MONDAY:            Philippians 2:1-11  
In this passage, the Apostle Paul urges Jesus’s disciples to imitate Him.  They are to follow His example by loving one another as Jesus modeled for them.  He encouraged them to practice Christian community by valuing one another over themselves.  In order to live into the example Jesus laid out for them, they must change their attitude to reflect His attitude.  This is why Paul asks them to “adopt” Jesus’ mindset.        
 
Paul then goes on to unpack Jesus’ attitude.   Paul focuses on the fact that Jesus chose not to be served, but to serve.  He “made Himself nothing.”  Jesus completely emptied Himself of all the divine privileges.  He exchanged the unlimited form of God for our limited flesh.  He embraced a body that would hurt and eventually be broken.  The One who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” humbled Himself to the point of death, a criminal’s death on a cross.  Though He was God, He chose to be the suffering servant for us by emptying Himself.  As a result of His faithfulness, He was lifted up by His Father.  His humiliation led to His exaltation.  
 
The verses always leave me in awe of Jesus.  This is probably why they make their way into the WayPoints on a regular basis.  I think of how I struggle to empty myself, of how difficult it can be at times to set myself aside for the benefit of others.  This passage reminds me that even though it is hard to empty ourselves, we are called to do that very thing.  Though living fully into Jesus’ attitude is a process for us, that process begins with our choosing to adopt Jesus’ attitude.  Have you chosen to share in Jesus’ attitude?  
 
I cannot help but wonder what it would look like if we chose to have the attitude of Christ.   I pray we heed Paul’s challenge to the church of Philippi, that we too may adopt Jesus’ attitude.
Prayer:  “Jesus, thank You for emptying Yourself.  We too lift You up above all others.  Amen.”
 
TUESDAY:           Revelation 21:1-7
This week we’re visiting some of my favorite WayPoint passages.  Today, our scripture is from Revelation 21.  This passage gives us a glimpse of what is in store for God’s children.  I like to use this scripture because it’s good for us to be reminded of what we are moving toward.  
 
In John’s vision, he sees a new heaven and a new earth.  This is a recreation of what once was, not heaven and earth version 2.0.  John watches as God made all that was once broken whole again.  He witnesses God redeem and restore all that He loves.  In addition to what he sees, John also hears God announce that He will now dwell with His people.  He hears God says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  
 
His words ring true for us as much today as they will be in that moment.  God is making all things new.  He is restoring.  He is redeeming.  We see this in His promise that “All things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”  While not all things that happen are good, God will use all things to accomplish His redemptive purpose.   
 
We, His children, are evidence of this work.  God is always remaking, restoring us.  He is making us new.  Our place is to yield to this work in us and to wait patiently for the day when His work is complete.  May we be filled with hope as we dwell upon the hope that is in store for us. 
Prayer:  “God, You are making all things new.  May You continue that work in me each day.  Amen.”   
 
WEDNESDAY:       Romans 7:14-25
Romans 7 establishes why humanity is in need of being made new.  Paul points out that we are slaves to sin.  This means that we are under sin’s control.  Like Adam and Eve, we have knowledge of both right and wrong.  We too struggle under the weight of such knowledge.  We cannot know wrong and not choose it.  This was why God tried to shield us from it.  
 
We are now bent toward sin.  Paul says in this broken state, in spite of our best efforts, we find ourselves doing the very things we despise.  We do the things we don’t want to do.  Our will is powerless against the pull of sin’s destructive power.  If left to our own devices, sin will damage our souls, our relationships, and our well-being.  The stark but very real message from Romans 7:14-23 is apart from becoming something different than we currently are, we have no hope.  
 
Think of how grim things would be for us if we were forced to stop there.  Imagine if we didn’t have the Good News of Jesus Christ to give us hope.  Fortunately, we do have such a hope to hold onto.  Paul concludes Romans 7 with an affirmation of this hope by saying, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  
 
In the next chapter, Paul goes on to clarify the magnitude of the hope we have been given in Jesus. We are no longer condemned but accepted.  We are not people of death but life.  We are no longer enemies of God, but sons and daughters.  We are heirs of all the privileges the Father has bestowed upon His Son Jesus.  
 
The Good News is that our brokenness doesn’t stand a chance before God’s redeeming power.  God’s grace changes us and sets us free to become something new.
Prayer: “Lord, I trust that You are with me and always at work.  Free me to live in Your joy.  Amen.”
 
THURSDAY:            John 13:1-6
Jesus’ time on earth with His disciples was drawing to a close.  There in those final moments, overwhelmed with love for these men, He seized the opportunity to show them the full extent of His love.  Though Jesus was on the verge of being rejected and tortured, He chose to wrap the towel around His waist and wash the feet of His disciples.  
 
It’s a striking scene.  It’s also indicative of His ministry.  Jesus told the disciples that He “came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  What message does this send to us, Jesus’ followers?  
 
