When I go through hard times, I have to remember the sacrifice Jesus paid for me.
Monday, August 30, 2021
By Cathy Widmier, Journey Group Leader
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” — Philippians 1:3-4
Paul kept his mind focused on what was good, even when he was in chains or defending the Gospel. Paul chose to give thanks and to express joy always. He mentions these things many times throughout his writings.
When I go through hard times, I have to remember the sacrifice Jesus paid for me. It is so much greater than any challenge or hardship I may experience on earth. The Bible tells me that I need to focus on what is excellent and praiseworthy. God knows what is best for me. I just need to decide and be obedient to His will. A few years ago, I felt convicted to give God the first part of my day. I started reading a daily devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I also wrote down three things I was grateful/thankful for each day before I got out of bed. The transformation I received from this simple practice was life-changing. Setting my mind on God and His goodness changed how I approached my day. What I filled my mind with overflowed into my words and my actions. Unconsciously, I was more patient and kind, and I started noticing that people reciprocated. Recently, I started reading a daily devotional with a friend, using the Bible app. It has helped me re-ignite this spark, because my friend is sharing her wisdom and insights too. I also bought a new gratitude journal and have resumed this daily practice. This last year and a half has been hard, and I know this discipline will bring the renewal that I need.
“Lord, thank you for your wisdom, grace and peace. I am sorry for being self-focused and negative sometimes. I commit to putting you first always. Lord, let me see the good you do, and let me be a blessing to others. Continue to fill me with a renewed joy to grow in Your Word and to share the Good News with others. I love you. Amen.”
Now You Try
Read Philippians 1:12-30
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.