Friday, December 26, 2008

Philippians 3:12-14

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas!

Some of you may still be celebrating and that's a good thing, too!

Let's get back into our routine and let's

turn our channels back to the "Philippians" channel.

We are looking at Philippians 3:12-14

(Verse 12) "Not that I have already obtained all this, of have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."

(Verse 13) "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,"

(Verse 14) "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

In the first half of Chapter 3, we were reminded that we are declared righteous

not because of religious activities, but as a result of a relationship with the

Redeemer. Paul made it very clear that the seven items on his spiritual resume,

though pretty impressive, were really rubbish

compared with knowing Christ.

Here are the 7 "items":

1. Ritual
2. Relationship
3. Respectability
4. Race
5. Religion
6. Reputation
7. Righteousness

As we look at the second half of Philippians 3,

we will see that Paul balances these seven items with seven essentials for running

and winning the Christian race.

The 7 Essential for running this race of life are:

1.) Dissatisfaction (Phil. 3:12a)
2.) Devotion (Phil. 3:12b)
3.) Direction (Phil. 3:13)
4.) Determination(Phil. 3:14)
5.) Discipline (Phil. 3:15-16)
6.) Discipleship (Phil. 3:17-19)
7.) Delight (Phil. 3:20-4:1)

We will look at the first 4 this week.

1.) Dissatisfaction: The first essential to a solid spiritual life may surprise you.

In order to run the race and keep moving forward,

we must be dissatisfied with where we are right now.

Paul had some incredible experiences –

**He met Jesus on the road to Damascus

**He was caught up into the third heaven and heard
“inexpressible things”

(2 Corinthians 12:4),

**He wrote a number of letters, preached incredible sermons

and yet, after walking with Christ for about 25 years,

he was not satisfied with the status of his spiritual life.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect…”

If you want to really grow,

the first step is to admit how far you still have to go.


Do we want to stay in the "greenhouse", where someone else feeds us?

Some of us do not go outside of our greenhouse,

our comfort zone with the perfect

temperature. We do not go outside of our greenhouse

and plant ourselves

in the fertile soil of the world where many need to hear about our Savior.

In that "outside world" we may have wind, rain, storms, hot, cold, and tornadoes...

but our roots are solidly intertwined with our foundation, our belief system,

our world view and our love for God and we survive and prosper and grow!!

In fact, we are multiplied and parts of us are planted in new growths and new

works for God! That would be what I would call mentoring...

2.) Devotion: The tendency for some of us is to just give up when we realize

how far we have
tripped up.

Paul didn’t do that.

His dissatisfaction led him to become more devoted:

One of Charles Spurgeon’s mottos was this:
“I hold and am held.”

The Lord had seized Paul and now Paul was determined

to serve His Savior for the rest of his life.

Are you giving maximum effort in your spiritual life,

or are you a Christian on cruise control?

Turn your dissatisfaction into devotion!

3.) Direction: In the spiritual life, direction makes all the difference!

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..."

One thing...One thing...

Paul had a single-minded focus.

What "one thing" do you do?

Too many of us are too involved in too many things.

Yes, we have many obligations with our families and jobs.

But we are speaking of spiritual things.

What "one thing" do you determine in your heart that you will never lose

your single-minded focus on regarding your love for the Lord?

In order for Paul to have that tremendous focus...

He had to forget what was in his past.

Paul had plenty of reasons to feel guilty.

After all, he had persecuted Christians.

(Acts 22:4)

Some of you are so tied to the troubles of your past,

that you are not moving in any direction anywhere in the present.

We do not allow our past to control our present.

We may not be able to wipe out all of the memories,

but we can break the power of the past by allowing God to fill our

minds with His Word and our worship to Him.

Remember what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back.

(Genesis 19:26)

You cannot run forward by looking backward.

In a Daily Bread devotional called “Seeing or Remembering,” there’s a story about a man who was slowly losing his memory. The doctor told him that surgery might reverse this condition and restore his memory but a nerve might be severed in the process, causing total blindness. The surgeon asked the patient: “What would you rather have, your sight or your memory?” The man pondered the question for a few minutes and then replied, “My sight, because I would rather see where I’m going than remember where I’ve been.”

Do you see where you’re going or are you tripped up by the trash of your past?

4.) Determination: Paul not only turns his dissatisfaction into devotion

and is headed in the right direction;

he also demonstrates determination in
verse 14:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

"Press On" ~ bearing down to win...

Apparently there’s a tombstone at the foot of one of those majestic

mountains in the Alps to honor the memory of a man who fell to his death

while attempting to climb to the top.
See full size image

Underneath the individual’s name the epitaph reads,
“He died climbing.”

That’s what should be said of each of us.

