Friday September 21 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
One of my daily habits is to read the paper while I am eating breakfast. Sometimes I find it hard to find articles in the paper that meet the standards set forth in this verse. I find myself skimming the paper more and more. My diet (which has lovingly been called vegan, super vegan, weird, hippie-style) is meant to keep out anything that will harm my immune system, and eat things that will build my immune system. And it works. We need to do the same for our spiritual life - keep out the things that might hurt it, and take in the things which will help it - true, pure, noble,right,lovely, admirable, excellent, praise worthy things. This too works!
Thursday September 20 "Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do." Philippians 3:17
Do you think of yourself as a model of Christianity? The old saying, "Do as I say, not as I do" just ain't true! Paul says to follow his example, and the example of those who are following his example. In other words, we should be modeling Christianity not just to the world, but to other Christians. When we realize this, it will make us better models.
Wednesday September 19 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life." Philippians 2:14-15
When I began CCYC, our theme for the first year's conference was "Shining Stars", taken from this verse. That was 1982, and the need for this verse has grown even greater in the last 36 years. Like never before, we live in a warped and crooked generation. And there is such a need for us Believers, Children of God, to shine like stars for Jesus. The song we sang as a child, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine..." should continue to be an anthem in our lives. There are hundreds of ways to do it, but make sure you "Let your light shine for Jesus!" Be a Shining Star!
Tuesday September 18 "... I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel ..." Philippians 1:4
We don't just go to church together - we are partners in the Gospel! Partnership means equal responsibility as well as equal rewards. Together we have a responsibility to spread the Good News of Jesus (the Gospel) - and the results will be rewards we all share. It is a joy to have partners!
Monday September 17 "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,... "
Ever done something for someone half-heartedly? Sure, there were good reasons - or at least that's what we tell ourselves. It never gives us a good witness for the Lord. God knows our hearts, and He says to serve wholeheartedly , as if what ever you are doing, you are doing it for Him. That really changes our perspective! But it will not only honor God, it will also be a great witness for Him.
Friday September 14 "... Live as children of light " Ephesians 5:8
Reading this chapter, we see that God is very concerned with how people live - the life styles they choose - how they live the precious life that He gave them. In fact. "concerned" is too mild a term to honestly express His feelings. People are unfortunately playing games with their eternal lives, as we read in verse 5. Our role as true followers of Jesus is to be light - shining brightly - so much so that it exposes their non-Godly living. Sadly, when you read this chapter (as well as others), many of the things listed that God cannot (and will not) tolerate are also things that our society allows as personal choice and would never call them what they are - sin - the thing that separates one from God. We need to be visible, Children of Light - for the sake of those whom satan is working on.
Thursday September 13 "...I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Ephesians 4:1
As believers, we are called to live a lifestyle that shows Christ to our world...not just do good good deeds - as good as they may be, they fall short. The key is to make Christianity your lifestyle...how you act and think on a daily basis. The rest of this chapter gives the details of ways to do this.
Wednesday September 12 "I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ," Ephesians 3:16-18
The only way to experience the fullness of Jesus’ love is to let Him fully into our lives. God works through us not by pushing us around, but through His Holy Spirit’s guidance. The business of life can drown out the whispers of the Holy Spirit showing us how loved and cherished we are by our creator. Paul prays we’re strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and we’re given the power to realize just how deep and wide God’s love is for us
Tuesday September 11 "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
God sees you as someone that is important. He made you, so you know that He cares about you, and has an interest in you. He’s created you to do something good.
God has a unique plan for your life. He wants to use you to touch other people and to make a difference in your world. There are people around you that need to know about Jesus. God wants to use you to touch them and show them Jesus. God has so much in store for you to do. So don’t give into the lies that you’re not important, or you’re not as talented as someone else around you. Chose to believe what God says about you, that you’re created to do good things!
Monday September 10 "For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. " Ephesians 1:15-16
Most of our prayers are for people who are experiencing some type of need, whether its health, family, financial...and these are very valid prayer needs. But I hope we will also pray like Paul - for people who are faithful followers of Jesus. I delight when someone tells me they have been praying for me for my cancer to be taken away. I truly believe that is why I am still here 4 3/4 years since diagnosis. But I would also love it if someone were to say to me, "Phil, I know you love the Lord and I see the faith you have in Him, and the love you have for people. I am praying prayers of thanks and also for God to continue to strengthen your faith so that nothing shakes it and it grows and produces more service for the Lord." Something to think about in your prayer life.