Philippians 2:12-18 Video Devotional

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
 
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:12-18)
 
Despite the fact that many, many places have been shut down or closed for the foreseeable future, there are still many people working – and I am not referring to those able to work remotely or even those who some don’t think should be working. I am referring to those who are putting their safety on the line to make sure people can still see a doctor, get groceries, stay safely in your home; to name a few.
 
There are people who are putting their lives on the line to make sure that the rest of us can survive. The vast majority of them are doing this without extra pay, reward, or kudos. Yet, they are pouring their lives out for us. Christ is the only one who can offer us eternal salvation, but many are giving a lot for us right now. This is similar to the understanding that those in the military put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedoms of our country.
 
This would be a good time to remember those people and show our gratitude. If you know someone who is serving others during this time, use the comment section to say thanks! or share some love. You don’t need to mention their name, but please, tell their story.


Philippians 2:5-11 Video Devotional

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
 
Friends, God’s got this. Jesus calmed the storm as if it was nothing to Him. He speaks and the wind and the waves obey. He spoke and the world came to be. He spoke and forgiveness was a reality! For Jesus to go through what He went through (beautifully spoken in today’s passage) shows us that we are important to Him. If we are important to Him, what is going on now is important to Him.
 
If it is important to Jesus, then you can trust that He is actively participating in this world and working everything out for good. How have you seen GOOD in your world recently?


Philippians 1:27-2:4 Video Devotional

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
 
Yesterday’s devotional looked at how Paul was participating in the life of Jesus; today’s turns the focus to our participation with Christ in His suffering and how we are to live it out. Unity is the key repeated theme in this section: stand firm in one spirit, one mind, having the same love in full accord. Put others and their interests first.
 
Nita and I are currently in the middle of a home purchase negotiation. Yes, it is a difficult and interesting process during the current health and financial crisis, but what has stood out more is our unity through this process. We have always been pretty good about being on the same page with things, but God has given us a seemingly supernatural bond of unity. He has also very clearly steered this process, making it clear that this is something He wants us to follow through.
 
As we unify with Christ, the church (His body of believers) will visibly become more unified. This can be seen in both local and global contexts. We have seen this is our church for the last couple of years, specifically, where we have witnessed and enjoyed a familial unity that has led to significant deepening of people’s faith as well as a growth of those who are seeking real unity in Christ.
 
How have you seen unity in your life with other people as a result of your focus on the deeper life with Jesus?


Philippians 1:12-26 Video Devotional

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:19-20)

As a kid, I always wanted to be in Atlanta in the summer and be at every Braves’ baseball game. I loved it – had a passion for it (some might say I still do). Since I couldn’t be there is person, I figured I would participate with them as best as I could. To me, that meant grabbing my baseball bat, standing in the living room, and copying the batting stance and swing of whomever was up to bat. My personal favorite was copying Chipper Jones’ swing. That’s how I learned to be a switch hitter. I wasn’t there and I didn’t know anyone personally, but I felt that I was participating with them by standing there and swinging like they did.

That is just the fantasy of a baseball fan – a kid who loved the game. Paul, in the first chapter of his letter to the church in Philippi, showed them through his example what it meant to participate in the life of Christ. Living out the calling of Jesus on your life, despite the difficulties and suffering you will encounter is the best way to participate and connect with Christ. Some may do it for selfish ambition, but if you do it to participate with Christ, there will be a mighty reward waiting for you at your promotion.

The reward? Jesus Himself. We see only partially now, but one day it will be complete and clear, and incredible! Honor Christ with your life, which right now includes a self-quarantine lifestyle and social distancing. But Christ can still be preached, so make sure you are living His life out loud.

Please comment and let me know how you are living your faith out loud during this time of social distancing!



Philippians 1:1-11 Video Devotional

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
 
Nobody really likes change. It is difficult and sometimes violent; certainly it never waits until we are ready for it. There was no one sitting there, ready and waiting for COVID-19 to start. And yet it did anyway, catching the world off guard and forcing us all to change on the fly. It has created challenges and difficulties, yet has provided us an opportunity.
 
