Monday, April 30, 2007

Philippians Part 1

I am studying the book of Philippians and want to share some insights which I am learning through this great Book in the New Testament. My Pastor has preached through this book in the past and I have heard others speak on it, but am enjoying studying it for myself. Philippians has been very challenging to me.

First, I want to look at the Apostle Paul, the writer of Philippians. Things I have observed from Chapter One and can learn from Paul:
1. Have a heart for the Gospel. Live you life worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27-30)
2. See life through the lens of Christ.
3. Always seek to honor Christ with my body. (Phil. 1:19-21)
4. I should be in conflict with anything in opposition to Christ.

Next, All things are done for the Gospel! The Gospel was at the heart of Paul's ministry. All of life was to be lived in light of the Gospel.
His imprisonment was-
1. To advance the gospel (Phil. 1:12) How often do we have a "pity party" when something goes wrong in our life, yet it can be viewed so differently. God can use what is going on in our lives to advance His Gospel!
2. To confirm the Gospel (Phil 1:15-16)

He also calls for the Philippians, as well as me-
1.To live a life worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27)
2.To strive for faith in the Gospel (Phil 1:27)
Paul was talking to the Philippians in that passage, but I think that the truth applies to the lives of believers today as well. We should be living lives that make the Gospel beautiful, lives that make God look great. We also should be "striving for faith" with our fellow believers.

Lastly, we will look at joy.
1. Joy comes through prayer. (Phil 1:3, 18b-19)
2. Joy comes through faith. (Phil1:25)
Our circumstances should not steal our joy. Joy is something deeper than where we are in life, it is rooted in our faith!

I look forward to learning more and sharing what I learn.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

What a HUGE Disappointment!

Last night we rented the movie One Night With the King. I had been looking forward to seeing this movie because I love the Biblical account of Esther . It is an amazing story of how God takes care of His people and how He uses ordinary people to do incredible things. So... we rented it. I had not really followed the reviews when the movie first came out and I was not even sure if it would be good. Well, that leads us to the title of this post "What a HUGE disappointment!!"

First of all, the entire focus of the movie was not on God, nor did it follow the Scriptures (they did have some facts, but they were few). I think a more appropriate title would have been Haman and His Revenge or The Jewish Necklace. My choice for these two titles would be for the fact that the plot of this movie seemed to be only about those things. Haman was angry and wanted revenge on the Jews and Esther had a necklace that when it was in the light, it would show the star of David.

I am ok with them adding in some conversations that seem to be relevant. We do not know some of the exact words that were spoken because the Bible does not give "word for word" all of the time. But they completely changed parts of the story that were very important. The movie added characters that were not needed and frustrated me beyond belief!

I do not know why we feel that we need to add or take things away from the Bible. It is jammed full of action, love, failing, victory, battle, romance, truth, evil, good... you name it and it is in the Bible. So why would we need to change any of it. The story I watched last night was meaningless and very heartbreaking to me. The truth that is in God's Word is so amazing. It breaks my heart that they made it seem so trivial and pointless.

So needless to say, I did not like the movie- if you couldn't tell!

I pray that we do not make the same mistake when we read and study God's Word. We need not add or subtract anything from it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Books for Women

My heart yearns to know how to be a godly woman, mother, and wife. As Titus two tells us, older women are to mentor us and help us to love our husbands and children.

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

I believe that several women have tried to help us to live out those scriptures. I have been challenged, informed, and encouraged by reading books related to being a virtuous woman. So I will recommend the following books.

The Excellent Wife is a wonderful book written by Martha Peace. This book is very difficult to read because you will be convicted and challenged to be a woman with a Biblical perspective on your marriage and life. She does a great job of taking God's word and explaining it.

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney is an excellent book. This book is not only for wives and mothers, but I think that all women who want to be virtuous can read this and lean how to love and treat others. She basis the book on Titus 2 and goes through seven virtues of being a Godly wife and mother. I have read this book several times and have been reminded of what God has called me to be.


For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn is a book that tells you "what you need to know about the inner lives of men". That is exactly what she writes about. She spoke with men, made surveys, and interviewed men of all ages, believers and non-believers, and came up with this great book to help us. My husband gave it to me for Christmas and I was hesitant to read it, but I am very glad that I did. We had many great conversations about how he thinks. There was a lot that I did not know! I think that God used this book to change my actions so that I can help my husband more.

These are only three books that I have enjoyed reading. I am sure that there are more written on this subject. I would encourage women to read these books along with the Bible and seek out what it means to be a Godly woman. Always remembering that God's Word is the final authority!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

E-bay, Bowling, Victory Dessert!



My husband, Glenn, has gotten me into bowling. I am not very good, but he says I am improving. My average was 80 but I have improved to 97. All that to say last weekend I actually bowled a 152!! I was amazed.

