Choose Joy
happy New Year and welcome to this January 1st edition of Our Daily Bread I'm like Whitmer and I title today's reading choose Joy
 Keith was feeling down as he trudged through the produce aisle his hands tremble from the first signs of Parkinson's disease how long before his quality of life began to slide what would this mean for his wife and children Keith Gloom was shattered by laughter over by the potatoes a man pushed a giggling boy in a wheelchair the man leaned over and whispered to his son who couldn't stop grinning he was noticeably worse off and Keith yet he and his dad were finding Joy where they could
 running from prison or under house arrest as he awaited the outcome of his trial the Apostle Paul seemingly had no right to be joyful the emperor was Nero a wicked man what a growing reputation for violence and cruelty so Paul had reason to be concerned he also knew they were preachers were taking advantage of his absence to gain glory for themselves they thought they could stir up trouble for the Apostle while he was imprisoned
 did Paul chose to rejoice and he told the Philippians to follow his example declaring rejoice in the lord always I'll say it again rejoice
 our situation might seem Bleak yet Jesus Is With Us now and he's guaranteed our glorious future
 Christ who walked out of his tomb will return to raise his followers to live with him
 as we begin this New Year may we rejoice
 now join me as I read from Philippians chapter 1 verses 12 through 21
 no I want you to know brothers and sisters that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel as a result it has become clear throughout the whole Palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ and because of my chains most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and they're all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear
 it is true that some preach Christ out of Envy in rivalry but others out of Goodwill the latter do so out of love knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel the former preach Christ out of selfish ambition not sincerely supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in Chains but what does it matter the important thing is that in every way whether from false motives or true Christ is preached and because of this I Rejoice yes and I will continue to Rejoice for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my Deliverance I eagerly expecting hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body
 whether by life or by Death
 for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain
 let's pray
 father raised our eyes above our circumstances we look to you alone for our joy in Jesus name we pray amen
today's encouragement was provided by Our Daily Bread Ministries