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PHILIPPIANS

The Book of Philippians Has LEGS

Paul wrote four prison epistles: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. Philippians is the "joy" book where the word "joy" or "rejoice" is repeated about 19 times. Philippians is also known to have LEGS for the following reasons:

Chapter 1:  Jesus is my Life.  "For me to live is Christ . . ." (Philippians 1:21)

Chapter 2:  Jesus is my Example.  "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)

Chapter 3: Jesus is my Goal.  "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

Chapter 4: Jesus is my Strength:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

With a foundation like that, we too, have LEGS to stand on.
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Every Remembrance of You
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. (Philippians 1:3)

Admittedly, there are some things we want to forget. Admittedly, there are some people we want to forget. When we think of them, we think of the evil things they have done to us. On the other hand, there are some people who when we think of them, we can't help but thank God that He has seen fit for them to cross our paths.

Every time Paul thought of the Philippians or every time someone mentioned them, he would be reminded of their love for him and the kind way they treated him. He never forgot their spirit or the fruit they bore.

Even while complimenting the Philippians, Paul went directly to the source of their friendship. He thanked his God every time he thought of the Philippians.

Do you have such people in your life? Do you remember some people and immediately go directly into prayer because of their kindness? Better yet, do  people thank God for every remembrance of you?
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Motivated Discontentment
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. (Philippians 1:12)

Have you ever been bothered by what you see going on in your home, school, office, church or community? What makes matters worst is that no one else seems to be concerned about it; only you. You say to yourself, "Why can't others see it? Don't they care"?

A story is told about a helpless girl in a park. People were walking past her day after day and no one stopped to help her. When one man finally had compassion to help, he asked the little girl why no one stopped before. The little said, "I am an angel, and you are the only one who can see me." Based on that story, everybody cannot see what needs fixing. And there is a reason for it. The need has your name on it. God has orchestrated certain things to happen in your midst for only you to see. Instead of seeing and doing something about the situation, we spend too much time wondering why somebody else doesn't see it. In order for things to get done, we must be motivated by discontent.

What is motivated discontentment? Motivated discontentment is being so concerned about an issue that it causes you to become driven to do something about it. Your motivated discontentment might be the first step to promote change. As long as you are content, you are not motivated to change anything. You are at peace. You are at rest. Then God opens only your eyes to the fallacy, the impropriety, the wrongness and even the wickedness. When you see with your own eyes what the problem is, it is at that point that you should become motivated to initiate change.

Great inventions and great discoveries are results of somebody's motivated discontentment. Motivated discontentment is good for us. Motivated discontentment is usually part of God's plan to establish His kingdom here on earth.

Is there discontentment in your life? Be motivated by it!
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Invisible Chains
So that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ. (Philippians 1:13)

Paul did not hesitate to tell people he was in chains. He was in chains in two ways. First of all, he was physically chained to two Romans soldiers while under house arrest. Secondly, and most importantly, he was a slave to Christ. We know the definition of a slave is one who has lost his liberty and has no rights; or a servant. Paul frequently described himself as a "servant,"  "bondservant," or "slave." He mentioned being in "chains" not in a negative way but as a way of letting people that he was committed to the service of Jesus Christ. Paul acknowledged that the Savior had power over him.

Some of us wear invisible chains. We wear invisible chains not because we are slaves to Christ but slaves to sin. (John 8:34) Some of us wear invisible chains because we are in bondage to other people. Some of us wear invisible chains because we are in bondage to other causes. Some of us wear invisible chains because we are in bondage to ourselves.

Sin is both the cause and the effect of bondage. It is sin to be a bondservant to anything else other than to Christ. Why?  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36 KJV)

If you are wearing invisible chains, now is the time to take them off. It might be as simple as merely asking your master for the key. Other cases might be harder and require the help of the Master.
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Identity Theft
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

The movie, "Identity Theft" premiered last night on the Lifetime television network. It is based on the true story about Michelle Brown who walked into an office one afternoon to fill out a simple rental form and handed it to the receptionist.  It took only a few minutes for the receptionist to invade Michelle Brown's privacy and steal her life.

The receptionist's goal was to become Michelle Brown. She changed her name to Michelle Brown, received a driver's license in her name, brought an identical car with Michelle Brown's money, charged thousand of dollars worth of jewelry and even bought a house compliments of Michelle Brown. Since she wanted to be Michelle Brown so badly she had surgery to look like Michelle Brown. When she was caught transporting narcotics, she was arrested as Michelle Brown.

Identity thief is not just a good plot for a movie. It happens all the time. People take our personal and financial information and use it as their own to get the things they want. In the movie, there was one thing that could not be taken from the real Michelle Brown . . . her inner being. Yes, the thief duplicated as much as possible the tangible things, but Michelle Brown possessed an inner beauty that showed up in her attempt to help the thief and to keep her from suicide.

Several life applications are evident from the movie and from this message. #1 Be careful to protect yourself from identity thief. #2 Realize someone can use your identity to duplicate you externally. But no one can duplicate your soul. #3 Know that there is an identity that is worth duplicating. It is an identity one can take on without committing a crime. Be like Jesus. Take on the character of Jesus. Take on the attributes of Jesus. Take on the mind of Jesus. And that's no identity theft.
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The Mind of Christ
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

As Christians, we should have the "mind of Christ." No one can really understand God and comprehend all the mysteries of God, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believers have insight into some of God's plans, thoughts, and actions when they have the "mind of Christ." We take on the "mind of Christ" when we spend time with God through the reading and studying of God's word. We develop an intimate relationship that results in having the "mind of Christ."

The "mind of Christ" is characterized by purity and truth. What you put into your mind determines what comes out in your words and actions. Think only those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8).
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Mind Like Christ
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.  Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people.  Like Christ, we should have a servant's attitude out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear.  Remember, you can choose your attitude.  You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others.

Which will you choose?
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Attitude Depends on Altitude
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Have you ever wondered when someone's disposition is not as sweet as we would like it to be, we say, "She/he has an attitude!" Well, everyone has an attitude . . . whether good, bad, or indifferent.  An attitude is the manner of carrying oneself which is evident by one's mood, feelings, or action.

