what if? two.
what if . . . we always saw the best in others?
what if . . . we truly lived in personal contentment? Wait, stop...! Don't just rush through these questions. Think about the difference these things could make.
what if . . . we were known for our grace and gratitude, for our virtuous thinking? Thinking of that which is true, focused on the lovely, the pure and not given to adulterated thoughts.
Could be that we have embodied the fantastic prayer of Paul ~
and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with our spirit.
Amazingly, he starts with: Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.1 Can you imagine saying that to someone---'just do what you have seen me do'? I could not.
Apprehending and walking in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ changes us. Truly we are different people-different with customers, different with patients, different with our toddlers, when we walk in grace. Giving thanks and expressing thanks to others who love us, just as Paul did, is not just good and right, but fosters more love.2Paul really is a formidable role model and example, you know. It was he who quickened my thinking about the whole matter of contentment so many years ago. After all, if he could know contentment in a Roman prison, how can I fail to learn contentment in my life today?3
Several weeks ago, while trying to help my older brother in the Bay Area, I met a young parking attendant named Luiz. Within minutes, we hit upon our common love of God. Since I was going to be in town, I asked him what church he attended and drove the 20 miles to his church that Sunday, Pentecostals of the Bay Area.4 The love of God and the presence of the Spirit were palpable and joy abounded! Luiz told me his favorite verse was this next: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Ph. 4.13.
Whatever it is, I can endure it; whatever it is, I can accomplish it ~ through him, my strength giver.
Sometimes, I am a quick study; other times, not so much. So as Paul expressed his gratitude for the people who took care of his material needs in prison, may I say a big thank you to those who support the ministry of Pastorwoman, which supports these briefings going to 138 countries, and more. Hard to believe it has been 10 years since I started sending Morning Briefings to just two business guys who travelled a ton, so that they could grow in their knowledge of God's Word and his love, and the readership has grown and grown and grown. I've taught through all 13 of Paul's letters and more, all archived-in written and podcast formats, free of charge at www.pastorwoman.com. Without your contributions and theirs5, I could not have done it. Please accept my gratitude for partnering in God's work with me, Laura, Tony, Audra, Connie, Cyndi, Sylvia and Geoff, Judy, Bill and Linda, Julie, Hap Kellogg (yes, of Kellogg garden products!), Bobbie, David, Joe, Jann ... I am so grateful. [And of course, because Pastorwoman is a 501-C3 non-profit, all donations are tax deductible.]
Paul refers to these gifts that support him as 'a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God,' and then gives this assurance: "my God will supply all your needs according to
his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."6
Prelude or postlude, at the beginning or at the end, the prayer is fitting for our lives:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirits. Amen.
1 - Philippians 4.9
2 - Philippians 4.10
3 - Philippians 4.11-12
5 - I am the corporate pastor to GBI, blessed to call them brothers
6- Philippians 4.18-19