This exposition of Philippians 2:1-4 was brilliant, enlightening and refreshing. I love the way John Mark is honest about his own life and walk with Christ and how he connects together the theme of humility producing unity.

May we stay humble in our pursuit of joy in Christ, and may we be unified around the Gospel. How we need the Gospel to be faithfully heralded in the Portland area, that many might come to faith in Christ.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

—James 5:13-18

I appropriately read these verses in James this morning. These words do not guarantee healing under the sovereign hand of God. In His divine wisdom, He has a purpose behind every joyous blessing in life. And He has a beautiful and good purpose behind every ache and sorry.

As Christians we are encouraged to pray in faith, laying our petitions before our great Lord and God.

Let’s lift up our prayers for Britt Merrick and his family. Let’s pray that Daisy Love is healed 100% from her third round of cancer. Let’s pray that God uses this down on the California coastlands for the spiritual healing of many, for all that don’t profess faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s pray that God is magnified through a little 7-year-old’s weakness and that His name is marveled at. Let’s pray that God uses these things (even in our own hearts) to increase our satisfaction in Him.

May God be glorified through all suffering and may He be found to be our sole and abiding Treasure!

So Christ, in the giving of His life, set you free from the bondage of this world by taking off the ceiling and letting joy be ever-increasing in Him. He frees you up from worshiping creation and rolls you up to an understanding that the Creator of that creation is who the praise is due to.

Matt Chandler, The Village Church, An Astonishing Trade

I think Chandler hits the nail on the head here. The way to be freed from our idols (those things that we give greater worth than God) is to look to Christ and his freedom-giving work of sacrifice on the Cross and find all of our satisfaction in Him.

When Christ alone, when God Himself is the sole fountain that the Christian drinks from, then all other sources of satisfaction lose their appeal. Our spiritual “taste buds” develop a palette for that which is truly and only satisfying: God Himself. Then we can say with the Psalmist:

All my fountains are in you. —Psalm 87:7 (NIV)

Lord, I pray that you help develop our ease for that which alone is satisfying. May our fountains, may our “springs of joy” (as the NASB translates) all be found in You. You alone are everything. You are God. Satisfy us with Yourself. Come to us in Your Word, through Your Spirit and through prayer. Be our delight and our song and all that we look to. In Jesus’ beautiful name; Amen!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

—Psalm 16:11

This joy is what we are to live for, yearn for and desire greatly, because it is joy that is not sought for the sake of joy itself, but it is joy sought, treasured, and found only in the Person of God.

May God increase, by incredible measure, the delight of hearts and even enlarge our hearts that we might be able to know Him better and more fully and more sweetly.

There is only one explanation for God’s sacrifice for us. It is not us. It is “the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). It is all free. It is not a response to our worth. It is the overflow of his infinite worth. In fact, that is what divine love is in the end: a passion to enthrall undeserving sinners, at great cost, with what will make us supremely happy forever, namely, his infinite beauty.

John Piper, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

I love this simple reminder that God’s sacrifice for us is not all about us. It is all about “the overflow of his infinite worth.” The Gospel takes the attention off us and places it on the person of Jesus Christ and the work that He did.

Our lives then are freed from our miserable smallness so that we can live for something far greater: glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

Lord, I pray that you would grant this work in us. Free us from ourselves. Free us from the multitude of things that distract us from You and keep us from enjoying you more fully and from giving you the glory due Your name. We love you Lord.