Saturday, August 30, 2008

Philippians 1:27-30

Hello Everyone!

Pleeeeease forgive me for being an little late with my post.

I will try to do better next week!

Pictures to come...my sweet husband, the "man of a thousand pictures",

is feeling puny tonight and in fact, I am not feeling so swift, myself!!

But he will add them asap. (Sunday ~ pictures are done ~ thank you, dear!)


Thank you for all who prayed for our family last week.

We said good-bye to 4 family members who will be living overseas

for 3 years . It was a bittersweet time. We were reminded of the

verses in Ecclesiastics 3 that say that there is a time to laugh and

a time to cry. Truly, that is how we felt...we were so proud of them

stepping out and answering the call of God on their lives, but inwardly,

not imagining how 3 years of separation really feels like.


When I read our verses for this posting, the word "stand firm" ~

"stood" out
to me.

The Apostle Paul was "walking his talk" here...

He was standing firm when he was in the dire

circumstances of being chained to a Roman guard.

But before we get into the Bible Study,

please go to my Playlist on the left sidebar,


all the way to the bottom and click on the song "Stand"

by Donnie McClurkin. (If you do not see the song, click

on the arrows until it shows and then click on the song.)

I thought of this song when I
read verse 27.

Please enjoy and then we will start on

our Bible study for this week!

Wow! Stand firm, don't give in!! That will be our topic this week.

Verse 27 ~ "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel."

  • "Whatever happens"...hmmmm...this reminds me of our theme verse
for this Book of Philippians ~ 4:11 ~"...for I have learned to be content

WHATEVER the circumstances."

  • ..."stand firm in one spirit"...this reminds me of the Upper Room in Acts 2:1.
The King James Version says that they were "all with one accord in one place".


  • The New Century Version of the Bible states verse 27 in the following manner:

"Be sure that you live in a way that brings honor to the Good News of Christ."

Verses 28-30 ~ ..."without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear that I still have."

From Ray Stedman commentary :


"There is only one way to handle fear, and that is to face it at its worst.

What is the worst thing
this thing or these people I fear can do to me?

Will it be to cast me out of the group? Is it to kill
me?

Whatever it is, face its worst threat, and then make a clear choice

between Christ and your
fear. When you take Him at His Word

and recognize there is no possible compromise, that it


must be one or the other, that is the way to be delivered.

Putting it in those terms, a true
Christian will inevitably choose Christ.

Once we face it on this basis we are delivered from the


power of this fear."

I know of a person that right now is experiencing panic attacks

because of possibly bankruptcy from having his ID stolen by a

family member. The family member is non-apologetic! This man

has to talk to people through out the day to make a living. He never

knows when one of these attacks will "cripple" him and he cannot

function at that time.

Mr. Stedman says to think of the worse-case scenario and know that

EVEN IF that happens ~ "that" being a panic attack, the loss of your home,

feeling like a failure, a divorce, a report of bad news from your doctor,

a death in your family, a child born with special needs, ECT...

God still will love you and will care for you and bring you out of that

trying time a better person...He did for Paul and He will do that for us,

also ~ I know personally that it works!!

Stand firm, don't give in!

Let's hear of some testimonies of how God has loved you

and cared for you during a trying time in your life.

I'll go first! Please click on the word "comment" below my name.



Until next week, may God keep you under the shadow of His wings, Psalm 57:1,

Debbie G.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Philippians 1:19-26



Chonda Pierce is my favorite Christian comedian!! (More to come from her in the

months ahead!!)


Hello everyone!!!

I am excited to start the next few verses,

because verse 21 is a beloved verse to quote!!

But first, let's look at verses 19-20:

"...for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus

Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect

and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that

now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."

