Saturday, November 18, 2017

Philippians 4 in Poem

Rejoice in the Lord always
Find joy in Christ, come what may
Delight in Who God is and what He has done
Choose to be joyful in any situation

Let your gentleness be evident to all
To be considerate and kind we are called
Let your conduct honor God and reflect Christ
The world is watching; may we be salt and light

Do not be anxious about anything
But humbly pray to God with thanksgiving
God's peace which surpasses all understanding
Will guard your hearts and minds, His Word believing

Our thoughts influence our words, actions, character
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely,
Admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy
Think on these things; watch what into your mind enters

Let's be content in any situation we face
We are complete in Christ, full of blessings
We can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength and grace
Fullness of life, light, and love He does bring

Our Father and Provider faithfully meets all our needs
According to the riches of His glory in Jesus
We're blessed to be a blessing; may we be generous
Guide us, Lord, to be Your loving, serving hands and feet

~ Copyright 2017 Urailak Liljequist 

Note: You can read my Philippians 1 in Poem herePhilippians 2 in Poem here, and Philippians 3 in Poem here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

God Meets All Our Needs

After Paul thanked the Philippian Christians for their gifts and generosity, he assured them that God will take care of all their needs (not wants, desires, or luxuries). This is a promise to those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to God and His kingdom. "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." (Proverbs 19:17) Often God meets His children's needs by using us to meet one another's needs. We are to be cheerful, generous givers and not worry about our own needs because God's got our back. God is omnipotent. He has unlimited power and resources. Our needs can never exhaust His supply. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20) God is omniscient. He knows His children perfectly. He knows all our thoughts, needs, fears, troubles, and sufferings. Jehovah Jireh ("The Lord Will Provide") is faithful and pleased to provide for His children who honor Him and depend on Him. When children of God walk in the will of God, serving for the glory of God, they will have their needs met. God delights to bless us. He blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8). God is omnipresent. He gives us the gift of His presence. The Great I Am is with us every moment. Whatever we need, He is! "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present Help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) 

Paul was not preaching the prosperity gospel here. Paul was saying, in essence, that he could not repay the Philippians but God could and would meet their needs. We don't have to fear or worry. We can be content. Why? Because our God will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches (infinite) in Christ Jesus (through our spiritual union with Christ)! This truth should bring us confidence, comfort, and joy. In Christ Jesus, God gives us sufficient grace to meet whatever we face. By the way, He already provided for our greatest need, the need for a substitute to pay the penalty for our sin and die in our place. He provided His one and only Son, Jesus Christ! "If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" (M.E. Howard) God loves us and He will provide for what we need when we need it.

"God's riches fill up our supply,
Whatever we may need,
So we can then be generous
And not controlled by greed
." (Sper)

Prayer: Father, thank You for always meeting my needs! Thank You for Your abundant blessings in my life! Please help me be a blessing to others, a cheerful, generous giver, and a humble, faithful servant. Please show me the needs of those around me and the needs around the world and direct me how to meet those needs. Please help me use resources You've given me wisely according to Your will for Your glory and Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Content in Christ

Our spiritual union with Christ is the source of our strength and the secret of being content. Paul was content in all circumstances because he was content (satisfied) in the sufficiency of Christ. Christ alone was enough for him. Paul was content through all his afflictions for professing Christ, for preaching His Gospel, for praising His Name, and for His glory. Christ is the key/the reason. It is in Christ alone where we find grace, mercy, peace, joy, hope, comfort, wisdom, strength, redemption, forgiveness, righteousness, sanctification, and all that satisfy our soul needs. We can truly be content when we realize that we are complete in Christ. No one else and nothing else will ever make us complete. When all we have is Christ, we have all we need. Rest in Him and be content. Discontent (opposite of contentment) is dangerous. A discontented heart/mind is susceptible to envy, greed, worry, temptations, etc. It's our human tendency to be discontent, to get bored easily, to desire more (of the things of this world), to have self-pity, to compare with others, to complain, to covet, and to be ungrateful. With Christ's strength, we can overcome the human tendency (aka our sinful nature). "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, Who is the Head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10)

