plates, plates & more plates

ever feel like you should be in a circus act for plate spinning? 

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Everyone has busy lives – sometimes less, sometimes more.  Today, is a plate spinning day for me, so i think its even more essential than normal to consider what Paul says in Phil 4:6-7,  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For every concern, frustration, request we pass along to God, and He tells us to do this, please be sure to include a thanksgiving as well.  Then allow God’s peace to guard your heart & your mind.  Then spin away baby & trust God to help you spin & catch a plate if it falls.  😉

Jesus, joy & gentle

In Philippians 4:4-5, Paul tells us 2x to rejoice in the Lord (its an imperative – command).  Paul tells us to rejoice without exceptions, buts or excuses.  Now for us ladies, that can be a tall order, depending on the hormonal levels on any given day. Hmmmmmm.  But Paul doesn’t give us, either men or women, any wiggle room.  We’re supposed to rejoice, end of the story, full stop.

Next he commands us to let our gentleness be evident to everyone.  The word Paul uses in the greek doesn’t so much imply a character trait of gentleness but rather the way in which we treat others – not being harsh, mean, demanding, etc.  Now you probably can do this easily, but i wasnt’ exactly “gentle” when the guy at the airport charged me almost triple for some espresso shots – grrrrrrrrrrr.

So, how on earth, given the humanity that tires us, are we supposed to rejoice always & let everyone see our gentleness????  I think Paul gives us the answer in the very next phrase – Jesus is near.  Can I just say that whenever i get to talk w someone about Jesus (whether they’re a Jesus fan or not), i just get really amped up.  Furthermore, it makes me “rejoice” when i think that Jesus is near me & He actually likes to be near me.  i don’t even like being w me that much, but He does & that causes me to rejoice.  Furthermore, when i think that Jesus is near me as i interact w others, i find myself wanting to tone down some volatility & i also find myself giving more grace, being keenly aware of the ongoing grace tsunami in which i live & breath.  So, dear friend, Jesus is near – be joyful & gentle.

spiritual conversations

conversationI really like having spiritual conversations – not like theology driven, but more like a sincere dialogue about what God is saying at personal levels.  I like hearing what God is saying to other people – I find that this often moves me closer to God.  A few days ago, I got to stay up late talking w a friend about some questions & thoughts I’m having about God & I had the privilege to listen to her ideas, as well as her questions.  I loved this time & found myself driving home & feeling deeply fulfilled & closer to God.  I think there’s alot of value in such conversations both in our horizontal relationships & our relationship w God.  Consider Paul’s words about Timothy & Epaphroditus in Philippians 2.  He could say these great things about these 2 men because he had had multiple spiritual conversations w each of them.

What are some things you do (or can do) to foster spiritual conversations?  Do you even want to have such conversations?  Feel free to answer or not at your level of comfort.  🙂

God is working in us!

Philip 2:13 says that God is working in us to will & do of His good pleasure.  In light of the idea of working out our salvation with fear & trembling from verse 12, we could see God as our work out trainer – helping us have the desire & power to do what He wants (work out our salvation). 

God is working in each of us.  When Paul wrote this, he used the present tense & in Greek, this means an ongoing & continuous action.  So God is working in you & me today, even at this moment, helping us to have the desire & abilities (resources, etc) to accomplish His will.  If you get more specific, those times in your day when you feel like being kind, patient, friendly, generous, forgiving (see the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) – these are God moments.  He is working in you – be encouraged & offer Him some cooperation (I can’t say that word without thinking of Seasame Street).

Make today a God-watch day – watching for Him working in you His desires & abilities!

Philippians 2 – Work Out!

I like to work out.  Last week was exciting because I got to work out 5 times!  The purpose of my workouts are: to build strength (lift weights) & cardio fitness (jogging).  At this time, I’m doing better w weight training than cardio, but I do both pretty much every week.  Some of the benefits I find from working out include:

  • more energy (necessary to keep up w small children)
  • stress relief
  • clears my thinking
  • burns calories
  • greater endurance
  • better self-esteem
  • builds strength
  • keeps my heart & muscles healthy
  • strengthens my bones to prevent oesteoporosis

So, in Philip 2:12, Paul tells us to work out our salvation w fear & trembling.  Truthfully, when I lift weights & if I do a really good job in a workout, I experience both fear & trembling when I’m lifting weights.  I’ll talk about this more in Chapel on Tues.  If you can’t come, then I’ll blog on it to explain better after Chapel 😉

In Chapel, we’ll also go into one of my fav verses in the Bible – Philip 2:13: God is at work in me to will & do of His good pleasure.  Chapel is going to be GREAT & I’m REALLY EXCITED!!!

Exalting Jesus some more

Yahoo! In Philip 2:10, Paul says that every knee should bow to the name of Jesus (along with every tongue confessing that He is Lord).  These come in response to God the Father exalting the name of Jesus.  In chapel on Tuesday, we talked about how we can exalt Jesus & lift Him up, just a little more & just a little more, & even just a little more: lift up

But now I have a follow up question.  What are some different ways that we can bend our knees to the name of Jesus?  Or even better, what does it mean to bend our knees to Jesus?

work out your salvation with fear & trembling

Ok, this is from the last part of Philip 2:12.  Need your thoughts, wisdom, insights, whatever.  I’m going to study this as well as I can, but I’d REALLY like your input – so would you kindly leave a comment & let me know what you think Paul meant when he said this?  If you want to bring any application into your comment, as well, don’t fight the urge.  🙂

Thanx!!

Philippians – we’re BACK!!

Hello to everyone who is enjoying the Philippians exploration!  We’re going to be talking about Philip 2 in chapel next week, so I’d encourage you to to read chapter 2 (maybe one time a day).  Specifically, we’ll be looking at verses 5-11.  If you’re really into it, I’d encourage you to pick up RT Kendall’s book on it.  This book will blow your eyebrows off – if they’re non-bushy.  😉

Anyways, the book is PHENOMENAL!!!  Here’s the link for the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Imitating-Christ-R-T-Kendall/dp/1599790556/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221595352&sr=8-1

Philippians with Marilyn

Hello! Mom’s on for Chapel & going through chapter 1 – going to be really good!!  Here’s some interesting thoughts on 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

When Paul uses the words, “being confident,” this means to have conceived trust,” and to persist in a state of confidence, hence “to trust firmly.” 

My point with this verse is to encourage you that God, who has started His work in you, is continuing to do His work and you can trust that He’s going to finish what He’s started – even in your worst moments (or when your husband tells you he’s not sure about the green and brown color scheme you picked out for the paint in the bedroom, even though he readily admits that interior decor isn’t his strong suit) – smile.

Homework:  please read chapter 2

Feedback:  please shoot me any questions related to Philippians – I’ll get mom to answer them. 😉

Philippians Intro

I love this little book.  I think its the 1st book I ever memorized in the Bible & it has one of my top 2 favorite verses in it – Php 3:8-11,  “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  NKJV

This little book is RICH, RICH, RICH in loving Jesus, knowing Jesus & growing in Him.  Our team at the church & ministry is going to be studying it in our chapels for a little while – so you might keep your eyes peeled for the dialogue here – could be really interesting!  If you want to join us, you’re more than welcome & I’ll also post my notes if you’re interested in following along.  🙂

The city of Philippi:  politics

§ Obscure villages & beginnings in the area

§ In 356bc, Philip II of Macedon, father of Alex the Great was interested in gold & silver mines nearby, so he annexed the region & formally established Philippi as a city bearing his name.

§ He fortified the city & turned it into a military strong point, to help guard nearby mines

§ Was strategically located on the land route to Dardanelles & Bosporus

§ In 42bc, it became famous as the place where Mark Antony & Octavian defeated the Roman Repub forces of Brutus & Cassius, the assassins of Julius Ceasar;  in doing this, they established Philippi as a Roman colony, was governed by Roman law – a strongly Roman city

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religion

§  very diverse (incl influences from Egypt) and syncretic, but the imperial religion tended to dominate

§ small Jewish population

§ Paul’s arrival w Gospel was prob around 50ad – Acts 16:6-10

Paul’s 2nd missionary journey – up to that point, he’d only ministered in Asia Minor: Ac 16:6-10

§ 1st European convert was Lydia – Ac 16:12-15 

§  Salvation of Philippian jailer – Ac 16:25-31

 

Church characteristics:

§ Generous (offering for needy in Jerusalem), supportive (sent Epaphroditus)

 

Epistle

§ Written by Paul during a very serious imprisonment (1:19-20 & 2:17), prob in Rome

§ Purposes: the return Epaphroditus, concern for Judaizers, encourage unity, among other things

Team Member Homework:

1.  Read Philippians 1x for next week

2.  List no less than 3 verses that are your favs

3.  What, if any verses, are troublesome / difficult to understand or digest?

4. What are the themes (at least 2) you see in this book?