Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; Matthew 6:25-34

As a child, one of my favorite movies was, “The Jungle Book.”  I loved all the animals talking to Mowgli, and I especially loved the music.  One of my favorite songs from the movie was Baloo the bear’s song, the “Bear” Necessities of life.  All Baloo needed was food to eat, a place to sleep and a tall tree to scratch his back.  In looking at the culture around us today, we are beginning to see some people abandon our affluent, materialistic society in favor of a more minimalist lifestyle.  People are leaving large suburban homes to move into tiny houses.  Large chain stores are closing as more and more people are no longer willing to pay outlandish prices.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, either give-me-more or give-me-less, there is still this apparent lack of peace.  No matter what path we choose to walk, we find them all to be empty of meaning, except for that one path; the path of God.

In Ecclesiastes 2, we read that King Solomon is searching for fulfillment and happiness in this life.  With his great wealth, Solomon set out to get everything he could imagine.  He built houses, planted vineyards, made himself gardens and parks, accumulated servants, herds and flocks.  The kin gathered a large amount of gold, silver and riches.  To his own confession, Solomon says, “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I kept my heart from no pleasure.”  It is hard for me to imagine a person being in the right set of circumstances to possess everything their heart desired, no matter how silly the desire may be.  Solomon spent years not denying his desires.  But after Solomon surveyed all he had gathered, built, and given to himself, he found that it was all empty of meaning and value in his heart.  “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil that I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity.

As we read through the Bible, we quickly realize that this earth promises many things that it cannot deliver.  The older we get, the more we see that many things may be nice and enjoyable, but we know that it is a temporary joy.  A wise person sees how far short the things of this work fall, and they must find something else to put their hope in.  Truly, even the bare necessities of life cannot fulfill the human heart.  The only true peace and joy that can fulfill a person’s heart can only be found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Application: What would you do if you could attempt the Solomon Experiment?  Which desires of your heart would you fulfill first? 

I challenge you to write out a list of the top five things you would do in your Solomon Experiment.  List the first five desires of your heart you would fulfill with your wealth.  After you make your list, ask yourself these questions:

-          Are your purchased desires for you alone, or do they involve other people?

-          Is your spending on frivolous things, or lasting things?

-          If these desires were fulfilled this very moment, would you have complete peace and joy in your heart?

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus teaches us to seek first God’s Kingdom, and then all our needs will be taken care of.  The secret to a content heart is not more or less things.  To have a content heart is to have peace with God; to know God as your Heavenly Father.  Don’t be swayed by the trends of this world but keep your eyes focused and your heart grounded.  When you have a relationship with God, you have all you will ever need.  May we all find our peace in Him and kiss vanity goodbye.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are more than enough for me.  All the things in this world are gifts, but you are the Giver of those gifts.  Teach us to love you more than the gifts you have given.  You are greater, Lord.  We love you, and may our love for you grow deeper.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Psalm 77

There is not a time when more people cry out to God than when trouble strikes.  When things are going well, we are content to enjoy them, and occasionally, we pause to look up and tell God, “Thank you.”  But when trouble strikes, we find ourselves looking to God more.  Sadly, most of our looking to God is questioning Him.  “Why did you let this happen, Lord?”  “How long will you standby and watch this?”  “God, where are you in this mess?”  If this is true for you, as it is true for most of us Christians, then Psalm 77 has a lot to teach us. 

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Asaph captures a lot of our emotions and thoughts during times of trouble.  Some of the questions Asaph asks are, “Has his steadfast love forever ceased?” and “Has God forgotten to be gracious?”  We can relate to such questions, but it is where Asaph turns after asking them that is the most important.  In verses 11-12, Asaph takes time to remember and ponder the mighty works God has done for His people.  It is after remembering these things that Asaph writes, “Your way, O God, is holy.  What god is great like our God?”  When Asaph considers the holiness of God, and remembers His steadfast love, then he finds peace to face his troubles. 

