A couple of years ago, my accountability group took on Philippians for a month. We tried to read it every day. We tried a few different ways of studying and assimilating the material. One of the exercises that I found very helpful had to do with two highlighters. We took one color and highlighted everything that God has done or will do. With the other color, we highlighted everything we are supposed to do or think or feel or be. It is an interesting way to look at Scripture. Let's try to get a running list going - list everything that God has done or will do. Then, tomorrow, we can list everything that we are supposed to do.



What's your favorite verse from Philippians? Why?



Sometimes I choose not to post because I don't have a lot of great insight. I almost chose not to post today. But I feel as thought the Spirit needs to reiterate something to each of us. It is a promise that is so important for us to hold onto:

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

There are times I feel like a complete failure - But He who began a good work in me will continue it...

There are times I fall into the same sin again and again - But He who began a good work in me will continue it...

There are times when I feel like God is distant - But He who began a good work in me will continue it...

Be reminded that He is still working in you. When you feel as though God is distant and doesn't hear you, know that He is there, listening and working in you. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. A few times a week, as I tuck Calvin, my 4 year old, into bed, we sing the following song. He thinks it is for him...but I need it just as much.

He's still working on me.
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be.
'Cause He's still working on me.

(and, as a side note, you can't get any cuter than Calvin singing the word "Jupiter")



Joy. Paul had it. He was in prison. He had opponents who wanted him dead. He had given years of travel and sweat and tears to spreading the Gospel. He was tired. But he had joy. This letter gives us a glimpse of joy that is not circumstantial and joy that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I love what Eugene Peterson writes about this book:

"Happiness is not a word we can understand by looking it up in the dictionary. in fact, none of the qualities of the Christian life can be learned out of a book. Something more like apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behavior, what it is. Moments of verbal instruction will certainly occur, but mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a 'master,' picking up subtle but absolutely essential things, such as timing and rhythm and 'touch.' When we read what Paul wrote to the Christian believers in the city of Philippi, we find ourselves in the company of just such a master. Paul doesn't tell us that we can be happy, or how to be happy. He simply and unmistakably is happy. None of his circumstances contribute to his joy: He wrote from a jail cell, his work was under attack by competitors, and after twenty years or so of hard traveling in the service of Jesus, he was tired and would have welcomed some relief."

May you and I grow from reading these words. May we see joy in a new light. May we know joy at a deeper level. May we move beyond circumstances. May we find joy in Christ alone.