July 4 – Forgetting and Pressing On


“Brothers, I do not count myself yet to have laid hold. But one thing (I do) forgetting what lies behind (me) and eagerly straining forward to what lies ahead I am pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14*

Mentioned before, the Apostle Paul was very good at loading much into long complex sentences. This larger passage is another example. Paul continues sharing how deeply moved he was because he knows the pressures on the fellowship of Christians in the church at Philippi. There were those in the congregation who professed perfection. So Paul describes his thoughts. “As a believer in Christ alone, I for one am still far removed from the goal of spiritual perfection. Whatever anyone else may claim, I have not yet laid hold on it.” Paul, not despairing, instead is running in a race, while pushing himself to the limit to reach the goal. To be successful in this he has to do one thing; focus his concentration on completing the race to reaching the goal. Forget the past, strain forward for the future promises. What promises? The prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The Christian running the race stays the course with full commitment forgetting all past failures and past successes to reach the goal and the prize. The goal is heaven. The prize is awarded only where it is truly a prize, with Christ in heaven.

*(Translation from: William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Philippians, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 5: 174.)

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July 3 – What We Long For


“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) fellowship of his sufferings becoming increasingly conformed to his death if only I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11*

We’re staying with the promises found in Philippians 3:10-11. All who have accepted by faith the righteousness of Christ imputed to our account will experience a longing to know Him, to know God who has made us righteous in Christ. That desire is a reason we have been given the faith and gift of Christ’s work on the cross. Paul says that he longs for an ever-increasing supply of the power that proceeds from the risen and exalted Savior. When the Father raised the Son he thereby proved his acceptance of the ransom paid by Christ as full satisfaction for our sin. Yet we want more. More of the power which comes only from Christ’s resurrection. Like Paul we long to know and participate more and more fully in even the reproaches and afflictions of his Lord and Savior. Paul confesses that sharing in Christ sufferings results in us increasingly conforming to Christ’s death (see Romans 6:4-11). Paul stresses a longing and a striving to be raised completely above sin and selfishness, so that he can be a most effective representative for the salvation of men to the glory of God. But there is more in verses 12-14 next.

*(Translation from: William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Philippians, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 5:169.)

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July 2 – Given, Accepted, Never Earned


“…in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. not having a righteousness of my own, legal righteousness but that (which is) through faith in Christ. the righteousness (which is) from God (and rests) on faith” – Philippians 3:9*

There is a purpose for us to also toss all our self-effort to please God on the refuse heap. This is a warning from the Apostle Paul for any who would think and expect that their own good deeds were in any way a righteousness that counts before God. Such “good works” will never be regarded as true righteousness. We’re to never expect God to accept us into His Kingdom based on how good we have been in life. Those that do will be disappointed. Some receiving this letter by Paul may have been offended by this. Paul says accomplishments which conformed to the Old Testament Law of Moses and the myriad of additional interpretations and traditions built up by the Jewish religious authorities since Moses. Yet it applies to any self-effort to please God and any effort by us to be righteous by following any set of laws. The only righteousness which is through faith in Christ has any value. By faith our hand extended to receive God’s free gift. Only righteousness that is imputed to the us sinners as God’s free gift is how we obtain this righteousness. Not earned, for a gift is never earned.

*(Translation from: William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Philippians, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 5:164.)

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July 1 – Counting By Value


“Yes, what is more, I certainly do count all things to be sheer loss because of the all-surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For whom I suffered the loss of all these things and I am still counting them refuse. in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” – Philippians 3:8 *

The conversion of Saul, who came to be called Paul, happened one day on the outskirts of Damascus which was first mentioned in Genesis 14 and the account of Abraham’s rescue of his nephew Lot,. Saul of Tarsus had in this case ,signed letters of approval from Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to arrest all Jews in Damascus who were found to be “of the Way.” At that moment God interrupted Saul’s life and informed him of His plan for his life. It changed everything about Saul’s life. That instant Paul came to count all accomplishments in his life as lost and worthless. In our verse today, Paul strengthens his statements, (v.7-8). First, he underscores what was implied and what he counted as loss at the moment of his conversion, he is still counting to be loss. Secondly, Paul affirms that he still considers the status points mentioned in verses 5 and 6 to be a detriment and liability. Paul wishes to make Christ more and more fully his own. As long as one keeps clinging, even in the slightest degree, to his own righteousness, he cannot fully enjoy Christ’s. The same goes for all believers even today.

*(Translation from: William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Philippians, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 5:164.)

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June 30 – The Means of Attainment


“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” – Philippians 3:7 (NASB)
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11 (NASB)

These two passages bracket a list of many blessings which are ours by promise if we pass on the trusting of our own self-effort to be good enough. Paul, declares these after listing his good behavior as a student and follower of Jewish Law. In that respect he had done everything necessary and was highly regarded. However, all his Jewish religious credentials that he thought were in his profit column, were actually worthless and damning. Instead, he put them in his loss column when he saw the glories of Christ. In Philippians 3:8-11 Paul described the promises and benefits that accrued to his profit column when he came to Christ. Importantly, in verse 8 Paul doubles down on how he despised what he once held dear. Paul now calls all his accomplishments that he worked so hard for to be “rubbish.” The Greek word refers to garbage or waste, and can even be translated “dung” or “manure.” Christian believers, we are found “in Christ.” Our union with Christ is a promise and possible only because God has imputed (credited) Christ’s perfect pure righteousness to us so that it is now reckoned by God as our own.