Jesus is our perfect example. What kind of attitude did He exhibit? What characterized His behavior toward others? The attitude of Jesus was selfless, sacrificial and serving.  Our Lord and Savior constantly thought of others.  On the cross, His first words were of forgiveness for those who had put Him there.  He thought of the repentance thief, his mother and His beloved disciples.  And of course, He thought of YOU and ME. Jesus had a selfless, sacrificial and serving attitude towards us.

Check your attitude.  Do you have the mind of Christ Jesus?  Change your thinking from things of this world and think on those higher things.  Then your ALTITUDE will affect your ATTITUDE.
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God's Idea or Yours?
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Many people have trouble distinguishing between what God wants them to do and what they really want to do themselves. That might be challenging when you first belong to God, but after spending time with Him and developing an intimate personal relationship, recognizing what God wants will become more apparent.

Don't you know more about your special friends now than when you first met? Haven't you learned more about your spouse by having spent time with him/her? (Some people say husbands and wives even begin to look alike after having being married for a long time).

It is the same way with spending time with Jesus.  You begin to look like Him.  You begin to follow His example. You begin to know His thoughts.  In fact, your thoughts become so infused with His thoughts that the mind that is in you becomes the same as that was in Christ Jesus.
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Thinking God's Way
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

Everything we do begins with a thought.  What we allow our minds to dwell on will eventually lead to an action of some kind.  Therefore, we should let our mind be aligned with the mind of God.  We should think God's way in order to please Him.  Jesus thought of pleasing His Father in everything He said or did.  His mind was always tuned in to what His Father wanted.

When we think God's way, we do not copy the behavior and customs around us. We are not conformed to this world. Instead, we become transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  We keep our minds stayed, fixed, focused on God and on His Son, Jesus.  In a world where there is trouble everywhere, we can still be free when we think and act in a way that is acceptable and pleasing to God.
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Excuse Me, Your Bad Attitude is Showing
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

You have probably heard the expression, "He has an attitude," or "She has an attitude today." The point of the matter is that everyone has an attitude. The question is: "Is one's attitude good or bad?" However, when one says, "He has an attitude," it generally means, it's a bad attitude. But why does it have to be? Why can't a person's attitude be good more often than bad.

An attitude, after all, is a position of the body or manner of carrying oneself, indicative of a mood. In other words, how you feel comes out through your body. What's on your mind shows up in the way you walk, the way you talk, and the way others view you. Your attitude is the outward showing of your inner thoughts and ideas. Therefore, in order to display a good attitude, your mind must be on good things.

With these points to consider, wouldn't it be better to let goodness and kindness and love and compassion seep through you rather than hatred, bitterness and wickedness? Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. How was his attitude?  Jesus was humble with a serving attitude. He had compassion on people and took on the very nature of a servant and became obedient to the death of the cross . . . all for you and me.  (Philippians 2:6-8).

The next time someone speaks about your attitude, let it be your GOOD attitude rather than a bad one.
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Down To Earth
Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7)

It is a compliment to be told, "You are down to earth."  The Greek word for "humble" is "humus" which means "dirt" or "earth."  When we are humble and exemplify humility we are "down to earth."  Jesus is the perfect example of humility; for He was already in a high place, but He made Himself nothing, came "down to earth" and took the very nature of a servant. He emptied Himself of all his royalty to become humble. He became one of us to save all of us.

In order for us to be humble we need to be "down to earth."  We must recognize our true sinful nature and need for God's grace. Humility is thus a continual appreciation of our need for the Savior and of our need to always depend upon Him. A final note: A test to determine that you are NOT humble is to say that you are. Humility is an attitude; an action; a lifestyle; NOT merely a verbal admission. Therefore, it is all right for others to say you are humble ("down to earth"), but you are not to describe yourself that way. By doing so proves that you are NOT. Jesus never SAID he was humble. He SHOWED it by His example.
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What's the Difference Between Reputation and Character?
Jesus made himself of no reputation, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness... (Philippians 2:7)

Most people strive all their lives to make a good reputation for themselves. Some achieve that goal, but some never do. In the long run we will all agree that your reputation is what people say about you, but your character is what you really are.

In the above scripture, Jesus didn't care what people said about Him. He had it all in heaven, but He gave it all up to become a substitute for us. He gave up His reputation and took on the very nature of a servant so that we might focus not on our reputation but on our own character; on our own true self.

When in doubt about what you should strive to build up, let it be your character. Remember, your reputation is what people say about you (the good, the bad and the ugly), but your character is what your really are deep down within.
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Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
And being found in the appearance of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)

Richard Carlson says in his book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, "Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion. A stranger, for example, might cut in front of you in traffic. Rather than let it go, and go on with our day, we convince ourselves that we are justified in our anger. We play out an imaginary confrontation in our mind. Many of us even tell someone else about the incident later on rather than simply let it go."

Many other "small stuff" examples often occur in our homes, churches and on our jobs. We should let the "small stuff" go and spend more time helping someone get saved so they can spend eternity with God. Instead of majoring on the minors, re-evaluate what has you in a tizzy and take Richard Carlson's advice. He tells us plainly and clearly, "Don't sweat the small stuff." Then he concludes, "It's all small stuff."

Jesus did the "big stuff" so we won't have to sweat the "small stuff." Unless you have died on a cross to save a whole world, you really don't have anything to complain about. In comparison to what Jesus went through to set us free, it truly is all small stuff.
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The Name
God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name." (Philippians 2:9)

There has been much controversy over Franklin Graham's praying in the name of Jesus at the last Presidential Inauguration. To prove that has not backed down on his position, he explains the significance of the name of Jesus in his recent published book, The Name. 

The New Testament clearly illustrates that the name of Jesus is paralleled to the character of Jesus. People call upon the name of Jesus for salvation (Acts 2:21), for forgiveness (I John 2:12), and put their faith in the name of Jesus (John 1:12). Believers are to glorify the name of Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:12), ask for anything in the name of Jesus (John 14:14), and give thanks for and do everything in the name of Jesus (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17).

