Tuesday 11 May, 2021

Philippians 4:15-23

15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

I find it incredible the way that God brings things to my attention through His word and my circumstance through themes, especially when I pay attention. 

Four times in the past week, the idea of Godly contentment came up in conversations that I had with different people, plus I read 1 Timothy 6, where it says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 

I feel like God wants to teach me how to be more content, and he is showing me what it means to be content in His kingdom. 

I have historically felt that the opposite of contentment is ambition, but God is showing me that I can be ambitious and content at the same time. 

Here Paul is in a really awful situation. Chained between two Roman centurions with a very short chain, under house arrest where he needs to pay the costs of his own imprisonment. Facing death at the hands of Roman execution. Feeling the aches in his aging body that has literally been punished for dozens of years of travel and beatings, shipwrecks and violence, all in the name of Jesus. 

But his attitude and response to his situation is “I have learned to be content, (v11) and the way I have made contentment work is to realise that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” 

This is the ultimate fusion of ambition and contentment! 

Lord, help me to not just learn this truth, but to truly live it! 

Written by Ps Justin Ware 

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Monday 10 May, 2021

Philippians 4:10-14

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Verse 13 has been quoted in all manner of circumstances, I know I have done this. However, in its context here, being able to do all things in Christ relates to how we are to live. Being content. Whether having plenty or not .. we are to live contented in Christ. Jesus is our enabler .. not fame or fortune or the latest advertising that we are told we must have to make us happy.

I love the way that the Message version phrases this, “I can make it through anything in the One that makes me who I am.” Being content and satisfied is truely something to strive for, and only by focusing everything through Jesus will we find this.

Lord I need your true contentment in every aspect of my life. Holy Spirit help me in keeping Jesus central to who I am.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Sunday 9 May, 2021

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

When Paul says “finally”, it doesn’t mean this is the last thing he has to say. (He began chapter 3 with “finally” too.) It does indicate that this is what ties together everything he has been saying. He’s telling us to logically think through what really is true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, and to put that into practice – imitating Paul (3:17) and imitating Jesus (2:5).

Paul’s perspective is astonishing. Being in prison is good because it meant he could tell the gospel to the whole Praetorian guard (1:12). People preaching the gospel to cause him trouble is good because they’re preaching the gospel (1:18). Facing the real prospect of death becomes a choice between two good things: continuing fruitful life or being with Jesus (1:23). The things others call “praiseworthy” (all Paul’s Jewish achievements) are garbage compared to being in Christ (3:8).

Jesus is even more astonishing. God empties himself and becomes a man – a servant – dying a humiliating, dehumanizing death for our sake (2:5-11). And Paul tells us to have the same mind as Christ.

As my mind becomes like Christ’s, my life will become true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy – even if I’m in the middle of garbage, hostility, injustice or danger. My thinking and my life will finally be transformed because the God of peace is with me.

Written by David Cornell

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Saturday 8 May, 2021

Philippians 4:2-7

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Recently, I have found myself playing the role of Euodia or Syntyche, I have all too often found myself being an agent of strife, conflict, or disunity. How? Why? In one sphere of my life, I have felt that I have been the victim of an injustice, and that has led to me playing the ‘blame game’.

As I reflect, it is evident that I am an agent of somebody, whether I am conscious of it or not. I am either a weapon in the hands of Satan or a healing balm in the hands of God. 

I want to be a healing balm, and I have seen God use me for this in the past… so how do I ensure I am not Satan’s weapon but instead God’s agent for love and healing in this broken world? This passage has the answers.

First, rejoice! I am a child of God, he loves me, his grace is always bigger than my sin. If I am not rejoicing I am not thinking upon the wonderful and unending love God has for me.

Second, pray! I am to let my emotions (anger, anxiousness, sadness, etc) drive me to prayer. God wants me to lay it all before him, and he promises me his peace.

Third, dwell on God! If I am not dwelling on God, I am probably dwelling on myself and my needs… God is bigger than my needs and he promises to meet all my needs and more.

Fourth, do good! The above three points will ensure I am aware of what God is doing in and around me, the final step is to act, and to be the peacemaker God calls me to be.

“Dear God, thank you for your patience with me, thank you for drawing me back to you even after I have strayed from your ways and even done things that Satan would want me to do. You are the greatest healer, thank you for healing my heart, winning me back and making me your agent of peace in this world. Amen”

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Friday 7 May, 2021

Philippians 3:17-4:1

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

As the mother of a toddler, I have become well aware of how carefully I am being watched and mimicked at all times! Small children have such a knack for modelling our example, copying our language, habits and mannerisms. It has made me so conscious of what I say and how I act, because my child is learning from me at all times and is establishing her understanding of how people relate and how the world works. I am the person she spends the most time with, which currently makes me the most influential person in her life. Sometimes I really feel the pressure of being an example 24/7, and I know that sadly, I don’t get it right all the time.

Yet as I read this passage, I am so encouraged by verse 17, where Paul writes to his fellow Christians to join together in following His (Jesus’) example. Paul knows that as a leader, others are modelling their behaviour from himself, however Paul is following Christ as the ultimate example! When we look to Jesus, when we live as citizens of Heaven, we know that we are empowered and shown how to love and live like Jesus did. I am encouraged to continue to stay in God’s word, to immerse myself in Jesus so that He is the greatest influence in my life. It is only by following Jesus that I can help others to live as He did.

