome is that, that HE can take something so awful and make something so beautiful from it?!?! love you

  7. “…life stinks sometimes. and sometimes its suffocating, but these verses give such hope…”

    Amen, Darla. I think stating the reality of how hard life can be is the essence of authenticity. When we truly realize how much we need God, because there is no way to get through this life without Him, we’ve moved leaps and bounds beyond the surface.

    I love you, too. 😉

  8. “At times we are hit with such violence it takes time to get back on our feet.” Woah. This is so true, like getting the wind knocked out of us and we’re laying on our backs, trying to catch our breath again.

    When my world gets rocked, I realize quickly that oh yeah, I talked a big talk with Him about wanting to be like Him, to walk closer with Him, etc., but when the rubber meets the road, I’m like, “No, Lord, I don’t want this! I don’t want to go to school!! Take it away, take it away!!!”

    But I cannot deny the FACT that every single time I’ve been thrown a whopper, those are the times when I have clinged to Him like never before; they’re the times of some of the greatest intimacy with Him; and they’re the deepest lessons learned and planted deepest in my heart.

    My friend says that it’s like a roller coaster – you scream the whole way through, but when it’s over, you’re like, “Lord, can we go again?”

  9. You get stronger as you go through life’s trials. I think the difference between those who know the Lord as savior and those who don’t is the fact we recognize God is the one helping us along the way.

    Everyone gets rained on; those in Christ have someone to walk through the rain with.

  10. thought about this some more..hahaha you knew I would.

    and the answer is circumstances cause me to share the gospel..I just know and believe that HE will not allow something unless something needs to be shaken out of me, or someone needs to be witnessed to…also at times it was to get me from “A” to “B”…so yes..

    love you

  11. “When my world gets rocked, I realize quickly that oh yeah, I talked a big talk with Him about wanting to be like Him, to walk closer with Him..”

    You know, Lisa, I think this is very true. I think He does take us up on our words. He continues to prove Himself faithful. It is strange how the trials either make or break us…as, I believe, they are designed to do. NorEaster said in one of his essays, “God has a delightfully frightening way of caring for His children.” I think that’s very true.

    Amen, Preacher. I’m thankful to have Someone to walk with through the rain.

    Thanks, Danielle. 😉

    I agree, Darla. It seems, at times, we think it’s “just life,” but when you’re in Christ, He always has a purpose. He is about making us, changing us, to be more and more like Him. How will we know if we’re learning unless we’re tested on the hard steel crucible of life? I’m so glad I get to walk this life with you!

  12. Michelle:

    I love the scriptures you posted here and I can relate. The times when I hesitate or allow circumstance to hinder my witness are not happy times.

    It’s when I realize that my circumstances are my witness that things change. Regardless of what is happening around me, it hasn’t touched me without first being passed through OK Central, and for that reason alone, it is possible to count it joy and continue.

    I understand about wanting to give up, but….where would we go?

    Love you!

  13. I read that same comment on NorEaster’s blog, and it’s the one that jumped out at me. I have experienced the truth of it firsthand, over and over. And yet I still get anxious quickly when the boat starts rocking, for sure.

    A couple of months ago, I was really angry about a work thing my husband was going through. There was this one night where Eph. 4:29 NOT being walked out, as I basically spewed my guts all over the place about it. I was not being a “help meet” at all.

    A few days later, our pastor spoke about “shaking presents on Christmas morning to see what is inside.” A very loud DING went off in my spirit, as clear as anything, and the Holy Spirit repeated back to me, “Shaken to show what’s inside.” Oh MAN. Yes, I was being shaken because I needed to be shown what was inside…… so it could be brought to the light and the roots dealt wtih. And confessed, forgiven and cleaned out. Honestly, I’ve found that’s when the deepest work gets done in my life, when the shaking comes, like He’s shaking this tree to get the dead “fruit” off.

    I love that in those “make or break” times, He’s right there with us going, “I’ve got you, I’ve got you…..”

    Sorry so long……

  14. “I understand about wanting to give up, but….where would we go?”

    Any place without Him would be hell. I can only say that because I know the difference…I’ve had it both ways. Life is never easy, but at least, with Him we know we have Someone to help us through. Love you too, Debs!! 🙂

    Thank you, Ric, it’s nice to return the favor. 😉

    “Shaken to show what’s inside.” That’s really good, Lisa. I need to remember that. It is all about character…the fruit of the Spirit. I’m so thankful He’s got us. Oh…and never feel you need to apologize about length here. I love long thoughtful comments. 😀

  15. Thanks, Michelle. I really appreciate being able to come here and feel a sense of challenge and comfort at the same time.

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