From David Guzik commentary at blueletterbible.org

  • "Through your prayer": How can Paul be so confident? Because he knew the Philippians prayed for him. His deliverance in the present situation was connected to the prayer of the Philippians.
    • This is a staggering thought. What if the Philippians didn’t pray for Paul? Could God’s
    • deliverance for Paul be hindered if the Philippians didn’t pray? In Paul’s mind, it certainly seems so. Prayer is a serious matter!
  • "Through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ": However, it was not the prayer of the Philippians in and of itself that would meet Paul’s need. It was the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ that came to Paul through the prayer of the Philippians. Paul’s needs were met by the Spirit of God, but that provision to Paul was brought about by the prayers of the Philippians.
Yikessss!!! This is a friendly reminder for all of us that when someone asks us to pray for

them...
WRITE IT DOWN AND PUT IT WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT!!

Not trying to take you on a guilt trip...


Verse 20: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."



We are all really sitting in a waiting room, aren't we?

Sooner or later we will all be called in to see the One with

whom we all have an appointment --whether we know it or not --

whether we want to or not. We will all one day be called to meet our Maker.



As you sit in the waiting room for eternity, will you share the message of the

Messiah with those around you as God brings the opportunity?

(The above from this article at christianpost.com)

I am thinking tonight (Wednesday) of the 58 year old House of Representative

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

age 58, who died today.

She was driving in her home town of Cleveland,Ohio

last night when she suffered an brain aneurysm

and died less than 24 hours later.

We NEVER KNOW...

It also made me think of the Scripture James 4:13 & 14 "Now listen

you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go this or that city, spend a year there,

carry on business and make money'. Why, you do not even know what will happen

tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then

vanishes."


But, back to verse 21:

Some people may read this verse and see the cry of a man who is fed up with life,

who could hardly wait to get to heaven, who had had it. This reflects a very

common attitude that we Christians sometimes have...that we would like to get

away from it all. (I am showing my age...but remember the commercial that said...

"Calgon...take me away!!)



We do not like living life the way we have to live it and

we look longingly to heaven.

There is this story that happened years ago with this well-know gospel singer. He

got up and sang at a Conference the song, "Homesick for Heaven". He sounded as

though he was about to soar right off of the platform. After the service, a group of

them went to a hamburger "joint". The singer ordered a hamburger. After he had

used the ketchup on his hamburger, he noticed that the top of the bottle had

somehow been broken and there was ground-up glass at the top of the bottle. He

had already taken several bites from his hamburger. He hurriedly checked it out

and did not think that he had swallowed any cut glass. But he said, "You know,

for a moment there, I don't think that I was quite as homesick for heaven as

I thought I was!!"


But this is not what Paul is saying at all...by looking closely, (by reading verses

22-24) you will see that he is really saying...

..I don't know which to choose. To me to live is to have Christ and to

die is to gain heaven, but if I had to choose, I don't know which I'd choose. To live

is to experience Christ, Who is my life. Life for me is a continual adventure and

excitement and I can hardly wait to live it!

Paul had found the secret of life.

No life is complete that does not have God in it.

He lived life to the fullest in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our life.

Verse 25 ~ "Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and I will continue with

all of you for your progress and joy
(there's that word again!) in the faith,"

Verse 26 ~ "so that through my being with you again, your joy (again!) in Christ

Jesus will overflow on account of me.
"

Paul must have sensed in his spirit that his work was not finished here on earth. In

fact, Paul did survive this imprisonment,
was set free, and

DID come to see the Philippians again!

Are we looking at our life as an adventure?

I have a 34 year old daughter, her husband and 2 children, ages 11 & 4, going

to India soon for 3 years. She just told me on the phone yesterday, that they

are looking at this as a God-adventure...not something to be upset and sad over!!

When you are in the center of God's will, you will have peace. Just as the eye

of the storm is perfectly calm. Even though everything around you is changing

and swirling, in the center, in your center, you will have peace. Just as the Apostle

Paul did, chained t
o a Roman guard

and writing about the joy he has in his

God-filled adventure of a life!!


Can we think about our situations this week and recognize the adventure and the

excitement of living for Christ here on the earth? I know it will be a challenge

for me to dwell on the thought of the joy of knowing that my family will be working

for a heavenly cause, an eternal purpose, versus the thought of how long it will

be before I can actually see them again, face to face.

