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  • A.D. The Bible Continues

Tag Archives: Philippians

  • Re-Routing Negative Thoughts

    Posted on November 18, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    SHARON

    "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

    The screaming and fighting in the back seat were brutal! It was a fight to the death. As I tried to break it up, the car swerved off the road. Semi-trucks were passing me, going 80 miles an hour, as I pulled over to stop the fight.

    A few weeks ago, I drove through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and picked up our newest family members — a Royal Palm Turkey and a Red Bourbon Turkey. They were not happy about being confined to a cage or being stuck next to each other. Hence, the deadly fight in my back seat. The Red Bourbon tried to cure his displeasure by lashing out in anger. He was on a mission to kill, literally. He hopped on top of the Royal Palm and went for the neck!

    I called my husband in a panic. His advice? "Re-route their thinking; it's stuck. Scream and hit the cage." I followed his instructions and the fighting stopped for 10 minutes. Then it started again. I had to yell, bang on the cage and clap my hands to break up a few more fights until both turkeys finally settled down for good. We all made it home alive, and now they're best friends.

    As I thought about the turkeys' stuck thinking, I could sense the Lord say to my heart: You are no different.

    Ouch! When my circumstances aren't what I want, my thinking gets stuck, too. Just that morning on my way to get the turkeys, I was alarmed to find the car was on empty and worse yet — I had no money in my purse. And I had left the house with no margin in my schedule to stop for gas or return home for money.

    Yet without any money, I had no choice but to return home, which made me late. Worse, I had planned to drop my daughter at the airport and she missed her flight. I was not happy and boy did my family hear about it!

    We all struggle with negative thinking at times; it's a common battle. And that's why it's important to recognize negative thought patterns and learn how to re-route them. The good news is we can have control over what we think.

    When we're down, sad or hopeless, let's take inventory of our thoughts. When we find ourselves jumping to conclusions, doling out guilt trips on others or replaying arguments in our mind, let's consciously change our thinking. When I get in a funk, often it's because I've focused too much on what's bad. The apostle Paul advises us in our key verse, Philippians 4:8, to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

    The next time you're fighting negative thoughts, "rattle your cage" by remembering you have the mind of Christ. Take each negative thought captive and replace it with what Paul describes in our key verse. Scripture promises that when we align our thoughts with God's, His peace, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.

    Lord, give me Your ability to bring every thought captive. Help me to refute negative thoughts with truth. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (NKJV)

    1 Corinthians 2:14-16, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (NKJV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Take inventory of your thoughts for a whole day. Each time a negative thought repeats in your mind, re-route it with truth found in God's Word. Place our key verse near you in a familiar spot to remind you of where to focus your thoughts.

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • The Power of a Simple Prayer

    Posted on November 3, 2014 by Max Lucado

    MAX

    "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers." Philippians 4:6 (TLB)

    Want to see a father's face ashen or hear a mother gasp? Then sit nearby as they discover three words on the box of a new toy: "Some assembly required." What follows are several late night hours of squeezing "A" into "B," bolting "D" into "F," and hoping no one notices if steps 4, 5 and 6 are skipped altogether.

    Parents want a gift for their child. What they get is a project — sometimes a project for life.

    "Some assembly required." It's not the most welcome sentence, but it's an honest one. Marriage licenses should include those words, in large print. Job contracts should state them in bold letters. Babies should exit the womb with a toe tag: "Some assembly required."

    Life is a gift, albeit disassembled. It comes in pieces and sometimes falls to pieces. Part A doesn't always fit Part B. The struggle seems large and inevitably, something is missing.

    It's such a common problem. Who among us doesn't have an area of life that isn't working? How do you respond when the pieces don't fit? In frustration? In anger? In prayer?

    I'd like to say I always respond in prayer. The truth? I am a recovering prayer wimp. I doze off when I pray. My thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again. If attention deficit disorder applies to prayer, then I am afflicted.

    But I also know there's power in prayer, even simple prayers. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this too.

