Thursday, March 31, 2011

Uprooted Roots

Colossians 2-Part 2
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7


Verse 5 says, "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ."

I remember the old saying,"I'll be with you in spirit." It meant that a person may not be present physically, but they would be thinking of this one. Paul was obviously not with the Colossians because he was under house arest in Rome, but his thoughts were upon the church. That's why he was writing this letter.
Paul is rejoicing to see their "good discipline and stability of their faith in Christ." NAS says it that way.

Stedfastness, in Greek, means the firm (or solid) foundation. What's the basic foundation of the church? It is faith in Christ. Stereoma is the Greek word which is a military term meaning solidity. Every man was in his place. There was a solid front.

Paul is rejoicing the the belivers' order, which is their orderly walk and conversation. The Greek word taxis,
for order, indicates an orderly array of disciplined soldiers. The Colossians' ranks had not been broken yet; but the Gnostics were attacking, and Paul was concerned for them.( Liberty Bible Commentary)


Four years ago we had a "straight high wind," the official description, come over our farm. We considered it a tornado.Anyway, we were gone at the time of this occurance, visiting our daughter's family in Rhode Island, so we didn't actually see it. However, we saw the evidence. Our barn and old chicken houses were brought down. Huge old oak trees were uprooted and lying over. Tin from the roofs was scattered in the fields.  I had never seen how montrous roots can be. Yet their strength could not match the power of God.
(By the way, I am grateful that our house is still standing. God's protective hand was upon it.) More trees were left standing than uprooted. Faith can be like these trees-deep and strong in Jesus or shallow and weak. Which describes my faith? Do the storms of life topel me over or do I stand firm?

In our key verses, Paul tells the Colossians to walk in Christ Jesus the Lord. What is the Christian walk to be like?
* live accordingly and keep on walking,
* rooted in communion with Christ, (See Ephesians 3:17) firmly anchored in Him,
* built up, which is a continual process,
* stablished in faith, which is firm, stable,
* abounding, filled,  with thanksgiving.
Does my walk match my talk?


Keep my faith in Christ.

Be rooted and grounded in the Word.

In everything give thanks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For What are You Looking?

Colossians 2-Part 1
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Colossians 2:3


All last week my granddaughter and I looked all over the house for her Strawberry Shortcake doll. It is only 6 inches tall, but a big thing to this 3 year old. She has houses for it to play in. Of course there are other dolls, but this one was "the one" needed. Later, she was found under the couch. Now why do I not go there first when looking for lost treasures?
Paul tells us in Jesus we have hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We shouldn't look anywhere else for life's treasures. He is our storehouse, our thesaurus. These treasures are available to all believers.
Do I look to Jesus for my treasures in life? Do I go to Him in prayer and His Word first?


In verse 2, Paul is praying for believers at Colosse, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."

What's in his prayers?
-comforted, strengthened, encouraged  hearts
-love knitting them together
-rich in full assurance of understanding, confidence and deep convictions in Christ
-personal knowledge of salvation in Christ.

What a prayer. Do I pray for believers in such a way?


Seek Jesus for my treasures in life.

Pay for other believers' encouragement and love to increase.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Colossians 1-Part 6
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   Colossians 1:27


For years I enjoyed reading mystery books. Sometimes I would think I had the mystery solved and peek in the last chapter to see if I was right. Then I would go back and read the details. Paul mentions the mystery, a secret kept for centuries and generations past and from the Gentiles (verse 26).  Let's find out what it was.

NLT says verse 27 this way: For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are revealed to God's people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you accurance of sharing his glory."

So "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is the answer to  the mystery. The false teachers were trying to pull the Colossian believers away from the gospel by using the concept of mystery. Aren't we humans attracted to mysteries? Especially when we think that we're among the chosen few to understand it. Paul is trying to keep this church on track.

In the Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, mystery means a secret, of God's purpose to bless the Gentiles also with salvation through Christ.

"Christ is the answer: not the law, not circumcision, not ceremony, not philosophy, not science, not social reform," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

There we are, mystery solved. I am so glad that God revealed His mystery of salvation in Christ through faith to us Gentiles. The question is, "What difference does the presence of Jesus make in my life?" Do I allow Him to live His life through me?
Now that the mystery is solved, what will I do with it? Will I share it with others or keep it a secret?


Verse 25 says, "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God."

In Liberty Bible Commentary, we read:
The Greek word for dispensation is oikonomia, which is divine ordering, administration, stewardship, trusteeship. This was Paul' high privilege and sacred trust. He was a steward in God's economy; a trustee in God's household; and an administrator of God's business. Paul was on business for the King.

Paul's purpose was God's purpose and Paul's message was God's Word. Isn't that how it should be for us?
Paul saw himself as a servant of the King and His church. So am I. I like that phrase,"on business for the King."


Share the mystery, the secret-salvation is in Christ only.

Be on business for the King.

Watch out, today is April Fools Day!  :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Moved Away

Colossians 1-Part 5
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.    Colosssian 1:24   NLT


Did I read that right-Paul was glad that he suffered? Now that takes a mature Christian to say such a thing. Of course Paul was one.

The King James Version uses the word sufferings, which means externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction, according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

No one has ever told me that their affliction, suffering was for my good. Now that would be love to the nth degree. This was what Paul was telling the Colossians. He was in chains and in prison for their benefit, on their behalf, for their advantage. He was a servant and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's ministry cost him dearly, but so did our Savior's.

Isaiah 53:3 says, "He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

In the devotional book by the Blackabys, Experiencing God Day-By-Day, they say:

If Christ is your model for ministry, you cannot avoid going to the cross for the sake of others. Salvation comes with a great price, and if we are going to "take up our cross" and follow Jesus, then we must be prepared to go with Him to the place of suffering if that's what it takes to bring salvation to those around us.

Am we experiencing hardships because of our love for our Savior? Do we wonder if the price we pay is  too great? How can we when we look at the price God paid in order to provide our salvation? Guilty.

Now I see-Paul was willing to go through whatever so others would come to know Christ and experience Him. Is less acceptable by me?


How many times have I moved? I have counted 19 times in my 38 years of marriage, if I didn't forget any.
It's hard to move away from family, friends, churches. You leave people that you love and care about for the furtherance of the gospel. Paul is talking about a different moving. He's talking about not moving away from the hope these people have in the gospel.

Verse 23 says, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."

What is Paul telling the Colossians and us?
First, continue in faith, grounded and settled.
    Grounded means to make stable, establish of the soul.
    Settled means firm, immovable, steadfast (those who are fixed in purpose).

Second, be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
    Moved means to move from a place, to move away from the hope which one holds, on which one rests.
[Resource: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament]

What hope does the gospel give us? It gives the hope of righteousness (Gal.5:5); the hope of His calling
(Eph. 1:18); the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7); the living hope (1 Peter 1:3-4); and the hope that we have
(Hebrews 6:19). Liberty Bible Commentary

When I taught youth in Bible study classes, I often would ask them, "What would it take for you to loose your faith in Jesus? To get you to quit serving Jesus?"  That is what the devil tries to get the Christians to do, isn't it?


Suffer whatever the Lord has planned for me to suffer for His glory and my good.

Be grounded and settled in my faith.

Keep hoping.
*Please pray for my family. My Aunt Dena passed away yesterday. She and Uncle Bud have 4 children and many grandchildren. It was a long illness, but her pain is gone and she's set free now to a better life with Jesus. It's been 13 years since death came to my family, with Mom in 1997. Thanks, friends. Linda

Friday, March 25, 2011


Colossians 1-Part 4 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.       Colossians 1:17


When you hear the word "things" what do you think of? I think of material possessions around the house. They just sit there until I move them. They have no life in them. Of course, there are things outside, too. They don't move either. Especially when I want to mow the grass and things like the water hose are in my way and I have to mow around them. Things-they are everywhere. We have names for them. They are called nouns.