All experiences and situations that come our way are opportunities for Christ's love, grace, power, and strength to be made more evident in our lives. They are lessons that help us learn and grow in faith, Christlikeness, and contentment in Christ. Contentment did not come naturally to Paul or was given as a gift at his conversion (he had to learn to be content). It had taken him years to learn this (he was an old man when he wrote the book of Philippians). Paul finally learned to draw all he needed, in whatever situation, from Jesus who dwelled within him. As a result, he experienced contentment, peace, and joy, no matter what the world or the enemy threw at him. When we combine our gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us with an acceptance of His will for our lives, we will find contentment. Let us count our blessings and remember how He has been faithful to supply all our needs. We may lack certain things (ease, outward comforts, and worldly conveniences) that others have, but if we have a contented heart, we definitely have more than most people have. 

"To live on Christ, 
to draw all from Christ, 
to do all in the strength of Christ, 
to be ever looking to Christ--
this is the true secret of spiritual prosperity!" (J.C. Ryle)

"It is from the state of our minds that contentment arises--and not from the amount of our possessions." (John MacDuff)  Contentment is a matter of mental and spiritual attitude. We learned from Philippians 4:8 that we must choose wisely what we fill our mind with because our thoughts affect who we are. Our thoughts affect whether we will be content or not. Take time to answer the following questions. In your mind, do you believe God is in control? Are you convinced that Christ alone is enough, not Christ with family, not Christ with good health, not Christ with comfortable home, not even Christ with fruitful ministry, but Christ alone? Do you believe God is too wise to err and too good to be unkind? Are you pleased with what God does? Would you be content if God's only gift to you were His grace to save you, forgive you, and give you eternal life? Would you be content with just that and nothing else? Remember God owes you and me nothing; we deserve nothing but His wrath and eternal condemnation. It's God's grace and mercy that we're out of Hell!

Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” (Jeremiah Burroughs) 

P.S. Do not confuse contentment with complacency! Contentment is rooted in Christ, faith, humility, and gratitude. Complacency is rooted in self, pride, arrogance, and laziness. For example, we must never be complacent with our spiritual growth.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for saving me, sanctifying me, sustaining me, guiding me, giving me grace, and providing everything I need! You are all I ever need. Because of You in me, my soul is fully satisfied, full of life, light, love, peace, and joy. Thank You for giving me eternal life and abundant life! Please empower me to always be thankful, joyful, and content, regardless of my circumstances. Please grant me grace to live above the perishable things of this fleeting world. Please help me to walk in godliness and rely on You in every situation, knowing that Your grace is always sufficient for me. May I glorify You in all I think, say, and do!

"But Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) 

"Happy is the person who has learned the secret of being content with whatever life brings him, and has learned to rejoice in the simple and beautiful things around him." (Billy Graham)

"Contentment is the crown-jewel of a happy life!" (Charles Spurgeon) 

"Contentment with your lot, and confidence in God--will make life peaceful and happy!...It is not what a man has, but what a man is--which will decide his bliss or woe in both this life and the next." (Charles Spurgeon) 

"Be thou content to leave thy prayer in His hands, Who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold." (Charles Spurgeon)

"Good when He gives, supremely good, 

Nor less when He denies! 
Even crosses from His sovereign hand 
Are blessings in disguise!" (Unknown)  

"Nothing is lovelier in life, than the spirit of contentment. Fretting mars the beauty of many a face. Discontent spoils all one's world. Out of whatever window he looks--the discontented person sees something that is not pleasing. But a contented person sees only good everywhere. The happiest homes in the world are not those in which are the finest carpets, the costliest pictures, the most luxurious furniture--but those in which contented, joyful hearts dwell. A mind at peace, beautifies the plainest surroundings and even the hardest conditions." (J.R. Miller)

"Contentment sweetens every condition.
Contentment teaches a man how to abound--in the midst of poverty!
Have I but little? Yet it is more than I deserve.
Do I meet with some crosses? My comfort is, if they are heavy--I have not far to go!
My cross is light--in comparison with the weight of glory.
Has God taken away my comforts from me? It is well--the Comforter still abides with me.
Thus contentment, as a honeycomb, drops sweetness into every condition.
Discontent is a leaven which sours every comfort; it puts vinegar into ever mercy; it doubles every cross.
" (Thomas Watson) 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Think on These Things

