Philippians 4:4-7 💙 Don’t Worry, Pray!

Read Philippians 4:4-7

white coffee mug with the words: worry less, live more

Where do you look when you need a little encouragement? This portion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians gives them exactly that so they don’t lose heart. It takes work to be positive amidst struggle, ridicule, and, for the Philippian church, to be new Christians living among Jews who thought they were crazy.

We may take some of the same kind of heat for our own faith. I think that’s why we often keep our mouths shut when the opposite is more appropriate for the situation. We worry about what people will think of us. We worry we won’t have the right words to say. We certainly don’t want to ever do anything to bring shame to Jesus with our blunders.

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Philippians 2:1-11 💗 Jesus is With Us

Read Philippians 2:1-11

silhouette of a girl looking up to a whole in the sky at sunset

Paul is challenging us to “have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” That might seem a bit daunting, but Paul shows us a bit about what that means. Having this knowledge gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ character as well. Humble. Compassionate. Loving.

You may be thinking, it’s easy to have a good attitude when you’re God. You’re in control. Yet, while Jesus is God, he is also man. We can’t forget Jesus “gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave.” Jesus knows firsthand how difficult being a human can be.

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Philippians 4:10-23 – Generosity of Heart

Read Philippians 4:10-23

Today’s reading is Paul’s conclusion to his letter to his friends in Philippi and to us. Did you have a striking take-away today? Share that in the comments below.

There are several points I’d like to touch on: satisfaction and generosity. Paul is giving us a great picture of being satisfied and content. He is in chains for heavens sake, and yet he is feeling blessed. He has all that he needs. He assure them he is not looking for an offering or anything.

How satisfied are you with your situation in life? What is it that you think would tip the happiness scale for you? John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company, was replied when asked what is it that makes a man happy, “Just a little bit more than he has.” That statement comes from a man who had millions of dollars. I’m afraid for many that is true. We are always chasing that new shiny object, wanting just a little bit more believing we’ll finally find true happiness.

But true contentment is not found in things is it? True contentment is harvested when we are living in relationship with our creator. It is manifested when we realize who is in charge and what he has done for us.

Paul says it well in verses 12 and 13,  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 has become a life verse for me, one that keeps me grounded. My strength and contentment come from the Lord, and with him, we can do all things. So long as I remember that, my joy does not waver. Circumstances may bring sadness, but my joy is full.

When my heart is content and joy is overflowing, my generosity is at an all time high. I don’t want to keep of all of this joy to myself. One of the best gifts we can give another person is our love, and that’s exactly what we have been called to do. We are to love God first, and then love each other.

Our giving to others of our time and resources is a generosity that will pay over and over again. It’s like planting a seed and watching it grow and grow and grow. One small seed, or act of love and giving, can grow into a big tree or a big faith. God will use each blessing we share with others. He is counting on us to be there for others. He expects us to be someone’s light in the darkness. Guard your heart that you share for the benefit of others, not to see what your reward will be. Satan can often mess with our motives. God sees our heart.

Who can you help today? How are you responding to your contentment?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I come to you today with a heart overflowing with gratefulness for where you have brought me in life. The road may not be all that smooth, but I know that you are helping me with the jolts and curves. I stand ready to be your angel to others. Thank you for your support and guidance, for the strength that you give me to get the job done. Forgive me for my self-limiting behaviors. Ignite the passion in me  again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Philippians 4:1-9

Read Philippians 4:1-9

There is so much wisdom in the book of Philippians. These nuggets are truths we can live by. It is so important that we stay true to the Lord. He has certainly never let us down. He is ever ready to stand guard over our lives and give us direction. He doesn’t impose on us, and that is part of what is so wonderful.

God has given us all a life. What we do with it is our choice. How do you choose to live your life? Are you a lone ranger trying to do it all alone? Or, are you relying on God for your every move. A lot of us are somewhere in between. We like our freedom, yet we know we may not have the best plan. God does have the best plan for us, and often it’s not what we were thinking at all.

One of my favorite passages is found in today’s reading. Verse 6 and 7 really resonate with me. Looking at verse 6 first: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Have you had times in your life where you forgot to trust God and worried about something? Don’t fret (notice I didn’t say worry!), we all have done this. I have known some ferocious worriers in my day. When I first discovered this verse, I felt a sense of freedom. The message is simple, but we often forget. We often worry about things we shouldn’t be worried about. What SHOULD we be doing? Praying. There is so much freedom and peace that comes from praying. 

