The Gift of Suffering

We are getting close to the gift giving season and at the end of the first chapter of Philippians the apostle Paul is writing about a gift; though not something we would normally consider a gift.  Here are verses 28-30:  “28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.”  The revelation of God […]

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Believior Determines Behavior

The Christian faith rests on faith.  We receive the benefits of the gospel by believing the gospel.  We don’t receive the gospel through good works or behavior. However, the revelation of God is crystal clear that genuine belief will be evident in how one behaves; thus the phrase “believior determines behavior”.  What you believe drives what you do.  We see this in verse 27 of Philippians 1: “27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with […]

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Do You Desire to Be With Christ?

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach many people are excitedly and expectantly looking forward to seeing people that they don’t normally see…family members/friends who live in other parts of the country or world who make a special effort to get together at this time of the year.  Do you have a desire to see anyone this holiday season?  Something struck me as I read the next section of Philippians chapter 1. After writing the famous words, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” Paul writes the following paragraph: “ 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what […]

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A Truly “Win-Win” Situation

I think all of us are familiar with the phrase, “a win-win situation”.  The phrase is used to describe a circumstance or a solution where two people or two groups of people are able to reach a compromise or be involved in a circumstance where both individuals or groups, “win”.  They both get what they want or they get what is best for them.  The apostle Paul describes the ultimate “win-win” situation in verse 21 of chapter 1:  “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  The sentence is so glib on the surface that it […]

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The Power of “Knowing”

Yesterday we sang the song, “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle.  The words of the chorus were very moving to me.  They begin like this:  “If You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move…if You don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through…If You don’t give the answers, when I cry out to You…” How would you finish the chorus? If you’ve spent any time at all engaging with Jesus Christ there are times that He has not moved the mountains or parted the waters that you thought He should.  There are many times that He doesn’t answer […]

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Just Preach Christ

Though Paul was in prison he continued to preach the gospel.  He ended the previous paragraph with the discussion that most of the brethren are bold to speak the word without fear; motivated by Paul’s example. Then we read this:  15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this […]

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Hard Time Can Be Good Time

We know that Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison because of sharing the gospel of Jesus.  On the surface it would be easy to think that prison time would be wasted time.  Paul wasn’t able to travel and share the gospel in new places.  However, God used Paul’s time in prison in a very productive way.  Here is what Paul writes in verses 12-14: “ 12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace […]

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My Prayer for You

Prayer is such a delightful and yet often disappointing thing.  I’ve talked a lot about prayer over the last few years as I have been wrestling with prayer in my own life.  A while back I came across this paragraph in Philippians and saw it in a new way.  I see this as a prayer that God, through Paul, has given for each of us to pray for ourselves and others.  Here is the prayer:  9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are […]

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Prayer and Love

If I was a Christian in the city of Philippi and I was able to read or hear someone read to me the beginning of Paul’s letter to me I would be pretty joyful.  Here is how the letter begins:  “3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think […]

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Hi Philippians!

Today we begin a journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  This is a letter to Christians in the city of Philippi.  You can read about some of Paul’s events in Philippi in chapter 16 of the book of Acts.  A really interesting part of the Philippi story is that Paul ended up there because of a vision that he saw where a man was telling him to come to Macedonia.  God evidently had something for Paul to do there.  We don’t know exactly how long Paul was there, but it doesn’t appear to be a long time.  And as […]

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