God is always involved with His people, and we are always in the palms of His hands.  In a fallen world, troubles will come our way, but nothing can separate us from the love of God.  God’s love and strength are always with us, even when we cannot see it.  This wonderful thought is captured beautifully in 77:19, which says, “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”  Asaph is remembering the Exodus story of God parting the Red Sea.  This was a time of great fear and trouble for God’s people, and God acted mightily on their behalf.  God led them to safety and then into a land to call their home, yet there were no specific footprints for them to follow.  God led them, but there were no trail markers.  Just as His people had to walk by faith, so must Asaph do, and so must we.

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Application: In John 16:33 Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.”  We will have troubles in this life.  If that was where Jesus had ended His statement, it would have been true, but not very encouraging.  Praise be to God that there is more to what Jesus was saying.  The verse ends with Jesus saying, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  It is unrealistic to ask for a life without troubles.  In a world infected with sin, troubles will arise constantly.  What is realistic is the hope and peace that is found in being a child of God.  Just as He once parted the sea for His people to walk through, so God will lead you now.  When troubles arise, and you feel fear and anxiety rising within your heart, remember the mighty things God has done.  Let the history of God’s love and might comfort your heart.  He will make you to overcome because He has already overcome the world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for the mighty things you have done for your people.  When troubles come my way, help me to remember your great strength.  I know that you are holy, and that you are my God.  My hope and my life are in your hands, and I know that I will never be moved.  I love you.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-7; James 5:13-18

One of my favorite people to read about in Scripture is the prophet Elijah.  His story is filled with these moments of great faith, boldness and courage, as well as times of fear and sadness.  Elijah is one of those great men of the Bible who we see him at his best and his worst.  The reason I say this encourages me is due to the hero-worship many of us are so prone to.  If all we read about was Elijah's bold proclamations to King Ahab, and his epic battle with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, we may leave thinking he is a spiritual superhero that we cannot relate to.  Instead, we see a man just like us.  Elijah was man who prayed, and like us, had to have faith that God would hear and answer.  In our passage today, we see the prayer that would forever change the course of Elijah's faith and life.

in 1 Kings 17, Elijah is introduced, and right out of the gate we see him confronting the wicked king, Ahab.  Elijah says, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."  Ahab is king over Israel, but Israel belongs to God.  Elijah comes as a prophet called by God, and he calls for a drought to strike the land.  Without rain, the water supply will dwindle and the agriculture will suffer.  Crops will not grow, which means families will go hungry, prices for food will climb, and work will suffer due to the malnutrition and exhaustion of the workers and the animals.  Life is about to get difficult.  However, we see that Elijah will be cared for.  God has instructed Elijah to go and live in the wilderness near the brook Cherith, and there Elijah will have the brook for drinking water, and ravens will deliver food to him daily.  Elijah has a good setup to withstand the drought, until we read verse seven.  "And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land."

James 5:17 reminds us that, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth."  God stopped the rain in response to a prayer of faith.  Faith became even more important when as a result Elijah's drinking water vanished.  It was a result of his prayer that Elijah is faced with no more water.  With his life on the line, Elijah must continue to look to God to provide for his life.  In his flesh, Elijah may have been nervous, or even anxious, about how he would survive with the brook dried up.  In his faith, however, Elijah knew God would provide for his life, even in a drought.

Application:  To restate what I began with, I love Elijah's story.  He was a man with a nature like ours, and we see it on display throughout his recorded story.  In Elijah's circumstances, faith was needed to pray for the drought, and to withstand him during it.  We are no different.  It takes having faith in God to pray for something.  Prayer is looking to God, asking for His involvement in a situation, and trusting it to Him to do what He will.  It takes faith to pray.  To add to that, it takes faith to live with God's answer to prayer.  God may withhold the rain, but will you have faith for Him to provide during the drought?  Have faith to pray like Elijah, and have faith that God will carry you through His answer.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have faith that you hear my prayers.  I also believe that you answer all of them according to your will and purposes.  As you work all things together for my good, strengthen my faith.  Help me to stay true and stand strong as you glorify your name and build up your kingdom in and through my life.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:10-20; Matthew 7:24-27

