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When things seem bleak...

 God always has a plan.     

 'In a rough time?

Read that again.

Things were definitely bleak: Christianity was in trouble, or so it seemed.         The Gospel had come to a screeching halt, or so it seemed.                    

The teacher, the pastor, the main man had been arrested, transported to Rome in tight security, and faced death.                                              

Was this the end of the Christian faith already?                                        

There seemed to be no hope.                                              

Paul knew his Philippian brothers wondered about all of these things.  

Certainly as Nero's power grew, things got proportionally harder for Christians.           

Yet Paul says, 'Take heart, Christian ... God is at work.'   

Look at his 'take' :

"Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly." Philippians 1.12-14 

So Paul's imprisonment would not extinguish the gospel, but further it! 

->Sometimes God uses hardship in our lives to bring glory to himself

It seems Paul's incarceration in Rome was part of God's plan. Paul was shackled to a member of the Praetorian guard, (from Caesars household), at all times.  Every four hours, there was a changing of that guard, while Paul awaited his trial. Ultimately, Paul was permitted to arrange his own lodging while he waited for two years for his 'court date', but chained to a soldier at all times.  

Think of how many of these guardsmen heard the Gospel over the span of two years! All the Praetorian Guard knew why Paul was imprisoned, and they saw his courage, conviction, and undying loyalty to Jesus Christ. They could not help themselves-- many of the guards came to know Paul's Lord ... also their families ... even extending to Caesar's house. Remarkable indeed.

God always has a plan for the gospel and

for those who have chosen to be his children.

So it has been throughout history.  When it seemed that the gospel would be eliminated - even as countries passed laws to make Christianity illegal,                                   the light of Christ could not be extinguished. While Communist China sought to exterminate Christianity, the numbers of Christians multiplied until Christianity flourishes today.

While the media seems to highlight the suppression of Christianity - and indeed, many seek to sideline Christians, yes even in America, consider the growth of Christianity overall...

God always has a plan.

And in your life - does it seem dark or even hopeless? Do not lose heart, believer. God is on the throne, and even when you do not see it, he is at work. And I do believe it is oft darkest just before the dawn. Do not grow faint in believing, do not stop praying.   


      Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.3

My loved one hits the skids and finally turns around again, gets honest with himself, turns to God for answers, for help. And in God's kindness, he creatively uses what has been suffered by one to help another. I've heard it said 'nothing is wasted in God's economy,' and it has certainly been true in my experience.  Again, brilliant Paul:                

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord 4


Yes, Greg, Shane, Renee, Robin, Christine, Lisa, Milo

God always has a plan . . . 

for the Philippian church, 

     for an imprisoned Paul and 

         for the spread of Christianity - in the first century and today.  

God also has a plan for your life and mine, and while it seems like he is slow to act, or slow to show up, he is working it out. Look at this sweet verse:  

The Lord values those who fear him,

those who put their hope in his faithful love.5

And from The Message:   Those who fear God get God's attention;

                                                  they can depend on his strength.


God always has a plan, my beloved. Do not lose heart.

"Higher Ground" - oh man, what a song:


Philippians, #8


p.s. Sometimes I see this principle more clearly in someone else's life... I can see that the trauma faced by a young person can be healed, redeemed for its value in strengthening her faith, and used to help another.  

I watch as a breast cancer survivor says 'I know...oh, I know. Have hope, you will feel better, you will get stronger, and what's more, you will be a stronger woman for your children and for others.'  

There are a few incredibly painful things I have experienced in my life I would not wish on my worst enemy, but hear me - I WOULD NOT TRADE THEM EITHER. Doubt me? Just ask.


Even when things seem bleak, God always has a plan for us.



1)   Acts 28.16   

2) "What's Behind the Boom in Christianity in China? from Boston University:

3) 8 Encouraging Trends for Global Christianity in 2024

3) Psalm 37.5

4) Romans 8.28a

5) Psalm 147.11

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