Friday, April 28, 2006

On the lighter side...

"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." (Phil. 4:2)

Paul beseeches both individually to put away their squabbles. Apparantly unity and humility of mind seems to be the (or a) central theme of Philippians. God did not tell us the details of their rift, but through Paul, instructed them (and us) what to do about trifles. Their altercation caught God's attention to the point where He addressed them directly in this one verse. Could you imagine their reaction upon recieving this letter and then later having to realize that it was going to be copied and circulated to other churches? Could you imagine one of their grand kids: "Grandma, why are you mentioned in Paul's church-missions-thank-you letter?" Since the Bible is inspired and preserved, we have that to read and for generations to come. God is really interested in reconciliation. What is amazing is that God did not delve into the details of their disagreement. It seems to me that we have such an Adamic propensity to 'check out' things we have no business 'checking out' anyway.

Now "on the lighter side..."

I exercized my Adamic nature to check out what happened. No luck. The verse really did not tell us what, when, where, why and how (except for what needs to be done about it). BUT it did tell us WHO. So I checked out every 'language tool' in my e-sword (BTW, a big thanks to Mr. Meyers for making such a tool possible). I did get a kick when Strong's Concordence labeled the name meanings for these ladies:

Euodias - means 'fine travelling.'
Syntyche - means 'an accident.'

hmm...reconciling that could be difficult.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God's man our example

"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example." (Phil. 3:17)

"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." (Phil. 4:9)

Many, especially young people, in our present culture are emulating the worse elements in society. Although that is true, our 'church-culture' should demonstrate a stark contrast. God has given gifts to each church for the growth of each saint (or believer) within that body. The pastor-teacher or the pastor is God's man who sets the example for the church to follow. This is a heavy responsibility on his part, but it goes with the vocation. This is part of the reason why having godly standards for God's man is important. He leads by example. I have always been thankful to the men of God that the Lord has put in my life to care for my soul. I must say "Praise be to God," since I have truly been blessed to have the right example put before me from the time I trusted in Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Smells like apostasy

"(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)" (Phil. 3:18-19)

Apostasy is a hard road. Even today we hear or read of 'preachers' (or 'Evangelists') who claim to be "Christian" and yet deny the fundamental doctrine of eternal retribution (or Hell). Others claim to be "Christian" and yet their music mimics the 'world system' in style and emotion. Whether they preach or sing, they have one foot in the world and another 'in' the Lord. What is the result? Among other verses in the Bible, Paul declares here that their end is 'destruction' (or to perish). Whereas before they were known to be 'ok', now they are called 'enemies of the cross of Christ.' What a warning! I think it should cause us to shudder to think that people who 'claim' to know Christ, may not even end up being with Christ.

Friday, April 21, 2006


"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." (Phil. 3:2)

Since I am looking at reoccuring themes in Philippians, heres one that caught my attention. "Beware!" Three times in one verse we are warned to watch out for somethings. I would consider that being a reoccuring theme or at least a thought. I believe that Paul is warning the Philippian church about the heresy of what we now call "Judaism." I think Judaism is attempting to gain God's grace through adhering to the various laws in the Old Testament. Verse 1 says "to write the same things to you, to me is not grevious, but for you it is safe." Therefore obviously this issue is something that Paul has dealt with in the past. Can you say "Galatians?" These are some pretty bad descriptions to help us see their spiritual condition and work.
1. Dogs - This one floored me. The idea conveyed here is that of dogs in the 'east' and a time when they really were not 'domesticated.' Barnes gives us this pretty graphic observation:
"Dogs in the east are mostly without masters; they wander at large in the streets and fields, and feed upon offals, and even upon corpses; compare 1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19. They are held as unclean, and to call one a dog is a much stronger expression of contempt there than with us; 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Kings8:13. " The chain reference in my study Bible links this verse to Galatians 5:15 "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
2. Evil workers - they toil, they put forth effort, they labor BUT they are described as 'evil' or 'ill' or in other words 'bad.' Doubtless refering to the same people as 'dogs.'
3. Concision - or 'mutilation' (Strong). Paul pokes at them by calling their sacred act of circumcision as 'mutilation.' They really are convinced that God's grace is bestowed upon them because of an outward act. Verse 3 brings it home "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." The object of our worship is God and our confidence and rejoicing is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Joy and Rejoicing

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice." (Phil. 4:4)

