Monday, March 31, 2014

Philippians: 100 {Conclusion} Let's Run

A month. A march. A mental marathon. 

There’s more to see, more to learn. Running to a fro in the Bible, digging deeper into it’s pages, reveals yet more hills to climb, and even greater wealth to gain.

Little use in running for a season, only to abandon the sneakers to some dark neglected closet corner. Everyday, the path is there. But choice alone brings shoe to sidewalk. 

The month may be done, but the march and the running have barely begun. 

There’s more hills of understanding to climb. 

There are more passages to dig into. 

Let’s do it..together. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Philippians:130 Transformation

“Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” Philippians 1:30

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

As extraordinary as he was, he lived on this planet. 

The apostle had no greater access to grace. Nor had he greater wars to fight than we.

Same war. Same conflict.
Same grace. Same victory.

Only because He’s the same Savior.

Paul fought a good fight.
He finished his course.
He followed the light-
Which brings no remorse

He looked unto Christ,
The Author, the End,
Whose grace had sufficed
To always attend.

How daring and bold!
How valiant his heart!
But scripture has told
Of a different start.

For Paul had been Saul,
A leader for wrong.
And yet came the call,
"With Me you belong."

So if you, like me
Are not yet a Paul,
By faith look and see
What God did to Saul.

Through conflict and grief,
Through trial and test,
God granted belief
Where there'd been unrest.

Our Savior is true.
His grace is the same.
For Paul, me and you
Our Lord overcame!

And so we may walk
In newness of heart,
Secure in the Rock
No more to depart.

Though through desert storm,
And darkest of days,
God's grace can transform
In marvelous ways!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Philippians:129 Gifts

“For unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29

It’s not on our wish list.  

But contrary to human thought, it holds the highest of honors. 

Enoch and Elijah, who both tasted eternity without seeing death, did not somehow receive a better gift at the hand of God than did John the Baptist. 

Fellowship with Christ in His sufferings means fellowship also in His consolation. 

...and in the world to come, eternal life. 

Of all the gifts that heaven grants
To humans on this earth,
The highest honor God implants—
The weightiest of worth,
Is fellowship with Jesus Christ
To share His suffering,
To taste of what He sacrificed
Yet trust mid anything!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Philippians: 126 Radiation

“That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.” Philippians 1:26

How can a human being
Impart abundant joy?
Especially while facing
Such trials that annoy?

How can one be so noble
As not to whine and sigh,
While fettered and immobile,
And likely soon to die?

True joy is not created
By those who dwell on earth
But yet it’s radiated
From those of second birth.

It’s only in receiving
That humans can impart,
The joy of faith’s believing
Into another’s heart. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Philippians: 125 Purpose

“And having this confidence, I know I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;” Philippians 1:25

Life is a trust too holy for selfish use. 

There's a reason to get up in the morning.

Heaven gives that purpose.

And lives that purpose.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •

And lives that purpose.
There’s a purpose to be living;
There’s a challenge to fulfill;
And it always takes relinquishing
Our own deceitful will.

For we live to serve our Savior-
As His very hands and feet.
So that in all of our behavior
Heaven’s joy might be replete.

And yet this purpose practically,
Is high and deep, it’s true.
For in serving Jesus faithfully,
We’ll serve our brother too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Philippians: 121 Life

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

In attending a creation conference, I see this verse with the spectacles of genesis.

Life in creation and salvation have the same origin. 

Christ is life.
        Life is Christ.
             In Him, death is nothing less than gain. 

If something can’t come from nothing,
Nor matter be born with years;
If life cannot come into being
When never before it appears;
If eggs cannot come back together
When poured into saline test bowls;
I tell you my friend, altogether
The One who made us, made our souls.

You see, life cannot come to a desert
Except by the unnatural rain.
Nor dead things to living revert
When they do not have life to regain.
To live as a christian is higher
Than our highest thinking can go.
It’s change too profound and entire
For it to take ions to grow.

My friend, when we know our Creator
As Him who is living and gain,
We’ll know Him the more as Redeemer
Who grants life from His own dying vein.
This miracle will not take ages
To form a new creature in Christ.
You see, God has paid for sin’s wages,
And Jesus shed blood has sufficed.

