Today’s reading is Philippians 4.
We finally find out why Paul has written more than just a thank you note to the Philippians. There are sisters in the congregation at odds. He doesn’t explain what the conflict is. He doesn’t address who was right and who was wrong. He simply instructs them to agree in the Lord and calls on his “true companion” to help them do so. His reminder that they had once labored side by side with him in the gospel ties back to his initial exhortation in Philippians 1:27, that they all strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. Let’s face it. When people get together as we do in congregations, feelings eventually get hurt. Toes get stepped on. Conflicts arise. This entire letter has been written to explain how to deal with that. Paul’s answer? Everyone be of one mind. Everyone develop the mind of Jesus Christ who left the glories of heaven and endured the shame of the cross for us. That is what Euodia and Syntyche needed to do. That is what everyone who was siding up behind one or the other of them needed to do. It is what we need to do. Praise God for Jesus and His holy mind.
Tomorrow’s reading is Colossians 1.
Continue reading “Agree in the Lord”
Today’s reading is Philippians 2.
As a congregation, we are a unit. Like a phalanx of soldiers in battle, we must act as one; governed by one mind, led by one spirit. And now Paul reveals the one mind with which we must act. We must act with the mind of Christ. The mind that did not think equality with God was a think to be clutched and gripped tightly. The mind that emptied itself of self. The mind that took the form of a servant. The mind that obeyed to the point of death. The mind that went even to the extreme shame of death on a cross in order to serve us. That is the one mind. Do not misunderstand. Unity of belief and doctrine is important, but the one mind that will win this fight is the mind of Christ that surrenders not only to God but in service and sacrifice to each other.
Tomorrow’s reading is Philippians 3. Continue reading “The One Mind”
Today’s reading is Philippians 1.
As did the Philippians, we have opponents. Really we have one true opponent and those who surrender to him whether knowingly or unknowingly. But what an opponent. Remember what we learned about our enemy and his minions from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians? They are beyond our ability to fight. And yet we must fight. Paul explains to the Philippians one key to the fight. While a congregation is made up of many individuals, it must fight the enemy as a unit. It must fight as one body. But that is demonstrated by having one mind and one spirit. Like a single body led by one spirit and governed by one mind, a congregation of God’s people must strive side by side for the faith of the gospel as one. The fight against the enemy is hard, let’s not make it worse by getting at odds with one another. One mind. One spirit. United. Let that be our goal.
Tomorrow’s reading is Philippians 2.
Continue reading “One Mind, One Spirit”
Today’s reading is Galatians 1.
There are plenty of things parading as good news, but only one really is good news. There are plenty of things that offer hope, but only one that really is hope. There are plenty of things that claim to give good guidance and help through life and into eternity, but only one that really shepherds you into God’s presence. Do not be deceived. Do not be duped. Do not be taken in. Get in God’s Word for yourself. Learn the one, the only, the true Good News that comes from God Himself through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Then walk in the hope that only God can give and look forward to an eternity that only God’s will experience. And hang on to it no matter what anyone or anything else says, offers, or promises. God’s good news works. And it is the only good news that does.
Tomorrow’s reading is Galatians 2.
Continue reading “Only One Good News”
Today’s reading is Acts 15.
Today’s reading contains what is to me one of the most shocking events in all the Bible. It isn’t shocking to me that people, even Christians, disagreed. It isn’t shocking that they debated. The shocking point to me is when it says, “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church…” Despite the disagreement and debate, this congregation came to unity. That shocks me. It has been my experience when people disagree, they don’t come to unity, they dig in and polarize even more. Just look at the American religious landscape with hundreds of denominations all claiming to be Christian. The key in Acts 15 is these brothers and sisters were more concerned about following God’s way than proving their own way. I need to learn that. God’s way works, not mine.
Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 16.
Continue reading “God’s Way, Not Mine”
Today’s reading is 1 John 5.
“I just can’t stand brother ______________!” “I despise sister _______________!”
Hey, I get it; brothers and sisters can be a pain sometimes. Sometimes they are weird. Sometimes they are mean. Sometimes they are having a bad day. An off moment occurs, and we decide we don’t like them and don’t want to be around them. However, John gives us a pretty clear litmus test. If we don’t love those who are born of God, we don’t love God. Perhaps the best thing to remember is sometimes we are a pain. Sometimes we are weird. Sometimes we are mean. Sometimes we have bad days. Don’t we want our brothers and sisters to love us anyway? Maybe we need to talk to the brother or sister about the behavior that upset us so much or maybe we just need to get over it and not take it personally. In any event, we must not deceive ourselves. If we love God, we’ll love His children.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 John 1.
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Today’s reading is John 17.
“I do not ask for these only,” Jesus prayed, “but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” Do you know who Jesus is praying for right there? He is praying for you and me. We believe through the words of these apostles. That is so cool. Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus was praying for us. Of course, what did He pray? That we would be united. Our unity in Him is a huge testimony to the world that God really did send Jesus. Of course, this can’t be just some kind of stated unity, it needs to be the kind of unity the Father, Son, and Spirit actually had. That being said, it should really blow our minds that when Jesus prayed for us, He prayed for unity. Let’s lean into that prayer, get out Jesus’s Word, and get united.
Tomorrow’s reading is John 18.
Continue reading “Jesus Prayed for Us”