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.
Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Many times we approach God with a very…well…”whatever” type mentality. The attitude that we are deserving of God’s presence must be removed immediately. So much of our ideas, beliefs, and decisions are made without God’s view or heart. Fear and trembling should be the way we approach God.
- We Must Make Our Decisions With Fear And Trembling – We would be way better off approaching God with reverence and respect. Each decision must be made with the judgment of God in the backdrop.
- We Must Establish Our Beliefs With Fear and Trembling – We should be willing to overlook what everyone else believes in order to establish a Bible based faith. Just because our Grandparents and Parents believed it, does not make it the right belief
- We Must Create Our Ideas With Fear and Trembling – If not careful our sinful imaginations will create ideas that our false.
Today’s Challenge: Keep God’s Judgment in the backdrop of every belief, decision and idea. It will help keep us all in check!
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.
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 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This is one of the most power pieces of Scripture in the Bible. The victories we experience in life our products of our obedience to the principles found in this verse. This verse teaches us the source of a Christian living out the Life of Christ. We see that there is an importance in being dependent up on the Savior. The verse teaches us of how we are identified with Christ. We are crucified with Him, but live by Him. We identify with His death, but at the same time we can also identify with His resurrection. The ability to experience victory over sin is not controlling situations yourself, but it is learning to allow Christ to live out His purpose through you. We also see that we are indwelt by Christ. Christ lives in us! Christ also lives through us! The Christ-life is essentially a complete life of faith. Most of the time we refuse to allow Christ to live through us. We compartmentalize Him and refuse to die to our self. We must understand that in order to completely surrender to Christ we must operate on the basis of faith.
Today’s Challenge: Remember that God can do more with you on accident that you can do with you on purpose. Let Him live through you!
2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
This, to me, is one of those verses that confirm the fact that man was truly inspired by God when writing Scriptures. The natural man would not ever write such things. I have often wondered what caused the Lord to instill such qualities into those that follow Him. I am at the same reminded that God placed us here on earth to give Him glory. The greatest display of God’s strength is discovered in our greatest moments of weakness. The reason we can take pleasure in such difficult circumstances is because it gives God the opportunity to display His greatness. God wants to take us to the place of “I can’t” to the place of “He can”. It is at the moment where we say “I can’t” that God says “He can”. This verse teaches a great principle that when we are at weakest, God is at His strongest. The reason we can call are times of weakness our greatest moments of strength is because those are the moments that God gets to display His sovereign power. When we make statements like…
“I don’t know what else to do.”
“I have done everything I know to do.”
It is during the times of making these statements that we must realize that God has got us in the exact place He desires us to be. We must learn to quit operating in our own strength and start relying on God’s strength.
Today’s Challenge: Realize that your greatest moments of weakness, gives God His greatest opportunity to display His power and strength through you.
2 Corinthians 10:17 “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Bragging and boasting is a dangerous thing. God desires that if any glory is to be given then it needs to be given to the Lord. Many times we forget to give credit, where credit is due. My heart breaks over the amount of times I have failed to glorify God when He deserved all the credit. Many times we give ourselves credit when things go well, and give God all the credit when things go wrong. Even when we brag on others, it is usually with selfish intentions. We must come to the place in our lives where God deserves to get all the Glory. If we look inside the intentions of our heart we find selfishness at each corner. We forget that God can promote us just as much as we can promote ourselves. We must move the intentions of our hearts away from our selfish boastings. The Lord is the only one that needs to get the credit. We need to learn to brag on the Lord. Give God the Glory, He deserves it!
Today’s Challenge: Practice bragging on the Lord today!
2 Corinthians 9:6 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
This world is filled with laws. These laws include things such as the laws of Physics, the laws of Mathematics, and the laws of the Land. It is good to note that while our world has laws which keep it spinning; our Bible also is filled with laws. In this text we see a Biblical law called the Law of Reaping and Sowing. I am amazed at how many Christians expect such a great harvest with such little investments. The American Church is consumed with the mentality that God should bless us with much on the grounds that we give Him very little. A farmer will expect little fruit if he only sows small amounts of seeds. Likewise, the Christian should not wander why the blessings of God are so sparse when they have not planted much into the Kingdom of God. We must remember that if we want the blessing of God then we must be will to sow bountifully. It will require sacrifice, it will require service, but the end result will be far greater than you would ever expect. Please don’t be so foolish to think that God is supposed to bless your life when you have invested so little into His Kingdom. It is not just about money, but it is about your entire life.
Today’s Challenge: Plant a lot of seeds today, and watch the blessing of God bloom.