Category Archives: Philippians

Exodus 35-37; Psalms 26; Philippians 4

“Come, all of you who are gifted craftsman. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded: the Tabernacle and its sacred tent, its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Ark and its carrying poles; the Ark’s cover-the place of atonement; the inner curtain to shield the Ark.” Exodus 35:10-12 NLT

My one word for the year is TRUST. But, since I had a difficult time narrowing it down to just that word, give and create are also on that list. I’ve come to realize they both fall under the umbrella of trust. I have to trust that God will take what I offer him and use it for his purposes, even if I can’t see it now. He cares about the big and small details. So many details went into the making of the Tabernacle, Ark, Table, Lamp stand and Incense altar. He didn’t just ask anyone to make it. He chose certain craftsman (Exodus 36:1 NLT). This is such a great reminder that when my calling feels small and insignificant, he sees me and gave me unique skills that only I can do.

“Then Moses said to the whole community of Israel, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Take a sacred offering to the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps.” Exodus 35:4-8 NLT

The people were generous in their help donating material things towards the completion of the sanctuary. They gave. They didn’t hold back. What might I be holding back from the Lord? Being generous and living in community will cost me something… time, energy and resources. Do I trust that God will supply what I need like Paul did?

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 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. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward in kindness. At the moment I have all I need-and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And the same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:11-19 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your provision. I pray that I wouldn’t let fear hold me back from what you called me to do. Help me to love others and share my life with them. Amen.

“I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the Lord.” Psalms 26:1&12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 32-34; Philippians 3

The Apostle Paul puts forth the most compelling truths in all of Scripture. Salvation has nothing to do with anything but faith in Jesus Christ. He writes:

‘But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 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— ‘

Philippians 3:7-9 (ESV)

Without Jesus and Him alone we are lost for all eternity. Graham Kendrick’s song of some years ago is based on this passage of Scripture:

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk

I’m also reminded of those awesome words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose.”

Have you put your faith in Jesus alone for your salvation? It is not too late. Do it today. Stop holding on to things that will not save and trust Him only for your salvation!

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1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalms 95,96

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and mind as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NLT

This passage has become all too familiar to me. I have recalled it to my weary mind time and time again. But sometimes I forget how powerful it can be in my life. When my nine year old son was scared, I told him to say the name of Jesus and his fearful thoughts would flee. In her book “Battlefield of the Mind for Kids” Joyce Meyer paints such a vivid picture of Jesus guarding the mind. “Dear Jesus, please protect my thoughts and mind. Please stand between me and any lies that might come into my head.” In order to train my thoughts I need to stay disciplined in his word. The Psalms have a way of directing my heart back to him…

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest of mountains.” Psalms 95:4 NLT

I am reminded of his majesty

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.” Psalms 95:6 NLT

I am reminded of his constant provision.

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalms 96:1-3 NLT

I praise him for all he has done!

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT

Thank you Father for your love for me. That you delight in me and care about the smallest details of my life. Help me to be grounded by your word everyday. Forgive me when I grumble, I want to have a grateful heart. Give me a mind that is filled with your desires. Thank you for all you have done for me. Amen.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 12, Psalm 94, Ezekiel 42, Philippians 3

Philippians 3 is such a sweet passage and encouragement for a person who is a people pleaser and perfectionist at heart. I have known Jesus since I was 5 years old and was always taught that it is by grace we are saved through faith. End of story. But very early on, I fell into a pattern of striving and working in my own flesh that has carried on into adulthood. Like Paul, I could rattle off my accomplishments and good record. Straight A honor student, Bible club participant, youth groupie, small group leader, MOPS coordinator, nurse, mom, wife…… I could continue spouting off my duties, callings and good deeds. It’s what I’ve worked for these last 37 years. But, I’m tired. I’m worn.

I have a good “pedigree” but I’m empty. I have learned to rely on my own flesh and not the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through me. I have said “yes” to too many things that were good but not necessarily my calling simply to not let someone down. I have always tried to put other’s feelings higher than myself and sometimes that leaves me (and my family) stressed and overwhelmed because our needs come last. Balance. I hate it. I’m all or nothing. Give me a to do list and I’m good to go, checking off the items and getting things done leaves me feeling accomplished. But I’m learning those things that I strive for get me nowhere. At the end of the day, it’s not my accomplishments that win me more points or more love. It’s Christ’s perfection and sacrifice on the cross that sets me free from the pattern of striving in the name of good works.

 Paul shared what he learned about about his “righteous behavior” and the joy he received from setting aside his perfection and taking hold of Christ’s works. He realized his own good works were never good enough. What was enough was knowing Jesus.

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c]blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 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— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:4-11

Like Paul, I’m learning to understand the freedom I have in Christ and because of Christ. I am learning that there is no such thing as perfection nor does it matter. Maturity in Christ leads to a place of freedom that allows for saying “no”, making mistakes and pressing forward. It’s not about measuring up or checking off the to do list, praise God.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16

These days, when I am tempted to fall back on the perfectionist attitude with myself or my family, I have been learning to take every thought captive and ask the Lord if the thought is from him or not. I am learning to let go of things that don’t matter in the long run and make space to say “yes” to God things by saying “no” to good things.