Webster's Dictionary defines a thing as a material object without life; a matter, affair, fact, circumstance, action, deed, etc.; a living being.

What an extended definition. I always though a thing was a thing, an object. I use the word loosely whenever I can't think of the word I'm looking for. Enough about things. Shall we get on with the Word?

Who is Christ? Paul is telling us about His nature. Here's what he said.

Christ is:
*the image of invisible God-verse 15
  (An image is a likeness. Eikon is the Greek word. it refers to the image on a coin or the manifestation of
   God fully revealed in Jesus.)
*first born of every creature-verse 15
  (The Greek word is prototokos, which is He who came into being
   through God prior to the entire universe of created beings; supremacy in rank.)
*the One who created all things-verse 16
*before all things-verse 17
*the One by whom all things consist-verse 17
*the Head of the church-verse 18
*firstborn from the dead-verse 18
   (Prince of Life-Acts 3:15)
*the One who has preeminence in all things-verse 18
   (First place, in a class of His own.)
*the One in whom all fulness dwells in Him-verse 19
   (All divine nature in all its fullness is in Him. Eph.1:23)

Christ is the manifestation of God, the Sovereign Creator, and the Head of the church.

[Resources: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament; Liberty Bible Commentary;
                   David Guzik's Bible Commentary]

Did you know?
*Saturn's rings are 500,000 miles in circumference, but only a foot thick.
*The star Antares is 60,000 times greater than our sun. If the sun were the size of a softball, the star Antares
   would be the size of a house.
*If the sun were the size of a beachball, and put on top of the Empire State Building, the nearest group of
   stars would be as far away as Australia is to the Empire State Building.
*The earth travels around the sun about 8 times the speed of a bullet fired from a gun.
*A single human chromosome contains 20 billion bits of information. If written in ordinary boods and
   ordinary language, it woul take about 4,000 volumes.
[Resource: David Guzik's Bible Commentary]

How amazing is that? Everything was planned, not a coincidence.


Verse 22 says, "In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."

Paul is talking about the work that  Christ by dying on the cross for us.
"There was actual atonement; not through His birth, His baptism, His miracles, His teaching; but through His death (Heb. 9:22), states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Atonement is an agreement, a reconciliation for sin, according to King James Bible Dictionary.

God has agreed to accept us because we trust in Jesus' death and resurrection, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He has reconciled us, restored our union, to God because of Jesus' shed blood on the cross.(verse 20). Why did He do this? So Jesus could:
1. present us holy (concecrated, dedicated, and set apart for God. Christ's righteousness becomes our
2. present us unblameable (without flaw, free from defects, without blemish, and stainless in character and
3. present us unreprovable (no charge and no accusation either here or hereafter).

All of this is possible because of the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. How amazing! This happened, not by anything I did. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin hath left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow, as the old hymn goes. Praise the Lord!!!!!!


Make Christ first place in my life today.

Prace and thank Him daily for all He has done for me.

Believe in the Diety of Christ; that He is Supreme Creator; that He is Head of the church.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Am I Fit?

Colossians 1-Part 3
For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.         Colossians 1:13-14  NAS


In verse 12, Paul is "Giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."

Every Christian has been made fit, adequate, qualified, competent and sufficient. There are no degrees of fitness. Fitness depends on privilege and position, not character or experience. The Greek points to the instantaneous act of conversion, not a progressive process. It is a present reality.
(Liberty Bible Commentary)

I want to be a fit person. I usually walk on the treadmill 1 1/2 to 2 miles five times a week. Who's to say I am a fit person, physically? I could probably endure 5 miles of walking at a time, but not running.  I suppose I am the only one that is qualified to say that I'm fit. I know if my body is fit or not. So I looked it up.

Fit means be of the right shape, size; proper, suitable; in top position, according to Webster's Dictionary.

Only I know my proper size that is suitable for my body to function at its highest, best capacity. Right? But charts and experts give their opinions on the subject.
God is the one who makes me fit spiritually. It's because of Jesus dying on the cross in my place to pay for my sins. He is what makes me fit spiritually to meet God's standard of holiness. I wear the breastplate of righteousness provided by Jesus, clothed in the blood of the Lamb,  when I enter the throne room of the Father. He sees Jesus' blood, not my sins.

What else has Jesus done? Verse 13 tells us-God delivered me from the power of darkness. I was held captive by Satan in my sin. Then God translated, transferred, me from the devil's dominion to Christ's control. I am now a citizen in the realm of light (1Peter 2:9). It can't get any better, or can it?
Am I fit for heaven?


"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins," says verse 14.

"We have redemption because of our vital union with Christ. Redemption means deliverance, ransom, release, emancipation. Redemption speaks of our release on the payment of a ransom." (Liberty Bible Commentary)

So I was held captive without release until I reached out for the payment of my ransom, which was paid by Jesus Christ-salvation. It came through His blood and was a result of the forgiveness of my sins. It was paid for me, I didn't work for it, nor earn it. Salvation is a free gift to us, but it cost Jesus His life.

"Forgiveness is remission, the sending away and removal of our sins." (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Praise the Lord, it did get better! How about you? Jesus has paid the ransom for you. Have you accepted His blood as the payment for your sins, too?


Am I fit for heaven?

Give thanks for the ransom He paid to purchase my salvation.

Give thanks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring is Here!

Colossians 1-Part 2
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.         Colossians 1:4-5


Look around. One might think spring is here now. The redbud trees and jonquils are blooming. The grass is green and growing. The robins are back and singing. The temps are up. Yeah, spring is here. Of course there will be another freeze, since it is early. Spring means spring fever as opposed to cabin fever. Do we have a spring in our step yet? Is love in the air? I love spring, well I enjoy it is a better way to put it. How about you? Is it spring where you live?

Paul's thanksgiving embraces three growing aspects of the Colossian church-their faith, love, and hope.
Although Paul had never visited this church, he heard about their faith and the love they had for the brethren.
Do people hear about my faith? Do others talk about how great a faith I have? Do they talk about my love for others or do they talk about something else concerning me?

Agape love (God's kind) is sacrificial and indiscriminate. It represents Jesus to the world and perfects the body of Christ. Christian love is not simply an emotion that arises because of the character of the one loved. It is a relationship of self-giving that results from God's activity in Christ. The source of Christian love is God
(Rom. 5:8), and the believer's response of faith makes love a human possibility (Rom. 5:5).
Hope is in the heart as they anticipate future blessing-heaven.
[Resource: Shepherd's Notes]

Edgar Young Mullins wrote in Studies in Colossians:
Love springs up when faith is born in the heart. Love cannot be hermetically sealed up and disjoined from faith and hope. When hope grows bright, love gains an added intensity.

I am reminded of the verse, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NAS), "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

The faith of the Colossians was in Christ. Love is the evidence of faith. Love is the characteristic mark of Christianity; it is not superficial friendliness. These saints loved everyone of whatever position or disposition. They were not indifferent to the needs of others, nor disapproving of the deeds of others, not critical of the motives of others. Because of hope they had love. Their hope was stored up like a treasure in heaven. Knowledge of this truth came through hearing of the Word. Faith rests in the past; love lives in the present; hope looks toward the future (1John 3:1-3). Liberty Bible Commentary

Do I have faith, hope, and love? Is it centered around Jesus or money and things?


