How Great A Lord He Must Be!

Some days it comes together very nicely. I began a fresh read through Philippians today, again in The Message, and came across an interesting point in chapter one. “There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.” Is this not an amazing view of suffering? How can it be as much a gift as those moments when he wins our trust?

To live that way one has to have his or her eye set far beyond our temporal comfort or convenience. It has to be set so deeply in God, that we recognize in those moments of extremity that God is all we have, and having him we have far more than enough. Paul just didn’t talk that way he lived it.

A few moments later I was reading in That They May All Be One, Even as We Are One, an outstanding transcript of some talks T. Austin-Sparks gave at the end of his journey to some believers in the Philippines. Here’s what I read this morning:

When Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians, he wrote it from prison. As we have said, he was waiting for the sentence of death. He was no longer able to travel about the world preaching. He was no longer able to visit his beloved people in all parts of the world. A lot of his friends had left him. There was not much that he could do in a public way now. All that is at an end. So that it was not the churches and it was not the works; it was the Lord Jesus. Paul’s life was not just his work. It was not just his traveling about all over the world preaching. When all those things were taken away, he says, ‘I am still going on.’

‘This one thing I do, I press on. Take away my work, I am going on with the Lord. Take away my friends, I am going on with the Lord. Take away my liberty, I am still going on with the Lord.’

How great a Lord he must be!

So what else is there? In overwhelming joy and debilitating pain, let us go on with the Lord. When God provides tons of incredible fellowship, or none, let us go on with the Lord. Whether we are in times of refreshing or times of intense struggle, let us go on with the Lord. When we have lots of opportunity to share his life or none at all, let us go on with the Lord.

Even in the face of certain death, Paul found no greater joy than his longing to know the Lord and even admitted that it was far better for him to finally see him face-to-face than to continue to live on in this age. When the Lord Jesus becomes our sole reason for being, there is only life in him today, and greater life in him to come.

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6 Comments
  1. maryann December 2, 2004 at 11:09 am

    in a devotional the other day at one ministry I volunteer at the leader quoted: 1 Thess. 5:18

    ….give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

    She made a note that it did not say FOR all things…For all Good things…It quite clearly says IN ALL Circumstances.

    Good things. Bad things. In all things, He is working out something greater in us that we become more like Him.

    Dear Father,

    I give you thanks today. You know my name. You have the best in mind for me. THANK YOU!!

  2. maryann December 2, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    in a devotional the other day at one ministry I volunteer at the leader quoted: 1 Thess. 5:18

    ….give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

    She made a note that it did not say FOR all things…For all Good things…It quite clearly says IN ALL Circumstances.

    Good things. Bad things. In all things, He is working out something greater in us that we become more like Him.

    Dear Father,

    I give you thanks today. You know my name. You have the best in mind for me. THANK YOU!!

  3. Tim December 2, 2004 at 7:58 pm

    This is good encouragement, Wayne. Thanks.

  4. Tim December 2, 2004 at 10:58 pm

    This is good encouragement, Wayne. Thanks.

  5. osray December 4, 2004 at 3:51 pm

    Wayne, this is a great post. While reading your remarks about Paul the thought occured to me; ‘What if they had the internet when Paul was in prison, and he had DSL in the cell. On line with all the churches and headquarters in Jerusalem.

  6. osray December 4, 2004 at 6:51 pm

    Wayne, this is a great post. While reading your remarks about Paul the thought occured to me; ‘What if they had the internet when Paul was in prison, and he had DSL in the cell. On line with all the churches and headquarters in Jerusalem.

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