Jesus, thank you that you are the ultimate example for how we should live, speak and think. Help me Lord to follow you first and foremost. Mould my heart that my life would reflect you so that I could lead others to follow your example as well. Amen.

Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko

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Thursday 6 May, 2021

Philippians 3:12-16

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Paul’s goal as he writes this is to take hold of Christs plan and purpose for his life.  Paul realises that in the midst of living out this plan there will be a context of challenge, race and needing to push through obstacles.  Paul reminds us that the prize isn’t of this earth but is in heaven.   

As I read this, I am reminded that just as Paul took hold of what God had for him, he understands that it is also Christ who supplies the resources for him to ‘press on towards the goal.’  It isn’t in my strength that I need to press on towards the goal.  The Holy Spirit steps in and helps me, He reminds me that the prize isn’t earthly but heavenly, that in the midst of the challenges and wins it is worth it because of the privilege it is to serve Christ.

Jesus, thank you that you do have a plan for my life.  Help me today to remember Christ’s plan for my life and that you by the power of the Holy Spirit supply all that I need to fulfill it.   Fill me again with your Holy Spirit and help me today to live in accordance with your ways. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Written by Ps. Annique Botta

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Wednesday 5 May, 2021

Philippians 3:7-11

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Prior to this passage the Apostle Paul is listing off his religious accomplishments.  His religious obedience of circumcision, his human efforts to obey the law, his strictest obedience to follow Jewish law perfectly and his zealous persecution of the church.

All these he now realises are nothing “counting them as garbage” when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  His encounter with Jesus Christ transformed his heart, his mind and then his actions. 

All of a sudden all of our actions even our good ones are now really worthless compared to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.  Whatever we do is not for religious gain or “points”, it is just measured by love.  Whatever we do for Christ and His church is because of His love.

What strikes me in this passage is there is “no pass mark”.  All it is, is about being adopted into his family and loving and caring for the family.  Laying our lives – everything – down for the message and cause of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, we know when what we say, do and live, shows to others that we look more like Jesus that our true selves.

Our world needs to see the Gospel before they hear the Gospel.

Lord, thank you for wanting to use us to expand your Kingdom.  It is a privilege to know you and live for you.  Help us Lord to listen to you and to follow your guidance.  Help us to look more like YOU.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Tuesday 4 May, 2021

Philippians 3:2-6

2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

What do you think of when we say flesh?  I almost guarantee you it is different to what Paul is saying here in this passage.  Flesh for Paul, given the context, is a sense of achievement outside of grace in Jesus.  Paul lists a series of accomplishments – some by effort some by birth – all not of value in pleasing Christ.

We are not to place our confidence in the flesh!  We are not to use our accomplishments or status as something that advances ourselves.  We are to rely on Christ – His death and resurrection.

Paul makes straightforward forthright declarations that powerfully enable us;

“we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh”.

Do you rely on your accomplishments?  This becomes more tempting the older you are, simply you have accomplished more the older you are.  Our task to is place our confidence in Christ, to worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ – this will set us free into the lifestyle Jesus calls us to!

Father, help me to place my confidence in Christ alone!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Monday 3 May, 2021

Philippians 2:25-3:1

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. 3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

Have you ever become tired of hearing the same thing over and over again? Or thought to yourself that you have heard it all before? Have you wished that the Pastor would say something new, something you have not heard before? Or tried to find some teaching from another church, searching for some fresh revelation?

Paul says here in ch3v1 “Whatever happens, rejoice in the Lord”. It has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you like Paul to say something else, something new and different?

Paul says to them and us, that he never gets tired of telling you these things. Perhaps, we should not get tired of hearing these things. Paul repeats things, important things, because it is a safeguard to our faith.

The safeguard of our faith is not chasing new teaching or new insights. Those things are encouraging, and refreshing, but what keeps us safe, is hearing again and again, the foundational truths such as, “Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!”

I may not WANT to hear that again, but the truth is I NEED to hear it again.

The key factor that separates amateurs from professionals is repetition. Doing the same thing over and over again until it is second nature, until it is perfected.

There are a few things that need perfecting in my life, like rejoicing in the Lord, WHATEVER happens. So, even when I don’t feel like hearing it again, I need to stop listening to my feelings and listen to the truth again.

Holy Spirit, open my ears to hear, and my heart to receive again.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Sunday 2 May, 2021

Philippians 2:19-24

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

If you or I were to be sent as a representative on behalf of the church, what would the reference be that vouched for your spiritual and personal reputation? Timothy came with the highest referral to the Philippian’s due to his years of integrity and faithful service. It seems to me the things that made Timothy so recommended were issues of character, not material. He was not being recommended for contributing the most money or having the ministry with the biggest number of people – he could have been both these. But it was evidence of genuine concern, his Jesus first attitude and faithful service, that he was noted for. So, what would my or your reference be?

Jesus, help me to love others, help me to get my priorities straight all week long. Lord I ask for your wisdom in the relationships I have both inside and outside the church. Help me Lord to love and support my pastors. In Jesus name. Amen 

Written by Christine Knight

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