“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
preacher and teacher of The Gospel named Paul wrote the above verse for our
encouragement. He wrote the small book of Philippians while being in prison.
But Paul did not let his circumstances determine his level of joy. His source
of joy went deeper than his surroundings. His joy came from his belief in Jesus
his imprisonment faithful friends were coming and going from Paul’s cell
tending to his needs. He shared his abundant joy with them. The small group
joined Paul in reading from the Old Testament and singing Psalms.
life had not been easy even when he was free. Less so during his imprisonment.
Philippians was written about 60 A.D. during his first imprisonment. You can
read the entire account of the Apostle Paul in Acts 13-28.
despite his bleak surroundings, not knowing whether he would be set free or
not; Paul spent his time writing letters of encouragement. His trusted friends
risked their lives carrying his prison letters to churches in Greece and in Asia
Minor. They did this because of their
commitment to help Paul. And, in doing that they also had joy overflowing.
much if any has changed since Paul’s day. We all still need a continuous flow
of joy in our daily lives. Also, we need both to encourage and be encouraged. I
want to encourage you to read the small book of Philippians and be prepared to
be filled with joy.
joy in what you do as well. As important as parenting, jobs and/or our other
responsibilities are, the attitude that we have in doing what we do is equally
we allow ourselves to have a joyful attitude, our hope increases.
On the most part I was a quiet child growing up. Even my mother would often comment that it was hard to know whether I was in the house or out in the yard because I rarely spoke. That’s probably because I stuttered as a child and didn’t like to speak. Also, I’m the youngest of my parents five children so I always had my two older sisters to figure out what I was saying.
Both my parents worked so I was left in the care of my two older
sisters during summers and after school. We three did all the housework
and laundry. Plus, they took on the task of interpreting for me to our
parents or just went ahead and got me whatever I needed. That’s the way
it worked for me up until I entered the third grade.
My teacher that year was Mrs. Allison, who had taught well beyond her
retirement time. I remember her having a complete head of white hair
and my parents wondering how she was going to keep up with us kids on
the sprawling playground. I don’t think they figured in her persona in
their equation on that though.
Mrs. Allison truly was grandmotherly to us kids, which we seemed to love so we naturally obeyed her. After recess she always read or told us a story while we wound down from play time, resting our heads on our desks.
started school in 1958, so by this time it was the early sixties. Back then,
teachers could give a random hug to a young child if they thought that would
cheer the youngster up some. It was a different time back then.
Long story short, it took Mrs. Allison most all that year to get me
to stop stuttering. She did this by getting me to slow my speech pattern
down during class reading time. Standing beside me, she usually rested
one of her large hands across my shoulders, while covering my designated
sentence with her other hand until I could only pronounce one word at a
time. Which, I guess I hadn’t been doing prior to that year. Still
today I’m a scan reader. I just want to know the basic facts of the
story, issue or the situation at hand.
I’m certain that I never stuttered after that year. I remembered
giving oral book reports and answering questions in class all through
the rest of my formal education. That confidence I showed didn’t happen
instantaneous, of course. But, over time I overcame my shyness and
strengthened my public speaking skills enough to do as well as any other
child in school.