April 1 - Philippians 1.1-30

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Philippians 1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.
To all of God's people who belong to Christ Jesus at Philippi and to all of your church officials and officers.
2I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

Paul's Prayer for the Church in Philippi

3Every time I think of you, I thank my God. 4And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy. 5This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it. 6God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.
7You have a special place in my heart. So it is only natural for me to feel the way I do. All of you have helped in the work that God has given me, as I defend the good news and tell about it here in jail. 8God himself knows how much I want to see you. He knows that I care for you in the same way that Christ Jesus does.
9I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand 10how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day, 11Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.

What Life Means to Paul

12My dear friends, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped to spread the good news. 13The Roman guards and all the others know that I am here in jail because I serve Christ. 14Now most of the Lord's followers have become brave and are fearlessly telling the message.
15Some are preaching about Christ because they are jealous and envious of us. Others are preaching because they want to help. 16They love Christ and know that I am here to defend the good news about him. 17But the ones who are jealous of us are not sincere. They just want to cause trouble for me while I am in jail. 18But that doesn't matter. All that matters is that people are telling about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. That is what makes me glad.
I will keep on being glad, 19because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe. 20I honestly expect and hope that I will never do anything to be ashamed of. Whether I live or die, I always want to be as brave as I am now and bring honor to Christ.
21If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more. 22I don't know what to choose. I could keep on living and doing something useful. 23It is a hard choice to make. I want to die and be with Christ, because that would be much better. 24-25But I know that all of you still need me. That's why I am sure I will stay on to help you grow and be happy in your faith. 26Then, when I visit you again, you will have good reason to take great pride in Christ Jesus because of me.
27Above all else, you must live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. Then, whether I visit you or not, I will hear that all of you think alike. I will know that you are working together and that you are struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news.
28Be brave when you face your enemies. Your courage will show them that they are going to be destroyed, and it will show you that you will be saved. God will make all of this happen, 29and he has blessed you. Not only do you have faith in Christ, but you suffer for him. 30You saw me suffer, and you still hear about my troubles. Now you must suffer in the same way.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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