Friday, 18 February 2022
Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Joy is possible when you remember "the Lord is near"!
In Myanmar, Ambassadors for Christ International director Jimmy Hla equips Christian pastors and leaders for this 95% Buddhist nation through the Monsoon Bible Training School in Yangon. He began the school in 1987 with 3 students and this year has 55 students enrolled. Students come for 4 months during the rainy season when they can't work on their farms. There are now over 300 graduates of the School sprinkled around Myanmar, most of whom are actively involved in ministry.
It's a challenging environment, not just because of the high humidity and heat, but also spiritually. Still, the faces of many students sparkle with expressions that reveal they have found the hope they need when the world around them is not so pleasant.
Is it really possible to be joyful in spite of persecution, adversities, reversals of fortune, illness, or the tragedies of life? The Apostle Paul certainly thought so. His letters are full of encouragement to rejoice in spite of difficulties, not because he was denying the reality around him, but because of a greater reality that he could see with the eyes of faith.
The next time you feel overwhelmed by life, will you remember his triumphant words in Romans 8:35, 37?: "Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." (NLT)
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