Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with these encouraging words, “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Paul had a special relationship with the Philippian church - an amazing story that almost didn’t happen. Acts 16 tells us how Paul had intended to preach the Gospel in Asia, but the Spirit of Jesus blocked every step. God wanted them to go instead to Philippi and He revealed that to Paul through a vision of a Macedonian man begging them to come.
Paul and his companions went immediately to Philippi. On the Sabbath, Paul went outside the city gate where he encountered a group of women, including Lydia - a prominent dealer of purple cloth and worshiper of God. Paul preached and God opened Lydia’s heart - she responded and was baptized along with her whole household.
While Paul and Silas were in Philippi, a fortune teller slave began following them around for many days and shouting to everyone, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Paul grew so annoyed at this that he commanded the spirit to come out of her - ending her fortune-telling ability. Her owners were outraged at their loss of this significant source of income, so they had Paul and Silas arrested, severely beaten, and thrown in jail.
It would have been easy for Paul and Silas to be discouraged about their situation or grumble about being in jail.
But they didn’t - they chose to spend their time praying and singing praises to God.
About midnight, a violent earthquake opened all the prison doors and loosened everyone’s chains. Fearing everyone had escaped, the jailer started to take his own life, but Paul’s voice stopped him. Paul shared the Gospel with the jailer, who along with his entire household, believed in Jesus and were baptized. This was the beginning of the church in Philippi - the first church in Europe. The Philippian church began supporting Paul and his missionary work. Paul referred to this in his letter, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.”
I want you to know that we thank God for you. We pray for you with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel.
Your partnership and prayers are making it possible for many people to hear the Gospel - presented in their own language, by people from their own community, using radio and other digital media. Your partnership and prayers are enabling medical care, clinics, mobile caravans, clean water wells and community development projects that are demonstrating the Gospel as part of evangelistic strategies. Your partnership and prayers are helping provide training to strengthen and empower the local church and equip a new generation of missionaries to go to the unreached.
I thank my God every time I remember you! May you join us in praying and singing praises to God today!
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