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Don’s Daily Devotions

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 19 – Philippians 4:1-4

Mon 1st June – Read Philippians 4:1-4

V1: Paul expresses again his love for them, his longing to see them. What delight he has in these, his “spiritual children” (“my joy”) seeing them as the fruit of his ministry, by God’s grace (“my crown”) and he calls them to ” stand firm in the Lord “- not to be turned aside, either by difficulties and trials, or false teaching.

V2: Now he addresses the divisions in the church, which grieve and concern him, naming two women in particular, pleading with them to be one in the Lord and put away their division. Note how he addresses this issue with love and sensitivity (see also Galatians 6:1)

V3: He calls on an unnamed person – a “true companion” – perhaps a pastor/elder in the church, with whom Paul has worked closely in the past, to help these women deal with what has set them at odds. Once they had worked together in gospel service, along with Paul and the others referred to here, and Paul is sure they are in ” the book of life”, truly among the redeemed people of Christ. So, a church should be believers working together in the Lord, but ever on our guard, for Satan loves to cause divisions between us.

V4: Now he calls them all to “rejoice in the Lord” – the plea he began back in ch3 v1 – to do so “always” for whatever our circumstances and troubles, that joy of the Lord should remain in our hearts – he repeats the call to rejoice again! Do we know this joy, in and through our Saviour and Lord?

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 18 – Philippians 3:19-21

Sat 30th May  –  Read Philippians 3:19-21

V19: In the strongest terms, he speaks of the lost condition of these false professors of faith. They are heading for a lost eternity, value only the things of this world, indulging their sensual appetites, and “glorying” ( boasting ) in things of which they should be ashamed.

V20: But as true believers, the Philippian Christians – and we today – do not belong to this world any longer ( see John 15:19.) They belong to God’s kingdom, are ( already ) citizens of heaven, where one day Christ will receive them/us to Himself. In the meantime they – and we still – wait for the coming of our Saviour and Lord.. Is this a real longing and anticipation for us?

V21: And when He comes, we will be transformed. No longer will we have these frail mortal bodies, ravaged by the fall as they are, but a glorious resurrection body, like His own (See 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 John 3:2.) What a mystery this is, but what a wonder of grace – all and only by the mighty power of God, the eternal Lordship of Christ. Do we truly look for, and long for, that day?

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 17 – Philippians 3:15-18

Fri 29th May  –  Read Philippians 3:15-18

V15: Paul says all mature believers should think like this – with the same awareness, desire and priorities he has just spoken of. Do we, I wonder? But he is confident that if any do not see things so clearly yet, God will reveal it to them, in His grace. He does this through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

V16: Above all, there must be no falling back. We must hold fast to the truth of God’s Word and to the Lord Himself – always by His own enabling grace.

V17: He calls the Philippians, and us, to follow his example, and that of other faithful believers ( like Timothy and Epaphroditus, in ch 2.) The “walk” is a frequent image of the Christian life for Paul – it speaks of our whole manner of life. May we look to and seek to follow good examples – and seek God’s enabling to BE good examples.

V18: By contrast, he warns them again against those whom he calls ” enemies of the cross”, meaning here not the openly hostile but those who profess to be Christians, even to teach others, yet actually depart from, and thus deny the truth, those he has spoken of back in verse 2. May we have true discernment, to know the truth and reject the influence of those who depart from it, whatever they profess.

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 16 – Philippians 3:12-14

Thurs 28th May  –  Read Philippians 3:12-14

V12: Even Paul was still a “work in progress” ( how much more are we!) This verse warns us all about being satisfied with our progress or “achievement” as Christians. We must always, like him, seek to “press on”, seeking always to know and to follow Christ better, the Saviour Who has “made us His own”, bought by His own precious blood. ( 1 Peter 1:18-19 )

V13: So Paul will not “rest on his laurels”, but strive by all that is in him to continue to grow, to move forward. The image is of an athlete, running a race, who must make every effort until the race is completed.