Let's look back at the last of verse 3, "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you."

Paul said he was praying always for the Colossian believers (Ephesians 6:18). Paul and his mission team do not cease to pray for them, according to verse 9 of Colossians 1.

How do they pray for these believers? They prayed that the Colossian Christians would be:
1. filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (God's plan for them)
2. walk (live their life) worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
3. fruitful in every good work
4. increase in the knowledge of God (spiritual growth)
5. strengthened with all might (spiritual power from God)
6. given patience (forbearance, endurance), long-suffering (self-restraint), and joyfulness
7. always thanking the Father
8. made to share the inheritance (of grace and heaven).

What a prayer! I sure would like to have others praying for me in that manner. Wouldn't you?
I should pray for others in that same way- that they would find God's will for their life, do it, be pleasing to God with it, grow in faith, patience, self control, joy, and be thankful.  Lord, please bless my readers, my family, my church, my friends in this way.


Grow more in faith, hope, and love with Jesus.

Pray more specific for others.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Loaded Hamburgers

Colossians 1-Part 1
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
Colossians 1:3


This is one of the four letters which Paul wrote to churches during his first Roman imprisonment. It was written about the same time as Philippians and Philemon, around 60-61 A.D. Five men, besides Timothy, were with Paul-Artistarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas, which are mentioned in the last chapter and elsewhere in scriptures. Letters were often carried by personal messengers. Tychicus and Onesimus delivered this letter to the church at Colosse.
Paul's major teaching centered on the question, Who is Jesus Christ? Christ is both the Creator and Reconciler (1:15-23). He is fully devine and fully human.
The theme of this letter centers on the supremacy of Christ. Paul emphasizes that Christ was sufficient for the total Christian life from beginning to end. Only He is worthy of worship and obedience, for the fulness of God is in Him and in Him alone (1:15-20).

Paul's purpose for writing the letter was to address false teachings in the church. Heresy threatened the believers at Colosse-Gnosticism.(pronounced with a silent G) It comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis. It was a cult which claimed to  possessed a special, secret knowledge not available to simple Christians. Only through their secret knowledge could a person enter into the full experience of spiritual reality.  [Resource: Shepherd's Notes]  Sounds like some cults we have today, doesn't it?
Gnostics saw everything categorized under two principles-good, which was associated with spiritual-God is good, and evil-materialism. [Resource: Illustrated Bible Handbook by Lawrence O. Richards] We'll get into this later on.

The city of Colosse was part of the Roman province of Asia (part of modern Turkey), about 100 miles east of Ephesus in the region of the seven churches of Revelation 1-3. The city lay along the Lycus River. The Lycus Valley narrowed at Colosse to a width of about two miles, and Mt. Cadmus rose 8,000 feet above the city. Black wool and dyes were important products. This city was situated at the junction of trade routes, but later the main road was rerouted through Laodicias, which resulted in its decline economy.
Colosse's population was mainly Gentile, with a large Jewish settlement dating back to the days of Antiochus the Great. This influenced the church with heresy plaguing it with Jewish legalism and pagan mysticism.
The church at Colosse began during Paul's three-year ministry at Ephesus. However, he was not the founder, but Epaphras, who was apparently saved during a visit to Ephesus, probably starte the church when he returned home. [Resource: The MacArthur Bible Handbook]

I think I have a better understanding as we begin this book in the New Testament.


There is so much to be thankful for, isn't here? Oh, I'm not talking about the generic, basic things, such a family, house, jobs, friends, etc. I'm talking about being thankful in every situation, problem, and for all things.
I had to confess to the Lord the other day, while sitting at McD's with hubby and granddaughter, I was not thankful for a plain hamburger. I wanted one with mustard, lettuce, and tomato on it, thank you very much.
(Due to health issues at the present time, it was forbidden fruit.) And don't forget the pickle, too. One that was loaded. Isn't that us? I can be appreciative for the Big Mac's and loaded Quarter Pounders, but not thankful for just the plain hamburgers of life. The everyday things our heavenly Father provides that we take for granted. Things like dandelions in the yard, budding trees, fresh water, a hug from a loved one, an email from a family member, eyes to see, legs that walk, a voice to speak. Then I'm convicted when I think of my sister inlaw's dad who had cancer surgery in the mouth and can't chew food yet. Shame on me! It's all a matter of perspective, where I'm walking.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

The Greek word for thanks is eucharisteo. It's pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh'o. I means to be grateful, to express gratitude; especially to say grace at a meal: give thanks, thank, thankful.

I picked up a book the other day at our Dayspring outlet that is written by Ann Voskamp entitled "One Thousand Gifts." Ann is making a list of 1,000 gifts that God has given to her and giving thanks for them as she does this. Little things and big things.
Ann says, "I invite thanks. For this is His will, thanks the one thing He asks to be done in everything and always and only because He knows what precedes the miracle. Give is a verb, something that we do. God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received. I am blessed. I can bless."

This is a lady who has six children, husband,and lives on a farm. Busy, but not too busy to be grateful for all things. Small and big things. Thank You Lord for the plain hamburgers in my life. I know You provide them. It's what You deem best for me. As I trust You, there will be loaded hamburgers one of these days.
"Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions," says Ps. 119:18 (NLT).
Yes, open my thankful eyes so I can see all You provide for me. Help me be thankful, in the easy and hard times. I'm writing my list of 1,000 things I'm grateful for. Will you join me?
Read Ps. 136-His mercy endures forever. NLT says His faithful love endures for forever.


In every thing give thanks.

Jesus, thanks for plain hamburgers and loaded hamburgers.

Thank You for Your gifts-thousands of them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Icing on the Cake

218.  "Icing on the Cake"                     March 21, 2011

Philippians 4-Part 9
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen      Philippians 4:23


The day after her third birthday, I was keeping my granddaughter. She helped me stir up a strawberry cake, which included licking the spatula. You know she had the batter all over her face and I had to take a picture. Anyway, after the cake baked and cooled, we put icing on top. After all, what is cake without the sweet icing? Just plain cake. So we topped the cake with pink frosting and she put pastel colored marshmellows on it. Of course, we had to have a piece for snacktime. The last four verses of Philippians is a sort of benediction, the icing on the cake so to speak.

Paul's joy and love continues as he wraps up his letter. First, he wants to glorify God our Father. Next, he sends a salute, which was shown by embrassing and kissing. It was sent to all the saints, Christians, believers in Christ, that were in the church. Another thing, this salute, greeting, was from children of God and servants in Caesar's household who were converted. Last, Paul sends the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Philippian church. He was putting icing on the cake, so to speak.
Are my words like icing on the cake for people? Are they sweet like icing?


May I take this time to say thank you, friend, for walking with me through the book of Philippians. I have learned much about joy, which is much needed in my life. Paul mentioned it four times and rejoice nine times. Joy means gladness, enjoyment, to celebrate. He found joy in Jesus.
Also, Paul learned to be content. Content means rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition. He was content in Christ; he found his contentment in Christ.
There are  many wonderful verses that are gold nuggets in my Bible. Here are a few:

*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. (1:6)
*For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (1:21)
*Let nothing be done through stife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
  themselves. (2:3)
*Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (2:50
*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. 
*Do all things without murmurings and disputings. (2:14)
*But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, Yea doubtless, and I count all things but
  loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all
  things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (3:7-8)
*That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of is sufferings, being made
  conformable unto his death. (3:10)
*Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
  behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the
  high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (3:13-14)
*Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the
   working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (3:21)
*Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord
  is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
  requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep
  your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (4:4-7)
*Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
  whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be
  any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (4:8)
*Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, that whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed
  both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which
  strengtheneth me. (4:11-13)
*But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (4:19)

What a letter! What encouragement and love.