There is something about that name. Whether people believe in Jesus now or not, we will all stand before God's judgment seat and "every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord" (Philippians 2:10) because God has exalted Him to the highest place and given Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9).
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From Humiliation to Exaltation
Therefore God EXALTED him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name . . . (Philippians 2:9)

On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached a powerful sermon.  Three thousand people were added to the church that day. In his next sermon, 5,000 people repented and gave their lives to the Lord. In Peter's sermons he explained the life of Jesus in two broad stages: His humiliation and His exaltation.  HUMILIATION implies that Jesus Christ voluntarily renounced the glories of heaven to be born in the human race in order to suffer and die for us. But then came His EXALTATION. He rose victorious from the dead, returned to heaven and now sits in the place of honor at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

What does this all mean for us? It means that "if we suffer with Christ, we will also reign with Him" (2 Timothy 2:12). It also means that Jesus is already Lord of all, and we need to accept Him into our lives.  When we do that, we can know without a shadow of doubt that our humiliation on this earth is just a light affliction compared to our reigning eternally with the One who Himself took on humiliation that we might be exalted.
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Appointment to Keep
. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

In the business world, there are schedules to make, itinaries to follow, telephone calls to make, people to meet, and appointments to keep.  One can become so overwhelmed with such a hectic life that God is pushed aside.  All day long you make your deals and sign your contracts and you think that's all there is to life. 

The above scripture is quite clear about one appointment that all of us must keep one day.  That appointment is to come face to face with Jesus.  If we are in the habit of bowing before Him now, it will not be an ordeal to kneel before Him then.  There is absolutely no escaping it.  Every knee must bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. 

Make room for one more appointment in your busy schedule.  Make room for the ONE who made room for YOU. He had YOU on His mind when He died on the cross for you.  He kept His appointment. Won't you keep yours?
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Clues Are In Your High School Yearbook
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

Who we are today and what we do today has a lot to do with who we were yesterday. This does not say that one cannot change, but most of us have some of the same habits and patterns that have been with us all our lives.

Many clues to who you are today are found in your high school yearbook. During those formative years, you were among people who told you the truth about who you were. How did your teachers and classmates autograph your high school yearbook? What did your teachers write about you in your yearbook? What were their predictions for your future based on who you were then? Look at your pictures. What activities were you involved in? The answers to these questions provide many clues to who you are and what you do today.

Case in point: In my high school yearbook (Class of 1963, Central High School, Sussex, VA), there were pictures of me for the newspaper staff, yearbook staff, senior class secretary, National Honor Society, writer of the class history, writer of the class will, and writer of the class prophecy. Above my senior picture, these words were written: "Writing is like religion. Everyone who feels the call must work out his own salvation." I am a writer and my life's work is centered around religion. I have felt the call, and I have worked out my own salvation. However, at 17 did I really know what my life work would be? I didn't know for sure, but somebody did!

Take a look at your high school yearbook. Clues are there to help you determine who you really are and what you were created to do. Are you living up to what was written about you?
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Will You Will to Will the Will of God?
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

We must admit it is not always easy to do the will of God. Sometimes God's will is in great competition with our own will. We would rather do what we want to do than to do the things God wants us to do.

There are some things God has specifically told us to do that we refuse to do. Even though God told us we should forgive someone who has hurt us, we simply won't it. We hoard our possessions instead of sharing or giving to those who have not. It is not easy to do the will of God. It is not easy to refrain from responding in anger when provoked. It is not an easy thing to start a Bible study for our neighbors or do any of the other things God commands in His word or speaks to our hearts. Yes, these things are hard to do, but God never asks us to do anything that He does not help us to do.

When we purpose to at least be willing to desire what God wants instead of what we want, God steps in and "works in us both to will and to act for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). All we have to do is to will to will the will of God. When we surrender, God takes over and causes us not only to WANT to do His will, but He also helps us to PERFORM His will.

Can you accept the truth that you don't really want God's will in every area of your life? Can you set your mind to want it and ask God to change your heart? Will you will to will the will of God?
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Is Complaining A Sin?
Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14)

We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) in the area of complaining and arguing. We have complained in the past, and if we keep on living we will still complain about something or somebody. However, we don't want to make it a lifestyle. We don't want to be described as a person who complains all the time.

Complaining is a sin; otherwise, the Bible would not have told us to "Do everything without complaining or arguing."  Why do we complain? Complaining can become a habitual response to stress. The Israelites encountered danger, lack of food and water and other inconveniences in the wilderness. This resulted in complaining. There is a difference between making a statement about something and turning it into a complaint. We fail in that we do not take the complaint to the proper source; to someone who can do something about the situation. Instead we go on and on about why something wasn't done or why it was done or whose fault it was. That's complaining! When we are unsatisfied with the way things are going, it is easier to complain about it than to do something about it. Complaining is the ONLY contribution some people can make.

Why, then, is complaining a sin? Complaining is a sin because it takes the place of seeking God. Complaining is a sin because it shows a lack of trust in God. Complaining is a sin because it is harmful to our spiritual development. Complaining zaps us of the energy that could be used to resolve the problem. Complaining is a sin because it weakens the spirit of those who constantly have to listen to the complaints.

Is complaining a sin? Without a doubt!

Put up a sign right now that reads: "Complaint Department Closed."
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Why Whine About It?
Do everything WITHOUT complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14)

There is only one thing worse than hearing an adult whine. And that is hearing a Christian adult whine. Some Christian adults whine about everything; things that shouldn't even concern them. They whine about the weather, the price of gas, the length of the Sunday Worship Service, the kind of car the pastor drives, the clothes the pastor wears and the list goes on. What they need to do is to replace that whining with something else...the word of God.

Whining is complaining in its worst form. It is consistently griping and murmuring. Oftentimes whining is a habit; nevertheless a bad thing to do. If the truth be told, whining has nothing to do with what the person is complaining about. Whining is an external manifestation of an internal problem. The whiner has some unfulfilled desire that has not been met. Something is missing and that something has been replaced with a whine.

What are some alternatives to whining? Ask God to show you the real reason that you whine. Ask God to fulfill the need in your life that causes you to whine. Then begin to trust God. When you cut out the whining, you will find your life characterized by purity, patience, and peace. When you cut out the whining, your life will shine like a bright light in a dark and perverse world.

