Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Are you ready for some FRIDAAAAAAAY (Bible Study)???!!!

I saw this video while researching Philippians and HAD to share it NOW...
I should wait until we are at the 4th Chapter, but I will probably show it AGAIN...it is so powerful. So enjoy and then we will start with verse 6 of Chapter 1.

"I Know My Redeemer Lives" ~ Phil 4:13 ~ "I can do all things through Christ".

David Guzik comments at blueletterbible.org and says that:

  • The Philippian church was 11 years old at the time of Paul's letter to them

  • This church was the very first one in the country of Europe
He goes on to say that this Book is a glorious revelation of how a relationship and life with Christ triumphs over ALL (cap, mine) of life's adverse circumstances. He says that this is Paul's singing letter! But Paul WAS CHAINED TO A ROMAN GUARD! What would it be like to be chained to another person? Confinement, painful, humiliating...

Have you ever ran in a 3-legged race at a picnic?
This is where 2 people each put one leg in a sack and try to run together to the finish line. This is a saccharine-type example for what Paul went through, but it might give us a "feel" for how awkward and frustrating this confinement must have been.


Now let's look at Chapter 1, verse 6. Please open your Bibles, or as a beloved former Pastor of mine ALWAYS said before he began his message ~ "Have your Bible? ~ Turn to...." OR have an online Bible open on your screen. See the last post "Let's Get Started" for more information.

Verse 6 ~ "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Human characteristics are to start things and not finish them...a book, a painting, a sewing project, a scrapbook project, a cleaning project. I know, I know... as you read this partial list

your mind was going to the list of things left uncompleted in your life. Please pull yourself back and join me again. I know how "lost" you can get while reviewing every "bullet list" in your mind...

What good work is God working into you right now? You may feel like He is "kneading" you pretty hard. Has anyone out there ever kneaded a lump of fresh dough? Sometimes you have to really push hard to work the dough, so that it will rise later. (shewww...that could be another whole teaching in of its own!) What is He teaching you? What better way is He showing you? He will bring that work to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. Those last 6 words to me mean when Jesus comes back triumphantly riding on that white horse as our Warrior King! (Revelation 19:11) I believe that we will not be perfect here on earth, but that we strive every day to do better until we see His face and then we will be like Him!

Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

...the Author and FINISHER of our faith...what IF He had not FINISHED His work here on earth? What IF He had not COMPLETED His "task"...what IF He had been like us and put off and procrastinated what He needed to do..what IF He had not gone to the cross...

I value your thoughts and feelings on this post...

Until next Friday, may God bless you and keep you,

Debbie G.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's Get Started!! Philippians 1:1-5

Hello to everyone!

Let's get started with this wonderful Book of Philippians. I trust that you will have your Bible open beside your computer...OR you can go to my favorite online Bible at blueletterbible.org. (Click on link to go to blueletterbible.org).

Just type in "Philippians 1" and away you go! You can minimize both the Bible study and the online Bible (either by touching the 2 intersected squares, usually in the upper rt. hand corner or by taking your mouse/left click button and touching the bottom rt. hand portion of your screen and moving it up and to the left) and put them side-by-side (by touching the top "banner" of your screen/mouse's left click button/ and moving it where you want it) and there you will have it!! :O)

This precious Book of the Bible is called affectionately, "The Book of Joy". The whole atmosphere of this epistle...

  • Epistle: a book in the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle.
  • Apostle: an important early Christian teacher derived from the Latin and Greek words meaning "messenger sent forth".
...is that of joy. Even though Paul was in prison, he teaches us through this Book, that our joy does not depend on and is not affected by outward circumstances.

The words "sin and sins" are not found in this Epistle. The words "joy" and "rejoicing" are used 18 times! We find no murmuring or complaining.

The Book of Philippians shows us what the true Christianity experience is in our daily walk with Him.

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 )

Chapter 1, verse 1:

Paul does not flaunt his title of "Apostle", instead he calls himself a servant ~ he and Timothy. Timothy is not the co-author of this Book, but a co-laborer with Paul. A servant is one who gives him/herself up wholly to another's will. They have no agenda of their own, no controlling of their own destiny. We were all at one time a servant to sin, but because of Christ's death on the cross, we no longer are bound to a life of sin. Yes, we make mistakes or sin after we ask Jesus to take over our life, but because Jesus BECAME OUR servant and gave His life for ours, we can ask for forgiveness and be made new!!

Paul addresses the letter to three groups:

  • To all the saints in Christ Jesus
  • To the bishops: In a general sense, this speaks of those with leadership responsibilities
  • To the deacons: Those who have recognized positions of service
Verses 2-4: Paul made intercession for the Philippians (verse 4 ~ "In all my prayers for all of you,"), and he did so with joy! This was one way Paul felt he could repay the Philippians for all they did for him. Think about it: Paul got happy when he prayed for the Philippians!

Verse 5: Paul was thankful for the Philippians because of their fellowship in the gospel. The idea is that the Philippians "partnered" with Paul in his spreading of the gospel through their friendship and financial support, and they did so from the first day until now. They didn't wait to see if Paul was a "winner" before they supported him. They got behind Paul and his ministry early!

Life Application:

For me, what stood out this time is that Paul did not dwell on his title. He walked in humbleness and that is probably one of the reasons he had joy in all circumstances. Now, you may say...if I am a servant to those around me, I will get tromped on. In God's eyes, when we have a servant's heart to those around us, that is when He can use us the most. That is when He can pour more of Himself into us, because we are not relying in our own strength, but His strength. Yes, there were times that He stood his ground and forcibly said powerful statements. We need to know when and how to do this in our own life by listening to the Holy Spirit inside of us, directing us.