We’re to pursue the prize with dogged determination,

so that when we die, we’re already on the way up!

How many of us surround ourselves with people who are determined?

How many of us surround ourselves with people whose direction is forward

and not backward?

How many of us surround ourselves with people who are devoted to God?

How many of us surround ourselves with people who are dissatisfied with

the way they are running their race and want to strive to do better and have

a hunger for the things of God?

When we do this, then we can step out of our greenhouse and plant ourselves

in the worldly soil and win souls to Christ. Amen.

Until next week,

Debbie G.

>Sermon "Pressing On When The Pressure's On" by Brian Bill

Christmas Story

Here it is the Christmas Story!
Sorry, it's late, YouTube didn't want to upload for me yesterday!

Merry Christmas from Pastor Bob and Debbie

The video below was labored over by my husband for many hours.

He recorded voices of 3 of our grandchildren, 3 children at our church...

and several children at the Home School Music Classes that he teaches

on Thursdays!

I am so happy with how it turned out...

I did NOTHING to help, except giving some "armchair quarterbacking"!

Thank you, my dear, for your labor of love!

(Please turn off my Playlist on the lower left hand side to hear the video :D...)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Hello Everyone!

No...this is not the Christmas video my sweet husband is working on for Christmas

Day, but I just found this on GodTube and wanted to share it with you!!

Please turn off my Play List on the left sidebar to enjoy the video!

So funny...except for the tree catching on fire...not funny...

See you on Christmas Day!!

Debbie G.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Please Check In On Christmas Day!

Hello Everyone!

Please stay tuned until Christmas Day!!!

We (mainly my sweet husband...) are working on a special video!!

Then, that Friday the 26th, we will resume with our study on the wonderful Book of Joy ~


How are you doing with your joy?

How are you doing with being content in whatever circumstance you find yourself in?

Let's try our best to have an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness for even our every

breath as we countdown to the JOYous celebration of our Savior and Redeemer!!

May the God of Peace be with you, Amen.

Debbie G.

P.S. Plz turn off my Playlist to view and hear these Christmas cards! Thank you.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Philippians 3:10-11

Hello Everyone!

This Ken Davis video is a "shout out" to my girls....when he talks about not being

able "to move"
during the church service!! (Please turn off the music on my Playlist

on the left side bar ~ click the top left hand square.)

hmmmm....I wonder who would EVER tell their girls that.....let's see.......??????

Oh well, moving (pun intended) right along>>>>>>>>

Our Scripture verses for this week:

Verse 10 ~ "I want to know Christ and the poser of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like His in his death,

Verse 11 ~ and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."


Here is a man who you would think would KNOW Christ...

But he is saying that he wants to know Christ....

This gives us all hope that are all in the same boat...

All of us, mature or babies in Christ...

should have the ever growing desire to know Him.

Below is a derivative of a sermon from Charles Spurgeon.

He was a British Reformed Baptist preacher.

Born on June 19, 1834 and died on January 31, 1892.

He was called the "Prince of Preachers"

Possibly, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than

C.H. Spurgeon. For more info on this man who drew thousands with his sermons,

click on this link.

I have read some of his sermons and they are lonnnnggggg...

But he had some great things to say.

I have whittled down some of what he had to say, please believe me...

but I felt I had to use his example for knowing God in his sermon ~

"Do You Know Him?"

Here goes...

"Imagine for a moment that you are living in the age of the Roman emperors.

You have been captured by Roman soldiers and dragged from your native country;

you have been sold for a slave, stripped, whipped, branded, imprisoned, and

treated with shameful cruelty.

At last you are appointed to die in the amphitheater,

to make holiday for a tyrant. The people assemble with delight.

There they are, tens of thousands of them, gazing down from the living sides of the

Colosseum. You stand alone, armed only with a single dagger-a poor defense

against gigantic beasts. A door is drawn up by machinery

and there forth rushes a huge lion;

you must slay him or be torn to pieces.

You are absolutely certain that the conflict is too stern for you,

and that the sure result must and will be that those terrible teeth will grind your

bones and drip with your blood. You tremble; your joints are loosed;

you are paralyzed with fear... But what is this ?

O wonder of mercy! A deliverer appears.

A great unknown leaps from among the gazing multitude,

and confronts the savage monster. He quails (to show fear) not

at the roaring of the devourer,

but dashes upon him with terrible fury,

till, like a whipped cur, (a dog in poor condition)

the lion slinks towards his den, dragging himself along in pain and fear.

The hero lifts you up, smiles into your bloodless face,

whispers comfort in your ear, and bids you be of good courage, for you are free.

Do you not think that there would arise at once in your heart a desire to know your

deliverer? As the guards conducted you into the open street, and you breathed the

cool, fresh air, would not the first question be, 'Who was my deliverer, that I may

fall at his feet and bless him?'