The choice is yours. . . . to shine or to whine!
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The Great Exchange
. . . not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. (Philippians 3:9)

As the prophet Isaiah said, "We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6).  We cannot be righteous in the sight of God on our own merits.  Therefore, we must have God's righteousness imputed, or transferred  to us. "The great exchange" took place at Calvary while Jesus was being crucified on the cross. He took on our sin.  We took on His righteousness.

We did not become righteous because of our goodness. We did not become righteous because of the amount of money we give to the church.  We did not because righteous because of the number of little old ladies we helped across the street.  We became righteous because Jesus who knew no sin took on our sin and gave us His righteousness in its place.  We believe this by faith in God who created us and faith in Jesus who saved us by His blood and faith in the Holy Spirit who reveals all things to us.
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Which Order?
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

Order can come in many forms. There is chronological order, sequential order, ascending order, descending order, linear order, circular order, and reverse order to name a few examples.

When we say Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we have put it in the reverse order. Before Jesus can be your Lord, He has to be your Savior first.

We usually cite the activities surrounding Jesus' death in this order: death, burial, and resurrection. Notice the interesting way Paul states the sequence of the activites in the above verses. While Jesus' disciples followed the more logical sequence as we do, Paul starts with the resurrection of Jesus and ends with our own resurrection. He went in reverse order: from Jesus' resurrection to the cross. Paul used this approach because He wanted to get right to the power of the resurrection. Without the resurrection, there could be no salvation, and without the cross, there could be no resurrection.

The cross was always the center of Paul's messages, but when it came to his personal knowledge he admits, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection." Let's make that our ultimate want as well.

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"I Have A Dream"
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech what so many of us have said or thought at one time or another.
 
Having a dream simply means looking forward to something attainable. If we don't have a dream, we live idly by wishing and hoping but not expecting anything concrete to happen.
 
Each one of us who lives and breaths at this particular moment should have a dream or a goal in mind for the future. You might have the dream or goal, but it becomes even more meaningful when others are involved. Dr. King's dream involved people of all ages, races, and nationalities. However, like Dr. King, your dream might not be fulfilled during your own lifetime, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything possible to make it happen.
 
Abraham's covenant, Moses' mission, Jesus' work beyond the cross, and Dr. King's dreams have all been effective after their death. Yet all of them set the groundwork for us to follow in their footsteps.
 
Today and everyday, continue dreaming. Today and everyday, do something (no matter how minute) toward the fulfillment of your dream.

Christian Inertia
All of you who are mature should take such a view of thing. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Philippians 3:15-16)

Inertia is the power to resist change. If one is in a resting state and not moving, inertia will keep the person in that particular state. If one is moving, inertia will keep the person moving. Therefore, it is safe to say that whatever state you are in whether resting or moving, the only thing that can cause a change is an external force because inertia will keep you in the state you are in.
 
"The principle of inertia" is described by Sir Isaac Newton in Newton's First Law of Motion which says: "An object that is not subject to any outside forces moves at a constant velocity, covering equal distances in equal times along a straight-line path." Therefore, inertia means "A body in motion tends to remain in motion while a body at rest tends to remain at rest."
 
What does inertia have to do with Christianity? A lot! Have you seen some Christians who do nothing in their churches, in their communities or in the Kingdom of God? Let's not be so quick to judge them. They can't help themselves because of inertia. On the other hand, have you seen non-stoppable Christians who do everything for everybody on every given day? That's Christian inertia. They can't stop! The only thing that will change both of these situations is an external force. Sometimes the external force is unwelcomed, but it is necessary to break the pattern of inertia.
 
God knows about the pitfalls of inertia. That why He allows external forces to come into our lives to change the pattern of our behavior. If we aren't moving, God knows how to jump start us to get us going again. If we are moving too fast, God knows how to slow us down.
 
If you are experiencing Christian inertia, be prepared for an external force to change the pattern of your behavior. When it happens, don't fret. It's God's way of telling you to move ahead or to slow down. You'll know which is which when the time comes.

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Reaching for the Prize
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

We all have done things for which we are ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and what we want to be. However, we can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us to become. Let's not dwell on the past. Instead, let's grow in the knowledge of God by focusing on our relationship with God right here right now. Let's move on to a life of faith and obedience.  Let's look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life because of our hope in Christ.  Let's not be distracted by earthly activities. Instead, let's press toward the goal to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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From Disappointment to Appointment
Forgetting what is behind and pressing toward what is ahead... (Philippians 3:13b)

We don't like disappointments. We don't welcome disappointments. But disappointments happen! When we go through disappointments, it is difficult to understand that disappointments sometimes can help us move forward. So, how can a disappointment become an appointment?

You must admit that where you are right now is the result of some disappointment in the past. For instance, you probably have your current job because you became disappointed or unsatisfied with your former job.  The house you live in today is probably the result of your disappointment with your past living conditions. Perhaps you are in a different church because you became disappointed where you used to go. What about the car you now drive? Usually people get new cars when they become disappointed with their old one. So you see, the appointment you have today might never have happened had you not been disappointed.

Let your disappointment at one thing become an appointment for something better. Look at a disappointment as a closed door. Then remember when one door closes, a better one opens. Don't stand there looking at the closed door that represents your disappointment. Instead, walk through that opened door into a new appointment.

An appointment is really a disappointment with the bad things removed. So be willing to erase the "dis" from your "appointment."
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"I Have A Dream"
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech what so many of us have said or thought at one time or another.
 
Having a dream simply means looking forward to something attainable. If we don't have a dream, we live idly by wishing and hoping but not expecting anything concrete to happen.
 
Each one of us who lives and breaths at this particular moment should have a dream or a goal in mind for the future. You might have the dream or goal, but it becomes even more meaningful when others are involved. Dr. King's dream involved people of all ages, races, and nationalities. However, like Dr. King, your dream might not be fulfilled during your own lifetime, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything possible to make it happen.
 
Abraham's covenant, Moses' mission, Jesus' work beyond the cross, and Dr. King's dreams have all been effective after their death. Yet all of them set the groundwork for us to follow in their footsteps.
 
Today and everyday, continue dreaming. Today and everyday, do something (no matter how minute) toward the fulfillment of your dream.

