Sheila Selman

Words matter

I took this photo on a trip to Seattle, Washington. The mountains and clouds leave me in awe of creation. God is great and reigns over all of creation. Everything. He created it for us because he loves us. He also forgives us when we ask. Why? Because he wants a relationship with us. God…

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Read Along: Philippians

Chapter 1: 3-8 (NIV)

Back in 1997, Michael W. Smith released the song “Friends are Friends Forever.” If you are of a certain age, you know it was played at basically every graduation. There is something about enduring friendships that make you feel solid and connected.

When friends are connected spiritually, I believe God blesses those friendships. My squad are all believers in Christ. We pray for each other and support each other spiritually, as well as emotionally. I am lucky to have found these Christ-centered sisters.

When I read Philippians 1:3, I think of my friends: “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (NIV)

So when I read this passage, I think of Paul writing to his “squad” of believers. He’s sitting in a Roman jail and just pouring out his heart with Timothy by his side. He doesn’t open with “woe is me.” He opens with thanksgiving and prayer.

He could have just as easily started it with, “Pray for me, the heathen Romans have locked me up.”

But instead, he thanks God each time he remembers them — them being the first church he founded in Europe, according to

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always PRAY WITH JOY because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being CONFIDENT of this, that he who began a GOOD WORK in you will carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

IT IS RIGHT for me to feel this way about all of you, since I HAVE YOU IN MY HEART; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you SHARE GOD’S GRACE with me. God can testify how I LONG FOR all of you with the AFFECTION of Christ Jesus.”

To be honest, I am not sure I would have that much positivity in me.

But what a heartfelt introduction of a love letter to this church.

These seem like the friends you would want to have at your side and behind your back. (Let’s squiggle #squadgoals on our Bibles.)

Next, we’ll look at Paul’s prayer for his squad.

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