His transforming work

FRIDAY 3/24 — The discernment that Paul prayed for the Philippian believers would result in a growing character. The word “filled” here refers to past action that bears on present choices. “Fruit” is the harvest of righteousness’s evidence. And of course, righteousness comes through Jesus Christ and brings a harvest of morality and Christian character that glorifies and reveals God. We can’t be “good” in and of ourselves; goodness/righteousness is a product of our relationship with Christ and His transforming work in us and through the Holy Spirit. God’s work in us—and our cooperation with Him!—should continue throughout our lifetimes so in the end, we will stand unashamed at Christ’s coming.

Praying for those we love

Most people pray more fervently for those they know and love. Paul didn’t ask for worldly riches for the believers at Philippi. He knew that spiritual blessings were more important, valuable, and enduring. So He asked God to give the believers discernment—a moral perception and sensibility that leads to appropriate choices. He wanted them to exhibit the kind of conduct and values that would point other to the cross and let them stand without shame before their Savior. What a beautiful way to pray for those we love.

Hymn day: ‘What if it Were Today’

HYMN DAY! “What if it Were Today” by Leila Naylor Morris.

Jesus is coming to earth again–
What if it were today?
Coming in power and love to reign–
What if it were today?
Coming to claim His chosen Bride,
All the redeemed and purified,
Over this whole earth scattered wide–
What if it were today?

Glory, glory!
Joy to my heart ’twill bring;
Glory, glory!
When we shall crown Him King.
Glory, glory!
Haste to prepare the way;
Glory, glory!
Jesus will come someday.

Satan’s dominion will then be o’er–
O that it were today!
Sorrow and sighing shall be no more–
O that it were today!
Then shall the dead in Christ arise,
Caught up to meet Him in the skies;
When shall these glories meet our eyes?
What if it were today?[Chorus]

Faithful and true would He find us here
If He should come today?
Watching in gladness and not in fear,
If He should come today?
Signs of His coming multiply,
Morning light breaks in eastern sky;
Watch, for the time is drawing nigh–
What if it were today?[Chorus]

Pray confidently

I love Paul’s confidence here. He’d seen God’s grace at work, and he trusted in God’s nature and purposes. He KNEW that God WOULD continue—and complete!—the work He started in the Philippian believers. One of my favorite stories about my grandmother (who died when my mom was still a little girl) is how she prayed regularly and confidently for her children, believing that they would grow to become God-honoring adults. Even though she died before she could witness her children’s adult lives, her prayers were rewarded. My mother is one of the most God-honoring people I know. Pray confidently, giving those we love into God’s faithful keeping. Allow Him to work in and through them. His plans are great, and He will see them through!

Time in gratitude

When Paul penned these words to the believers in Philippi, he wasn’t in a luxury resort. He was in a stone jail cell, probably cold, hungry, and lonely. Yet he expressed an attitude of gratitude. Notice he doesn’t thank God for THINGS, but for PEOPLE. He saw evidence of grace in others and praised God for His work in them. We all have those in our lives who are growing and maturing in their faith. Have you taken the time to thank God for His work in their lives? What about thanking Him for those who have come alongside you in a moment of need and supported you through prayer or words of wisdom or a bolstering hand? Praise brings blessing to the giver and the Receiver. Why not spend some time in gratitude today?

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