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"Off the Chain"
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

At least once per day someone tells me, "It was off the chain." This expression is used to describe something as being too good to be true or exceptional or superb in some way. I can't determine why, but for some reason, that expression doesn't meet with my spirit. While it is quite acceptable in many circles, it does something to me when I ask a Christian, "How was your worship service today?" and the response is, "It was off the chain." "What were the sermon text and topic or some points in the sermon?" I may ask. The response goes like this, "All I know about the sermon is that it was off the chain."

I have never heard anyone explain the expression, but I imagine it is much like the chain on a saw or a bicycle. Taken literally, "off the chain" means something isn't working at all or it doesn't work properly. How can something be "on the mark" if it is "off the chain"? So, then is being "off" good?

Is "off the chain" kin to "off the chart" or "off the hook"? Does being "off" mean you are "right on"? Personally, I believe being "off" of anything connotes something negative instead of positive. Being "off" is the opposite of being "on"..."on target," "on the mark," "on time," "on purpose," or "on task." I prefer to be "right on" than "off" of anything.

How do you explain "off the chain"? Help me understand the expression, "off the chain" because I make it a habit not to use expressions I don't understand.
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"Who Is The Champion?"
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Everyone likes being a champion at something; whether it is a computer game, a race, a tennis match, or playing basketball.

At the end of the games I play with my four-year old grandson, AJ, I usually sing, "Who is the champion?" And he sings back, "Oh, it's me!" whether he wins or not. Then I sing to him, "Oh, it's me!" We go back and forth a few minutes until we conclude that both of us are champions.

In many contests, prizes are given only to the champions, but not to the other contestants. Champions receive monetary prizes, trophies, certificates, or banners. This is not true in God's kingdom. Every Christian is a champion.  Every Christian is a winner! Every Christian is victorious!  And every Christian gets a prize even though it may come in different forms. One such form is having access to our Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If we are saved, we are all champions. So let's sing it the way AJ and I sing it, "Who is the champion?" Let's sing it all together . . . "Oh, it's me!"
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How to Be Victorious at Your Own Wimbledon
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

The twenty-one-year old Serena Williams was victorious over her twenty-three-year old sister, Venus at Wimbledon on Saturday, July 5, 2003. Serena won her second straight Wimbledon singles title under unusual conditions. This was a tough match in more ways than one. First of all, two sisters competed against each other. Secondly, Venus had to be taken from the court for a medical timeout because of abdominal pain and a hip injury. Naturally, this became a painful situation for the younger sister, but she NEVER looked toward Venus or her family during this entire time. She did not want to become distracted. However, she did continue to look toward the goal for the prize.

In interviews following Serena's victory at Wimbledon, she acknowledged how hard it was to win. "In the first set I had to stay in there. I knew she was injured but I just looked at the ball and nothing else." Paul said it first! "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." No matter what is going on around us, we MUST keep our eyes on God and stay true to our mission.

Neither Serena nor Venus woke up the day before and said, "Hey, let go play tennis and win at Wimbledon." It is apparent that if you want to win at your own Wimbledon, you must PREPARE yourself well in advance. Then you must be PATIENT and wait for Wimbledon. These two tennis players worked up to Wimbledon by competing in lesser matches before. You MUST go through a PROCESS.

In summary, let's PREPARE ourselves for the race we have to run. Let's be PATIENT as we wait for Wimbledon. Let's be willing to go through the PROCESS while keeping our eyes focused on God.

When we do these things, we will be victorious at our own Wimbledon.
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Pressing Toward the Goal
I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

This is often a misquoted scripture.  Many people say, "I press toward the prize . . ." but the scripture says, "I press toward the goal to win the prize" (NIV) or "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (KJV).

Paul uses the analogy of a runner in a race, running toward the goal to win the prize. Notice, the focus must be on the goal, not the prize.  The prize comes only after the goal has been met.  We must stay focused on the goal. In a race it is the finish line. In basketball it is getting the basketball in the basket.  In baseball it is getting back to home plate. What is your goal? Whatever your goal is, stay focused on it.  The prize is the award presented to the winner, and it comes after the goal has been reached.  We become distracted if we for one moment focus on the prize instead of the goal.  Can you image what would happen if a professional bowler or golfer loses concentration by focusing on the prize instead of the goal? While the prize is important, the focus should be on the goal . . . on the mark for the prize.

Stay focused on the goal of serving God through Jesus Christ, and the reward of eternal salvation with related blessings will surely come.
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What Should We Forget?
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Does God want us to forget all the bad things that have happened to us or ungodly activities we have been exposed to and have participated in? If so, how? Is there a deeper level that you go with God that will cause you to truly forget these things? What should we forget?

In the above scriptures, Paul makes it known to us that whatever he had accomplished in life is nothing compared to what he was looking forward to. He is not saying that what had happened in the past wasn't worth remembering. What he was saying is that IN COMPARISON TO a fuller and more meaningful life in Christ Jesus, we need not focus and get stuck in our past. In fact, the greatness of what is to come is such that we can forget what has happened. For example, a woman goes through much pain to have a baby, but after the baby comes she doesn't focus on the pain she has already experienced. Instead her focus is on the pleasure of her newborn baby. In comparison, the pleasure outweighs the pain.

Let's not get hung up on the past; for if we do, we will remain there. Let's focus on those things which are before us. That's the only way we can be uninhabited to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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Power For Christian Living
A Brief Bible Study From Philippians 4.  (Selected Verses)

Paul wrote 13 epistles, but Philippians is his "Joy" letter.  The word "joy" appears 19 times in this short book of only 4 chapters.  In Chapter 4, Paul teaches how Christians having joy may also have power.  The SOURCE of power is JOY.  "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, "Rejoice" (4:4).  The SECRET of power is PRAYER. "Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (4:6). Worry about nothing, but pray about everything. Make your requests known to GOD . . . not MAN.  The SANCTUARY of power is CHRIST. "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report, think on these things" (4:8).  Jesus is all those things. Think on Jesus.  The SATISFACTION of power comes THROUGH CHRIST. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me" (4:13).  The SUPPLY of power comes FROM GOD.  "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (4:19).

