Philippians: Day 2

Partners in Grace

by

Today's Text: Philippians 1:3-11, Acts 16:11-40, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Colossians 1:9, Philemon 1:6

A few weeks ago, my roommate and I checked off the last item of our summer bucket list: attend a baseball game. We purchased lawn seats last minute and were delighted to lay our picnic blanket a short leap from the Dippin’ Dots stand. (Because nothing says America’s favorite pastime like millions of mini futuristic ice cream pieces, am I right?)

However, we were less delighted to find the lawn section also hosted millions of mini fussy people— unattended children, wiggly toddlers, and sassy preteens. Inning by inning, it felt like we were the only ones on the lawn who were actually there to watch the game.

During the seventh-inning stretch, one restless boy stood up with determination to start “the wave.” His friends enthusiastically joined him, cheering on our section to stand up and slowly raise our arms, their faces exploding with joy as we obliged. “Again!” they chanted. “3,2,1…”  they instructed, as the tide swelled over the picnic-blanket-filled lawn.

The wave would begin from our fingertips, and we’d watch it linger through the sections closest to us, then break off. Maybe it would flow through a few more spectators with each attempt, but we all knew the hope of making it all the way around the ballpark was lofty at best.

As the players resumed their positions, we resumed our own and the kids yelled, “One more time!” with even wrigglier anticipation. So, one more time, we began the wave in our section, then pointed our noses to the ground and returned to our picnic blankets. Looking up, we noticed hands raise and lower in the section across the ballpark. Could it be the wave made it all the way around? Certainly not.

Too shocked to continue its swell, the kids cheered in disbelief as an out-of-breath man sprinted through our section to distribute high-fives. It was the boy’s dad, returning from the other end of the park. Unbeknownst to us, he’d run a lap around the stands, making sure the wave made it full-circle.

Our God, Creator and continuer of grace, does the exact same thing. Paul is writing a joy letter to the Philippians, distributing ministry high-fives to his brothers and sisters in the gospel and underlining a clear message: Keep going.

We must keep Paul’s circumstances in mind when we read these words, because this is no postcard from bliss. Paul isn’t away on vacation tanning his limbs and eating Cracker Jacks, asking his co-laborers in Christ to keep doing the heavy lifting. He’s facing the trial of imprisonment, knee-deep in the worst of the worst, yet he reports his encounters with Christ with joy. Keep going, he conveys, because God is working, even in the depths of darkness.

The circumstances that separated Paul from the world strengthened his bond with the Body of Christ.

Grace takes our isolation and replaces it with identity. Truth calls us to look around and see our place in a lineage of believers and partners in grace (Hebrews 11). We stand upon the foundation of faith (1 Corinthians 3:11), responding to the grace that flows from His mercy to our fingertips and extends through the arms of the Church. All the while, His goodness runs freely and uninterrupted.

Keep going, friends. Keep going.

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  • Love that even in chains, Paul prays for others, for those he loves. A great reminder!

  • Thankful for the reminder to keep pressing on in tough situations.

  • Britta Hammond

    Lifting you up in prayer his morning, Hannah! Keep going. Xoxoxo

  • Rachel Joy

    hannah! Jesus died so that we would be forgiven and put right with God… let his blood wash you clean sweet one…. and press on, not looking back, but clinging to his promises. Much love sweet one. xoxo

  • Love this devotional! God always finishes what he starts!! ❤️

  • Kasey Summers

    Keep going. Loving Philippians. So encouraging.

  • BlessedandFavored

    I will keep moving through any darkness in my life knowing God’s grace will follow me

  • Lanierstudios

    Hannah I think this verse is appropriate for you. Verse of the Day
    Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
    Psalm 118:5-6 ESV
    Keep crying out to the Lord. You have been redeemed.

  • Mariah Derry

    We are in a week of prayer and fasting at our church. And man. It is so encouraging to sit here and read these truths through my lunch half hour. God has the power to keep us going. In God I find my strength. I have to lean on that statement more than I think, thanks for this!!

  • Hannah Barker

    I doubt anyone will see this, considering it’s been two months since the last post.. But I thought I would throw my feelings in the online universe that is focusing on God. I need to just rant my feelings and if someone does stumble upon this, then all I ask is prayer. This struck a nerve to keep going and that He is working even in the darkness. I’ve been struggling for a couple weeks. I had a very traumatic encounter where I was in the wrong by abusing alcohol, but also got taken advantage of by a guy. I am having a hard time of forgiving myself and I’m terrified of what the outcome could be. I’m confused and numb to everything. I keep listening over and over again Gungor’s song, Oh Light. I know God is my light come to take away my burdens and maybe it’s just going to take time… This passage shows the level of struggles Paul went through, but was still rejoicing. I want to be at that point and believe God will work something good even in my darkness. At the end of this rant I guess I’m searching for encouragement & prayer. I love God, it’s just hard to face Him and process everything.

    • Dana

      Holy Father, You know exactly what Hannah’s going through right now, how she made wrong choices and how she is suffering from someone else’s wrong choices. Lord, I ask You to show her how much You love her. Help her face You in spite of her shame, and help her know that You forgive her. Remind her that *nothing* can separate her from Your love for her in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:39), and that You have begun a good work in her and will carry it on to completion (Phil 1:6). Thank You, Lord, for meeting us each exactly where we are and loving us no matter what. Thank You for giving Hannah faith in You, love for You, and a desire to follow You. Jesus, please be close to her now, and let her feel Your love for her. Holy Spirit, I ask You to give Hannah wisdom to know what steps to take and the strength, courage, and comfort she needs to follow Jesus with all her heart and soul and strength and mind (Lk 10:27). I ask all these things in Your holy name, Jesus. Amen

    • Kelly

      Hannah, no matter what just know that his actions are not your fault. I know exactly how you feel because I have had a similar circumstance and one night crying I felt God put His arms around me, and he will you too. God can use all things for good and this could be a turning point in your life. It does it better and forgiving yourself may take time, the great thing about Jesus is He forgives you instantly. Your story could change a girls life one day or a guys life. You may help someone who goes through something similar one day and encourage them when it seems like this is the worst time of their life. I literally have been in the same spot you are, its been 9 years since that happened to me. Stay faithful and keep your eyes on God, and no matter what He loves you…no matter how unworthy we are, His grace and mercy are amazing! I hope this helps in some way and I will be praying for you!

