Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, thing on these things.”
The mind is a powerful tool. Honestly, we must realize that the things that we think upon are the things that control our actions as well as our relationships. Our thought-life is the mechanism that builds or breaks our relationship with Christ as well as with others. The Lord gives us a great picture of what should be going through our minds. I would like to identify the things we are to think upon.
- Things That are True – Don’t focus on error when you can hold truth in the backdrop.
- Things That are Honest – There is nothing that brings us more frustrations than a lie. Remember that Satan is the most dishonest being ever to live. Don’t think about the author of lies.
- Things That are Just – God is fair and just. Life is unfair and if we get focused on the unfairness of life we will neglect the fairness of God.
- Things That are Pure – This may take changing a channel, even if it is something as simple as a news broadcast.
- Things That are Lovely – There is nobody more lovely than the Lord. There is nothing uglier than sin.
- Things That are Good Report – The glass can be half-full if you look at through these eyes.
Notice that these things have virtue and at the same time offer praise. They take our minds off the problem and help us to focus on the solution.
Today’s Challenge – Think on these things!
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death;”
The verse begins with a desire to know Christ. It begins wanting a very intimate relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Christ is leveled throughout this verse. Throughout life we work diligently to connect to certain individuals or even certain groups. We contemplate how we can connect in such a way that we develop a great relationship with them. We build such relationships by figuring out areas where we can relate to one another. However; I am afraid that we have completely failed in the area of relating to Christ. We have failed because we think He relates to things in our life that He does not have much experience. If we are going to connect to Christ then we must embrace the following principles:
- Salvation – no one will ever connect with Christ without first experiencing the resurrection power through salvation. Our religious experiences are not going to be what connects us to the Lord. A personal relationship through saving knowledge of Christ will be what connects us to the Lord. Christ can definitely relate to defeating death, hell, and the grave. Those that accept Christ as Savior will really be able to connect on the same grounds.
- Suffering – not the part of Christianity we want to accept, but it is definitely a reality. Jesus knows very little about the blessings of homes, money, or friendships. He knows a lot about suffering. Our suffering connects us to Christ on a level unlike any other. It is through our sufferings that Christ fellowships with His children
- Sacrifice – conforming to his death, means we must accept the principle of sacrifice within our lives. In other words, those things we normally count as a loss, God counts them as gain. Sacrifice is the ultimate connection point with Christ. None can Sacrifice the level of Christ, but when we sacrifice for Christ or because of Christ then we are bringing our relationship with Christ to a higher level.
Today’s Challenge – Which connection level do you see yourself? Embrace a relationship with Christ through these three experiences.
Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
Honor is the act of respect, and appreciation. There are many who believe that this scripture only applies to those that have not yet reached adulthood. However; this is a scripture that truly measures our adulthood. God gives this command and feels so strongly about the obedience to it that he places a significant promise along with it.
- Note the Precept – Honor the authority God has placed in our lives. Outside of God himself, our parents are and will remain authoritative figures in our lives. Those that cannot honor their parents will not be able to honor the Lord.
- Note the Peace – God want us to be able to say “it is well”. Those that struggle to honor the authority within their lives will be the ones that struggle with the peace of God in their lives.
- Note the Promise – Those that obey this commandment will have a long life on earth. That is a commandment worth keeping.
Today’s Challenge: Remember to honor those that God has given authority over you!
Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
I had to ask the Lord if this was really possible. If we were all honest, we would come to the conclusion that the majority of our anger is because of sin. The reason the majority of our anger is sinful is because we become angry out of selfishness. The Lord desires that we remain under control. God is not looking for self control, but he is looking for sovereign control. We must desire to remain under the control of the Lord. The basic rule is that we steer clear of sin when we become angry. Honestly, the majority of our anger usually ends in repentance. Then we see a principle about anger. Even in anger we must be sure not to go to bed with it. How many times have we to bed with anger in our hearts? God specifically says to make sure we not allow the sun to go down on our wrath. When we go to sleep angry it gives room for the devil to do a work in our lives. We must realize that anger is a tool of the devil. God can only use the anger that is not tainted with sin. The devil will use all anger in our hearts to cause severe devastation and destruction in our lives.
Today’s Challenge: Assess your anger. Determine if it is tainted with sin or if you have lived in it for an extended period of time. If so, then please repent and seek reconciliation.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
It is so important that we never over look or underestimate the power of God. I think it is important that we realize God is able to some great and mighty things with our lives. We get so caught up operating within our own strength that we forget about the ability of God’s power.
- God is Able – Nothing handicaps God. The question of “can God…?” should always be answered by “Yes God Can!”
- God’s Ability Reaches Further than our Imagination – The fact that this verse says that God can “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” absolutely blows my mind. This basically means that our vast imaginations of great things actually places limits on God’s ability. Think about it like this – If you can imagine it, then God can actually do it bigger and better! WOW!!!
- God Desires to Do Work Through Us – Notice where God wants to demonstrate and display His greatness. God desires to demonstrate this ability through our lives. A life that is submissive and surrendered to the work of God can only see these kinds of things happen. God can do exceeding abundantly above all only on the grounds that we allow Him to do it.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t limit God’s ability in our lives. It is good to have dreams and set goals, but it is also important to remember that God can far exceed those things we dream about happening.
