Philippians 3:8-11

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What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. - Philippians 3:8-11

Dear Jesus, 

You have blessed me with your Holy Spirit to understand and believe the value of salvation, faith, and a life lived for you only.  With these treasures I have come to believe that earthly accomplishments and goods have no lasting value.  They do not allure me or drive me as they used to.  But they are still here.  You want me to live free from them so I can use them to bless others.  Give me the wisdom to use any temporal blessing I still retain to make the lives of others more spiritual, more grace driven, more holy, more peaceful, and tranquil.  Make me and my temporary strengths useful for eternal good.  And give me the ability to endure loss and success with the same Christ centered indifference since nothing good or bad can really stop me from walking the path you have marked out for me.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When you have Jesus, nothing or good or bad can change the wealth you feel in your soul. 

Philippians 3:4-7

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If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. - Philippians 3:4-7

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for freeing me from the squirrel cage wheel of sifting through all my talents and accomplishments to look for my personal worth.  All the things I used to treasure are worthless compared to the gift you have granted to me because you love me.  I am loved and I am saved.  I am eternal and I will live forever way above my puny earthly life.   Nothing compares to this and the hope it gives.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for lifting me up and putting me on higher ground. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson 

When we know our worth in Christ, we love our worthlessness in this world.  

Philippians 3:1-4

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Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.  - Philippians 3:1-4

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me to live in the joy and freedom of the gospel and to easily discern when I am being dragged under the law as my motivating force.  All of us who believe that faith is important have a tendency to think that faith is about what we do instead of what you have done and do.  So, we are constantly talking to ourselves about failures.  But you motivate with love.  You still make me do the right things and the loving things but you move me out of love instead of the billy club of the law.  Today is going to be a great day since I am free from all guilt motivation.  Thanks for rescuing me from guilt. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Serving out of thankful love is a burden that relieves the heart to rejoice in every circumstance.  

Philippians 2:9-11

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Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.  
- Philippians 2:9-11

Dear Father in Heaven,

You have exalted your Son to where he was before the world began.  Only now there are people you have created both in this life and the next that are acknowledging him for who he is, the gracious heavenly imperial king who gave it all up to save us.  He is the ruler over all things and all people must pass before his throne for evaluation.  Since you have made him the center of the universe, I want him to be center of my life.  Deal with me and make me a willing subject of his kingdom so my life serves and honors the truth and love that he has taught us.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

In an earthly court we all rise when the judge enters.  How much more should we live in honorable attention before the Christ who is the Lord of everything?

Philippians 2:5-8

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In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,    he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! - Philippians 2:5-8

Dear Jesus, 

You are God and yet when you came to earth you set your divine nature in the background in order to be a servant of others.  I love how Paul makes your refusal to tout your divinity the example of how I should refuse to think of myself first.  Help me to have spiritual self forgetfulness so I humble myself before the mirror and before people.  Give me self amnesia so I think of how to serve and bless instead of taking inventory of how well I am being served or blessed.  Make me rich by helping me to become poor. Come to me in Holy Spirit and create in my the same attitude that you have.  I am ready Lord to serve out of love and not ambition.  
Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

If we can change our attitude, we will change history.    

Philippians 2:1-4

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Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:1-4

Dear Jesus,

Your love did not just change my destiny.  It changed my heart.  It deposited in me the force of love to drive out my selfishness and make me want the betterment of everyone around me.  It makes me want to be united with others and to make their lives better.  It releases me from the master of self who always forces the question, “What’s in it for me?”  It gives me freedom to ask, “What’s in it for them?”  Thank you for giving me the higher ground of love that comes from knowing you and your saving love.  I dedicate myself to being like you in my dealings with everyone around me. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Loving others is way more fun than using them.

Philippians 1:29-30

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For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. -Philippians 1:29-30

Dear Jesus,

This is a hard saying, but I know it’s true.  You have chosen me to be saved and at the very same time you have chosen me to be an example to others of self-sacrificing love.  It will mean suffering, at times, because my goal is to be a light that blinds the enemies of the cross and that makes them try to extinguish it.  It will mean suffering because forgiveness will make me stay in a relationship with repeat offenders even though they break my heart.  It will mean that I live with family and friends with grace instead of criticism.  It will mean the release valve of gossip is taken away.  It will mean that I must swallow my pride and end my pursuit of self- justification.  Oh Jesus, help me suffer for the great cause of love and truth for the salvation of others. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When we suffer for our faith, we enter the holy land of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 1:27-28

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Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. – Philippians 1:27-28

Dear Jesus,

I don’t just want to serve you when people I respect are watching.  I want to serve you when people I don’t respect are watching.  I want to serve you when no one but you is watching.  I want to live for you and your goodness no matter what circumstance surrounds me.  Give me the integrity of faith that builds up friends and wins over enemies.  Protect my heart from fear so I do not make the huge mistakes than come from self-preservation thinking.  Make me new in the spirit of love and faith.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Faith in Christ gives us a goodness that we can see in our own hearts when no one else cares to notice.