    • ABH

      Hannah, God was prepared for us to make mistakes, which is why he died on the Cross for us ahead of time. He knows we are not perfect, but that we continue to strive to be more like his perfectness each day. I am sorry that you experienced something you are having difficulty forgiving yourself for, but God is not dragging his feet on the matter; he has already forgiven you.

    • Ryan

      I am just now doing this devotional and reading your comment. I just wanted you to know that even now I am praying that God lifted your heavy heart. And that your voice was heard.

    • Sophia

      Hannah I am praying for you! Remember, you are named as a child of God and NOTHING changes that. You are precious! I hope you have found some sweet Christian s to help you through.

  • Autumn Barrow

    God, the continuer of grace. So beautiful.

  • My sister in laws son of 37 years suddenly passed away a few days ago and this scripture would be encouraging for their family and of course for me, thank you for this message today that will reach so many.

  • I’m encouraged! Thank you, Jesus – thankful for Paul’s humility, obedience, faithfulness and love for the church. Really enjoyed this devo and the wave story – and how it applies! Thank you SRT! ❤️

  • So I'm a day late with this and wonder whether anyone will come back and see it, but I'm posting anyway. I've been thinking for the past month (admittedly the same length of time that I've been going to church regularly again) that I would really benefit from having more church-based community in my life. But Day 2's devotional about the interplay of grace, isolation, and identity has me absolutely convinced that having a place to connect with others in faith would be extremely good for me. I'm just such a shy introvert that I don't know how to reach out to strangers and ask for what I need (even though I know that in principle, at least, everyone in a church should be welcoming). It's easier to be vulnerable through the anonymity of a computer keyboard, so I thought I'd take a baby step and start here. Cheers.

    • Zaurina

      Hi Catruns Yes, this is a start! It is interesting that you describe yourself as shy and introvert. I have struggled with that title all of my life it seems. Like what’s wrong with me?! I was even troubled in my sleep early this morning and needed to pray because I’ve always felt like it’s bad to be this way. But you know what I came to realize? God has created me to have a quite character for a reason and for a purpose. For so long I have allowed others and myself to put me down for it. Instead of asking why my personality is like this, I should have been asking the Lord how can I glorify him with the character he has giving me! (I tell you I have never thought about it this way until today) Christ is calling his people to be loving of each other and even our enemies so that means even the “shy” should be willing to engage with people whether strangers or not, but that is easier said then done when speaking about someone who’d rather sit and observe people first to get a feel of who they are before wanting to become friendly with them OR maybe not (and i have had to repent for this). But the Lord is faithful and will grow me in this process. Whether outgoing or not, the key is to rely on Jesus Christ in serving him in the way he has made us, because as children of the Most High, we all play a role in building his kingdom! Be blessed!

  • The Cristy Bee Buzz

    Definitely a simple yet powerful message.

  • Sarabeth

    Love this devotion. “Keep Going”. Could we put it on a mug with Phil 1:6 on the back? Love you guys, SRT!

  • mamajonk

    Thank you for sharing your story. I'm in tears just reading it! Blessings from So. Cal.

  • I live in Columbia, South Carolina and my heart id broken over the mass destruction on our community. This is a time of darkness, and yet in it, Jesus is shining brighter. Every day is not good, but He is good every day. These days are hard and long, but Jesus is walking with us and healing us every step of the way. So very thankful for or good, good Father.

    • scootermae

      Macy, I can't imagine the devastation. Pictures never seem to adequately explain it all. You are right, every day is not good, but God is good every day! Keep on leaning on Him. The country is lifting you all up in prayer!

  • kellicliff

    Love that last paragraph. Such great words. Love how every idea is built off Scripture.

  • Grace takes our isolation and replaces it with identity.

    I love this.

  • Sarah Morris

    Just what I needed to hear today! I recently started law school and I know that’s where God intended me to be… But it’s proving to be very difficult! Thanks for the push!

    • Brittany

      Stay strong and keep pushing. I was in your position about 5 years ago and I definitely wanted to quit at least once a month. But I can honestly say that the struggle of law school strengthen my faith and ultimately, made me stronger Christian. Don’t give up and keep going.

  • Children have such amazing faith, and determination! What a great encouragement today’s read was :)

  • @melindawatters, that is the best story!!! Thank you for sharing! It is the perfect illustration of God running beside us and cheering us on. So beautiful!

  • melindawatters

    So Kaitlin's words and then Kelly's words made me remember a time when my dad exhibited this uninhibited cheering on for me.

    I was in the first grade. It was field day or sports day. This yearly event was never a favorite of mine as I have never been athletic and PE was always my very least favorite class. I was the slow kid no one ever wanted on their team. Anyhow, so on this particular day, I was to be part of a relay race in which I was a member of a four person team. We had a baton and each member of the team had a portion they were assigned to run with that baton. I was positioned somewhere in the middle of the line up, I believe. I will always remember that day and that race, because I think my dad must of known how important it would be to me to not fail, not let down my team members and to run my very best. So he stood right beside me as I waited for my team mate to run up and hand me that baton. He spoke words of confidence and encouragement to me and didn't stop there. As I wrapped my fingers around that baton and took off running the fastest I could, my dad also took off running right beside me cheering me on as I ran to the next member of my team. I was encouraged to run just as fast as I could. My dad cheered and ran unabashed just focused on his daughter. My team won. My dad was then over joyed and then the school officials came and reprimanded my dad for running beside the track and causing the other kids to loose focus and they then made the rule that parents must keep there distance and not cheer so loudly and run with their child. My dad didn't care and I think he would have done the same thing had I run another race after the rule was made.

    Now I realize this is what my Heavenly Father is doing for me, for my husband, for my children as we run our race of life. He is running right beside each of us, cheering us on making sure we know we can do it! He is present and is speaking truth to us! Have courage! Keep running! You've got this because I've got you!

