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Joy under any circumstances is a profound concept, is it not?

And yet, contentment and peace which passes human understanding regardless of life's terms are achievable goals according to the Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians chapter 4 writing his thank you letter to his beloved church of Philippi.

Happiness is external, temporary and fleeting. Joy is internal, soulful, and eternal. Often times randomly experienced at the most surprising moments as if one is safely shielded; lovingly embraced inside the eye of the storm observing the chaos whip and swirl all around oneself in cinematic slow motion being gently reminded that this in not our forever home. This phenomenon has been my personal experience on more than one by the grace of God occasion. It is unexplainable and yet quite relatable with the Biblical *examples of Daniel in the Lion's den found in the book of Daniel chapter six. Or the story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego inside the fiery furnace also illustrated in the book of Daniel found in chapter three. Additional examples include Jonah protected inside the whale or great fish you can read about in the book of Jonah. Matthew 8 and Mark 4 each share the story about Jesus sleeping inside the little fishing boat in the midst of a literal storm on the ocean maintaining complete calm despite his current circumstances. These are merely a few *examples of inner peace, complete resolve, absolute faith, and total surrender no matter the impending surrounding doom.

I almost cried a few different times this morning as Pastor Daniel Bishop rolled out our new theme for this coming year 2024 at The Grove Community Church revealing that it is based on the book of Philippians.

As you may or may not already know about me from previous blog posts or YouTube videos, Philippians 4 is my life chapter. REJOICE! I say it again REJOICE! The attitude of gratitude demonstrated throughout this chapter and essentially throughout the entire brief book of Philippians makes my heart sing!

Knowing that Paul, formerly Saul, hater of Christians who relentlessly and mercilessly persecuted them for their beliefs undergoes a miraculous transformation, humbly accepting the AMAZING GRACE given in turn becoming a missionary leading multiple churches to praise and worship GOD gives me so much HOPE for my lost loved ones! The story of Saul's conversion to Paul is found in Acts 9 if you are interested in reading more about that.

I have never persecuted Christians nor taken brave leaps of faith like the *examples listed above, but I have been transformed with Amazing Grace into Grateful Gwen.

Was blind and now I see...

That certainly doesn't mean I see everything, as I still have many unanswered questions. But today I recognize and accept that I don't need to have all of the answers right at this moment.

As Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13:9 Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully even as I am fully known... which goes onto verse 13 And now these three remain Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is LOVE. In the power of NOW, that is enough for me.

I will trust in the Lord with my life and the direction of my journey. 1) He will make my paths straight. 2) He will lead me beside green pastures and quiet waters. His rod and staff will comfort me and I will fear no evil for He is always with me wherever I go with whatever adversity I face. 3) I am grateful for his many promises and KNOW that He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in me. 4) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  1. Proverbs 3:5-6

  2. Psalm 23

  3. Philippians 1:6

  4. Philippians 4:13

There are so many encouraging promises throughout the Bible. What are some of your favorites?

Psalm 37:4 is another one of my most cherished verses. Those moments of pure Philippians 4 peace, contentment, and joy as pictured here are for me the fulfillment of God's promise of Psalm 37:4 in my life.

Do you have some examples like that you be willing to share?

Are there storms in your life you need specific prayer warriors for?

We can help if you need prayer. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door will be opened for you. Matthew 7 is such a powerful chapter and a fantastic jumping off point if you have any desire whatsoever to get to know Jesus personally! I highly recommend reading it prayerfully if you have questions about just who this Jesus is and can ultimately be in your life!

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