    Maybe you've heard the story. A couple thousand years ago there was a common wedding in Cana. The bride wasn't the daughter of an emperor. The groom wasn't a prince. Apart from one detail, the event would've been lost in time. But we remember it because Jesus was on the guest list.

    While Jesus was there, the wedding party ran out of wine. Enter Mary, mother of Jesus. For my nickel, she appears too seldom in Scripture. After all, who knew Jesus better than she did? So, on the rare occasion she speaks, we perk up. "The mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine'" (John 2:3b, NKJV).

    Consider this prayer of Mary. The pieces didn't fit, so she took the problem to Jesus. Mary wasn't bossy. She didn't say: "Jesus, they are out of wine. So, here is what I need. Go down to the grove at the corner. Accelerate the growth of some Bordeaux grapes. Turn them into wine." She didn't try to fix the problem.

    Nor was she critical. "If only they had planned better, Jesus. People just don't think ahead. What is society coming to?"

    Nor did she blame Jesus. "What kind of Messiah are you? If you truly were in control, this never would have happened!"

    She didn't blame herself. "It's all my fault, Jesus. Punish me. I failed as a friend. Now, the wedding is ruined. The marriage will collapse. I am to blame."

    None of this. Mary didn't whine about the wine. She just stated the problem.

    Then, "Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever he says to you, do it'" (John 2:4-5, NKJV).

    Apparently Jesus had no intention of saving the wedding banquet. This wasn't the time nor the place He had planned to reveal his power. But then Mary entered the story: Mary, someone He loved, with a genuine need.

    So what did He do? Jesus told the servants to fill the water pots with water, and that water became wine the entire party enjoyed.

    Problem presented. Prayer answered. Crisis avoided. All because Mary entrusted the problem to Jesus. Her simple request prompted a divine response!

    Like me, you might think if you take your problems to Jesus every time you have one, you'll talk to Jesus all day long. I think that's the point. After all, the writer of Philippians reminds us in our key verse, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers" (Philippians 4:6).

    When life doesn't fit, it's easy to worry or be critical or try to fix it. But let's let Mary be our model. She took her problem to Jesus and she left it there. She stated her problem simply, presented it faithfully and trusted Him humbly.

    Father, You are good. I need help to lay my problems at Your feet. Help my friends to do the same. Thank You for hearing my cries for help and being faithful to respond in love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Ephesians 6:18, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    In what areas of your life do you find yourself reclaiming problems even after you've given them up?

    What one thing do you need to trust Jesus with today?

    © 2014 by Max Lucado. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • A Key to Remembering

    Posted on June 23, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

     

    God used a hard circumstance to teach me a powerful lesson this week. I lost my keys. It was the ring with my car key, electronic door opener and house key. Because of my schedule that day, they could only have been in two places: inside the house or outside in my front yard. Where someone could pick them up. And break in. And murder my whole family. Can you feel my rising panic?

    I was calm at first, certain the keys would just be lying in an unusual place. This is something I can handle, my subconscious murmured, so I started to search. I scanned the house quickly, but the keys didn't appear readily. Then I crawled through each room on my hands and knees trying to get a new perspective and looking under furniture. Not there.

    Soon my husband and son got home, and we armed ourselves with flashlights to search the yard many times over. No keys there either.

    Since it was long past bedtime, I finally prayed half-heartedly, wedged dining room chairs under the doorknobs and went to sleep, tossing and turning through the night. In my heart, though, I was sure I would find those keys.

    As dawn broke, I re-searched all the places from the day before and places I'd missed. Frustration and fear set in. I began having visions of hundreds of dollars spent on rekeying locks and replacing the door opener.

    Finally, in a conversation with a friend, I asked her to pray earnestly. I hung up the phone, leaned against my fireplace and cried out to God: "God, You know we need that money for college tuition. I'm really afraid someone has found those keys and is going to break into the house. Please help me. You know where those keys are. Will You show me where they are?"

    I didn't have any immediate fresh ideas, so I headed to my back deck to uncover the flowers I had tucked under a sheet the night before to save them from a freeze. As I yanked off the sheet, something shiny caught my eye. My keys dangled off the side of the flowerpot, where they must have fallen as I worked the day before!

