October 23, 2021Day 296
Here is one of the loveliest chapters in the whole Bible. If ever you are anxious, worried, or lonely, you will find comfort in Philippians 4. If you are finding your mind distracted by the speed and digital craziness of our world, look to Philippians 4. If you have an argument or conflict with a friend, look to Philippians 4. If you feel poor and needy, you will find comfort here. Verse 7 is especially touching—the promise that peace will guard your heart and mind is just like promising a fortress of God's love and care surrounding your soul. Nothing can touch you there.
October 22, 2021Day 295
Still there are some who insist that the letter of the law leads to salvation. Paul speaks sternly of them. He lists, again, his own earthly honors—if anyone had human reasons to boast, Paul does. But what does he consider all those earthly honors, compared to the truth of the gospel? Garbage! Would you consider your school or church honors, the Pathfinder goals you have reached, any awards you have won in your town, all garbage in comparison to Jesus?
October 21, 2021Day 294
Paul says he is able to be humble no matter what circumstances he is in, because Jesus did the same thing—only more! If the King of heaven could come down and be a peasant, then Paul the apostle could be a prisoner. He asks his friends to “have the same mind as Jesus.” How can we have that same mind? By asking Him to dwell within us. Then we will have the same concern for others that Paul shows in his letters, sending personal greetings, promising to send friends home to them, just because they were worried.
October 20, 2021Day 293
Do you remember when Paul had the vision of a man from Macedonia pleading for him to come? He, Silas, Timothy, and Luke went right away, and went to Philippi in Macedonia. There they met the women worshiping by the river, and there, the first place in Europe, the gospel was preached. Over ten years have passed, and Paul is in prison in Rome when he writes one of his most loving letters to the Philippians. He must know they are worried about him, because he assures them that even his imprisonment has advanced the gospel. Could you witness to your jailers?
October 19, 2021Day 292
This is a great passage! Did you notice, it doesn't say to put on the armor of a Christian, it says to put on God's armor! That would be some pretty powerful armor, right? You'll find it wonderful to pray through each piece, imagining Jesus putting it on you before you begin your day. Pay attention to an important fact: all the pieces of armor are protective and defensive except one—the sword of the Spirit, and that's the Word of God, and never to be used against another person (verse 12). So don't think of God's armor as warlike. It's to protect you from the devil and his wiles, and to help you protect others, too.
October 18, 2021Day 291
Here Paul gets down to basics again. Don't you love how he pictures Christians as “dearly loved children”? There are two main ways of trying to obey God. One is by thinking of God as stern and ready to be angry at every mistake. We can worry all the time about being good enough. The other is to think of Him the way a toddler thinks of her daddy, expecting Him to be excited over her first steps, and pick her up the second she falls, and kiss her bruises. What difference does it make to our Christian obedience, which way we think of God?
October 17, 2021Day 290
For the third time, Paul lays out the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and once again, perhaps even more clearly, he makes the point that we are all one in the Spirit at the very same time that we are all different in gifts, abilities, and interests, and that's a good thing! Christians, Seventh-day Adventists among them, waste far too much time trying to make everybody all the same. God does not want that. He wants you and me to figure out which gifts He is giving us...and use them for Him!
October 16, 2021Day 289
Paul just can't stop testifying about the beauty and riches of God's grace. Once again, it was hard to choose a study verse. Look at the first part, where Paul explains why he was chosen specifically as the apostle to bring Jew and Gentile together forever. Then look at the middle part, where he speaks of the plan of salvation through the ages. We've heard about it for 2,000 years now—imagine how thrilling it was when it was brand new to the people! Finally look at the end, where Paul prays for the Ephesians—and for you!
October 14, 2021Day 287
Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison in Rome, and scholars think that he wrote it not only to the churches in Ephesus, but to the whole church, all over the world. That makes it especially applicable to us today (though of course all the Bible is). It is one of Paul's most beautiful letters. The first half of this chapter is a lyrical restatement of the gospel, Paul's lifelong devotion. It is hard to choose a study verse. Find your favorites and write them down to learn. How do you think someone in prison could write such a cheerful, blessing-filled letter?