Thank you, Jesus for your perfect life sacrificed for mine. Thank you that I don’t have to be perfect to receive the Father’s love, all because of you. Help me when I am weak and want to rely on myself. Holy Spirit, help me to listen for your voice when I am tempted to say yes when I should say no. Amen. 

 

kateredding

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Exodus 40; John 19; Proverbs 16; Philippians 3

It is so hard to come to terms with the purposes that God has laid before my life and yet those plans He has for me are what makes me the follower of Jesus I am today.  I was anointed for the journey I was about to undertake as a joint heir in the kingdom of God.

Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy -Exodus 40:9

When will I learn that the power of purpose does not reside in my title, or position?  When will I realize that the purposes of God are being carried out in my life regardless of what others may or may not be thinking?  When will I rest in Jesus because the power all resides in God our heavenly Father?

Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” – John 19:11

The Book of Wisdom sets it pretty straightforward, my purpose lies in committing my work, every day, to the Lord.  He has made everything for its purpose – especially me.

The plans of the mind belong to mortals, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  All one’s way may be pure in one’s own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.  Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.  The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. – Proverbs 16:1-4

Every once in a while when I am in a room and people are asked to share where they graduated from, I find myself in a bit of a pickle – I never graduated.

Imagine how I felt today reading Paul’s thoughts on his own education and then defining what real purpose was all about.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.  More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[e] the righteousness from God based on faith.  I want to know Christ[f] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death. – Philippians 3:7-10

Lord, in those moments when I feel so inadequate, without purpose and value, thank you for drawing me into You.  You are my everything and whatever You have me to do, may my life be one of anointing, may my life be one marked with holiness.  May I be the vessel You choose to use. Thank you so much.

evanlaar

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Exodus 39; John 18; Proverbs 15; Philippians 2

Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.” Proverbs 15:33 NLT

Just when I think that I’m being humble, God shows me the humility of Jesus. And I realize that I have so far to go. My selfishness creeps in and my humility turns to pride. I start to think about all the things I have to give up, instead of everything I don’t deserve. My pride keeps me from loving people like Jesus did. I am thankful that he is still refining me in this area. Without him, where would I be?

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Philippians 2:14-16 NLT

My 9 yr old son was telling me that a friend at school tells him all the tings that she is better at.   I told him that his friend was trying to make him look bad, so that she looks better. These lessons are usually for myself too. I can hear God prodding on my heart saying, “Where is your security?” Is it in myself or Jesus? My pastor spoke about encouragement. When my focus is on myself, it is hard to encourage others. How quickly I can get discouraged. But, when I am in his word and prayer, he fills me up. And gives me the power to speak life into someone else.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on the cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth. And every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.” Philippians 2:1-11 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. Dying on the cross for my sins. Forgive me for when I forget how much you have done in my life. I can lose sight of that so easily. I feel small compared to your vastness, but thank you that you care about the smallest details of my life. I pray that I would remember your goodness. That everything I have comes from you. And apart from you, I can do nothing. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 38, Proverbs 14, John 17, Philippians 1

I have a friend, William who has been incarcerated for 12 years. He was wrongly accused of a terrible crime and sentenced to 20 years without parole. One would think he had murdered someone or burned down a house but it was nothing even close. This friend of mine has been in prison since 2004 and watched his daughter grow up through letters, pictures and occasional supervised visits. About a year before he found out about the charges (the incident had occurred years prior), William came to faith in the Lord and was excited to live a live centered and focused on Jesus. He became involved in our church, was a hard worker and would lend a hand to anyone in need.

Though my friend wasn’t imprisoned because of his faith, he has a thing or two in common with Paul who was unjustly accused. To be honest, our family worried quite a lot about William’s faith when this initially happened for two reasons. First, he was a new believer and second, he was being imprisoned in Mississippi so visitation and support from his newly found church family would be impossible.

But each and every time I read Paul’s letters to the churches I am reminded of William because William surprised us all! Instead of shrinking back, giving up and throwing in the faith towel, William pursued Christ with the little resources he was given in prison. His faith is put to the test each and every day from knowing he is unjustly serving a harsh sentence and missing his daughter to being bullied by others around him who don’t want to hear his “preachin”. And William would never admit it because he is too modest but he is changing the minds and hearts of those around him. There have been prison guards who act differently today then they did before. There are family members and friends who look at his example of faith and ask William how? William has opportunities each and everyday that most of us never will and instead of being angry and unfruitful, he listens to the Holy Spirit and speaks when he is prompted. There are still very tough days for him. But his faith and perseverance inspire m

12 I want you to know, brothers,[e] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[f] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[g] without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 ESV

There are times our family talks with William and he encourages our spirits and other times we encourage him. He has truly learned to be brought high and down low. He has a purpose and a calling he wouldn’t wish on anyone else but knows he is right where the Lord wants him.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. Philippians 1:19-22 ESV

 

I have not seen William in 12 years but we have written back and forth hundreds of times and have speak on the phone several times per month. We are continuing to pray for his early release and that the governor would pardon his sentence. We are praising the Lord together that he is God’s messenger in a very dark place that is in need of the Light.

Dear Lord, thank you that you who began a good work in each one of us (including Williams) will be faithful to complete it! Even when our circumstances appear differently than we hoped or dreamed, you are loving, faithful and merciful. Strengthen each one of us to do your will and avance your kingdom through your sweet gospel message! Amen.

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