Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday Ember Day in September

Posted on September 23, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Philippians 1:12-18 (NKJV)
1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
St. Paul certainly was not in a position to rejoice, as the world would reckon it. After many missionary journeys, he was–in some ways at his own insistence–now in chains for the Gospel. His fate was far from certain, from a purely human standpoint. Some would argue that he was mad to insist on appealing to Caesar, as was his right as a Roman citizen.
Paul still saw reason to rejoice. The Gospel was being preached now to the palace guard; something that might not have happened had Paul remained free. And Paul knew that the Gospel would still be preached after he and the other Apostles died. Indeed, it is still being preached today! Even if there are some who preach Christ for less than the best motives, Christ is still being preached. In this, Paul rejoiced, and so should we. For even when things look dark, according to the world’s wisdom, we have the promises of Christ and heaven to look forward to. Let us confess, with St. Paul, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain!” (Phil. 1:21)
Prayer: Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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