If you have ever seen an infomercial, you know what it is like to realize you, “cannot live,” without the advertised product.  How did we ever remove stains from clothes before OxyClean came into our lives?  How did we ever exercise without a Bowflex treadmill?  How did we sleep before Serta got into the mattress business?  Product marketing is designed to make us think we have fallen behind the times, and they encourage us to catch up and live in the now!  There are so many things in today’s culture that make us feel discontent and unsatisfied with the things we already have.  Therefore, many of us fall into the trap of thinking, “If I just had blank, then I would be good.”  However, we all have come to learn that with everything we get, we always desire a little more.  I heard a story about a time when John D. Rockefeller was asked, "How much money is enough money?" He replied, "Just a little bit more."

Being a missionary, Paul knew what is was like to go without many conveniences.  As he is closing out his letter to the Philippians, he thanks them for all the help and aid they have given him.  There were times the Philippians would have done more if they could, but circumstances kept them from doing so.  Paul does not hold this against them, but uses this moment to teach them one last, very important, lesson.  There will be times the Philippians, indeed all people, will find themselves living with very little, and at other times they will have an abundance.  At some times, you will go to bed hungry, and at other times you will have more food than you can eat.  Some moments you will be flying high and abounding in every good thing, whereas at other moments you will be brought low and in need.  Such are the ups and downs of life.  The important truth to remember in whatever place you find yourself:  God never changes.  Your circumstances may vary, but God stays the same.  Knowing that God is faithful to forgive us, redeem us, lead us, perfect in us, and love us, we find strength to keep going.  You can endure all things because of the strength you have in Jesus.  Christ is more than enough for every place and time in life.

Application:  If Jesus is all you need to have a full and abundant life, then you can stand firm through the noise and distractions of our world’s marketing.  Because you have found the strength to withstand the storms of trends and popular viewpoints, and because your life is built on the rock-solid foundation of Jesu Christ, you will never be shaken or moved.  Keep Jesus as the focus of your heart and the thoughts of your mind and live in the satisfying fulfillment that only He can give.  Always remember that with God you have everything you will ever need.  Be content in this life knowing that blessings and riches beyond your imagination await you in eternity with our Heavenly Father.  As Paul writes in Philippians 4:20, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for being all we will ever need.  You have graciously given us salvation from sin, and the hope for eternal life with you.  Help us to be content with ou and all that you give to us in this life.  May we never desire anything more than you.  We love you, Heavenly Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

It is no secret that the best way to remain faithful to anything is to enjoy it.  We remain faithful in our marriages because we enjoy being married to our spouse.  Our favorite meal stays our favorite because of how much we enjoy eating it.  Everything we love, we love because of the joy it brings.  In a much deeper sense, our relationship with God works similarly.  In Philippians 4:1, Paul encourages the believers to, “stand firm thus in the Lord”, and a few short sentences later Paul calls for them to also, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”  Rejoice means to show joy and delight in something or someone.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to rejoice in something that you do not love.  The two, loving and rejoicing, go hand-in-hand together.  Therefore, any Christian who stands firm in the Lord would also be a Christian that loves and delights in God.

It makes so much sense to our minds, but we often get distracted and lose sight of our love for God.  These distractions come in the form of temptations to sin, tests and trials, and witnessing and hearing about all the wickedness occurring in the world.  When dark, wicked and sinful thoughts cloud our minds and hearts, we struggle to rejoice, which leads to us struggling to stand firm in the Lord.  Paul, knowing this, also encourages us as Christ-followers to think on the things of Christ.  In 4:8-9, Paul teaches the Philippian Christians to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praise-worthy.  With minds that are constantly being renewed by the good things of God, hearts being transformed by the love and joy found in Jesus, and strength to stand firm in the Lord always, we will be filled with and surrounded by the peace of our God.