So that's your brief Bible Study from Philippians 4. May it help you to have a blessed day in the Lord.
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Rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.  (Philippians 4:4)

It seems strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to rejoice.  The above scripture was spoken by Paul while he was in prison.  Several times in this letter, Paul urges the Philippians to be joyful. His attitude teaches us an important lesson: our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances.  Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him.  We can be joyful in spite of our circumstances.

Ultimate joy comes from Christ who dwells within us.
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How to Renew Your Mind
Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. (Philippians 4:4)
Let your gentleness be evident to ALL. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)
Do not be anxious for anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)

There are many scriptures telling us to renew our minds because when we became saved, our minds were not saved. Therefore, we still have some stuff in our minds that should not be there. Some of our minds need to be emptied of evil thoughts that are lurking inside. Then we will be in the postion to take on the mind of Christ. That is not as hard as it seems.

Paul was in prison when he wrote the book of Philippians, but he was freer than those who were not behind bars. Paul knew that freedom begins with the renewing of one's mind. And he was burdened by those who were in bondage because of their troubled thoughts. So he wrote Philippians to give the principles of being free under all circumstances.

According to Philippians 4:4, Paul tells us to "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS." And just in case, you didn't get it the first time, Paul says, "Again I say rejoice." Notice, Paul said to rejoice IN THE LORD. To renew your mind, rejoice in the Lord who saved you from your sins.

According to Philippians 4:5, "Let your gentleness be evident to ALL. The Lord is near." God is omnipresent and He is always near to us. We tend to forget that when we are struggling. Knowing that God is always present should help us focus on the things of God instead of things of the world.

According to Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Paul advises us to trade in our anxiety for prayer. Pray IN every situation whether good or bad.

When we follow the instructions in the above consecutive scriptures written from prison, our minds WILL BE renewed.
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Rejoice! Rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

We can be joyful in spite of our circumstances.  It seems strange that Paul while in prison could tell the church to rejoice.  Paul's attitude teaches us an important lesson:  our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances.  Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him.  Joy comes from Christ dwelling in us.
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Be Anxious For Nothing
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, withthanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

If we followed this advice of Paul, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers would be unemployed. Even though Paul gave this advice to the church at Philipi many years ago, it is could save us a lot of pain, anguish and worry if we would follow his advice today.

The first part of this verse is a strong directive: Be anxious for nothing. Perhaps Paul forgot to say with the exception of those things that are really important to us such as our jobs, families, friends, ministries, etc. No, Paul was specific and inclusive. He said, “Be anxious for nothing.” And nothing means no thing. Paul suggests we are to let no thing cause us to be anxious. Like a good teacher, Paul does not make us try to figure out how to carry out his advice.

Paul gives us four (4) distinct ways how to be anxious for nothing:
  1. PRAYER: Pray about everything. In contrast to nothing meaning no thing, everything means every thing. There is no exclusion. Nothing is too great or too small to pray about. Remember what happened when the Israelites did not pray about the battle with the small city of Ai. The Israelites were defeated because they did not seek God’s guidance. (Joshua 7:3-26)
  2. SUPPLICATION: To supplicate means to cry out to God in earnest humility. Read the Psalms to understand how supplication works. David cried out to the Lord in his distress and received immediate peace.
  3. THANKSGIVING: When you thank God for His track record of delivering you from troubles in the past, you will have no reason to be anxious over present concerns.
  4.  REQUESTS: God wants us to make our petitions known to Him. Yes, God is an all-knowing God and He knows our needs before we request them. Never say, “God knows what I need.” God wants to hear YOU say it.
How to be anxious for nothing? Pray, cry out to God, thank God in every situation, and make your requests known to God. Then Paul assures us that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
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Removing and Replacing Worry
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers.  (Philippians 4:6)

Worry has become some people's daily activity.  It seems to be impossible not to worry about something — our job, our family, our church, our friends, our finances, etc. We worry about things that we should pray about instead.  We cannot remove worry until we replace it with something better: PRAYER. The above scripture reminds us to turn our worries into prayers.  So, if you want to worry less, then pray more. 

Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.  For you cannot worry and pray at the same time.
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What to Do About Anxiety
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Are you anxious? Are you stressed out? As much as you think you deserve it, think again. There is a better way. Through the mouth of Paul, God told us to be anxious for nothing. And what is nothing? It is NO THING. God wants us to be anxious for NO THING.
 
God knew it would be difficult for us to be anxious for nothing. That's why He gave four ways in one scripture for us not to be anxious.
  1.  By Prayer.  You can't be anxious and pray at the same time. Prayer is an antidepressant. It is the best tranquilizer in the world. And so less costly.
  2.  By Supplication. Supplication is a little stronger than the ordinary prayer. Supplication is the act of "crying out" to God. It is laying your burdens before God without the fear of condemnation.
  3.  By Giving Thanks. Thanking God should come at the same time we make our requests. It's an indication we have faith that our requests will be granted.
  4.  By Requests. A request is part of a prayer, but it shouldn't be the only thing in the prayer. After you pour out your love, devotion and thanksgiving to God, then make your requests known to Him.
Feeling anxious? Pray, Supplicate, Give Thanks and Make Requests to God.
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It Doesn't Pay to Worry
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers. (Philippians 4:6 TLB)

Some people worry about everything...health, home, family, friends, finances, job, school, church, etc. However, Paul shows us a better way. He advises us to replace our worry with prayers. If we want to worry less, then we should pray more.

When we worry, we demonstrate lack of faith in God. When we focus on problems, we worry. But when we focus on God and His goodness, we replace the worry with peace. We need to evaluate our focus.

When we worry, we fret and bring harm to ourselves. Worry damages our health, consumes our thoughts, disrupts our productivity, negatively affects the way we treat others, and reduces our ability to think effectively.

As you read this you might say, "I don't worry. I am just concerned." The difference between worry and genuine concern is this: Worry immobilizes and causes you to do nothing or to do something foolish. Genuine concern moves you to positive action.

It doesn't pay to worry. So, instead of worrying about what you cannot do, focus on what God can do!
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Cures for Worry
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Worry is defined as a mental distress resulting from deep concern over a matter.  It is persistent, and it is a nagging feeling that leaves us helpless and hopeless. Many of us worry about things we can't control. Many of us worry about things we can control but just haven't gotten around to doing so. All worry is sin because it is the opposite of faith. 

