Tag Archives: Self examination

Just Be Just

Philippians 4:8 Part 3

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

When I look at the word just the first thing I think of is justice. Justice to me means that people get what they truly deserve. And it should be just according to the laws that are in place. I think about our country lately where I think we have seen a lot of wrong justice and it reminds of Habakkuk 1:2-4 where the prophet is asking God why He allows the injustice that is going on.  Habakkuk ends up saying that wrong judgment proceeds.  It seems wrong judgment proceeds quite a bit in America today.

But then I looked up the word just and I was really surprised at what it said.  The definition said ”based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair”. To use this definition, we have to define what is moral. And in our society today morality is changing. Things that used to be immoral are becoming moral. So how do you decide what is morally right and fair? That’s a discussion for another blog most likely.

There are some other words used for the meaning of just, and the ones that really caught my mind were unbiased and unprejudiced. Now I have to admit that I have some biases in my life. There are some groups of people that I’m more afraid of than others and I really have no reason to be that way. I think it’s because I haven’t had enough interaction with that particular people group and so they scare me a little bit. That is something that I need to work on and I need God to help me. I think most of us have biases of some kind in our life that we need to put aside if we are going to be just.

Paul’s admonition here to think on things that are just is not as easy as it appears on the surface. This is one that I really struggle with. I pray that God will help me to be more open-minded.  I look at the attributes of love in 1st Corinthians 13, where Paul writes that charity envieth not, vaunteth not itself and is not puffed up. I cannot place myself above others in any sense of the word. If I truly love with Christian love, I need to look at all people as equals.  Actually, we studied earlier in Philippians 2 that I ought to esteem others more highly than myself.  And with no envy at all.

One more reason we should pay particular attention to this thinking justly.  I love Micah 6:8, because it t us what the Lord requires of us.  What are those things?  To do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before our God.  If being just is in this list, it must be important!

To think about things that are just is a tall order, especially for me.  Maybe you have this mastered, and if you do, thank God He has helped you in this area.  I would appreciate your prayers.

 

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Honestly?

Philippians 4:8 Part 3

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

I looked up honest in the dictionary and the first thing it says it’s free of deceit. So let’s change the wording a little bit. What so ever things are free of deceit.

Have you ever talked to somebody about a certain situation only to find out later they did not tell you the whole truth only, a partial truth?   Children are really good at this.  When you confronted them about it, they said “Well, you didn’t ask me about that!”  But you did ask them about the situation, not just about that particular aspect. I would call that being deceitful on their part.

There are a lot of ways that we can be deceitful. Withholding things that would be relevant to a conversation is deceitful. Saying something that would throw somebody off track is deceitful. Giving somebody a false hope that you might do something when in actuality you have no intention of doing that thing is deceitful. I think we’ve all been caught up in that one. We’re asked if we want to go to a particular meeting.  We say maybe and we know deep within our hearts we really don’t want to be in a meeting with that particular leader. But we tell that person we will try to make it. That’s deceitful.

Now I’m not saying that we should tell the truth if it’s going to hurt someone. This is a very tricky area and we have to be careful not to hurt our fellow Christians.  Truth can be told in love if God wants us to tell it.  But in our thought life, we have to stay away from thoughts that are deceitful because they will come out of our mouth eventually.

So, when you are going about your daily routines, consider the thoughts that are in your mind that might be deceitful. What are you withholding from somebody else that they really should know about? Are there activities in your life that are contrary to the way you act when you’re around your church members?  For years, I deceived people all the time because I had secret sin in my life and nobody knew about it except me and God.  I actually figured God didn’t mind since He didn’t expose me. But eventually it was found out, and it caused real damage with my wife. I really don’t want to be in that position again.

Honest also can mean sincere, candid, frank and open. It differs from being true in the fact that this talks more about the way we present it instead of whether it’s true or not. To be honest we must be sincere.  Honesty has to be shared in a loving relationship. And if we don’t approach it in the spirit of meekness and a heart of love, we are probably going to do it wrong.

