|Dianne Neal Matthews|
I'm glad you've joined me today. Our guest author is Dianne Neal Matthews, a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers' conferences. Dianne and her husband currently live in southeast Texas, but she is frequently on the road to visit her children and grandchildren.
I asked Dianne to share one of the devotions from her book, Designed for Devotion.
I love the title and think this devotional is a good companion for reading through the bible. It's my pleasure to introduce Dianne and her writing to you.
Philippians: Joy to the Church
Always be joyful in the Lord! I'll say it again: Be joyful! Philippians 4:4
Paul enjoyed a special relationship with the believers in Philippi. The church that originated from a handful of women on a riverbank in Macedonia faithfully supported Paul and for the most part, remained a healthy congregation. When the believers heard that Paul had been imprisoned in Rome, they sent a financial gift through one of their members, Epaphroditus. Paul responded by writing the Philippians a letter to express his gratitude and deep love for them, and to urge them toward a lifestyle of holiness, humility, unity, and joy.
Philippians does contains a small amount of doctrinal teaching. Paul addressed the problem of rivalry and dissension in the church, and touched on the false teachings of legalism and antinomianism. But Philippians is primarily a personal letter of love and encouragement toward spiritual growth. Besides the benefit of Paul’s instructions, he offers himself as a living example as he shares thoughts about his circumstances.
Paul declares that he has learned to be content in whatever situation he finds himself (4:11). He has the assurance that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (4:13). Such victorious living is possible because of his single-minded devotion to knowing Christ and sharing the gospel. Paul urges his readers to imitate Christ’s perfect example of sacrifice and humility when he temporarily set aside his rightful glory and took on human form, even submitting to a horrible death on the cross.
The concept of “joy” is a predominant theme in Philippians. The noun and verb form of “joy” or a synonym is used sixteen times in the letter’s four chapters. While happiness depends on our outward circumstances, joy is deeper, stronger, and springs from our attitudes and mindset. Joy is a steadfast, confident assurance of God’s love and presence in our life no matter what we’re going through. Philippians is our own personal love letter from God, reminding us that joy is a gift he wants all his children to enjoy.
About the Book: Designed for Devotion: A 365 Day Journeyfrom Genesis to Revelation provides an overview of the Bible in chronological order. It offers background information for each book, including the author, theme, purpose for writing, and historical setting. The devotional highlights the key stories and characters in the OT and gospels, and explores the basic teachings of the NT writers. Several devotions called “Jesus Sightings” focus on how Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Also included are devotions about the 400-year period between the Testaments, the concept of “theophany”, the distinction between the Major and Minor Prophets, and other topics. Each day’s devotion ends with a practical application that encourages readers to apply that day’s spiritual lesson to their own journey with God.
To learn more, please visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God. Dianne and I would love to hear from you.
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Designed for Devotions? It's easy. All you have to do to be included in the drawing is leave a comment below with your email address by midnight September 6, 2014. I will announce the winner on Monday, September 8, 2014. (Participation is limited to residents of the USA.)