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Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat? Mark Batterson

Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat? Mark Batterson

Letter writing is an art. Expressing your thoughts in letter form is a very personal and vulnerable thing to do. It is also, a very effective way to share your true feelings. Famous couples throughout history have shared their deepest feelings and thoughts through letters. Some examples of couples who expressed their love through letters are Prince Albert to Queen Victoria, Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan, Johnny Cash to June Cash, and Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine Bonaparte.

Ludwig van Beethoven was a famous German composer whose works rank among the most performed in all of classic music. He first began writing music in 1802 and continued to compose works until his death in 1827—in spite of his increasing deafness. Beethoven’s passion rang out in his music, but as it turns out, he could be passionate in his words as well. After his death, an unsent love letter was found among his papers in which he expressed these sentiments: “My thoughts rush to you, my immortal beloved, now and then joyfully, then again sadly, waiting to know whether Fate will hear our prayer—to face life I must live altogether with you or never see you.” The intended recipient of this letter remains a mystery.

On April 16, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned an open letter that would become a key catalyst in the civil rights movement. It was powerful, not just because of the words. It was powerful because of the circumstances in which it was written. Dr. King wrote the letter from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama. Responding to critics who questioned his timing and his tactics, Dr. King said this: “There was a time when the church was very powerful—in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians while he was in jail too. He wanted to share with them his love for them and his confidence in the Lord. He wanted them to know that he longed to see them again, that he was content in his circumstances, and filled with joy wherever the Lord placed him—even jail.

Can you say the same thing? What was Paul’s secret? Paul was totally sold out to Jesus Christ. He made the decision to follow Him anywhere. He loved the Lord and gave his life to Him. You can make the same decision. You can allow Jesus to be the Lord of your life each and every day. He gave His life on that cross because He loves you that much and He longs to have a daily relationship with you. Trust Him, wherever He takes you in this life, He will be there. He will protect you and never leave you. Paul knew that and that’s why he could be confident and find joy whatever the circumstance. Give Jesus a try!

Watch the First Session

The 40 Days Through the Book series is designed to help you actively engage with God’s Word. Each study encourages you to read through selected books in the New Testament at least once during the course of the study. As you do, you will gain:

  • An understanding of the background and culture of the book or letter
  • Insights into key passages that you might have overlooked before
  • Clear takeaways that you can apply today to your life

In this 40 Days Through the Book video Bible study, Mark Batterson serves as a tour guide on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul, writing from a jail cell, speaks of joy, gratitude, unity, and purpose. Learn both the content and the context of the letter and then how you can directly apply the message to your daily life.