Passage for Study: Acts 16: 16 - 40 … Acts 16 linked for study …
2nd Scripture Reference: Philippians 2: 1-18… Phil. 2 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: If you’ve been following what I’ve posted the last few days, led by my use of Chuck Swindoll’s devotional book, Great Days with the Great Lives, the focus has been on Paul’s model and Christlike attitudes of joy, contentment, and determination in the face of dire circumstances (i.e., imprisonment and threat of death). And obviously it flushes out a self examination (like Paul himself exhorted in 2nd Cor. 13: 5). We’ll get back to that in moment.
But today we focus on Paul’s attitude of thanksgiving so that we can look at whether we can have an attitude of gratitude in the face of pain or trials. And again, Paul shines the light of a Christlike model when it comes to thankgiving; and we can also read about it in another of his prison epistles (see Col. 4: 2 - 4) where he wrote, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. " Note how, in this passage, Paul requests prayer so that he can, with a thankful attitude, speak the Gospel clearly and powerfully to others. That was also his exhortation to the Philippians in Phil. 4: 6 - 7 [as I hope you have memorized that powerful passage].
Here was Paul, thinking that he could die any day during his imprisonment; and yet, he had a thankful heart for the love of other Christians whom he knew were praying for him and for his opportunity to share the truth of Christ with others [yes, even in prison]. So, let’s return to the self exam. How are we doing when it comes to an attitude of thankfulness in the face of ... well, you fill in the blank here with any test, trial, or trouble you’re facing or have faced? Does the light of gratitude shine through from us to others.
And Swindoll turns the spotlight directly on us in his devotional for today, asking several questions about our attitudes, remembering that God’s word, from the Apostle Paul, has charged us to have attitudes like that of Christ (see Phil. 2: 5). Let me quote these questions from Swindoll today for you to join me in doing a pop quiz for ourselves. Quoting C. Swindoll:
>>> Are you making a difference in the lives of those closest to you by the way you respond to your circumnstances?
>>> Are others impacted by your faith, or are they discouraged by your fears?
>>> Are the attitudes of unselfish humility, joyful acceptance, strong determination, and genuine thanksgiving evident in the way you’re dealing with life?
Personally, my friends, I’ve got a way to go after taking this “check-up from the neck up.” How about you?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me be more like You no matter where You may lead me Amen