    As I headed into the house, my thoughts were overcome with wonder. I understand God is not on my timetable, so prayers aren't always answered immediately. But in this case, my prayer was answered instantly. Why had it taken me so long to turn to God?

    I thought about the month before when I got a callback after a mammogram. I instantaneously turned to God in prayer, and I continued to pray for one and a half weeks until I could be rechecked. In that harrowing, seemingly "big" circumstance, I experienced the blessing of peace that resulted from prayer long before I received all-clear results.

    I processed how often my own pride, the conviction I can handle things on my own, keeps me from instant prayer ... and from the comfort, peace and power of God's presence.

    Now I'm going to use my keys as a reminder. Will you use yours, too? Each time we pull them out to use, let's remember to humbly pray about the big and little things. As we do, we'll experience the peace of God together, washing over us as well as all our circumstances.

    Jesus, make me humble. Help me run to You in prayer for all things, the big and the little. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 5:16b, "... The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (NIV)

    Ephesians 6:18a, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (NIV)

    Psalm 123:1, "I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What are the big things in your life that need prayer? What are some things you've been managing yourself that you need to give to God in prayer?

    Make a list of both big and little things that need prayer. Break them into seven groups for the seven days this week. Set aside time each day this week to talk with God about your list. He'll be listening!

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Knowing God

    Posted on June 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11

    Knowing God is not for the causal Christian, but for the committed ones. This intimate relationship is forged on the anvil of adversity and expressed through the power of Christ’s resurrected life. Knowing God requires dying to self and coming alive in Christ. Resurrected living is the fruit of a faith that is not satisfied with surface Christianity.

    To know God is to be loved by Him, to love Him and to love for Him. To know Him is to behold Him in the glory of His holiness, and to bow down in humble worship. To know Christ is to receive His comfort and to carry on a caring conversation with Him. It is going deep in knowledge and understanding of God, so we can carry His character and faith far and wide. Knowing God leads to making God known with our words and deeds.

    “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” Psalm 100:3-4

    Knowing God grows your character, as intimacy with Him influences you to be like Him. Christ's character begins to transform your character. His influence in your life broadens your influence in other lives. Indeed, your depth of character determines your breadth of influence. Grow in grace, so you can export grace throughout your circle of influence.

    But, be careful not to compare your character standard to others—even other Christians. Comparison games are the enemy’s game plan to get you off the track of trust in Jesus. Pride will puncture your ballooning influence, when you begin to take credit for what only the Lord can do. The more you know God—the less you see of yourself and the more you see of Him and others. You know Christ in His death, accompanied by a radical resurrection.

    How do you grow to know Him better? It happens in the margins of life, not in a packed schedule with no room for interruptions. A frantic pace lacks grace. A hurried life is tired—unable to trust and give back. Start by slowing down and calendaring time with Christ. Be with Him, so you can hear Him, get to know Him, and be changed by Him. Then the depth of your character will grow the breadth of your influence—for His glory!

    “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:10-11).

    Prayer: How am I growing in my knowledge of God? How is He transforming my character and broadening my influence for Him?

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:24; Isaiah 45:24; 54:11; Matthew 21:42; John 5:29

    Post/Tweet today: Resurrected living is the fruit of a faith that is not satisfied with surface Christianity. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Learn to Love Your Story

    Posted on May 29, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

    This past winter, I stood in my kitchen laughing with one of my kids while picking hard macaroni out of the melted cheese in the crockpot. Apparently, noodles like to be boiled beforehand when making a slow cooker recipe for macaroni and cheese.

    About the time I posted an Instagram picture of the dinner fiasco, I heard another daughter upstairs yelling for towels.

    It took a minute for it to register why she was panicked. Then I saw the water leaking through my kitchen ceiling. Toilet water.

    I ran. No, I flew upstairs yelling, "Turn that silver knob thing behind the toilet. Quick! Turn it so the water will shut off!"

    Later that night, our couch-turned-dancing-springboard decided it would no longer tolerate overly energetic, snowed-in teens. RIP, dear couch.

