Be Better than Yesterday

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At what point do I shut my mouth and my mind off? That was the question that roused me out of bed at 3 a.m. after pondering it for 30 minutes. Do you ever wonder why God made you as He did? Oh boy, I do. Why did He make me so tender hearted, self critical, compassionate toward the defending of the underdog and passionately vocal of it all. I feel the need to share, and yet I hope nobody realizes the truth of myself. That I am a very, very flawed human.

Beseeching Us to be Our Best

Philippians 4:1-13 KJV
[1] Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. [2] I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. [3] And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Paul called a couple of his people out and called a couple of his people up. He “beseeched” Euodias and Syntyche, called them out by name for their argumentative treatment of one another. He doesn’t say what they were arguing over, just that they needed to have the same mind. The Pastor said something in church that caught my thought, how everybody thinks they’re right. People at one church wondering why the people of another church don’t understand that “they’re right.” Perhaps that was Euodias and Syntyche’s issue. It’s my issue with most people, why don’t they realize that I’m right. And when I’m not, why don’t they understand I’m human. For the record God is right, the most we can be is our best at falling into line with the Word of God. The problem is that’s usually the last place folks look for alignment.

Encouraging Us that God is Enough

[4] Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. [6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I for certain do not “rejoice in the Lord alway.” Sometimes I’m not the least bit happy the way things turn out. And it is at those times that my “moderation” – you know… self restraint, is at it’s weakest. I forget that the Lord could bust the sky wide open at any moment and call us home and leave this heathen world to itself. I forget not to worry and to leave it in God’s hands, I want to tell the world about it, give them my advice; and as for the peace, well let’s just say I wouldn’t always pass that test either.

That’s how I would have written the Bible. But Paul was listening to God, not me. In his darkest hours, in a prison cell even, he rejoiced til the walls fell down. He was a man of authority and yet he restrained himself to be a man of captivity. Saying in his letter to Philemon 1:9 “Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

A literal prisoner often times, humbled by both his circumstances and the people God had put him in charge of; the Gentiles for whom he had fought hard to rid the world of, but now labored to see them saved! Paul didn’t say that the earthly desires ceased nor did he say that human nature ceased, but they came into captivity by praying and asking God what to ask for. Would my desires change if I ask God first what I need or what I should do? Will He get the glory from it, or will it be used in His service? Wouldn’t that bring a greater peace knowing that what I need, I have? That what ever God provides is more than I deserve?

Advising us to be Abased and Abound

[8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. [9] Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. [10] But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. [11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

That was what sparked my thoughts tonight. Abasement. That’s what’s needed for me to shut my mouth and my mind off from worldly issues. When I want to hurt the people that hurt people, and then I feel bad for wanting to hurt anyone at all. Paul killed and had people killed. He was literally the terminator in his day. How could I not think that he too would have struggled with not being able to smack the face off the arrogant bunch that jailed him. But he didn’t. He thought on the things of God. That God is going to return and these people needed to be prepared. Paul had been rich, and he had been poor and he was faithful in both because of his depth of gratitude for what Christ had done.

I confess I do not have that level of gratitude. I look around at my meager dwelling and I focus on the fact I wish it were more, and cleaner. And then I realize that compared to 3/4 of the world, it’s a mansion. Paul’s life advice is always spot on, not because he was a perfect man but because he was a willing vessel. What would God do with me if I were so abased… what would I abound in? His advice to me this morning, “understanding you’re flawed will keep you flawed is good, accepting it as a way of life is not. Be better than yesterday.

Love you all. Praying you are ready for Christ’s return.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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