This power of God for creation
Is redemptive as well at its core.
For one would dispense with salvation
In banishing what came before.
And how can we know where we’re going
If God cannot create today,
A heart in whom Jesus is living-
When life is His own word away?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Philippians: 120 Hope

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Philippians 1:20

With faith in what God’s doing,
And peace with what He’s done,
We can have this expectation-
That He’ll finish what’s begun.

Surrender is essential
For Christ to work His will,
But in yielding all to heaven,
Heaven can our hope fulfill.

What greater aspiration
Than this can there be found?
That Christ in me be magnified
And praise to God resound.

If this remains our longing,
Our aim, and confidence,
Then Christ and God that cannot lie,
Our hope will recompense.

So you see, the Savior’s working
Is both to will and do.
And when our hope is set on Him
It surely will come true. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Philippians: 119 Cooperation

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:19

“This shall turn to my salvation” -
It will come to bear good fruit.
It will work a reformation
In the branches of the Root.

But notice though, the means by which
Our crucibles have blessing
It’s “through your prayer” that there’s a switch,
And through the Spirit’s giving.

We see cooperation here:
That man is linked with Christ.
And then salvations’s gift draws near,
For self is sacrificed. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Philippians: 118 Rejoice

“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:18

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice—
With heart and soul and voice!
For God will triumph in the end,
Therein should we rejoice.

Rejoice when times are tough.
For Jesus is enough,
To ease the sting of scorn and slight,
And soften each rebuff.

Rejoice when what we see,
So dark appears to be,
For God can work it out for good,
And that’s a guarantee!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Philippians: 117 Love

“But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.” Philippians 1:17

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   

Some were moved to action from envy and strife. Some from love. 

What moves you and me?

What is our motivation?
What holds our dedication?
What ties our heart strings fast to God,
And draws us to salvation?

What forms the fiber of our souls?
And lays the start to plans and goals?
What is the earth from which we grow,
As grew the frogs from small tadpoles?

Is selfishness the root and start
That fills our mind and soul and heart?
Or could it be a purer spring
From which our character takes part?

The highest, purest, deepest well
From which our actions ought to swell,
So simple, yet profound and broad:
'Tis love alone that must compel.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Philippians: 116 Sufficient

“The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:” Philippians 1:16

There were people in Paul’s world
Who didn’t know the gospel,
Who, yet it’s gonfalon unfurled
To burden the apostle.

These worked from strife and envy
To cause another grief,
But Paul of Tarsus knew the key
To find happy relief.

He dwelt amid thanksgiving.
He looked beyond that day.
He thought on Christ’s own suffering
For what he couldn’t pay.

And so, let’s learn the lesson
Of patience, as did Paul.
For Christ has drunk for everyone
The cup of woe and gall.

We need not dwell in shadows
When Jesus shines with light,
And from Him peace and gladness flows,
Sufficient for the night.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Philippians: 115 Preach

“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will.” Philippians 1:15

There is preaching in the pulpit,
There's a sermon in the street,
There is teaching when you stand or sit—
Wherever go your feet.

Every person is a discourse,
For the values that they hold.
Each decision acts to reinforce
The sermon that is told.

So be careful of your actions
That will preach goodwill or strife,
For beneath those interactions
Will be speaking death or life.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Philippians: 114 Zeal

“And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:14

It’s not a question of cost. The spark of zeal, burning in one soul candle, can light the wicks of many.


There’s something to live for, and Someone to die for.
There’s a mission to give for, and heaven to strive for.
The highest of goals— the saving of souls
And the glory of God is what we’re alive for.

My friends, take this vision, the gospel commission,
And mark with decision your highest ambition
That souls will be saved and God will be praised,
For life or for death, let this be your mission. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Philippians: 113 Freedom

“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;” Philippians 3:13

The world was bound in chains of sin,
With no hope of release.
All earth was darkness, and within
There was no trace of peace.

Then to our rescue came God’s Son,
Though bound Himself with chains.
And yet He freed us, every one,
With mercy that constrains.

For Christ was bound with higher bands—
The bands of freest love,
Yet chose to let them bind His hands,
Which proves He rules above.

And we may know this freedom rare,
That true submission holds.
For through Christ’s bondage we may share
The freedom love unfolds.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Philippians: 112 Appointment

“But I would that ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” Philippians 1:12

All things. 

No, not all things are good, but God works all things for good, to them that love Him. 

Seeing as God sees, Paul saw appointment in disappointment. Victory in apparent defeat. Sunshine beside the shadows.

This lesson is for us.

