West End Assembly of God
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Daily Devotional Guide
September 29-October 4, 2014
WEAG Devotions – Moving Forward in Faith
MONDAY, September 29
Philippians 2:12-13 – …not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Paul was concerned that the Philippian believers be intentional with their faith and remain focused on its development even though he was not physically at their side championing them from day to day. They needed to understand their role in taking responsibility for self-feeding, not stopping halfway, but going the distance and growing into maturity. God had started the work of salvation in them, and Paul had faithfully assisted in the process; but now they needed to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in daily growth. This is holy work, worthy of respect, even fear and trembling, when we think of the price Jesus paid to provide us salvation. They dare not become lax or distracted. The great tragedy is that so many of us have not moved on in faith. We’ve become victims of the same habits, slaves of the same temptations, and guilty of the same failures year after year. God calls us to progressive sanctification, and it is a journey towards Him. How are you ordering your life to make sure you are growing? God will give you the desire and the ability to reach your divine potential if you will create space for Him in the center of your heart.
TUESDAY, September 30
Philippians 2:14-15 – Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…
Our behavior in all kinds of circumstances says far more than words ever could say about the quality of our faith. The world watches. How do Christians work through disagreements? How do they treat one another when they are at odds in theology and politics? Is there any real difference in the Christian approach to life challenges? These are some of the questions that people ask when they are considering their religious options. As we mature in our faith, our life becomes more integrated, not splintered; and our light shines brighter as we demonstrate honesty and truth against the dark backdrop of fallen humanity. The darker the sky, the brighter the light. Live blamelessly. Shine like the stars.
WEDNESDAY, October 1
Philippians 2:16-17 - …in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
The Old Testament sacrificial system included bringing wine to be poured out as a “libation” (pouring of liquid as a sacrificial, religious offering), foreshadowing the blood that would be poured out for our sins on the cross. Wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible and this action was meant to teach an important truth: the way of sacrifice is the way of joy. Really? This truth is diametrically opposite to the culture of our day, which is saturated in self-promotion. Remember, Paul was teaching this truth to the Philippians who needed to understand that their petty squabbles would tear the heart out of their Christian testimony. Like Jesus, who sacrificed his life “for the joy that was before him” (Heb. 12:2), and like Paul (writing from prison and facing martyrdom at any moment), the Philippian believers needed to understand the value of sacrifice and its power to reshape their priorities and create supernatural joy that would enable them to transcend the most difficult circumstances. This is not an easy lesson for us to learn, but it is a necessary one on the pathway to spiritual growth. Prayerfully consider how you have sacrificed and what you have learned in the process.
THURSDAY, October 2
Philippians 2:22 – 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.
Timothy had been with Paul in Philippi (Acts 16), in Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:1-14), in Corinth and Ephesus (Acts 18:5; 19), and in prison with him in Rome (Colossians 1:1; Philippians 1:1). He was likeminded, spiritually gifted, and available, so whenever Paul needed to send information, advice, rebuke, or encouragement to some church and could not go himself, he sent Timothy. Always willing to go, with letters safe at his side, Timothy was the best example of humility and pure service. No wonder Paul pointed him out as a good example of someone without selfish ambition. William Barclay calls him: “the patron saint of all those who are quite content with second place, as long as they can serve.” How we need men and women serving as modern-day Timothys! The work of the gospel suffers without them. Do you know a “Timothy”? Express your appreciation.
FRIDAY, October 3
Philippians 2: 29-30 – Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.
When the Philippians had heard that Paul was in prison, they were moved to action. They sent Epaphroditus to Rome with an offering for Paul and to serve him as his personal servant and attendant. In doing this, Epaphroditus risked his life, laying himself open to the risk of becoming involved in the same charge as Paul. Also, while in Rome, he became ill and nearly died; but God spared him. In all probability Paul sent this letter to the church at Philippi in the hands of Epaphroditus, especially honoring him by including this high praise. Epaphroditus considered his life secondary to the honor of serving Paul. He is another good example of one who lives in humility and devoted service. Our church is blessed to have many men and women who live fully devoted to Jesus Christ and who volunteer many hours of service. What makes our church remarkable? Our people. Who has served you with Christ’s love? Honor them.
SATURDAY, October 4
Philippians 3:1 – Finally, my brothers, 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.
Times were difficult and the Philippian believers would face similar persecution, possibly even the same kind of death that awaited Paul. So Paul looped back around to his previous theme: the indestructibility of Christian joy. You can lose everything and everyone, but you’ll never lose Jesus; and He’s the one who said, “No one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). When our hearts are firmly rooted in the realities of scripture, we discover that joy is part of our spiritual inheritance (Rom. 14:17; 15:13; Eph. 1:18-19). We can live in joy no matter what discomforts surround us because we know nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). God gives us grace to see the humor in a trial or an otherwise sorrowful or inconvenient condition; He helps us relieve pressure and preserve our souls through the gift of laughter. “It is a safeguard for you.” When is the last time you enjoyed a good belly laugh? Is your heart heavy with grief, fear, anxiety, or pain? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you access His provision for you: Christian joy.