40 DITW - Day 33

Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Paul says to be joyful and rejoice always?  How can you command someone to be joyful?  Isn’t joy an emotion?  How can you demand people to produce a feeling?  But joy is not a feeling. Joy is the deep-down confidence and conviction that God is sovereign and in control of everything.  It is the belief that everything will work for our good as believers and to God’s glory.  With that kind of thinking we can face any and all situations with the confidence that all is well. 

When we rejoice we are reminding ourselves of God’s good will.


So in other words we are to be continually reminding ourselves that God is in control and no matter the circumstance He will work it out for our good and His glory.

Be joyful!

40 Day DEVO:

40 DITW - Day 32

Philippians 3:12 (NIV) 12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Paul says that all of his human achievements that people think are so important mean nothing to God when it comes to salvation.  But having been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Paul realized that he was not yet perfect, His knowledge of Christ was still incomplete and that his life was still in process.  As a result he could not rest on his laurels and do nothing.

Press on:  this is the understanding of putting great effort into something.  It is the understand of an aggressive, energetic endeavor.  Paul is pursuing the spiritual prize with all of his might, running to win the race, beating his body and making it his slave so that he could win the prize.

I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus:  To lay hold of is the picture of running to overtake something and lay claim to it.  Paul says that he is running after the very thing that Christ Jesus had come to bring him.  His desire was Jesus' will.

What was it that God desired for Paul?  It is the same thing He desires for all believers - to make us in the image of His Son, as Romans 8 tells us.  The purpose for which we have been adopted into the family of God is so that we can become more like Jesus.  Jesus told the disciples in John 15 that when we stay connected to Him through prayer and the Word, we will fulfill our purpose, which is to bear much fruit.  The fruit that we bear is the nature and character of Christ.

The life of a Christ-follower is a life-long pursuit of allowing the nature and character of Christ to be formed in us.  While it is God who does the work in us through the Holy Spirit, it requires pursuit on our part as well.  We must chose to press on to lay hold of that perfection that Christ Jesus saved me for.  We must put great effort into running hard after the will of God so that His image may be perfected in us.

God, thank you for saving me!  Thank you for your Son who paid with His life so that we can be reconciled to You and be confromed to the image of Your Son.  Father, I am running hard after Your will and desire for me.  May Your will be my will.



40 DITW - Day 31

Philippians 2:12-13 (TLB) 12  Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him. 13  For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.

As we go through this journey of spiritual maturity we are to make every effort to do the good things that result from being saved - obeying God's commands.  But to settle on that as being the full picture would be wrong, it requires effort on our part to work out our faith but it must begin with God and His work IN us.

God:  The omnopotent, omniscient and omnipresent Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the One who loves His children with an everlasting love.

Is at work:  He gives us the power to obey and serve Him.  It is God who is at work within us.  He calls us to obey Him and then gives us the power to make that possible.  He calls us to serve Him and then gives us the power for service.  He calls us to holiness and then gives us the power to live lives of holiness.  And He has all the power necessary to accomplish this.

In us:  God declares us holy and then demands obedience and service and then He goes to work in us to empower us to fulfill His demands.  Now what must happen is that we must choose to live out the inward work of God in an outward fashion.  Verse 12 is possible only because of the truth of verse 13.

God I thank you that you are at work in Gary.  By your mighty power you continue to shape me, mold me and make me into the image of Your Son.  God may my life reflect the amazing inward work that you are doing.  May your nature and character be seen in the fruit of my life as I stay connected to You.  Thank you for saving me, calling me and empowering me to accomplish Your will.  Thank you for your great power at work in me.


40 DITW - Day 30

SCRIPTURE:  Philippians 1:27 (NIV) 27  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Regardless of who is with us or not we are to live in a way that represents that we are children of God.