Ephesians 1:16-17 “Cease not to give thanks for you making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
Two of the most important things Christians need today lies within confines of this text. Paul prayed that the Church at Ephesus operate with two vital attributes:
- The Spirit of Wisdom
- The Knowledge of God
Those that follow Christ are in constant pursuit of the “spirit of wisdom” and the “knowledge of God”. This also narrows down the ones that are truly following the Lord. I am very afraid that we live a world that truly has very little knowledge of God. The more I learn about God the more I tremble in His presence. The key to gaining wisdom is to consume ourselves in God’s Word. Some would say that wisdom comes with experience. I would have to say that much wisdom comes from experience, but also wisdom comes through knowledge. The more God reveals about Himself to us the wiser we become. The depths of God’s character are endless. I pray that the presence and the pursuit of God drive us to our knees requesting the spirit of wisdom. I can’t help but think of the old hymn “I want to know more about my Lord.” We must ask God to reveal himself to us.
Today’s Challenge: Ask God to reveal something about himself that you never knew before. Pursue the spirit of wisdom and the knowledge of God.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
If we were to look up the meaning of the word “weary” we would discover that it means to “lose heart”. Then if we were to look up the phrase “well doing” we would find that it means “to act honorably” or “to do well”. So many times we become frustrated and become fainthearted while trying to do well. We become weary, or start to lose heart when we don’t see the results we believe we should expect from our honorable actions. It is amazing how all of us place demands on the kind of results we should expect from God when we don’t even deserve to be saved. I think we forget the value of a personal salvation when working for the Lord. We cannot serve God expecting results; we serve God because we are a result of His unmatchable Grace and Mercy. The reason weariness enters into our lives is because the results we expect do not come in the time frame or way God intends for us to have them. God reminds us that we need not lose heart. God reminds us that a reward will be received. Remember that the day we quit may be the day God is planning on blessing your life. There are some keys to not growing weary.
- Patience is Require: Waiting on God requires patience.
- Persistence is Required: Keep serving. Stay persistence at your calling.
- Perseverance is Required: There are going to be some days where the Devil will try to tell you God has forgotten about you. These are the days you must persevere.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t quit. The day you decide to quit may be the day before your greatest harvest.
Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
When we think of “The Law” we could consider the 10 Commandments, the 613 Mosaic Laws, or the entire Bible. That is a lot to obey. If we were honest with ourselves we would openly admit that obeying all these individually would be overwhelming impossible. However; the Lord decided that He could take all these laws and simplify it down to one simple, yet powerful word – LOVE! When the Bible defines God, we find that God is defined in this one simple word called “Love”. God has given us the one commandment that not only covers the entire law, but it encompasses the essence of who He really is. We are to love God, as well as love others. If you and I would were to study all these laws addressed in scripture we would realize that if we simply loved God and others then it would totally keep us from breaking God’s laws. For example:
- When you love God and People then you don’t have to worry about putting anything before Him.
- When you love God and People then you don’t have to worry about using His name in vain.
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about other graven images
- When you love God and People you will keep the Sabbath Day holy by attending Church
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about murdering them.
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about honoring your father and mothe
- When you love God and People you don’t steal from them.
- When you love God and People you won’t commit adultery.
- When you love God and People you won’t lie against them.
- When you Love God and People you will not find yourself coveting.
You see? All we must do is operate in love and it handles all the rest. No wander it is called the Great Commandment!
Today’s Challenge: LOVE!!!!
Galatians 3:11 “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
If we are to really live, we must live out our lives by faith. It is evident that God emphasizes the importance of walking by faith. I think it is good to highlight the fact that faith is not walking day by day, but it is walking step by step. The evidence of those that have been justified (those that have been declared righteous by God) are to walk by faith. Faith is the one thing that honors God. Faith is the thing that gains God’s attention. Faith is the foundation by which everything in Christianity rest upon. Without faith we will never be able to please God. Now the purpose of Christianity is to live a life that pleases and glorifies God. Walking by faith is the best way we can bring glory to God.
Most people today are justifying themselves by what they are doing, rather than being justified on what has already been done. We are not declared righteous by our works, we are declared righteous through our faith. Just like with Abraham, he believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Simply believing God is enough. Wow!!! That is incredible to think that in order to really please the Lord all we have to do is believe Him. In a world that wants to question Him, God just wants us to believe Him.
When there is an argument between my children, I find that both of them just want to be believed. The same goes for God. Satan is telling his story and God is proclaiming his truths. The question remains: Are we going to believe the lies of Satan, or are we going to believe the truths of God?
Today’s Challenge: Just believe God. Remember the only way to truly live, is to live completely by faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The Bible is clear that we are to examine ourselves. Typically, we are more out to judge or examine others before we are to examine ourselves. The Lord gives us to simple instructions:
- Examine Yourselves
- Prove Yourselves
There are some principles that would be good to highlight in order to learn to do a self examination.
- Make Jesus Christ Your Mark: We have a habit of comparing ourselves to others, when we are to make Jesus Christ our standard. Remember, if you don’t look like Jesus then you don’t have any business judging others.
- Make The Bible Your Mirror: The Bible is not just a composition of stories and fairy tales, but it is a mirror that reveals to us all our impurities. Reading the Bible requires us to align and adjust to it, rather than making it adjust to us. Allow the Bible to be the device that shows us our imperfections.
- Make The Holy Spirit Your Mentor: There is no greater accountability partner than the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to work in your life by giving Him complete access to your heart. Trust me; the Holy Spirit will definitely be a truthful physician in the examination process.
Today’s Challenge: Do a Self Examination using these tools and see what happens.