    I'd laughed about the noodles. I'd dealt with the toilet water. I'd gotten quite miffed with the couch situation.

    Another day.

    Another page in what makes this life ... my life ... a story.

    Not so much like the stories of books and big screens.

    Those stories are a little shiner and seemingly perfect.

    Those moms probably don't have cellulite because they don't eat mac and cheese. Their kitchen ceilings don't have stains because ... well because their kids don't use too much two-ply toilet paper. And their couches don't sag beyond repair.

    But I love my story. I love my story most of all.

    Why? How?

    Because I pre-decided that I would.

    I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

    Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

    But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we'll start to look at our stories in a different way.

    A more beautiful way.

    While carrying the wet towels downstairs, I saw a pile of my kids' shoes by the front door.

    I remembered our key verse, Philippians 1:3, where Paul says "I thank my God every time I remember you." I have plenty of reminders each day to thank God for the people in my life. To rejoice over every piece of my story. Starting with those shoes.

    So I whispered, "Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments."

    Noticers see the lovely in front of them and learn to love their story.

    What might happen if you pre-determined to look through the lens of lovely today?

    Dear Lord, thank You for this message today. Help me be a noticer with a thankful heart no matter how messy my life (or house!) may appear to be. I'm choosing to rejoice in the imperfect beauty of all of it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (ESV)

    Psalm 19:14, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Think about an aspect of your life that often seems disorganized, frustrating or chaotic to you. Then, think of how this frustrating thing could actually be a blessing.

    For example, the pile of shoes by Lysa's front door could have been the last straw for her on a day full of house malfunctions and hard situations with her kids. Instead, she chose to see the shoes as evidence of life and laughter in her home. Determine to find the beauty right there in the messy place!

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Even a Great Husband Makes a Very Poor God

    Posted on May 22, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

    I've often wished I could travel back 21 years ago and give my "young bride self" some advice. But since that's not possible, I love sharing what I've learned with others.

    Not so long ago, I had dinner with a friend in her twenties who would love to be married one day. During our time together, the conversation flowed freely about all sorts of things. Blogs. Writing. Leaving your comfort zone because God said so. You know, girl stuff. And then we moved on to the subject of relationships and marriage.

    I shared with my friend that when I was single, I thought marriage was all about finding the right partner. I thought if you found "the one," you'd be happy, secure and fulfilled.

    I do think it's good to have a list of standards you desire in a spouse. However, it can never be with the expectation that if you find that special someone, he'll right all your wrongs and fill up all your insecurities. The problem with this thinking is the pressure it will eventually put on your spouse.

    To expect another person to make you feel happy, secure and fulfilled will leave you disappointed at best and disillusioned at worst. Even a great husband makes a very poor God.

    Only God Himself can settle those deep heart-needs. Our key verse, Philippians 4:19 reminds us of this, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."

    If a husband could meet every need his wife had, we'd have no need for God. Therefore, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner. The time to start working on becoming a wife is now. Before the white dress, delicate bouquets, unity candle, bacon-wrapped shrimp and reception punch, there is some heart stuff to consider:

    Getting married doesn't instantly make you selfless ... it makes you realize how very selfish you can be at times.

    Getting married doesn't make you feel loved ... it makes you realize love is more of a decision you make than a feeling you feel.

    Getting married doesn't take away loneliness ... it makes you realize true companionship comes not when you demand it, but rather when you give it to another person.

    So, what does marriage give? A beautiful chance to make the choice to ...

    Laugh whether or not the jokes are funny.

    Love by folding his collar over his tie every morning.

    Talk things through by addressing issues rather than attacking him personally.

    Cheer him on through both failures and successes.

    Look for a positive quality in him each day and take the time to tell him.

    Thank God for the privilege of being his wife.

    After our time together, my friend thanked me for our talk. She said it gave her a lot to think about. To be honest, it gave me a lot to think about as well.