At the moment in time that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, the Father had already given Him all authority and power, but Jesus stepped down from that lofty place in order to wash His disciples’ feet.  He was able to do this because in God’s Kingdom, servanthood doesn’t threaten our dignity; rather, it is a virtue.  God places a high value on servanthood.  Jesus, His Son, showed us as much.  He also called us to practice the same.  
 
As God’s children, we are called to reflect His values.  As Jesus’ followers, we are His apprentices and thus model our lives after His life.  Ask yourself:  How have I acted like Jesus in the past week?  How did I step down from a high position to serve someone?  How have I been intentional about loving those God has given me?  
Prayer: “Christ, I want to love and serve others as You did.  Empower me for such service.  Amen.”  
 
FRIDAY:                 John 13: 6-9
I can only imagine what Simon Peter felt when he saw Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus wasn’t a slave, but was doing the work of one by washing the disciples’ feet. For a superior to wash the feet of an inferior was unheard of in Jewish culture. Peter boldly said, “No, you shall never wash my feet!”  He had no idea what kind of gift Jesus was giving him.  He saw only that the act of washing feet being something beneath Jesus.
 
I wonder how many times we have missed receiving a gift. Maybe it was small gift, or one from a store we may discount.  Maybe it was the right gift, but a cheaper version, a knock off, or maybe it came from Walmart instead of Macy’s. It doesn’t matter; we are missing the real gift!  This gift was a way of saying that in order to love people, you must accept that love in whatever form it comes. Peter cut himself off from the grace that was extended by Jesus. Once he realized it, he wanted a head to toe washing.   We can learn from this by seeing the whole gift and by being humbled by the fact that the gift was being extended in the first place.  The disciples later learned that the Son of Man didn’t come to be served, but to serve.
Prayer: “Generous God, guide our hearts to see the gifts of grace you have given us. Amen.”
 
SATURDAY:          John 13:10-17
In John 13:10, Jesus reminds us that once we are saved through Him, we need not be saved again. We are clean; however, we must ask for forgiveness for our sins regularly just as if we had to wash our feet because we walk on dirt streets in sandals.  In this analogy, Jesus is the one continually washing our feet (saving us from our sins).  In John 13:13, He reminds His disciples that they should do as He does. Disciples should help other followers of Christ (those who are already clean or saved) by granting forgiveness (washing others’ feet as He had washed theirs).
 
Every time we participate in Communion, we are given the opportunity to remember that Jesus offered His body and His blood to atone for our sins. He washed us clean. There is no greater act of love than to sacrifice oneself as Jesus did for us, and He tells us to do this often in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:17). When we practice this act of remembrance, we have the opportunity and responsibility to ask for forgiveness from our daily sins (“… whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  He should ask for forgiveness for those sins that he has in his life.” I Corinthians 11:27-28)  
 
As disciples, we should also offer Communion to others as a service (wash their feet). As a teacher, Christ instructed us to do as He did. He reminds us further in John 13:17 that as Christians, none of us is above doing what He has done for us and instructed us to do. He says that our blessings don’t come from knowing what to do but in doing what we know.
Prayer:  “Father, help me to constantly remember the sacrifice that was made for me, and prompt me to better serve my church family.”  
 
SUNDAY:             1Thessalonians 5:16-18
As Paul finishes his first letter to the Thessalonians, he encourages them to continue to do the work necessary to stay connected to God: Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks continuously.  How can we live our lives more attentive to what we are thankful for?  For many of us, we have thanksgiving prayers every time we eat.  Some of us pray thankful prayers with our children before going to bed at night. These prayers are important to keep us in the mindset of praying for thanks–counting our blessings.  But Paul was hoping for something more from us.
 
In the busy-ness of our lives, we miss opportunities to be thankful. Those of you who have been on mission trips understand what happens when you step away from the busy-ness for a while.  Suddenly, when faced with those who have so little and who are so thankful for what little they have, we find ourselves taking two steps backwards.  Our position in life is somehow in transition while we are with these thankful ones.  We have so much; they have so little. The assumptions we made about bringing them a gift of lumber, skilled labor, and maybe a bit of Jesus are no longer valid.  In the midst of their faith-filled lives, we suddenly find ourselves lacking.  As they welcome us into their homes, into their churches, into their lives for such a short time, their faith in the midst of such need seems to exceed ours.  And if we receive this realization as a gift of grace, we are changed by this experience–and become so much more thankful for all that we have.
 
Will it take another mission trip for us to be experience this level of thankfulness?  That kind of humbling experience reminds us of how quickly tables can turn and how dismissive we can become of the abundance we have been given.  Continuous thanksgiving strengthens our trust in God regardless of how much or how little we have.  Sometimes it takes being present in loss to remind us to be thankful for the smallest of things–to trust God in new ways.  What will it take for us?
Prayer: “O Holy One, thank you. Amen.”