I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… (Philippians 3:10)
Chances are, I will never be called on to physically die for the sake of Christ.
But if I am?
In the meantime, there are other kinds of death.
Christ’s death was the perfect act of submission to the Father.
Can I submit?
Christ’s death was an acceptance of pain and guilt and shame he did not deserve.
Can I accept?
Christ’s death separated him from all the joys and pleasures of this world.
Can I let go?
Beloved, we don’t know the future. You may one day be called to give your blood for the sake of Christ. But I can guarantee that you’ve already been called to give your life for the sake of Christ.
Are you willing?
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings… (Philippians 3:10)
Jesus went to the cross.
We probably won’t have to do that.
Jesus became sin, bearing the punishment of all evil for all time.
Not your job, my friend..
Jesus lived in a world that didn’t understand him, where he did not belong. He was mocked and abused for obeying the Father. He was abandoned and betrayed by those who had sworn to love and stand beside him.
Cathy and I belong to a home group. We have been meeting off and on for a while now, and we’re all still getting to know each other. I don’t know how God is going to use this group over the long haul, how we might share and impact each other’s lives. I do know that hardship will come, to one or the other or all of us. It always does. If we’re brave enough to share the suffering with each other, and to help each other bear the burdens, we might see something pretty amazing happen,
I don’t know what God has called you to endure today, Beloved. I do know that he has not called you to endure it alone.
I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection… (Philippians 3:10).
I wish I had some beautiful, powerful, poetic image for you this morning, but what I keep thinking of is…
He-Man, and the Masters of the Universe.
So, for those of you who were not watching kid’s cartoons in the mid-80’s, He-Man was a burly boy named Prince Adam who would hold aloft his mighty sword, give his “I have power” cry, and suck down lightning from the sky. Said lightening would transform him from mild-mannered Adam into the mightiest of heroes.
Seriously…his name was Adam.
And he was transformed by power from on high.
And he defeated Skeletor, who is pretty much a death symbol, and who consorts with demonic henchmen, one of whom is a snake-guy.
I can’t believe I never saw this before…I’m gonna have to Google it.
So, yeah, Beloved, that’s the image that comes to mind this morning when I consider the Resurrection of our Lord.
If you want to stop following this blog now, I’ll understand.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
I want to know Christ…(Philippians 3:10)
As my friend
As my brother
As my master
As my hero
As my leader
As my confidant
As my creator
As my helper
As my shelter
As my rock
As my hope
As my heart
This could take forever.
Happy Monday, Beloved
…that I may gain Christ 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 and is by faith (Philippians 3:9).
I remember a book I read when I was a kid. In it, Death was a regular guy whose job was to come collect your soul when you died. Good deeds from your life made your soul lighter; bad deeds made it heavier. Mr. Death freed your soul and allowed it to float up to heaven or sink down to hell.
Good story–bad theology.
Two major problems from the perspective of Truth. First, as we’ve already seen, your most righteous righteousness ain’t so righteous, so your soul–and mine–would float like balloons filled with mashed potatoes. Second, God isn’t looking for a 51%-49% proposition. Anything less than perfection is an epic fail.
But Michael, I could never–
Aaaaaand…we’re back to Jesus.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Philippians 3:8-9)
Today is trash day.
Figuratively speaking. Literal trash day was Tuesday, but I hadn’t reached this verse then. Just go with it, please.
I just took the cans to the curb, and as I did I thought about how great it would be if I could take all the stuff that I think is important–but is really rubbish–and throw it out. Just take the pride and the doubt and the fear and…well…the Michael–and toss it in the can next to the used paper towels and the banana peels and the shredded shoes and say goodbye to it.
Then I realized…I’d need a bigger can
and a bigger truck
and a bigger landfill.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things (Philippians 3:7-8).
Time for a heart check, Beloved of Christ.
Read the words again.
Let them percolate.
And ask yourself: Would you willingly, joyfully, eagerly walk away from all that you have and do and are for the sake of Christ?
Easy to say…
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 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; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless (Philippians 3:4-6).
You know what I like about our dog?
She’s not trying to impress anybody. She just came in from the back yard, scruffy and damp and smelling of something she should not have been rolling in. She came in with a wagging tail and a big puppy grin, nothing to prove, just happy to be with me.
You know what else I like about our dog?
She has no illusions of grandeur. She is fully aware–to the extent that a dog can be aware–that she is dependent upon us, and she seems utterly fine with that. She doesn’t even try to feed herself, or let herself out, or bathe herself (although I wouldn’t mind that last bit). She is content, knowing that her needs will be met by those who love her and have chosen her..
You can learn a lot from a dog.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1).
I almost skipped over this line, as I often skim past it when I am reading this passage. It just seems like filler, a transition to get us into the next section of the letter. Then I realized something.
This line is gold.
This line is at the very heart of wisdom.
As a teacher, I know that students need to hear something multiple times before it sinks in. They can read it, hear it from me, discuss it with a partner, watch it in a video, and still be completely clueless on tomorrow’s quiz. A standard teacher mantra is It never hurts ‘em to hear it again. In this respect, you and I are no different from the twelve-year-olds in my classroom.
We need to read it again
Hear it again
See it again
Experience it again
Pray it again
before it really sinks in.
So, as you head into your week, don’t shy away from the lessons you think you’ve already learned. That leads to pride, and we know where that road takes us. Instead, embrace the wisdom like the friend that it is.
It never hurts us to hear it again.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 3:1)
Rejoice in the One who has formed you out of dust and love, who has called you to be his beloved, who has set you apart and sealed you as his own. He knows you completely, and loves you anyway. Every dark thing in this world and in your life will be overwhelmed and overcome by the power of his love and holiness.
He is King.
He is God.
He is yours
you are his.