Our thoughts influence our words, our actions, our character...our life. Paul told us how to have the right kind of thought. Paul offered us a tip for overcoming anxiety/worry. We must choose wisely what we fill our mind with. With the Holy Spirit living inside us, guiding us, helping us, empowering us, we are able to take our thought captive & make it obedient to Christ, and choose to dwell on things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Think God's thoughts. We need to saturate our mind with God's Word. God's Word gives us comfort, wisdom, understanding, guidance, encouragement, hope, peace, and joy. "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes." (Psalm 19:7-8) Fill your mind with God's truths (memorize Bible verses). 

What we choose to dwell on will affect who we are. "A man is what he thinks about all day long." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Jesus is the embodiment of all the virtues listed in this verse. Therefore, it makes sense for us to meditate on Him, His attributes, and His Word. We are to have the mind of Christ. A Christian thought life is essential to a life of unity (Philippians 4:2-3), joy (Philippians 4:4), peace (Philippians 4:6-7), obedience (Philippians 4:9), and contentment (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be aware that there is a battle going on in our mind. By choosing to occupy our mind with godly thoughts, we can prevent Satan from attacking our mind with lies, deception, anxious thoughts, destructive thoughts, sinful thoughts. Sin begins in the mind and so does godliness. 

"The spiritual battle, the loss or the victory, is always in the thought-world." (Francis Schaeffer) 
"If the heart be full of sinful thoughts, there is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts. If the heart be full of holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation, there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts." (William Bridge)
Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit--and man is his own gardener." (James Allen)

"One who accustoms himself to think of pure and holy things, who sets his affections on things above, and strives to reach for things which are true, things which are honorable, things which are lovely--will grow heavenward toward the things which he loves and thinks upon. 
But one who lets his mind turn habitually . . .
  to debasing things,
  to unholy things,
  to impure things, 
  to earthly things--
will find his whole soul bending downward, and growing sinful, corrupt, and evil." (J.R. Miller) 

Philippians 4:8 is a great guideline to help us decide what to read, what to watch, and what to listen to. We must be vigilant about what we allow to enter our mind and our children's mind. The saying "garbage in, garbage out" is true. So many things can tempt us and pollute our mind. 

"To think is an effort; to think rightly is a great effort; and to think as a Christian ought to think is the greatest effort of a human soul." (Oswald Chambers)

"We grow like the things we think about." (Daniel L. Marsh)
"At every point right living begins with right thinking." (Bruce J. Milne)
"God will not live in the parlour of our hearts if we entertain the devil in the cellar of our thoughts." (Charles Spurgeon)
"It is a law of life--that our thoughts build our characterIf we meditate on the purity, the holiness, the goodness, the love, the righteousness, of Christ--these qualities will print themselves upon our own hearts." (J.R. Miller)
"Beautiful thoughts make a beautiful soul, And a beautiful soul makes a beautiful face." (Unknown)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that renews my mind, encourages my heart, revives my soul, and transforms my life! Please help me meditate on Who You are and on Your truths each and every day. Please purify my heart and mind to be like Christ's and help my mind to focus on what is pleasing and honoring to You. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

"Lord, help us to think of the right and the true,
The pure and the noble—it all points to You;
For if we consider what's worthy of praise,
We'll then want to live for You all of our days."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Peace vs. Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything (there's no exception)! Prayer with thanksgiving is the cure for anxiety. We should thank God for what He has already done before we make any new requests. We are to lay all our burdens, fears, worries, desires, concerns down at His feet and not pick them back up. What a privilege it is for us to be able to talk with God our Father about anything anytime anywhere and seek His help, wisdom, and guidance. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3) When we pray and praise God, we set/"stay" our mind on God, resulting in peace. "Pray for wisdom to deal with whatever is worrying you. Pray that God will act to change the circumstances according to His will. He doesn't always do what we want Him to--but He knows what's best for us, and He can be trusted." (Billy Graham) God's answers are always wiser than our prayers. "Casting all your care (anxiety) upon Him--because He cares for you!" (1 Peter 5:7) God loves and cares for us His children; He knows and meets our needs. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) One common problem is: most anxiety stems, not from what we need, but from what we want. Therefore, want less. Be thankful and be content. If God is enough for us, then we'll always have enough, because we'll always have God. Another problem is: we usually worry that things won't turn out the way we hope for or expect. But if we truly desire God's will and God's ways, instead of ours, we would willingly leave all matters in God's hand, let go, and just wait to see how God will work things out.