Bowling is in many ways parallel to our lives. You have to work hard, practice, sometimes you mess up royally, but there are those sweet victories!

What does this have to do with e-bay and dessert you may ask? Well, we have been selling things on e-bay so we can have some extra spending money. We also made a deal that if we won our games we could celebrate with a dessert. So last weekend we both got high scores and won our games, we sold things on e-bay, and we were able to get a great victory dessert!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Marriage


Many people do not value the sanctity of marriage anymore. Movies and T.V. mock the union. There are always jokes about nagging wives or lazy husbands, but God's word has called us to have a different attitude and approach to this sacred covenant that we call marriage. John Piper recently preached several sermons on marriage. I was both encouraged and challenged to be a better wife after listening/reading his words.

Here is one of his sermons. You can watch, listen, or read it. May God change our thinking about marriage through His Word.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Great Book

I have been reading a wonderful book by Noel Piper, Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God. It is great for those who enjoy reading about heroes of the faith. She writes about Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter. Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare. Some of these women I had never heard of before, but their lives are extraordinary. God used them to do many great things for His kingdom. It makes me long to serve Him with all that I have! These were women who lived out the truths of the Bible and sought the Lord with all that they had. They lived lives of faith that we can all learn from. May God help us to be faithful for the generations to come!

This is a great book that I would recommend women to read- or anyone who is interested in seeing God work through His people.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Too Easily Satisfied

I have been thinking a lot about how we do "church" lately and our attitude of Christianity. I have many mixed emotions and often wonder what does God think about all of it. What does He think of our meager attempts at life?

We know from scripture that the church is the Body of Christ. (
1 Corinthians 12:12-27) We are also the temple within which His Spirit dwells. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) So why does the worship service at church feel like some kind of game. We get dressed up, put on a show for others (pretending that all is fine in our lives- we never sin...), and then do the same thing every Sunday. We sing and listen. I am not saying that any of this is wrong, but it feels all to rehearsed. We have everything so well thought out and planned, but it seems like we forget what it is all about. I do understand that we cannot just enter corporate worship without some kind of structure..but something is missing.

All of life is an act of worship. Everything that we do is to glorify God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)We are to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So why does a normal church service seem so odd to me? What more should be happening? Are we settling for what our culture says church should look like?

We are too easily satisfied with small things. I know that God wants for us to enjoy everything He has given us, that is not what I mean. What I am saying is that we are satisfied with small worship of a Big God! It is so evident in the way that many of us live. Take His word for example. God's word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and when it is preached, it changes lives. The Holy Spirit uses it to transform our hearts, lives, thoughts: our entire being. But how do we treat the Scriptures? Most do not even read them.

Back in the Reformation, we broke away from the Catholic Church, but many still live like we did not. Many reformers died and were in horrible situations so that they could have their own copy of God's Word so they could read it and know Him. We go to church and expect the pastor to tell us about God's word and never read it for ourselves. It is as if we still have a Priest being our mediator between us and God. Why? Christ is our mediator, our Priest and we should be doing all we can to know Him, but we do not. We are satisfied with a little bit of God here and there. Where is our hunger? Where is the passion that we should have for the Creator of the Universe? Now not everyone can be a theologian (nor has God called us all to be), but why do we not even try to understand God's word. So many people are walking around, claiming the name of Christ, yet they never seek to know Him through His word. They are satisfied with what other people tell them and that is all they need. Why?

What about our view of our own sin? How small we see it as, if we even see it at all. Without the Word read, how can there be conviction? All of this affects our worship.

In the Old Testament, people went to the temple to offer sacrifices for their sins and to worship God for His presence dwelt there. When Christ came all of that changed, He made a way for us to be with God anywhere. God's presence was not in a building, but would live within the hearts of His people. So why do we not live that out? We should come into His presence with humble hearts, wanting to hear from God. Wanting to die to our sins. Not just at church, but all the time. I have a hard time seeing our joy, sorrow, despair, excitement... anything in the community of Christ. Church has become something we do instead of an act of worship. Life is just what we do, instead of worship.

We spend all our time at work, school, on the Internet, watching t.v., running here and there and to what purpose? Is what we are doing glorifying to God or ourselves? We are too satisfied with the world and our culture and we are missing out on knowing our Lord.

God is calling us to more. We are called to live in a community, to be the body, to love each other ( John 13:34) and His Word, to walk in the truth (1 John 1:5-10), to seek God ( Deuteronomy 4:29) and love Him with all that we are (Deuteronomy 6:5).... The list could go on. Let's change our hearts and love the lives that God has called us to live. Let us love His word and desire to know it. Let us not play church anymore- but come with humble repentant hearts that are transparent. Let us not be satisfied with anything but knowing God and enjoying Him, let that affect all that we are and how we live.