Application:  What is the normal focus of your mind?  What is your typical demeanor towards life?  Would people describe as someone who is rejoicing in the Lord always?  Our hearts and minds can easily become burdened or distracted in our constantly busy days.  Satan loves to tempt us to sin, and he often tries to lead us off the straight and narrow path of God however he can.  Practically speaking, one of the best ways to fight against this is to remove things that take your heart and mind to wicked things and replace them with things that lead you to focus on godly things.  If Facebook leads you into a downward spiral, then delete Facebook.  If the news causes you to be negative and get angry or confused with God, then turn off the news and open His Word.  We are too quick to make excuses and allow bad things to exist in our lives, when we should make more of an effort to fill our lives with the things of God.  It may sound extreme to remove social media, television or internet from your life, but your soul is worth the cost.  What will it take to fill your heart and mind with the things of God?  Implement those changes, and start living a life of rejoicing, faithfulness and peace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know us inside and out.  You see and know are greatest strengths and weaknesses, and yet you never stop loving us.  Help us to remove the sinful and wicked things from our lives, and to not fall victim to the excuses and lies Satan tries to distract us with.  Help us to walk in Your ways only.  We love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 3:12-21

There is a point in every Christ-follower’s life when their faith became theirs.  It could’ve been from a young age, or older, but there came a time when it because their faith in Jesus, and not the faith of their parents.  Throughout Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we read a letter to a church.  A church is made up of the people, but no matter the number of people they are still one church.  When we come to Philippians 3:12-21, although written to that one church, it hits home to us as individual believers.  We all have arrived at faith in Jesus, and we will all receive the same reward of eternal life with our Heavenly Father, but our journey to get here has been different.  Some grew up in a Christian home, some in an abusive home, some in a good home that was empty of religion.  Some Christians are set free from addictions, whereas others have not faced many hard times or struggles.  For some, life has been blessed and has no complaints, where others have a had a very hard life. 

Whatever your journey was to this point, it cannot be your focus.  Our past is what has shaped us into who we are today, but it does not define us.  We remember the past, but we are not controlled by it.  We can look back and see the hand of God guiding us, but this should be used as motivation to keep going forward.  Knowing God guided you earlier in life boosts your confidence that He is guiding you now and will continue to.  Our past has a way of distracting us, slowing us down, or holding us up altogether.  As Paul writes, we too should be, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”.  You are who you are because of your past, but your future is determined by your choices.  Going one step further, your choices will be determined by your heart.  Last week we looked at Jesus Christ being the true treasure of heaven, and how we should treasure Christ above all things.  It is Christ who has redeemed you from your past sins and given you the hope of a glorious future.  Keep your eyes forward and run the race of faith.  Let the redemption of your past drive you forward to Jesus.

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Application:  Our testimony is important because it shares with others what Christ has done in us.  It is possible to share your testimony without being swallowed up by the past.  Any time you think back to what you used to be, make sure you bring those thoughts to who you are now in Jesus Christ.  Satan would love to trap us in the past and cause us to swerve from the path God has for us.  Our enemy would love to discourage our faith or tempt us back to our former lives of darkness.  He is clever and crafty, so watch out for this trap in the past.  Be in prayer daily and spend time thanking God for the salvation He has worked in you.  Thank Him and seek Him for that continued work in you.  Forget what was behind you and press on to the salvation you have in Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for setting me free from the sins of my past.  Thanks to Jesus, I am set free from the guilt and shame, and I have been given a future filled with hope and love.  Please give me the strength, wisdom and courage to press on and never turn back.  Strengthen my faith so that I will always be pressing on to the prize and hope I have in your Son and my Savior.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 3:1-11; Matthew 6:19-24

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A battle that every believer fights is the battle for treasure.  We live in a culture that has placed so much value on wealth, career status, cars, fashion, electronics and social media influence.  The difference between two seemingly identical shirts can be a trademark logo and $100.  We race to get the newest version of our phone, only to realize it is not much different than the last one.  We are quick to treasure the latest and greatest things, but these treasures soon turn out to be vain, empty and outdated.  This battle is nothing new but has been a battle in the heart of all people since Adam and Eve.  When we read Philippians 3:1-11, we this battle as Paul reflects on his earlier life. 

