Thursday, December 6, 2018

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. Philippians 2:22

Is this what your church looks like? Probably not, but bless those who come out in the snow to this simple place of worship. It never matters what the building is like, since we are the tabernacle, the dwelling place of the Lord. 

Every one of us could use a Timothy in our lives. Someone who understands where we have been and why we think the way we do. Paul is mighty blessed to have a young man who is dedicated to his care. Maybe Timothy knows this is his calling for God?

Timothy takes over the church in Ephesus while Paul is in prison,but I'm jumping ahead here. I think this young man is called and set apart to serve the Lord, and he isn't looking out just for himself either.

The young man sat with the Apostle Paul and learned much from the seasoned leader. I can see them now sitting together in Paul's house while under house arrest. "Now Timothy, make sure you tell all of my friends to visit me. I know I'm far away but I'll make it worth their time. I'll find a place for them to sleep somewhere!"

Timothy hurriedly writes every word so he remembers each command. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was probably flowing from Paul like river over a cliff. Oh, how I wish I could have been there to hear Paul's words and instructions.

When I get to heaven, I will ask Paul to tell me what was said. I might not remember this particular verse, because I'm sure I will have lots of questions for everyone. Who do you want to find first and what will you ask them?

Jesus is the first one I want to talk to, and rightfully so,  He is the King. Can you imagine having access to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Wait a second, I already do! Yes, but this is different. I will see Him face to face. 

I can't imagine I will be able to formulate words, so forget about questions. Do you think about what heaven will be like? The Bible is full of answers for us. Why not find some facts today in God's Word? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:21 NIV

Do you remember being a child in someone's arms? I can't quite bring a memory up but I know I was, and you were too. What was life like at age 5? Most likely ego centric, and now oriented. I pray, as I am an adult I do not ever act this way.

Having a giving heart begins when we look outside ourselves to those around us, I guess about age 13 as I recall. I remember being in History class and the teacher was enthusiatic about her subject. I recall all of a sudden being aware of other places and people, and I wanted to know more.

It was an awakening for me of life outside the four walls of my home and school. I feel bad Paul says no one is caring for the cause of Christ.  He is inside the four walls, and  he may be feeling the world to be a small place at the moment.

Perhaps it refers to a specific situation we don't know about, or is it a general insight he has? 

As I read Paul's other letters I have to say He must be referring to a specific situation. Maybe he is tired of being in jail, and he feels no one is doing what needs to be done. His perspective may be tanited by the surroundings at the moment.

Perhaps he isn't updated on the progress of the work of the Lord, but we know it was happening. Anyone can have an off day. I'm sure he wasn't having any picnics chained to a palace guard. 

We are not going to take this verse out of context and develop some theory about the man. God knows enough of this sort of thing has happened over the ages. We will let him be. We can enjoy this man for what he was, a true disciple of Christ. How many millions has he influenced for Christ? Maybe I can ask him when we meet!

Monday, December 3, 2018

I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. Philippians 2:20 NIV

Can you believe the weather today? It is 58 degrees in New York on December 3. I have never experienced this. If you are south of us this may not seem like a big deal, but it is. I went outside with my pruning shears and trimmed my hydrangeas!

I was in the car about 10 minutes ago, and my daughter Stephanie called to tell me she lost our puppy in the woods. Our golden retreiver is having surgery on is hind leg today for a torn ligament. He will be in the hospital for two days. The dog scenerio is ridiculous, and the saga continues.

Those of you who are empty nesters can laugh because you remember being in this place. My Lena passed almost two weeks ago, and now I'm back at the Veterinary Hospital. Some years are like this. I praise God we can have such lovely animals.

The time we have with loved ones, animals or human, is only temporary. Chaos has no hold on me because I know it is temporary. I walk with God regardless.When I feel weak, I lean in to Him a lot more. This is how we learn His faithfulness. 

God has given us precious relationships to show us His love. Paul is thankful for Timothy because he cares for the church at Phillipi with the same intensity Paul does. Paul is blessed by the loyality of his friend. God uses people in our lives to the extent we allow him. 

Some of us have been hurt by others and are hesitant to allow help, and not everyone is trust-worthy. We will know others by their fruit. How consistent is another's concern for you? 

Yesterday our Pastor shared about giving and the first thing he said was he wasn't talking about money. Often we think of our monetary giving in a church setting, but God has given us many other gifts we need to share. Time, compassion, listening, are only a few of what we all need. If we are friendly to those around us, eventually friendship will be returned. Thanks for listening to me today.

Friday, November 30, 2018 I hope in the Lord Jesus Christ to send Timothy ...

