I had a restless night last night. Not sure why just a restless night, and when I woke this morning I was singing this song by “Sidewalk Prophets” – To live is Christ. The hook to the song comes from Philippians 1:21.
“21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
It is not unusual for me to wake singing praise songs. Some might find that a bit strange and that is fine… but for me, I take comfort in them. And today was no exception. It turned out I really needed this song this morning and a series of scriptures that came with it.
There is this guy that I know on the internet that has become a long-distance friend. He has always been very encouraging and supportive. I missed him for a while on the site and sent him a private message just to check on him and found he was in poor health. This morning I learned from a mutual friend that he was in Hospice.
He had asked our mutual friend to let me know. It had been about 10 days since we had communicated. I had sent him scriptures that helped me in tough times. He told me he was a “Proverbs Man”. So with that song playing in my head, I read the first 4 chapters of Proverbs and I was reminded of the joy of knowing and listening to God… His wisdom and His Word. I was taken by Proverbs 1:32-2:5
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
1 My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
This passage is so powerful to me. As I read this my focus turned from the things of this world, which perish and fade, to those that do not. I thought of those who know Jesus and those who do not, and I was humbled. Just thinking about 1:32-33 reminded me how much we need Jesus and how I am thankful – without Him, we die and with Him, we “dwell secure”. What comfort there is in these words.
But my morning did not stop there. I listened to the YouTube video my Sidewalk Prophets as I continued to consider Philippians 1:21 and I reminded of so many scriptures of encouragement from the video and from just the Holy Spirit pricking my heart.
God’s Encouraging Word
First I read all of Philippians 1:18-22 what faith Paul shared with us in this passage as he pondered his future. It pulls at my heart.
Then I went to Psalms 46:10 and it calmed my spirit and sent me into prayer for my friend.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
From there Galatians 2:20
“20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Then Psalm 27:1
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
And John 15:4
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I stopped again and thought of my friend and prayed for him.
As I ponder all these scriptures I was put in mind of a child and their parents. A young child, we stay pretty close to our parents, but as we grow we become more independent I was reminded the same is true of our faith. When we are new Christian, we hunger for God’s Word, but the distractions of the world can lead us astray. Our focus changes to those immediate needs and we forget the promises of our father. I ended up in Matthew. Specifically Matthew 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Verse 33 just pierced my heart… “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat 6:33) I just keep rolling it over in my head this morning… Why do we so often allow ourselves to forget this? How is it that we can become so distracted that we forget all these promises of God? But then I am reminded that the adversary is vigilant, and his attacks are subtle.
That thought brought me to Ephesians 6 and the “Full Armor of God” and 1Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” But what really hit me was the need to pray for each other.
We do not know the heart of anyone. Only God does. We do not know each other’s circumstances, only God does. All I could think of was how Paul was always praying for everyone. Alone I am weak, but “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”(Phil 4:13)
So, this morning I pray for my friend… and not just him, but all who believe in Jesus Christ… In Jesus name, I pray that we all might find strength in Him. Amen! I pray for my friend and all who know and love him, that the peace of Christ Jesus might cover them.