Single-minded about this goal

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded. Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3.13-14

Paul wrote Philippians from prison. It was a letter of hope and encouragement. Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians to strive for maturity in their faith. In verse 10, he stated his goal was to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his suffering, and to be like him in his death. Paul readily stated that he had not attained this goal of maturity. However, it was worth making the effort. It was something that he wanted so intensely that he was single-minded when it came to this goal. Paul did not dwell in the past. He looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal.

Do you live in the past? Do you let past experiences determine how you live your life today? We need to learn from Paul to let go of the past. What happened cannot be changed. Jesus said in Luke 9.62 that we should not look back. We need to repent of things in the past and then let go of it.

Is your goal to know Jesus? We need to imitate Paul in his single-mindedness. We should have an intense desire to grow in our faith daily. Just as Paul looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal, so should we. We cannot sit still and expect to reach our goal.

#risingjoy #Philippians #past

Joy that renews the spirit

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1.3-6

There are certain people in our lives that are special for one reason or another. We are thankful that these people have crossed paths with us. There are friends that we do not see for years. Yet, when you get a chance to catch up, it is like you were never apart. There are people in our spiritual family that are as dear and as important as any blood kin. Paul must have had a long list of friends. He is writing this letter to the church in Philippi. He is thankful. He is thankful because this church shared in his work by sending him gifts of financial help. When he received word of how they were doing, he was encouraged and felt renewed. They shared the same purpose in life. Their spiritual goals were the same. They worked toward those goals with the same persistence. Paul prayed for these friends with joy giving thanks to God for them. Paul felt sure that the Philippians would stick to the task and not give up because of their attitude towards him. It is such a huge encouragement to hear that someone with whom you have shared the gospel is continuing to serve the Lord Jesus as a faithful child. It brings joy that renews the spirit to continue the work which we have been called to do.

#risingjoy #Philippians #gratitude

Able to go home

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.20,21

Do you like to travel? Living in a country that is not where you were born and raised can give you a better perspective at times. When we are citizens of one country and travel to another, you do not have the same rights as a native of the country. Of what country are you a citizen? Paul’s says that we are citizens of heaven. We sing “This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.” We also hear people often say that “There is no place like home.” How true that is! The Christian is a citizen of heaven! We await Jesus’ return to be able to go home. There is going to be a huge transformation to take place upon his return. This body of mine that is sick, broken, and imperfect will be changed by his power into a glorious body similar to Jesus. I will travel to the heavenly city of which I am a citizen. I will go home!

#risingjoy #heaven #Philippians

MOST: Helpers sometimes need help as well

Meditate on this verse:

Yes, I say also to you, true companion, help them. They have struggled together in the gospel ministry along with me and Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the book of life, Philippians 4.3.

Offer this prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the mutual help we can offer one another in your family. Your wisdom planned all this. Make me useful to the saints.

Savor this thought:

Helpers sometimes need help as well.

Take this action:

Talk to someone (for example, an elder, evangelist, teacher, giver of hospitality, or deacon) about their spiritual life.

#most #helpers #Philippians

What really matters: Philippians 1.10

“I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ.”

Philippians 1.10 CEB

To decide is to determine, examine, or approve. What really matters comes from a verb meaning to distinguish or separate. It gets down to what is “essential” (Mounce).

Paul mentioned prayer for love and knowledge, v. 9. So both prayer and study are needed, as well as involvement with the church. Does this describe me?

#votd #Philippians #essentials

The far greater value of knowing Christ: Philippians 3.8

“More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ,”

Philippians 3.8

The things we valued before Christ become liabilities, often, impediments to the greater worth of having a relationship with Jesus. Though we may possess still some things, we have lost all for him. He is too precious to lose over things of this world.

What things did I value before Christ? Are there things that still hold an appeal to me? What am I doing now to gain him?

#votd #Philippians #knowing-Christ

Granted to you: Philippians 1.29-30

“For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.”

Philippians 1.29-30

What an apostle is called to, so are all the people of God. The faith is for all, as is suffering for Christ. We find solace in knowing that others face the same spiritual conflict.

We suffer for Christ not only to live for him but to proclaim him. Together, we learn to trust in the Lord. We pray together, for one another, and rejoice in following the Lord’s path.

#votd #Philippians #suffering

What you learned: Philippians 4.9

“And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4.9

Paul preached the true gospel and gave the example. The Philippians needed to hear and observe. Then, they should practice those same things. Only then could they count on God’s presence.

One cannot be taught wrong and practice correctly. One must first learn in order to do the right thing. Having God’s presence depends on this.

