Philippians 4:10-13 (Devotional Thought)

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:10-13 ESV)

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” is perhaps one of the most misquoted verses of all time. I have to confess that as a young athlete I thought this verse was awesome because I thought that quoting it before I tried to make my free-throw shots in basketball would somehow help me become a better player.

The Apostle Paul is actually talking about Continue reading “Philippians 4:10-13 (Devotional Thought)”

Philippians 4:1-5 (Devotional Thought)

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; (Philippians 4:1-5 ESV)

The Apostle Paul reminds the church at Philippi that the loves them. He wants to be with them. That’s part of why he wrote this letter. He couldn’t be there, but he could still encourage them by writing. He wants them (and us) to take what he has written seriously. This is God’s word to the church. He challenges believers in light of everything he has written to “stand firm.”

I grew up in Montana. The Rocky Mountains range was just an hours drive from our house and so often we would go explore various parts of the mountains. I remember one time we set out to cross a broad river. It didn’t look intimidating because it wasn’t very deep, but the water was ice cold (it was fed from melting glaciers) and at the time the current was very strong. When I entered the river I panicked because I didn’t expect so much pressure from the current but after a while I was able to get my footing and cross the river.

When Paul says to “stand firm” it’s like resisting that current that I came across in the river. It requires diligence and attention. You can’t just read the scriptures and hope that’s enough. We now have to be intentional about trusting God through the middle of our lives. Their will always be a strong current of popular opinion, feelings, or other ideas about how we should do things. We will feel pressure to give in and go another route and that’s why Paul encourages us to stand firm in the “Lord.” We need his strength to withstand everything we are facing.

Paul makes an immediate practical application. He talks about two women there in the church “Euodia” and Syntyche” who have apparently had a serious disagreement. It would be easy to let the disagreement separate them. Indeed all over the world people get upset with one another for various things and friendships die everyday. The difference for these two women is that they both love Jesus. They’ve both partnered together for the sake of the gospel. So when conflict arises and it seems like they can’t work it out between themselves, Paul calls in reinforcements to help them work through their difficulties. Sometimes it takes a third party to help things work out.

In our culture we don’t like to seek people out and make amends. We somehow think that if enough time passes or if we start smiling like nothing was every wrong then the broken relationship will mend itself… seldom does that ever work.

One of the best conversations I’ve ever had was approaching someone who was mad at me. I was so nervous about talking things out because I already knew how they felt. Yet, when we sat down to talk and I expressed a desire for Jesus to be lifted up more than a desire to be right, we had a great conversation. I ended up confessing my sin to them and they confessed sin to me. We forgave each other and became better friends in Jesus because of it.
Do you have a strained relationship with another believer that you need to straight?

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Philippians 3:20-21 (Devotional Thought)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)

When Paul wrote the letter to the church at Philippi, being a Roman citizen was a big deal. Rome ruled the world. Roman citizens had free reign to travel the empire and had a special status. If a Roman citizen were accused of a crime, they had a right to a trial before Cesar if they wanted one (not everyone was lucky enough to even get a trial back then). The church at Philippi probably had a firm grasp on the perks of being a Roman citizen because their city was built as a Roman outpost. It was “Rome away from Rome.”

The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen. It’s what ultimately allowed him to have a trial before Cesar. Yet, even as he is waiting for a trial that his citizenship guarantees, He can’t help think about a more important citizenship. He is a citizen of Heaven! He has a different king than Cesar, Jesus is his king!

Let’s pause for a moment because we don’t live in a country with a king. Continue reading “Philippians 3:20-21 (Devotional Thought)”

Philippians 3:17-19 (Devotional Thought)

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:17-19 ESV)

When my wife and I were engaged and we knew we had about a year before we were going to get married we started making a list of couples we wanted to have dinner with and get to know. We picked a variety of couples to intentionally have influence in our lives. There was something in each couples marriage that we admired and wanted to have in our own marriage.

We also knew that the best way to learn from these couple was to be close to them, see them interact and even mimic what they did until it stuck in our own marriage. In essence, we realized that some things are better caught, than taught. Continue reading “Philippians 3:17-19 (Devotional Thought)”

Philippians 3:9-11 (Devotional Thought)

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:9-11 ESV)

We live in a day and age that tries to redefine the word faith. Some folks use the word faith to mean to believe in something that is not true. So that when they say that if you have enough faith, something that is not true now, will be true later. You kind of “wish” it into existence. For example an individual may be sick or have a physical handicap and these folks will say that if you just have enough “faith” you will get better. This is NOT what the bible teaches when it talks about faith.

Other people try to make the word faith something more like blindly accepting something to be true without checking the facts or thinking about what your doing. They think of faith as something like an assumption. This is also NOT what the bible teaches about faith.

Still other people think of faith more like a feeling. They would say that it doesn’t matter what it true, it matters how you feel and so they would say that faith is a feeling you have when you pray or at a worship service or something like that. Again, this is NOT what the bible teaches us about faith.

