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What Matters Most

Day: 1

Plan: What Matters Most

Thank You For Being a Friend

Karen Ehman

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. - Philippians 1:1-11

Each Christmas break, after the tree had been taken down, my mom insisted I write thank-you notes to the family and friends who'd sent me gifts. Writing these letters of gratitude — in my very best cursive and until they met my mother's approval — gave way to a love of writing notes of gratitude still today.

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Day: 2

Plan: What Matters Most

How Your Prison Becomes Your Platform

Karen Ehman

want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. - Philippians 1:12-18

One spring day, I took my three young children to a historic village that included a jailhouse from the late 1800s. I snapped a playful picture of them peering out from behind the bars of that prison, smiling wide for the camera. In reality, however, prisons are certainly nothing to smile about.

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Day: 3

Plan: What Matters Most

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Karen Ehman

But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. - Philippians 1:19-30

As a third grader, I went to summer church camp for the first time. I loved spending my days swimming in the lake or hiking out in nature. However, when the bonfire flames no longer flickered, and it was time to crawl into our bunks, I grew homesick. I wanted to be home, sleeping in my own bed. But then I'd remember how much I also loved my camp experience, full of new friends and adventure. I couldn't decide which place I wanted more.

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Day: 4

Plan: What Matters Most

How Humility Leads to Harmony

Karen Ehman

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:1-11

What does humility look like? Is it a person who, when you give them a compliment, drops their head, sheepishly declaring, "Aww, shucks" … while also insisting that what you said about them can't possibly be true? Or is it something else altogether?

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Day: 5

Plan: What Matters Most

Don't Dim the Lights

Karen Ehman

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. - Philippians 2:12-30

Centuries ago, a man decided to become a monk. One of the rules of the monastery was that you were only allowed to speak two words every 10 years. At the end of the first 10 years, he appeared before his superior and uttered, "Bad food!" After the second decade passed and he could speak again, he declared, "Hard work!" Finally, on his 30th anniversary at the monastery, he looked at the priest in charge and announced, "I quit!" to which the priest responded, "You might as well. All you ever do is complain anyway!"

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: What Matters Most

Christ Purchased Our Salvation

Philippians 1-2 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 6

Plan: What Matters Most

How Our Ribbons Become Rubbish

Karen Ehman

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. - Philippians 3:1-11

Recently, when cleaning our basement storage area, I came across some trophies, medals and faded blue ribbons from my middle school years. Some were for academic success. One ribbon was for a citizenship award. But my favorite was a bronze medal I won once at a track meet one spring afternoon in the 100-yard dash. It isn't my favorite because I was a track stand-out in school. Far from it. It is because I get a good laugh when I spy it. Since there were only three girls in the race that afternoon, I quite effortlessly took third place!

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Day: 7

Plan: What Matters Most

Fix Your Gaze Forward

Karen Ehman

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:12-4:1

A while back I downloaded an app on my phone designed to bring up memories I'd posted in years past. I could see what I was doing, and with whom I was hanging out, two, or even five years ago on that same day. But after a while, this time travel tool tempted me to feel gloomy.

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Day: 8

Plan: What Matters Most

Less Fretting. More Faith.

Karen Ehman

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:2-7

Years ago, I was part of an adult small group at church. After our study was finished each week, we'd spend time sharing any requests we had for prayer. Often, many requests were tethered to worry. A parent was worried about a wayward adult child. A young couple was worried they might not be able to pay the rent that month. Another person was worried about a loved one who'd recently been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

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Day: 9

Plan: What Matters Most

Think This — Not That

Karen Ehman

… practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:8-9

Ever feel like your mind has, well … a mind of its own? I sure do. I try so hard not to let my thoughts migrate to a place of fear, but they start to weave a possible tale of woe anyhow. Or, in my mind I am berating myself for something I said, did or failed to do or say. These anxious and uneasy thoughts do not lead me to a place of peace. They rattle my soul and unsettle my heart. Sometimes I just can't seem to make my mind … mind!

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Day: 10

Plan: What Matters Most

Okay, Whatever

Karen Ehman

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. - Philippians 4:10-23

Once there was a king who was very discontent. He consulted an elderly, wise man in his kingdom to ask how he could become satisfied in life. The man replied, "Find a man in the land who is entirely content. Then, wear his shirt for one day and one night, and you will become content as well."

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: What Matters Most

It's All About Jesus

Philippians 3-4 - Weekend Teaching

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