I covet your prayers for me and our family before my next post.

Thank you...

In His Service,

Debbie G.

(Additional references: http://www.raystedman.org/philippians/2005.html
and Ray Stedman commentary at blueletterbible.org)





Monday, August 11, 2008

Philippians 1:12-18

Hello everyone!

Let's start off this Bible Study with a little "testimony time", 2008-style!

Have you seen this video on Godtube? W.O.W.

The audio is not very clear, but you do not need audio with this one!!

Sit back and watch the goose-bumps raise up on your arms!!

Relax and enjoy God's goodness.

This is dedicated to my sweet friend, Laura M. in Danville, IN who recently heard a

discouraging report from the doctor. But whose report do we believe? We believe the

report of the Lord!! Love you, Laura...



Praise God...Thank YOU Jesus...You are worthy of our praise, to you our hands we raise...

You are awesome in the place, mighty God!!




OK...now we are ready to begin Philippians 1:12-18

(I will throw in an "announcement" here...be sure to go to the bottom of the page...but keep reading!!)

This next section (1:12-26) is titled in my Bible as "Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel".

(We will study through the 18th verse this week.)

Paul states in verse 12, "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel".

What other person in the Bible said something similar?

Answer...Joseph in Genesis 45:5 ~ "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you".

Joseph saw the Providence of God. Providence = "timely preparation for future events".

He had not become bitter in his years of slavery and imprisonment, but had the spiritual eyes

to see God working in his life for future events. (oohh...discernment, depth of insight like we

discussed in my last post/comments....hmmmmmmm....)

This is what Paul was saying here in verse 12.

The Philippians may be wondering..."Where is the earthquake to get him out again?"....
(Acts 16:26)

"Why does he have to go through imprisonment AGAIN?"...

Because...verse 13 "As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and

to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ".

"If you read between the lines. you can see what was happening. Nero, the Emperor, had commanded that every six hours one of the finest young men in the whole Roman Empire, from the elite who constituted his personal bodyguard, would be brought in and chained to the apostle Paul in order that Paul might instruct him in the things of Christ. Isn't that amazing? One by one they were coming to Christ, and there was being formed a picked band of young men, the very keenest, most intelligent, finest and strongest young men of the empire. If you do not believe that, look at the last chapter of the letter, where in the next to last verse he says,

'All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household.'

Now isn't that a unique plan for evangelizing the Roman Empire?" ~ Ray Stedman Commentary from blueletterbible.org

In other words ~ Romans 8:28 ~ "And we know that in ALL (caps mine) things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (New International Version) This is THE verse that my sweet momma, Ethel Anna Holzhausen Smith quoted to me all my days. Thank you, Mom...Let's see now....who wrote that verse?....oh that is right!!!! ~ none other than Paul!!!

Verse 14 ~ "Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to

speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly".

The word that stood out to me was MOST....MOST....are we included in the MOST group or we

included in the MINORITY that stays "safe"?

Verses 15-18:


"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.


The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.


The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stirup trouble for me while I am in chains."


When I read these verses, I thought of a sermon I heard from Rev. Brian Houston on

10-25-05. He talked about "The Tyranny of Comparison". It was powerful! I will include

the highlights.

1. Comparison breeds in silence. If your success threatens them or makes them feel like a failure, they will not compliment you or appreciate you.

2. Comparison aims upward - but always bring you down. This attitude of the heart will restrict your relationships. You will build friendships - downward - with those whom you look better.


3. Comparison will dwarf your soul. (enough said)

4. Comparison builds walls and you isolate yourself.

5. Comparison is the branch of an evil root. If the love of money is a root of all evil, then comparison is the branch.

I have Scripture references for each 5 statements. If you are interested in them, email me by clicking on the word "comment" after my name below. Then, look at the top right corner where you type your comment and below that....you will see a place to click to email me. :o)

I value your comments, please.

***************************************************************************

Now, let's have some "After Bible Study Chit-Chat"...


Below are a few selections from one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple.

This section of their website is titled "New Uses for Old Things".

