West End Assembly of God
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Daily Devotional Guide
October 13-18, 2014
WEAG Devotions – Moving Forward in Faith
MONDAY – October 13
Philippians 3:20b-21 – And we eagerly await a Savior from there (heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ, 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.
Paul refers to what we call “The Blessed Hope”—the day when Jesus returns to earth and changes everything by restoring it to divine order. It is a foundational, Biblical doctrine that gives us wonderful assurance. As we grow older we become more aware of how our bodies are weakening. We see friends struggling with illnesses. We worry about healthcare. We face the reality of our own numbered days (Job 14:5). Let this truth take root in your heart: mortality will take on immortality and death will be swallowed up in victory (Is. 25:8; I Cor. 15:54). We will be changed. He will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. The movie, “Heaven Is For Real,” suggests that our bodies will reset to a time when we were strong and healthy--and those who were never healthy will experience physical wholeness for the first time. “What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like him” (I John 3:2-3). As we fix our eyes on the truths of scripture (II. Cor. 4:18), we will anchor our hope in God’s Word and find peace that strengthens us in our challenges. Give thanks for our Blessed Hope.
TUESDAY – October 14
Philippians 4:1 – So then, my brothers, whom I love and yearn for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.
Paul truly loved his Philippian friends. When the shadows were closing in around him, he thought of them and smiled. Any teacher knows the thrill of pointing to a student who has done well and declaring, “That was one of my students.” In the same way, Paul was proud of them. They were his “joy and crown.” The Greek word used for crown was stephanos. It was the crown given to the victorious athlete at the Greek games. Made of wild olive leaves, interwoven with green parsley and bay leaves, it was a sign of victory and great accomplishment. Paul knew there is no joy greater than leading people to Jesus. He celebrated the life of God in them. God wants our service to be rooted in sincere love for the people we serve. Otherwise our service will become grueling servitude. Do you love the people you serve?
WEDNESDAY – October 15
Philippians 4: 1b - …so stand fast in the Lord, dear friends.
The Greek word Paul used for stand fast is stekete, and it is the word that would be used for soldiers standing firm in the onset of battle, with the enemy surging down upon them. We are to stand fast in the Lord when temptations try to seduce us, when evil tries to overcome us, when false beliefs try to take us captive, and when Satan assaults our minds with falsehoods. The secret lies in the power of the Lord’s presence. His presence with us keeps us on solid ground when everything else around us is shifting. We can stand firm only as we stand fast in Christ. He has all the power necessary to rebuke the wind and waves. Human effort is useless against spiritual principalities and powers. Only as we live “in Christ” (in alignment with his word and will), will we find His enablement and overcoming power. Live a holy life. Stand fast in the Lord.
THURSDAY – October 16
Philippians 4:2-3 – I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel…
Two women were quarreling at Philippi, and Paul felt it necessary to mobilize the whole resources of the church to mend it. No effort was too great to keep the peace. Quarreling churches cannot do the work of God effectively. They are so focused on the quarrel, so distracted by the conflict that they cannot be successful in the harvest field. Is it possible to be at peace with God when we are at variance with others (I John 1:9; 4:7-8)? Unity is so critical in the Body of Christ that Satan focuses much of his effort on disrupting it. Jesus came into our world to bring reconciliation between God and man; and He modeled the kind of self-sacrifice necessary for reconciliation between one person and another. It is sad to think that the only thing we know about these two women is that they quarreled! If your life were summed up in one sentence, what would it be?
FRIDAY – October 17
Philippians 4:4-5 – Rejoice in the Lord at all times. I will say it again—rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
There are two important themes in these verses. First, keep in mind that Paul was sitting in a prison with almost certain death awaiting him, yet he could cheer on the Philippian believers with one word that he had learned in the crucible of suffering: Rejoice! Christian joy stands independent of anything that happens on this earth because it is rooted in the victorious Christ. Second, the Greek word epieikeia is difficult to translate (the NIV translates it gentleness), but in essence it relays the idea of knowing when not to apply the letter of the law. As Paul sees it, Christians “are men and women who know that there is something beyond justice”* because there is not one of us who deserves anything other than God’s condemnation. But God goes far beyond justice. In our personal relationships with others, we must know when to insist on justice and when to engage something that is beyond justice: gracious gentleness, softness, and a forbearing spirit. No matter how the various translations try to describe it, we live in it because we know “the Lord is near.” He is the judge. Often, the best thing we can do is come down on the side of grace. (*Excerpt from Philippians by Barclay)
SATURDAY – October 18
Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV) – Do not worry about anything; but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all human thought, will stand sentinel over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
William Barclay tells us: “In this brief passage, there is a whole philosophy of prayer.” We can take everything to God. There is nothing to great for His power, nothing too small for his fatherly care. We can pray for ourselves, for forgiveness for the past, for needs in the present, for help and guidance in the future. We can pray for others, commending them to God’s care. We must include thanksgiving, the “universal accompaniment of prayer.” We give thanks in spite of the difficulties, exhibiting our gratitude and our perfect submission to the will of God because we know He is working all things together for good. We remember his perfect love, his divine wisdom, and his mighty power. “Everyone who prays with a perfect trust in the love, wisdom and power of God will find God’s peace.” And that peace will stand “like a sentry on guard over our hearts.” It is peace that “passes all understanding” (RSV), in other words, the human mind can never produce it. It issues from the Spirit of God to the spirit of man—God’s gift. “The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God.”