Monthly Archives: February 2014

“Whatsoever things are true……………”

Philippians 4:6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 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.9 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.

First on the list of ‘things’ is: ‘whatsoever things are true’. It is significant that it is listed first. Truth is very important.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In order to really know God and what he has promised, you have to believe the word belongs to you. It is essential for believing. God’s word is the truth. My favorite times in prayer are a result of just thinking through verses and events from the Old and NewTestaments and asking how they apply to various things going on. The Bible on the coffee table is a simply a book. When you enlist God’s help, the Bible becomes a breath of life. That is the foundation of prayer and believing. It is more exciting than just having a ‘to do’ list for God.

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Actsodus

God’s love is unfailing. In Malachi, it says He ‘changes not!’ It is not hard to find  parallels in the OT and NT that are examples of His continuing grace. It helps to look at the ‘big picture to see the parallels.

On the darker side, the enemy of God never seems to change either. In Exodus there is clear evidence of manipulations by Pharaoh and his doggedness to keep the children of Israel under his thumb. He is really relentless. It seems at one point he recognizes the power of God, yet his arrogance keeps him from backing off all the way to the Red Sea.

Fast forward to the gospel period, Jesus Christ was also ‘stalked’ by the enemies of God. It is also very apparent in Paul’s life. Judaizers were constantly following him around trying to thwart him and destroy him. Why did they expend so much energy into doing all this? It all started in Genesis 3 and continues throughout the ages.

In Acts are the records of Paul and what he went through with people who opposed him. People complained about him, followed him around and some even tried to physically harm him. It wasn’t like he could just walk away from them, they wouldn’t let him. There were problems outside the church community, but most of the persecution came from people within the  religious community. When people focus on power, self-interest and influence, not to mention money, things go awry,

Paul’s understanding in dealing with this type of persecution is the only way to handle it.

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God never changes and His answers are what we must focus on. In Philippians 4 are some great gems that apply to our lives:

Philippians 4:6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 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.9 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.

It is so easy to take on the negatives, but that spirals us downward. Instead we need to focus on the things of God by valuing those things above thus lifting us up and out of the muck . It is absolutely exciting to watch God’s grace play out. It is downright glorious!

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The Son of the Living God

Matthew 16 has an interesting conversation between Jesus and his disciples.

Matthew 16:13-20  13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 

The disciples answered Jesus’s question about what other men were were saying about who Jesus was. When Jesus asked them specifically what they themselves thought, Peter jumped right in with a breath-taking statement that Jesus was the Messiah and the son of the living God. Sometimes we roll right over verses and miss some gold nuggets of truth. Jesus responds to Peter using his human name Simon Barjonas. It is clear that Peter did not understand this bedrock principle based on some human resource. Jesus is making it clear that God showed it to him. Wow! This is beautiful! (made me think of Romans 10:9-10). This whole concept is so important to all who believe. Jesus was the son of God! Standing right in front of Peter in the flesh was Christ, the second Adam (for Romans 5 fans)!

Jesus was excited that Peter knew and proceeds to tell him how important it is in the next couple of verses

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell (the grave) shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 

Binding and loosing is a idiom for exercising authority. Later on in Matthew 18:18 others were given this authority. (Again Romans 10:9-10 comes to mind).

The context of this verse is in the resurrection. People referred to resurrections of Elijah, Jeremiah and John the Baptist in verse 14. Then Jesus referred to his own:

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and bekilled, and be raised again the third day.

 

 

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Philexodus

The Word of God is amazing from start to finish.  The closer you look into its pages, the more amazing it becomes! God’s word is the truth! When the principles of the Word pop up in your mind at just the right time to apply to everyday life, it is an experience that is very exciting.

I was recently thinking through Moses’s life and reactions and I saw some great connections to many of the concepts in Philippians. In the Old Testament, God spoke to certain individuals. God’s relationship made Moses more than adequate to deal with helping the children of Israel get out from under Pharaoh’s control. Moses had lived a unique life of ups and downs. His life speaks out to us because through Christ we too have a spiritual connection with God. Paul said about his own life:

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I used to think that these verses involved the gritting of teeth and bearing down. Paul says he learned and ‘was instructed in’, that no matter what happened to him, he could be content. What part of gritting your teeth exemplifies contentment? I think there is a deeper lesson here other than our own performance. It is about believing what God has done for us. We’ve been given the gift of holy spirit and the truth.  Our spirit changes us from the inside out, not the outside in. Real, true contentment comes from knowing we are loved by God and resting in that love and in the truth. Then whatever (involving abasing and abounding) comes our way can be held out to God and we can count on entering into His rest. We have so much to be thankful for:

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

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