Now, we are not talking about anyone's age here...

just items that you may already have around your house to use.

In this day and age of penny pinching, I hope that this will be useful.


TA....DUMMMMM.....(drum roll)...May I introduce one of my MOST FAVORITE organizing tools!!!

The clear pocket organizer!!!

For those of you who have signed up for our church E-Newsletter, you will have read about

this tool with ad nauseam. I have used it for organizing back-up paper towels, Ziplock bags,

plastic wraps, and toilet paper on the back of my laundry "room" door. I have used it for

organizing hats, gloves and scarves on the back of my coat closet. I have used it for organizing

scarves, hats and misc. on the back of my bedroom closet door. I have used it (now, squint your

eyes for this one) to organize our light bulbs on the back of our hall closet door!!! I read about

using it for medicine bottles. Put them up in the top rows so that your children, hopefully, will

not be able to have access to them. (You would have to know your child capabilities and level

of curiosity, of course, to determine if they would pull a chair up and be able to get to them.)

What ideas or uses do you have for this wonderful organizer tool?

Here is one from Real Simple:

Hanging Shoe Rack as Spice Organizer

Hanging Shoe Rack as Spice Organizer
Original Purpose: Foiling Fido's plan to annihilate all your floor-based footwear.
Aha! Use: Converting the back of the pantry door into dedicated storage for your unruly collection of spice bottles.
Reward: Bay leaves that don't crash into the cinnamon sticks when you’re searching for the oregano.

Display Photos in a Business-Card Organizer

Display Photos in a Business-Card Organizer
Original Purpose: Minding your business from A to Z.
Aha! Use: Showcasing favorite photos. Attach a photograph to each card and use as a desktop photo album. Or, for the motivated, file alphabetically (pictures of Fido under F).
Reward: Memories among the memos.

Organize Art Supplies with a Dish Rack

Organize Art Supplies with a Dish Rack
Original Purpose: Drying dinnerware.
Aha! Use: Organizing coloring books and art supplies. Stack the books like plates, between the prongs. Store markers, crayons, and pencils in the utensil caddy.
Reward: A neat way to serve up art supplies at playtime.




Gather Toys with Dustpan

Gather Toys with Dustpan
Original Purpose: Collecting dust.
Aha! Use: Scooping up small toys — Lego blocks, jacks, Barbie shoes, plastic soldiers.
Reward: Reclaim your living room for grown-ups.



Substitute Bubble Wrap

Substitute Bubble Wrap
Original Purpose: Food storage.
Aha! Use: Packing. No bubble wrap? Slip a straw in a nearly closed Ziploc bag and inflate. Remove straw, seal, and cushion cargo. Wrap delicate items with newspaper first. (And heirloom china should wait for that bubble wrap.)
Reward: Girl Scout pride.
Other Use: As a pastry bag; Fill with icing, zip shut, snip off a corner, and squeeze.


Spring as Mini File

Spring as Mini File
Original Purpose: Tension control.
Aha! Use: You can consign this heavy-gauge spring (about $2 at hardware stores) to the garage or the tool shed and it will do exactly what it was designed to. But how boring and predictable would that be? Give it a place of honor on your desk or kitchen counter instead and — presto! — you've got yourself a mini horizontal file for bills, mail, and invitations.
Reward: It's beautiful and cheap, and if you spotted it in an art gallery, you probably couldn't afford it.
Other Uses: Postmodern photo display (for all those shots you refuse to hide away in an album). Recipe holder while you're cooking. Three-dimensional to-do list: Write your tasks — monumental, minuscule, miscellaneous — on index cards. When you need to reorder your priorities, send the cards farther back or forward. When you accomplish something, remove the card from the spring.
For 33 more ideas...click on this link from the Real Simple website:

Until next Friday, may God keep you in His care and watch over your comings and goings both now and forever more ~ Psalm 121:8,

Debbie G.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Philippians 1:7-11


Hello everyone!

I hope you had a good week! Hint, hint...be sure to check out the bottom of the blog for some levity and a recipe. ~ (that rhymes!! :O)






Please tell your friends about our Bible study!



Now, we are ready to look at Philippians 1:7-11...


This paragraph is marked in my Bible as:

"Thanksgiving and Prayer"

~ This is one of Paul's 4 great New Testament prayers.

The other 3 are:

>>Ephesians 1:6-19

>>Ephesians 3:14-19

>>Colossians 1:9-12

The last Scripture is one that I was taught to pray many years ago. It contains 10 attributes to pray for. If you would like that list, please email me at debbie@CrossGenerations.org.

Philippians 1:7
"It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me."


Philippians 1:8
"God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus."


From John MacArthur in his sermon "Joy and Godliness" on verses 7 & 8 ~
"Paul responded the same way any godly pastor responds to his people.
He was deeply compelled by what he knew was right before God.
He didn't base his affection on rewards he expected
or because the Philippians had given him a pat on the back. He was not being self-serving or condescending. Paul's gratitude sprang out of a sense of humble obligation. But even though they weren't perfect, Paul's deep love for them covered over all their imperfections."




OUCH!! I know that my deep love for those around me has NOT caused me to look over their imperfections, sometimes...not all the times, but sometimes. My stinking perfectionism is slowly evaporating out of my life as I give it to the Lord over and over and say "Lord, take this and clean this out of me...this perfectionist pride and this not-wanting-to-look-stupid root in this 'tree of pride'". How much JOY have I missed out on because of this??




Philippians 1:9
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,"

Philippians 1:10

"so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,"

Philippians 1:11

"filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God."

Here are the attributes that Paul is asking God to give to the Philippians church:

**Their love would abound more and more

**They would have knowledge

**They would have depth of insight

**They would be able to discern what is best

**They would be pure and blameless

**They would be filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus


I do not know about you...but I would certainly appreciate someone praying for me with these sincere words!!

Love abound more and more ~ To me, he is saying that their wonderful love
that they possessed would grow even more! I cannot get the picture out of my mind for the word "abound" of a kangaroo jumping ...boing, boing, boing...!


Knowledge ~ Not a head knowledge, but a spiritual knowing in the heart based on observation, experience and a personal relationship with God.

Depth of Insight ~ Judgment, perception, spiritual insight.

Discernment ~ Here is my question...what is the difference between "depth of insight" and "discernment"?

Pure and Blameless ~ Now, I have a little trouble with this one, because being pure means "without any mixture of evil". I think maybe the word "mixture" is the key word here...what do you think?


Filled with the Fruit of Righteousness ~ Fruit...that means that there has to be

a root, a green shoot coming up from the ground, a stem, a twig, a "baby" tree, a

"young" tree, a mature tree and finally a tree that bears fruit...where are you in

this process of coming to a "right standing before God"?
(Left click on picture below to see the illustration of a tree maturing)




Dear Lord,I pray as we "dig out these precious nuggets of truth" in Your Word this week, that You will show us what You would have us to clean out of our life next. Please Lord, just one thing at a time...we don't know if we could handle everything at once...but You know, and with joy and thanksgiving will we give You all the glory, Amen.




Here is a WONDERFUL recipe!! I have given this out to several of you before, so please take this as a reminder to fix this great summer dessert!! It looks like you have slaved over a hot oven, but it uses ice cream sandwiches!! Yum, Yum!!




From kraftfoods.com, may I present the Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake...

(Click on picture if you would like to see a video about how to make this cake)



Prep Time:10 min Total Time: 4 hr 10 min Makes: 12 servings
Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
* 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
* 1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
* 8 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
* 12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped

# POUR fudge topping into medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the whipped topping; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in chopped cookies; set aside.
# ARRANGE 4 of the ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half of the whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 4 ice cream sandwiches. Frost top and sides of dessert with remaining whipped topping. Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.
# FREEZE at least 4 hours before serving. Store leftover dessert in freezer.



My husband showed me this video and I had to share it with you.
Here's to all the dads...

video
Are you laughing???? ~ Good!

Feeling good to laugh,

Debbie G.