Reflection on Philippians 4:1-9

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4.1-9

Scripture

Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

Observation

Paul now moves on to deal with some personal issues in the church at Philippi. The women who are fighting must stop.

We should rejoice always. Anxiety must give way to faithful, thankful prayer. When we present our requests to God, He will give us His peace.

Finally we must keep our minds set on whatever is true, pure, right and holy.

Application

Anxiety is one of the defining emotions of this age. We are safer than ever, healthier than ever and more fearful than ever.

We like to be in control of every part of our lives. But there are some things– terrorists and illness, for example– which we cannot control.

Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything but to trust God in everything.

We say that God is in control, but often we do not really believe this. If I truly believe that God is in control, I don’t have to worry about what today might bring.

Jesus told us that our Father knows what we need even before we do. So we must learn to trust that He will direct our paths and believe that He will give us what we need to handle each day.

When we leave our cares with God, trusting in His goodness, then anxiety gives way to peace that passes all human understanding.

Prayer

Father I thank you for the knowledge that you will give me all that I need for today. I confess that sometimes I forget that you are in control and that you are good. Help me to hand over all worry to you. Amen.

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Reflection on Exodus 32:1-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+32.1-14

Scripture

After the people saw that Moses had been on the mountain for a long time, they went to Aaron and said, “Make us an image of a god who will lead and protect us. Moses brought us out of Egypt, but nobody knows what has happened to him.”

Observation

While Moses is up on the mountain receiving God’s Law, the people come to Aaron to get him to make an idol for them. Aaron has a statue of a bull made, and the people worship it and carry on “like wild people.”

The Lord tells Moses to get back down to the people. He threatens to kill them for their idolatry and replace them with Moses’ offspring. Moses intercedes and the Lord relents.

Application

How easy it is to move from faith to idolatry. How quickly we can start to worship the “gods” we can see and touch rather than the true God whom we cannot see.

It is hard to believe, but the people of Israel had seen daily miracles, but still quickly pursued an idol when the opportunity presented itself

We are not so blatant about it, but there are many false gods around us that fight for our adoration– family, security, approval of others, money, sex, significance, worship, religion.

There are so many idols but only one Saviour.

For this reason, we must keep our eyes on Jesus all day every day. We must start our days in prayer, end our days in prayer and fill the days with prayer.

Regular reading of the Bible will help us to set our directions in accordance with the ways of Christ.

With so many temptations to worship the idols of our heart, we need to ensure that we worship only the Lord.

Prayer

Father, I confess that it is all too easy for my hear to seek pleasure in false gods. Please keep me safe in my worship of you alone. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 22:1-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22.1-14

Scripture

Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.”

Observation

Jesus tells another parable that speaks about the great grace of God and the hard- heartedness of His people.

A king gives a wedding feast for his son. The invited guests ignore the invitation, offering lame excuses and some even beating and killing the servants.

Enraged, the king sends his servants to go the street corners and invite everyone to the feast. One of these guests turns up not wearing the correct clothes, and so the king orders him thrown out into the darkness.

Application

God’s heart for humanity is bigger than we can imagine. He invites everyone to come to His wedding banquet.

The response of the invited guests is appalling. They treat the invitation as something of little importance. A royal wedding is always a social event, but here the chosen ones treat it with contempt.

Many people treat God’s invitation to the biggest wedding party ever with similar contempt. They would rather tend to their business or carry on with ordinary life than to think of God’s offer of eternal life.

Often christians feel guilty for not sharing the gospel enough. I don’t think that for many people at least in the West the problem is not hearing the gospel. The problem for many is that having heard it, they reject the offer,

Many are invited but only a few are chosen” may more accurately be written only a few allow themselves to be chosen.

This is the time for salvation. Do not put this offer off to one side or reject it completely. Let God into your life and let Him transform you.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for opening eternity to all who will say “Yes” to you. May all who read these words accept your invitation. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 3:1-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+3.1-14

Scripture

But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless.

Observation

Paul warns us against the “dogs” who want to re-introduce circumcision. When it comes to that, Paul was the Pharisee of Pharisees. He was zealous for the Law of Moses to the point of persecuting the church.

Christ has revolutionised his values. That which he once considered valuable he now sees as worthless. Christ has taken hold of Paul so that ll he wants is Christ,

Paul has not yet reached the goal, but he keeps running the race in order to win the prize that God has for him.

Application

When Christ takes hold of us, He completely overturns our value system. The things we used to pursue suddenly become pointless in our eyes.

Instead of the flesh we prioritise the spirit.

Instead of finding security in our job or identity in our career, we now find these in Christ.

Instead of plotting our own life directions, we surrender all to God.

Instead of secular entertainment we pursue Christian edification.

