Begin with the End

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
Today’s Scripture & Insight: Philippians 1:3–11
 
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was often asked that question as a child. And the answers changed like the wind. A doctor. A firefighter. A missionary. A worship leader. A physicist—or actually, MacGyver (a favorite TV character)! Now, as a dad of four kids, I think of how difficult it must be for them to be asked that question. There are times when I want to say, “I know what you’ll be great at!” Parents can sometimes see more in their children than the children can see in themselves.
 
This resonates with what Paul saw in the Philippian believers—those he loved and prayed for (Philippians 1:3). He could see the end; he knew what they’d be when all was said and done. The Bible gives us a grand vision of the end of the story—resurrection and the renewal of all things (see 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21). But it also tells us who’s writing the story.
 
Paul, in the opening lines of a letter he wrote from prison, reminded the Philippian church that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus started the work and He’ll complete it. The word completion is particularly important—the story doesn’t just end, for God leaves nothing unfinished.
By: Glenn Packiam
Reflect & Pray
Where are you in your story? How can you trust Jesus to take the “pen” from your hand and to bring your story to completion?
Dear Jesus, You’re in charge of my story. It’s not up to me to make it happen. I surrender my life to You. Help me to trust You.

Read more

Never Enough

The eye never has enough of seeing. Ecclesiastes 1:8
Today’s Scripture & Insight: Ecclesiastes 1:1–11
 
Frank Borman commanded the first space mission that circled the moon. He wasn’t impressed. The trip took two days both ways. Frank got motion sickness and threw up. He said being weightless was cool—for thirty seconds. Then he got used to it. Up close he found the moon drab and pockmarked with craters. His crew took pictures of the gray wasteland, then became bored.
 
Frank went where no one had gone before. It wasn’t enough. If he quickly tired of an experience that was out of this world, perhaps we should lower our expectations for what lies in this one. The teacher of Ecclesiastes observed that no earthly experience delivers ultimate joy. “The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing” (1:8). We may feel moments of ecstasy, but our elation soon wears off and we seek the next thrill.
 
Frank had one exhilarating moment, when he saw the earth rise from the darkness behind the moon. Like a blue and white swirled marble, our world sparkled in the sun’s light. Similarly, our truest joy comes from the Son shining on us. Jesus is our life, the only ultimate source of meaning, love, and beauty. Our deepest satisfaction comes from out of this world. Our problem? We can go all the way to the moon, yet still not go far enough.
By: Mike Wittmer
Reflect & Pray
When have you felt the most joy? Why didn’t it last? What can you learn from its fleeting nature?
Jesus, shine the light of Your love on me.

Read more

Making Peace with Trouble

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John 16:33
Today’s Scripture & Insight: John 16:25–33
 
We were almost home when I noticed it: the needle of our car’s temperature gauge was rocketing up. As we pulled in, I killed the engine and hopped out. Smoke wafted from the hood. The engine sizzled like bacon. I backed the car up a few feet and found a puddle beneath: oil. Instantly, I knew what had happened: The head gasket had blown.
 
I groaned. We’d just sunk money into other expensive repairs. Why can’t things just work? I grumbled bitterly. Why can’t things just stop breaking?
Can you relate? Sometimes we avert one crisis, solve one problem, pay off one big bill, only to face another. Sometimes those troubles are much bigger than an engine self-destructing: an unexpected diagnosis, an untimely death, a terrible loss.
 
In those moments, we yearn for a world less broken, less full of trouble. That world, Jesus promised, is coming. But not yet: “In this world you will have trouble,” He reminded His disciples in John 16. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33). Jesus spoke in that chapter about grave troubles, such as persecution for your faith. But such trouble, He taught, would never have the last word for those who hope in Him.
 
Troubles small and large may dog our days. But Jesus’ promise of a better tomorrow with Him encourages us not to let our troubles define our lives today.
By: Adam R. Holz
Reflect & Pray
What does it look like for you to surrender your troubles to God? What might you use as a prompt to remind yourself to offer up your anxieties to Him throughout the day?
Father, troubles never seem far away. But when they’re close, You’re even closer. Please help me to cling to You in trust today.

Read more
^