Joy is mentioned 6x in Philippians and rejoice is mentioned 10x. Certainly one of the reoccuring themes of Philippians is this matter of rejoicing. Rejoice means to be well or to be glad. Understanding the background and circumstances of Paul in writing this epistle should help us to see that Christians can even in difficult times 'rejoice.' I think a key to rejoicing is the object of our joy. So that if we joy in the Lord, then we can rejoice even in hard times. Our source of joy is the Lord. And when things change, we know that God does not change. We know He is in control and is always desiring and working out that which is best for us. God is a loving Father, and since by faith we are His children, He will care for us as a father does his children, and even better than that, because He is far more excellent in His character than we are towards each other.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two exemplary men in Philippians 2

Timothy and Epaphroditus are mentioned in ch.2 of Philippians with some interesting charecteristics. Every man of God needs someone of like mind and passion to carry out the work that God has called him to. In this case we have Timothy and Epaphroditus.

Timothy -
1. "The servant(s) of Jesus Christ" (ch. 1:1)
2. "Likeminded, who will naturally care for your state" (ch. 2:20)
3. "he served with me in the gospel" (ch. 2:22)
4. The manner of Timothy's service with Paul is likened unto a "son with the father" (ch. 2:22) - What a wonderful pattern for assistant pastors to follow. We get the priveledge of serving along side God's man, and render submission to him as a son renders to his father.

Epaphroditus -
1. "My brother" - I believe that to be a spiritual bond. (ch. 2:25)
2. "Companion in labor" (2:25)
3. "fellowsoldier" (2:25)
4. "your messanger" (2:25)
5. "he ministered to my wants" (2:25)
6. The next set of verses explains how he longed to be with them.

What tremendous examples of helpers that we can aspire to become for the glory of God.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mind your manners

"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" (Phil. 1:27)
"Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." (Phil. 2:2)
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Phil. 2:3)
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Phil. 2:5)
"For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." (Phil. 2:20)
"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. " (Phil. 3:15-16)
"Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)" (Phil. 3:19)
"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." (Phil. 4:2)
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7)
I think that one of the reoccuring themes in Philippians has to do with the mind. I praise the Lord that God is very interested in our mind. After all, God is to be loved with all of our mind.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Resurrection: Our basis for service

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:58)

The context of I Corinthians 15 deals with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the end of this great chapter we find the fact that because Jesus' tomb is empty (or vain) that all of our labor for the Lord is not vain. Our faith is not in vain, our saved loved ones who died, are not dead in vain. The Scriptures are not written in vain. The fact of the Resurrection should bolster us to continue to serve the Lord. We are called to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding, and because we serve a risen Savior we can do the work that He has called us to do in the manner that He wants us to do it in.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Taking a trip

I haven't blogged anything for quite some time now. BUT thats ok. Spring changes everything! (at least that's what SEARS advertises).
Marcia (my wife) played for a friend's wedding (Micheal Roadcup and Stephanie Gardner) yesterday. I got a chance to see some friends from Fairhaven Baptist College and even some who have already graduated. I also saw Pastor Gardner and Pastor Roadcup and their wives. What a wonderful crowd. I loved hearing about the good reports from some of the grads and how excited they are about being in the ministry. I love the fact that they are 'spiritually minded' and how they love what they are doing. It is certainly refreshing to know that they want to serve the Lord and do something significant for God. I am also thankful to be able to make new friends from this occasion. Pastor Gardner's parents are a riot, especially "Grandma Gardner." I also met their entire clan (grandkids and 'Uncle Lonie' - he is a mess - but everyone knows it).
My parents flew from the Philippines to Boise, ID and Marcia and I are flying out April 10th, Monday to meet them and spend a week with my family. This will be a wonderful time. Right now I am very thankful for my father in law (Randy Starr) for giving me tips of where to go for scenic drives and byways, as well as Canyons and Falls. I am looking forward to this wonderful getaway. Especially because I will get to see my folks again, my sister, her husband and kids, and my brother. I am praying for wisdom, because I want to present the Gospel correctly and clearly, and I am praying for their conversion.
When we get back we are going to have our children's Easter program for Sunday morning. And a week after that we are having special meetings at 7:00 nightly with Pastor Mike Allison. And after that we are going to have our 3rd Annual Pine Car Derby. These are just a few of the things that are on the cooker for April, most of which is evangelistic in nature.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

A common temptation

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Phil. 2:4)

There is a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things. Strife (meaning faction or contention), vainglory (meaning empty glory, or self-conciet). Here we are warned by Paul to watch out for these attitudes in our attempt to serve the Lord. The danger is that we can spin our wheels to serve the Lord with all meaninglessness, and accomplish nothing. If we don't purposefully think about these things we could be in danger of falling into these subtle traps. In essence we become what we abhor, when we forget to fight the good fight of faith.