As we close in on Thanksgiving, I’m going to look at one of my favorite worship songs. It’s written by Don Moen. Part of it is Scripture; all of it is scriptural. Feel free to sing along!
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks, because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son.
Are you thankful today, Beloved? Do you even have time to stop and think of all you have to be thankful for? Or are you so busy preparing your house or your travel plans that preparing your heart has slipped down the list? Even worse–has your Christmas to-do list leapfrogged Thanksgiving entirely? Look, I’m not judging; I know you’ve got a lot to do. Myself, I’m looking at a garage that needs to be cleaned–I’ve been putting it off for eight months now–just so I can get to the Christmas lights, most of which are broken, if I remember correctly. I have a vague memory of an entire string of lights falling from the roof last January, resulting in a string of mini-explosions and a decision that I would replace all the lights “Next year,” when finances would undoubtedly be better, except they’re not. So I’ve probably gotta buy lights, and garland, and maybe a lawn elf–but no inflatables, I’m passionately against inflatables–before I can even start decorating, and some of the neighbors are done already…
Yeah, so I get it.
But, for those of us in Christ, the One we give thanks for this Thursday is the same One we celebrate at Christmas. It’s pretty much the same holiday; you just have to swap funny hats.
Of course, you know that already…you’re a bright one.
So, hey, take time this week–like today, like right now–to stop and breathe and give thanks.
For you and him
Happy Monday, Beloved.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen (Philippians 4:23).
Well, Beloved…we did it.
The entire book of Philippians
So…Paul signs off with a simple sentence, a benediction to his readers. But it’s more than a simple, “That’s all, folks!” He manages to encapsulate, in a few words, a big chunk of the Christian life:
- It’s grace–you can’t earn it.
- It’s Jesus–always, ever Jesus.
- It’s your spirit–God works from the inside out.
Take that reminder with you into your Friday.
The Lord of Everything chooses to love you, in spite of…well…you. He’s given you all you need to live and to serve and to be amazing.
So, go live.
Go be amazing.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
The key word here is needs.
And God. God is always a key word.
And, you know, Christ Jesus.
But right now I’m talking about needs.
God will give me what I need, just like any loving father. Not every want or desire or whim of my flesh, but my every need. And what I need, more than anything…
This ties back into the idea of contentment. When I trust God I am satisfied with what I have, not stressed about what I don’t. This frees me to give. Giving to God’s people brings me closer to him, which deepens my reliance on him, causing me to trust him more, producing greater contentment with my situation, which frees me to give, drawing me closer…
Let the circle be unbroken.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles (Philippians 4:14).
God is all you need.
people…that can be nice, too.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
The secret isn’t a what. It’s a who. Not the Seuss kinda who.
The answer to human nature
The only thing we truly can never get enough of
Beloved, if you are in Christ, then what you have today is his provision for you. Rejoice in it–whatever it is. It is enough.
Beloved, if you are in Christ, then who you are today is the result of his work in you. Rejoice in it–whatever it is. You are enough.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty (Philippians 4:12).
When I was 19 I lived alone in a little cabin in the mountains. I had just started a new job and didn’t know that paychecks often came a few weeks behind the actual work dates.
At one point I was living off generic ramen noodles with the occasional egg tossed in. In the last day or two before payday, the eggs were long gone and the ramen ran out and I engaged in what I called a financial fast–code for no money with which to eat. I sat at an empty table and read my Bible during meal times, going for the whole spiritual food is more valuable than physical food deal.
It ranks as one of the best times of my life.
These days I never go hungry. At least, not physically.
Happy Monday, Beloved
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends(John 15:13).
Thank you, Veteran.
Thank you for leaving your home behind in order to protect it.
Thank you for setting aside your freedoms to help safeguard mine.
Thank you for fighting for my right to protest, even when my protest saddens or angers or disgusts you.
Thank you for shouldering a rifle, or climbing into a chopper, or racing toward a bomb blast, knowing that today could be the day that you are called to give “the last full measure of devotion.”
You must be terrified.
You go anyway.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).
The word I hold on to here is learned.
Learned gives me hope. It tells me that Paul wasn’t always content, either. That word lets me know that Paul was once like me, looking forward and backward and all around instead of being content with where he was, who he was, what God was doing in the moment. And if Paul can learn…
When I was a little kid I thought that content was a verb. The only time I encountered the word was on aerosol cans–you know, contents under pressure. I thought that meant that the stuff inside the can would do something–would content–if you squeezed it. I’m not sure what I thought it would do, exactly. Explode or something, I guess. The concept was intriguing and vaguely unsettling.
But content is not a verb, is it? It’s not something you do.
And that’s the point.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
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. (Philippians 4:10).
I’m a schoolteacher. Because of our schedule, there is one month during the summer when I get no paycheck. For many years I covered the gap by teaching summer school. It was tight, but it worked.
Until the year they decided–at the last minute–not to offer summer school.
Cathy and I mentioned our tight situation as a prayer request in our Sunday School class. Together we prayed that God would provide, and he did.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ showed up the next week with trunks full of supplies for us. Love made manifest in produce. I gotta tell you, it was uncomfortable being on the receiving end of such a thing. It was humbling, and I’ve never enjoyed being humbled. I felt stupid and inadequate and distinctly loserly.
But the gift was given in joy, not judgement. One look told me that our friends were genuinely happy to have the chance and the ability to help. We were blessed. They were blessed. The Father was pleased.
Beloved, don’t miss out on your opportunity to give today.
Or your opportunity to receive.
Each can be a blessing.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
The struggle is real.
And…you’re not alone.
I am so thankful for this verse. When I read about all I’m supposed to do and be, and realize how inadequate to the task I am…oy ve. It can be so disheartening. And I must not be alone, because God takes a moment, just after this intense passage, just when I am most frustrated with myself and feeling like I’ll never ever no way no how ever be able to do this man of God thing, to remind me that He is with me.
The God of peace.
Not the God of strength, not in this moment, because he knows that what I need right now is a deep breath, a slowed pulse, and a reminder that He’s got me, and that He’s still at work in me.
I need peace.
And He is the source.
Be all that your Lord has called you to be today, Beloved.
And when you fail, remember that the God of peace is with you.