I hope in the Lord Jesus Christ to send Timothy ...
: I hope in the Lord Jesus Christ to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. Philippians 2:19 NI...

I hope in the Lord Jesus Christ to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. Philippians 2:19 NIV

Thank God for the Timothy's in life. Paul relied on him to keep the communication open between Philippi and Rome. Remember, Paul didn't have the luxury of texting and phone calls. 

The rich had messengers who ran from one city to the next with information, but Paul wasn't in any means able to afford this, I think. It was 700 to 1,200 miles from Rome to Philippi, depending on the route chosen. A GPS wasn't any help in this venture either!

Wow! This was an amazing trip. One would have to travel to the boot of Italy, across the Adriatic Sea, and across Macedonia by foot I imagine. Maybe an occasional ride on the back of a stranger's cart. And we think travel is hard today?

Things didn't happen fast, and sickness could take a life in a matter of days. It could be weeks before news could travel about the welfare of a loved one far away. These things we take for granted in our modern day.

Patience was understood as a way of life because no one knew any different. Prayer and trust in the Lord was a huge part of a believer's life. There wasn't anyone else to trust in. No medical science to hope in. No doctor who could relieve pain. 

 Jesus was sought after because He had the ability to heal. Those who followed in the ways of God after His ascention were sought after too. Healing of body and mind are great needs in our day too.
No much has changed in this respect.

The answer is still the same. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

Thursday, November 29, 2018

So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:18 NIV

Psalm 19:1 says; "The heavens declare the glory of God;"and this picture reminds me of this. All of nature speaks to me of His hand and His ways. His hand on my life and yours. I can see God working in those around me. Attitudes have changed, and peace has replaced worry and fear.

Can you remember a time when you were worried about something and you asked for prayer from a friend or family member? What was it, and how did the situation end? Maybe you can't remember the details, but you remember how it made you feel.

God wants to remove even the emotions behind our seasons of fear. We will remember the situation, but we don't have to live with the pain any longer. Jesus came to remove all worry and fear so why hold on to it? Freedom is what he purchased for us!

Rejoicing and being glad is something we hear about more at Christmas time than any other season. Maybe it's hard this year because a loved one is gone, or sick. Give thanks for the good things. No one says you have to sing and dance when life gets tough.

God knows your pain and feels it too. I can't imagine a love like His. Even though He knew all about us, He still wanted to come to earth. His passion and desire to set us free over - powered the knowledge of the pain He would endure.

Paul connected with Jesus when he said he was willing to die for his faith. How many martyrs has endured suffering and pain for the sake of the cross? Why would anyone do such a thing? The truth is worth dying for. My Pastor says "If you are willing to live for Jesus, you will die for Him."

I believe he is right. We may never have to do this, but when our hearts are for Jesus, we give our all. Who else holds all things in the palm of His hand? I know not one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. Philippians 2:17

A selfless life. Paul understood what his life was about. He was declaring the truth of Jesus Christ no matter what. It was part of who God made him. He was an all or nothing kind of guy.

We see this before his spiritual transformation. He was determined to find those who had left the faith of Juduism,  and put them in jail for treason. He would not relent from punishing christians. He was a Rabbi, who knew the law, and would not tolerate anything else in place of God.

This is why Jesus pursued Paul.  He had the tenisity and will power to do for God what others might not. Paul saw in Jesus Christ the fulfillment of every law and need of humankind. Of course he needed a great awakening first, by way of a horse and blindness, but he got the message.

I believe Paul felt he was serving God by condemning christians. His intentions were to honor God, but he was a bit misplaced. His devotion and love for the Savior were genuine, and complete once he saw Jesus. I guess I can be the same way at times; turned around and without focus on what God truly desires.

I don't do this on purpose. It happens when I'm not careful. God pulls me in to himself, and holds me close when I realize I may have moved from where I truly want to be. I  never want to waiver from being close but it can happen so quickly. Of course, He hasn't moved, it was me.

  Paul must have felt shame after he realized he had been attacking the very people God was trying to establish! What would that have been like for him, I don't know. Did he live with feelings of guilt for a while? Time heals all wounds, it is said. I do know he was forgiven and loved by God so it wasn't an issue. 

Here in verse 17, we see Paul is ready to die for his fellow saints in the Lord. They are his family not his enemy. Transformation done God's way is eternal. I  think Paul would be grateful to God for stopping him from self destructon, as all of us are when we realize where our own efforts would get us.

Thank God today for loving you even before you walked in His ways. What a truly awesome, loving, compassionate God He is!