Philippians 1:20-26

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I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. - Philippians 1:20-26

Dear Jesus,

Since you have granted me eternal life, I have two choices every day.  I can either throw myself into productive living for you and others or I can comfort myself that heaven is my real home and treasure.  Either choice is good for me.  One gives me purpose and the other hope.  Purpose and hope are essential feelings for the health of my soul.  And you gave me both!  That's why I love you so much and understand the value of faith.  Keep me in this purpose and hope today and make me a productive servant for my family, my church, and my world. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

In Christ, you cannot be ruined by life or by death because he has made them both the conduit for blessing.  

Philippians 1:18-19

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Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  - Philippians 1:18-19

Dear Jesus, 

Sometimes it seems that the subliminal message underlying my life is, "Trouble can rise up and strike at any moment."  It's good to know that you listen to the prayers that others pray for me.  Somehow you complete the holy triangle between them, you, and me by answering their prayers and blessing me with protection and deliverance.  Help me to live in the same optimism that Paul did, without worrying about what is challenging me.  You promise to turn everything out for my good.  I also know friends and family struggling through problems that make them feel hopeless at times, too.  Hear my prayers for them and use your Holy Spirit and your angels to deliver them in this life and for the next. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God has a basket of blessings waiting for people who believe enough to ask for them. 

John 19:28-30

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Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.. - John 19:28-30

Dear Jesus,

Of all the words you said your whole life these are my favorite. "It is finished." No other words comfort me like these.  Your life reached it's goal.  All Scripture was fulfilled.  My sins are completely atoned for.  It is finished.  I cannot add or take away from this.  I am redeemed.  My life will end unfinished but yours completes mine.  I'm not afraid to stand before your throne the moment after I die because you are the one sitting there.  You, the finished man, will welcome this poor sinner to your home because you finished the race that no one else could.  I will gladly strive knowing I cannot finish because you have finished for me.  This is the big idea that makes Good Friday good.  It is finished. Thank you for saying those words.  They relieve anxiety from my life. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The most joyful discovery we will ever make is that God's riches are ours at Christ's expense. 

Matthew 26:26-28

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While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. - Matthew 26:26-28

Dear Jesus,

What a brilliant gift you gave us on the night before you died.  You gave us a simple meal and a promise that we would receive the forgiveness of sins each time we take it.  It's the new covenant agreement between you and humanity.  Your law covenant failed because we are riveted in sin.  But your grace covenant forgives sin and so we find our way back to you at every turn in this covenant.  They say, "It's the thought that counts."  Nothing could be more true of the Lord's Supper that you gave us.  Your thought to forgive us sinners counts for us and makes us believers in you as the God who lives by grace.  I will use this Supper to rekindle my trust in you and my love for people each time I take it. 

Pastor Don Patterson

The Lord's Supper is the meal that shouts, "Grace" to every heart that comes to it looking for God.

Philippians 1:15-18

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It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. - Philippians 1:15-18

Dear Jesus,

I see your name everywhere in my town.  It's on t-shirts, billboards, magazines in the grocery store, and social media.  Some people talk about you because your name sells for them.  Others are trying to debunk your life and it's meaning.  I grieve, at times, because of the confusion they cause for the untaught.  But like Paul, I love the preoccupation with you that our world has.  When you get press it gives people the opportunity to find you and your grace.  I will rejoice and not be sad when I hear your name even when spoken by people who are wrong, because your name is the only one that saves.  This way I can stay optimistic in these crazy times.  Help me to speak your name for the blessing of others today. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

No one can stay neutral when they hear Jesus' name. In their inner being, they either smile or grimace, depending on where their thoughts are at the time.  