Some of these changes come quickly to us as we choose to follow Christ. Others take years or decades as we learn to align our values with those of Christ.

It is possible that ungodly activities – the sins of the flesh– have such a tight hold on us that we are blind to their significance. Some things can be addictions in which our flesh literally fights against our spirit.

But in all these things Christ is the victor. He is stronger than satan and will give us the strength to overcome.

The important thing is to keep running the race. We must not give up or grow discouraged. Keep pursuing Christ. Let Him take hold of you and let His grace transform you from the inside.

It’s not so much about giving things up that we know are wrong. It is about letting the Holy Spirit change your way of looking at life and eternity.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I confess that there are aspects of my life which I ty to run in my own strength. Please come in and change my values so that what I now cherish I come to see as trash. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 20:1-20

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20.1-20

Scripture

The people trembled with fear when they heard the thunder and saw the lightning and smoke coming from the mountain. They stood a long way off.

Observation

Moses comes down from the mountain and tells the people what the Lord aid to him. He tells them the ten commandments. Their freedom from slavery in Egypt was to result in a people who were holy, set apart for God.

The people trembled with fear hearing the thunder and seeing the smoke and lightning on the mountain. They did not want to go in and urged Moses to be their representative.

Application

Scripture tells us in several places that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Here there is not a healthy fear of the Lord but a terror of approaching the Lord. They could see the power of the Lord, but they missed His love.

On the other hand, Moses was drawn in, always seeking a deeper knowledge, a more intimate experience of God.

The people wanted to stand back at a distance, but Moses wanted to press in.

People put up all kinds of boundaries in order to try and control how close God can get in. They keep Him locked in a cage that they visit on Sunday morning from the safety of the back seat. They may have n intellectual boundary where God can only speak through a theological framework. Some have a prayer life that excludes all possibility of miracles.

God wants us to go “all in”, not holding anything back. It is scary to pull down all the barriers we have erected to contain the Lord. It may cost us everything we have. But it brings us into the very presence of God.

The life of total pursuit of the Lord is exhilarating. There is nothing like it!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please show me the ways that I try to limit your ownership of my life. Help me to let go of those barriers and trust you to lead me in all things. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 21:22-46

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21:33-46

Scripture

I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands.”

Observation

Jesus continues to talk to the chief priests and leaders in the Temple area. He tells a parable about a landowner who plants a vineyard, builds walls and a tower as well as digging a crushing pit. He then rents it out and leaves.

At harvest time, the owner sends some servants to collect his share of the grapes. The tenants beat and kill the servants. The owner sends a bigger contingent of servants but with the same result. Finally he sends his son, thinking that they will respect him. But they kill the son as well.

Jesus then asks the priests and leaders what will happen to the tenants. They reply that surely the owner will kill then and find more suitable tenants,

Application

The religious leaders of Israel had lost track of their responsibilities to God. Over many years, they had killed the prophets who rebuked them. The parable suggests that they will treat God’s Son in the same way.

The warning to all of us is that if we claim to be followers of Jesus, we had better take this seriously. If we don’t, then the Kingdom of God will be taken away from us and given to someone else.

We must remain faithful and obedient to Jesus. That means reading the Word and putting it into practice. It means praying for people and asking Father God , “What do you want me to do for this person?”

God’s kingdom is not just about words but deeds. The sinner’s prayer is the starting point of discipleship not the finish line.

God is looking for a people who will die to every selfish ambition and live only for Christ.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, once again I give myself to you. Let my whole life be surrendered to you and your purposes. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 2:1-13

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+2:1-13

Scripture

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves.

Observation

If we have received any blessing at all from Christ, we should be of one mind, sharing His love. Rather than working from selfish ambition or conceit, we should be humble, considering other as better than ourselves.

We should have the mind of Christ Jesus who, though He was God, did not cling to that status. He humbled Himself, being a slave and obeying the Father even to the point of death on a cross, Therefore God exalted him, raising Him to the highest place of adoration.

Application

The world is constantly telling us to put ourselves out there, to dream big and strive to make those dreams come true.

The world is all about selfish ambition and achieving our own goals. We believe in equality but push ourselves forward at every opportunity.

The way of Christ is about surrendering ourselves to Him. Just as Christ humbled Himself to the point of a shameful death, we must humble ourselves and obey even to the point of death if necessary.

My life is no longer my own to do with as I please. It is all in the hands of God.

I must surrender all pride and conceit to God, turning away from that way of thinking. Now I must learn to consider others as better than myself.

The heart of a christian is the heart of a servant, considering the needs of others ahead of my own needs.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, teach me how to walk in your ways, surrendering all conceit and selfish ambition to you. Amen.