DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-07-27
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Philippians 1:9-11
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)
BIBLE TEXT: 9 My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight, 10 for I want you always to see clearly the difference between right and wrong, and to be inwardly clean, no one being able to criticize you from now until our Lord returns. 11 May you always be doing those good, kind things that show you are a child of God, for this will bring much praise and glory to the Lord.
OBSERVATION: Most often we pray for health issues, then perhaps for the wellbeing of our friends, and possibly for their financial wellbeing. But have a look at your prayer list, and the one at church, and see how many are on the list for salvation, or even for enhancing the love of the individual for Jesus and for each other. Paul and Timothy felt the need to pray for their friends at the church of Philippi so that God might see His precious saints in service for Him, not pretenders masquerading around the church trying to impress its leaders. Sounds all too familiar friends? Hang with me while we delve into this Scripture today.
APPLICATION: Some will attend church and they might manage to speak to a fellow worshipper, but how often do we truly care about how they are doing or how we might pray for them and their relationship with God? Notice that in earlier verses Paul shared with the church that 1) He had them on his mind (Vs 3-6); and 2) He had them in his heart (Vs 7-8). So of course, it was natural that Paul would pray for them in verses 9-11. I wonder if, by late Sunday afternoon you would remember who sat on each side of you in church that morning? Did you meet the folk who sat behind you, or in front of you? Did any of them have any needs that you might pray for? Friends, please stop for a moment – I’m talking about folk who care about their soul, not folk who might be pouring out of a club and that might curse at you if you tried to socialize with them. I’m talking about the kind of folk that want to know more about Jesus. I recently went through major surgery, and although I was on the church’s prayer list, I could probably count on one hand the number of fellow believers who took the time to check on my wellbeing. I can’t put them down, because I am probably just as bad when they are out for various reasons. But why has the church (its members) today become so busy, so self-centered, and so selfish, that they (we) have no time for others? Do we not have other believers on our mind and in our hearts? Is that, perhaps, the reason we don’t pray for each other like Paul did for the church at Philippi? If one is too busy, or wrapped up in themselves to show that they care for others God has placed right beside them, do you think they will ever care about that person’s relationship with God? Friends, you were the ‘pastor’ that God sent that person to when they sat beside you. Please don’t assume that you pay your pastor to do your God-assigned work. As we study this closely, some Bible versions start off verse 10 with the words ‘so that’. Paul shared his concern, and his heart for the church in verse 9, but he didn’t want them to feel like it was for the purpose of increasing their self-worth, but instead he wanted them to know that he prayed for their spiritual wellbeing, their obedience, and their love for others, so that (or for the purpose of) their love for others might increase, and their relationship with God might become what God expects of you. Oh that we might care enough about others that they will be on our minds, and that our hearts will overrun with joy for their successes and burn with passion for their needs, especially their need to know our Jesus more intimately. Friends, when you think about the church growing in intimacy with God and each other, I believe that this formula taught by Paul in our Scripture today is far more effective than anything that the pastor might teach, preach or practice, for this is what draws one to Jesus Christ and keep them near to the cross that He hung on to show His love for us. People in our churches need to know how much we care about them. So as I pray today, I will aim to follow the example of Paul, with God as my helper and guide. Please consider joining me in this dear friend.
PRAYER: Oh Lord, my Lord. Please help us to look beyond self today. I know that we will be tempted to drown in our sorrows and our aches and pains, but please touch us once again today and help us to fix our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. And Lord, we truly need constant reminding of our ministry that You have placed us here on earth for, yes right where we are and with everyone that we come into contact with. May we never assume that others have no needs – for we all need You in every aspect of our lives, and we may be the messenger who will deliver Your Word and show Your love as expressed so vividly in our lives. People need the Lord. Oh that they may see Jesus so prominent in our lives that they will recognize the hand of the Messiah and want to know Him intimately. May You receive glory today, even as You are glorified through each reader and myself. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!