Have joy in Jesus and contentment in Christ.

Let Him be my strength and supply.

Be thankful in all situations.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Wellhouse Full

Philippians 4-Part 8
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19


The summers of my growing up years were spent helping Mom pick, clean, and prepare food for freezing and canning. We had green beans, corn, tomato juice, peaches, cherries, chicken, blackberry, cherry, and grape jelly, sweet and dill pickles, relish, pickled okra, etc. in jars, as pretty as can be, sitting on the shelf in the wellhouse. (I'm sure there were other veggies I don't recall.) You see, the wellhouse was a cool, dry place where the pump for our water was located. Quite often I was sent out to the wellhouse to fetch something for supper. Mmmm. It sure tasted good, too. Our family had no worries about winter coming. The wellhouse was full. Our needs were going to be met. The wellhouse was always fully stocked and ready. Oh how I miss those days.

Anyway, Paul gave us a promise of God supplying our need, all of our need. The measure of God's supply-unlimited, has no lack. This promise was for the Philippians, those who surrendered their finances and material possessions to God's service and who  knew how to give with the right heart. Isn't it also for me, as a believer?

Jesus said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

Same measure-sounds like the sow/ reap situation.
God promises to meet all our needs, not our wishes, wants, or whims. Does that include our physical, mental, social, economic, spiritual, and eternal needs?  Yes. Paul didn't say can, maybe, or if, but he said shall.

"God's supply is infinite, abundant, inexhaustible, limitless, boundless. God many times uses the agencies of men to meet our needs," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Henry and Richard Blackaby's devotional, Experiencing God Day-By-Day says:
Every one of us faces needs in our lives; at times, they are beyond our own means. It is at these times that God wants to draw from His unlimited storehouse to meet our need as only He can. (emphasis added)
Every resource of God is available to any child of God who will believe Him. No one has ever exhausted God's supply nor suffered a shortfall when trusting in Him.

How rich is my heavenly Father? He owns it all, brothers and sisters. All.
Does my life have evidence of an unwavering belief that God will do what He said?


In verse 18, it says, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an ordor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."

The Philippians' stewardship was evidence of their spiritual condition.

"One can give without loving,  but he cannot love without giving. Love takes the stew out of stewardship. The love gift pleased God, relieved Paul, and enriched the Philippians. Their generosity was like a sweet fragrance," says Liberty Bible Commentary.

" Paul describes the gift of the Philippians in terms which remind us of sacrifices in the Old Testament (Gen.8:21, Exodus 29:18,29:25, 29:41). Our giving to God's work is similar to Old Testament sacrifices, which also cost the person bringing the sacrifice a lot. Bulls and rams didn't come cheaply in that day," states David Guzik.

I want my sacrifices, gifts, offerings to have a sweet-smelling aroma, to be acceptable and well pleasing to God. Don't you? What pleases God?

1 Samuel 15:22b-to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Romans 12:11-that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.
Ephesians 5:2-And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an
                       offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.
Hebrews 13:15-16-By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is
                               the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Matthew 16:24-Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny
                          himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

What pleases God is obedience, offering our bodies and lives to His service, praising God and giving thanks to Him. The tithe is only our reasonable service. (Let me know if you have found others.)


Trust God for my needs.

Please God with my offerings of praise, thanksgiving, and life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Philippians 4-Part 7
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Not withstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.  
 Philippians 4:13-14


Have you had anyone help you in your time of need or time of trouble? There is no way to repay the giver, because it was their love that they gave, not the money or things. While both my hubby and I were in college, preparing for the ministry, a lady in our home church annonimously sent money  to help us. It was always appreciated and needed. We had two preschoolers to support during that time, so the gift was often used for milk and food. It always came just at our time of need. Paul felt grateful to the Philippians for their monitary gift. This was the only church to send money to support the missionary.

Verse 14 of The New Testament by Charles Williams, says it this way: "But you did me a kindness to share my sorrow."
NAS says: "Nevertheless, you have done will to share with me in my affliction."

Paul is commending the Philippians for their loving care in relieving his sufferings. They became fellow partakers in common with Paul in the furtherance of the gospel. His needs were real and his appreciation was sincere. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Do I look for ways to share in someones affliction, sorrow, need? Am I obedient when Jesus whispers to me to "give" to another?
(Matthew 25 has the parable of the master who went away, leaving talents with his servants. Two of the servants multiply the talents (money) and they are commended for a job well done.) I want to be a faithful servant to whom Jesus says "Well done."


Since I have grown older, there are times when I can't open a new jar that's sealed. So I take it to my strong hubby for help. Of course, he opens it with  ease and a smile. I have come to realize that the strength in my hands has deminished. I will always need help with my physical limitations. You know, physical is not the only area that I need strengthened in. Other areas of my life are weak, so I need Christ's strength. Can I endure during trials and temptations that come my way? Did Paul have any weakness, needing His strength, too? Paul, needed help?

"Verse 13 is often taken out of context and used to reinforce a "super-Christian" mentality, instead of seeing that the strength of Christ in Paul's life was manifest in his ability to be content when he did suffer need,"
according to David Guzik.

John 15:5 says, "for without Me (Jesus) you can do nothing."
With Jesus I can do all things, but without Him I can't do anything. So Paul was talking about the power of Christ giving him strength to be content. That's because his contentment was in Christ, which we learned yesterday.

In Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, strengtheneth means to make strong, endure with strength, strengthen.

Matthew Henry said strengtheneth was in present tense. That means it is a present and continued act or as if to say, "Through Christ, who is strengthening me, and does continually strengthen me; it is by His constant and renewed strength I am enabled to act in every thing; I wholly depend upon Him for all my spiritual power."
Here are some helpful verses:
Eph. 6:10-Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
2 Tim. 2:1-Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 3:16-Be strenthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.

There we have it. Christ gives contentment. He is continually making me strong in the area of contentment. I have to call on Christ and stay focused on Him. Otherwise, in my strength, I turn to other things to be my contentment. Does that make sense?
Content means rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition, satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, happiness. All I do is surrender to Christ.


Do everything well done.

Turn to Christ for strength to be content.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Content and Overflowing

Philippians 4-Part 6
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 
 Philippians 4:11-12


Ah, supper is over, dishes are done, laundry put away, all is quiet. Time to relax from the day of work and prop my feet up, read or watch tv with a glass of ice tea or Dr. Pepper. Content. Then I wake up. Those times were rare when the baby birds (kids) were home and growing up. Maybe when they were asleep.
Was I content with life? No. There was always a problem at home, a problem at work, a problem at church, and the list goes on. Always something needed to be done or solved. You see, back then, my contentment or lack of, came from my circumstances, not within. It came from things, not Jesus.
Grass is always greener on the other side for the cow, so she pokes her head through the fence to eat there instead of being content with grass in the field. When my focus gets on things and not Jesus, I tend to be envious, lusting, jealous. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the longings of my heart. This I have learned through the years of living and experience.

Content. How was Paul able to be content? He was in chains, in prison, in want and in hunger.
He learned through experiences, long and hard ones. Paul's joy was not dependent on outward circumstances, but on the indwelling Christ. Paul's joy bubbled from within, not from without. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
Contentment is learned, not natural to mankind. (David Guzik)
Now I know I can get some contentment, even though it doesn't come natural to me.  Are you with me? Keep reading, friend.

What is content?
King James Dictionary defines content as quiet, not disturbed, having a mind at peace, satisfied; rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.

