The Apostle Paul was a prisoner under house arrest in Rome from 60-62 AD. He had every reason to be discouraged. But Paul’s relentless enthusiasm for the Lord would not be limited in any way by his circumstances. Paul knew that his imprisonment had “served to advance the gospel” and bring confidence and boldness to his fellow Christians “to speak the word without fear (Philippians 1:12-14).” Paul remained a constant source of encouragement telling his brothers and sisters in Philippi to “Rejoice Always.”
Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV) – 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When Paul wrote these words to the Philippian church he was more than confident in his deep conviction that Christians can always have an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. Paul had certainly been through his share of suffering after his conversion to Christianity (Acts 9). Luke records many, but not all, of Paul’s life trials throughout the Book of Acts (see below). 1
Paul was triumphant amid all of his sufferings. He experienced great joy and gladness in knowing that Jesus was his Savior. He knew first hand the unconditional love, unfailing faithfulness, and compassionate understanding of our risen Lord!
How about you? Are you able to Rejoice Always in ALL of your circumstances? God has given us amazing promises. He has written them down in His Word! He will NEVER fail to fulfill them! God is faithful!
When Jesus was teaching His disciples about The True Vine and The Vinedresser in John 15 He said these words, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (vs. 11). Jesus’ words were meant for you as well … not just the disciples.
May you have joy in knowing that God is always there to hear and answer your prayers. As Paul wrote to the Philippian church “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. … The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:4-6).”
Almighty God, I rejoice always and give you thanksgiving praise in ALL of our circumstances. May I have the faith of Paul to face challenging circumstances knowing that you are always faithful. Amen and amen.
1 Adapted from Chapter 15, “Paul: “A Hebrew of Hebrews”, www.biblecharts.org
Paul’s Sufferings as Recorded in the Book of Acts
- His life was threatened in Damascus. Acts 9:23
- His life was threatened in Jerusalem. Acts 9:29
- Persecuted and run out of Antioch in Pisidia. Acts 13:50
- Faced possible stoning at Iconium. Acts 14:5
- Stoned and left for dead in Lystra. Acts 14:19
- Opposed and made the center of controversy. Acts 15:11
- Experienced the loss of his close friend and co-laborer, Barnabas. Acts 15:39
- Beaten with rods and imprisoned at Philippi. Acts 16:23
- Cast out of Philippi. Acts 16:39
- His life was threatened in Thessalonica. Acts 17:5-7, 10
- Forced out of Berea. Acts 17:14
- Mocked in Athens. Acts 17:18
- Taken before the judgment seat in Corinth. Acts 18:12
- Opposed by the silversmiths in Ephesus. Acts 19:23-41
- Plotted against by the Jews in Greece. Acts 20:3
- Apprehended by the mob in Jerusalem. Acts 21:27-30
- Arrested and detained by the Romans. Acts 22:24
- Barely escaped being scourged. Acts 22:25-29
- Rescued from the Sanhedrin mob action. Acts 23:1-8
- Assassination plot against him. Acts 23:12-22
- Two-year imprisonment in Caesarea. Acts 23:33-27:2
- Shipwreck on the island of Melita (Malta). Acts 27:41-28:1
- Suffered a snakebite. Acts 28:3-5
- First Roman imprisonment. Acts 28:13-15
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