The kind of faith found in the Bible can be described as a belief that moves you to action. Or maybe put more simply, “Active trust.” So when you have faith you believe something based on good evidence and then act on it. Like ridding on a school bus. You look carefully to see which bus has the markings that is supposed to take you to your bus stop. You also look for your bus driver and maybe the other kids you know who are on your bus. When you see all of these things coming together on one bus you get on the bus, in good faith, because this bus will take you to your bus stop.

Paul says that real righteousness (being good in God’s eyes) comes from faith. We know that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, was buried and rose again from the dead and then we act in faith by asking God to forgive us of our sin and for Jesus to be Lord (leader) of our lives. Where we act to embrace what Jesus has done is where faith is… its like knowing that’s your bus number, your bus driver, and all the people with whom you ride the bus , you still need to get on the bus in order for it to take you to your bus stop. Just knowing it was the right bus isn’t enough. In the same way saving faith requires us to not just know these things about Jesus but to act on them.

Have you done that? Have you responded to God and asked him to forgive you of your sins and asked JESUS to be the Lord (Leader) of your life? YOU can do that right now. Tell someone if you do.

Paul is so confident that he has been made right with God through what Jesus has done that he is willing to die for his faith in Christ. He knows that just like Jesus was raised from the dead, so he too will be raised from the dead one day as well. He doesn’t know when He’ll die, or what method, that’s why he says “by any means possible” but he’s confident of one thing, He will be raised from the dead in the resurrection.

Philippians 2:5-11 (Devotional Thought)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

Yesterday we talked about being humble and putting others needs ahead of our own. To be humble we don’t put ourselves down, that is a false kind of humility. True humility takes on the attitude of service. When you are humble you don’t make a stink about who you are or why other people should serve you, you serve others and meet the needs around you.

Think about Jesus for minute. He is God! But when he came to earth he did not demand that others treat him like he was God. He left the comfort of Heaven to be born as a poor peasant, to travel the countryside touching sick people, healing them of their diseases, and telling people about how they can know Him. He could have ascended into heaven at any time. He could have called for an angel army to come to his rescue when he was in trouble, but he chose to face the cross. He chose to serve us by paying a price we couldn’t pay for our sins. He chose obedience to the Father above personal comfort. No one has ever been more humble than Jesus and no one is greater Jesus.

We don’t serve, just to serve. Jesus became a servant for a purpose. He didn’t beat death so he could say he did it. He went to the cross to purchase a people who would embrace Him as their King. He paid the penalty for sin and bought peace with God for all who would trust him as their Lord and Savior. Have you trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? The work for you to be saved has been accomplished by Jesus, all that is left is for you to respond to the work that God has done.

So now when we are called to serve others, there is always a purpose. Ultimately the same purpose that Jesus became a servant… so that others might know God! Look around where has God given you the opportunity to serve others so that people might know about God?

Philippians 2:1-4 (Devotional Thought)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4 ESV)

The church at Philippi had people from different backgrounds. Remember the fashion CEO Lydia, the demon possessed girl, and the jailer? They were all as different as can be. I imagine that they all had different ideas and thoughts about how things should be, or might should go and I’m sure that each one had their own issues or personality quirks.

The Apostle Paul reminds them (and us) that believers are to be a humble people. Humble doesn’t mean poor or that you tear yourself down (this can actually be a weird source of pride). Being humble involves how you treat and think about other people.

Paul gives some clear examples of what humility doesn’t look like. He says don’t do anything out of rivalry. Rivalry is an attempt to outdo someone else. Paul says that we don’t need to be the guy constantly attempting to one-up everyone. A great way to check for that is think back to conversations you have with your friends. Do you find yourself trying to come up with a story or idea to top everyone’s story when you talk? You might want to check your heart for rivalry.

Paul also warns us about conceit. Conceit is tricky. It can sneak up on you. It sits in the back of your mind and it judges everyone around you. You constantly compare yourself to everybody else and you win every time! Of course you tend to overlook the bad things you have done because you know what you “intended to do” while at the same time you judge everyone else’s actions harshly. Take a few moments and check your heart for conceit. Ask God to reveal if you’ve been motivated by either one of these false motives.

So how do you battle wrong attitudes like rivalry or conceit? You count others as better than yourself. This isn’t to put you down, but it does serve to build up other people. I’ve found that It’s very difficult to have these bad attitudes if I’m constantly putting the needs of others ahead of my own and encouraging people around me. It’s hard to try and one-up someone when I take time to genuinely be happy for something cool that’s happened in their life. It’s very difficult to be conceited when I’m constantly giving other people the benefit of the doubt and judging my own missteps with a little more discernment.

If you find yourself guilty of rivalry or conceit, confess your sin to God. Ask Him to give you an attitude of humility.