This is post #23 of a 26-session blog series entitled Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. It was Eugene Peterson who said that Philippians is Paul’s happiest letter. Join us as we explore this joyful work of Christ as it manifest itself amongst Paul and Timothy, and the early church of Christ-followers in Philippi. Just maybe, we might learn a few secrets to finding true joy in the midst of our lives as well. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4: 8-9 (MsgB)
In the world of cooking, if you want a successful meal, you’ll need three key pre-requisites:
- A top-notch recipe, one that is tried, true and tested,
- Top-notch ingredients, ones that are fresh, flavorful and colorful,
- A top-notch chef, one who has both the experience and the ability to bring it all together.
As I see it, Paul and his friends in Rome are cooking up one great recipe when it comes to making a dedicated Christ-follower, one who can endure all the heat of the kitchen while still living a life worthy of the Master Chef, Jesus of Nazareth. There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul and his team have the right recipe here for success.
So today, let’s take a peek at their list of nine tasty ingredients going into this culinary masterpiece. One by one, let’s review these touchstones, core ingredients in making our lives shine for the greater glory of God. So now, let’s focus on ingredients that are…
True. in accordance with fact or reality, accurate or exact, brought into an exact shape, alignment, or position.
Noble. Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.
Reputable: Having a high reputation, well thought of, highly regarded or well respected.
Authentic. Of undisputed origin; genuine or real.
Compelling. Evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.
Gracious. Courteous, kind, and pleasant.
Best. Of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.
Beautiful. Pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically, or of a very high standard; excellent.
Praiseworthy. Deserving approval and admiration, commendable.
Good stuff, Paul.
Nine high quality ingredients to keep our eyes focused on in a world that quickly settles for much less.
Be sure to read the labels carefully. Discern before you buy. And please, don’t settle for shoddy replacements offered by lesser chefs or cut-rate grocers. Poor generic ingredients like:
Without a doubt, if you and I stick to the nine pure ingredients listed here in Paul’s letter, we can be guaranteed that Jesus, the Master Chef, will put all these tasty morsels together, resulting in a masterpiece we’ll all be proud of.
Or, as Paul states it here,
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
My dear friends, dinner is served!
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, as the One who knows the perfect recipe for life, thank You that there are specific ingredients that I can focus on, thoughts and actions that will be in agreement with your goodness. As I practice using these nine ingredients in my life, Holy Spirit, empower me to live rightly, coming alongside God’s perfect plan to make everything work together for my good. For Your Name’s sake and for Your Glory. Amen.
Today’s Questions to Ponder: As I look carefully at the list of nine life ingredients Paul gives us here in Philippians 4, which ones come easily for me, and which ones need more practice?
Am I settling for lessor ingredients? And if so, why?
So, how are you experiencing Jesus as we ponder together on this journey into the Book of Philippians?
Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. We hope you’ll enjoy this series of 26 blogs. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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