  • melindawatters

    Lucy, you once again inspired me to go get my computer. I just have to write more than a sentence here and there! Thank you for sharing your story and your heart and for sharing about kezazah. This is new insight for me even though I have grown up in the church. It is so inspiring for me to see how God is truly answering and fulfilling Paul's prayer for the Philippians in you and now we are all benefiting from that! You are opening doors for me. Thank you!

  • HelenWalksinAwe

    Welcome home at last!!! So much joy!!!!!

  • Thanking God His mercies are new every morning..Because they are I am going to keep going..Thank you for that this morning..

  • Olivia M

    I thank God today for leading me to him and here to y’all for these bible studies. I was in such a darkness I couldn’t see. I asked for guidance and I received answers to my worries. I have made mistakes but they turned into lessons and I am so grateful for these studies because I would not know how to do this on my own. I know now to keep going and keep trying. And have faith.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Olivia, FRIEND! So grateful for you. Excited to hear what God is doing in your life and glad to have you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      It feels so much better to live this journey in community! And I'm grateful for SRT and for the way God is bringing us all together, too! I also wouldn't be able to pull so much out of these words on my own, but with this community lifting me up, I can do it! God sure is good!

  • Rochelle

    “Grace takes our isolation and replaces it with identity.” I really needed to hear that today. I’ve been feeling pretty lonely lately, and sometimes out of touch with everything …even myself. Even God. I know there are valleys that we have to walk through, emotional places that get us to where we need to be. I guess this is one of those times.
    Thanks for today’s message.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Rochelle, praying for you today. Asking God to surround you with truth-speaking community and continue to draw you to Himself. Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Amy J

      Praying for you, Rochelle.

    • ClaireB

      I know just where you are. It is tough but we will make it

  • Rochelle

    I needed to read this today. Thank you so much for your transparency and for sharing this amazing story. Amazing. God is so good.

  • Michelle of LA CA

    Thank you so much for your message . I heard a sermon recently and the subject was
    "You can make it regardless " .
    Have a great day
    michelle

  • Hayley Magness

    Love this! So encouraging and I’m so so thankful I found this app! So happy to be a part of this group of women in Christ, I hope everyone has a wonderful day, I’ll be praying for you ladies! :)

  • This may seem like a rambling of a post, but this Bible reading and devotional is exactly what my heart needed this morning. I have felt in a slump lately – that I am not good enough, that I fail and stumble more often than I succeed, that I sin and cannot change, and that I am not worthy of God’s grace. But God is always there. He will get me from the valley (life’s lows) to the top of the mountain (life’s highs). He is always with me in my journey and will never abandon me. Let me sing His praises even during difficult times! So thankful for She Reads Truth and all of you ladies!

    • Kylee

      “And I am sure of this, CBear, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) — DONT give up! Keep going! You are so right, He is always there and I am praying for your heart!

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      Take heart, sister! You're exactly where you need to be right now and if you stick with Him, you'll get exactly where you need to go when you need to get there. =)

    • Amy J

      I can totally relate, and am praying for you.

  • Thank you! This is exactly what I needed this morning! God bless each of you today as you Keep Going!

  • Assurance of His presence in my life, my day, my quiet-time comes when I least expect it and need it most;

    "Grace takes our isolation and replaces it with identity. Truth calls us to look around and see our place in a lineage of believers and partners in grace (Hebrews 11). We stand upon the foundation of faith (1 Corinthians 3:11), responding to the grace that flows from His mercy to our fingertips and extends through the arms of the Church. All the while, His goodness runs freely and uninterrupted.
    Keep going, friends. Keep going."

    Grace that flows from Him!

  • Keep going. Don’t give up. An important message for me today. I’ve been struggling to hold my marriage together. I’m really starting to get worn down. God is working. He can make a way where it seems like there is no way. Thank you for this reminder!!

    • Lynne

      I will be praying for you!! I have been there and I know that God can make beauty from ashes. He does have your back sweet sister!!

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      I'm with you in that struggle. So many of today's readings mention discernment. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help both of us (and all couples who are struggling) discern what is excellent so that, as we are refined in Christ's love and grace, we can find ways to grow our love for each other. Even if that means planting new seeds and starting from scratch.

    • Amy J

      I know how that feels. I almost walked away, seven years ago. I'm still in it, and eternally grateful. We still have ups and downs – our marriage is far from perfect – but we grow a little stronger each day.

      I'm praying for you, and trust that God will make a way for you.

  • I am so thankful for the study of God's word and all you amazing gals who have such passion and love for our Lord. This is truly a blessed community. I am starting to feel like I am a part of it and like I know you all just by everyone sharing their hearts. I am truly blessed to study God's word with all of you!!

    • CBear

      I hear you, Lynne! So thankful for this online community:) have a blessed day!

    • Kylee

      Lynne I feel the same! The title of today’s devotional is “Partners in Grace” — it’s how I feel about each of you here today, my sisters & partners in the Grace of God. What a humbling gift! We are blessed to be able to worship here together & learn from each other’s experiences. Thank you for being here with me!!

    • Lynne

      Thanks Lucy!!

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      Yes, Yes, and more Yes!!

  • What a wonderful testimony. Your love for God and His for us shine through. I do hope you're sharing your testimony with others.
    I had never heard of the kezazah ceremony; that adds an extra layer of depth to the parable of the prodigal son.
    God bless you, sweet SRT sister!

  • I love the reminder Philippians 1:6 provides. I accepted Jesus into my heart and was baptized 14 years ago. Since that time, He has been working in my life. I may not always understand it and my sinful nature sure does like to interfere, but at the end of the day, He is not done working in my life. He is still molding me and shaping me into who He would have me to be. I am still a work in progress and some days are particularly tough. I know He is always at work, but sometimes, it doesn't feel that way. Remembering this verse today. He is good, through both the rough patches and the happy times.

  • “The circumstances that separated Paul from the world strengthened his bond with the body of Christ”. This is so, so timely!! I wish I could just jump through the app & hug all the ladies feeling like I feel these days: overwhelmed, in too deep, stuck. My circumstances definitely have me feeling cut off from the world:: Car trouble on our one & only vehicle kicked off our weekend, as we sold our other car last year to help relieve some of the startup costs of our business. We are literally grounded this week until we can get it fixed!! BUT GOD — He has so imprinted on my heart that this is EXACTLY where we need to be!! Surrounded by His love, but completely reliant on Him for our everyday needs. So, I’m choosing to see the positives…more time at home this week. More catching up on life stuff. More quiet time each morning! He’s not done working in my life & He’s not going to let car troubles stop what he has planned for me. I simply must “Keep Going”. Thank you, SRT!!