You are not, however, informed, but instead of it,

you are gently led away to a noble mansion house

where your many wounds are

washed and healed with salve of rarest power.

You are clothed in sumptuous apparel;

you are made to sit down at a feast;

(you) eat and are satisfied;

you rest upon the softest down.

The next morning you are attended by servants who guard you from evil and

minister to your good.

Day after day, week after week, your wants are supplied.

You live like a courtier.(a person who attends a royal court)

There is nothing that you can ask which you do not receive.

I am sure that your curiosity would grow more and more intense till it would ripen

into an insatiable craving. You would scarcely neglect an opportunity of asking the

servants, 'Tell me, who does all this, who is my noble benefactor, for I must know

him?' 'Well, but' they would say, 'is it not enough for you that you are delivered

from the lion?' 'Nay,' say you, 'it is for that very reason that I pant to know him.'

'Your wants are richly supplied...

If your garment is worn out, there is another.

Long before hunger oppresses you, the table is well loaded.

What more do you want?'

But your reply is, 'It is because I have no wants, that, therefore, my soul longs and

yearns even to hungering and to thirsting, that I may know my generous loving


But you are informed that this wondrous being has not only done for you what you

have seen, but a thousand deeds of love which you did not see, which were higher

and greater still as proofs of his affection.

You are told that he was wounded, and imprisoned, and scourged for your sake,

for he had a love (for) you so great, that death itself could not overcome it:

you are informed that he is every moment occupied in your interests,

because he has sworn by himself that where he is there you shall be;

his honors you shall share, and of his happiness you shall be the crown.

...the love-tokens which he gives me, they stay me for awhile with the assurance of

his affection but they only impel me onward with the more unconquerable desire

that I may know him. I must know him;

I cannot live without knowing him.

His goodness makes me thirst, and pant, and faint, and even die, that I may know

him.” (The words in parenthesis are mine.)

Shewww.....!!! What a wonderful description of how Paul must have felt....

Paul's unquenchable thirst to know His Savior better each day!!

Verse 10..."and the power of His resurrection..."

This verse reminds me of Romans 8:11 ~

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

(King James Version) ~ I don't know about you, but I could use some of that

quickening of my
mortal body....

Can we even wrap our minds around the FACT that the same Spirit that

raised Christ from the dead...dwells in us???? ~ Zowee...

Now on to the last part of verse 10...

"...and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like His in his death,"


"Many Christians want the first half of 3:10 , 'to really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead,' but show little interest in the second half: to 'learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death.' But these go hand in hand, as saints throughout the ages can attest" (see note Romans 8:17). (Wilmington's Bible handbook. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)

Fellowship = "koininia" (Greek) = a deep communion of suffering that every

believer shares with Christ, Who is able to comfort suffering Christians because

He has already experiences the same suffering and more!!

A "seasoned" believer knows that the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship

with the living Christ are the direct result of intense suffering.

Suffering drives us to Christ ~ bonds us to Christ.

I remember my first husband's mother, my first mother-in-law, Marilyn.

She told me once that when she married her husband, (my first father-in-law

was an only child) her (Marilyn's) mother-in-law did not approve

of Marilyn and did not want her son to marry Marilyn.

Some time after the wedding, Marilyn became very sick...very sick...

her mother-in-law came and took care of her...

After that, everything was AOK between them...

They bonded during that suffering.

They drew closer together.

That reminded me of Andrae' Crouch's famous song that goes like this...

Through it all, through it all,

(Oh,) I’ve learned to trust in Jesus;

I’ve learned to trust in God.

Through it all, through it all,

I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains

And I thank Him for the valleys;

I thank Him for the storms He brought me through;

For if I’d never had a problem,

I wouldn’t know that He could solve them;

I’d never know what faith in God could do.

Please enjoy this last video..

By the resurrection power of Your love...

And the fellowship of His sufferings...

That we may know Him,

Debbie G.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Philippians 3:4-9

Hello Everyone!

We had our annual Thanksgiving Dinner

at our home last Sunday night with our church family.

Now, we are looking forward to having TD with Andrea C., my daughter's family

in Indiana on Wednesday. We will be missing Amy D., my other daughter and her

family who are now living in India...that's right...India, not Indiana...what a

difference a "NA" makes!

It felt so good to have our church family here.

We missed Carmen, who was flying back from Savannah, GA due to the passing of

her grandmother.

Carmen, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

I love to have people in my

Sometimes...OK...most of the time...the "getting ready" for a "gathering"

in our home is tiring....but WHAT A GOOD TIRED!!!