Paul had a special love, respect, and appreciation for the church at Philippi. It was one of the most mature of the churches described in the New Testament. Nevertheless, its members had a few problems, some of them potentially serious. Like every church in every age, they needed to be on guard against false teachers and repudiate those in the congregation who were "enemies of the cross of Christ". The apostle knew that it does not take long even for a faithful church to slip into indifference and eventually into moral and doctrinal error.

In 1:27-30 Paul turns from the autobiographical emphasis of the first part of the letter to focus on the Philippian congregation. He calls on the Philippians to maintain their spiritual commitment, to continue to behave in a way that is consistent with the power of the gospel. He calls them to look carefully into their own hearts to determine if they have spiritual integrity. That appeal applies, of course, to every follower of Jesus Christ in every place and time.

Because he believed it was necessary for their spiritual well-being, Paul was confident that the Lord would allow him to "remain and continue with [them] for [their] progress and joy in the faith, so that [their] proud confidence in [him] may abound in Christ Jesus through [his] coming to [them] again" (1:25-26). But regardless of what happened to him, he implored, Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,... whether I come and see you or remain absent. What truly mattered was their consistent, holy conduct.   Above all, Paul wanted their lives to reflect worthily on the gospel of Christ. It is a truth the apostle reiterates implicitly throughout the letter and explicitly in the next chapter, admonishing them: "Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" (2:15-16).

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

Lord I pray that the way I live will not depend on who is with me or not.  I want to live a godly life regardless of my audience, a life that bears fruit and brings glory to you. 



40 DITW - Day 5

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Worry is an inside job.  It is wrong thinking and wrong feelings about circumstances, people and things, and it robs us of real joy.  But it is not enough to simply tell ourselves that we should quit worrying we need to go a little further.

Paul tells us that in capturing worry we must pray, ask God for what we need and give thanks for what we already have.  Prayer is the understanding of adoration, devotion and worship.  In all things, instead of being anxious we need to go to God in prayer: taking time to focus our mind and attention on Him, who He is!  He is omnipotent, omniscient, unchanging Creator of everything.  Nothing is impossible with Him.  When we pray we are reminding ourselves of who God is. 

Having reminded ourselves of who God is we need to bring our request to Him.  Not a, “I hope this works,” kind of prayer, but a earnest and sincere sharing of our needs.

Having asked we need to take time to give thanks for what we already have.  We know that Jesus appreciated people saying thank you as we see with the story of the ten lepers.  But beyond just showing our appreciation to God for what He has already done we give thanks because it builds our faith and restores a right perspective to us.  As we begin to give thanks for what God has already done in our lives we realize that things may be bad but God is gracious and good,  We are blessed beyond our wildest imagination and this builds our faith and prepares us for God’s answer.

The word everything stands out to me.  In every area of life we are admonished to apply this principle.  Be anxious about nothing but in every area apply this principle and watch how we live in peace and joy and anticipation of encountering the grace and power of God.  

40DITW Devo: 

40 DITW - Day 3

Philippians 2:13 (NLT)  For God is working in you, giving you the desire to do what is right and the power to do what pleases him.

This is one of my favorite verses! 

God must work in us before He can work through us.  Today most of us would agree that we cannot do anything to gain our salvation, it is simply the work of Christ, but many of the same people would then agree that our salvation is "kept" by the outward acts we perform.  That is simply not true.  The work of salvation from beginning to end is the work of Christ and He empowers us through the Holy Spirit to give us the desire and the power to live as a child of God.

So, according to Paul, if I have truly experienced salvation then I will have a insatiable desire to please God.  I will crave living for Him, wanting to become more like Him and obeying Him.  The reality is no matter how deep the desire to do those things I cannot do it on my own, but no worries...God gives us the desire AND the power.  So not only am I craving to please God I have all that I need to please Him because of the Holy Spirit at work in me.

No excuses!  Let's get on with a life of worship to God as He empowers us to accomplish it!

Today's 40DITW Devo:

40 DITW - Day 2

Philippians 1:27a (NIV)  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  

So many of us are simply waiting for a better time to come before we live out the life of Christ.  Paul says here to the Philippians, "Don't wait for me to show up!  Start right n40DITW Verseow to live your lives in such a way that it is a testimony of the transforming power of Christ through the Holy Spirit in you!"