Matthew 21:23

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Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”   - Matthew 21:23

Dear Jesus,

You healed people right before their eyes and you taught them the eternal word for their salvation and still they questioned you.  Oh Jesus,my life is a miracle, my faith is work of your Spirit too.  Do not let me question you.  Melt any hard place in my heart and make me soft the touch of your gospel.  Create in me a clean heart so that I am an encouragement for grace to everyone who experiences me.  Your authority comes from heaven and brings to my heart the rule of mercy and truth. 

Pastor Don Patterson

When Christ rules a heart it reaches it greatest potential to bless others.  

Matthew 21:18-22

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Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” - Matthew 21:18-22

Dear Jesus,

On Monday of that last week of your life you went into Jerusalem and cleansed the temple of busyness and restored it to a spiritual house of prayer and godly teaching.  You cursed a fig tree for not producing the fruit it was supposed to and so showed all of us with that illustration that you and your Father created us to produce spiritual fruit of love, faith and hope.  Oh Jesus, rescue me from business about so many temporal things that I do not produce true spiritual insight, faith, hope and love for myself or anyone else.  Open my heart and cleanse it of frenetic activity that dulls spiritual sensitivity and maturity.  Give me the peace and strength to sit quietly and meditate on your word and your love and what it means for my life and the lives of those in my family and among my friends.  

Pastor Don Patterson

Pursuing peaceful contemplation of Christ and his blessings for us is much more productive than one might think at first. 

Philippians 1:12-14

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Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. - Philippians 1:12-14

Dear Jesus,

I want to be like Paul always looking on the bright side of every dark cloud. For him, everything revolved around whether or not you and your salvation were well known.  He could even see how his difficult circumstances advanced your gospel.  I want that gospel centrality. You are always working in our lives through every circumstance.  You bless and bless us.  Give me the faith by your Holy Spirit to show the joy and optimism that come from being a redeemed sinner who has that same gift to offer every person they meet. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

In Christ, all circumstances can be redeemed. 

Philippians 1:9-11

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And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Dear Jesus,

Help me view every circumstance and relationship in my life through your loving eyes.  Make me grow in love for those I respect and disrespect, those I like and don't like.  Give me the kind of love that triumphs over wrongs and relishes the opportunity to forgive.  I want to know how to process as a Christian the negative news I hear from my TV and my friends.  Make me adverse to gossip and forgetful about how others have hurt me.  Help your righteousness to find expression in my words, my silence, my facial expression and body language.  Make me a faith filled loving person with everyone near and far. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Love and truth are necessary accompaniments of each other. 

Philippians 1:7-8

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It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:7-8

Dear Jesus, 

Fellowship with other Christians is wonderful when we live in grace together.  We have freedom to make mistakes and the relationship survives.  We give other people the same freedom too.  We also have the same benevolent mission, to reach other people with this amazing grace and forgiveness.  You modeled this closeness in how you stuck to the disciples even though they abandoned you at your darkest hour.  There are people I long for because they "get it" too.  Be with them today and increase their maturity and their reach to bless other people.  Protect them from the evil one and bless their lives with your prosperity in ways they never could have imagined. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Nothing can replace the pure satisfaction a true Christian friend brings. 

Philippians 1:3-6

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I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:3-6

Dear Jesus, 

Today I am thankful for the many Christian friends you have placed on earth with me to encourage me and to do your work together with me.  I see you working in their lives and changing them into the people you want them to be. Help me to be the friend you wanted them to have in me. Give me eyes to see their needs and a heart to step up and meet the ones I can.  Today, give each of them a special touch of your love so they grow in faith as they slug it out in this tough world. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Godly friends are God's gift to ease the burden of loneliness.  

Philippians 1:1-2

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Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,  To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Philippians 1:1-2

Dear Jesus, you moved Paul to write the Philippians and call them holy not because they were sinless but because they believed that you had saved them and declared them righteous.  They believed in you and so they lived in the peace that grace brings.  I live in that peace too.  I know my sins all too well.  So, do my family and friends.  But I am holy by faith in you. By grace you have convinced me that I am free to love without being motivated by guilt or fear.  And frankly, it is amazingly wonderful to live in freedom.  When I fall back into my old way of thinking and reason like someone earning your acceptance, come quickly to rescue me with your redeeming love. Restore me to the joy of being a chosen and loved child of God.  And when I receive criticism from others let me listen with freedom to apply what they say to my life without the stress or worry of failure or appearances.  Oh Jesus, be the Savior of this day for me.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

We are a new creation in Christ no matter how broken we were when he found us.