    Lord, use these less-than-ideal circumstances to tie me tightly to you! Let me be singing your praises even in these trials. I’m now praying for every single one of you as I read your comments!

    • Kylee

      Lucy_seeks, thank you so much!! I’m loving your beautiful point of view & getting to know your heart through these feeds!!

  • Just when you thought you understood the Fathers love….it's cranked up even more in the understanding stakes…I have never heard of kezza h…Wow, that is some love…and might I add…here on earth….Oh how much more the love of God….
    Lucy…seeks , thank you….

    And how lovely to have you here…welcome..xxx

  • I have been feeling so spiritually lonely in a new job in a new state, unable to put down roots in the community because I’m moving again in two months… But being lonely is a lie that is not from God! Paul’s imprisonment did not stop him from connecting with believers or drawing ever closer to Christ. My worldly circumstances don’t need to change the way I follow Jesus. Keep going, keep going.

    • Kylee

      Mandy I’ve totally been there, too!! Lean IN to the loneliness & use it as your time to get face to face with our creator….in my own life He often removed the distractions so I could better seek His will. Praying for your heart, and like Lucy said this is a great place to “hang out” in the meantime! ❤️❤️

    • Amy J

      I appreciate your words, Mandy. I don't feel lonely, but I do feel tired. And a little discouraged right now. Your words remind me to keep going, to follow Jesus, even when I'm tired and discouraged. Thank you.

    • Sarabeth

      I’m right there with you Mandy. I just moved as well, new community, new job, no friends around. I even forget that I’m not in the same location when thinking of grocery stores, malls, and doctors. Then the realization hits me and the sting of loneliness comes again. I love this devotion. “Keep Going.” God has a place for us Mandy where we are, I believe He does. And I am praying for you while we search for our place in new surroundings. May His love and peace surround you.

      • Mandy

        Coming back to this encouragement was such a blessing! Let’s keep going ladies. Keep going towards where God has plans beyond our wildest imaginings for us. :)

  • God , is so good and he pursues each one of us. Our names are in the book, He is ours and we are HIS. Praise be , and thank you Jesus.

  • We were taken outside of Phillippians to Acts, and it is in Acts 16:14 where I get so encouraged to keep going in prayer. Everytime the word is hitting on the gospel message, I am praying for God to open hearts like he did for Lydia. Sometimes I know what is being spoken in the sermon is a stumbling block for my friend to come to Christ, and then I start begging God to make it clear. I've begged him over the past 12 years for this one friend. You'd think He'd get tired of hearing it. But not once did He ever say, "stop your begging, I'm tired of your pleading heart." No instead it was with great joy that this friend recently was baptised. I'm so thankful the Lord kept me going in prayer. I didn't do the saving, but like Paul I had faith in the One who would.

    • Kylee

      Thank you for sharing!! He is so faithful. I’ve prayed for my brother for YEARS — I’m going to turn it up to 11 and pray SOMEONE reaches his heart for Christ, even if it’s not me! You are an encouragement to me!

  • Sylvia Reeve

    Amen thank you for sharing. I never knew about Kezazah that brings out our Father’s love in a meaningful way. God silenced Satan’s accusations by sending His son to die on the cross to remove our shame

  • Britny Hughes

    Thank you for writing this today. It resonates with my soul. I’ve been longing to give up and do things my way. He is with me in the midst of a storm. I’ve had trouble seeing that His grace and love still surrounds me. Paul praised Him despite his circumstances and that’s what I need to do!

  • Beautiful, Lucy. Thanks for sharing. It´s a privilege to get to read about the road he´s brought you (and others who have shared!) on.

  • At a time when I least thought I´d be branching out into new ventures, this week has brought on 3 new opportunities to serve… with great chances of failure, embarrassment, and awkwardness. We´ll be okay. One is a tiny business venture. Another is resuming a weekly ministry out of our home to moms and their kiddos… some know Christ, others don´t, multiple nationalities, languages, discipline-styles, etc. And the last is hosting an IF:Local gathering (please google IF:Gathering if you don´t know what it is). Just hosting isn´t a big risk at all (I´ve done it for 2 years now… with anywhere from 1 to 12 people showing up). This year, I think the Lord has made me, like Paul, more bold in my "removal" from a US lifestyle. "The circumstances that separated Paul from the world strengthened his bond with the Body of Christ."

    In removing the distractions of the pace and materialistic environment I was in, He´s gently continued this work from Phil. 1:6 (praise), and shown me that there is no greater calling than to make His name known. So the boldness with hosting IF has now been translated into inviting my nearly 100% non-believing-but-knowing-many-of-the-right-answers family to join us. I have no idea how they´ll respond to it… maybe nice and polite ("Oh, cool thing, Miss!), appeasing but not buying in ("I´ll check it out…maybe"), or that the Spirit would move in huge ways within these women in their "yes". That their hearts of stone would be made flesh, their marriages, families, jobs, and communities would be wrecked by grace. If you would, pray over them please, as well as myself in these shaky beginnings.

    • churchmouse

      I’m new to IF:Gathering as well. Just getting my toes wet. Seeing if God would have me dive in. Will pray for you and those you invite.

    • Sylvia Reeve

      Prayed for you Missy. I will need to goggle If for I have no idea what it is.

    • Kylee

      Praying for you Missy, that your willingness to serve would be met with an overwhelming harvest. That the people you invite will have hearts ready to receive the goodness of God, and also that your own heart would be ready to receive. That what you are doing by making His name known would be met with His fullness in every area of your life — when the material things fade we are really just making room for Him, aren’t we? I’m praying for your beautiful heart!

