Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.
As we read Joseph’s story again, you may realize as you get older that our difficulties are nothing compared to what he went through. But before we get to the turning point of maturity, most of us feel that what we go through is bad, something that no one will understand. But what we have in common with Joseph is that we are all God’s children. If we reflect on Joseph’s life difficulties, we realize God must understand our difficulties and will provide a way out for us in order to overcome. As Joseph’s life was in God’s hand and His salvation plan, so are our lives, are they not?
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Mt 25:18, ESV)
When I read the parable of the talents, I never quite think of myself as the wicked and lazy servant who buried his talent in the ground. I was actively serving at church – it wasn’t like I wasn’t using the talents that God gave me! But there’s another way to bury our talents apart from not using them, and that is by being complacent.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)
The church at Philippi was a consistent encouragement and blessing to Paul. He rejoiced every time he remembered the Philippian believers because of their participation in the gospel. He had confidence that God would complete the good work in them.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. (Phil 1:9-10)
We can talk to God about everything. However, meaningful prayers are more pleasing to God. Apostle Paul gave wonderful examples of how he prayed for the Philippians who were dear in his heart (Phil 1:9-11) and for the Colossians whom he hadn’t met (Col 1:9-12). We can model his prayers to pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and fellow believers.