I told Andrea B., one of our church members...that it felt like warm oil

being poured over me ~ the feeling of working hard for an event and then

seeing everyone there and enjoying themselves...WOW...can't buy that

feeling with any amount of money!!

Anywho... (shout out to Dawn H. in Plainfield, IN who always says that)

one of the items I served was Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips.

This recipe has fond memories for me.

When Bob was the Children's Pastor at a church in Avon, Indiana,

I was involved in a Moms group, called Moms Connection.

One of the Moms (Traci P.) brought this to our monthly meeting-pitch-in.

W>O>W>!! We all started making it and we couldn't get enough of it.

Here it is:

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips
Makes 10 Servings

2 Kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 Ounces of raspberries
1 Pound of strawberries
3 Tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Cups cinnamon sugar
10-10" Flour or whole wheat tortillas

Butter flavored
cooking spray, margarine or butter (your choice)

  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

  2. Preheat over to 350ยบ

  3. Coat one side of each tortilla with margarine or butter or butter flavored cooking spray. (your choice) Start by buttering or spraying one tortilla, then stacking the next one on top and buttering or spraying the top of that one. When finished with the whole stack, cut it into wedges from the top of the stack to the bottom. Lay them out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Spray with the cooking spray. Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture again and spray again. The "spraying" helps to hold the cinnamon/sugar mixture onto the chip.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with the chilled fruit salsa mixture.
Note from Debbie: This original recipe was designed to look like the colors in regular Mexican salsa. You can sure use any fruit you have on hand to acquire the same taste. Also, 2 Cups of Cinnamon/Sugar would be 2 Cups of white sugar and I used approximately 4 teaspoons of cinnamon, although it is determined on how much you like cinnamon!

Here is our Scripture passage for this week:

(Verse 4) "though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:

(Verse 5) circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;

(Verse 6) as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

(Verse 7) But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

(Verse 8) What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

(Verse 9) and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is built by faith."

In these wonderful verses is one of the great personal testimonies in the New

Testament. It is also one of the most significant statements on the matter

of salvation

found in the New Testament.

It takes us into the very heart of the sinner's attitude in conversion.

As you read this you may see the phrase "profit and loss". A lot of people are

thinking about their profit and losses in these financially slow times.

Paul was using accounting terminology in verses 7 & 8.

He is talking about a business transaction that involved a profit column

and a loss column. There were certain things which he felt were in the profit

column which he switched over to the loss column when he met Christ.

Paul is saying that he is willing to give up trusting what was once valuable to him

as a means of salvation to trust Christ instead!

It is an exchange.

It is what salvation is.

It is self-denial.

It is not walking in the flesh. (see my last post for that definition)

In other words, consider all that you have attained as useless, worthless

and follow Christ.

I will give up everything I have depended on to earn my favor with God for Christ.

I will give it all up.

Any man-made effort to gain salvation is as rubbish.

Paul says that he was the worst of sinners. (I Timothy 1:15 New International


  • Not because he lived a lewd and immoral life
  • He lived an extremely moral life
He saw the deepest vilest rubbish of life as RELIGION ~ not immorality!!

It is one thing to act immoral ~ which is very wrong...very wrong...

But it is something else to believe that God is so low that you can earn

acceptance with Him!

Paul says in verse 4 that he has no confidence in this fleshly way of living.

True Christians do not trust in anything they do to earn salvation.

  • Their JOY
  • Their Glory
  • Their Boasting
is all in Christ Jesus!!

Paul is not belittling Judaism because he is jealous of something he does not


Paul is not belittling Judaism because he is envious of what someone else has.

Paul is not putting Jewishness down because he could not have it, so he

is going to cut everyone down who is a Jew.

NOT AT ALL ~ he is saying that I have been there...

I have stood on that same ground...

I have impeccable Jewish religious credentials...

And I can tell you to put not confidence in the flesh...

It is garbage.

It is waste.

it is useless.

It is profitless.

It is a big fat zero.

It makes Jesus' death on the cross, unnecessary and useless!!

What is your "bottom line" in your profit and loss statement??

What is in your profit section?

Are you depending on your church attendance?

Are you depending on how much you work in the church?

Are you depending on how good of a person you are?

Are your depending on your baptism?

Are you depending on the sacraments you take?

Are you depending on lighting candles?

Are you depending on praying through beads?

Are you depending on praying certain prayer formulas?

The only thing that we can depend on is that if we were the only person on earth...

Jesus Christ would have come and died just for us....

We can only depend on His sacrifice for our sins...once and for all.


Until next Friday,

Debbie Gerstenberger
Reference: John MacArthur commentary on
(See the sidebar under links and click on "Online Commentary".)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Philippians 3:1-3

Hello Everyone!

