Paul ends with more challenges: Pray in the Spirit at all times. I would define that as thinking about what you are going to pray before you say it, think about what God is doing and wanting in a particular situation. When there is a need to fire arrow prayers then do so, but generally seek to pray into God's will: His plans are far greater than ours! Secondly, be persistent! Sometimes it may feel that we are haranguing God, but persevere always with the posture that He is God. Remember Abraham's approach when he was pleading for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah recorded in Genesis 18 v 20-33. Now because this letter was intended for a group of churches, Paul ends his letter without personal greetings or an update on his situation. He leaves the circulation of it and his personal news to Tychicus. This reminds us that no one, not even Paul, can be all things to all people. He needed people he could trust who had the ability to support him and often had gifts which he did not have. It seems likely from references in his letters to the church at Corinth that Paul was not the greatest public speaker, so to have someone in his group who could do that would have been a blessing to him. He greatly appreciated those who had given up a period of their life to support and encourage him. Please remember that there are many ways to serve God. All it takes is a willing heart! From tomorrow we enter a period of Advent, when I will be looking at the birth narratives in John, Matthew and Luke. They will go out on the all@bearfield email. We will return at the end of December to the next of Paul's letters, the glorious book of the Philippians.
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