V14: Like that runner, then, eyes fixed on the finishing line which still lies ahead, he presses on for the day he receives ” the prize” – the full experience of the eternal salvation and joy which is his in and through Christ alone.  But always remember, the prize in the Christian race is given, not “won”, and is for everyone who, by grace, is running that race. (2 Timothy 4:8 ) Yet the image he uses calls us to “strive” as if it depended on us, in our commitment to Christ, and to His “upward call”, away from the things of this world to the glory that waits for us.

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 15 – Philippians 3:9-11

Wed 27th May                        Read Philippians 3:9-11

 V9: Now his whole life, his  very identity, is ” in Christ”. He knows he can plead no righteousness of his own, he has none, a sinner before a holy God ( Romans 3:10-12 ) The law can only condemn him, not save him. Christ is the only source of righteousness for him or any human being, Whose righteousness is given to our account, as He bore our sins ( 2 Corinthians 5:21). We receive this through faith alone.

V10: Now all his desire is to “know Christ” – to know Him better, more and more each day ( for there is always more to learn of Him, from His Word and as we walk with Him by faith ), to know increasingly “the power of His resurrection”, the power of God which raised Christ from the dead, and is the source of our new life in Christ- and the only enabling for our own Christian lives and witness, and to know the privilege of ” sharing His sufferings” – surely, to suffer in His service, following him, even to the point of dying for Him. Paul already knows much of these things, but longs to know more!  Do we, and do we count it a privilege to suffer for Christ? ( see Acts 5:41 )

V11: And  he wants to have the living hope of the resurrection, in and through Christ’s redeeming death alone. None of this is or can be by his own efforts . Once he believed he could earn it, but that is the very position he has rejected, since knowing Christ, Rather when he speaks of ” attaining it by any means possible” he  means that he would do anything to gain it if it depended on Him, and indeed he will strive as if it did, but thank God, its been done and achieved by Christ for him – and for us. All these verses continue to refute the false teaching he referred to in Philippians 3:2.

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 14 – Philippians 3:5-8

Tues 26th May – Read Philippians 3:5-8

V5: Paul emphasises his ” Jewish credentials “. All these false teachers sought to impose on Gentile believers, he once valued and claimed for himself, believing he would be right with God through his own works, and by his clear Jewish ancestry and identity, and his zeal as a Pharisee ( which elsewhere he calls “the strictest party of our religion” – Acts 26:5).

V6: In that zeal he persecuted the church ( Acts 8:3; Acts 9:1-2) and he believed his own righteousness, through strict Jewish observance and his own law keeping, would satisfy God.

V7: Yet everything he once set such store in, he rejects as useless and willingly puts away now he knows Christ as the Saviour who alone makes him right with God.

V8: For nothing compares with knowing Christ as Saviour and Lord – He is more worthy, more precious, than anything else could ever be. Can we say this? Paul now regards the things he once valued so as worthless rubbish. ( His word is actually much stronger!) When He speaks of his longing to “gain Christ”, he no longer means by his own efforts, but by God’s grace alone.

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 13 – Philippians 3:1-4

Mon 25th May – Read Philippians 3:1-4

V1: Paul says ” finally”, though only half way through the letter. ( This can be a bad habit for some preachers!) His exhortation to “rejoice in the Lord”, is actually taken up again in Philippians 4:4, and what follows here appears almost as an “interruption”. Some think news reached him at this point, causing him to add to his original plan to repeat things he had already told them.

V2-3: In what does seem an entirely new focus, he warns them against false teachers, described in the strongest terms because their influence is dangerous and insidious. May God give us discernment to know the truth – and what departs from it! The references to “mutilating the flesh”, and Christian believers as ” the (true) circumcision” show that he is concerned with a Jewish group who were telling Gentile Christians they had to become “like Jews” to be saved, seeking to bring them into bondage to the Law, to receive circumcision etc. Such Jewish pseudo-Christians, sometimes called Judaisers, sought to undermine Paul’s teaching about the liberty of the gospel, and salvation through Christ alone. Paul says that God’s true people are those – Gentile or Jew by birth – who worship God as He has provided the way, by the Holy Spirit (compare John ch4,v23-24), and trust only in Christ and His redeeming death, not anything in themselves.