Time for another Chonda Pierce video ~ "My Mother and the Mini-Bar"

(To hear this video, look for the Playlist on the left side of this blog and click on the

"pause" button or the far left top square and turn off the music.)

It seems as though Chonda and her sweet mom have a great relationship!

This week we are talking about Philippians 3:1-3.

Let's do a little review again. At each Chapter "milestone", I like to remind

you of our little outline:
(watch for the pattern of "P's"...:O)

I. Rejoicing in Christ as the Principle of Life (Chapter 1:1-11)

II. Rejoicing in Christ as the Pattern of Life (Chapter 2:1-30)

III. Rejoicing in Christ as the Prize of Life (Chapter 3:1-21)

IV. Rejoicing in Christ as the Power of Life (Chapter 4:1-23 )

The Book of Philippians shows us what the true Christianity experience is in our

daily walk with Him.

We just learned about Christ as the Pattern of Life, Someone we need to copy

our life after.

In Chapter Three, we see that we are to rejoice in Christ as the Prize of Life.

When things here on earth seem to be going sour...

we can hold our heads up high and breathe...

we know Who wins in the end...

we know Who will have the final say. Amen!

In order to have Christ as our prize, we must be CONTAGIOUS Christians,

not COUNTERFEIT Christians.

Here is our text for this week:

Philippians 3:1-3

Verse 1 ~ "Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is not trouble for me to write the same things to you again and it is a safeguard for you.

Verse 2 ~ Watch our to those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.

Verse 3 ~ For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh–"

We had 2 "C" words...Contagious, Counterfeit and now...


My Bible has as a heading for verses 1-6 ~ "No Confidence in the Flesh"...

There are many different avenues that we could take with these 3 verses.

I am choosing to take the avenue of what the "the flesh"

means in the Bible.

Paul talks about CIRCUMCISION (another "C") in the first 5 verses of Chapter 3

because he is trying to show that we can not have CONFIDENCE in what

we can do on our own, but what CHRIST (another "C"!) did on the CROSS

(you know what I want to say here... another "C"!!)

I have actually thought about circumcision before (!) and thought...

"What an odd thing to do to 'mark' (this is going to leave a mark!)

a covenant ( ahhhemmm...I will go on...) between God and the Jewish people!!!

What a strange way to have a covenant..."

(The first instance of this ritual is in Genesis 17, when God appeared to

Abraham to confirm His covenant with him. Also, see Romans 4.)

It reminds me of the song "Strange Way to Save the World" by 4Him.

I have added a snippet of the song on my Playlist, if you are interested in

listening to it. (I did not Free Smileys have the whole song available to me to

download for free. If you do not see it listed, click on the right arrow to move

the listings.)

Anyway....for anyone needing more information than you ever wanted on is a link to answer any questions you may have.

How painful it is...

How smothering of pride it is...

How giving over control (depending on his age) it is...

How a process of healing it is...

How keeping out infection it is...

Compare this to our process of cutting away "the flesh" in our

spiritual life. By "the flesh" I mean doing things our way, not God's way.

Abraham (again) in Genesis Chapter 16 walked in "the flesh" and fathered

a child named Ishmael, by his wife's maidservant, because he and Sarai (later named Sarah)

were tired of waiting on God's promises. What a mess they made!!!!!!!!!!!!

We still feel the affect of their decision today because the nations that are enemies

to the Nation of Israel today are descendants of Ishmael....

What a mess

we make when we walk in our own ways....

What a better way it is when we give our control to God and walk in His ways

even though...

It is painful...

It hurts our pride...

It is giving up our control...

It involves a healing time...


It keeps the "infection" of the world out...

The GOOD News is that even though...even though...

Abram (later changed to Abraham) walked in "the flesh"...

and he was temporarily counterfeit to his calling...

God STILL confirmed his covenant with him.

God STILL said that he would be the father of many nations.

God STILL called him a father before he became a father.

God STILL said that the generations to come after him would be blessed.

God STILL said that Sarai (later changed to Sarah) would be the mother

of nations and kings of peoples would come from her.

This is a source of JOY for us ~ to know that even when we mess up

and walk in our own ways and we do not "cut the flesh" away...

and we are temporarily counterfeit...

  • A fake
  • A copy
  • A fraud
  • A phony
  • A "knock off" of the original calling or purpose of our life
  • A forgery
  • A pretender
God still sees our heart and still blesses us!

God saw Abraham's blind trust and his blind faith...

(blind trust and faith...most of the time!)

It was if Abraham had blinders on.

(most of the time!)

Not very often did he take those blinders off.

He was not often distracted from his vision and God's calling.

He was a contagious worshiper of God.