Rest of mind in the present condition. Well, I suppose that means I need to accept what's going on in my life right now. Hummm.

Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic since 1967, says this:
The apostle Paul says that he has learned the secret of remaining content despite either plenty or poverty. What was the secret Paul had learned? He gave it away in his next beath when he said that he was ready for anything through the strength of the One who lived inside him. Contentment is found not in circumstances. Contentment is found in a Person, the Lord Jesus.

Joni is a gal who has found contentment while living in a wheelchair all her adult life. She uses it to minister to others and to share the Lord. It shames me. I can walk and use my hands, but am I content?

David Ring is an evangelist whose speech is hard to understand and has a hard time walking, yet witnesses for his Lord Jesus. He asks his crowd of listeners, "I have celebral palsy. What's your excuss?" Again I am shamed. I can speak clearly, what is my excuss for not? He found contentment in spite of his body's limitations. Do I?

"Paul was totally dependent upon God. His satisfaction and sufficiency were in Christ (2Cor.12:9)," states Liberty Bible Commentary.
Am I totally dependent, satisfied in Christ? Is my sufficiency from Him?
What does the Scripture say about being content?

Luke 3:14b states,"Be content with your wages."
1 Timothy 6:8 tells us, "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
Hebrews 13:5b reminds us, "Be content with such things as ye have."
1 Timothy 6:6 instructs us, But godliness with contentment is great gain."

There's the answers I found, folks. Contentment is found in Christ. I'm to be content, rest my mind, with  my wages, food, clothes, things, circumstances,  and strive for godliness. Whew! That calls for a tall glass of tea, but my special diet says no, so water will do. but you go ahead and have one. Content in Christ.


There have only been a few times in my life, thank the Lord, that I have been hungry and no food was available. I remember the helpless feeling. One time was when my husband sold cookware in the first few months of our marriage. We lived in the southern part of the state, away from our parents. We were waiting on a paycheck to come. It was our only source of income. It did not arrive, so I couldn't go to the grocery store. Several nights I ate cooked cabbage, peas and carrots as leftovers from my  hubby's  7 course meal he cooked for prospective customers. Needless to say, I'm not fond of cooked cabbage today.
I  really wasn't destitute, was I? But I was hungry. (The rest of the story is I was pregnant and the smell of cabbage made me throw up.) We didn't stay at that job very long.

My conclusion is that as a result of Paul's being content in Christ, he was then able to live in any and every circumstance with joy, gratitude, and peace. After all, he wasn't alone, was he?

Let's look at verse 12. First, Paul knows how to be abased and to abound.

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament  says abased  means to humble or abase myself, by frugal living and abound means to exceed a fixed number or measure; to be over and above a certain number or measure.

Webster's Thesaurus describes abased as being made humble, reduced, made lower and abound as being filled, overflowing.

Paul has learned to be humble, having very little, facing poverty and also how to live with overflowing abundance, having more than enough, facing prosperity. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Look back at verse 12 again-Paul learned how to live humble in poverty and overflowing in prosperity every where and in all things.  (I want to insert Romans 15:13 NIV here: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow." (emphasis added)
It takes me back to being "content in Christ." When I am content, Christ's love, hope, joy, and peace overflows in and through me. Am I letting it?

Paul learned what he said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18-In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
My situation is God's will for my life, so I am to give thanks while I'm in it. After all, His grace is sufficient.

The last part of verse 12 states I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
What does Paul mean that he was instructed?
Thayer's Lexicon says this about  instructed: to every condition and to all the several circumstances of life have I become wonted; I have been so disciplined by experience that whatsoever be my lot I can endure. (emphasis added) 
The phase of a song came into my mind-Whatever my lot, Thou hast caused me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. (thus the title of the song)
Beck's version uses the words eating heartily and being hungry, having too much and too little.

Overflow. Am I allowing the love of Christ overflow in me to others? Or am I so focused on making sure I am not  hungry or suffering that it isn't overflowing? Then my cup isn't full of thanksgiving, praise to the Lord.

How glorious it would be
That others could see
My cup overflows with Jesus in me.
Come sit with me today, Lord,
Come speak to my heart,
You know I am lonely and in part.
Then He does
And my cup overflows with my Jesus beside me.
Rejoice, trust, lean on Me,
my Savior whispers to this heart in need.
And my cup overflows because Jesus loves me.
I'm scared, what's next?
Just take one step at a time.
Here's My Hand, take it, you'll be fine.
My cup overflows with Jesus leading me.
The unknowns are a heavy load,
his strong Hand keeps me from stumbling in the road.
My cup overflows with Jesus carrying my load.
Together we'll walk this road of unknowns,
with rocks, ruts, hills, and curves that twist and turn.
But here is one thing that I have learned
My cup overflows with Jesus holding me.

One more thing. (Thanks for sticking with me, friend.)
In his book, Paul: a Man of Grace and Grit, Charles Swindoll says this:
Regardless of his station in life, Paul lived above his circumstances. I'm convinced that's what allowed God to use the man so effectively. That's what made his impact heroic. Though his circumstances were often extreme, the man's attitude remained virtually bulletproof. Contentment results from an attitude that is learned, having been deliberately cultivated over time. Attitude governs contentment. Paul's contentment came from Christ, and His grace flowed from him through the barracks of Rome. His attitudes were unselfish humility, joyful acceptance, strong determination, genuine thanksgiving. Here's a man in his sixties. He had learned to be content in all things. Are you making a difference in the lives of those closest to you by the way you respond to your circumstances?


Learn to be content.

Be content in Christ.

Let the love of Christ overflow in me to others.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Philippians 4-Part 5
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.   Philippians 4:10


When someone says thanks to me, it gives me a warm fuzzy. How about you? The question is, do I thank others as much as I should? No, I don't. I should. I will. How many times can I say "thanks" today? The challenge is on. How many times will you say thanks today? Not only should we thank others, but we should thank our heavenly Father, also.

Paul is still rejoicing. This is the tenth time, I counted, that he used the form of the word rejoice. Paul was rejoicing in the Lord. How? Greatly. Again, he thanks the Philippians  for remembering him and his needs, as they had before. It may have been years between the gifts mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8 and the one delivered by Epaphroditus (Phil.2:25). Meanwhile, Paul had learned to be content with whatever God supplied to him. (Shepherd's Notes)

Am I still rejoicing? Do I give thanks in every situation? Am I content with whatever God supplies? I recall the children of Israel, in the book of Exodus, grumbled and missed the food they had back in  Egypt. Then they grumbled some more when they got tired of the blessing of quail (meat). People don't change do they? I'm not happy if I don't have "it" and when I get "it," I'm still not happy. That's because happiness isn't external, but internal.
Paul learned this. We will discuss contentment tomorrow.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.


When I taught school, the teachers had a mailbox in the teacher's launge. I would sneek in there when no one was looking and leave a piece of chocolate candy in several teachers' box. I wanted to brighten up their day and show that they were appreciated. One day I got caught putting it on a teacher's desk. I like the smile it brought. Do we look for a chance to show people we care about them?

Verse 10, as read in The New Testament by William Beck, says "It made me very happy in the Lord that now again you showed a fresh interest in me. You were interested but didn't have a chance to show it."

Do I show new interest in people's lives? Do they know I care about them? Probably I just assume they know. Do I grab the opportunites given me, seize the moment,  and tell them or show them my love?
Not often enough, I admit. How about you? If you're like me, will you join me in taking the time and the opportunity to show love today? Seems like a good habit to begin.


Say thanks.

Rejoice in the Lord.