V4: He adds that if ever anyone could have had confidence in pleasing God by their own keeping of the law, it would have been himself ( and indeed, he once thought this way.)

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 12 – Philippians 2:25-30

Sat 23rd May – Read Philippians ch 2:25-30

V25: He speaks of another great example, Epaphroditus, who has come to him from the Philippian church, as their messenger and to convey a gift from them. (Clearly, at this stage of his captivity, others are allowed free access to him.) He now intends to send him back to them, expressing the warmest appreciation of him – my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier – a trusted and proven companion in gospel service.

V26: He knows Epaphroditus longs to see them again, and is concerned that they have heard he has been very ill. Do we have such love and longing for those with whom we are joined in local church fellowship?

V27: And Paul records how his illness was indeed severe – almost fatal, except that in mercy God restored him – mercy to Epaphroditus, and also to Paul himself, who would have been greatly distressed by his death. God answers prayer, but always, remember, according to His sovereign and perfect will.

V28: So Paul sends him back to them to relieve their anxiety – and his own. How clearly real love and concern for fellow believers run through all these verses.

V29: So, they are to rejoice to receive him, and honour him, and believers like him, for their faithful gospel service.

V30: For his near death experience was in the service he fulfilled on their behalf while in Rome with Paul – we know no details, but it seems he consciously risked his own life in bringing the church’s assurance of love to Paul. So, like Timothy, Epaphroditus is set forth as a great example of a faithful Christian. May it be true of us, whatever our circumstances, by the grace of God.

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 11 – Philippians 2:21-24

Fri 22nd May  –  Read Philippians 2:21-24

V21: Paul compares Timothy’s genuine concern and love with others who, whatever they claim, he sees as motivated by self interest, perhaps self-esteem, to be thought well of and seen as “fine Christians” ( though we have no details of whom he speaks and why.) Certainly, he sees them as not motivated by a true desire to serve Christ and glorify His Name. How we all need to examine ourselves, and our motivation in service.

V22: But he can commend Timothy as one who has proved himself a true servant of the Lord and of the churches, one who is like a son to him, in love and gospel service. Other Scriptures indicate this special relationship, especially the 2 letters in the NT from Paul to Timothy himself V23: So, his intention to send Timothy to them, once he knows what is to happen to himself, rather than keep him by his side testifies to his love for the Philippians, as well as his trust in Timothy.

V24: Still he hopes that he WILL be set free and see them again himself – if it is the Lord’s will. ( “I trust in the Lord that …) Like Paul, can we hold our hopes and longings in true submission to God’s will?

DonsDailyDevotions

Day 10 – Philippians 2:17-20

Thurs 21st May  –  Read Philippians 2:17-20

 

V17-18: Though he hopes yet to be delivered and see them again, he knows this may not be God’s will. If He dies for his gospel testimony, he likens it to the OT drink offering (He does so again in 2Timothy 4:6, when his martyr’s death is indeed very near).

It was an offering of thanksgiving, poured out on the altar. Since Christ, we have and need no altar, but Paul’s thought is he will be poured out for them and other believers, in love and service in response to their faith. If so, this will be a further cause of rejoicing for him ( like the apostles in Acts 5:41) and he says they too should rejoice in this. Would we see this as a reason for rejoicing, if it became our experience?

V19: Still seeking to encourage them, he says he hopes soon to send Timothy to visit them. No doubt to encourage them himself, as Paul had sent him to other churches (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 ) but also that he may then receive news of them from Timothy when he returns, which he believes will cheer and encourage him. ( By implication, that they have responded to this letter?)

V20: Of all his co-workers, he says there is none like Timothy who will show such true concern for them ( like Paul’s own.)

Do we have a heartfelt care and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and a concern for their spiritual welfare?