This is my prayer for us all,

that even though...even though...

we mess up and walk in our own ways,

we do something and then ask God to bless it,

or we are tired of waiting for the promise of God

and take things into our own hands ~

our Heavenly Father will see our heart.

He will see that we trust Him with our lives.

He will see that we believe.

He will see that we have faith.

He will see that we have joy in midst of our circumstances.

He will see that we are a contagious Christian, not counterfeit.

(most of the time!)

We will win the Prize of Life.

(for eternity!)


Until next Friday,

may God keep you in the hollow of His hand.

Debbie Gerstenberger

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stay Tuned For This Friday

Hello Everyone!

My sweet husband has been sick since last Wednesday afternoon.

He is on the mend and should be able to go to work tomorrow.

So...I will post this Friday.

Thanks for checking in,

Debbie G.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Philippians 2:26-30

Hello Everyone!

We are talking about sacrificial love in Philippians, Chapter 2.

Our 4 examples are Jesus, Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus.

The last 5 verses of Philippians, Chapter 2, discusses Epaphroditus
or as I stated

last Monday, in all due respect, we will call him "Ep".

Speaking of sacrificial love, I searched "sacrifice" on God Tube and found this

This is to honor all of the many adoptive families in our nation and world.

This honor has been interwoven in the fabric of our family tapestry.

somehow, I have the feeling that more "beautiful threads" are going
to be taken on

the "loom of our life" and intertwined with our heart strings.)
This is to honor you,

the doers of "pure religion and undefiled before God our Father"
(James 1:27)

Now, I know that adoption is not everyone's calling in life,
but to those that it is,

may I present to you the "Ep Award"!!!!!!!

Since Ep would be the one most like us common people out of the Fab 4 listed

Ep would also be proud of you!! Ep would approve!!

Verses 26-30:

(26) "For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.
(27) Indeed he was ill and almost died. But God had mercy on him and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
(28) Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.
(29) Welcome him in the Lord with great joy and honor men like him,
(30) because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me."

In verse 25 we learned that Paul was sending him BACK to Philippi.

Greece: Philippi: Acropolis

Why would he send him back to his home after the 5 glowing attributes

that Paul used for him in verse 25?


∆ Have a moral failure?...NO

∆ Get into tax trouble with the U.S. Senate or the IRS?...NO

∆ Ask his "followers" for money and lived a lavish lifestyle?...NO

∆ Get homesick for good 'ole Philippian cooking?...NO

∆ Missed his wife and children?(if married)...probably, but not the reason...

The Philippian church would see him coming through the "lobby" of their




So, we must ask the question...WHY

Verse 26 ~ "For he longs for all of you..." There it is...homesick...nice try!

No, you did not read far enough. "
and is distressed..." You say...There it is homesick, pining away that he became distressed!

The word "distressed" describes the confused restless half-distracted state

produced by physical derangement or mental distress. So he says that Ep

is restless and he is in turmoil and he is distressed.

By the way, this is the same word used in Matthew 26:38, where Jesus in the

Garden of Gethsemane says that His soul is deeply grieved to the point of death.

Full of heaviness. He is really upset.

It is the distress that follows a great traumatic shock.

This, I believe, is what we use the term for Post Traumatic Shock Disorder

or PTSD in today's world.

But the rest of verse 26 and part of 27 says: "
because you heard he was ill. Indeed

he was ill and almost died.

We may think: "What planet did that kind of guy get off of?

I have never heard of such a thing."

When is the last time you got completely disoriented and restless

and totally distressed because you knew somebody was feeling bad

about your situation? And your distress was directly related to the fact

that they were having a difficult time with your situation?

Now...that will show you the depth of love.

Now...that will show you the bond.

Unfortunately, in our society, we are more concerned with things than people.

More concerned with possessions

than relationships.

"Our" Ep was some kind of guy.

He loved his Philippian church family so deeply that he does not want them to be

distressed. Paul says that he has to send him back because he is so distressed

that you have heard about the fact that he almost died and he wants to eliminate

your distress. And what a compassionate man Paul was! Paul could have said,

"Look, Ep...get your act together, for mercy sake, we have got to advance the

kingdom. Don't you know that I am THE Apostle, and you have to stay here for

me? You can't be worried about how they feel about how you feel!"


The problem is that Paul feels bad because Ep feels bad that the Philippians

feel bad. Everybody feels bad. So, Paul says..."You've got to go because they

feel bad, you feel bad, I feel bad. If you just go, they'll feel good, you'll feel

good, I'll feel good." Free Smileys

Isn't it wonderful to know that some people in the ministry are compelled

by relationships rather than programs?

Paul is saying that he is more concerned about Ep's and the Philippian church's

JOY than his...

That's humility...that is absence of complaining.

In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul writes:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Paul was walking the talk.

