Comfort and Encouragement

Philippians 4:10-12 ESV

“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

It helps, when you are going through times of difficulty, when others express concern for you and when they let you know that they are praying for you. And not just when they verbalize concern, but when they take it a step further and they offer to help in some way, although not everyone is able to do that. It is encouraging to the one who is going through a difficulty. And sometimes just a Scripture verse or a song or a word of encouragement goes a long way in bringing comfort.

But whether or not we receive such encouragement as this, and sometimes we may not, we need to be at peace with God in whatever circumstances we are facing. We need to be content in whatever situations we find ourselves in, for some will be good and some will be bad. But we should not be content in the sense of unconcerned, so that we end up doing nothing, but we should be trusting the Lord to lead and guide us each and every step of the way, trusting that he knows best.

Now some of us have had it hard in life while others of us have had it much easier. And sometimes things get really hard, and other times they aren’t as bad and they are even good. I know what it is like to be dirt poor and to not have much at all. But I had a roof over my head, and food in my stomach, and clothing on my back, so it wasn’t as bad as what some people have it who are homeless. But there were times when I didn’t know how we were going to pay the rent or if we would have enough money to eat. Yet, I know what it is like to have surplus, too.

But you know what? Some of those times when we had less, and we didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay the rent or not, were some of the best times, because we had to trust the Lord every step of the way and walk by faith and not by sight. I know my husband and I have had several times like this in our married life, and I learned so much during those times about walking by faith and trusting the Lord to supply for our needs. And it was awesome how the Lord met those needs, not early, but just on time.

Philippians 4:13 ESV

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Now this next verse, verse 13, is one that is greatly misused because it is used out of context to say what it doesn’t say. So we must be very careful how we use verses when they are not in their full context. We need to be diligent about checking the context to make certain that we are not misquoting or misusing any particular passage of Scripture. For many false doctrines come from Scriptures taught outside their context and are twisted to say what the Scriptures do not teach.

We can’t just arbitrarily quote verse 13 claiming that we can do ALL things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength. We can’t do ALL things, for all things include sinning and disobeying the Lord. And all things may include things the Lord Jesus doesn’t want us to do, that he has not designed for us to do. And all things may include things which are harmful for us and that may go against the will of God for our lives. So we need to be careful how we use this verse.

So, what did Paul mean by it? What was the context? The context was that of being in need and of learning to be content whether we have plenty or we have little. And that is the context we must follow here. He learned that no matter his circumstances, whether in need or having plenty, that he could do all these things through the Lord who gave him strength. He could survive having little, and he could respond humbly when he had plenty and use what he had wisely. And he could be content in whatever his circumstance was.

Pleasing God: [Rom 8:8; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:10; Col 1:9-11; 1 Thes 2:4; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Tim 2:4; Heb 11:6; Heb 13:6; 1 Jn 3:22]

There’s a Stirring

By Annie Herring

There’s a stirring deep within me
Could it be my time has come
When I’ll see my gracious savior face to face when all is done
Is that his voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’
Is he calling me?
Is he calling me?

I will rise up, rise up
And bow down
And lay my crown
At his wounded feet

Is that His voice I am hearing?
‘Come away, my precious one’

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