    • So very brave, Missy! Way to press in and move boldly. I am trusting God will honor your obedience in ways you cannot even imagine. Praying for you this morning. <3

    • Debbie

      "there is no greater calling than to make His name known" God answer to my prayer…..through your words this morning. Amen

      God Bless

    • melindawatters

      Missy thank you for sharing all of this. I have been sensing God has things for me to do with chance of failure, embarrassment, etc, but still waiting and listening, how cool for these doors to open! I have been sort of eves dropping on IF gathering website for almost a year now and have been praying about starting a local gathering, but haven't sensed the go ahead. I am so encouraged to read your words here. I am in the opposite situation here, after 11 years of living outside the US, I have now been dropped back into the US and am in transition to life back here and feel that God has used my experiences and is continuing to perfect His ways in me through all of this journey. Lifting you up and thinking of you as you enter these open doors!

  • churchmouse

    I was dragging this morning as I got up to head to my daughter’s home to watch my granddaughter, 16 joyful months old. And very active! I grandparent her each day as my daughter goes to work as a teacher. It is the best job in the world! But there is a reason most 62 year old women don’t have babies! Where has my energy gone?! lol so… Today’s reminder to just keep going even applies to me, as I chase her around, scooping up cheerios from the floor and rejoicing in her giggles. It’s a privilege and blessing to care for her. The keeping going is my simple goal for today lol

    • Kylee

      Churchmouse, you’re a superhero!! Praying for a supernatural energy to take over when your own fades. And thank you for answering the call to care for your granddaughter — you have no idea the influence you have on her as a strong spiritual woman, and I’m sure your daughter feels such peace having you with her baby!! Keep going churchmouse, you’re awesome!

  • This is one of my favorite days yet. Thank you Kaitlin!

    I miss your comments, Hannah. Blessings to all.

    • shereadstruth

      Thanks for joining us, sweet Carrie! Grateful for you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Encouraging message. Thank you!

  • churchmouse

    Your journey to faith is so very touching this morning! And gives me great hope. I have a sister who was once a believer but, through some poor choices and decisions of her own, has decided God is not for her. She’s declared herself an atheist and is quite hostile towards Christianity now. BUT GOD. I’m believing and praying for her return. I know He will run to her with open arms. Again, thank you for your encouragement. Were we not all prodigals at one time? BUT GOD.

  • MNmomma (heather)

    Amazing testimony – thank you for sharing! AND the story of the kezazah – very powerful!

  • This message today speaks to me both personally and for our country. God is not finished with us yet! Hallelujah!

  • I love this encouragement to keep going!
    Yesterday, my husband reached a milestone in his career. He will be stepping into the work he's always wanted to do. For 5 years he persevered. He waited. He hoped. And though it was a worldly accomplishment, God's hand has been in it all. Humbling him. Offering provisions and hope along the way. God was working. God is working.
    And the *best* thing is: it's not perfect. Yes, as a 'healing' perfectionist, I can honestly write and believe that the imperfect is best. Initially, my mind raced to the lack, to the fears, to the unmet, idealized expectations I had imagined. But this time, I thoughtfully communicated – by the grace of God – and we talked through them. And ladies, the imperfect is good. It's humbling and full of grace. It unites us. It's life-giving. And it was an affirmation on my own life to keep going. To keep persevering toward my own heart desire to work wholeheartedly in this world. Because I am writing from my own place of waiting, of wanting, of hoping. But it is good. God is good and I'm grateful for His Spirit doing this good, unexpected work in me.
    To mini-celebrate his opportunity, my husband wanted to drive out to a rocky spot by the ocean. Racing the last rays of light, we drove. It was high tide. Enormous waves rushed and broke on the beach. Ocean sprays sprang high off the rocks. The water thundered and rumbled in our chests. It was breath-taking. A beautiful reminder of how small we are, and how great God is! My husband said a prayer of thanksgiving. And I knew that the roaring, crashing waves were God reminding us that He is in control. I felt peace. It was glorious and humbling.
    Keep going. God is in control. And He is working. In the persevering. In the waiting. In the wanting. And in each and every step of faith. Keep going.
    Writing these two simple words on my heart today. Thanks, Kaitlin!

    • Sylvia Reeve

      Amen

    • melindawatters

      The imperfect is good.. humbling, full of grace, uniting, life- giving… thank you for these words of truth this morning Beverly and thinking of you also as I too am writing from my own place of waiting, wanting, hoping for how God will use me in wholehearted work in this world. Thank you!

      • Beverly

        Praying for you now, Melinda. That God would graciously continue to reveal to you His truth, sustain you with His hope, and cover you with His great and perfect love during this time. He is good. And I'm grateful that during these times of waiting, wanting, hoping… He keeps drawing us closer to Him. We are not alone – He goes with us and, as sisters, we can encourage each other. Thank you for encouraging me today :)
        Hugs to you, sweet Melinda.

    • ~ B ~

      Congrats to you and your husband Beverly! What a beautiful way to celebrate! ~ B

  • Thank you. I can't tell you how much I needed to hear your testimony.

  • rachel marie

    the passage we read in acts of paul and silas being in prison, and sharing the Good News with the jailer; guess where they were: in philippi, which was a city of macedonia. my pastor just preached on this this past sunday. paul had had a vision that someone from macedonia was calling them to go there.
    so glad to be a partaker of grace with paul and all you lovely sisters! God's not done with us yet!

  • Thank you sweet sister for sharing your heart with us! Such an awesome testimony. You are an "instrument for noble purposes, made useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." (2 Timothy 2:21)

  • Caroline @ In due time

    Thank you Lord that you always complete what you start!!!! There is never unfinished business with you! http://Www.In-due-time.com

  • I am fairly new here to the SRT community, having only joined when you started Galatians. I've been grateful for the Scripture and for the insight of the devotionals, but I have to admit that I've been skeptical of this whole idea of an online community. Maybe it's because of my struggle for community in real life, my aching for it that hasn't been fulfilled, or my sinful journey into self-pity because, like a toddler, I'm not getting what I want. Or maybe it's just the Jersey Girl in me (skepticism and cynicism runs deep in our veins). I have read all the comments each day, but I've never commented myself because really, these people don't KNOW me. It's online, for goodness sake.