Paul had the dream set-up.  He was a member of the right family, in the right tribe, and had all the skills to be a successful Pharisee.  He was smart, well-trained, and zealous for his position.  He was advancing faster and further than any of his peers.  Paul had all the treasures anyone could want…until he met Jesus.  Once Paul was confronted by the resurrected Christ, his life was forever changed, and what he treasured most was transformed.  Suddenly, worldly status, wealth and fame were meaningless when compared to the glory of Jesus Christ.  His eyes were opened to truly see what was most valuable.  His heart of stone was turned to flesh, and he believed in Jesus.  The treasure he had in this world began to rust and fade away, because Paul had found the most precious treasure, the Treasure of Heaven, Jesus.

Application: More and more people are finding worldly treasure superficial and unfulfilling.  However, even if all the world realized the emptiness of these treasures, they will remain unfulfilled until they realize the greatest treasure the world has ever known.  As Christians, we are aware of the battle for our heart and soul, so we are constantly focusing ourselves on Jesus.  In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  We must daily watch over our hearts to make sure our treasures are not being confused.  This world can be distracting, and sin is crouching nearby and ready to take us.  Peter warns us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour the unaware child of God.  Keep your soul awake and your heart focused.  The only treasure worth storing in your heart is the Treasure of Heaven, and His name is Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to keep my heart focused on you.  Transform my mind by your Holy Spirit so that I will know and comprehend what is the greatest treasure.  Keep me safe from idols and all things that would lead me astray.  By your strength, O God, I will stay awake and alert over my soul.  I love you, Heavenly Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:19-30; John 13:31-35

In our journey through Philippians, we come to the part of the letter many us speed over or ignore altogether.  Why would we really concern ourselves with the travel plans and business of two men close to 2,000 years ago?  But when we do this, we do miss some great truths and lessons that we need to be the people of God.

In these eleven verses, we see that two men are on their way to Philippi: Timothy and Epaphroditus.  Timothy is Paul’s protégé, of sorts, and Paul has great confidence in Timothy’s abilities and passion for Christ.  Also, Timothy seems to be, “genuinely concerned,” for the Philippians, so Paul sends Timothy in his place.  The second man, Epaphroditus, has a much deeper meaning in coming.  Epaphroditus is the messenger and minister that the Philippians sent to serve and helping during a time of need for Paul.  Epaphroditus willingly left his home, family, and friends to serve as a missionary for and with Paul.  While on this mission, Epaphroditus became very ill.  So ill, that Paul notes that Epaphroditus was, “near to death.”  God in His mercy spares and heals Epaphroditus, but word of his sickness had reached the Philippians.  They were concerned for their own, and their hearts and prayers went out to him.  Paul is sending Epaphroditus home to be welcomed with joy and honor for his service of the gospel.  This was likely a wonderful and celebratory homecoming. 

This is the kind of love and genuineness we should expect among Christians.  Is this how you respond when you have a guest speaker comes to church?  Are you excited to hear what God is doing in and through them in the place He has sent them?  Are you joyful when a believer returns to your church to testify to the work God has been doing?

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Application:  As the people of God, we must demonstrate love for each other.  Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  There are so many ways we must apply this, but let’s look at in the church specifically.  We must stop being in such a hurry.  Show love to one another by sharing your time and attention.  Don’t settle for superficial pleasantries but give of your heart and mind to truly talk with fellow believers.  Also, take the step to be more transparent.  Don’t feel like you must give your life story but know that it is safe to be open about struggles and hurts you experience.  All believers face struggles more often than we care to share.  But we can show one another the love and grace by being open and honest at times.  If we all come together to slow down and be real believers together, the church will become a place of safety and love, and that will show the world that we are God’s children.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for all the things you call and equip us to do in this world.  Help us to be loving to one another and share this life together.  May we not be afraid to be who you made us to be, and may we show love to those who share with us.  Transform us inside and out to be your people so that our love will show the rest of the world that we belong to you.  We love you, God.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:12-18; Matthew 5:14-16

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“You are the light of the world.”  This is what Jesus told to His disciples.  Not that they will be lights one day, or have the potential to be lights, but that they are the light.  As Christ-followers, a part of our new life and identity in Jesus is to be a light in a world filled with darkness.  To do this takes commitment to God and discipline to follow Him.  This is what I believe leads Paul to write in Philippians 2:12 for believers to, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  I used to wonder why fear and trembling was involved since Christians had been saved from sin and death.  The reason Paul uses these two words is not because of the danger of sin, but due to the holiness of God.

