Archives For Philippians

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

everything matters,commitment,discipleship,priorities,Matthew 5:48,be perfect,1 Peter 1:16,be holy,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,James 3:5-8,tame tongue,Ephesians 4:29-32,no foul language,Matthew 7:1,love your neighbor,Mark 12:3,treat others how you want to be treated,Philippians 3:8,count everything lost,Exodus 20:3,no idols before me

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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I heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say in a recent message, “When emotions are high, wisdom is low.” How true. When we let our emotions rule the day, we are destined to say or do something we will regret. Nowhere is this more evident than in our conversations with other people. Too often we find ourselves being criticized for something or we are the ones doing the criticizing. Criticism is a cancer that should be eradicated from the life of every follower of Jesus. Our default interaction with anyone should be that of encouragement (Ephesians 4:29-32).

criticism is a cancer,cancer,criticism,criticize,critical,pride,humility,encouragement,encourager,encouraging,encourage,attitude,Ephesians 4:29-32,no foul language,Philippians 4:8,think on these things,whateveris pure,Romans 14:10-13,no longer criticize,Ephesians 4:29,let no foul language

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Humans, as a rule, love to criticize. Whether from a place of pride or as an act of defense, criticism spills from our lips easily and without warning. Scripture contains many warnings against using criticism, but we have either forgotten or perhaps choose to ignore those parts of God’s Word.

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I am currently going a through a Bible reading plan that guides me through thirty-one days of praying for my nation. It pains me to see how far the country in which I live is drifting from God. To be clear, I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “Christian Nation” (for an excellent, in-depth study on this topic, see “The Myth of a Christian Nation” by Gregory A. Boyd). The history of my country is filled with atrocities which should never be associated with the name of Christ. Still, growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, it seemed my Country had a far greater reverence and respect for God. My parents feel their generation was even more dedicated to God, and I do not doubt this to be true.

we need a revival,we need revival,revival,aw tozer,tozer,a.w. tozer,Matthew 10:39,anyone who loses his life,stewardship,passion,mission,Philippians 3:7-8,consider everything loss,Luke 14:26-33,count the cost,Matthew 8:18-22,foxes have holes,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission

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Even in the 1960’s, A.W. Tozer made this comment: “We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day. We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit.”

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The wisdom of A.W. Tozer continues to confound me. I wish I would have had the opportunity to learn directly from the man, but his books and sermons have left a rich legacy. Hear this from the wise preacher: “The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him.

to whom shall we go,John 6:68,A.W. Tozer,aw tozer,tozer,commitment,humility,mission,Philippians 1:21,to live is Christ,to die is gain,John 14:6,I am the way,I am the truth,I am the life,way truth life, noone comes to Father except by me

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The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. His faith has resulted in an everlasting and irrevocable committal, and however strongly he may be tempted he always replies, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68).” How often do we respond to the call of temptation (idolatry) with the words, “To whom shall we go?”

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Dag Hammarskjold, the Formal Secretary-General of the United Nations, once said, “In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.” I believe holiness will always pass through the world of action. Holiness is proven both by what we do and what we choose not to do. But always, holiness demands action. Only God is Holy, but in our quest to be like Him, we must pursue holiness.

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While it is not something we will obtain in this life, seeking after it provides great training for the next. Peter reminds us God said to be holy because He Himself is holy (I Peter 1:15-16). Since we know we are not holy, it seems obvious we must do something to become holy. In other words, holiness demands action.

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One of the most amazing things about God is the way He allows us to choose the way we will go. He doesn’t force us to love Him, to serve Him, to follow Him, or even accept Him. He says, “Here I am. What will you do with Me?” Such humility from anyone is admirable, but from the Creator of all things is incomprehensible. In Philippians 2:5, Paul urged those seeking to follow Jesus to “Make your own attitude that of Jesus Christ.”

make your own attitude,humility,commitment,mission,God's mission,mission of Christ,priorities,Phillipians 2:5-11

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Every day, you get to choose; you get to make your own attitude. Nothing is preordained. Nothing is prescribed. The God of love and freedom leaves the choice to you. He will accept your decision, but He longs for you to come to Him.

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I have long been fascinated with Stoicism and am often intrigued by quotes from thought leaders of the movement. I often find an interesting application of Stoic principles in my own discipleship quest. One quote I read recently, from Marcus Aurelius, said, “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” This mimics – and is no doubt inspired by – Proverbs 23:7, which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

dyed by the thoughts,stoicism,stoic,Marcus Aurelius,Proverbs 23:7,as a man thinketh,James Allen,2 Corinthians 10:4-5,take every thought captive,Philippians 4:8,think on these things,whatever is lovely,Hebrews 3:1,fixyour thoughts on Jesus,mission,Kingdom of God,thought patterns,thoughts,neural pathways,God's Kingdom,dcipleship

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What we think about defines who we are. You can’t think selfish thoughts and be an unselfish person. The brain doesn’t work in such a manner. Every thought burns a new neural pathway. The more we think the same thought or way, the deeper the pathway gets grooved into our psyche. We do indeed become dyed by the thoughts we entertain.

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I once read our excess money is given to us to share with others. This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life because I feel there is good Biblical precedence for it. Early Christ followers shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32-35). This seems to go even beyond simply giving away our excess. In the Old Testament, God gave laws commanding people to not harvest the edges of their fields so the poor could come and get some food for their families (Leviticus 23:22).

giving away our excess,wealth,hoarding,generosity,tithe,tithing,John 10:10,Luke 12:16-21,Proverbs 30:7-9

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Jesus told us not to hoard our wealth (Luke 12:16-21). The next question I generally get when discussing this is, “How do I determine how much is excess?” To me, this question is always the result of a scarcity mindset.

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I learned (again) the hard way Satan is a master at stealing time. It’s amazing and more than a bit discouraging how you can be having a great day serving God only to see it fizzle into hours doing things of no Kingdom value. Without a consistent and diligent focus on how we spend our days, too many of them can be stolen away before we know it.

stealing time,giving away time,building God's Kingdom,Matthew 10:34,not peace but a sword,Matthew 10:21-22,brother will betray brother,John 16:33,in this world you will have trouble,Philippians 2:12-13,working out your salvation

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While pondering that thought, it occurred to me maybe Satan isn’t so much a master at stealing time as we are at giving it away.God has put the gift of time at our disposal. Every breath we breathe is an endowment from Him. What God has given to us cannot be stolen. Satan has no power to do that. But as agents of freewill, it is within our authority to give away what God has granted to us.

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Freewill is central to my theology and in my mind is the linchpin to answering difficult questions about sin, disease, and evil in the world. After Jesus, I think freewill is probably the greatest gift God bestowed on His creation. After all, freewill is what enables us to love. It enables us to choose. Most importantly, it enables us to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

death of freewill,Luke 10:25-28,love the Lord will all your,love your neighbor as yourself,Matthew 22:39-40,freewill,open theism,open theist,openness,greg boyd,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats,Philippians 1:21,to live is Christ,to die is gain,foxes have holes,first let me bury my father,Luke 9:57-62,Galatians 2:19-20,I have been crucified with Christ,John Sanders,God of the possible,Philippians 1:21,good samaritan

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But here’s the irony for all disciples of Jesus: to accept Christ means the death of freewill in our lives. When we surrender ourselves to Christ, we surrender everything, including our freewill. Nothing is excluded. The very thing permitting us to accept Christ is what we must give up in exchange for His Lordship in our lives.

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