It is hard to stop worrying on your own.  Here are some scriptures that are definite cures for worry:
  1. Let the peace of God keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
  2. Renounce all worry and by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving make your requests known to God. (Philippians 4:6, James 4:7)
  3. Think on the right things. (Philippians 4:8) Thinking about God will keep your mind off yourself.
  4. Keep your mind stayed on God and there will be no room left for worry. (Isaiah 26:3)
  5. Use weapons of spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). The mind is the first place Satan attacks.
  6. Put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  7. Have faith in God. (Matthew 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24) Do not worry about your life, what you are going to eat, drink or wear.
  8. Live and walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 6:14-23; 8:1-13)
  9. Do not cast away your confidence. (Hebrews 3:6, 3:12-14, 6:11-12, 10:10-23, 10:35-39)
  10. Cast all your care upon God. (1 Peter 5:7) Give your worry to God and let Him handle your situation in His own way and in His own time.
Print and use this list every time you find yourself in a situation that causes you to worry. Remember, Jesus said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Matthew 6:34)
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Whatsoever Things Are . . .
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; it there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We are what we think. What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to fill our minds with thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy. Do you have a problem with impure thoughts and visions?  Examine and take inventory of what you have been feeding your mind through movies, television, books, magazines, office gossip and other conversations. Replace harmful input with wholesome and healthy material. God's Word is wholesome. God's Word is healthy. Focus your mind on whatever is true and honest. Before long, you will be the same way. It takes practice, but it can be done.
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Whatsoever Things Are True . . .
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are or a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

When people lie about you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When people bear false witness against you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When people are unfair to you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When people mistreat you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

What people are mean to you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When people have nothing good to say about you, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When vices replace virtues, repeat Philippians 4:8.

When you want to praise but just can't get started, repeat Philippians 4:8.

Instead of concentrating on the unfairness and injustice of this world, repeat and meditate on Philippians 4:8.
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True Contentment
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Contentment is defined as "satisfaction." It also means having a certain amount of gratification for the fulfillment of a desire, a need or an appetite. Contentment is therefore "the pleasure derived from such gratification."

True contentment is more spiritual than natural.  True contentment is looking on a hopeless situation and seeing a glimmer of light. True contentment is believing the promises of God before seeing the manifestations.  It is seeing from God's perspective instead of from our own. True contentment grows out of a humility and trust in God. True contentment is believing that God IS and God will always DO what He said He would do. True contentment grows out of a devotion to Christ with assurance of the guidance from the Holy Spirit.

To be truly content in all circumstances is to trust God with your whole heart and lean not to your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
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"I Think I Can!"
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

There is a valuable lesson in the children's book, The Little Engine That Could, for it gives a perfect example of moving uphill despite one's size and normal capabilities.  Even for a train, going uphill is extremely difficult.  If you remember the little book, you will recall that the little engine had to climb a very high hill.  It was almost impossible to do so with the little strength that the little engine had.  But all the time, the little engine continued to say, "I think I can!  I think I can! I think I can!" The hill was not easy to climb, so the little engine repeated, "I think I can!  I think I can! I think I can!" And you know the rest of the story.  The little engine DID climb the hill.

We are not trains. We are not engines, but we have something in us that is more powerful.  It is Jesus who helps us with our high hills and tall mountains.  We have Jesus within us to help us to do all things. He strengthens us and gives us that extra push as we climb. He is the wind beneath our wings. 

A lesson from the little engine: Believe that you can, and you will through Christ who strengthens you!
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Getting a Second Wind
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

How many of you have quoted the above scripture? How many of you have claimed it as one of your favorite scriptures? Third question: How many of you really know what it means?
 
Undoubtedly, many of you quote it without knowing the context surrounding the scripture or knowing what Paul had in mind when he wrote it. To set the record straight, Paul was in deep financial need. He remembered his time of feasting and gave God the glory. He remembered his time of famine and still gave God the glory. He admitted he was content in either state, but because of the latter one he needed God's divine assistance to continue his work. In other words, Paul needed a second wind. So he affirmed that he could do all things through the strength of Christ instead of through his own. He knew he could press on with the infusing of Christ's strength with his own weakened strength. The emphasis is on what Christ would do rather than on the "I" at the beginning of the sentence.
 
If you feel that you don't have the strength to go on, ask God to give you a second wind. And then affirm like Paul, "I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.



Ask God For Your Receipt
You Philippians yourselves know very well that when I left Macedonia, in the early days of preaching the gospel, you were the only church to help me; you were the only ones who shared my profits and losses. More than once, when I needed help in Thessalonica, you sent it to me. It is not that I just wanted to receive gifts; rather, I want to see profits added to your account. Here, then is my RECEIPT for everything you have given me, and it has been more than enough. (Philippians 4:15-18)

When you pay for something at the store, the clerk gives you a receipt. When you deposit money into the bank, the teller gives you a receipt. Even when you deposit money into your ATM, you are asked the question, "Do you want a receipt?" When you give to the Kingdom of God, it is added to your account, and you may request a receipt at any time.

Paul thanked the Philippians for their generous offerings to help him continue his ministry of spreading the gospel. Paul explained that it was not just that he wanted funds, but rather he wanted to see profits added to the Philippians' account in heaven. Giving was more beneficial to those who gave than to the one who received. God keeps a ledger of our giving. He knows what we have deposited into the Bank of Heaven.

When we give to the Kingdom of God, we are entitled to a RECEIPT. We can ask God for that RECEIPT at any time. The beauty of this RECEIPT is that we may deposit freely whatever we can, but God gives us a RECEIPT for thiry-fold, sixty-four and even a hundredfold. In other words, our giving is an investment! Also, we can ask for a RECEIPT and cash it in whenever we need to and for whatever we need. Do you need a healing? Ask God for your RECEIPT!  Do you need a deliverance? Ask God for your RECEIPT!  Do you need a job? Ask God for your RECEIPT! Does your relationship need healing? Ask God for your RECEIPT! Whatever you need (provided you have made a deposit) God is more than willing to give you your RECEIPT!
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Cash In Your Receipts
More than once, when I needed help in Thessalonica, you sent it to me. It is not that I just wanted to receive gifts; rather, I want to see profits added to your account. Here, then is my receipt for everything you have given me, and it has been more than enough. (Philippians 4:16-18 GNB)

When you make a purchase or deposit money into the bank, you are given a receipt to indicate that the transaction was completed. Some people throw their receipts away, and some people keep them for their records.
 