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June 29 – In Spirit and Truth


“For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,” – Philippians 3:3 (NASB)

Our verse selected today is straightforward and direct. It pulls no punches presenting truth. But first, let’s understand the first phrase. When God commanded of Abraham to perform circumcision on every male child on the eighth day after birth, it was to be established as a covenant sign. The practice wasn’t foreign in the culture of that time but it was given by God with special religious significance. Physical circumcision identified a male as belonging to the physical and ethnic lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Christians are not commanded to abide by the physical act. But it is a spiritual characteristic of a person whose wages of sin has been forgiven and removed. We find three proofs of a true believer. First: “worship in the Spirit of God” means we render inner and respectful spiritual service with our spirit as one with the Spirit of God. Second: “glory in Christ Jesus” means⸺to boast with exultant joy⸺giving all the credit for all that we are to Christ Jesus. Third: “no confidence in the flesh” references our unredeemed humanness, ability, and achievements apart from God. It’s us trying to prove ourselves good enough for God’s approval.

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June 27 – Setting Those Priorities, Again

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3–4 (NASB)

The church in Philippi was a favorite of the Apostle Paul. He wrote his letter to them while in prison and chained to a Roman jailer and his filled this letter with encouragement to rejoice in all our circumstance. Paul expresses his love for these brothers and sisters in Christ. But Paul also is very direct with his instruction as it concerns how we are to live if we are truly Christians and saved by God’s grace through faith also from God. Today’s we have a direct command from an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Operate in humility of mind. That means attitude and conviction. Our attitude is to put greater importance on the needs of others than on our own. WOW! Does that fit into today’s popular psychology? “Love yourself first.” Christian, there’re no excuses at all. There’s no bypass of this command. It doesn’t say we are to have no interests of our own but our interests are not our priority concern. The promises God gives us is throughout this letter and we will look at it carefully. Today, let’s establish in our minds and attitude that others have concerns more important than ours. That’s the path to humility.

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 October 11 – All Means All

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

Has your supply of anything run out? Are your reserves low? Energy, hope, faith, maybe just a few of the needs we’re facing. Maybe we’re blindsided by something totally unexpected and we’re laid flat out on our back. We hardly have the energy to get up. When we do, we struggle to regain focus and direction. God has given us a promise in this verse. We can lean on this verse and trust it even if we’re having a hard time understanding. Who will fulfill this promise? God. Not just any god but my God, our God. The one and only true God who is the supplier of everything we need. Sometimes we may not even know what we need or what we think we need is not what God knows we need. He will supply what we truly need and it is according to His riches. It’s not out of his riches, which would deplete the balance, but according to which will never deplete His store of infinite riches. These riches are in the Bank of Glory in Christ Jesus. What Jesus has done for us is permanent, lasting for eternity. All Your Needs Supplied by God.

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 October 10 – The Overcomers Promise

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 (NASB)

Our verse today is perhaps a familiar and frequently quoted verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It offers a powerful truth we can live by no matter what circumstances of life surround us. However, an application of this verse that is often used shades its true meaning. This is a promise indeed but not a promise that we will be able to accomplish anything we wish for. It does not promise a win in any competition. It does not promise excellence in performances to reach a desired goal. It does promise we can face and sustain all circumstances which challenge our faith. Prosperity? It comes with temptation of pride and leads to depending upon ourselves more than on God. Poverty? It leads to doubts and fear and temptations to cheat because our life expectations are not met. God promises to help us have strength to withstand all challenges, helping us to not succumb to defeating doubts. Because we are in Christ, He infuses us with His strength to sustain us through all things that come our way and teaches us how to thrive in plenty or in want.

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 October 9 – Good Thoughts = Good Habits

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

The letter Paul the Apostle wrote to his Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi is so chock-full of promises and encouraging instruction. Today’s verse is a good one to memorize or post on a note card where we can see it daily. Our minds are under attack daily – even hourly by the devil who is seeking to destroy and rob us of our joy. We have read more than once that we are to rejoice always. Today we read how fill our minds with good things and think our way to rejoicing.

  • True is found in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Word*. 
  • Honorable “worthy of respect.” We meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, as opposed to the profane. 
  • Right means is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness. 
  • Pure is that which is morally clean and undefiled. 
  • Lovely “pleasing” or “amiable.” Believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious. 
  • Of good repute, that which is highly regarded or thought well of and reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.

We thus avoid the GIGO† in our manner of thoughts.

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* 2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 4:20-21; John 16:13; John 17:17

† Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), What goes into a process will be seen in what comes out. While the term is most frequently used in the context of software development, GIGO can also be used to refer to any decision-making systems or choices where failure to make the best decisions or choices results in unintended and unpleasant consequences.