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9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

I can’t help but have a mixture of feelings as I read this passage. God’s love is so true, so faithful, so deep…  But my love is so faltering, and so conditional, so dependent on my fickle moods.

But one thing I can count on – if I immerse myself in His word and bathe myself in prayer, my feelings of relationship with Christ become like a full cup. And as I drink my fill, I find myself wanting more.

The problem is that even though I know this in my head, and it penetrates into my heart when I take the time; I all too often get too busy with stuff, and days pass with only spurts, bits and pieces of relationship.

This verse is Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Philippi. This should be a reminder for us – to pray for each other that we will continually seek, find, and grow in the love of Christ, that we will grow in knowledge of Christ, and that our insights will be deep. Then we will have Godly wisdom to guide us in all our lives and we will be able to joyfully serve Him and bring peace to our hearts and glory to His name.

Father God, lead us in your righteousness. Draw us unto you. Give us willing spirits to continually seek and love you with all our hearts. Help us to bear the fruit of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can give to us. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.. Proverbs 14:34

What an appropriate verse for our Independence Day weekend. Our nation began with a group of people who valued righteousness enough to sail across the ocean and start a new life in a land that would allow them to worship God according to their own consciences. Others crossed the ocean for varied reasons, but the very words of our Declaration of Independence and our US Constitution support the fact that our country was established by people who had an awesome respect for God.

For many years our nation has been blessed by God as the people have given Him a place of honor in our nation. Sadly, there has been an eroding of that sense of honor for God, especially in our governing bodies. Those of us who came of age in the “Hippie Generation” should have seen it coming, but we were too willing to look for wisdom in all the wrong places. Some of us have recognized the folly of our ways and turned to God allowing Him to show us where we went wrong.

We can scold our government officials and put the blame on other people until we exhaust ourselves in wearyness. Or we can choose self-examination. Exactly where is my own heart in matters of righteousness? Would I be embarrassed if someone were able to read my thoughts at any given time? We can’t hide them from God, but we can put up a front that others can’t break through.

What is my model for righteousness? God has given us His Word in the Bible. Most people who call themselves Christians will say that the Bible is the greatest book ever written. They will revere it by keeping it in a special place and dust it if needed, but seldom take the time to read it or use it to search out God’s heart on a special concern. Sadly, when many who call themselves Christians hear what the Bible says on a given topic they are quick to add, “Yes, but I think …”

If there is hope for our nation, it will come when righteousness replaces the rampant sin that we have embraced. And that will happen one person at a time.

Father God, forgive our foolish ways. Incline our hearts to you before it is too late for our country. Bring your church to its knees in repentance. Then send your disciples out to the world when they are equipped to bring in a harvest. Start with me Lord. Clean out the places that only You and I know need cleaning out.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

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Romans 1:17 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Where do you find your confidence? your security? your trust? your faith? Are these not one and the same? In this fast changing world we live in it is easy to become fretful when we find the cost of living rising so fast. We watch grocery and gasoline prices rise while our savings diminish and we feel a loss of security.

I am facing what I call a “premature retirement.” My position as librarian in a small school is coming to an end in December. My school has been consolidated with a larger school and we have a new building. I was offered another position at a small school an hour away from where I live, and at today’s escalating gas prices, I refused. But I was able to convince them they needed me through December to help consolidate the two libraries into one. I am now facing an early retirement with less than the number of years required for full retirement and with a sizeable deduction for the fact I’m not quite 65. I live in a very small town with a high unemployment rate. All this is to say I know what it is like to be anxious and nervous about tomorrow.

But all my anxious thoughts and worries are an affront to God who has promised never to leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) So I must come back to my first question and apply it to myself: Where do I find my confidence? my security? my trust? my faith? My heart tells me I should put my confidence, my security, my trust, my faith in God. In my heart I know this is true, but I need God’s help to take my eyes off my bank account and to keep them on Him. Like Peter who could walk on water until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves, (Matthew 14:30) I must learn to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of dwelling on the things that worry me.

Our verse for today reminds us to look to the message of the Gospel to find our righteousness. This is where we are to put our faith. We can’t live by faith until we find it in Jesus and in his teachings.

It helps me to look at the ways God has intervened for me in the past. I can recall several critical times in my life when He pulled me out of a crisis at the last minute in a most unexpected way. If He did it then, He can do it again.

So here I am looking to Jesus to pull me out. Something is still amiss. Shouldn’t I be looking to Jesus for the sake of being close to Him? If I’m looking to Jesus only for a rescue of my finances, I’m not really looking to Jesus, I’m looking through Him at myself. It is time to lose myself in Him, time to spend quality time with Him, time to seek Him with all my heart for the pure joy of knowing Him better each day.

Heavenly Father, help me to truly focus my eyes on You and seek to do Your will in everything. Help me to look above the cares of this world to see Your hand at work in everything, and to rest in Your peace.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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