•   •   •   •   •   •  

At times we will not understand
What happens here and now,
But when we reach that happy land
God makes it plain somehow.

Oh, we’ll see each disappointment,
Each trial, and each test,
So transformed for God’s appointment,
That we can call it blessed.

We have need for heaven’s vision
To see by faith today,
And to claim God’s rich provision
Of grace to trust His way.

For the trials haven’t ended,
The tests are sure to come,
But our God for us has blended,
His grace with every one.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Philippians: 111 Full

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11

I’ve been an empty pitcher,
All drained and dusty too,
For trying to get fuller,
Has only cracked me too.

A cracked and broken vessel—
What good thing can it do?
But God has something special,
In mind for me and you.

God made us to have fulness,
Up to the very brim.
He wants to right our chaos,
And fill us up with Him.

But He can’t pour His treasure
Where something else resides.
For vain and empty pleasure
Will fill, and crack the sides.

Then idol after idol,
Surrender them to Christ.
And this, alone is possible,
Through what He sacrificed.

And as we yield those prizes,
He’ll mend our shattered cup,
And give us sweet surprises,
For He will fill us up.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Philippians: 110 More

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:10

More and more and more of love,
Produces goodly fruit.
It overflows the branches of
What groweth from the Root.

It blossoms in sincerity,
In being true and pure.
And this is Christ-like purity,
Not earthly to be sure.

It does not leaf out in offense,
To lead a soul in sin.
Nor to be led to sin commence,
For Christ was clean within.

It gives discernment to all those
Who have its precious store,
To see a piece of what God knows,
His love yields so much more.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Philippians: 109 Abundance

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement.” Philippians 1:9

O when the Savior I behold,
How beautiful is He!
The smallest part cannot be told
Of what mere man can see.

And all eternity we’ll spend
Unfolding Heaven’s grace:
How Jesus came to be our Friend,
And how we see His face.

But as we learn more of the Lord,
We’ll see there’s more and more.
For Jesus’ love cannot be stored
All folded in a drawer.

It’s bounds are far beyond all time,
It’s end cannot be found.
Agape love—so rare, sublime,
Yet in us to resound.

We ourselves can’t make this love,
But as we share, we’ll gain
More and more abundance of
The love in Heaven’s vein.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Philippians: 108 Defendant

“For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:8

Record - Strongs 3144 - a witness (literally (judicially) or figuratively...); by analogy, a "martyr":-- martyr, record, witness.

God knows you my friend,
The longings you carry.
His own He’ll defend
From His calm sanctuary.

He saw faithful Job
Who was tested and tried.
That one on the globe
Who with Him was allied.

God sees and knows all
When others do not,
Or when heaven’s call
Is past our own thought.

Yes. He is our judge,
Our witness, defendant,
Who will not begrudge
Help to one dependent.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Philippians: 107 Partake

“Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” Philippians 1:7

What is in your heart tonight?
What holds its presence there?
Is it things that pass away,
Though costly, precious, rare?

Some things quickly pass away-
Some in trial leave,
But assured are heaven’s goods
To all who will believe.

What is in your heart tonight?
Salvation’s precious gold?
Do you hunger after souls
With longing heart untold?

Some things are forevermore,
Because they’re born of love.
Salvation’s joy and happiness
Continue up above.

What is in your heart tonight?
Is the Savior there?
Is He precious more than all- 
Above, beyond compare?

Some things go beyond all time-
At this, time ends and starts:
With Paul partaking of the gift
Of grace which God imparts.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Philippians: 106 Faithfulness

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

At times things tend to tumble,
And life may seem to crumble,
But this my song, my confidence—
Yes, though indeed I stumble,

Still God in us is molding,
His character enfolding,
In fragile human packages—
No good thing He withholding.

This carving by our Master—
At some times slow, or faster,
Still constant, faithful is His work
In human-hearted plaster.

He will not leave unfinished
What others have diminished,
For God is faithful to complete
His work till He is finished. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Philippians: 105 Fellowship

“For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:5

There’s a friendship that goes deeper
Than just, Hi...I know your name.
It’s where brother is a keeper 
To the ones who some don’t claim.

It’s a friendship born in heaven,
It’s a service drenched in love.
It’s forgiveness more than seven—
Times the heart of God above.

It’s a fellowship of oneness,
With a burden for the lost.
It is fashioned with the impress
Of the one who paid the cost.