Take the opportunity to show or tell someone I love them and do it today. Don't wait.

Hey, I love ya'll.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meditate and Regurgitate

Philippians 4-Part 4
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.   (emphasis added)
Philippians 4:8-9


Have you noticed that often the answer to  mysteries are  told at the beginning of the story, then the details are revealed? To me, that's the way Paul wrote these verses. He tells us to think on these things and the God of peace shall be with you. However, he names the things first. Yesterday, we learned that God's peace comes when we pray and give Him thanks.
Whatever the Philippians had learned, received, and observed in and from Paul, he wanted them to model and cultivate. So it is with in the effective Christian life.


I grew up on a cattle and broiler (chicken) farm. We still have cows  on our farm. When I look out a window, there is always a cow to see. Sometimes I stop and watch them. One thing I have noticed is that they eat hay or grass and drink water. Duh. Stay with me. After they get their stomach full, the cows lie down and chew. They start the process of regurgitation. Their food is brought back up into the mouth and salava juices are added to it as they chew it again. This process takes a while. They just lie there, chewing, minding their own business, resting in the shade, usually. Get the picture? Is that how I should meditate on God's Word?
Paul tells us to think on these things. (emphasis added)

According to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, think means to consider, take account, weigh, meditate on.
In Strong's Greek Dictionary,  things is a matter or topic, a saying or word.

NAS says in the last part of verse 8, " let your mind dwell on these things."

"What you think about in your unguarded moments reflects what your mind dwells upon. What you speak about when your guard is down is a good gauge of what is in your heart (Matt. 12:34)," Henry Blackaby tells us in Experiencing God Day-By-Day.

Got it. Paul is saying for me to meditate, let my mind stay on these things (God's Word).
"So much of  the walk of the Christian comes down to the mind," states David Guzik.
We are to renew our mind (Rom. 12:2) and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
(2 Cor. 10:5).
Meditate. On what things? To find the answer, I looked at the beginning of that sentence. Here's the what that Paul is saying to meditate on, those things we are to put into practice:

1. TRUE-an actual occurance.*
               -agreeable to Scriptures of truth, the Gospel of truth. (John Gill)
               -truth in our words and engagements. (Matthew Henry)
               - In John 14:6, Jesus  says, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

2. HONEST-to be venerated for character, honorable of deeds.*
                    -in the sight of me; or grave, or "venerable" in speech, in action or attire. (John Gill)
                      (venerable means old-fashioned, dignified)
                    -honorable, dignified, worthy of reverence. LBC
                    -In Romans 12:17b, Paul says, "Provide things honest in the sight of all men."

3. JUST-that which regard for duty demands, what is right.*
             -holy, equity (of character or act), righteous. **
             -giving to God what belongs to Him and to man what is his due. (John Gill)
             -righteous relations between man and man, and man and God. LBC
             -"The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him," states
                Proverbs 20:7.
             -"The just shall live by faith," says Hebrews 10:38.

4. PURE-pure from fault, immaculate.*
              -clean, modest, perfect, chaste. **
              -chaste, in word and deeds; holy; holiness of heart and life. (John Gill)
              -stainless, chaste, unsullied. LBC
              -"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself
                pure," Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:22.

5. LOVELY-acceptable, pleasing.*
                    -friendly towards, acceptable. **
                    -to cultivate and increase love, friendship and amity among men; and which things also are
                      grateful to God and lovely in His sight. (John Gill)
                    -lovable, endearing, amiable, gracious, charming, pleasing, winsome. LBC

6. OF GOOD REPORT-well reported, sounding well. (Young's Analytical Corncordance to the Bible)
                                        -things spoken in a kindly spirit, with good-will to others. *
                                        -well spoken of, reputable. **
                                        -attractive, fair speaking. LBC
                                        -"For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report," states Hebrews 11:2.

[Resources: *denotes from Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament,
                  ** denotes from Strong's Greek Dictionary,
                  LBC denotes from Liberty Bible Commentary]

I am supposed to meditate on things, that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. My thoughts, words, actions or deeds are to be characteristic of them. I am to put them into practice. It helps to me to memorize Scripture and learn praise songs. What do you do?


Practice speaking what is true and lovely.

Be honest and  just.

Regulate my thoughts so they give a good report of me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Worry, Anxiety, No Peace

Philippians 4-Part 3
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:6-7


Silence, hush, stillness, calmness, quiet, rest, peacefulness, serenity, tranquility-these are all synonyms for peace. Noise, agitation, disturbance, excitement, tumult-theses are antonyms, the opposite of peace.
(Webster's Thesaurus)

Just give me a little peace and quiet. Who hasn't said or thought that? Peace.  Who doesn't want it or need it? And right now? Whether it's peace in the family, peace on the job, or peace in our own heart we all have wanted peace at one time or another. What is peace? We use the word loosely, don't we?

The Greek word for peace is the word eirene. It means peace of mind, tranquility. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Tranquility-that sounds good. What is it? According to the Thesaurus, it's calmness, stillness, silence, quietude, hush. Give me some of that. Do I have to go to the desert in order to have it? Paul didn't. He was in house arrest; he had been in a dungeon; he had been beaten. During all this, he had peace-the peace of God. (verse 7)
-This peace is a characteristic of God. It's a fruit of the Spirit. He is the source of peace.
-It's the kind that passeth all understanding. We can have peace even when we don't understand our
-It exceeds knowledge. Paul was highly educated for his time, so he had plenty, but knowledge was
  insufficient sometimes. Even when we don't understand the whys, Christians can experience peace.
-It will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It will keep things in the  right order.

Why or how does a Christian experience peace in difficult circumstances? I found the answer in verse 7 of The Amplified Bible: "And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its eartly lot whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

So the answer is, Christians are trusting and having faith in Christ for salvation and  provision; not fearing; is content with their circumstance because they believe God is Sovereign, in control. If I do this, I will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Do what? Well, it refers back to verse 6 for the answer.


First of all, verse 6 in KJV says, "Be careful for nothing."
The Amplified Bible says it this way, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything."
New Living Translation says, "Don't worry about anything.
The New American Standard states, "Be anxious for nothing."
The New Testament by Charles Williams says, "Stop being worried about anything."

Okay, after reading it 5 times, it seeps into my  brain-Linda, stop worrying, being anxious about this problem. All right, I stop worrying. Now what?
Read the rest of the verse above in KJV.
NLT  directs us to "pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done."
So the answer is prayer, petitioning God, laying the problem at His feet, trusting God to take care of it His way and in His time, and thanking Him. Easier said than done. I have done this, but find myself picking up the problem off the altar and carrying it back with me instead of leaving it there with God. Do you? No wonder I don't have peace.
(Practice makes perfect, they say. I better get started.)

Rock Warren said in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, "When God's at the center of your life, you worship. When He's not, you worry. Worry is the warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline. The moment you put Him back at the center, you will have peace again."

Henry Blackaby in his devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day tells us, "Paul said there is nothing that should cause a child of God to worry. God will not necessarily take your problems away, but He will carry the load for you. This peace is not just for those who "handle stress well"; it is for everyone! God's Word clearly indicates that there is nothing you can face that is too difficult, too troubling, or too fearful for God."


So I must let go and let God.

 Lay down the problem at God's feet, leave it there for Him to handle.

Stop dwelling on this problem.