    But this morning, I was blessed to the pit of my stomach (have you ever felt it like that when it hits you so hard?) to read the words, "Keep going." Because of the years worth of financial strain of my hubby being in ministry, I went back to work recently for the first time since my kids were born. There is not a single piece of the puzzle of my life that is going well right now. Did we get it wrong? Did we misread God's will?

    Keep going. Not a fix, maybe you should try this or that, pray harder, memorize more scripture, listen to worship music (all good things, I know), but keep going. Sometimes that's the only thing we can offer each other, and sometimes, that's truly all we need. This morning, it's what I needed.

    Thanks for being a place of encouragement. I can't speak for what the future brings, but today, I will keep going.

    • Amy

      Kathy, you comment resonates with me so. It feels like our life has been such struggle these days as well. So comforting to know God is still in control and he’s not done with is yet. Praying for you today ☺️
      -amy

    • Christy

      Kathy I’m a working momma myself, I am praying for you that you will let yourself lean on the Lord and let Him carry you when it’s too overwhelming. Feeding your family is a beautiful, blessed thing, both for them and for you.

    • lauren

      His plan is SO much bigger than ours. I saw a Charles Stanley quote, “It is always His will for me to seek His will.” The seeking is the important part…don’t become discouraged by the chain of events that are leading you and your husband to this point. If you are seeking, He is guiding..even if it feels like things aren’t under control. That’s usually when He’s doing His best work. I will pray for you this morning, that you will be encouraged and “keeping on” will be more a joy than a chore!! <3

    • tina

      Praying for you and yours Kathy….Keep going God IS with you…

      Welcome to you, and I pray also from this day forward you will find friendship, love, compassion and hope here, ..God bless you Kathy…He is in the details….xxx

    • Carolyn

      Praying God's blessings for you as you keep going. Kind of like the dad in the story, God is working things together to see that we achieve our intended goal, that of being more like Christ. HE began the work, HE will bring it to completion. I'm right there with you. We will keep going!

    • Kylee

      Kathy I get that. Sometimes it seems like the puzzle pieces JUST DONT FIT AT ALL — but isn’t that how all puzzles go when the pieces are upside down? He is at work making all things new in your life, no matter how backwards the situation looks (like Lauren said, it seems when things are the most messed up is when He’s doing His best work in our lives!)

      Praying for you, dear heart. May His grace flow over you as the pieces flip over and the picture starts coming together into something beautiful.

    • TGBTG

      Hi Kathy, I totally understand the pieces not fitting but thank goodness you have God as your partner puzzle solver. The pieces will come together and the solution will please you. Prayers for strength.

  • So blessed by this as I think about particular students that I am blessed to work with and teach. As an ESL teacher for high school refugees in an urban school, I can easily become overwhelmed and challenged beyond what I think I can handle. So many of my students have (and continue to) struggle with things way bigger than I could ever truly understand. But without a doubt, I know that God has begun His work in their lives and I know that He will carry it out to completion. Lord, please use me in the lives of these young people however you best see fit.

    • Anna Buchanan

      Megan I teach too and feel the same burden! May the Lord strengthen you and remind you that He does not stop working just because the world has become dark and chaotic. He is not afraid of the mess and will continue His plans amid it.

      • Kylee

        Amen, Anna! He’s not afraid of the mess & has a plan through it all. Thank you for teaching our students!

    • Kylee

      Yes Megan the work you are doing is so vital! You are being used by God in ways we cannot comprehend just by being their ESL teacher…my college roommate went on to teach ESL to highschool refugees, and the challenges they face in daily life are heartbreaking! Thank you for what you do! Praying for strength, wisdom, guidance, compassion, and peace to flood your heart and overflow into your curriculum. Love to you!

  • "There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears."

    I have been up for far more than an hour this morning and each time I begin to pray on this and type something out, I am interrupted and I stop. I will sit back down, pick it back up and get called away again. My little people have all decided that they can't sleep and feel it's time to catch me up on their every thought, naturally the dogs are requiring a great deal of attention and I hear the grumbling of hungry bellies already. My middle daughter is moving furniture to "settle in", the clock has pretty much already run out of my "free time" and I'm not feeling my normal refreshed. The thing is that I can't seem to get this day started right, at least not the way I would like, but I know still the day will move and the sun will set on it. This day will finish. It will end. I have no idea how, but I know that it will. I have confidence in that. God's promise is, that like my day will expand, so will we. He will see our hearts through to the finish. We can find peace in knowing that no matter what we face, what we do, God has promised us refinement and completion in it. Prayerful that as I seek Him in an already wonky morning, that no matter what the day brings (good, bad or ugly), that I remember God is at work. That as I look to him in the simplicity and wonkiness of an everyday day or the toughness of any ail-ling season, I remember there is more than I see, that I know *this* is only a point on the graph, that there is an end and it won't be my finishing, it will be complete refinement. ~ B

    • jen

      Thank you for this. My mornings often seem to have a "wonky" start between kiddos and pets. It's easy to get frustrated in the single moments of a morning. But to remember that God is at work is especially encouraging to me this morning!

    • MissyCM

      Love this. Completion continues through the wonky moments… when we´ve come down or never had a chance to reach the mountaintop. Thanks, B.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Amen! Prayers for you this morning :)

    • tina

      Sending you a big hug from across the pond….dear friend, BUT GOD, like you said…no matter how wonky the day…God is in it, and ….He see it through to completion …Amen..
      I love this!!!!!xxx

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      "We can find peace in knowing that no matter what we face, what we do, God has promised us refinement and completion in it."

      And this is true even when we screw up along the way– as long as we have the humility to recognize and move beyond our screw ups. I gotta remember that. We're never trapped.

    • melindawatters

      I love this that we can Know He is working to completion in us with the certainty that that we know the sun will set on our day. What certainty! He promised, He WILL fulfill! Thank you for these words of truth which spoke to my heart this morning. Thinking of you in the wonkiness of the morning, know the feeling, may you find Him continually no matter how wonky it gets!

    • ~ B ~

      Lucy_seeks – – I loved your comment this morning. I always love learning the finer details of stories and your telling of the shame in running that is the norm put an even deeper perspective on the prodigal son….a story I have always loved. Love for you and your beautiful walk and words! ~ B

  • What a beautiful testimony! Our God is so big and so good! Thank you for sharing your story and explaining further the story of the prodigal son!

