I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas as you reflect on the biggest miracle that has ever happened on earth — God coming to the earth in the form of human flesh and giving His life for us. I pray you enjoy your family and friends to the fullest during this beautiful season.
I also want to say how thankful I am for every email message and phone call that I am receiving. I am hearing from people who are experiencing miracles, and I want to share one of those testimonies with you before I begin my letter.
One gentleman wrote to us and said that he had been having great problems with his leg, and it had even become very difficult for him to walk. As he listened to my program, he heard me give a word of knowledge that the Lord was healing someone’s leg. This man said to himself, I’m going to take that. He woke up the next morning without any pain in his leg and decided he was going to run a few miles. After he finished his run, he said, “Thank You, Jesus! My leg is completely healed!”
Isn’t that magnificent! Jesus is the same miracle worker today as He was 2,000 years ago. I love to see when people are set free from suffering because they experience Jesus the Miracle Worker personally. The Father loves us so much, and He put all that pain and suffering on Jesus so we could be free from it and healed in our bodies.
That testimony was such great news, and I wanted to share it with you because Jesus is YOUR Miracle Worker too!
This month God put it on my heart to share with you something powerful that we can do to help us through difficult times. As I studied, I opened the Word of God to Philippians because the apostle Paul knew a thing or two about difficult times. In verse 7 of the first chapter, he wrote the words “in my chains.” And in verses 13, 14, and 16, he repeated the words “my chains.” It’s obvious that the apostle Paul was bound in chains — and not just in chains, but he was a prisoner in a horrible prison in Rome.
Scholars believe that one of the reasons this prison was so horrible was, it was a place where sewage was collected. Just imagine: The apostle Paul was in this prison, chained up and standing in sewage, when he wrote his encouraging letter to the Philippian church — what we now know as the book of Philippians. This is an incredible example to us of the magnificent power of God working inside Paul, and this same power is available to us today.
From this first chapter of Philippians, you can see that the apostle Paul was absolutely in a very difficult place. So how did he get through this difficult time? How was he able to use the word “joy” or a form of the word “rejoice” 19 times in these four short chapters while he was chained up in this horrible prison? The answer to these questions is found in Paul’s own letter, and I believe it will be very valuable for all of us.
Philippians 1:3 says, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Even in this horrible prison, the apostle Paul was thankful! I know that’s amazing, but it is the truth. Then in Philippians 2, Paul went on to explain, encourage, and exhort the believers in the Philippian church. He said, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14,15).
We all need to understand that we cannot complain and be thankful at the same time. The apostle Paul was chained up in one of the most horrible prisons of his time, yet he was telling his fellow believers not to complain. “Complaining” goes further than just the words coming out of our mouth. The admonition in this verse is referring to what’s going on in our heart.
Complaining is murmuring, and murmuring is an expression of dissatisfaction; it’s grumbling and griping, even if in a low voice. One biblical commentator said it is the kind of grumbling that promotes ill-will instead of harmony and goodwill. It is inward disputing, discussing, and skeptical questioning or criticizing, and it refers to an intellectual rebellion against God. Just reading that makes me want to repent and turn from any dissatisfaction and grumbling I might find in myself!
But look again at Philippians 2:15: “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” One Greek commentator said this word “blameless” means unblamed, unmixed, unadulterated, pure, and sincere. The word was used to describe a pure wine or a pure, unalloyed metal.
Many years ago, I had a ring that I loved very much. But in the cold winter months, it would break and come apart. I loved that ring so much that I kept getting it fixed. Finally, the jeweler said to me, “Denise, this gold has so much alloy in it — it has so many impurities in it — that’s why it keeps falling apart.”
Similarly, if we constantly have grumbling and complaining going on inside us, it produces something impure. And these impurities have the power to defile the soul, and it shows up in the intents of our heart. We can’t have this mix of impure things — grumbling, complaining, and disputing — going on in our heart, because instead of our being blameless or harmless in this troubled world, if we’re griping and complaining, we can become harmful.
But when our heart is pure and free of grumbling and complaining, we are blameless and harmless, and something magnificent happens — we shine as lights in this dark world. We’re able to give off light — the light of our Savior within us — and to be a fresh burst of light to this dark world.
As I was studying this, my mind naturally went to thoughts of Jesus, who was and is perfect — so that means Jesus never complained or murmured. Naturally speaking, He had so much He could have complained about. He could have complained about the disciples and how unbelieving they were. He could have complained about the Roman government’s mistreatment of the Jewish people. He could have murmured and complained about the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who ridiculed, criticized, and condemned Him. He could have perhaps even complained and murmured out of weariness, because He was pouring out Himself and ministering to people continually.
But Jesus never complained. Jesus never murmured. He gave thanks. Friend, He is our Example! Then Jesus placed Himself inside us by His Spirit in the new birth — so we can continually give thanks too.
In Second Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul asked the church (and he’s asking us today), “…Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”
Jesus Christ is in us! We can’t justify saying, “But you don’t know my circumstances. It’s too hard. I can’t stop complaining. I can’t stop murmuring.”
Oh yes, we can because the power of the Holy Spirit lives inside us. Jesus has given us the power to be thankful and to not complain. Because He lives in us, we can say, “No, Lord, I’m not going to murmur, and I’m not going to complain. I’m going to give You thanks!”
I want to close with a final verse: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Giving thanks to God was a huge help to the apostle Paul that enabled him to endure in that difficult place. Even though he could have complained and murmured in that horrible prison, he chose to give thanks. And as a result, he gave light to all those around him. And that is what God has called you and me to do. He has called us to be harmless and blameless and to shine brightly in this world.
Thank you so much for spending time with me, and please let me know how we can pray for you. You can call us at 1.800.742.5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please join me on my weekly program, TIME With Denise Renner, Mondays at 7:00 a.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook! You can also find me Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruthTV.
Let’s continue to be thankful as we are moving forward together, and let’s continue to be harmless and blameless as we bring goodwill and the light of Jesus Christ to others.
Have a very blessed Christmas!