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Weekly Devotional from March 14, 2005

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Women in Discipleship (sm)
Devotionals for 2005
Week 10

Greetings, dear ones in Christ Jesus,

Do you find it hard some times to "stand firm"? I do. It isn't that I have little faith or am weak, but rather that the sin nature in me raises its ugly head from time to time. It seems like I fight it constantly. There are so many roadblocks to holiness in our world, and the days are full of battlefields. Am I alone, or are you also dealing with this ugly side of life? When I read Scripture, I find that I'm not alone. The words of Paul and others give me indication that they also faced a similar state of warfare. Philippians 4:1-2 gives insight into this issue of life.

Scripture to ponder: Philippians 4:1-2 - "Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord."

Paul was addressing an issue between two ladies in the church at Phillipi. These two were not getting along, and it was causing disharmony in the fellowship of believers. Paul was tactful in his letter. He didn't take sides, but he asked those close to these women to help them in the reconciliation process. He went on to state in verse 4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!"

Why was Paul so concerned for these people? The key is found in our verse to ponder this week. How did Paul describe these people he loved so much? "My joy and my crown." His joy was that they were Christians. They were his beloved brethren in the faith. He was sorrowful when they were out of fellowship. He knew that it grieved the heart of God. For this reason he took action to bring resolution to the discord. When we have disagreements, we too should resolve to bring God-honoring harmony back into the fellowship. Our focus should be on honoring God and being humble before God and man.

I can recognize sin in my life, most of the time. However, there may be issues in my life that I don't see as clearly as others can. The Holy Spirit has a way of revealing areas I need to work on. And at all times I am to live in harmony with the body of Christ. For this reason, I need to keep short accounts of sin, confessing it immediately. When I do, there is peace in my heart and with the family of God. A key thought in this passage is the phrase, "stand firm in the Lord." When I have my eyes on the Lord, it isn't hard to see the need for repentance and rejoicing. These are thoughts we can all ponder and grow from this week.

My prayer is that we will "stand firm in the Lord" daily.
Sandra Davis, for all of us at the Women in Discipleship ministry center


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