  • Amanda H.

    I am a teacher librarian at an elementary school. This year has been a very busy and stressful year so far. I am thankful for this reminder that, though I may not understand my circumstance, God has a plan for good, and He will see me through to the end. I easily forget that God is still using me in the hard times.

    • Anna Buchanan

      As a fellow teacher I know how overwhelming the start of year is Amanda! In my first year this year many days I feel like I’m drowning. So praise God for Paul’s example that we can find joy in EVERY station. God does good work even when we feel much less than good!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      I hear you ladies…..it is my 14th year as school nurse – and this one is a doozy…..so many needs, so little funding…..so many families in crisis…..the school is our mission field…. His plan is good :)

    • melindawatters

      Lifting all three of you up this morning as a fellow teacher who is taking a brake this year, though I will soon enter the classrooms as a substitute and am supporting my husband who is a music teacher in a K – 8 school. I know the needs are overwhelming, the list of to do's is never ending and can feel impossible and the work can be draining. Take courage, be strong, listen to truth and may you all three abound in His deep and vast love for you! In His love may you have abounding energy, patience, wisdom and strength!!!!!

  • Oh did i ever need this reminder this morning. Feeling especially overwhelmed. Need this reminder to press on with the Lord’s help!

    • Brandi

      He's got this, Sis! Keep going – He's working! Praying for you today!

    • JessicaLoves___

      Keep running the race, sister! The Father is not the only one rooting for you.

    • melindawatters

      Take courage, dear Joanne and look up into His loving eyes and Hear His loving and exuberant voice cheering you on!

    • shereadstruth

      Praying for you today, Joanne! Keep going!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Kelly_Smith

    Kaitlin! That story is precious! I think back to my dad sitting in the recliner watching Hill Street Blues or Peter Jennings. Loving and supportive but, not very involved. It is hard for me to picture God as this dad, running around a baseball park to bring a smile to my face. My heart is warmed and encouraged this morning. Thank you!

    • melindawatters

      Or depending on your location and following on Lucy's train of thought, check out the beauty of the trees turning color. God could have just arranged to have them very efficiently drop their leaves every year, but instead he arranged for them to be made so that they turn every beautiful and vibrant color and give us a show every year! (This is my first fall in a very long time to enjoy, so I am just basking in the beauty!)

  • Thank you for sharing. You are an excellent writer. It will never stop being so amazing to me that our Heavenly Father is so relentless in his love for us!

  • bellissimanh

    I love it when God takes a verse that is totally familiar to me and gives me a deeper understanding of what it means. He does that all.the.time. It's so cool! Forgive me while I get my Greek geek on…
    wink emoticon

    "For I am confident of this very thing: that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

    Here it is… hope for each one of us that struggles with wanting to be everything God has called us to be, yet falling short time and time again. He's not finished with us yet… and even better news – it's not up to us to finish the work He started. HE will be faithful to bring us to completion in Christ Jesus. How do you spell relief? J-E-S-U-S!

    Ready for the Greek? Two words in this verse are so interesting. They're action words… "begin" and "perfect" (some versions translate this as "complete"). Bookends, right? In Greek, these two words — enarchomai (begin) and epiteleo (perfect) — are technical terms used for the beginning and ending of a sacrifice. Paul's whole sentence here moves in an atmosphere of sacrifice. Make you think of anything else? Romans 12:1, maybe?

    Father, make my life a living sacrifice to You. Thank You for reminding me that You are always going about the process of making me more like Christ… and that it is only YOU at work in me that will bring about holiness. For my part, I offer my life to You… just as I am… shortcomings and all. Keep me from crawling down off the altar. I surrender to You – have Your way in me. Thank You for being faithful, even when I am — especially when I am — not. I love You.

    • Amanda H.

      So interesting! Thank you for sharing that :)

    • Brandi

      Love this! Praying in agreement with you!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      AMEN! AMEN!!

    • Wow, thanks for sharing this. Paul was such a fabulous example of that, a life poured our in sacrifice.

      Sometimes I think back on him through rose-colored glasses as a valiant knight for the gospel. And while he was, it was whole lot messier than childhood Bible stories portray. He was slugging it out through some serious hard, and he kept going. Wow.

      Believing these verses right along with you today!

    • HelenWalksinAwe

      Thanks for the language lesson. That enriches these studies so much and I know very little on my own!

      Also that is a beautiful prayer and it hits home for me, touching on some of the more reluctant spots in my spiritual life. Yesterday, Peter called his people to lead willingly and I admit that sometimes I am not so willing to make myself a sacrifice. That's me, trying to slink down off the alter unnoticed. So weak! Thanks for that image! I'll be praying today for us to have the courage to hang tight up there in remembrance of Christ's ever greater sacrifice. =)

  • Kelly_Smith

    What a beautiful testimony! Hugs right back to you! :)

  • First of all, I want to pray (Philippians 1:3-11) that prayer and blessing over each and every one here at SRT..( The message version is gooood)
    Actually every word, in every verse given on the top row…I want to echo for us all here…

    .Philippians 1:6. He who started a good work in you, will carry it to completion….

    From the moment I read those words some years ago, I have kept them close to my heart….I realised a long time ago that I was so far from perfect, or good…But, I'll tell you what, this walking with the Lord, that might or might not come with a cost, one I am Joy-filled to incur, has taught me that.., I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS…nothing comes easily, PRAISE God…but what lot I know , I know because God, God is teaching me….guiding me, helping me, directing me…all the while in love…Grace…and mercy…
    This song from Haratio Spaford came to mind as I wrote…It is well with my soul… <a href="http://.http://youtu.be/cv5V3bY6qlI” target=”_blank”>.http://youtu.be/cv5V3bY6qlI
    I have come to believe…these words…it is well, so much from the loss of my daughter, to the death of my father…and in my life……a work in progress, mistakes can be rectified…by God's grace…God's love, God's freedom…He is the freedom to say it is well…

    'Whatever my lot, you, (God) have taught me to say…It is well, it is well with my soul….'…Amen

    Praising God for our partnership in this walk, this journey, Sister's….BIG hug and love, and thank you to all…Blessings…xxxx

    • Kelly_Smith

      It is well. Three powerful words. And it fits so well with this passage. Thank you!