It’s where hearts are set on fire
And burn brighter day by day,
With the flame of God’s desire
Melting dissonance away. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Philippians: 104 Intercession

“Always, in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy.” Philippians 1:4

Prayer reaches a power that all the forces of hell cannot dismay. In the closet of the christian victories can be won. The work of intercession- intervening in the plight of a sister or brother, sets aglow more than their soul. It sets aglow your own. 

The spirit that says, Give me souls, or I die, is a gift from God, it’s burden a blessing of the highest kind. 

Friends, let us pray for our fellow soldiers in the faith. 

And tell them that we do.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   • 

When difficulties press and pound
The soldiers of the cross,
Let prayer to God for them abound, 
That there would be no loss.

When feet are sore, and hearts are tried
Around you on the road,
In earnest prayer press to their side,
To aid them with their load.

And when you intercede for those
Who labor under strain,
And of this fact to them disclose - 
It’s sunbeams in the rain!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Philippians: 103 Remember

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3. 

The Philippians? Really? Maybe some of those memories, but every remembrance?

Philippi was the home of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened. - Acts 16:14. Certainly the memory of kindred souls in the faith could have made Paul to thank God.

Of course, remembering the damsel that was freed from the spirit of divination surely brought rejoicing to the apostle. But this very joy could have been overshadowed, or even obliterated completely by black recollections. Missionary work is not for the fainthearted. It was in Philippi that Paul and Silas were beaten, imprisoned, and tortured like anybody’s worst nightmare. And yet, the apostle thanked God.

Was it the dawn of new life in Christ that eclipsed the darkness? Was it the eye of faith, seeing triumph in apparent tragedy? Was is that souls were reached, who could not have been in another way?

Did every memory of the Philippians remind Paul that God can overrule circumstances? That something so bad could actually result in good— devoted, stedfast, and whole-hearted believers? Did the thought of their faithfulness strengthen him to trust in trial the character of his Creator? 

We likely face nothing akin to what Paul and Silas did, but from the planet we call home, let us give thanks. Let us remember that the character of God has not changed. He can still bring beauty out of ashes, and gold from the fire. 

Let us remember, and let us give thanks. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Philippians: 102 Rest

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2. 

Context: Who is "you"? Verse one tells us, “all the saints in (in = relation of rest) (with) Christ Jesus which are at (interestingly, at also = relation of rest) Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” 

This was no external rest. Humanity, Philippian or not, hunger for a rest that reaches the deepest turmoil. It is a rest in the soul that the sons and daughters of Adam lack. This rest, the Philippians found in God. Thus, they obtained rest also in their relation to life: at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. This rest, this quietness is not an earthly commodity. It is a rest that is possible even amid earthly unrest. It is experienced only through connection with Heaven. And such a link is our only access to grace and peace. Calvary’s cross is that link. It bridges the impassable gulf between the soul and salvation. Apart from Christ, peace is as illusive as a shadow. “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” - Isaiah 30:15. 

Psalm 85:12 says, Yea, the Lord will give that which is good. And this He gives. Grace with power of change. Peace though submission to Christ. Rest that reaches the heart.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Philippians: 101 Submission

“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” Philippians 1:1

…the servants of Jesus Christ… 

What gave Paul and Timotheus, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Job, Jacob, Daniel, John, James, Epaphras, and Peter, distinction as the “servant” of God? Is it any coincidence that these, among the strongest leaders for Heaven, are called servants?

Moses, the meekest man on planet earth; Job who trusted God, though he should be slain at His hand; Abraham who obeyed, not knowing the way that he went, and  who yielded to the command of God, though it should cost him everything. As in Hebrews, time fails to tell of them all. 

Their lives speak of submission: of bold acknowledgement that God is great, and I am not; of full surrender to the only One worth surrendering to; of simple, genuine obedience. It’s a sermon of subservience born of love for God —any other motive of action would have melted in the fire of their afflictions. The power of their lives was not from within. Their leadership did not begin with public posts and google+ counters. The strength of these giants grew out of quiet submission in the audience chamber of the King of kings. 

It is no different now. Submission is the foundation for leadership; subservience to God, prerequisite to greatness. Service, in fact, is not optional. Every choice we make carries with it the signature of the one we serve. 

Who is that for me? Or for you? Who is your master? Who has your thoughts? Who has your desires? Who has your talents? Who has your heart? Whose are you?

My prayer is that we would be the submissive servants of Jesus Christ.