Which brings me to some life application questions:

1.) Have you tried to out-love your spouse, children, parents, inlaws?

2.) Have you sacrificed in ministry to others?

3.) What allurements have you turned from in order to wholly focus on Christ?

4.) What have given yourself away for a cause other than your own fulfillment?

Let's pray...

Dear Heavenly Father,

Lord, help us to be like Ep. He had a humble concern for the needs of others.

He was so loving. We see him risking his life to meet the needs of Paul. Help

us to put relationships above things and not to find ourselves trying to insulate

ourselves into comfort zones. Put us out there on the cutting edge where we

risk, where we can see Your mighty hand of deliverance in our behalf. Some

of us don't even know what it is to be rescued because we have never been

where there is any danger. We've never opened our mouth to speak of Christ.

We've never taken a stand. Help us, Lord, to know how to listen for Your direction

and Your calling. We want our lives to be a pleasing fragrance rising to Your

throne. We want our sacrifice of our lives to be acceptable for Your glory in

Jesus name. Amen.

In sobering repentance,

Debbie G.

(Resource: - Look under "Links" on the sidebar of thisblog and click on "Online Commentary". Commentary by John MacArthur for Philippians 2:25-30)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Philippians 2:25

Hello Everyone!

I pray that everyone had a great week!

OK...this is what I was doing instead of working on this Bible Study blog:

hehehehe!! We went back to Indiana over the weekend to celebrate two

of our grandsons birthdays!!

The above grandson is Zane, age 5. (it is not his birthday) His big brothers, Chase and Trey (pictured here with their birthday

cup cakes and getting "silly stringed") celebrated their

birthdays. Chase was 12 on October 31 and Trey will be 9 on November 16.

Happy Birthday to our wonderful grandsons!!

My daughter Andrea and her husband Jim, had a blow-out party in their

back yard with many adults and many kids!!

The only regrettable part of this day was that we were missing family members

that could not come because of various reasons, one being that they were in India!!

OK, now onto our purpose here....

I was reading ahead in Philippians last week.

I was reading in the 4th chapter.

I am so excited about the 4th chapter!!

To be transparent here...when I read our Scripture for today,

and 26-30...

I thought...oh my...smileys

what am I going to say...(notice that I said "I"...leaving out the Holy Spirit...)

there did not seem to be much material there.

THEN I read a commentary from

(link on the sidebar)

The commentary was from John MacArthur on Epaphroditus...

OH MY....

But first, I wanted to tell you of a new website that I found this week.

I know many of us are trying to cut back on our expenses.

This website gives us practical tips on using everyday products to clean, etc.

I have been using my mom's "recipe" for a window/surface cleaner,

which is white vinegar, ammonia and water.

I had to ditch the pricey cleaners in a bottle.

Here is a sample of what you can do yourself.

This website also has a daily tip that comes to your email.

It is called:

Floor Cleaning Recipes:

  1. All Purpose Floor Cleaner: 1 cup of vinegar in a pail of water

  2. For greasy floors: 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 TBS vegetable oil based soap (Murphy's Oil Soap is one type) to every two gallons of hot water

  3. Polish linoleum floors with club soda

  4. Clean & Deodorize Carpets: Mix two parts cornmeal with one part borax. Sprinkle generously over carpet, allow to sit for one hour then vacuum

Windows & Mirrors: Store these solutions in spray bottles.

  1. One part vinegar added to four parts water

  2. One cup cold strong black tea with 3 TBS of vinegar (interesting...:>)

Oven Cleaner: Dirty Oven(NO this is not my oven!)

  1. A paste of baking soda and hot water or sprinkle the soda on a damp sponge and wipe.
Water Spots On Furniture (Removal Tips):
  1. Massage white toothpaste on the spot, let dry, and buff with a clean cloth.

  2. Scratch or Stains: Rub the meat of a walnut into the scratch.

Homemade Citrus Household Cleaner:

  • Fill a large, wide mouth jar with citrus peels (such as lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits). Cover the peels with white household vinegar. Let brew for four weeks, shaking the jar occasionally (just to mix it up a bit). Strain (I did this twice).

  • Use as a laundry booster (I just tossed it in with the whites), window cleaner, floor cleaner, counter tops, appliances (Dilute in water–1/2 cup per gallon of water works well). For a stovetop grease buster I just sprayed it on undiluted. Test surfaces first before using.
Homemade Vegetable and Fruit Wash:

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 TBS baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice


  • Mix ingredients then pour in clean spray bottle. Spray fresh vegetables & fruit generously. Sit for 5 minutes then rinse off well.

  • Note: Make sure to first mix ingredients in deep container since there will be some fizzing from the baking soda & vinegar.

