While doing a little more reading about the book of Philippians for my Bible journaling, I came across this, “For many of us, Philippians is the loveliest letter Paul ever wrote. It has been called by two titles. It has been called the Epistle of Excellent Things–and so indeed it is; and it has been called the Epistle of Joy. The words joy and rejoice are used again and again. ‘Rejoice,’ writes Paul, ‘again I will say rejoice,’ even in prison directing the hearts of his friends–and ours–to the joy that no one can take from us.”
One of my very first attempts at Bible journaling…before Bible journaling was popular, was to add some simple alphabet stickers to the title page of Philippians. I cannot encourage you enough to make your Bible your own. Make it beautiful, easy to read or use, familiar…anything that will incite joy in your daily Bible reading.
I hope one of the things you have taken away from this month long POWERful Bible study is that your Bible reading looks different than mine. My Bible reading may even look different depending on what is required of my vocation from day to day. There are days when I clear the dinning room table, spread out my Bible journaling supplies and “create art.” There are also days when I grab a highlighter, my Bible and a notebook and do my Bible journaling while sitting in the car at soccer practice.
Please, please make Bible study your own or you will not stick with it, reap the benefits or enjoy it. Not that I always stick with it, reap the benefits or enjoy it, but borrowing a phrase from Philippians 3, I press on.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
“We may here take notice with St. Chrysostom that it is not enough to believe, or have the true faith, but that we must strive and labour to the end in the way of perfection;”
—Haydock Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible
We must strive and labor…not once, twice or four-hundred-fifty-seven times…no, “to the end” Everyday!
Where do you need to press on for and towards joy? What area of your life right now, do you need to make the choice…everyday…to press on in pursuit of God’s joy?
The POWERful acronym explanation can be found here, “Bible Journaling: A POWERful New Method.”
P –Lord, there are so many days when I hear that old hymn Peace in the Valley (sung by Elvis of course) echoing through my weary mind,
But I must go alone
Till the lord comes and calls, calls me away, oh yes
Well the morning’s so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as black as the sea, oh yes
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me
I am tired and weary. And I do feel alone. But I press on, not through my own doing. As the Scriptures state, “I can all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
O –Have I mentioned how much I just love the book of Philippians? (Philippians 3: Everything is Worthless, Philippians 3: Journey to Joy, Philippians Chapter 3 Worksheet.) Only a couple of times huh? And I love that Philippians 3 begins with a call and example for every parent.
Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard
First, “Rejoice in the Lord!” I think to often I try to rejoice in something or someone other than the Lord and of course I end up disappointed. Next, Paul states writing the same things is not troublesome to him, it’s for their own good, to keep them safe. Mommas…I am so tired of repeating myself, but if Paul was having to repeat himself, to the adult, Christian believers at Philippi, I have to realize I’m going to have to repeat myself sometimes.
W —Philippians 4:8…Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
E –I envision, I apply this verse to my life by first, being very cautious about what I allow into my mind. Too many clicks around the internet, too many flips of the television channel can be disastrous for me. If I want to consider and produce the good, I need to make sure I’m filling up on the good.
R –Thank you Lord for Your Word. Thank You for the women who have read along this month with me. You said where two or three are gathered You are in their midst. We believe Your Word to be true so we know You have been and are in our midst.
Please leave your POWERful reflections in the comments