Let the world see that regardless of the circumstances and situation, the Good News is still good news and it can and does make a difference in our lives. 

In PRONOUNCING the verse today the word "worthy" stood out to me. It has the understanding of deserving effort and exemplary.  I see it as we need to put effort into living a life that reflects the work of Christ in us.  Put effort into training ourselves in righteousness (2 TIm. 3:16) so that our lives on display is an example to the world around dus of the transforming power of God.  

Are our lives, which are on display whether we like it or not, an example of God's transforming power?  Are our lives examples of hope and joy and trust in a sovereign God?

Are we putting effort into training ourselves in righteousness?  One of the ways we train ourselves is in reading, studying and applying the word of God.  How often we look at that as a chore and drudgery rather than as honey to our lips. 
(Check out the link to hear what Pastor Pete Wilson has to say about that): 
40DITW Day 2 Online Devotional

40 DITW - Day 1

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) 6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

[By now most of you will have been to your first 40DITW small group meeting.  In oVerse 1ur SOULJournaling we will be reading from Philippians this week.  I will be using the highlighted verse in the workbook for our journal posting.  Let's have a great 40 days as we come to love the Word, learn the Word and live the Word.]

Paul is thankful for the Philippians and their financial gifts to his ministry.  But he is also thankful for the work of salvation and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  Salvation is the work God does in us when we trust in His Son, but God is not done with us after salvation.  From salvation (the work God does for us) we find ourselves in the process of sanctification (the work God does in us) as we are transformed into the image and likeness of God's Son.  But even as we are being sanctified we are also involved in service (the work God does through us).

Like Paul we must be confident and expectant that God is at work in our lives; He has saved us and now through the Holy Spirit we are being transformed into the image of the Son and in the process He is working through us to bring about His plans and purposes.  May His work be completed in us.


Check out today's devotional at 40DITW:

28 Days - Day 11

Unity is a powerful thing.  When a team unites they are able to achieve more than they could ever achieve as the sum of their separate parts.  
In the church, unity is just as important.  The Bible mentions that unity is important to pleasing God.
David says...

  • Psalm 133:1 (ETRV) Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God's people all come together as one!

When God's people come together in unity they create a great force that can fulfill the Great Commission.  But being like-minded requires humility.  That is what Paul is saying in Philippians 2.  Look to be united in the things of God but in order for that to take place then you must put aside selfish ambition and vanity and clothe ourselves in humility.  We must humble ourselves, a character trait of Jesus who demonstrated what humility was.

When we see Christ for who He is one of the ways that we must change is from being self-centered to being others-centered, starting with putting His desires ahead of our own.  When God's people are transformed in this fashion the church will unite and nothing can stop us.

Let us humble ourselves before God, allow Him to build His nature into us and then live it out.

Philippians 2

Paul tells us to have the attitude of Christ Jesus.  Then he goes on to give us a few examples of what that attitude looks like.

We should think of others first and not ourselves.  The story is told of a reporter interviewing a successful job counselor.  The counselor in responding to what was the secret of his success said, if you want to find out what a person is really like don't give him responsibilities - give him privileges.  A person with the attitude of Christ will use his privileges to help others while a person without that attitude will use the privileges to promote himself.  How do we handle privileges?

We serve
Four frogs are sitting on a log, three decided to jump off how many are left?  All four.  You see is it one thing to think about it and make a decision but you still have to do it.  Jesus didn't just think about others, he did something about it.  He didn't just talk about serving - He served us.  That service was at great sacrifice to Himself but He did it because He was being obedient to the Father and chose to bring honor and glory to the Father. 

Is this the attitude that we have?

Lord may we have the same attitude that you had.  May we be made in your image and likeness so that we too are humble, thinking of others above ourselves and showing that in our actions by serving them.