God's peace is different from the world's peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) This inner peace is the tranquility of soul that only God can give. 
Peace is a soul at rest in God's loving, capable hand. It's not found in positive thinking or in absence of conflict or troubles. It comes from knowing that our God is in control and putting our trust in Him completely. It's calmness in our heart in the midst of chaos! Yesterday, we learned from Philippians 4:1-5 that joy and gentleness are two distinct marks of Christ's followers. Today's verses show that peace is another distinct mark of Christians (peace is also another fruit of the Spirit). Anxiety accomplishes nothing. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. It's understandable that unbelievers are anxious because they live without God and without hope. But God's children have no reasons to ever be anxious. "If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" (M.E.Howard) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

God's peace surpasses all our understanding and circumstances. It's unexplainable and unfathomable. The presence of Christ, the Prince of Peace, makes all the difference in the world. He is our Peace (Yahweh Shalom)! He gives us an inner tranquility which enables us to say, "It is well with my soul" no matter what happens to us. 

"Guard"--protect from harm, not letting anything penetrate, watch over, shield, defend. "Paul's choice of a military term implies that the mind is a battle zone and needs to be 'protected by a military guard.' Since the purpose of such a guard in a wartime situation is either to prevent a hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from escaping. The peace of God operates in the same way: to protect the mind from external corrupting influences and to keep the mind focused on God's truth." (from my NKJV Study Bible's commentary) "Memorizing the Bible is most important. 'Thinking God's thoughts' will take the place of worried, anxious concerns." (Billy Graham) God's Word encourages our heart and reminds us to walk by faith (not by sight) and to trust in God's wisdom wholeheartedly. God's Word renews our mind and adjusts our perspectives...helps us embrace God's eternal perspectives. When I fix my thoughts on the power of God, the promises of God, & the purposes of God and give thanks continually for His presence, provision, & protection, His peace guards my heart and mind. I pray. I trust. I rest.

To sum up this passage: Want God's peace? Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Whenever we face trials, obstacles, worries, or difficulties, we should pray and ask God what lessons we are to learn from them and ask Him to help us grow stronger, wiser, and more Christlike through them.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for always listening to my prayers and caring about every detail of my life! Please help me trust You totally and have a grateful & content heart. Please help me to live one day at a time, resting in Your love, promises, and provision. Please take all my worries, fears, and doubts away and fill my heart & mind with Your peace, instead. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27)
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength." (Corrie ten Boom)
"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due." (Unknown)

"Is not God wise enough to manage the complications of our lives--and to bring order and beauty out of them? Has He not skill enough? Is He not our Father? And will He not always do the very best and wisest thing for us? Should we not trust Him--and cease to be anxious about anything that we have committed to Him? Is not anxiety, doubt? And is not doubt, sin? We are simply to commit our way to the Lord, trust Him, and be at peace." (J.R. Miller)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Be Joyful and Be Gentle

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"--Here the command to rejoice is repeated right after the other. Paul wanted to emphasize its importance. Joy is one of the distinct marks of authentic Christians. Joy (not the same as happiness) is independent of circumstances and is a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is not dampened by affliction because it's rooted in our relationship with Christ. We can rejoice even in the midst of our trials and persecutions (Paul was a great example) because we know Whom we trust and Whom we belong to. Joy persists and thrives in difficult times when we discern God's purposes and have deep-down confidence (fully trust) in His love, grace, goodness, faithfulness, sovereignty, power, and promises. We, God's children and heirs, always have reasons to rejoice since we are blessed with every spiritual blessing and are born again into a living hope of eternal life with an imperishable inheritance. And when Jesus is our joy, no one and nothing can take away our joy because Jesus cannot be taken away from us. Joy is constant because Jesus never changes. Rejoice in Jesus always! Joy is not found in circumstances or people but in the Person of Jesus Christ. We find joy in Who Christ is and what He has done. "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness." (Isaiah 61:10a) We find joy in His presence. "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." (Psalm 16:11) Perpetual joy is possible because of our spiritual union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirit gives us the desire and the power to obey the command; however, we must still make the choice to rejoice. 

Choose joy. 
We cannot control what will happen to us or what trials we will face but we can control our attitudes and reactions. No matter what happens, God is still Who He is and still in control and still loves us and cares about us. Therefore, we can choose to always trust in Him and rejoice in Him. He is our Lord. He is our Savior. He is our Strength. Let's choose joy and commit to walk in joy no matter what's going on around us. Let's look to God who is our Source of joy, instead of fretting over our situations. A heart that always sees God's goodness and praises Him cannot help but being joyful. Rejoice at God's Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ. Rejoice at His redeeming grace. Rejoice that you are forgiven and free. Rejoice that someday Christ will return.

"The secret of Christian joy is to believe what God says in His Word and act upon it. Faith that isn't based on the Word is not faith at all; it is presumption or superstition. Joy that isn't the result of faith is not joy at all; it is only a 'good feeling' that will soon disappear. Faith based on the Word will produce joy that will weather the storms of life." (Warren Wiersbe)

"Every Christian who is controlling his thought life will have a conscious joy; he will have a continual joy; he will have a conspicuous joy; and he will have a contagious joy, if he finds his joy in the Lord." (Adrian Rogers)

"Joy is not gush; joy is not jolliness. Joy is perfect acquiescence in God's will because the soul delights itself in God Himself." (H.W. Webb-Peploe)

Oh the sheer joy of it!
Walking with Thee,
Out on the hilltop,
Down by the sea,
Life is so wonderful,
Life is so free. 
(Ralph Spaulding Cushman)

Another distinct mark of Christians is gentleness (another fruit of the Spirit). "It should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4) "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2) Let everyone see that you are gentle in all you do. Being considerate, pleasant, and peace-loving in disposition. Not harsh or violent. Slow to take offense; quick to forgive. Being gentle also includes being humble, kind, gracious, and courteous. It takes strength, maturity, and self-control inside to be gentle on the outside. "Gentleness means staying calm in conflicts and kind in conduct, and when we learn to do that it reduces anxiety, reflects Christ, gets things done, and pleases God." (Rob Morgan) 

"The Lord is near"--The Lord is with us and His return may occur at any moment. Knowing this should motivate us to be joyful and gentle. Paul offered joy and gentleness as a remedy for the dispute between the two women in the church at Philippi (mentioned in verse 2). Joy and gentleness can help strengthen unity among the Body of Christ. In addition, unbelievers are often attracted to Jesus by the joy and gentleness of believers. To Ponder: Are you a joyful person? Are you known for being gentle? How do you react when offended or misunderstood or mistreated?  

PrayerLord, Jesus, thank You for always being with me giving me grace and mercy in all circumstances. I am so grateful for Your presence, goodness, faithfulness, and sovereignty which bring me much comfort, confidence, peace, and joy. Please help me to keep my eyes on You. Please empower me to trust in You totally and choose gratitude & joy through any trials and uncertainties. Please make my life a joy to You & to others everyday. You're my Source of joy & strength! I rejoice and delight in You always. Shine Your light and love through me, Lord, and may my gentleness be evident to all!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Philippians 3 in Poem

Dear Brothers and Sisters
Watch out for false teachers
Beware of counterfeit Christianity
They disregard Jesus's sufficiency
Adding works & merits as required for salvation
True gospel relies solely on Christ's grace and redemption

Christians in spirit and truth worship God
We rejoice and glory in Christ our Lord
Put no confidence in the flesh or self-righteousness
Trust in Christ and His finished work on the cross we confess

Paul had plenty to be proud of and boast about
But he considered all garbage to be thrown out
Nothing can compare to knowing Christ
Is He your Joy, Passion, and Delight?

Forget the past; press on to win the prize
Stay the course; keep fighting the good fight
No one is sinless but we can sin less
May God help us grow in Christlikeness

May we live our faith out loud with integrity
May our words and actions bring God honor and glory
May we conduct ourselves as citizens of Kingdom Heavenly
May we be filled with joy, knowing we'll be with Christ for eternity

Whatever hardships you may be facing
Whatever wealth you're accumulating
All things of this world are quickly passing
Focus on things above and serve the King of kings

~ Copyright 2017 Urailak Liljequist
Note: You can read my Philippians 1 in Poem here and Philippians 2 in Poem here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Our Citizenship Is In Heaven

This world is not our home; we're only pilgrims traveling toward our eternal home. We Christians are foreigners and strangers on earth; we're citizens of Heaven where Christ is. We're born again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. At that moment, we become citizens of a Heavenly kingdom because God "has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13) Citizenship carries with it privileges, honors, and responsibilities. We belong to Heaven. Our conduct must match our citizenship. We should therefore set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2) and store up treasures in Heaven. The expectation of seeing our Savior, being like Him, and being with Him for eternity should incite us to live passionately & joyfully for Him and serve Him with zeal and gladness.

We are eagerly waiting for the day when we are free from the presence of sin and for what the Savior will do for our physical bodies when He returns. By His power, our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ will transform our mortal bodies (subject to sin, suffering, sickness, decay, and death) into glorified bodies that will last forever. These new bodies will resemble Christ's glorious resurrected body (neither limited by time or space nor restricted by physical substances) "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2) Death cannot terrify us when our hearts are filled with hope of Heaven.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

"The treasures we store up on earth will all stay behind when this life ends. But the treasures we store up in heaven we'll have for eternity (Matthew 6:19-21). When we seek to be Christ-like in thought, word, and deed, we will live like 'heavenly' people." (P R Van Gorder)

"Learn to look up toward Heaven! 
Think of its joys and its blessedness--until earth's trials shall melt away in the brightness, and its griefs and losses are forgotten in the hopes of eternal glory!" (J.R. Miller)

"Oh, you saints, lay aside all your despondencies and discontents, and comfort yourselves with the hopes of future eternal happiness! Shall the outward temple of our body be so splendid and magnificent, like Christ's glorious body, Philippians 3:21? Oh, then, how transcendently shining and beautiful shall the inward temple of our soul be! What angel can express this! But here I must draw a veil. We shall never fully understand heaven—until we come to heaven!" (Thomas Watson)

"Those who live the life of faith, and love their Savior, and strive to serve God--are different in their whole conduct from men of the world. It is plain that they are not of this world. Their life shows it. Their citizenship is in Heaven...Shall those who are to live forever with God--have so little fellowship with Him now? Shall those whose treasure is in Heaven, where no rust nor moth can corrupt--care so much for the perishing things of this world? Shall those for whom Jesus has gone to prepare a place--fret against the little hardships and discomforts along the way? Thus the Christian should often remind himself of the heavenly home to which he belongs. It would help him to be heavenly in heart and life." (Francis Bourdillon)

"He is coming! I shall know Him,
Jesus, my beloved Lord!
Changed forever to His likeness -
Oh, what joy this will afford!" (

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for my citizenship in Heaven! You made me on purpose for Your purpose. May my life be a humble instrument that serves and glorifies You! Please guide me and empower me to do Your will and Your work. Please keep worldliness and sin away from me. When I get discouraged, anxious, sad, or depressed, please remind me of how temporary this world and my situations are and help me focus on my eternal blessings in Christ and my Heavenly home. In Christ's Name, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Live What You Believe

"Only let us live up to what we have already attained." (Philippians 3:16 NIV)

Let us conduct our lives in congruence with our faith, convictions, knowledge of Christ, understanding of God's truths, and spiritual maturity we have already attained. Walk in obedience to Christ. Walk in the Spirit. Live to share His light and love which you have received. "
We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, 'I know Him,' but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His Word, God's love is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him." (1 John 2:3-5) Put into daily practice what you have already learned. We're responsible for what God has given us. We are not to look down upon or complain about or quarrel with our brothers and sisters in Christ who may not be at the same level of spiritual maturity, knowledge, and understanding. Let us love one another as Christ loves us and work together in unity for God's kingdom and glory as Christ intends for us!

"Live in such a way that those who know you but don't know God, will come to know God because they know you." (Unknown)

You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read, and your life is under scrutiny every day. What do others learn from you? Do they see an accurate picture of your God?” (John MacArthur )

"When they see a follower of Jesus who is sold out for Christ, living free of legalism and bondage to the world, they are drawn to Jesus. When they see a follower of Jesus living for 'self' and the world, they have no problem rejecting Jesus because it allows them to play the hypocrite card. The world needs us to be an example of living the Bible so that they too are drawn to Christ. They need answers, and for us to say we are "Christians" and live our life in pursuit of personal gain would only be a contradiction to who we say we follow." (David McGee)

"Becoming a Christian means no longer living for yourself but for God in obedience to Him...To say you believe in Him and then continue living as though nothing has changed is to deny the power of God in your new life." (Billy Graham) 

"I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am." (John Newton)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your continual work in me! I desire to live for You. Please use my life, my words, and my actions for Your kingdom and glory. Please enable me to live the gospel out daily with integrity. Please help me keep growing in Christlikeness. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Press On

Paul humbly and honestly admitted that he neither had achieved all this (the goals he mentioned in verse 10) nor had reached completion (of absolute spiritual maturity) yet. There is no such thing as sinless perfection in this life. Sanctification is a lifelong process. Spiritual maturity is not about perfection; it's about direction and progress. There's always room to grow spiritually. It's a good reminder for all saints at all stages of spiritual maturity. God never wants us to be complacent with our spiritual growth. Paul exhibited a passionate pursuit of spiritual growth/maturity. He's resolved/determined to press on (as a continual action) to become all that Christ Jesus saved him for/to lay hold of God's purposes for his life. Each new day is another opportunity for us to become more of what God has designed us to be. 

Paul had a one-track mind. His soul's single relentless passion is to press onward towards the goal to win the prize for which God had called him Heavenward in Christ Jesus, with all his might & effort without looking back. You cannot run forward effectively if you keep looking back. What is true physically is also true spiritually! Paul would not let the past (past guilt of persecuting Christians or past glory of his Jewish heritage & all his accomplishments) deter him from striving for what lied ahead and pressing on toward his goal to win the prize. He wanted to focus his energy and concentration on what God calls him to do, fixing his eyes on the finish line. Do not let your past (failures, sins, disappointments, discouragement) define you or distract you from being and doing what God calls you to be and do. Learn from your past mistakes and move on after you confess and repent. They're all forgiven. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25) Forget (refusing to focus on) all the things you should have done but failed to do and all the things you did which you shouldn't have done. We also must refuse to allow past successes to inflate our pride or to make us think we've arrived spiritually. To dwell on these things can hinder our progress. 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." (Winston Churchill)
"Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus' way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,

Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes." (Brandt)

"The prize" can be interpreted as eternal glory in Heaven/the blessings of everlasting life, the reward at the judgment seat of Christ (including the crown of righteousness stated in 2 Timothy 4:8 and the crown of glory stated in 1 Peter:4), or Christlikeness/holiness. God calls us to the high calling of fighting sin until we die. We have been saved from the penalty of sin; we are being saved from the power of sin; we shall be saved from the presence of sin. We (like Paul) want to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord." when we finally see Him face to face. "To know Jesus Christ, to trust Him, to love Him, and to serve Him--that is a passion with eternal value." (V C Grounds)  
"Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv'ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,

Follow His leading, and give Him my all." (Chisholm)
"More like the Master I would live and grow,
More of His love to others I would show;
More self-denial like His in Galilee,
More like the Master I long to ever be." (Gabriel)