#votd #Philippians #knowledge

September 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 4)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Help Those Women (Wade Webster)
  • Towards Spiritual Success (Cody Westbrook)
  • I Can Do All Things (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • The God Who Supplies (John Baker)
  • Farewell (Kevin Rhodes)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-women, #christian-worker, #encouragement, #financial-support, #philippians, #spiritual-strength, #success

June 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 1)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • A Harmonious Congregation (Kevin W. Rhodes)
  • I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance… (Cody Westbrook)
  • Let Love Abound (Mike Vestal)
  • Christ Is Preached, So I Rejoice! (Stephen Wiggins)
  • To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain (Randy Robinson)
  • Paul’s Plea (Dave Rogers)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#apostle-paul, #christian-living, #christian-worker, #fellowship, #love, #philippians, #preaching-christ, #spiritual-examples

May 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Noble Character of Philippians)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Philippians: An Introduction (Bill Burk)
  • The Progress of the Gospel (Cody Westbrook)
  • Joy in Philippians (Bruce Ligon)
  • Unity in Philippians (Todd Clippard)
  • Peace in Philippians (Kevin Cauley)
  • Spiritual Maturity in Philippians (Trent Kennedy)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#character, #christian-peace, #christian-unity, #christian-worker, #joy, #pauls-epistles, #philippians, #spiritual-maturity

What does ‘fellowship’ mean?

By Nelson Smith, commenting on Phil 2.1-2

What do we know of the “communion of the Holy Spirit?” Or the “fellowship of the Spirit?” What meaning does it have for us?

I preached for a church where they had a “fellowship committee.” Its primary work was to organize “fellowships” where the main topic (and activity) was food. Sometimes a little more than that but that does seem to be a common “vice” (?) of many whose taste-buds are out of control.

What does fellowship mean? Continue reading

#fellowship, #holy-spirit, #philippians

Joy and tears and the heart of Philippians

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is known, appropriately, as the letter of joy. The topic is an important keynote, all the more so because Paul was in prison when he wrote it. So it is noteworthy when, at one point in the letter, Paul says he writes “with tears.” Do you know what it is that causes his tears, and why the subject brings him to tears? Read Php 3.

Philippians is less known as a letter of mission cooperation. Paul opens and closes with thanksgiving for their participation in his effort. This literary technique, called inclusio(n), marks their financial gifts as a major theme of the letter. Perhaps we don’t notice it because we lack the missionary spirit the Philippian saints had, or because we’re reading commentaries whose authors don’t have it and therefore treat it briefly. Continue reading

#bible-versions, #christian, #corollaries, #philippians, #time

You didn't have to, but thanks!

In the context of stating that he had learned to be content in whatever physical state he had found himself, Paul relates this thought:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

We’re more than familiar with that thought. It’s been the theme of sermons, it’s been stitched on purses and it’s been painted on walls.

But how about the thought that comes immediately after. The one that says it’s more than just the thought that counts. The one that says:

Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.” (Philippians 4:14)

When it came to the help that was sent by the church at Philippi to the encumbered apostle who thought so much of them (Philippians 1:3-5), Paul, in a roundabout way, was saying that they didn’t have to do what they did, but what they did made him very happy.

Perhaps this thought should be the theme of as many sermons, should be stitched on as many purses and painted on as many walls as well.

The church at Philippi, along with Paul, had the right mindset – they were doing things out of love, and not necessarily out of necessity. And such a way of doing good works is still the model that will cause many more to say with a smile of their face, “You didn’t have to, but thanks!”

#gift-giving, #good-works, #love, #philippians

Is this one of the most abused scriptures in the New Testament?

I have a verse in mind when it comes to this topic that may not be close to what you’re thinking. It is a popular verse without a doubt; both with the church and the world – which may be why it’s possibly the most abused scripture in the New Testament. It at least has to be in the top ten!

Here it is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 – NKJV)

I’ve seen it on purses and in picture frames. I’ve heard it used in reference to football games and weightlifting aims. But are these the things that Paul that was talking about???

In the midst of his closing statements to a congregation that labored in the gospel for Jesus, Paul thanks them from the bottom of his heart for the love that they had shown toward him during his trials for the Lord. And in the context of an exhortation concerning the physical condition of spiritual citizens, a content Paul reminds the church at Philippi that Jesus was his goal whether he was doing better than he deserved or whether he had seen far better days, but none-the-less their diligent gift which had surpassed the efforts of all other churches had lifted his heart and its heart-filling effect had actually reached the throne room in Heaven.

When Paul said he could do all things through the one who strengthened him he wasn’t talking about making it through the minor inconveniences of life whether we’re a believer or not. Paul was talking about making it through the circumstances that came his way because of his faith in Jesus who is the Christ of God. And I don’t believe people are recognizing Philippians 4:13 for what it’s really saying, and that’s why I say that this verse may very well be one of most abused scriptures in the New Testament that people refer to.

#abused-scripture, #philippians, #philippians-413, #religion, #scripture-study