Whenever we give into the kingdom, God gives us receipts for the good we do with a willing heart. We can save these receipts, tuck them away and never use them; OR we can cash them in when we need a special blessing from God.
 
Several things must be considered:
1. You shouldn't do something just to get a receipt. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
2. You don't need to redeem your receipt for the exact thing that you did for others. You can redeem your receipts any time for any personal need.

If you have no receipts, begin to serve God and His people. The profits will be added to your account. (Philippians 4:18) Then redeem your receipts for any particular need you have.


Your Savings Account
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:17)

Would you be willing to deposit money into a bank that promises one hundred, sixty, or thirty percent more on whatever amount you deposit? No doubt everyone would be willing to open a savings account in a bank that promises that much dividend.

The Bank of Heaven offers that much return on our deposits. God doesn't need our money. He owns everything. When we give to Him, it is only what belongs to Him anyway. Christians who argue about whether to tithe have missed the point. They think about it in the natural. Tithing is spiritual. Sure, a tithe or tenth was commanded to the Israelites under the law as a minimum gift. In this dispensation of grace, it should be the Christian's desire to give more than the minimum so that the work of the Lord might continue. It should be the Christian's passion to give sacrificially so that none will perish.

No one loses by giving. From the above scripture, Paul was more elated by what the people would gain than by what they gave. He compared it to a savings account in heaven. Whatever they gave would be put on their ledger sheet and credited to their account. That's the way it works with us today. The amount doesn't matter, but the attitude matters. When we cheerfully give to help the kingdom of God on earth, it is recorded in our savings account in heaven.

Just as you can withdraw money from your savings account in your local bank, you can also make withdrawals from your savings account in heaven...that is, if you have put anything in it prior to your financial needs.

If you don't give on earth, you have NO savings account in heaven. Open a savings account today and begin making deposits. As soon as you begin giving on earth, it will be credited to your account. It will not take long for your zero balance to grow to a hundred, sixty or thirty times as much as you deposited. (Matthew 23:23) Then you will be able to make withdrawals during financial emergencies.
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Would You Do It for God?
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what might be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:17)

We say we love God and would do anything to please Him; yet, some people have a problem when it comes to giving or doing things for their spiritual leaders. When you do something for God's representatives, you are actually doing it as unto God. So when you give to a holy man or woman of God, you are blessing that person in the natural but honoring God in the spiritual. That's what Paul meant when he said that it "might be credited to your account." We do it for GOD'S REPRESENTATIVE, but God honors it as if it were done unto GOD HIMSELF. Would you do it for God?

The next time you have an opportunity to be kind to the man or woman of God, know that what you do for that person is a true indication of what you would actually do for God. We need to treat God better by treating His representatives better.

See God's instrument as God's authority, and come unto that authority yourself. See God's instrument as a reflection of God, and give as unto God.

When in doubt, ask yourself the question: Would I do it for God?
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It IS in the Budget!
And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

If you have ever requested a raise or a promotion on your job, you have probably at one time or another heard: "It's not in the budget." You might have discussed with your spouse or family members getting a new item for the house and you heard: "It's not in the budget." Don't become discouraged when your hear someone say: "It's not in the budget." We are heirs of God, and He shall meet all our needs according to His bank account. God will never tell us: "It is not in the budget." God will tell us: "It IS in the budget!"

You might not get that raise you had your heart set on but if you are a child of God, God will step in and make up the difference. You can trust that God will always meet your needs. You will find that you get more gas mileage; your tires will last longer. When you go shopping you will be amazed at the bargains you find. People will find favor with you and give you things you would have bought yourself under normal circumstances. Money begins to appear from unexpected sources. So when man tells you: "It is not in the budget," think about Philippians 4:19 and say to yourself: "It IS in the budget! It IS in God's budget! And that's the budget I depend on!"
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God Is Our Source
But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

If there is one particular message I would like people to take into the new year, it is: "God Is Our Source." We so often pray that people would do certain things for us when actually we should be looking to God as our source for EVERYTHING. Whether we are seeking a job, a new relationship, a new car, a house, or even peace of mind, we should look to God and not to people.  People are instruments; not sources.  When we go directly to the instruments (people) we are bypassing the source (God). Of course, even though God is the primary source, He does use people to "give into our bosom." (Luke 6:38)

If you are standing in need of anything today, eliminate the middle man, go directly to the source. Your prayers will be answered much quicker with more powerful results when you focus on God the Source to supply your every need.
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Familiar Scripture Misquoted
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

Many Christians emphatically express, "But my God shall supply all MY need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." While the principle is indeed correct, that's not what the scripture says.
 
The scripture is NOT: "But my God shall supply all MY need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Rather, it is: "But my God shall supply all YOUR need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) In other words, we should say that scripture to others and not to ourselves if we are to stick to the biblical text and the biblical context.
 
Paul was responding to what the Philippians had done for him to supply his need while he was imprisoned. Therefore, he begins his response with "But" to contrast his need and their need. Paul blesses the Philippians for their act of kindness. After telling them their generosity would be charged to their account in heaven spiritually, he says God would supply all THEIR need for the simple reason that they supplied his need. 

While God does supply all our need, we should extend this particular blessing on others after they have helped us rather than using the scripture out of context by bestowing the blessing on ourselves. However, there are numerous other scriptures that pertain to us that we can use on ourselves, but this is not one of them according to the correct wording.
 
Don't merely take my word for this. Be like the Bereans and search the scriptures for yourself in any of the various versions of the Bible. You will be able to verify the correctness of that particular misquoted scripture.
 
When we quote scriptures to illustrate a point, let's try to make it a habit to quote them correctly and read the surrounding text to get the full meaning of that scripture.





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