To Ponder: What things from your past are still burdening you or holding you back from living passionately and fearlessly for Christ? What is your ruling passion/primary focus in life? Are you sold out for Christ? How/where do you invest your time, talents, and treasures? 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Who You are and for all You have done for me! I want to know You more and I want to be more like You. Please show me each day what You want me to accomplish for Your purpose and glory. Please help me let go of the past. Thank You for Your forgiveness! Please empower me to keep growing spiritually and running this race faithfully with hope, joy, endurance, and perseverance.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Knowing Christ

In contrast to Paul's pre-Chritian confidence in the flesh (verses 4-6), verses 7-14 show Paul's confidence in Christ. Compared to the surpassing greatness (infinite value) of knowing Christ Jesus, Paul considered everything else a loss (no use). "All true Christians know Christ--not with a mere theoretical knowledge, which may be obtained from books; but with a knowledge which the Holy Spirit works in the heart. We know the glory of His person, in the perfection of His work, and in the riches of His wondrous grace. We so know Christ, that He stands out before us, as the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely One. And the more we know Him--the more intimate we wish to become with Him!" (James Smith)

Nothing can compare to our union with Christ. Compared to Christ, all things of this world are worthless. "A holy soul, whose eyes are divinely opened, so sees that superlative goodness, beauty, and excellency in Christ--that all other things, which are good with an inferior goodness, seem to him as dross and dung!" (Thomas Dolittle) 

For Christ's sake, Paul had lost all things, including the comforts of life. He suffered afflictions and persecutions for preaching Christ. He had been beaten, lied about, and imprisoned. But he didn't mind because he gained Christ. When we have Christ, we have everything we need. Christ is mine; all is well. And when Jesus is your joy, no one and nothing can take away your joy because Jesus cannot be taken away from you. Paul proved that. Let us be thankful and joyful for all the precious promises we have in Christ, all the graces, blessings, and comforts we receive from Him, and the glory we will enjoy with Him for eternity.

"All that Christ has--is mine!
Christ's love is mine to pity me! 
Christ's mercy is mine to save me! 
Christ's graces are mine to beautify me! 
Christ's power is mine to protect me! 
Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me! 
Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me! 
Christ's Word is mine to teach me!
Christ's glory is mine to crown me!" (William Dyer)

Through faith in Christ, we, like Paul, have Christ's righteousness imputed upon us. This righteousness comes from God, not from the law (not from us keeping the law). "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6a)

"He (Paul) says, 'that I may KNOW Him!' (Philippians 3:10.) Christ had appeared to Paul, he was revealed in him, and was constantly preached by him. Christ was . . .
  the object of his trust, 
  the subject of his ministry,
  and the joy of his heart! 

But he knew that there was much in Christ with which he was unacquainted. He knew but in part. He desired, therefore, to know more of . . .
  the glory of His person, 
  the riches of His grace, 
  the magnificence of His work, 
  the excellency of His natures, 
  the majesty of His kingdom! 

Everything in Christ interested Paul. Creation was good--and grace was better; but Christ was best of all. He was never wearied . . . 
  of thinking of Christ,
  of speaking of Christ, 
  of learning of Christ. 

He went on with his work, he went on his way--with the desire constantly rising in his heart, 'That I may know Him!'" (James Smith)

I Know Christ (by Margaret E. Clarkson)

I do not know tomorrow’s way,
If dark or gladsome it may be;
But I know Christ, and come what may,
I know that He abides with me.

I do not know what may befall
Of grief or gladness, peace or pain;
But I know Christ, and through it all
I know His presence will sustain.

To Ponder: Is it your daily heart's desire and constant aim to know Christ more and more...and to make Him known? Is Christ your Joy and Delight? Do you prefer the trifling vanities, fading riches, empty honors, fleeting pleasures of this world to the glorious treasures and endless pleasures found in Christ?

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for Christ's blood that washed away my sin and for Christ's righteousness that's imputed to me! Thank You for all that I have in Christ! Please help me know Christ more and better each day. May my mind dwell on Christ and my heart treasure Christ above all else! In Christ's Name, I pray. Amen.

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