    Dear Lord, only You can fill my heart, right my wrongs, and make me feel loved. I pray that You would show me how to keep my expectations of my husband in check. Help me be the wife he desires. And help me remember that marriage was never meant to make me happy all the time. Marriage is a decision to honor You by honoring the one you've entrusted to me to be my husband. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    2 Peter 1:3, "Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!" (MSG)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    If you aren't married yet, think of some ways God might want to work on your heart before marriage.

    If you are married, think of a way you've tried to get your husband to fill a need only God can meet. Pray and ask God how you can rely on Him for this need instead of your husband.

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Growing in Christ

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John

    There are a bunch of "how to" books, seminars, conventions, pamphlets, etc. out there that deal with almost every topic under the sun. In fact there is even a great web site that shows one how to do most of everything. Click here to see for yourself.

    Now I am one that doesn't know a lot of information about much. In fact I know very little information about a lot of stuff. Which pretty much makes me dangerous. Don't ask me to come to your house to fix your plumbing, sew a hem on your pants, or help you train your dog to do tricks. I guarantee you, it would end up in a mess. I do know to how do the dishes though... (please don't ask me to help you with that)

    OK - I feel like I am rambling now. Back to the "how to's."

    In my head, I am always thinking on how to grow in Christ. So for fun, I thought I would check out the site to see if it could give me some good advice. Not really. Religious listing can be found here (with over 4,500 entries), but I wasn't satisfied. The closest thing I could get to actually growing in my Christian walk was found in this article on how to convert to Christianity.

    It's not what I was looking for.

    I guess, I should have known. The internet is good for a lot of things, but certainly not everything.

    Here are some basic principles that I have gathered through the years that, perhaps, would help you in your pursuit of Christ.

    1. The Word. First and foremost be in the Bible. Read the Bible. Pray the Bible. Share the Bible. Teach the Bible. Listen to the Bible. If you want to see Jesus, you must read the Word. I would suggest that most of us say that we are "lovers of the Word," but few of us actually live that out well. I don't want to guilt you into reading your Bible, but I do want to say that you will miss out on so much joy if you don't get into the Word.
    2. Exalt Christ. Many of you are probably saying, "Of course John. Duh." Let me must just say from my own personal experience that the draw of the things of this earth are so extreme it is very hard to keep a focus on exalting Christ. Of of life is about Christ and our goal should be to lift His name higher than any other name. When we do, it seems that the things of this earth are easier to deal with. Problems are easier. Life is easier. It's mainly because we aren't keeping our eyes focused on ourselves, but on Christ. Worship Him today. It will make your heart glad.
    3. Worship God in Every Area of Your Life. This is very different from item #2. Worshiping God in every area of our lives means to live doxologically. You know the hymn, work the lyrics of that song into your soul. Living doxological means to worship God in every moment of your life. When you are kissing your best friend - worship God. When you are riding your bike - worship God. When you are washing the dishes (did I say I wash dishes well?) - worship God. You get the picture here.
    4. Pray. Pray for everyone and everything. Bring it all to the Father. He hears and He cares. Bring every question, every thought, every concern, every tiff to your Father. Pray because we are at war. The devil prowls around ready to pounce. Have a stance of constant prayer puts us in the right mindset. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for your family. Pray for your school. Pray for your job. Pray for your spouse, or future spouse. To borrow the Nike phrase, "Just do it."
    5. Serve. Serving others helps us get our minds off of our own circumstances. As I have already noted, we get so bogged down by the stuff of earth. So do others. When we are serving someone else we quickly loose site of our own problems. We often forget to serve others. It's one of the hardest things to do, but once we do, we find that it actually was very easy. Serve someone today. If you need ideas, check out this book.
    6. Fellowship. Get together with your church family. Get together with someone's heart. Get to know me. I need to get to know you. Have people over for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, or a game night. It doesn't matter. Spend time together encouraging one another in a pursuit of Christ.

    Phil. 3:8 says "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"

    So there are some thoughts on growing in Christ. Let me also say that growing or sanctification is not just your doing. The Holy Spirit is doing a lot "behind the scenes" in your life as well. Trust Him and He will lead you.

    Now - I need to figure out to change the coolant in my car...