What stood out for you? Or what comment would you like to add?

Now, for some "After Bible Study Chit-Chat"...

I have this great recipe that I found on kraftfoods.com for chicken...here it is...it is simple and the chicken is very moist!

Easy Tomato Baked Chicken

Easy Tomato Baked Chicken

Prep Time:
10 min
Total Time:
40 min
4 servings

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Reduced Fat Dressing
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 425ºF. Place onions in bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with chicken.

COMBINE tomatoes, dressing and garlic powder; pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

Creative Leftovers:
Store drained liquid from tomatoes in the freezer to use in soups and stews at a later date.


Chuckle Corner

A Church Bulletin Announcement:

"For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs."

In His Service,

Debbie Gerstenberger

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What does the town of Philippi look like now?

Welcome back to our Bible Study Blog. Thank you for all that have contacted me and encouraged me. I appreciate your kindness.

Since I love history, I thought that it would be interesting to do a little background/sidebar study on the history of Philippi before we start with Chapter One. What does the town of Philippi look like now? Paul was writing this letter from jail or house arrest in Rome to the Philippians who had been so kind to him when he ministered in their town.

Map of Greece
My research has told me that the ancient town of Philippi was near the town of Kavala, Greece. That would be at the North Eastern top of the map of Greece, right below Bulgaria. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/greece

Here are some pictures of what the "town" looks like today:

(1 of 18)Greece: Philippi: Acropolis
Greece: Philippi: Acropolis (1 of 18)

(3 of 18)Greece: Philippi: Bascilica B
Greece: Philippi: Bascilica B (3 of 18) (Bascilica means a large oblong building used for a court of law, public assemblies or a church.)

(14 of 18)Greece: Philippi: The Prison
Traditional site of the prison at Philippi

Greece: Philippi: Via Egnatia

Greece: Philippi: Via Egnatia (17 of 18) (A road which stretched for 696 miles through Roman provinces. It was named after Gnaeus Egnatius ((Gesundheit!)), the governor of Macedonia.)

Map of the Via Egnatia: (The red line is the Via Egnatia.)
Route of the Via Egnatia.

Top 4 pictures from http://www.padfield.com/greece/philippi/

Map from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Egnatia


Philippi toilets


Public bathrooms were not uncommon in ancient Roman cities, such as these in Philippi.


Facts about Philippi:
  • Founded in the 4th century B.C. and renamed after King Philip of Macedon, Philippi was an important outpost on the Via Egnatia.
  • The Via Egnatia was built beginning in 145 B.C. This route was Rome's primary artery to the east and Philippi was an important outpost along the road. The Egnatian Way made it easier for Rome to move troops throughout the empire and it was the route that Paul traveled on from Neapolis to Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica.
  • Philippi means "Fountains" and is located near the head of the Aegean Sea and at the foot of Mt. Orbelos.
  • Paul preached for the first time on European soil in Philippi (Acts 16:12-40) and baptized a woman named Lydia, a purple dye merchant in a river to the west of the city.
  • In 49 or 50 A.D., Paul was imprisoned with Silas in the Philippian jail. An earthquake caused their prison to be opened. (Acts 16:16-24)
  • Paul visited the city on two other occasions in 56 and 57 A.D.
  • The Book of Philippians dates from around 61 and 62 A.D.
I liked what wikipedia.org had to say about the Book of Philippians:

"The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their messenger, with contributions to meet the needs of Paul; and on his return Paul sent this letter with him. With this precious communication, Epaphroditus sets out on his homeward journey. The joy caused by his return, and the effect of this wonderful letter when first read in the church of Philippi, are hidden from us. And we may almost say that with this letter the church itself passes from our view. Today, in silent meadows, quiet cattle browse among the ruins which mark the site of what was once the flourishing Roman colony of Philippi, the home of the most attractive church of the apostolic age. But the name and fame and spiritual influence of that church will never pass. To myriads of men and women in every age and nation the letter written in while he was under house arrest in Rome, and carried along the Via Egnatia by an obscure Christian messenger, has been a light divine and a cheerful guide along the most rugged paths of life."

So...in answer to the title of this post...nothing but ruins. But we have the Book of Philippians. God's Word will never pass away..

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Luke 21:3

Please join me next week, when we will start in on the first chapter of Philippians and see how far we get...

In His Service,

Debbie Gerstenberger

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Book of Philippians

God has been taking me over and over to the Scripture in Philippians 4:11b ~
  • "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (King James Version)
  • "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (New International Version)
  • "...Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." (The Message Bible verses 11b-13)

I added different versions because, the KJV is the one that is precious to me, because that is the one that I learned growing up. The other two are very good, also.

I could go and buy or look in our closet for all of the Bible Study books that have been written on the Book of Philippians. Instead, I am being encouraged by the Holy Spirit to listen to Him and to listen to you. I love Bible Study, because I am richly blessed by hearing all of the different angles that each person brings to the table from his or her own personal life or spiritual experiences.

So, let's pretend that we are sitting around my kitchen table with our Bibles open, note books opened to a blank page, our pens raised, our coffee or tea simmering in our cup or cooling with our ice cubes, the fragrance of cinnamon and sugar is coming from our coffee cake up to our nose and we are excited to see what God is going to show us today in His Word. "Today in His Word"...a book that was written 2,000 years ago and it can touch us and break us and form us today in 2008!!

Will you join me? Will you enter in? Will you read and ask God to show you (and me) what He needs to teach us for our lives today?

In His Service,

Debbie Gerstenberger