Philippians 1:3-11 – Praying for You

Read Philippians 1:3-11

Paul is clearly a fan of the people of Philippi who started following Christ. If you want to read about how Paul came to know and love them, you can find a recounting of his first encounter in Acts 16. You’ll recall the first convert was a wealthy merchant woman named Lydia.

Paul is thankful for these people and encourages them to keep on doing what they are doing. Verse 6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” How many times have we heard these very words and been comforted or empowered?

God is at work within us giving us the power we need. We often fall short when we forget to call upon that power. We see so many superheros in our day as movies like Batman, Captain America, the Power Rangers, to name a few. What they have in common is some special gift that helps them save the world. We all have a super power, God, and with his help, we, too, can change the world.

Think about that for a moment. How might God’s power in you change the world?

Paul’s prayer for them in verses 9-11 is so profound. It is a prayer we we should call upon today. It has probably been years since the church began there, and without proper nurture and care, doubt can set in. We’ve all seen that over time. Maybe we’ve even experienced it ourselves.

Remember when you first knew Jesus on a personal level as your Savior. Maybe it was a moment in time that will forever be etched in your memory. Perhaps it was a progression over time or something you have always believed. Suffice it to say that even a rock solid faith can be shaken by doubts, trials, and busyness. Paul saw the importance of encouragement. He didn’t want his friends in Philippi to fall prey to these distractions. The same is true for us today.

Let’s pray. Using the words of Paul, I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Philippians 1:1-2 – Peace to You

Read Philippians 1:1-2

I’m super excited to be spending quiet time with God and reflecting on Philippians. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. So many gems of wisdom and encouragement. As we walk through this Book together, please share your thoughts and insights as if we were sitting over a cup of coffee/tea.

This epistle, or letter from Paul and Timothy, is directed to those living in Philippi. While the city is now in ruin, it was at the time a very strategic city. Philippi was a commercial center sitting at the intersection of two continents: Europe and Asia. We as Christians are also strategically placed in life to bring witness to our non-believing brothers and sisters. We will see that the Gospel is for everyone, and meant as an encouragement.

I think you’ll agree that the tone of this letter is very encouraging. It is not a letter of condemnation or rebuke, but of thanksgiving. We all need a little (or a lot) of that in our hearts. Another cool thing I learned about this book is that the word “JOY” in noun or verb form appears 16 times. Being able to experience joy amidst struggle is what helped Paul endure many times of trial. We can experience joy, too.

Look at how this letter starts.  May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” What a great welcome line. You’ll find similar welcome lines in all of Paul’s letters to the people (to us). What better prayer than for God to give us grace and peace!

This letter is a great example of relationship building. I’m guessing the folks who first read Paul’s words would never have imagined this be included in Holy Scripture. My plan is to take it in small chunks so we can really explore Paul’s message to us.

Who do you know in your circle of friends that needs a word of peace from God today? Maybe you want to invite them to read these devotionals along with you? There is so much going on in our lives that peace often eludes us. How do you shut it out? What do you do to find that quiet place to be with Jesus?

For me, there is a peace that washes over me when I intentionally sit down with my Bible, my laptop, or a pad and paper. There are noises going on, restless dogs, street music and car horns, birds chirping, and horses neighing. This is Mexico and to find a quiet place in town is not going to happen. Instead, I embrace it and rest in the joy of the Lord, knowing he has brought me to this beautiful place. Time with him is precious and refreshing.

Work on your own quiet time location. Find that perfect, comfortable place where you can cuddle up with God.

Let’s pray. Father God I thank you for these moments of stillness, not n necessarily quiet. I cherish the time I spend with you. Thank you for the love and encouragement you provide for me. I praise your name and want to shout your praise all over this land. May your peace fill my heart today. May your word wash over me and reveal itself in new and exciting ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.