There’s also this Fresh Fruit & Veggies Washing Tip:

  • Sprinkle wet fruit and veggies with baking soda then gently scrub and rinse. This cleaning method safely removes dirt and residue off produce. Mentioned previously on this page: 50 Quick Tips For The Kitchen.

Did You Know: You should wash the outsides of melons before cutting through them? If you don’t, the knife will drag the pesticides/dirt/bacteria from the outside rind into the fruit as you cut.

Now...onto our one verse for this week...(I keep getting side-tracked!)

Philippians 2:25

Verse 25 ~ "But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs."

(New International Version)

Last week, we talked about the third out of four examples in Chapter 2 listed as

as sacrificial people. This week, we will look at the fourth ~ Epaphroditus.

For sake of my fingers...we will now refer to him as Ep ~ no disrespect intended.

Ep may be the one most like us out of the four.

The other three, we can readily agree that they are very gifted.

(See last week's blog for the other three ~ sneaky...I know!)

What do we know about Ep?

We really don't know anything directly about him.

>>We don't know anything about his background.

>>We don't know anything about his parents.

>>We don't know how long he had been a Christian.

>>We don't know what his function in the church was.

All we know is what is implied in verses 25-30.

The fact is that the Philippian church sent Ep with money;

staying to be at the service of Paul ~ serving all of his personal needs.

Now that alone would tell us something about Ep in addition to:
~ The Philippian church would never have sent a man to work

in close proximity with the Apostle Paul, who may have been the most

discerning human being that ever lived and who could see through anyone.

So, we can be fairly certain that Ep was a man of genuine spiritual virtue,

a man in depth in terms of his love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

~ We can be relatively sure that he was a man with a servant's heart.

The Philippian church to have chosen him to be their ambassador,

means that they knew that this man would literally give his life away in service

to Paul. Because to not do so, would betray the Philippian church's love for


~ We can assume that he was a man of great courage because he knew

exactly what he was walking into. There was no question in his mind how the

Roman government felt about Paul. It was possible that Paul could lose his life

at any time. The Roman government would consider taking the lives of those

who served alongside of Paul.

...So here we can introduce Ep as a godly man, a servant and has courage.

And he is willing to do that.

He came out of a pagan background and was converted to Christ.

We don't know where or in what way.

It could very well have been when Paul founded the church at Philippi.

He has become, however, a key Christian in the church, a sacrificial man

who has left his home, his employment, his ministry, his church, his friends...

to go and serve the Apostle Paul...

Paul addresses him with 5 titles:

1.) My brother ~ "my" ~ they both have the common source of life, God the Father

having given them life through Jesus Christ. Also, friendship, camaraderie and


2.) My fellow worker ~ This phrase is used 13 times in the New Testament; 12

times by Paul. Common effort ~ workers together.

3.) My fellow soldier ~ this is a very,very honorable title. My fellow strategist, my

fellow commander-in-chief, leader in the matter of spiritual warfare.

4.) Your messenger ~ the word messenger in the Greek is "apostolos".

Question: Does this mean that he was an Apostle like the Twelve Apostles or

Twelve Disciples?

5.) "To take care of my needs" ~ many translations have "to minister" instead.

The money he brought is talked about in Chapter 4, verse 18 as and acceptable

sacrifice. Ep was a "priest" doing a sacred service and offering a sacrifice of money

for the needs of Paul.

This reminds me of a story that I read while researching the topic of being

a servant. It seems that there were two men riding on a city bus.

All at once, one of the men, stiffened and fell to the floor where he writhed

in a terrible seizure. The man sitting next to him calmly secured his head and made

sure that he did not swallow his tongue. The second man calmly waited until

the seizure was over and helped his fellow passenger back up to his seat.

A man gawking from across the aisle could not help but ask if this man knew

the man who just had the seizure. The "helping" man said..."Oh, yes. You see

we were in the Vietnam War together. I was being surrounded by enemy fire.

My friend here, carried my wounded body to safety while taking on bullets himself.

I returned back to normal, but my friend has developed these seizures over the

years. When I learned that he was developing more and more seizures each year,

I made the decision to leave my home and my friends to come and take

care of my friend. I am his constant companion, for whenever he has his seizures,

which can be multiple ones a day, I am here to take care of him. I am here for

him, to serve him in whatever way he needs me. Because without him, I would not

be here today."

This is what we can say about our wonderful Lord Jesus,

**who took the punishment that we deserved

**who stepped in and bore our sorrow and our pain on the cross

**who thought more of us, than he did himself

**who paid the price so that we may have eternal life

**who ministered to us

Jesus, may I say, is our Ep...our sacrificial example!

(More on "our Ep" this Friday, verses 26-30.)

Go with God and He will go with you,

Debbie G.