Have you examined lately what causes you to move forward? What motivates you? According to Paul in Philippians 3:12-16 his motivation comes from what Christ did for him and his desire to live up to what God expects of him in Christ. I like the insights the Amplified text brings to this portion of scripture: 12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. 15 So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.”
This is a very familiar portion of scripture as it reveals Paul’s heart and desire to always press onward for Christ. Paul realizes that our world and all of its pressures can and do distract us from our work for Christ. He encourages us to press onward, upward and forward in our lives leaving the worldly distractions behind and claiming, proclaiming and grabbing hold of what Christ has for us in life. What Christ has for us is far greater than anything we could attain ourselves in this life. Christ has give it to us already so we need to walk and live by His ways.
Why joy in this? I see joy in the fact that Jesus provided a way, a plan, a pattern for following Him in His Word.
I see joy in knowing the things Christ can and will provide are greater than worldly acquisitions or achievements.
I see joy in following Him knowing I already have it all in Christ and simply need to grab hold of it and walk with Him each day.
Have a blessed day walking with Him.
Today is deemed Martin Luther King Day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood for rightness in the fight for freedom and equality for all men. He was very eloquent in speech and inspired many with his life and his fight against oppression. He challenges the generations to dream of equality and reach for it. Where do you have unrealized dreams today? Are you actively pursuing them, keeping them in focus and grabbing onto opportunities to make them happen?
This year my word is HOPE and like Dr. King I need to put my faith and trust in God and walk in Hope. What about you? Have you chosen patience as your word- do you need to purse patience in moving towards the goals God has for you? Have you chosen structure- do you need to form a plan or have a pattern for your daily success? Have you chosen peace- do you need to develop an attitude of peace in your heart and towards those around you this year? Like Dr. King, we want our dreams and goals to be accomplished and we want to glorify God in the process. I came across this verse today that fits in and encouraged me. Proverbs 16:3 in the Message translation. “Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.” Keep God in your focus, in your heart, in your prayer life and He will bring you to it and through it this year for your good and His glory!
As we remember Dr. King today and honor his achievements for mankind. think how much God has for you to accomplish and what wonderful purposes He has for you. We know for certain that He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Put God in charge of your plans and He will align them with His will to accomplish His purposes. His are the best plans of all. Let go this year and let God be in charge. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom is a classic line found multiple times in the Old Testament. Within each reference we are told additional reasons for fearing the Lord. Psalm 111 tells about the Lord’s greatness and ends with verse 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” This verse closes Psalm 111 and leads into Psalm 112, one which scholars call its twin. Psalm 112 speaks of a godly man and how following the Lord brings him an abundant life. Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” The phrase ‘fear of the Lord’ is equated with reverence, awe and respect. So having great respect for the Lord and His Word and following the precepts (principles) of His Word will bring blessing and delight. The psalmist continues on for 8 more verse explaining how fearing the Lord brings blessings to the believer.
His offspring will be mighty in the land; Children productive and blessed.
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, He will have physical
and his righteousness endures forever. and spiritual success before God.
4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He will be of good character.
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; His character will be
who conducts his affairs with justice. filled with generosity and justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved; He will stand firm in faith and
he will be remembered forever. be well remembered.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. He trusts the Lord in all circumstances.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever; He will reap the fruits of his
his horn is exalted in honor. generosity and faith.
What amazing blessings await the man who fears the Lord and delights in Him. The psalmist concludes with verse 10 which is a striking contrast to the blessed man. ” The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!”
As you journey through this day, ponder how wonderful it is to fear the Lord and how blessed you are for finding your delight in Him!
When I began this series on being blessed and what it means, I started with the definition of blessed. Being blessed is receiving a gift of divine favor, receiving good wishes or approval or receiving anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune. Today’s scripture in Psalm 94:12 emphasizes the receiving of happiness and stopping of misfortune which results from being open to God’s instruction and discipline. Psalm 94:8-13 is a bit longer in the Amplified version, it brings clarity to the passage.
Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?
He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.
The psalmist asks us to consider God and what He has done and what He knows. God can and does bless the one who follows His teachings, accepts His correction and direction and pays attention to the details of His Word. The blessing comes when one follows God’s Word and finds God’s peace in the troubled times in which we live.
Have you experienced God’s blessing of wisdom and success in your life? Did the greatest blessings come when you followed His Word and walked with Him? Was it a peace-filled time even though the world’s circumstances were in turmoil around you? According to scripture, you have been blessed. The psalmist felt that way and finished this psalm in verses 23-24 with total dependence and trust in God and His power to defend and vanquish all his foes.
But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.
May you cling to Jesus today and trust Him to bless, guide and defend you as you walk with Him.