  • Holy Desire

    Posted on February 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death. Philippians 3:10

    There are special people we would love to know better. Our spouse, our children, our parents, our siblings, our pastor and his wife, our friends and our co-workers, for a start. The deeper we know them and they know us, the richer our relationship. As our knowledge of one another grows, our trust and understanding grow. We appreciate and love noteworthy individuals with whom we have deep feelings and affection. A desire to go deep relationally pays rich rewards.

    What does this desire to dive below the surface of relationships look like? We know the names of those they love and care about. We pray with and for their wants and needs. We understand their heart: what motivates and frustrates, what causes fear and what brings joy. We love them in and through their weaknesses. We admire and celebrate their strengths. Robust relationships require a desire to develop intimacy during the good and bad times. It is a life long process of loving well.

    Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?'"(John 14:9)

    In the same way with holy desire, we pursue knowing Christ. Yet it takes more than time. It takes engagement and comprehension of our heavenly Father’s heart. The Holy Spirit draws our heart to His for us to listen and learn. The longing of every lover of the Lord is to know Him and to be known by Him. So, our passionate prayers rocket toward heaven like a space shuttle en route to orbit the earth. We crave Christ, because we are hungry and thirsty for His peaceful presence.

    Therefore, seek to know Jesus in resurrection power and in the pain and suffering of the cross. Your are in training for reigning in eternity. Any headwinds of adversity are an opportunity to go deeper with the One who calms the seas. You know you know Jesus when you live like He died: in deep fellowship with His heavenly Father. He forgave others for their ignorant indiscretions and He cared for those closest to Him. Holy desire for Christ, lives with Christ and like Christ.

    "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:13).

    Prayer: Dear Lord, my heart longs to know You as Christ knew You, in deep abiding faith.

    Related Readings: Psalm 20:6; 2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:6-14; Ephesians 1:9; 1 John 4:6-7

    Post/Tweet today: Headwinds of adversity are an opportunity to go deeper with the One who calms the seas. #holydesire

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Thankfulness Changes Lives

    Posted on January 28, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

    A winter Saturday afternoon found me cleaning our basement storage room. There were boxes of papers to sort, bins of holiday decorations to shuffle and other assorted items to realign neatly on the shelves. I'd estimated it would take me an hour or so to tidy up the space. Except I hadn't factored in one thing.

    Memories.

    The items I straightened and stacked weren't spectacular; they were common articles found in many basements and garages. But the fragrance of precious memories clung to them. Memories of events that changed my life. Memories of people who touched my heart. My pace slowed significantly.

    I gently folded the ivory lace dress my daughter wore for her baby dedication at church over two decades ago. My mother bought it for her and continues to think of her grandchildren, picking up special trinkets and treats for them. She has a knack for making others feel loved.

    I thank my God every time I remember my mom.

    A hand-sewn stuffed bunny rabbit sat perched on a corner shelf. My college roommate Kelly lovingly crafted it for one of my children when they were young. For over 30 years, Kelly has been a thoughtful friend who never forgets my birthday and faithfully prays for my family.

    I thank my God every time I remember my friend Kelly.

    I found an old key on a greyed leather keychain. Turning the keychain over I saw a simple word scrawled across the back: pool. Our former neighbor, a widow and retired school teacher, had a built-in swimming pool and we did not. Without children or grandkids nearby, she gave us a key so our young family could take a dip any time we wished.

    I thank my God every time I remember Mrs. B.

    Memories surrounded me as I sorted through yearbooks and photo albums. Old friends. Precious relatives. Former church members and coworkers. Pieces of my past. So many of these dear folks played a part in my life. Remembering them brought a smile to my face and a few salty tears to my eyes.

    I whispered a prayer of sincere thankfulness for all of those people who helped shape my life. Their encouragement, advice and sometimes mere presence were blessings to me. God even used the relationship bumps to help mold my character and teach me life lessons.

    In today's key verse, Paul writes to the believers at the church in Philippi declaring, "I thank my God every time I remember you." Just calling to mind the image of these loved ones gave the apostle reason to be grateful to God. But Paul didn't only thank God, Paul also told his friends of his thankfulness.