When I do, then the peace and joy that I desire will be mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting Together

Philippians 4-Part 2
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.    Philippianas 4:5


I'm looking forward to family coming this weekend to visit. Our clan is planning some "getting together" time. We have a blast! We share old memories, talk and listen to what's happening to each other, let our hair down, and get away from the mundane daily grind. So it should be with  the Lord and me. What's our "together time" like?  Do I let my hair down, so to speak, being honest and genuine with my Lord as we get together? (He sees my heart and reads my mind anyway.) Or am I always stiff, in a hurry, say repeative  prayers, let my  Bible fall open to Scripture for my daily reading? Do I meet with Him several times a day?

The Lord is at hand. Yes, He is always near. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He is faithful and shows unfailing love. Am I anticipating His appearance? Am I anticipating His coming to visit me, sitting down and talking one-on-one with me? Am I ready to listen to Him? Does Jesus walk with me and converse with me throughout the day? Things to contemplate.

"Christ may come at any moment (James 5:7-9)," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Am I ready for the return of Christ?

The Lord is at hand. So He's right there beside me, ready to take my hand to guide me. If I let Him. If I follow Him. If I give my hand to Him. The key word is if. That means I have to surrender my direction of walking and my way of walking.

I looked up the key verse in  other versions. Here's what I found:

NLT said, "Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon."
NAS said, "Let your forebearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near."
Beck said, "Everybody should know how gentle you can be. The Lord is near." 
CSB reads, "Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near."

In Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, moderation means fair, mild, and gentle.
It is a noun meaning temperance; one who avoids extreme opinions or actions, (Moderate means restrained, kept or keeping within reasonable limits.) according to Webster's Dictionary.

"Your forbearance, considerateness, graciousness, gentleness, sweet reasonableness; overlooking the faults and failures of others. This is the opposite of stubbornness and thoughtlessness," instructs Liberty Bible Commentary.

David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible states this: 
Paul used an interesting ancient Greek word, epielkeia, that is translated gentleness here. This word describes the heart of a person who will let the Lord fight his battles. They know that vengeance is Mine, says the Lord (Romans 12:19). It describes a person who is really free to let go of  his anxieties and all the things that cause him stress, because he knows that the Lord will take up his cause.
A good example was when Jesus showed gentleness to the woman taken in adultery, who was set-up and brought to Jesus. He showed  gentleness to her.

All right then,  my actions should be gentle and gracious for all to see. I wonder how others see me? Probably as a hard-shelled turtle protecting myself.
Do I pick and choose to whom I show this gentleness? It says to all people. I haven't thought about showing gentleness to adults. I do it toward children, which is easy to do. But to adults? They can be harsh, mean, Lord. Are you sure about this?  So I'm to show gentleness to all people. That means I don't pick and choose  to whom I show gentleness, right? I'm not responsible for their actions, only mine. Well, I want to be obedient. Okay, I'll work on it today. Gentleness. (Lord, remind me whenever I'm not showing gentleness.)


Remember, the Lord is always at hand. Call on Him.

Be gentle to all people today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can I Rejoice?

Philippians 4-Part 1
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.   Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice.  (NLT)

In verse 1, Paul states, "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved."

Is this the sixth time I have read the word joy in this book? Was Paul a joyful man, or what?
The word for joy in the Greek is the word chara. It means rejoicing, gladness, enjoyment, bliss. In many ways, chara means to celebrate. (from The Compleete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Let's review what Beth Moore had to say about the second fruit of the Spirit, joy,  in her study book Living Beyond Yourself:
  • Joy is the result of realizing that our names are written in heaven.
  • Joy is the result of discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances.  
  • Joy is the result of restoration.
  • Joy is the result of "remaining" in Christ.
  • Joy is the result of relating God's way to God's people.
Paul called the Philippians his dearly beloved, his longed for brethren, his joy and crown.

Paul valued them more and reckoned a greater honor and ornament to him, than the richest diadem, set with the most costly jewels and precious stones, and which he hoped and believed would be his crown of rejoicing another day; when with them, should stand at the hand of Christ triumphing, as victors crowned. (John Gill)

Paul, in chapter 4, was exhorting, encouraging the Philippians. It grew out of their friendship. How did he do this? First, he urged  them to stand fast.
Stand fast means to stand firm, to persist, persevere in godliness, in one's fellowship with the Lord.
(Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

Next, Paul urged the Philippians to have unity. He addresses the problem of disunity. It erupted as a dispute between two women, Euodia and Syntych. (verses 2-3) It was more than a passing disagreement. It had a potential of splitting the church. Paul had faith that everyone would correct the problem.

Last, Paul urged the Philippians to joy and peace in verses 4-9. It's the peace of God that sustains Christians during times of hardship. Their joy was to be unchanging and in the Lord.

As Paul encouraged these believers to stand fast in Christ, he urged them to abide by Him, His truths, ordinances, cause, and interest. (John Gill)

So I should stand fast or firm in my faith and in the Word, have unity with others, and enjoy the peace with God as I surrender to Him.


"Rejoice in the Lord, always; and again I say rejoice." We sing it as a "round" at church. Since we have two sections of pews, one side begins the song, and the other side comes in later repeating the words. It sticks in my mind, a catchy tune with catchy words. I'll probably be singing or humming it all day today. Not such a bad thing. A good thing to do-rejoice in the Lord, always.
Wait, how may forms of "rejoice" did I read already? Seven, if I counted correctly.

Rejoice means "be glad," says Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
Remember Paul was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote the letter to the Philippian church. Written earlier in the two-year period was Ephesians and Colossians.

"Paul's joy wasn't based in a sunny optimism or positive mental attitude as much as it was the confidence that God was in control. It really was a joy in the Lord," stated David Guzik.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains verse 4 this way:
Paul kept on rejoicing whether he were in prison or in the palace; in prosperity or in adversity; in health or in sickness. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and is the result of peace with God (Rom.5:1-2). Joy drives out discord and is contagious. Christians rejoice because they are in living union with Christ.

"The Philippians' joy was to be in the Lord, and it was to be unchanging. Paul's own circumstances reminded him of the joy available in the Lord, and he wished that joy for them as well. Paul knows that no situation is beyond the Lord's help. Christians can rejoice in that, if nothing else," Shepherd's Notes reminds us.

Rejoice in the Lord always. How often? At all times, again and again. When? In all conditions rejoice; when I suffer for Him or when I'm afflicted.

I can rejoice that God is in control. I must admit that this requires so work. Can I rejoice at all times, in all conditions? Oh my. (Easy to read, hard to apply.)


Let the Lord change my attitudes. Rejoice more.

Have more joyful words.

Sing praises to the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Bags are Packed

Philippians 3-Part 6
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereaby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.     Philippians 3:20-21


We are still having winter. It gets down into the 20's at night, sometimes. Although I enjoyed the snow, all
2 1/2 feet of it, I am looking forward to our trip to Miami, Florida in a few weeks. Already in my mind I am thinking about what clothes to take. Ahh, summer ones! It's warm there. Walking on the beach. Can't wait. I've never been there. (Maybe a sweater, just in case it's chilly.) I don't like to wait until the day before to pack. I like to start ahead of time. Make sure I have everything ready, you know. But on the morning of our flight, I definitely will be singing with Glen Cambell, "My bags are packed and I'm ready to go."

In verse 21, Paul focuses on the physical body, which will be transformed to become like Christ's heavenly body. We are destined for eternity. This earthly body is subject to disease, death, and decay. Paul describes it as our vile body.
Vile means lowness, low estate, according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
My body will be changed, fashioned, made suitable for the next world, conformed to the body like Christ's in His glorious state.
Glorious means the glorious condition of blessedness into which it is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior's return from heaven. This condition will inclued not only the blessedness of the soul, but also the gain of a more excellent body. (Thayer's Lixicon)

I am ready for a new body. How about you?


