I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:10-11

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Living sold out {with JOY}

Am I sold out for Christ?
       Would I be willing to be imprisoned for the sake of the gospel?
                          Is my goal in life to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What is my motivation for ministry... love or selfish ambition?

These are some of the questions I faced this week as I continued my journey through Philippians.

The focus of week 2 was God’s Purpose in Paul’s Imprisonment :Philippians 1: 12- 18

Here are some truths I gleaned:
verses 12- 14
12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Paul defended the gospel of Christ whatever it cost him and he served in a way that encouraged others to live life in the same manner-- courageously and fearlessly.

Is it clear to all around me that I live my life for Christ?  
Even during the challenging times? 
Are others encouraged to live for Christ by looking at my life?

 verses 15- 18
 15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.c 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice

God's word is more powerful than human agenda and he can use any circumstance to bring glory and honour to himself.

Paul can rejoice even in hard times... his joy comes from serving God... it is a DECISION to be joyful (he has decided ahead of time that he will "continue to rejoice", not knowing what lies ahead).

What is my motivation for serving God?
                         LOVE or SELFISH AMBITION?
                                           Am I choosing to rejoice?
                                                 ... even during the challenging times?

Have you met with God this week? What has He taught you this week as you have dug into his Word?  Remember it is life changing!

Click here to see what others are learning on this journey through Philippians.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Verse by Verse, Word by Word...

I am studying the book of Philippians...
                     very slowly...

                      and memorizing it...
                                       even more slowly.

But I am enjoying every verse, every word.  It is  a complete change of pace from reading the bible in 90 days!  I I have been reading through chapter one for almost a month (trying to memorize it for even longer... this mommy brain is truly getting a work out!) 

Katie from Do Not Depart has started a Bible Study on the Book of Philippians.  The plan is to go through the book over 12 weeks using a study guide which you can find here on Inspired to Action.  In addition Katie will be sharing her thoughts on the weekly reading.

Here are some of my thoughts from this week's reading:

Phil: 1:1-4

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseersa and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 

  1. vs 1 Paul saw himself as a servant of Jesus Christ- a servant,  (Greek: douloi) one who belongs to someone else with out ANY ownership rights of their own.I kept asking myself " Am I that committed to Christ?"  With Christ it is all or nothing, you can't be a partial servant.  My prayer is that I will completely surrender to Christ in EVERY area of my life.
  2. vs 2 My master is one who gives grace and peace:
    1. Grace- (Greek: charis)  means God freely extending himself--- giving himself    away to us.  Doesn't that paint a beautiful picture? That is exactly what Christ did on the cross- gave himself away.. how then can I not surrender to him?
    2. Peace- (Greek: eirene from eiro): to join/ into a whole.  Peace is God's gift of wholeness.  I LOVE THAT... I can be whole through God.  When I am stressed out, feeling overwhelmed, sick, tired...  I have to remember God makes me WHOLE!
  3. vs 3 Paul is thankful (Greek: eucharisteo) and joyful (Greek: chara) in his thankfulness. Notice the Greek?- Grace- charis, Joy- chara: both found in thankfulness- euCHARISteo.  I can find joy and grace in giving thanks.  It is no accident that I am reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts and keeping a gratitude journal at the same time that I am studying Philippians- that is truly God directed!
There was so much more I gleaned this week but don't have time to share!  Why don't you dig in for yourself and allow the Word to transform you.   God's word is truly ALIVE and becoming more and more precious to me... verse by verse, word by word.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lessons from Life #1: Stay on Track

Marcus is 10 months old now and one of the things he does is crawl around, following me around the house like little ones tend to, especially when he wants something.  He will also crawl to me when I call his name and motion for him to come to me.  This evening I wanted him to follow me from the kitchen to the living room.

"Come with Mommy, Marcus!"
         He started off strong... looking right at me, smiling and bounding towards me...

...about three steps later something on the floor caught his attention.

Again I called and motioned " Come Marcus, follow Mommy!"
                 He looked up smiled and continued to follow...

... until two steps later something else caught his attention and he was about to circle around and go the other way.

                                  "No Marcus, come this way!"

This continued on, stopping and starting for several more steps until eventually I bent down and picked him up and carried him to the couch.

As I reflected on that it made me think of my spiritual journey.

God calls me to something, maybe a ministry, a job he has for me, a discipline or habit he wants to form in my life.   At first I happily follow with energy and vigor... full steam ahead!

      Then sometimes I get distracted along the way.  I get tired, life gets in the way.  I take my eyes off my Father.

                   He calls me back to Him.

Over and over.
        He never gets tired.
               And when the journey gets long or difficult
                                       He gently reaches down and carries me. 

Can you relate?  Have you been distracted lately?

                    Focus on God.
                              He will restore you and renew your strength.
                                                                         He will keep you on track

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Heb 12:2

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31