by Brandis Trionfo
Meeting my Savior that day was the biggest change I’d seen, military or no.
Questions for reflection:
*What changes in your life have showed you your need for God and His grace?
*Where has the Lord met you in your life at the weakest moments?
Brandis is a former Sailor turned Air Force wife, a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and a lover of rustic country decor. She misses the Navy almost daily but is so very thankful for the time she gets with her family, dogs, & friends living near the beach. She occasionally blogs but mostly forgets at Anchored in the Air Force Life.
By Heather Tabers
When I study instructional passages of Scripture, I love to look at these three concepts: What, Why, and How. Let’s use these concepts to look at Philippians Chapter 2.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
I love that in the first two verses of this chapter, Paul opens up a sermon on unity with one simple if/then statement. IF there is any encouragement (help, exhortation, counsel) in Christ, IF there is any fellowship (partnership) of the Spirit, IF any affection (the Greek’s strongest word for compassionate love) and compassion, THEN we are to be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. IF we are blessed with encouragement, help, exhortation, counsel, fellowship, partnership, affection, compassion, and love, THEN we need to be united.
To break it down, IF God is compassionate towards you, THEN you need to share that same compassion with your brothers and sisters.
Paul offers no exception to this rule, only further encouragement to strengthen the bond among Christians. In one sentence, he gives us the What of the passage: Be united. Now, the Why- Why is it so important for Christians to be united? Why is it so important that we be of one mind, one love, one spirit, one purpose?
Because God chose to be united with us.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
God, in all His perfection and righteousness and holiness, came to earth in the form of a lowly man through His Son, Jesus. Despite being sinless, He obeyed the Father and allowed Himself to be crucified horrifically in our place. The most compassionate love ever displayed was bestowed from a perfect Creator to a sinful creation, all for the sake of being united. Sin no longer separates me from God. He bridged that gap on the cross so that I can be His for all of eternity. That’s the Why-because Christ chose to be united with us.
But how we can be of one mind, one love, one spirit, and one purpose with all Christians? We’re so different!
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Putting others before ourselves does not usually come naturally, this is why Paul breaks it down for us. To be united in the body of Christ as one, we need to put away our selfish habits and conceited ways. We need to stop thinking that our needs and wants are more important than someone else’s. We need to look for opportunities to bless others- not just the others we want to bless, but all others. That’s the How in this lesson- choosing to humble ourselves in unity with one another, just as Christ did for us.
Who in my life do I lack unity with?
How can I humble myself and seek to put that person’s needs before mine?
What would this world be like if Jesus had put His needs before ours?
Lord Jesus, thank You for the humility and sacrifice You demonstrated on the cross. You put Your glory aside and chose to die for me, because of Your deep love for me, even when I was far from You. Thank You, Jesus. In light of Your love and Your sacrifice, I choose to surrender my pride and my wants, my needs. I choose to love others above myself. I know I can’t do it on my own, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Open my eyes to the people around me who need to be loved and served today. Amen.
Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog, Wives of War.
By Mary Parker
I’ve been struggling with some serious mixed emotions. My husband is taking off for a six-week TDY next week, and the thought of being without him for that long makes me nervous, sad and honestly, grumpy. I know it could be worse. I know he could be in a dangerous place, deployed somewhere with limited communication. The thought of countless spouses who endure that type of separation spurs me on and makes me so thankful for the nature of our separation. But still I know I will miss him.
Thinking of this love and sorrow makes me imagine how God must feel about us. He created you and me, in our mother’s wombs, and loved us before anyone else. He knows our thoughts, our words, our every move before we even make them. Despite seeing even our wickedest behaviors, He loves us in an immense way that surpasses understanding. He also misses us, and is calling us to Him every day, urging us to find our refuge and shelter in Him.
Imagine how you miss your husband every day when you are apart. That longing is how God feels for us when we’re apart. The Bible tells us that sin has separated us from God, but that through everything he is trying to win us back. Although he pursues us, we have to know Jesus before a relationship with God can be restored and nurtured.
This sounds like a lot of work, right? But the truth is, the work was done over 2,000 years ago. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This verse reminds us of the price Jesus paid with his perfect blood so that you and I could be completely redeemed and made righteous for God.
The sacrifice was made out of love! Not guilt. Not love-for-you-only-if-you-are-perfectly-perfect-in-every-way. Jesus died a horrible death for each of us, so that we could be reunited with God and avoid the agonizing suffering of sin. God doesn’t want something from us . He wants something for us, and that’s joy in life through redemption in Jesus. The innocent blood of Jesus was spilled for my sins, and yours, so that we don’t have to bridge an impossible gap to get back to communion with God. Praise the Lord for that!
If you’re feeling far from your husband or family, remember that your creator and redeemer has made Himself 100% accessible to you. All you need to do is recognize the price Jesus paid for you, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior today. If you already have a relationship with Jesus, take today to thank Him for his sacrifice and strive to walk closer with Him, learning his kind, patient, generous ways. Remember, Jesus Christ didn’t die for perfect people-He died for us.
Why is it important that Jesus died for us “while we were sinners?”
How is God pursuing me now?
How can I more actively pursue a relationship with Him today?
Dear God, Thank you for sending your precious son Jesus to take my sins. I commit my life to serving you and seeking your will, and I thank you for loving me even when I make mistakes. Help me to see through your eyes and show me how to follow you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects at her blog, Mary's Mischief.
By Mary Parker
On August 29, 2010, things were a little hectic in my life. I had just started graduate school, and was a full-time student working about 20 hours a week. I lived with my future husband, and we were scheduled to be married in just a little over a month. School work, planning the last details of the wedding, and feeling imminent pressure from a number of sources left me drained, sad and alone.