In verse 20, Paul tells us that our conversation is in heaven. What is conversation?

According to Thayer's Lexicon, conversation is commonwealth whose citizens we are.

Our citizenship is in heaven. We are only traveling through this world. We're headed to another place, one of perminence. Heaven is our destination where Jesus our Savior lives. Are we looking forward to it, or sad to leave this world?
Got your bags packed? Ready to go? Am I eargerly waiting and expecting the second coming of Christ?

Did you notice the last part of verse 21? Jesus is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Subdue is the act of subjectiong; obedience, to submit one's control; to yield to one's admonition or advice.
So, He will bring everything under His control. Everyone and everything will yield, obey, submit to Jesus.


What do I need to let go of so I'm ready for heaven?

Some things I don't want to pack along with me, so I need to get rid of it here.

Submit, yield, obey now.

Rejoice. I'll have a new body.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Philippians 3-Part 5
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.    Philippians 3:17


As a teenager,  I learned how to sew my own clothes, taking home ec. classes. When ever I decided to make a particular item of clothing, I looked through those huge pattern catalogues and bought a pattern to use. Next, I bought the amount of material it recommended, matching thread, any accessories such as a zipper or elastic. When I got home, I proceeded to lay out the material on the kitchen table, place the pattern on top as directed, pin it down on the material, then cut the material out around it. Last, I followed the instructions inside the package as to how to sew it. Usually, it turned out pretty good and I wore it, but without a pattern, I hate to think what the final product would have looked like. I'm sure I wouldn't have worn it. Good thing I wasn't born in pioneer days, huh? Paul is encouraging the Philippians to follow a pattern. Shall we see what it is?

Verse 17 in NLT says,"Dear brothers and sister, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example."
In Webster's Dictionary, pattern means an example, a model to be copied.

Earlier, Paul admitted that he wasn't a sinlessly perfect example, but he was a good example, striving as he followed Christ (1Cor. 11:1). Paul is noting that the Philippians have him and others as patterns for their Christian life. We need good examples to follow. Baby Christians should have mature Christians influencing and teaching them, being good  models for  their lives. Ultimately, the pattern for all of us should be the life of Jesus Christ.
"Pastors and church leaders are a pattern for their people, if they intend to be or not," states David Guzik.
Just as I used the pattern to cut out the material for my garment, so should I use Jesus's life and committed Christians' lives as a pattern for my life.


Did you notice that Paul used the word walk three times in verses 16-18?
Verse 16 says, "Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."
The Lexicon states:  walk means to direct one's life, to live.

"We need to continue in the same straight path in which we have been walking, guided by the same divine truths, and the unchanging principles of faith. We need to hold on to what we have and then strive to go higher," instructs Liberty Bible Commentary.

Verse 17 tells us to "Mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example."
The Lexicon states: walk means to regulate one's life, to conduct one's self.

So we are to walk the walk that Paul, others in the Bible, and mature Christians have walked. We are to walk the talk. Do as I do, not as I say. Others are watching me. Am I a good example for them to follow?
My children/grandchildren are watching me live and listening to me talk. Do I want them to have my attitudes? Is my conduct Christlike?

In verse 18, Paul is warning the Philippians that there are many who walk in a manner contrary to what he teaches. He regards these people as enemies of the cross of Christ. He tells how to spot these false teachers:
  • They follow their appetites-literally "their God is their belly."
  • They are proud of what they should be ashamed of.
  • Their focus is exclusively on this world.
  • Their end is destruction.
[Reference: Shepherd's Notes]

These people didn't want to follow Jesus by taking up their cross of self-denial (Matt. 16:24-26). It sure didn't matter to them what they did with their body. They disregarded God's holiness. They lived for the pleasures of the body, mind, and soul; idolatry. Their focus was not to please and worship God, but to get along in this world.  (David Guzik)
They confessed Christ with their lips, but denied Him with their lives. They worship themselves. They are completely occupied with the material, not the spiritual; with the earthly, not the heavenly. Paul states their end is doom. They are slaves to Satan, sin, and self. (Liberty Bible Commentary)


Pattern my life after Christ.

Be a good example for others to follow.

Walk the talk.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Running the Race

Philippians 3-Part 4
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching foth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.      Philippians 3:13-14


When Paul repeats the same words, I take notice. I wonder what  he is emphasizing. In verses 11 and 12, Paul mentions the words attain, attained, apprehend, and apprehended. You know I had to look them up for their meanings. smile

"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead; Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; about I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (3:11-12)

Attain means to gain, achieve, or accomplish, to reach by efforts; to reach in excellence or degree. (KJ Dictionary)
Attained means to get possession of, obtain a thing. (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
Apprehend means to lay hold of so as to make one's own, to obtain, attain to; in a good sense, of Christ by His holy power and influence laying hold of the humand mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it.
(Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
Apprehended means taken, seized, arrested, conceived, understood, feared. (KJ Dictionary)

Paul's goal or focus, is before him, not behind him, the finish line-his resurrection. He's not sure how it will come about, his death that is, but that is what leads to the resurrection. We know the end for him was a martyr's death in Rome later. I may not know the details of my death, but I am  trusting Jesus for the resurrection. (John 11:25-26)
Paul's saying that he has not obtained perfection in his Christlikeness, progress, but not perfection. Where does that leave me? At the starting line.

NLT says in verses 12b-13  "But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sister, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

Did you catch that phrase "forgetting the past?"  Are you like me, in that it is often hard to let go of the  past?
My mind tends to dwell there, not forgetting what someone said to me, ususally criticism, or what some hurtful thing they did to me? I think it's called forgiveness. Forgive and forget don't seem to go together, but they do. Someone once said that forgiveness is treating anyother as if it never happened. Good definition.
Forget it; it's not important now. Live in the present. (I'm talking to myself, friend.) Why waste time there in the past when there is life to live now?


I remember when I was in junior high school and  with a group of girls who went to a track meet at a local university. We had never done this before, but we had trained somewhat. It was an exciting new experience for us. Short me was a part of the relay team, where three people pass a baton to a teammate, running along side the other teams and around the track. I ran as fast as I could, keeping my eye on the girl in front of me to which I passed on the baton.

Shepherd's Notes tells us:
In the Greek races, the winner's prize, the laurel wreath of the victor, was often placed at the finish line as an added incentive to the contestants. The content of Paul's goal revolved around his repetitive use of the ver "press on" (verses 12, 140. Paul attaches two activities for attaining his goal.  "Forgetting what is behind." For him, every day was a new adventure. "Straining toward what is ahead." This is bringing to mind the straining muscles, clear focus, and complete dedication of the runner to his race to the prize. Both mental and physical discipline were necessary.

In verse 14, Paul was constantly bearing down upon the goal. He found no time to relax. He found someone worth living for. Everything else was a waste of time and energy. He had the high calling on him, an upward calling from heaven, from God. Paul was in hot pursuit of Christlikeness. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

I want to cross the finish line with Christ running beside me in my race of life. Heaven is my finish line and a crown of life is my prize. How about you? As I have said before, let's keep on keepin' on. Stay faithful to our Savior.
By the way, we came in fourth in the relay. Each of us got a ribbon. The rest of the story is, there were only 4 teams entered. (You can laugh, I do.)


Lay aside the excess baggage, like unforgiveness, hurt feelings.

Put on the whole armor of God and eat of the fruit of the Spirit.

Press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Press on.

Stay focused on Christ, not the past.

Go for it, girl.

Keep going; keep running in the race of the Christian life; you'll make it through to the end. The Savior is waiting and watching us. Press on.