      Side note: I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Instant classic! Thank you for the recommendation!

    • Judy

      I love your words Tina! Thank you so much for all your prayers and thoughts for us here. I pass a lot of them on to encourage my friends!! So God works thru You to encourage me and my tribe here in NC. How cool is that!! Xoxo

    • MNmomma (heather)

      It is well with my soul <3 love and hugs to you this morning!!!

    • churchmouse

      Thank you for your frequent and faithful comments. I always look forward to them and read them slowly because God speaks to my heart through your words. Thank you for sharing and for being so transparent. It is a privilege to walk alongside you at SRT.

    • melindawatters

      Yes, he is the freedom to say it is well! Very powerful words to breathe each day. Thank you Tina!

  • aprilmcwhite

    Such a simple, yet powerful reminder for us to keep going. Living as a missionary in a part of the world where there are very few believers and we are very far away from family and dear friends, it can be very easy to get discouraged and want to give up. I'm so grateful for Paul and the many, many other brothers and sisters who have gone before me who cheer me on and remind me that Jesus is worth all of this!

    • jjfro

      I come from a family of missionaries, foreign and domestic . . . and can I just tell you? I love missionaries. Thank you for going. For saying yes. For walking the lonely road. We all face lonely roads at times, and sometimes they are right in the middle of our hometown, and sometimes they are a world away. But this scripture says it all . . .keep pressing on! God places each of us where He wants us. That alone is encouraging . . . God put me here – for His glory. So as we all walk the road we've been placed on, what a joy to know that we all walk together in Christ. You are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses . . . we are pulling for you, even from far away . . . because we are sisters in Christ. Press on!

    • mamajonk

      Praying for God's abundant blessings for you and your family. Know that you are loved by our Savior and your SRT sisters!

      • aprilmcwhite

        Thank you so much! God has been so faithful to us on this journey and knowing that others are praying for us brings us much joy!

    • Emily

      Hello, fellow missionary! Praying for you right now :)

      • aprilmcwhite

        Thank you Emily! I will be praying for you too! What continent are you on (if you are allowed to say, I know we have to be careful in certain parts of the world)? =)

    • melindawatters

      Praying for you also this morning to abound in His love and keep going focusing on what is vital, what brought you to that place! May you be covered and clothed in God's love!

    • aprilmcwhite

      Yes, Lucy! This community is a huge blessing to me!

    • Bri

      April,
      I'm still a high school student, living an average American life. But I know that God is calling me elsewhere. I believe He's preparing me to be a missionary somewhere, but I am unsure where or what that looks like yet. So I'm just curious, where do you work (if you can say) and what do you do? That's one thing I am struggling with, do I study missions in college or do I find a partnering occupation such as teaching or nursing? Any insight you may have would be so helpful!

      • April

        Hi Bri!
        How exciting that you are already sensing God calling you to missions! I would love to share more with you and answer any questions you may have! Send me a quick email and we can chat! [email protected]

  • carlybenson

    Encouraging one another is so important. Last year a friend took part in a marathon for the first time and I went with some other friends to cheer her on. We were standing around the 22 mile mark and when my friend appeared she was limping, in pain, really struggling to keep going. When she saw us, her face just lit up and, after talking for a moment, she moved on with a new spring in her step. She completed the race and she said afterwards that she would not have made it without the encouragement of us being there, urging her to keep going. It felt like such a simple thing to do- all we did was stand there for half an hour and offer a few words of encouragement but it meant so much to her and enabled her to make it to the finish line.
    I think it's true in encouraging people to keep going with God too. Just a simple encouragement to keep going and the knowledge that we're not alone can be so helpful, especially when we're weary and tired.

    • Tamara

      Tnx for the reminder. I will give two of my friends a scripture verse this afternoon to encourage them. I just found what fits their situation when reading hebrew 11. They are running a spiritual marathon, and your sharing made me realize they can use some encouragement!

    • Kelly_Smith

      Great reminder! When I get the prompting from the Holy Spirit to encourage others, this example will help me to speak up. We may not know what they are facing, but God does. How wonderful to be used as an instrument of encouragement!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Such a wonderful example!!! As a runner(I use that term loosely!!! LOL!! I have run one full marathon and many half marathons (one this Saturday)…..with another full registered for June *gulp*), I can not tell you what it means to see "your people" there – especially at the end. Mile 22 is where everything in my body tried to shut down too….. It was my people…..and countless other people who got me thru it. They renewed my spirit. I never fully grasped the verses about a spiritual marathon until I ran that bad boy. Now I get it. It is so true. I didn't realize just how much I needed others in my life. I had gone for years feeling like it was just me, my hubby and God (I had friends, to be sure, but in my head…."they just didn't get it"…..I had live thru so much, lost so much…….) I truly know now just how powerful "others" are. Yes, my family and friends….but also those who come into our lives for short glimpses. So I ask myself….how can I be that "other" to someone else? How can I help someone with their race? How can I encourage others each day?

      • melindawatters

        Love these words Heather. They echo my thoughts about being the " others" to who ever I might be around. Thank you!

  • Belle Smith

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! Feeling so weary and burdened in my field of ministry but such a great reminder that god is alive and working! Keep going!

  • german_janne

    Philippians 1:6 was our wedding motto – 25 years ago today. :) Thank you Lord for the beautiful reminder! Yes, it´s Him who brings His work to completion – not us.

    • tina

      Oh yes, 25 years with the Lord still in the good work he began is definitely worth celebrating…Happy anniversary..and may the Lord continue to be with you through the next 25..xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      Blessings abundant…German Jane…xxx

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Happy Anniversary!

    • Katie

      Happiest of anniversaries to you!

    • Adrienne

      Happy Anniversary!!!

    • melindawatters

      Happy anniversary and what a beautiful versw to have as your motto so many levels of meaning there! Thanks for sharing and may God continue developing and perfecting you both individually and as one united front!

    • shereadstruth

      Love this, friend! Happy 25th anniversary!

      Grace and Peace,
      Kaitlin

Further Reading...