Scripture teaches us that God is consistently working in us for our growth as Christians. We are not a finished product and won’t become one until we reach Glory. So what is the best opportunity for growth? Challenge. And challenge is a natural by-product of change. Though difficult and possibly even scary, we are being given an opportunity to grow through this event and come out of it closer to God in our relationship with Him, as well as being better sharers of the grace and love He offers us freely.
 
The church in Philippi faced many challenges in their day. There was resistance and persecution, at least enough that it caught Paul’s attention (while he himself was in jail) and spawned a letter to them encouraging them in their situation and reminding them that discipleship is not a one-time thing. It is a lifetime of growing in the Lord, and the difficulties we face help mold us daily into looking more like Him.
 
Yes, we are all facing challenges. I hope that you seem them as such, and as reminders that the more we turn towards God, the more of Him we will get and the more benefit experiences like this will give us. Stay healthy, but stay actively engaged in your relationship with the Creator. He is working this situation out for good in your life; both now and eternally.
 
Your challenge today is to read all 4 chapters of Philippians. Read the book straight through and let me know that you did. Blessings to you all!


1 Kings 18:21 Video Devotional

“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)
 
This story is without question one of my favorite. I go back to it again and again and each time I am awed by the power God displays. This is a perfect story to use today to remind us of who is truly in charge of things. I challenge you to read the whole story in 1 Kings 18, then answer the question below.
 
What is your favorite Bible story? Which story gives you the strongest sense of the power of God at work? We would love to hear from you!


Matthew 6:25-34 Video Devotional

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
 
Bobby McFerrin sung the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, but by now I am sure that most everyone sees that as a trite message. When you are not getting paid and aren’t able to pay bills, but are also worried about protecting yourself and your family from getting sick, the song probably doesn’t bring you much joy. It’s a good thing Jesus brings more than a song. Though we don’t know what it will look like, we do know that He promises to take care of us. And that is enough.
 
In all situations, He teaches us to seek God first above whatever we may be dealing with at the time, which also includes the coronavirus scare. His promises will survive all! He is faithful and just and we can trust Him. So, today, seek God. Cast your worries on Him and know that, in the end, it will all be ok. Blessings to you!


Exodus 12:40-42 Video Devotional

“The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.” (Exodus 12:40-42)
 
Sitting here at my desk, it is difficult to put my mind around the next few months and how to make it through this time. It literally feels like forever. Yet it is only a couple of months. Imagine trying to picture the idea of waiting 430 years! That’s how long the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Every moment of every day they were holding their breath, unsure of what would happen next and constantly waiting for their rescue. It must have been excruciating. Yet, through it all, God was right by their side, feeling their pain with them, but putting together the perfect solution that would ultimately help them understand the sacrifice Jesus would make on the cross. God passes over the Christians’ sin because we are hidden in Christ.
 
I am with you; this waiting is hard. But we can do it, because we know that God is working out something good for us, as well as showing the whole world His greatness and glory. People will come to faith in Jesus as a result of this difficult time. God is faithful and will work it all out for His purposes and glory – and one of His main purposes is to bring life and healing to people.
 
So, let’s be patient together, bearing one another in love, gentleness and humility (Ephesians 4:2).


1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Video Devotional

 

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

We can be calm in the midst of this viral storm because we know that our God is fully in charge. Through His Spirit, we can rise above the fears and anxiety of the world and not live in the craziness, and live out loud the gospel of Jesus. Whatever you are doing, make sure to do it for God’s glory – which is most clearly seen in our calling to be salt and light to all people in all situations, so that many can be saved. Though quarantined, we still interact with many people in many different ways. Let’s remember to be extra loving and gracious during times like this. Show people by your actions that the love is Christ is the calming security that people so desperately need right now. Even if it impedes you.

As always, “this is the day the Lord has made; so let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Live that out loud so others can see that our King really is in charge of this world.