When a situation is out of our control, which most of them are, it does no good to worry. Most of what we worry about never happens anyway, and we’ve wasted our time, our joy, our peace with that silly worrying. As I write this, I have my own concerns (don’t we all), so this is a good reminder to me to PRAY! Don’t worry.

We can’t forget the gratefulness piece here either. We need to thank God for what is doing. A grateful heart is a happy heart. A happy heart does not worry but praises God for all of his provision. Never forget to give thanks to God for what he has done for you. If you are feeling a little out of sorts, remember the cross.

Verse 7 goes on to tell us what our “reward” will be when we don’t worry but choose to trust God. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Oh my. Peace. Peace that exceed our understanding. That certainly sounds good to me!

And, it’s true. If you haven’t experienced God’s peace, you really should. He offers it to everyone who trusts. That’s the key – trust. Even though we sometimes say, “Yup, I’m trusting God this time” there is a small part of us that is still worrying. Right? So long as we hold on to a little bit, our peace cannot be full. We are cheating ourselves of God’s gift.

Yesterday in training for our business, our leader spent a long time focusing on verse 8. In case you’re wondering how is it that we might FULLY trust and close out those worrisome thoughts, verse 8 is our answer. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” There it is. Simple, yet hard. Remember worry is of the evil one meant to keep us from trust God.

So what is on your heart right now? Are you finding yourself caught up in worry? Maybe you are struggling financially. Maybe your children are growing way too fast and you’re feeling insecure as a parent. Maybe your children are grown and on their own but you don’t know if they are following Jesus. Don’t let yourself get caught up in worry. Trust God. Think about the truth. God desires us to be in relationship with him and to trust his leading. We need to get out of our own way.

Let’s pray. Father God, thank you that you’ve got my back. Thank you that I can come to you with my struggles and pain and you take it from me. You have died for me so that I can be free. Help me to focus on the truth and on the beauty of your grace. I surrender to you my worry right now. Take it from me and fill me with your peace. I pray for those who don’t know you and your promises. Bring those people alongside me so that I can reflect you in a relevant way for them. Use me God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Philippians 3:12-21 – Do You Have a Goal?

Read Philippians 3:12-21

My oh my. Does this passage resonate with you like it does me?

We are all in our own season of life, and we have experiences that have brought us to this moment. No matter where you are in life, you should always have a goal. What is your goal?

I’m just coming off an intensive 3-day seminar for my home business, and one of our sessions talked about setting our dreams and goals. Personally, I have always tried to help others reach their goals without much thought of my own. The exercise awakened in me the importance of my own goals and how important it is to dream big. When we think with our future brains, we can accomplish so much more.

I especially liked Paul’s words here, reminding us that we need to forget the past and look ahead, “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”  There is no greater goal than this, don’t you agree? The day we meet Jesus face to face will be the ultimate. But are we ready? What if this happened tomorrow? Has our life mattered so far? What more do we want to accomplish before we “meet our Maker?”

Paul cautions us here about materialism, and I see this so rampant in our society today. It seems we are never happy with what we have. We are always wanting more of this or that to fulfill our need. When you think of what is on your dream board, what do you see? Are there material things or experiences to make memories? Maybe it’s an achievement or recognition? Or are your dreaming of a way of life to honor God?

I love how Paul concludes this section. We need to ground ourselves and be confident in our identity. Paul writes,”[b]ut we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

Our destiny is not here on earth. The things we aspire to on earth will pass away. We are living today for our tomorrow in heaven with Jesus. We will have bodies way better than we could ever imagine that will last for eternity. Let me ask again. What exactly is your goal? Is it big enough? Are you including God in your future?

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father you are mighty beyond all description. You have given me this beautiful life to live. May I be respectful of all that you have given me. May I live a life that is full of gratitude and praise. I look around and see heartache, confusion and greed. Help me to avoid those tendencies. You have brought me to this place, and I thank you for the progress I see in my life. I am so much closer to you than I was, and I yearn to grow closer every day. I eagerly await your return, yet I pray for those loved ones of mine who are not following you. I pray your grace will fall on them so that they will feel the time is right to fully trust you. Thank you for all of the blessings you bestow. You are an amazing God! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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