Christian cross with bright sun and clouds background
Christian cross with bright sun and clouds background

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, REJOICE !!

Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 13, Philippians 4, Ezekiel 43, Psalms 95-96

It is truly a pleasure to be able to contribute to this community in this capacity. My name is Lynden McGriff, I am the husband of Jillian. It is a blessing today to be the guest writer because it is my birthday. I am truly excited to have been asked to write the entry today.

As I read through the readings for today, I was perplexed in which section to examine and then the Spirit led me to Philippians. This letter that Paul wrote is one of the warmest and most personal letters that is contained in the bible. He is in his first imprisonment in Rome and he is writing to his first European church that he planted. This is significant in so many ways. This is a first time to be not free in his home, Rome. This is the first time that he has received a message from his first church outside Asia or the Israel. This is the first time that he has received gifts in a magnitude that overwhelms him.

Many of you know that this past year has been a challenging year for my family. Our son, Oliver has been through so much that it is hard to convey the feelings of hope, desperation, emptiness, joy, sadness, and love. In the beginning of the year he was in and out of doctors offices with digestive issues. Jillian and I were going to the doctors’ offices at least one time per week. The children : Oliver, Ruby, and Nadya were constantly in and out of the van and the offices that they were accustomed to seeing all the physicians and nurse, so much so that they knew us by face and name. In May, Oliver was hospitalized for 3 consecutive weeks and then we had the diagnosis of Crohns. This was and is still a point that makes Jillian and I pause often and let God speak to us. For me, it is one of the most challenging things to continue to be positive in the midst of it all.

The opportunity arose for Oliver to go to the best place on earth, Disney World. It was a sacrifice and journey to orchestrate the logistics and finances. But this one hope that continued to keep him going was the hope of something big and exciting, to one day be able to return to Disney World. The trip was a surprise and was suppose to start on this past Friday. Then hurricane Matthew came, which postponed the trip again. Then yesterday afternoon, he has the first flare of Crohns and this threatens to derail the journey yet again. But God purpose was to make Ollie smile and know that only God has the final word of what will happen. Through God’s grace Ollie is currently experiencing the Magic Kingdom.

So one of the most known verses in Philippians is 4:13

” 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

But I have been overjoyed with these additional verses

Philippians 4:6-8

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philipians 4:11-13

“11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

The main message that has been resounding in me this year has been, “God can not protect you from what He will perfect you through.”   I have been more in the Word and praying this year than I have in the resent past. I have found it comforting to be in His presence and knowing that He will allow His Will to be done. I have found myself at a peace that cannot be understood by many. Many times this year Jillian and I talk among ourselves and then the air of hesitation and disbelief comes and I would say “Its going to be ok”, His peace surpasses all understanding.   I have recently looked at my kids with awe and see them not only as my kids, my cherished little one, but I have been able to see them through Christ eyes: true, honorable, just, pure, commendable, and excellent.   Oliver is our first child, he is the first grandchild of his grandparents, he is our only son, this is the first time that he actually understands and actually is aware of all that he is going though. I can relate with Paul and Philippi. This is something that cannot be explained, the emotions and longing to have your heart in one place.

I cannot but rejoice daily in the awesomeness of God. He has truly shown me that all is possible, all is excellent and all is at peace through Christ.

Be Blessed