October 7

Today’s Bible Reading
     I Kings 10
     Philippians 1
     Ezekiel 40
     Psalms 91
            “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me; to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)
            It seems that everyone today is looking frantically for happiness. Many of them are looking in all the wrong places, but they know it is out there somewhere and they are seeking it. In the United States of America, our forefathers promised us ''life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It is a very elusive commodity but everyone looks for it, and very few find it. People are trying everything -tranquilizers, books on happiness, the accumulation of things, and the pursuit of what our culture considers ''pleasure."
            Are you really happy? If I could look down into your heart, would I see true happiness? Now, no one is happy all the time, so it is really not the happiness test I want you to take, but the ''joy'' test. That is what the Book of Philippians is all about.  ''These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)
            This epistle of the wonderful Apostle Paul is indeed the highway to happiness and joy. Our memory verses go right to the heart of the matter. Have you ever had the assignment of writing down your philosophy of life? I mean by that, what life really means to you. There are many ways of expressing what life is all about. The Bible says, ''life is like a vapor. It appears for a little while, and then vanishes away." That statement has to do with the brevityof life.
            Shakespeare said, “life is a tale that is told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” That is the voice of pessimism, and there are many voices of pessimism in our day.
            There is a song that says, “Living is what you do before you die." Someone has also said, “Life is a punishment for being born.” Another definition given by the voices of pessimism says, “Life is a disease for which the only cure is death.” But for the Child of God, Paul expressed the real meaning of life when he said, “FormetoliveisChrist.” If you want true joy in your life, you must experience what Paul expressed in these verses. The songwriter said it well: What these verses are saying to us is that, “as long as we are alive on this planet, we are to be obsessed with living our life for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to give ourutmostfor Hishighest.
            What does Paul mean when he says, “To die is gain?” I doubt if any of us look forward to death. Death for the believer, however, will be release from earth's sorrows. To die is to depart from earth with its sorrows and suffering, but no more pain, suffering, or sorrows will face us in Heaven. Still, one of the hardest things in life is separation from our loved ones. When a doctor had to explain to a young boy that his mother would soon die, he said to him, ''Look out this window. When those leaves have fallen off those trees, your mother will be gone." He didn't see that boy for a while after that. This is one reason God allows a crisis - to teach us the blessing and the gain of death. When the doctor asked about him, they said, ''He's out in the trees, tying the leaves to the branches." Well, that’s the attitude most of us have about the loss of a loved one but, for the Child of God, death is truly gain.
            As you consider the truth of these verses, write in your journal today, ''For me to live is (and put a blank there). Now you fill in the word - is it money, fame, sports, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife? If it is anything but Jesus, to die is loss. You cannot have Paul's philosophy of death unless you have Paul's philosophy of life.
            Focus your prayers today on the Gideons International Ministry. They currently operate in 175 countries and freely distribute Bibles and New Testaments in hotels, schools, hospitals, prisons, and other place to which the public has access. Each week, over one million copies are personally presented or placed. Countless lives have been transformed, comforted, and blessed through the Scriptures placed by Gideon’s.