As Christians, we are the born-again children of God, and everything we do has His name attached to it.  Therefore, your words and deeds show the world our Heavenly Father.  My first youth minister used to always say: the only Bible some people will ever read is you.  That is a huge responsibility!  Living as lights for Christ in this world should not be taken lightly, but humbly and seriously.  We have been given a new life that is covered by the covenant promises of God, and we must be sure not to waste it. 

Application: The way we carry ourselves must be innocent and blameless of all evil.  We should not be known as gossips and grumblers, but as peacemakers and servants.  We live in the midst of a, “crooked and twisted generation,” and it is among them that we must shine as lights.  This is not so they will look at us, but our shining light is meant to point people on the path to Jesus.  As a Christ-follower, do not preoccupy yourself with worldly wealth and material possessions, but focus on being pure and without even the slightest blemish of wickedness.  We must be a people that are, “holding fast to the word of life,” and not live out our faith in vain.  Make God the first and greatest priority of your life, even if it means you will be poured out for the sake of others.  To live as a light for God, no matter what circumstances come your way, you are always found to be rejoicing in the salvation, love, grace and mercy of God.  Fix your hearts and minds upon Jesus and live as lights for Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for removing the darkness of sin from my life and making me to shine as a bright light for you.  Protect me from sin and selfishness and teach me how to live and shine as a godly light for all to see.  May my life be bright for your glory.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

One of the hardest things to do in life is putting others before yourself.  We have so much we have to take care of in our own lives, that putting other’s needs before our own can be very frustrating.  As we begin Philippians 2, we read that Paul is encouraging Christians to be united and loving towards each other.  As Christ-followers, we work for peace with all people, but especially with fellow believers.  We should not be trying to climb the spiritual-ladder by stepping on and over others but should be encouraging and helping others to climb.  If anything, we should assist others to grow in their faith and gifts, even if it means promoting them over ourselves.  This is not only difficult, but opposite to what the world teaches and models for us.  That is why we cannot look to the world for guidance, but we must look to Jesus.

Paul reminds us of the example Jesus set for us, and it really helps us find perspective.  If there was ever anyone worthy of praise and honor in this world, it was Jesus.  After all, Jesus made all things (John 1:3), so all things should be worshiping Jesus.  However, when Jesus enters the world, He did not come with majesty and glory, but He came as a humble servant.  He came to serve, not to be served.  Paul reminds us that Jesus is equal with God but lowered Himself to become a man.  Even more so, Jesus was willing to die for the sins of the world in humiliating fashion upon the cross.  This is the humble obedience to the Father that we see and learn through our Savior, and this is the example we should follow.

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Application: Is it difficult for you to see others getting opportunities, even at church?  Are you able to celebrate the blessings of God in the lives of others?  It can be difficult to do because we tend to magnify the areas we lack instead of the areas others gain.  We must look to Jesus Christ daily as our example to follow.  As we seek to imitate Jesus, we learn to look to the Father, learn His will, and we obey God’s will.  God’s will is for us to love one another and build up each other’s faith and gifts.  We should be stirring up goodness, not trouble.  Pray for God’s help in humility, look to the example set by Christ, and love and serve others by counting them as more significant than yourself.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to walk the straight and narrow path of Christ.  This fallen world tempts me to go astray, but I seek you for help and strength.  Teach me your ways, O God, so that I may honor and glorify you with my life.  Thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do.  I love you, Heavenly Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin