Monday, February 28, 2011

Proud Parents

Philippians 2-Part 4
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. 
 Philippians 2:16-18


There were special times during my children's growing up years that I was especially proud to be their mother. I'll share a couple of them. Our son was not only atheletic, but he had a fantastic ability to sing. It was during the times of his public singing that I beamed with pride. Our daughter was very academic in school and received the highest amount of scholorships given to her graduating class. Again, I beamed.
Can you see it coming through the computer as I write this? I was so proud of my children back then and still am. They are serving the Lord, hard workers, and dedicated to their families. Yes, I'm still  a beaming, proud parent.
How about you? Are you a proud parent, too?

Paul had spiritual children in the church at Philippi in whom  he was proud  and that brought him pleasure and delight (Definition of joy in Webster's Dictionary). They gave him several  reasons to rejoice. Shall we see what they were?
  • They walked in the truth.
  • They lived as blameless and harmless children of God.
  • They shined as lights in the world.
  • They held forth the Word of Life (Jesus).
  • They faithfully labored in hard ministerial work.
  • They stood fast in faith, adorned with the doctrine of Christ.
  • They would rejoice with Paul if the cause of Christ resulted in his death.

Am I doing the same things-walking in Truth, living blamelessly and harmlessly, holding up the Word of Life, faithfully working for Jesus, standing fast in faith, rejoicing in God's will for others' lives?


In the rest of chapter 2, Paul mentions two of his fellow workers Timothus and Epaphroditus. You know that I had to check out these two guys. I'm familiar with Timothy. He accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys. Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus to teach them. Acts 16 gives Timothy's background; his mother was Eunice, a Christian Jewess and his father a Greek.

Preston Taylor, in his book Philippians: Joy in Jesus says: 
Faithfulness will open doors whereby God will use us for His glory. Do we honestly want God to use us? Let us follow Timothy and (1) be available, (2) be cheerful, (3) accept wise counsel from others, (4) maintain an interest in others, and (5) remain faithful. Will we respond and be among those whom God uses?

Ephroditus. Can we pronounce the word or tell something about the man? Ephroditus was a member of the church in Philippi. In A.D. 62 the Philippian Christians decided to send Paul a love offering, and they selected Ephaphroditus to take the gift. Soon after his arrival in Rome, the Philippian messenger and offering-bearer became garvely ill. Someone took the news of his illness to Philippi, and the church expressed great anxiety about their absent member. Paul sent him home, carrying his Philippian letter. He performed a valiable service for Paul and the Christians of Philippi. Little-known Christians are vital in God's service.

In verses 28 and 29, Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice when they see Epaproditus; receive him in the Lord with all gladness. Isn't that how I should recieve fellow Christians, rejoicing and with gladness?


Hold forth the Word of Life, Jesus.

Be a Timothy.

Be a little-known Christian in God's service.

Rejoice in the Lord, allowing His joy to fill me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stars in my Eyes

Philippians 2-Part 3
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;   Philippians 2:14-15


The other evening, when returning home from church, I noticed the sky full of twinkling stars. This would have been  an ordinary event for a summer's night, but after two weeks of snow and clouds, it was extraordinary to see. So I stood for a few minutes, looking up and around, hunting for the Big and Little Dippers and other star formations on a star struck night. How awesome our Creator is! To think, He knows how many stars there are and knows them by name. Did I have stars in my eyes that evening? Probably so.

Stars are shining lights in the world, a world of dark nights. Paul tells us we are to shine as lights in the world. Our world is dark with sin.

In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

2 Corinthians 4:6 states, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 5:8 says, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."

Do people see Jesus shining in me? I want to be  reflecting the light, Jesus, in my life. I need to let Him shine through me by yielding to Him.


I should type verse 13 in bold, large letters and place them over my sink as a reminder to do all things without murmuring and disputing. I confess, on my list of favorite things to do is not washing dishes. Therefore, I  try singing to the Lord so I am not murmuring and disputing. Sometimes I don't sing, but grumble.
What is murmuring, anyway?

Murmuring means saying anything in a low  tone; a discontented complaint; grumbling, muttering;
Disputing is intellectual rebellion against God. To dispute means to argue, debate.
[Resources: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Webster's Dictionary]

Wow! I didn't realize it was that serious. So when I  complain about those dirty dishes which I am washing, I am rebelling against God's will? Yes, because I am complaining,  quietly under my breath. So that means I am sinning. Oh my. I am sinning while washing dishes. Little ears are listening to me, as a grandma washes dishes. (Meaning my granddaughter)
What else do I grumble and argue about? Huh Oh.


I'm letting go of that grumbling and disputing.

Let Jesus shine through me today.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Minding my Mind

Philippians 2-Part 2
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:10-11


I have a choice in what I let my mind dwell upon. I can let my thoughts be focused on the matters of this world, or I can let them be focused on the Word of God and praising Him. Even though I'm in the world, living and working, I don't have to be of the world. It's a choice I have to make daily. I have to guard my mind so the devil doesn't change my focus and I yield to his temptations, sinning in my mind. I have to constantly be minding my mind, so to speak.

In verse 5, Paul tells us to "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
What was the mind of Christ like?
There are a couple of characteristics that Christ had that we can't have.

First, He was pre-incarnate in existance. His existance didn't begin in a manger at Bethlehem because He is eternal God. Christ was before the world was. "Christ ever was, is, and ever shall be God," said Jerry Falwell. Dr. Curtis Vaughan of Southwestern Seminary said, "The incarnation of Jesus was not make-believe, or play-like. It was real!" Amen to that!

Second, Christ was equal with God. "Jesus' divine nature was not something He had to seek for or acquire, but it was His already," said David Guzik.
In  John 10:30 Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."
The Scripture states, Who, being in the form of God." (verse 6)

Third, Christ emptied Himself, not of His Diety, but from something, the form of God. It's like pouring  tea from a pitcher into a glass. The form is different, but the substance stays the same.  Hebrews 13:8 states, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Jesus clothed Himself with humanity, while still being God.

Now that we have those things extablished- Jesus was God, of a divine nature which did not change, but  took on the form and appearance of a man, we can go on and look at what His mind was like.

Verse 7 tells us that Christ not only took on the likeness of men, but He took upon Him the form of a servant. David Guzik said, "Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity, or of any of His attributes, or of His equality with God. He emptied Himself into the form of a servant, not merely the form of a man. "

Now there are some characteristic that we can have which make us like Jesus. What are they? Look at verses 7 and 8.
First, Jesus was a servant, a slave.
Second, He was humble.
Third, Jesus was obedient.
Jesus was a servant, who was humble and obedient. It was His love for us that prompted Jesus to do this. "The mark of a slave is obedience. When slaves were executed they were crucified. Christ placed Himself on the same plane as the worst of criminals. Adam was disobedient unto death; Christ was obedient unto death," states in Liberty Bible Commentary.
"The Sovereign over all became the Servant of all," said Preston Taylor in his book Philippians: Joy in Jesus. Isaiah 53:2-3 and 12 describe Jesus' outward appearance. His death was a cruel, shameful death, not ordinary. Certainly, Jesus was "one of us," yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

It is a choice for me. I can be like Christ or not.


What are we going to do when eternity comes to us? Our key verses tell us. Everyone will bow their knees to Jesus and confess Him as Lord. All will submit to His Lordship. Even those who curse Him on earth will say Christ is Lord. I pray that you will do this now while alive on earth and not wait until it is too late, in eternity to accept Christ as your Savior.
While here on earth Christ was crowned with thorns (Matt.27:29), but in heaven He is crowned with glory and honor (Rev. 5:12-14).

There is something else that we can do. Verse 3 and 4 in Beck Version of the Bible says, "Don't be selfish or proud, but humbly treat others as better than yourselves." NAS uses the words selfishness or empty conceit.
I should have have concern for others, loving them, having  their best in mind.


Be a servant, humble and obedient to Christ today.

Have the mind of Christ, not my own.

Treat others better than myself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cup of Joy

Philippians 2-Part 1
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (affection-NAS)  and mercy.   Philippians 2:1


During the wintertime, I enjoy a cup of hot apple cider. In fact, rarely do I stop with one cup, but have two or three. There is just something soothing about it (to me, that is). What's the difference between cider and juice? It is made from apples that are pressed for the juice. Is that why it's thicker? After reading in the encyclopedia, I learned that I have to watch out for firmented, hard cider. It contains 2-7% alcohol. I learned something new today.
I see Paul wants his cup of joy full and running over. Is yours ready to be filled, too? Mine is.

In this first verse, Paul uses the word if to begin the sentence.
It was a conditional sentence expressing the condition as a fact in Greek. Since. Since these things are blessed realities, saints should act as if they exist. (Falwell)

Since these things exist in Christ, they should exist in Christians, who are His followers. What things?
Consolation, comfort, fellowship, affection and mercy.

1. Is there consolation in Christ?
 What's consolation mean?
Holman Bible Dictionary defines consolation as comfort which eases grief and pain; compassion.
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it in Greek as meaning exhortation, admonition, encouragement.
Of course there is. Every Christian should know what it's like to have Jesus console their soul. He has encouraged and consoled each of us at one time or another.
Luke 2:25 says that one of the titles for Jesus as the Messiah is the Consolation of Israel.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 reminds us that" God has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace."
 2 Corinthians 1:5 says "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ."

2. Is there any comfort of love?
 Yes, we should know what it's like to have Jesus give us the comfort of love.
2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the "God of all comfort." So nothing prohibits Him from comforting us, and with a comfort of love.
The Greek word for comfort is the word paraklesis, which means soothing sympathy. It has the idea of strengthening, of helping, of making strong. The love of God in our lives makes us strong and brave. (David Guzik)

3. Is there any fellowship of the Spirit?
 Yes, Christians should know what it's like to have fellowship of the Spirit. "Do we do it?" is the question.
The Greek word for fellowship is the word kononia. It means the sharing of things in common. The Holy Spirit fills, guides, moves in our lives in a  powerful and precious way.(Guzik)

4. Is there any affection and mercy?
 Of course, every Christian should know the affection of God and the mercy of God. Bowels (KJV) means tenderheartedness, tender mercies. Mercies means compassionate yearnings and action. These result in peace and in power. (Falwell)

 "Paul mentions these things in a manner that suggests to us that they should all be obvious parts of the Christian's experience. He could have said, 'If water is wet, if fire is hot, if rocks are hard.' " stated David Guzik.

All right then, I am to have consolation, comfort, fellowship, affection, and mercy. And they are to be obvious in my life. Are they?


Verse 2 says, "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Sherpherd's Notes states:
Paul assumes that the Philippians are experiencing the four conditions mentioned in verse 1. Now he is urging them to fill his cup with joy by:
(1) thinking and feeling the same,
(2) loving each other with the same love, and
(3) having their souls in harmony with each other and with Jesus Christ.
Nothing would make Paul happier than for this unity of thought and feeling to pervade the church.

Hey, it dawned on me, these principles can be applied not only in our churches, but also in our families, too. With divorce rampid in our country, we surely need this.
Paul wants his cup of joy full and running over. I can have my cup full and running over if I keep thinking, focusing, on the same thing, Jesus; equally love others while being loved; have our souls knit together in one accord by the Holy Spirit; hearts beating in unison. It is the unity of heart, soul, and mind. This is what Christ can and will do. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
There's nothing like unity in a church and in a family, is there? Am I doing my part?
My cup is getting full, but I may refill it with cider as I contemplate this.


Speak encouraging and comforting words.

Have fellowship and mercy with others.

Live in unity with Jesus, family, and church members.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Philippians 1-Part 3
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Philippians 1:26


We have cows on our farm that need water available for them to drink. I go out early in the morning and turn on the faucet connected to the hose which fills the water tank. (that's a mouthful) Since I have been doing this all winter, I have become a pretty good judge of the amount of time it will take for this process. Lacking confidence, I still set the timer to remind me to go shut off the water. There have been a few times I miscalculated, which allowed resulted in  the water overflowing in the tank. I was reminded of this incidence when I read Jerry Falwell's comments on the key verse.

Liberty Bible Commentary says:
The word rejoicing in Greek means exultation, that of which one glories or can glory, a matter or ground of glorying, reason for boasting. The word does not mean the act of glorying. Their exultation is the natural result of their joy. Paul desires that their exaltation may constantly overflow, exceed a fixed number or measure, exist in abundance, be over and above, overflow. The sphere in which this blessing is enjoyed is in Christ Jesus, the only legitimate realm for glorying (1 Cor. 1:31). Paul then refers to his own personal presence with them.

NLT gives a clearer way of saying this, "And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me."

Can I rejoice in what Jesus is doing through others? Can I rejoice in what He is doing through me?


NKJV states in verse 27a,"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ."
Henry Blackaby said,"Paul understood that the way he lived ought to be worthy of the King who had chosen him. He knew that the mystery of the gospel had been hidden for generations and had only been revealed in his day through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Col.1:26-27). Because Paul's life had been radically transformed by the gospel, he was intent on living to honor the gospel that gave him life. It would have been tragic to receive the riches of the gospel and then to live as a spiritual pauper."

KJV uses the word conversation in place of conduct in the above verse.

Liberty Bible Commentary states:
The Greek word for conversation means to be a citizen, behave as a citizen. The church at Philippi was a colony of heaven and the members are commanded to walk as  citizens of heaven, not by outward regulations, but by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Their conduct is to reflect what Christ has done in them. God wants all His children to be holy in character and conduct so that spiritual unity and power may be achieved.

Is my life a tribute to the matchless grace that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has bestowed upon me?
Is my conduct worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Verses 28-30 of NLT says, "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it."

"Our difficulty may not be as a punishment, but a tool in God's hand. The Greek word for suffer is the the word pasko. It is usually in the sense of persecution. However, it is also used of physical sufferings not related to persecution (Acts 28:5, Matt.17:15), of suffering under temptation (Heb.2:8), and hardships in a general sense (1Cor.12:26) and Gal.3:4)," says David Guzik's Commentaries on the  Bible.

If anyone had a right to complain about his sufferings, it was Paul. Did he complain? No, Paul learned to live above his circumstances. We will discuss his "how" later. We find his real attitude about it in chapters 3 and 4. Paul learned to be content. I need some of that. How about you?
Because of his prayerful and praising attitude in a dark, cold cell, a Philippian jailer had an earth-shaking conversion. (Acts 16)
It's a privilege for us to believe on Jesus and to suffer for Him. He suffered in order to provide our salvation. We will have a crown if we suffer for Jesus (Matt. 5:11-12).

In her study book, Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore said, "Joy is the result of discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances; in presence, purpose, power of Christ through all tribulations. Chara is the supernatural result which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord and Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find Him."

Do I see Jesus in every circumstance? I haven't looked for Him there, I can truthfully say. Now I will.
Stephen was being stoned to death when he saw Jesus standing on the the right hand of the Father. What a standing ovation recorded in Acts 7!

Friend, don't get discouraged because you aren't always joyful in all your circumstances. I haven't been in the past and can only work on it with Christ's help. I know we aren't Paul. God wants us to keep striving, though.


Have a joyful attitude. I need to stop complaining.

When I stumble and fall down due to my sins, repent, then get back up and walk with Jesus again.

Rejoice. Say "thanks"  more often.

Let the Holy Spirit overflow in me to others.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thank You

Philippians 1-Part 2
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.   Philippians 1:3


Thank you. Those are two simple words that I have always liked to hear. No, my children didn't say thank you to me for washing their dirty clothes when I gave them clean ones to put into their drawers. No, I didn't hear any thanks for cooking supper  when I had them wash the dishes. No, I didn't hear an appreciation for my working to provide a nice house for them to live in, whenever I told them to clean up their bedroom. Did you hear those devoted thanks?  Probably not. But we did them because we loved our family, not for the thank yous. However, a few along the way would have been encouraging, right?

Well, I want to stop and say THANK YOU to all of you who take time out of your busy schedule to read what I write. Even though you may not respond, I know you are there with me, every day. You have become my good friends in the Lord. So put a smile on your face today, girlfriend. This gal appreciates you!

Paul appreciated his Christian friends at Philippi. He said so in his letter to them (verses 3-4). He had a genuine thankful heart. He got happy when he prayed for those people. This congregation had shown love to Paul by their financial support  and their prayers for him.
Here's a man in his sixties and under house arrest for two years in Rome. He wasn't discouraged from sharing the gospel, but was joyful. (verse 18)

Illustrated Bible Handbook tells us:
In verses 2-11, Paul prays the Philippians will abound in love, and have the insight to know "what is best," that they may "be pure and blameless until the day of Christ." (verse 10)
In verses 12-30, Paul wants his friends to see his imprisonment as a good thing, for it has advanced the gospel. (verse 12)  His witness was heard through the whole palace guards and even members of Caesar's household had become believers! The gospel was being preached and it lead the apostle to rejoice.

Although Paul was in prison in his own rented quarters, with guards, he was allowed visitors. He was free in his attitudes, wasn't he? Paul welcomed all who came to him, teaching and preaching Jesus. (Acts 28:30-31)
It was no Park Avenue.

I've never been confined anywhere for two years. What would my attitude be if I were?
Life is hard. We can feel chained to our past and our present. If Paul could live above his unbelievably trying circumstances, so can I. Christ must be my focus.
Am I making a difference in the lives of those closest to me by the way I respond to my circumstances? Are others inspired by my faith, or are the discouraged by my fears? Something to think about.


"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," states verse 21.

David Guzik said,"Paul knew that death is not a defeat to the Christian. It is merely a graduation to glory, a net gain for the Christian."

If Paul was killed for not stopping his preaching the gospel, he would gain in two ways-Jesus would be glorified and he would immediatedly be in the presence of the Lord, which was his gain. If he lived, it would be a fruitful life. (Paul was set free, but later martyred later at Rome.) Paul did visit the Philippians again.
Paul was ready to go, but willing to wait.

In verses 25-26, Paul mentions the joy of faith and the Philippians rejoicing. He wants them to continue to joyfully grow in their faith and keep on rejoicing in Jesus. Now is that a challenge to us or what?

Joy in Greek is the the word chara. It means joy, rejoicing, gladness-enjoyment, bliss, to celebrate.
[The Complete Word Study dictionary: New Testament]

I want some of this joy, don't you? Joy is one of the fruit of the Spirit, as I recall. He gives it to me as I surrender to His presence. I remembered studying joy in one of Beth Moore's studies.

In her study, Living Beyond Yourself  by Beth Moore said, "Joy is the result of realizing that our names are written in heaven."

There were others who rejoiced because of their salvation-David in Ps.51:12, 72 witnesses in Luke 10:17-20, and us. Our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Revelation 3:5, 7:10, 13:8, 17:8, 20:11-15, 21:11-27) Now this is something to rejoice over! Do I hear an amen?


Thank you friends for your loyal support and your faithfulness to our Savior.

Live above my circumstances, focused on Christ.

Rejoice in my home in heaven!

Rejoice today!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Philippians 1-Part 1
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.  Philippians 1:4


How enjoyable it is to receive a personal letter in the mailbox. When I get one, I always look to see to whom and from whom it is written. Then I read the contents. The same thing happens with emails. Of course, we usually know right away who wrote it. A similar thing happened when I began reading this small book in the New Testament, which is only four chapters long. So I asked myself, "Who wrote this letter?" and "To whom was it written?"

I noticed that Paul included Timothy as a co-author of this epistle. He was with Paul when the church at Philippi was founded, eleven years earlier (Acts 16:1) and had been there since (Acts 19-20). Keep in mind that Paul was in Roman house arrest (Acts 28:30-31) waiting his appearance before Caesar.

In David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible, he states:
Paul addresses the letter to three groups:
1. To all the saints in Christ Jesus: This means all the Christians in Philippi. All Christians are saints, but only
    in Christ Jesus. (Folks, this would include us.)
2. To the bishops: In a general sense, this speaks of those with leadership responsibilities.
3. To the deacons: Those who have a recognized position of service.

Now that we have that cleared up, we can continue into the meat of the Word. So what does Paul have to say to us? Let's find out.


In verse 2, Paul is sending us grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here's what Liberty Bible Commentary had to say about it:
Grace is the foundation and peace is the result. Where there is no grace, there can be no peace. Grace denotes unmerited favor and expresses God's sacrificial love to men. Peace expresses "the tranquil state of the soul assured of its salvation through Christ, a soul fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is." Peace is that harmony and health of the one who has been reconciled to God through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1-2). [emphasis is mine]

Of course we know that the grace and peace come from God and Christ. They are as one unit. We are God's children by new birth, so we can call Him Father. We live under Christ and serve Him, so we can call Christ our Lord.

I hope you continue to walk with me through Philippians. We're going to find out about Paul's joy. Got your empty cup ready to be filled with joy? Mine is.


Have my eyes and ears wide open to what God has to say to me.

Seek grace and peace from my Lord Jesus.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Beginnings

Introduction to Philippians
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.   Philippians 1:6


I like new beginnings. There is a freshness about starting something new, whether its a new project, a new  year, or just a new day. It seems the longer a project drags on, the less enthused I become. Sometimes I lay aside things to finish later. Then I make myself go back and complete several unfinished projects so I can get started on something new that I really want to do. Where does the excitement go?
Why does it wane? Why do I tend to set aside a project later to complete?

There is One who is not like me. God told Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:12b,"When I begin, I will also make an end."

What God begins, He will finish. Paul is very confident about the work God will do through the people in this church at Philippi. In the past there was God's unchangeable purpose (regeneration); in the present there is continuation of God's unlimited power (sanctification); and there will be in the future (glorification), God's unbreakable promise. (Liberty Bible Commentary) This is God's guarantee for the persevering saints.

Isn't it conforting to know God doesn't give up on us? He is continueing His work and is going to complete His purpose and  work in and through me. He doesn't put me aside as I often do my projects, to complete later. He doesn't give up on me. He keeps working on me. He continues molding me into what He wants me to be, more like Christ.

Background to Philippians:
This letter was written while Paul was in prison the first time in Rome arond A.D.63-61. It was written along with other letters-Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, to those chruches. This church at Philippi was the first one founded by Paul in Europe, while on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:12-40). Evidently there was a small population of Jews living there, because a synagogue wasn't formed in Philippi (required 10 men) and there were devout women praying along the river's edge. Lydia, a wealthy merchant, became a believer there (Acts 16:14-15). Another convert was the demon-possessed fortune-telling slave girl (Acts 16:16-17). Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned there (Acts 16:22-24) as a result. Remember them singing at midnight, and the jailer got saved when an earthquake released the two preachers.
Evidently, Paul visited Philippi twice during his third missionary journey (2Cor. 8:1-5 and Acts 20:6). Several years later, a delegation from the Philippian church visited Paul while he was imprisoned at Rome. They contributed to his work financially. One time Epaphroditus brought it, so Paul sent this letter back with him to this church. Now we have a background of the church. What about the city?

The city of Philippi got its name from Philip II of Macedon. He was the father of Alexander the Great. Philip conquered the region due to the attraction to nearby gold mines (4th century). In the second century, Philippi became part of the Roman porvince of Macedonia. After the Battle of Philippi, Roman army veterans settle in this colony. (In 42 B.C., the forces of Antony and Octavian defeated those of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi, thus ending the Roman Republic and ushering in the Empire.) The people were under Roman law and rule.
Latin was their official language. They adoped Roman customs and modeled their city government afater the Italian cities. [Resource: The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

Philippi was a city located on the principal highway from Asia to the West. It was about 800 miles from Rome. The city was an important commercial center due to  abundant resources of timber, metals, and water supplies. There was a 750-foot-high rock cliff that overlooked Philippi. Many religious cults popular at Philippi were sculpted on it. As a person entered the city, they were confronted with the religious symbolism there. Three primary ethnic groups lived there, along with others. They were the Thracians, the Greeks, and the Romans.  [Resource: Shepherd's Notes]

Purpose for the letter according to Shepherd's Notes:
Some members of the Philippian chruch had shown a tendency toward disunity and contentiousness. It faced a challenge from false teachers who diluted or added to God's way for salvation. Paul made his readers aware of the dangers of leagalism, sensuality, and materialistic geed. He prepared the way for his and Timothy's upcoming visit.
The major theme in the letter is joy. This word joy is mentioned four times and rejoice appears nine times.
The verses spelled out the external behavior and the internal attitudes that characterize a person who has genuine joy.

I'm excited to  begin a new book in the Bible. Especially, I'm looking forward to hearing about joy, which I need more of in my life.
So I found this outline in Illustrated Bible Handbook:
Joy in the Gospel-chapter 1
Joy in following Jesus-chapter 2
Joy through Commitment-chapter 3
Joy in the Lord-chapter 4


Be confident that God will continue to work in me.

Hold on to the fact that He will complete His purpose in me, even if I'm willing or not.

Look to Jesus for my joy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Summary of Ephesians

As we recall, Paul wrote this letter to the church at Ephesus during his first imprisonment in Rome during A.D.62 or63. That's why it is under the heading of  "Paul's Prison Epistle."  He had served the church as their pastor for three years. Keep in mind that this city was noted for the temple of worshiping the goddess Diana. So the people had to contend with that in their surroundings.
Paul wrote about the purpose for the church, God's plan, standards for faithfulness, authority, submission, and provision for spiritual battles.
There's a question I have for us as we review this book.

What has God done for us?
  • blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (1:3)
  • chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless (1:4)
  • predestinated us to be adopted children into His own family (1:5)
  • accepted us (1:6)
  • redeemed us through his blood, forgiven our sins (1:7)
  • made known unto us the mystery of His will (1:9)
  • gave us an inheritance (1:11)
  • sealed us with the Holy Spirit (1:13)
  • purchased us to to be His own posession (1:14)
  • gives us spiritual wisdom and insight (1:17)
  • given us hope (1:18)
  • made us His rich and glorious inheritance (1:18)
  • provides exceeding greatness of His power to us (1:19)
  • quickened us from the dead (made alive spiritually) (2: 1)
  • loved us (2:4)
  • raised us up and made us sit with Him (2:6)
  • shows us exceeding riches of His grace and kindness (2:7)
  • saved us by His grace through faith (2:8)
  • created us as His workmanship (masterpiece)
  • brings us boldly and confidently into His presence (3:12)
  • grants us inner strength through His Spirit (3:16)
  • dwells in us by faith, keeping us rooted and grounded in His love (3:17)
  • empowers us to understand how wide, long, high, and deep His love is (3:18-19)
  • works in us mightily to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think (3:20)
  • unites us in faith in Jesus (4:13)
  • renews us in our thoughts and attitudes by His Spirit (4:23)
  • created us to be righteous and holy (4:24)
  • instructs us to not grieve the Holy Spirit by the way we live (4:30)
  • informs us how to live-truthfully, not angrily, working hard, giving to those in need, speak encouraging words, be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving (4:25-32)
  • offered Himself as a sacrifice for us (5:2)
  • tells us to not be immoral, imlpure, or greedy (5:5)
  • teaches us to live carefully-wisely, not foolishly; filled with the Spirit, singing praises to the Lord, and thanking God for everything (5:15-20)
  • instills submission, service to the Lord (5:21-6:9)
  • warns us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power; to put on His armor (6:10-17)
  • instructs us to pray with perseverance and supplication for all the saints (6:18)
  • gives us peace, love, and grace (6:23-24)
Why has God our heavenly Father done all of this for us? It is because we love our Lord Jesus Christ, according to 6:24.
Certainly, He is an awesome God! Thank You Father.

Thank you for traveling with me through Ephesians. I found a lot of spiritual treasure hidden in this epistle.
I hope you did also. Now to apply it in my life.
Next we travel north to Philippi. See there, my friend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dressing in Love

Ephesians 6-Part 3
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.    Ephesians 6:23-24


Isn't it fun to get a valentine in the mail or from your sweetheart? I remember those valentine parties  while in elementary school. Each student would decorate a box, we would bring a valentine for everyone in our class, then put them into their box. We girls would giggle at the ones from the boys, thinking we were special to them, when in reality, their mothers probably made them sign and address their valentines to all the girls. Oh, such fun. That caused me to think, why can't I send my love to people via email? Of course I can. It only takes a few minutes to do it and they receive it immediately. (Due to the snow the last 2 weeks, I didn't  get any mailed.)

In our key verses, Paul is concluding, or wrapping up his letter to the church at Ephesus. I see his love for the people there as he sends them three things, which are also sent to us:
peace-Christ's gift
love with faith-love of the saints and faith in Christ
grace-unmerited favor.

Have you read God's love letter to you today? It is in the form of the Bible, you know. And how greatly He does love you and me.
Jeremiah 31:3 states, "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."

To me, everlasting love does not end, but lasts forever. Thank You Father for Your love to me. I can dress in Your love today.


Are you ready to put on the clothing as necessary equipment for our spiritual battle? Paul uses the example of a Roman soldier getting ready for a military battle. So in like manner, we Christians must do battle with evil/devil daily. He knows what to use to tempt each of us into sin. I definitely want to be ready. I'm tired of
falling into his snares. Aren't you? It's time we take a stand for Christ, but we can't do it alone. We need Christ's help.

The MacArthur Bible Handbook states it like this:
There are six necessary pieces of spiritual armor with which God equips His children to resist and overcome Satan's assults. The spiritual equipment parrallels the standard military equipment worn by soldiers in Paul's day.
  1. Belt of truth-The soldier wore a tunic of loose fitting clothing. Since ancient combat was largely hand-to-hand, the tunic was a potential hindrance and danger. The belt cinched up the loose material. The belt that pulls together all the spiritual loose ends is "truth" or, better, "truthfulness."
  2. Breastplate of righteousness-A tough, sleeveless piece of leather or heavy material covered the soldier's full torso, protecting his heart and other vital organs. Because righteousness, or holiness, is such a distinctive characteristic of God Himself, it is easy to understand why it is the Christian's chief protection against Satan and his schemes.
  3. Boots of the gospel-Roman soldiers wore boots with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. The gospel of peace pertains to the good news that through Christ believers are at peace with God, and He is on their side(Rom.5:6-10).
  4. Shield of faith-The Greek word usually refers to the large shield that protected the soldier's entire body. The believer's continual trust in God's Word and promise is "above all" absolutely necessary to protect him or her from temptations to every sort of sin.
  5. Helmet of salvation-The helmet protected the head, always a major target in battle. This passage is speaking to those who are already saved; therefore, it does not refer to attaining salvation. Rather, since Satan seeks to destroy a believer's assurance of salvation with his weapons of doubt and discouragement, the believer must be as conscious of his or her confident status in Christ as he or she would be aware of a helmet on the head.
  6. Sword of the Spirit-A sword was the soldier's only weapon. In the same way, God's Word is the only weapon that a believer needs, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan's devices.

There we have it, friend. Now I know how, as a Christian, to dress daily. I need truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation assurance, and the Holy Spirit. If I don't have all of these, then I'm not fully dressed for a spiritual battle, am I? But there is one more thing. It's found in verse 18-prayer.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

How am I to pray? I'm to pray in the Spirit, on all occasions, and with all kinds of prayers and requests. As a prayer warrior, I should be alert and persistant, praying constantly and intensely. Like a guard keeping watch over the camp, the Christian is to be vigilant without a letdown. (Shepherd's Notes)
Also, I'm to pray without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17). Keep the lines of communication open with the Captain of our salvation. Prayer and the Word should never be separated. Parts of prayer include: confession, adoration, thanksgiving, petition, intercession, supplication. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Supplication in the Greek means a seeking, asking, a need, an entreaty, according to King James Dictionary. So I am to be persistant as I make specific requests of the Lord for all saints.

So when we feel like dropping the shield of faith, unbuckling my breastplate of righteousness, kicking off the shoes of the gospel of peace, and throwing down the sword of the Spirit, don't do it. Don't be dragged through the mud by the devil. Stand and fight. Use Scriptures in combat. Memorize it, put it on the frig. Keep it in our minds. With the Spirit's help, we can overcome and be victorious. We don't have to yield to temptations. We don't have to sin.


Show God's love.

Get dressed daily in the armor of God and His love.

Keep praying for others.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Dressed Gal in Town

Ephesians 6-Part 2
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Ephesians 6:10


Are you like me, in that you enjoy trying on new clothes? It is especially fun since I've lost 15 pounds and have maintained it for the past 4 years. Now I don't need a bigger size to cover up those sags and hangovers. I like looking okay. Since I know what colors and styles look best on me, my hunt has good results. Thanks goes to Shari Braendel's book, Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. My goal isn't to be the best dressed gal in town physically, but I would like it spiritually speaking. In the last part of this chapter, Paul tells me how I can be. Are you ready to join me in putting on something new? Here we go. (The best part is that it is free to us. Jesus already paid the price.)

Paul gives us three commands: "Be strong in the Lord," " put on the whold armor of God," and "take your stand against the devil's schemes." How can I be strong?

I. Be strong in the Lord. (verse 10)
   In the Greek, it means "be strengthened." We are to be empowered for the battle, these spiritual conflicts
   of  life. How? Our power comes from Christ's might and the Father's might.

   Ephesians 1:19-22a  states, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who
   believe, according to the working of his mighty power. Which he wrought in Christ, when he
   raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all
   principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
   world, but also in that which is to come. And has put all things under his feet."

   Our God is all powerful. Not only did He create everything, He raised my Savior from the dead. Why, He is the most powerful thing in the universe, don't you agree? Then He is more powerful than the devil. This is the one I have to watch out for, be alert to his schemes. He's the chief of darkness and lies, which wants me to stumble and fall into sin, even loose faith and turn my back on my Savior. He isn't always that roaring lion, but he can be beautiful, after all, he's a created angel.

"The power of God is available to every believer through the power of the indwelling Spirit," states Shepherds Notes. It refers us to chapter 3 verses 14-21.

How do I tap into God's power and be strengthened for these daily battles? Paul is very direct in his instructions. Read on friend.


II. Put on the whole armor of God. (verse 11)
     This means I clothe myself with the necessary equipment for battle. Paul tells us what particular items to
     put on so we are prepared for this spiritual battle. He pictures the Christian soldier being outfitted for a
     battle.  God supplies this complete armor and expects us Christians to put it on. It is in order that we may
     stand our ground and not retreat or fall in the struggle (James 4:7).
     Notice we are to "take our stand against the devil's schemes." Just as Satan wants to gain victory in
     combat, so do I.

III. Take your stand against the devil's schemes. (verse 11)  
      "The devil's wiles are attractive, deceptive, and ensnaring. Satan is a personal enemy, a great adversary,
       a  slanderous accuser, and a malignant foe. He uses clever and crafty methods to deceive," states  
       Liberty Bible Commentary.

     The word stand could be a military term used to indicate either "to take over," or it could mean "to stand
     and hold out in a critical position in a battlefield. (Shepher's Notes)

     We have to have sure footing because this is a face-to-face, hand-to-hand, foot-to-foot wrestling match,
      not a Sunday School picnic. Verse 12 tells us we aren't fighting against flesh and blood. These are
      spiritual enemies, so our armor is of a spiritual nature.

      The purpose of the armor is that we may hold our ground firmly, completely, gloriously, and victoriously.

Today, I understand my need for the armor of God. In the next lesson, we will identify each part and discuss
them. Be sure not to miss it. Read on through the rest of the chapter and you will know all about it. Please don't be tempted to skip it. I still want to be the best dressed gal in town, with my spiritual clothing, that is.


Be strong in the Lord's power, not mine.

Put on the full armor of God daily.

Stand against the devil's schemes in God's power.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Honor and Obey

Ephesians 6-Part 1
Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6:2-3


I think I can be safe in saying that we all like to be honored. Whether it is at home, at work, at church, or in our community. I'm not talking about having a television show  featuring us and our accomplishments. I am referring to being shown respect. I don't like to be" talked down to" as if I am ignorant or given an illustration like a child understands. Do you?  So I looked up the word "honor."

Holman Dictionary stated honor means esteem, respect, (high) regard, or (good) reputation. To honor is to recognize the value of someone or thing and to act accordingly. The opposite is "shame."

Certainly these verses can be tied to verse 1 where Paul tells children to obey their parents in the Lord because it is the right thing to do. But it goes farther than childhood. We continue to honor our parents, without a time frame.

John Gill said, "Honor parents in thought, word, and gesture; highly thought of and esteemed; spoken to and of very honorable in a respectful manner; to be relieved, assisted, maintained in a comfortable way when aged. Length of days is in itself a blessing, not that we can live beyond God's decree. Paul alters the language of this law in Exodus 20:12 since it only concerned the Jews. Now it suits this law and a promise of it is (extended)  to others."

I don't think this matter of honoring someone is limited to just our parents, but can be carried out to other people; not only our boss, but to our spouse, children, friends, family, and everyone. I don't think it is a thing we can "pick and choose" to whom we show honor or respect. I think it's to be shown to everyone no matter what the position held by them. Will I honor everyone that I come in contact with today?


In this last chapter, Paul gives counsel to children, parents, slaves (workers), and maters (employers).
As Paul spoke to the church at Ephesus, God is speaking to us through His Word. What does it say to me?

1. To children: Obey and honor your parents. The Greek word translated obey means to listen, attend,
                       under. It also means to submit. A child's obedience is recognized as the right thing to do.
2. To parents: Don't provoke,( irritate, stir up) your children to wrath (anger), but discipline and instruct them
                      in the ways of the Lord. In other words, teach your child the principles God has us live by,
                      memorizing the Word of God, setting a good example, praying with and for them, attending
                      public worship with them.
3. To slaves (employees): Obey your master (employer). Respect them, honor them, submit to their
                   directions and corrections. How are we to do this? Do it as though we are serving Christ. Do
                    it with a cheerful spirit, delighting in the work, as though it is a pleasure to serve. Then we bring
                    honor and glory to our Savior. We will be blessed as a result, according to verse 8.
4. To masters (employers): Ditto. Treat your employees in the same way, with honor, respect, and goodness.
                     Treat believers as brothers and sisters in Christ.

There we have it, folks. Surely we all fit in there somewhere.
Colossians 3:17 tells us "whatsoever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Colossians 3:23 says "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men."


Honor and respect others, whether they be my children, parents, employee, or employer.

Serve others as though I am serving Christ.

Do my best to honor Him with my work.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ephesians 5-Part 3
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.   Ephesians 5:21


Are you intrigued by a mystery? As a child growing up, I developed a love for mysteries. I would use my allowance to purchase mystery books to read. I would rty to solve the mystery without reading the last page. I have a whole set of Trixie Beldon books, several Nancy Drew and Hard Boys mystery books. My  daughter read them as a child and now her son now loves to read, so maybe this trait will carry on. I was excited when library day came for us at  school  so I could check out another mystery book. Paul talks about a great mystery in verse 32. Let's see what it is.

"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church," state verses 31-31.

Paul is quoting Genesis 2:24 in this passage. The couple is joined together in body, soul, and spirit and their relationship is set apart from other relationships. I've heard that the longer a couple is married, the more alike they become. I'm not sure this is too far fetched because my spouse and I can often finish each other's sentence. Anyway, Christ relates to His church bidding us to be united in spirit.
1John 3:14a says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

Paul's comparison of the marriage union with the union of Christ and His church is the mystery. (Falwell)

"With the same intimacy, love, and sharing that an ideal husband and wife share, Jesus wants to live with His people," said David Guzik.

"Wise believers, filled with the Spirit, who mutually submit to each other contribute to the unity and harmony of the enire body of Christ," Shepherd's Notes tells us.

Well, friends, our mystery is solved. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. (verse 25b) Are we to do any less?


How am I conducting my Christian walk, life? It should be with wisdom. Paul gives us some pointers in verses 15-24. Shall we see what he said?
  • Being filled with the Spirit. (verse 18) The key idea of the word filled is control. Believers are to be dominated and controlled by God's Spirit.
  • Singing praises to God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (verse 19) We sing old and new songs, praising God with them.
  • Giving thanks to God in Jesus'  name. (verse 20) We are to always have a thankful heart, no matter what the circumstance.
  • Submitting one to another in the fear of God. (verse 21) "Our of reverence for Christ" is how the NIVsays it. We are to have unity and harmony in the entire body of Christ.
  • Submitting as wives unto our own husband. (verse 22) Submit means "to be subject to." An example is when a soldier submits to their superior or slaves to their masters. The word has primarily the idea of giving up one's own right and will. (Rienecker)
  • Submitting husbands unto Christ. (verse 23) The husband is the God-appointed leader of the home. He is accountable to Christ.
  • Loving husbands for their wife. (verse 25)
  • Submitting church to Christ. (verse 23) Christ is the head of the church; the Savior of the body.
  • Respecting wives for their husband. (verse 33) We honor him above all other men.
Am I submissive in whatever capacity I live? Submissive to my husband, respecting him? Submissive to Christ? Submissive to others in love? If you are like me, I am constantly working on this area of my life.
It is hard, isn't it? Singing and thanking is the easy part.


Submit, submit, submit.

Sing to the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making the Most of It

Ephesians 5-Part 2
Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.          Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)


During the last few years, we have had a lot of ice along with a snowy winter. This resulted in the power lines being encased with ice and we had no electricity for a week at a time. So my hubby and I made the most of the situation. We burned wood in the fireplace during the day, lit the small bathroom heater to keep pipes from freezing at night, then hightailed it over to our son's house to sleep in a warm bed and toasty house, to which we are grateful.
After a few years of this being repeated, we bought a generator. Now we are ready. Funny thing is, this winter, the power didn't go out, but our water froze. Well, I always say, "Life is full of challenges. It's how you handle them that counts." (By noon, our wonderful son got our water thawed and running again.)

Everywhere we turn, we have opportunities coming at us to entise us to invest our time and energy.
(I have to guard my prayer and Bible study time, along with family time.) Distractions come and I'm filling my schedule with good things, leaving no time for God's best. Time is precious to me. Am I investing it wisely?
(Reference: Experiencing God Day-By-Day Devotional)

Liberty Bible Commentary reminds us:
Buy up the opportunity. The Greek present tense denotes "keep on buying." The price to be paid is self-denial and strenuous work. There's opportunities to serve the Lord, to witness for Christ, to be a channel of blessing, and to advance the cause of Christ. We must recognize the opportunity, appreciate it, and take hold of it for God's glory.

Am I making the most of my time and seizing my opportunities for the Lord?


In the first part of this chapter, Paul instructs us on the Christian walk. He warns us against immorality, instructs on walking in wisdom, and submission within marriage. Of course, the Christian walk is the Christian way of life. Are you ready to go walking with me?

*Walk in love. (verse 2)
  We are to be an imitator of God, so we live a life of love and forgiveness toward others.

*Walk as children of the light. (verse 8b)
   Light exposes good fruit-goodness, righteousness, and truth, which are fruit of the Spirit. (verse 9)
   Light exposes motives and what is pleasing to God. (verse 10)
   Light exposes evil activity and unfruitful works of darkness when seen in the light of Christ. (verse 12)
   Light cleanses when exposed to darkness, just as Christ can heal the sinful heart. (verse 13-14)

*Walk carefully. (verse 15-16) Wisely invest our time, witnessing for Christ. Seize opportunities, because if
   they are missed, they can't be rerunned.
   [Resource: Shepherd's Notes]

Lord, help me to not stumble and fall into sin  as I walk this journey You have for me.


Make the most of my time, not wasting it on selfish and worldly desires.

Walk (live) carefully, lovingly, and in the Spirit.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Ephesians 5-Part 1
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NAS)


Christ loves us. Sometimes we need reminding of it, don't we? I, for one, get busy with events of the day, and need reminded. When things don't go my way, I need reminded. When our water froze, I need reminded. The negative temp last week caused it to freeze in the well house. No pipes froze, thank the Lord.
So I made the best of the situation and melted snow on top of the stove to rinse dishes for the dishwasher and to flush. By noon we had water running again. It really didn't bother me. Isn't that what the pioneer women did daily in winter?

Christ loves me. Over 2,000 years ago He gave Himself for me and you, as an offering and sacrifice that pleased God. While I was yet a sinner (unsaved) He died for me. (Rom. 5:8).
Jesus is our example. We are to display the same kind of self-giving love. I am to offer a pleasing sacrifice as I give myself in love serving others. Then it is a fragrant aroma unto God.

Yes, Christ loves us. And quite a lot, wouldn't you agree? Do I return love to Him?


What is an imitator?
Webster's Dictionary says an imitator copies in manner or action; follows as a model; mimics.

That made me think of a particular bird which stayed in my yard all last summer. Whenever it sang, the whole yard sounded like it was filled with various singing birds. As I listened intensely, I could pick up on its significant sounds-it mimiced other birds around us. When I finally found who was doing this, I saw that this was a mockingbird. So I enjoyed having our state bird in my yard.

Who am I supposed to be imitating? Reread verse 1. It is God that I'm supposed to be imitating, as His child. Am I demonstrating the family likeness? Christ showed us how to live; He lived a holy, pure life in words and action.

Liberty Bible Commentary tells us:
"The distinguishing marks of the Christlike love are forgiveness (4:32) and sacrifice. Love is the Christian standard for daily conduct. The Christlike love denies self, takes up the cross daily, and follows Him (Luke 9:23).

Am I a sincere imitator of God/Christ? Something to ponder.


Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so! Hold that thought today.

Strive to imitate God/Christ.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Raggety Old Dirty Coat

Ephesians 4-Part 2
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.     Ephesians 4:23-24


Verse 7 states, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
NLT says it this way, "However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ."

This tells us that our Sovereign Lord has given each member of the body (the church) some gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit. No one has all the spiritual gifts and not all have the same gifts. They are specific graces and capacities for service. We should be content with our own gifts and not envious or look down on the gifts of others. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
These spiritual gifts are listed in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12,  and here in verse 11. These men were gifted by the Spirit for the believers in the church and for specific reasons. They are listed in verse 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

What is the purpose of the gifts of leadership?
1. It is for the perfecting of the saints.
    Not to make us sinlessly perfect, but it is to completely outfitting us to be vessels unto honor, sanctified
    and ready for the Master's use, according to 2 Timothy 2:21. So am I learning how to live a life pleasing
    the Lord?

2. It is for the work of the ministry.
    The saints are equipped to do the God's work, to serve.
    Jerry Falwell said,"The church is not a spiritual rest home, but a barracks for training soldiers of the
    cross." Did he mean that I'm not to be just a pew filler, but a worker for Jesus?

3. It is for the edifying of the body of Christ.
    Edify means to build up faith, belief, or knowledge in; to instruct. (Webster's Dictionary)
    Is my faith in Christ increasing and growing?

Am I using my spiritual gifts the Lord has given me to serve Him? These gifts are not to be confused with talents that even the unbeliever has, such as planing the piano, singing,  but only the believers have them.
The Holy Spirit gives them when we get saved.Do I know what my spiritual gifts are?


Since we have  about half a foot of snow at my house this week, I have to bundled up, putting on my raggety old dirty coat, in which to do my outside chores-watering cows and feeding the cats. Actually, I wear boots, scarf, and gloves, too. Anyway, when I come inside, I take off those things because my house is warm inside.( I wouldn't wear them anywhere else.) This is done at least a couple of times a day.

In verse 22, Paul tells us, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." 
There is a difference in what I do, taking off the outside clothing, which is only temperary until the next time I
repeat those chores, and the meaning of this scripture.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains it this way:
It means to put off definitely, deliberately, quickly, and permanently, once for all the old man as a filthy and repulsive garment. The old man is the unregenerated self, a slave to sin, and headed for judgment. It is the old "I" that has been crucified with Christ (Gal.2:20) and must be so reckoned (Rom.6:9-14). The old man is decaying day by day, like a decomposing corpse, and inevitably grows more and more corrupt. The old man is not renewed (John 3:6), he must be denounced and replaced.

Our key verses tell us to be renewed. The Greek present tense means continual and progressive renewal.

What needs renewed? The spirit of my mind needs renewing. It's my attitudes and disposition that  need changed because they determine my behavior and conduct.

How do I get renewed in the spirit of  my mind? It happens with spiritual food, reading God's Word, surrendering to what It says, surrendering to the Holy Spirit, and applying the truths all day long (and asking for forgiveness whenever I sin).

What is the second thing Paul tells us to do? He says," Put on the new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy." (NLT)          
Our old life and old nature died with Christ and He becomes our new life. There must be a break with the past. Simply put, strip off the old man or woman, and put on the new man or woman. When we get saved, born again, we are a new creation. The new person is created after God.
Righteousness refers to our new conduct toward our fellowmen. Holiness refers to our new conduct towards God. (Falwell)

I have learned that this is not easy. I start out the day doing all of this, but something happens and here comes my old sin nature popping its ugly head up again. I end up loosing my temper, saying unkind words, and sinning. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit is a constant activity, isn't it?


Strive to be a vessel of honor.

Keep growing in faith and obedience to Jesus.

Continually put off that old woman, called "sin nature."

Friday, February 4, 2011

One, Only One

Ephesians 4
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  Ephesians 4:4


Just as there is only one me and only one you, there is only one God, the true, real,  and living God. Some people worship many gods, as in Paul's day when he preached to the people at Athens in Acts 17. There were many gods worshipped by the Greeks and Romans. These were but gods that man set up as substitutes in place of worshiping Jehovah God. Paul talks about the "one's"  for believers.
In verses 4-6, we see the spiritual truths which unite all Christians. Paul has given us a sort of checklist of unifying factors that bind all believers together in "oneness" as believers in Christ. Our ultimate basis for all unity is the oneness of God. My resources include: Shepherd's Notes, Liberty Bible Commentary)
  • One Body (verse 4) The church is a living organism composed only of living members, blood-bought, born-again, Bible-believing saints. This one body has one Head and many members (1Cor.12:12-13). Christ's body includes the redeemed of all time as well as  local assemblies of believers. 
  • One Spirit (verse 4) A group of believers is united by only one spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. He connects the members with each other and with the head.
  • One Hope (verse 4) All Christians, whether Jew or Gentile, share in the call of God to His great purpose. We all look ahead to the same future-heaven.
  • One Lord (verse 5) The Lord Jesus Christ is our only Lord. As the saying goes, "If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all."
  • One Faith (verse 5) It is a personal trust and commitment of a believer to one Lord. We have only one saving experience and only one way of salvation (Rom.10:9-10).
  • One Baptism (verse 5) Emmersion of a person in the baptismal water is an outward expression of an inward experience. While  it pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, it also pictures what occurred in the believer's heart-the old person died, was buried with Christ, and rose a new person.
  • One God (verse 6) There is only one true and living God for all. His supreme, sovereign power makes Him above all. This one God and Father rules over all, works through all, and dwells in all.


Verse 1-3 say,"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

The Christian walk is a way of life. Paul tells us how our attitudes and actions should be as we are walking step by step, in other words living daily. We are to live for Christ (Phil.1:21) and  walk "even as he (Jesus) walked" (1John 2:6). Here we go:

1. Walk with all lowliness.
     I should not have pride and self-exaltation, but lowliness of mind and a modest opinion of myself. It
     means having humility in every relationship and experience. Humble people consider themselves "small,"
     but at the same time they recognize God's power and ability working in them.
2. Walk with meekness.
     Another word for meekness is gentleness. Its not a synonym for weakness. I've heard it described as
     strength under control, like a wild animal that had been tamed.
     Falwell said it like this, "This is not timidity, cowardice, or servile fear, but self-suppression for the
     purpose of serving others."
3. Walk with longsuffering.
    This means patience; having a long fuse so we aren't quick to take offense; having an unruffled temper so
    we don't retaliate, but turn the other cheek.
4. Walk forbearing one another.
    If I'm forbearing, then I put up with another, allowing them faults and failures. Hopefully they allow the
    same for me.

 It's because of the love of Christ in us that we can walk with lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering. Then in verse 3, Paul tells us to do our best to keep unity with each other by submitting to the Holy Spirit, having peace with God and others. It makes for a nicer day when there is unity and peace with others, doesn't it?

I recall Paul has said these things in his previous letters. Then I wondered why. It seems like a repeat to me.  His letters are altogether in our New Testament. He wrote specifically to a church using a letter, which someone carried and read to them in his day.


Remember that there is one, only one God, Lord, Spirit, body, faith, baptism, and hope.

Walk with lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, and forbearance.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Over Blessed with Snow

Galatians 3
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.    Galatians 3:20


Our dirt road was getting quite dusty by last weekend. So much that I was praying for rain. Forgetting that we are in the middle of winter with cold temperatures, I wasn't specific in my request. Yes, the Lord answered my prayer. It rained most of the night, but since it was below freezing, it turned to sleet. Now today it has been snowing most of the day. I would say that the Lord is definitely able to do "exceeding abundantly above what I asked. His power is seen outside my house. I should be thankful, right? Is there such a thing as "over blessed?" (God is in control.) We're looking for a foot of snow.

Well then, verse 20 can apply to other things I ask the Lord for, not just rain. So where's my faith?

"Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, still God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more," Matthew Henry tells us.

Jerry Falwell said it this way, " He has the power to do it over superabundantly, overwhelmingly, over and above, more than enough. Our highest expectations are not beyond God's power to grant."


Paul prays in verse 17 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.

Christ abides in our hearts through faith.
I am to be rooted like a tree. We have several tall old oak trees that were uprooted by a strong storm four years ago. Their roots a extraordinarily big. Yet, these trees fell over and their roots did not hold them in the ground that time.
Grounded in Greek is "founder," "having your foundations resting on." It's like the foundation of a building holding it up.
I am to be rooted and grounded in Christ's love. He is to have first place in my heart. He doesn't want to be an occasional visitor or a guest. He's the owner and lives here.


Remember that God can do exceeding abundantly above all I ask or think. Trust Him to do it.

Stay rooted and grounded in Christ's love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm Rich!

Ephesians 2
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7


I'm rich! I didn't win a lottery (never will play it) nor did I win a sweepstake. I'm rich because my Father is rich. Oh, I'm not talking about my earthly father. He was an ordinary, hard working man, a good provider for his family, and left us children  a small inheritance. You would not recognize his name if I told you. He was not one of the top wealthiest men in our country. No, I'm talking about my heavenly Father, God. He is the one who is rich and He has shared His wealth with you and me.

Paul touched on it in verse 4-God is so rich in mercy and love. We were spiritually dead in our sins; God saw our penitent heart, and quickened us together with Christ; He saw we were in need of a new birth (spiritually), which He provided in Christ. That's why He made us alive with Christ (verse 5).

Holman Dictionary defines quicken as living, alive, make alive.

Wait a minute, it gets better. God raised Christ in a physical resurrection and us in a past spiritual resurrection (at the time of our salvation). Therefore, we have a future physical resurrection coming for us who are living at the time of the Rapture.  As icing on the cake, we will sit with Jesus in heaven.
Also, according to Jerry Falwell, "God has set us down alongside of Christ in the heavenly realms and relations. He dealt with us in Christ and sees us in Christ."

Can it get any better than this? It does. Look at verse 7. 
NLT  says, "So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus."

Verse 8 talks about the free gift available-our slavation by the gift of grace. Even our faith is a gift. There is no accomplishment of man in any way. Salvation  isn't by works, so that we could boast.
So you agree that I'm rich and so are you as a Christian?


"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." verse 10

We are God's workmanship, which is poiema  in Greek, meaning masterpiece. (from Liberty Bible Commentary)  We are His handiwork.

Shepherd's Notes says it like this:
 God saves us for a purpose. We are a work of art God is in the process of designing. We are being saved to do good works.  This has been God's plan for us from the beginning, and it's something that begins now.
Paul says " that we should walk in them." God's transforming grace will increasingly result in our doing works that are pleaseing to Him as a part of our lives every day.

Am I walking in such a way that Christ through me does good works?


Act like I have a free gift of salvation because of God's mercy and love.

Allow Him to work in me, creating a masterpiece, a work of art.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Ephesians 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.   Ephesians 1:3


As many of you know, I have changed my wardrobe following Shari Braendel's suggestions in her book, Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Along with the change of the colors of my clothing came a change in my accessories. Looking in my jewelry holder, I found myself lacking in this area, since I only had small chain necklaces, not large beaded ones. Now I sure didn't have the money to buy new necklaces and bracelets after buying several new sweaters, etc. Then I recalled that I had saved all my mother's jewelry.  (smile) It was in an old cigar box under the bed, mind you. Of course I had to check out the possibilities. It was worth a shot. Sure enough, when I opened the dust covered box, I found a treasure. There were large beaded necklaces of various colors. Why, the colors even matched my new clothing colors. You talk about excited, I was. (Also, I found a couple of zip-lock bags full, and my old Sarah Coventry jewelry, which I once sold.) I was like a child in a candy store. I started pulling out the necklaces, matching them with the clothing, trying them on. Finally, the accepted ones were placed in my cherry armoire. Wow, what a blessing! And they were all free, there all the time, just waiting to be found.
Folks, there are "treasures" , or spiritual blessings, in God's Word, waiting for His people (we are His treasures) to find them. Here are a few which I found in chapter 1.

Our Blessings in Christ from God the Father:
  • blessed us with all spiritual blessings (verse 3)
  • chose us before the foundation of the world (verse 4) [To choose means to call out, select.]
  • adopted us as His children  through His predestination (verse 5) 
  • accepted us into His beloved family (verse 6)
  • redeemed us through Jesus' blood (verse 7)
  • forgiven us of our sins (verse 7) [Forgiveness means to send forth, send away.]
  • revealed God's will to us by Christ (verses 8-10) [Salvation by grace and faith in Christ]
  • made us an inheritance through Christ (verses 11-12)
  • sealed us with the Holy Spirit (verses 13-14) [Seals indicated ownership and correctness of contents.]
  • gave us a deposit of the Holy Spirit (verse 14) [Earnest money is partial payment on a total obligation.]
   (Resource: Shepherd's Notes)

These are all spiritual blessings which our loving Heavenly Father has given us through Christ Jesus His Son.
Wow! That is all I can say.


We read Paul's prayer for his readers in verses 16-19:
"Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.

Like Paul, I  pray for you, my readers:
  • giving thanks for you (verse 16)
  • asking the Father to give you wisdom and a revelation of Him (verse 17)
  • asking Him to enlighten the eyes of your heart (verse 18)
  • asking Him to give you knowledge of the hope of His calling (verse 18)
  • asking Him to show you the riches of the glory of His inheritance (verse 18)
  • asking Him to show you what is the exceeding greatness of His power (verse 19)
Father, please grant all these blessings upon everyone who reads this blog, in the past, present, and future; especially those who are faithful readers. It is written for Your glory, for the encouragement of the saints, and to bring words of salvation to the lost. In Jesus name I pray. Amen


Daily thank the Lord for all His blessings upon me.

Pray for others daily.