Devotional - January 5, 2017

Scripture: Genesis: 7 & 8, Philippians 3 

Devotional: Genesis 7 continues with Noah and the flood. As I read through this, I did not realize that it was roughly over a year that Noah was confined in the boat. Not that it was a small space, but to spend a year locked up with every kind of animal must have been an adventure to say the least. I would have loved to be a fly in that boat. I would love to see how Noah and his family dealt with the day to days in that boat. Actually as I think about that I would not have wanted to be anything! Have you ever been to a zoo or barn or any place that holds animals? The smell that comes out of those places is unbearable, so I can only imagine the smell of that boat after a year. Sorry, but I think about those things.  

Anyways, chapter 8 speaks about the drying up of the flood. There wasn't anything there that really grabbed me. What did grab me though was Philippians 3.  

In Philippians 3 Paul talks about the value of knowing Christ and what that should mean to us. In verses 5 and 6 Paul speaks about his achievements, titles and accolades. He goes on to say, I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I love what he goes on to say after this in verse 7 and 8, yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

You want to talk about someone that had every right to boast and pop his chest up high, that person was Paul. He had everything you could have ever wanted, money, power, respect, etc. But he says that it is all worthless if he didn't have Christ. I wonder how many of us live our lives day to day pursuing wholeheartedly money, power, respect, title, etc. I can admit that I fall in this trap from time to time, but it is through my day to day walk with Christ, that He points out my intentions and motives and brings conviction to my life. 

As Paul goes on he speaks in Philippians 12-21 about pressing on towards the goal. I love what he says in verse 16 "But we must hold on to the progress we have already made." Press towards the goal, but understand that there will be some seasons of stand still, there will be moments of oppression, but no matter what may come your way hold on to the progress. Remember what God has done. Remember that God is on your side and he will complete his purpose in your life.  

Prayer: My prayer is that you remember all that God has done for you and that you surrender everything to God. Surrender your dreams, goals, family, job, everything. Give it to Christ. Let God be the center of all that you pursue and accomplish.    

Challenge: I challenge to take some time out of your day and just think back to some moments in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see where he was working in those situations and when He does worship Him, thank Him. If you need to write it down go ahead. This will always give you a visual aid and remind you that God is at work and not finished with you.