“The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11, CEB).
I often take my kids to the skating rink to roller skate. Since they are still learning to skate, I tell them to keep their heads in front of their skates. Then, if they fall, they will fall forward and can catch themselves on their hands and knees and can get back up and continue skating. If they fall backward on their head or back, they risk hurting themselves and not wanting to skate anymore.
I’ve spent much of my career trying to understand how people learn. And one thing I’ve learned about learning is that some of the best learning occurs from failing. For example, it’s easier to learn how to skate when you know how to fall.
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13, NKJV).
Is the glass half empty or half full? This expression is commonly used as a litmus test to determine an individual’s worldview. Half full expresses optimism and half empty expresses pessimism.
The Apostle Paul seems like a “glass-half-full” type of guy. Unfortunately, I often fall into the “half-empty-glass” camp…
Sure, I try to look at problems as challenges, troubles as opportunities. But hard as I try, problems are just problems, trouble is just trouble. Although I don’t consider myself a pessimist, I try to avoid problems and trouble, not embrace them!
“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” (Joshua 1:9, NASB).
After Moses died, God commissioned Joshua to take leadership and military command over Israel and lead Israel into the promised land. But there were many evil and unfriendly people inhabiting the land that God promised to Israel. So, God assured Joshua of success in conquering the land for Israel because He would be with Joshua wherever he went.
It’s almost like God was giving Joshua a pep talk before the battle started because three times in this passage God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (vs. 6, 7, 9). And then God’s admonition to Joshua is repeated by the officers of Israel’s army to reinforce God’s command (vs. 18).
“The Israelites were subdued at that time. The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord, the God of their ancestors” (2 Chronicles 13:18, HCSB).
We spend a lot of time and effort trying to understand what God is saying to us through His Word, the Bible. Sometimes the Bible actually makes it real easy for us to understand what it is saying and how to apply it to our lives.
“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance, or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-14, HCSB).
In response to their faithful financial support of his ministry, the Apostle Paul expressed his appreciation to the Philippians by making the well-known and oft-quoted declaration that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine…Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold…Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:9-10,13-14,16, HCSB).
Contained in the sagacious advice of Proverbs 3 are two keys for success.
The first key for success concerns how you handle your finances. Before you spend any of your income, first give to God. If you don’t know how much to give, then a tithe or 10% is a good starting place.