“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5 -> me: The verses that follow are very well known (Phil 2:6-11). Here is what I am taking away from that passage, in how my attitude needs to adjust. Verse 6 -> I should not focus on who I can be but on who God is through me. Verse 7 -> remember the sinner I am and that I am less deserving of any grace than anyone else around me. Verse 8 -> I need to be driven to the goal of crucifying my sin everyday…dying to myself and my own motives. Verse 9 -> My worth is in Jesus Who has been exalted to the ‘highest place’. It is for Him that I do all that I do. Verse 10 -> My knee goes to the ground in front of My Savior everyday. Acknowledgement of Jesus as the king of my life. Verse 11 -> I must be vocal about my allegiance to Jesus Christ. My ‘mouth’ must confess Him as Lord so that if I am accused as a follower of His, I can easily be convicted.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition 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 2:3-4 -> me: As a person who struggles with pride, humility is an area of focus in my Christian walk. I love how Paul directs us to look at the good points and qualities in our own fellow-Christians and to be watching for them so that we can recognize the good we do when those things (in faith) appear and are emulated in our own lives. I just got done going through Peter’s letters where in 1 Peter 5:5-6 he says that we are to clothe ourselves ‘with humility towards one another’ as we humble ourselves ‘under God’s mighty hand’. Unless our humility begins in a recognition of our creaturely dependence upon God and our true condition in his sight, it will only show itself to the world as humbug and a false self-depreciation. So, my pride and self-sufficiency go hand in hand to work against a true humility. Said more clearly – If my humility doesn’t start with an understanding of the infinite evil that my sin is to an infinitely Holy God, then my so-called humility will be not be genuine; actually working against my faith as note of hypocrisy. Lord God, help me lean into you for all my needs, not let my flesh lose faith and rip control away. Help me to be aware of the people you bring into my life, who are a model of good, like Paul was to the church at Philippi.
“for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 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. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21 -> me: This attitude of Paul’s is something that I need to take note of and apply to my own life. Paul is in a prison and shackled. He just got done talking about how his imprisonment has been an advancement of the Gospel in spite of obstructions and dangers. Now here, he leans on 1) the prayers of the saints and 2) the help given by the Spirit of Jesus to secure his deliverance…but that deliverance may be in life or death. Paul knows that he should not be ashamed of how God uses him. Christ will be exalted in his body either way. If God continues Paul’s life through legal vindication, then Paul gets the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ further on this earth. If God takes him in his captivity then he gains the promise of paradise in heaven. What a way to live! Paul walks so close in fellowship with the Almighty that his entire self is surrendered to the God Who saved him. Paul’s priorities are in line with God’s will and purposes, and he knows that in whatever way God delivers him, God will be glorified.
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 -> me: I so needed this today! This prayer of Paul to the saints, elders, and deacons at Philippi is awesome because of the bases it covers. Sometimes, when I am dwelling on a passage, I will consume it in reverse -> First and foremost, everything I do must be for the glory and praise of God. In doing this I will abide in Jesus where I will have the fruit of HIS righteousness. As I dive into His Word, I will receive the discernment necessary to see and choose what is best, what is pure, and the path of blamelessness. All of this is surrounded by an abounding love that grows and grows. This could not have come on a better day than my daughter Bella’s 16th birthday. Reading through the book ‘A Prayerful Life’ has brought to an understanding that this is my prayer for Bella this whole next year. What an awesome way to support her in this next year; to cover her with these words when ever I pray for her. Happy birthday beautiful girl – I pray that your dependence on God for the answers drives you ever closer to Him as you begin to move away from your mom and I for your needs under this sun.
“[Build] yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Jude 1:20-23 -> me: This passage in Jude today is so appropriate to our current situation! This scripture has 5 important points I am taking away and dwelling on today – 1) I must STUDY the scriptures if I am to grow in the faith and be of any use to others. FAITH is most holy because it is utterly different. 2) I must PRAY in the Holy Spirit. The battle against false teaching is not won by argument. 3) I must REMAIN in the sphere of God’s love. False teachers have shown that it is possible to turn one’s back on the love of God. I must cultivate that love relationship with Him. Jesus Himself said, “I have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9 4) I must keep alive the FIRE of Christian HOPE. True Christianity is ‘world-affirming’ in the sense that it rejoices in God’s world, made by Him, redeemed by Him, and to be enjoyed with Him. 5) I must be active in SERVICE. Showing mercy and encouragement to those who doubt. Active in evangelism in being used by God to reach for and save the lost. I must also retain the hatred of sin while loving the sinner.
“Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17b-18 -> me: This passage today (finished 2nd Peter) was a great reminder of the focus I must have through this time. It is a focus that should carry us to the end of our days but I just needed to re-hear it. My stability needed to be in the law of the Lord, not the error of lawless people. Dwelling on God’s word day and night will be the way that I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In all things that I do, I do to the glory of Jesus alone….but I must ‘do’! I must be about the work of my King. It is easy to sit back in our nice home and rest comfortably away from the virus; but am I reaching out to those who need God? Am I reaching out to those who just need checked in on and possibly get the opportunity to share the goodness God brings in times like this? I am not doing all that I can, and I am not currently leading my family in this way either. Spending time in prayer is good and that communion with my Savior is precious, but I also need to act on the prods of the Holy Spirit to aspire to please my Savior in ALL things.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 -> me: Hello all. I have not sent out any QTVOTD’s in the last several days but that has not been because of a drought; conversely, I have felt closer to the Lord than ever. During this time of earthly uncertainty, I have felt such eternal certainty. Between working from home, spending precious time with family, having dinner with my brother, holding Life Group (with some in-person and some virtual), prayer in every situation, and a constant dialog with my Lord and Savior, I am feeling more confident than ever that this is exactly where God has me, right here, right now. God knew this time would come and Marianne and I have been looking at God’s provision in our children, our church, and our own lives; preparing us for good works…and now I am prepared to walk in them. I have the opportunity to help plan for a missions trip that we walk forward in faith knowing that God will do a work regardless of whether we go or not. What an awesome time to put the faith to work that He has been building in me over the last several years – I am so thankful for the opportunity to live a life that only seeks to glorify Him….hold on…that does NOT mean I have it all together or don’t get anxious, no…but it does mean that I am more quick than ever to lay my inadequacies at the foot of the cross. Lord God in heaven, help me to see the work you have laid ahead, that I would not hesitate to leap at every chance to be your hands and feet.
“BUT ALSO [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction and many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed.” 2 Peter 2:1-2 -> me: False teachers are here today just as there were false prophets in the Old Testament. A false teacher has defected from the TRUTH -> they are all about flattery, financial ambitions, lives lacking in moral values, dulled consciences, and their aim is deception; they are more concerned about winning an argument than arriving at the TRUTH. A teacher of the TRUTH lives a life of bond service to the One Who bought them; they cannot serve Christ and their own ambitions. A false teacher lives in a world of fantasy and they will likely be impractical and unrealistic. Psalms 119:30 says “I have chosen the way of truth and faithfulness; Your ordinances have I set before me.” It is so jarring when we discover that someone we respected turns out to be a false teacher. Calvin said this well, “There is nothing that disturbs godly minds so much as defection…” Peter helps us though by saying that this very thing will happen. I must remember to check everything I hear with the word of God. It can be easy to slip into believing the cunningly laid out lie of a false teacher.
“Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” Psalms 91:9-11 -> me: What an amazing couple of days. This passage has helped me keep perspective and allowed me to walk forward in faith, aligned with Marianne, to guide our family in this unprecedented time. We have a plan and we firmly believe that this is an opportunity to make a difference for the Kingdom. Thank the Lord that I have a job that allows me to work remotely and continue to be paid through this time. My God is bigger than this crisis. My Savior walks on the crazy waves of this churning sea. Thank you God for your faithfulness and Love that surpasses anything that presents itself ‘under the sun’.
“knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 -> me: Old testament scripture was written by God through the Holy Spirit in men (the Prophets). Reading through 2 Peter 1:12-23, I learned the following which flows together so nicely. 1) We need God’s word consistently. 2) There are no fables, the multitudes witnessed all that Jesus did and there is no one who was there that has written refuting it. 3) God Himself spoke from heaven to attest to Jesus as His Son. 4) All scripture points to Jesus. 5) No prophesy ever originated from man’s will, it was the Holy Spirit Who gave the prophets the words to write. Peter, the first pastor does his own version of expositional preaching and walks us through God’s truth in a systematic way. I am so thankful that I attend a church whose leadership grasps and exercises expository preaching!