    Could we do the same today? To not only thank God for those in our lives but also let them know how grateful we are for them? Dare we divert from our daily routine to take a moment or two to shoot off an email, make a phone call, or even send a hand-written note to someone we thank God for each time we remember them?

    Gratefulness brings contentment and contentment brings peace—peace in knowing all the pieces of our lives string together to make us who we are today.

    Grab a pen or pick up your phone. Someone is waiting to hear how thankful you are for them. It might just make their day. And yours.

    Dear Lord, help me to take time today to not only thank You for the many special people in my life but to joyfully tell them as well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who in your life are you grateful for? Make a list. Then, after each name, mention a few reasons why.

    Take time today to contact at least one of these people and let them know why you are thankful God placed them in your life.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 2:6-7, "Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude." (HCSB)

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Unmixing Our Motives

    Posted on January 3, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5 (NIV 1984)

    I'll never forget when mixed motives almost killed my true calling. Soon after accepting a leadership position in the women's ministry of my church, a friend on the team came up to me. "Oh! We forgot to tell you," she said with a grin. "You're in charge of the annual women's conference."

    Despite the surprise, I loved every minute of organizing the event. But as I interacted with our guest speaker, envy began to wind itself around my heart. If it could have spoken aloud, it would have said, "I want THAT!"

    I wanted her platform.

    I wanted her eloquence.

    I wanted her audience.

    I wanted her cute outfit.

    Fortunately, I recognized these "wants" as signs of covetousness rather than signs of my calling. I knew God had called me to be the women's ministry director during that season—not to speak. And each time I desired what that speaker had, it took my focus off what God had for me.

    So I asked God to kill the weed of envy that was choking the life from my calling to lead women. I asked Him to purify my motives and steer my heart to the women He had called me to serve.

    It's so easy for wrong motives to creep in to our hearts. You might not want to be a speaker, but maybe you're the mom who dresses her children to impress others. Or maybe you're the employee who takes charge of the room to show your boss your readiness for the next step up.

    There's nothing wrong with cute children or promotions, but so many times our motives trip us up. Instead of being pure, our motives get mixed with other things that sully the outcome—emotionalism, pride, and strong personal preferences are just a few.

    Several years after my prayer to remove my "speaker envy," God started whispering to me about speaking as I prayed and read the Word. My first reaction was to think, "There's that old, nasty envy again. God, purify my heart!"

    But this time was different. As I unpacked my motives, I realized God had really changed my heart. He'd refined my motives to just one, and that was to obey Him.

    Philippians 2:5 states our ideal position: "Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus" (NIV 1984). Our one motive should be to follow Him and become more like Him. That's the motive that should supersede and reign over any others. How do we practically live that out?

    I think the clue is in the following verses. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7, NIV 1984).

    Our focus has to be on becoming nothing. Nothing is not our status or worth. We are always holy and dearly loved children of the King.

    Nothing is to be our chosen position as a servant.

    How does this look in everyday life? Jesus is our perfect example. He is everything: the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He is so incredibly powerful and important that Colossians 1:16 says "all things were created by him and for him" (NIV 1984). Despite His exalted position, Jesus showed the purity of His motives toward us by giving up all He had.

    As I've thought about how to imitate Jesus in my motives, I ask myself two questions when making choices:

    • Does this put me or others first?
    • Is this a choice to be more or to be nothing?

    These two questions expose any twisted motives and bring me back to my chosen position of nothing. Day by day, my motives are refined. It's a painful process sometimes, but it's a good process that ultimately produces pure motives with divine outcomes.

    Lord God, You are the only One with uncontaminated motives. I confess mine are often mixed with pride, emotion, or personal opinion. Please purify my heart. Forgive me, un-mix my motives, and help me move forward with a pure heart. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What decisions are you making today? Are they cluttered by impure motives like unforgiveness, fear, pride, or overwhelming emotions?

    Pray and ask God to show you any impure motives that might affect your decision-making, and then ask Him to remove the ones He shows you.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me." (ASV)

    Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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