Tomorrow we will talk about thinking on those things that are just.

Is Your Spirit Beautiful?

Psalm 45

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

As I read this psalm, I was trying to figure out who the author was and who he was writing about. So I turned to some of the commentaries and every one of them said that this is actually a Messianic psalm. David is the writer and he’s envisioning the future, when the Messiah has come. So since all the commentaries are much wiser than I am, I have to believe that they are right.

David saying that he’s ready to write and that his tongue is actually like pen is almost prophetic!  Right now I’m dictating this into my cell phone and I will transfer it and correct it when I put it into my blog. My tongue is my pen! David would have no idea that this would be possible back in his day.

Then he starts talking about the Messiah that comes. I get the feeling that he’s talking about the Messiah coming back to earth riding on His white horse in Revelations chapter 19. He is fairer than the children of men, grace is on his lips and He is blessed forever. We know that as Jesus walked this earth he spoke of grace at every turn. The Sermon on the Mount is loaded with the grace of God. In He rides triumphantly,  His sword is girded on his side. We know that He comes in truth and righteousness.  The army that follows Him is mighty indeed and will destroy many of the nations of the earth. This return of Christ is commonly called the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a supper for the birds..

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

David sees that his throne is forever and forever, and he talks again about God’s righteousness. We have talked a lot about righteousness here. It’s so important that we are living righteously this weekend.in these last days.  Now I understand that my own righteousness is as filthy rags and I must rely on the righteousness of Christ so that I can stand before almighty God.  But we do have a choice to live a good life or a bad life on this Earth. We do have a choice to live in sin or to live free from sin. We do have a choice, with every word that comes out of our mouth, to edify people or tear people down. We must concentrate on doing what is right and what is true. That is what God expects of us

10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.

16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever

This portion is actually talking about a marriage and the bride in that marriage.  It may seem out of place in the context but we can glean some things from this portion of scripture. I like what he says in verse 10.  Again we go back to the saying “incline your ear”. It’s important that we listened to people. I am a terrible listener.  I’m always trying to think of what I’m going to say next instead of listening to the person right in front of me. It’s something I have to work on every time I’m with other people and I don’t work on it enough. Listening is one of the most difficult things in the art of conversation. I pray that I can learn to incline my ear to those around me

He goes on describing the nature of the queen or the young lady.  She’s very beautiful she is there with a gift to entreat the favor of the king. In verse 14 it talks about her being brought into the king. She is as presentable as can be and her beauty is beyond compare. We need to do our best to be presentable before God. I’m not talking about our external looks. God is only concerned about that as far as we don’t offend other people. What I’m talking about is the beauty of our spirit. Are we emanating good feeling to other people or when people see us coming down the street do they cringe and say oh God please keep them away from me. Our nature must be one that people want to be around and that the king can rejoice when we are brought in.  Look at verse 15.  With gladness and rejoicing the lady will enter into the king’s palace. I definitely want the king to be rejoicing when I walk into the palace!

The last thing he says is that he will make her name to be remembered in all generations and all people shall praise her forever and ever. This is often called The Legacy. We hear them talking about presidential Legacy all the time.  What will they leave behind? But you will have a legacy as well. Will it be a legacy of serving the Lord?  What will people say about you when it’s time to write a eulogy and have a funeral service? That’s something to think about. If it’s not positive then perhaps it’s time for a change.

What Was I Thinking?

Philippians 4:8 Part 1

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue, a

nd if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 We have now come to a verse that I would consider one of the key verses for any Christian in the whole Bible. There is such richness and so much depth said in such a simplistic way in Philippians 4:8 that it boggles my mind. I’m sure that you have been in this verse as many times as I have. I am not going to go over this very quickly. We are going to spend some time here because I feel what Paul says here is so essential to the church, especially in these last days. We must, and I reiterate, we must put these things into practice every day, every minute, every second.

First he says “Finally my brethren”. I get a picture of Paul putting his pen to the paper and preparing to finish his letter to the Philippians with another verse or two. And then outflows Philippians 4:8 and Paul can’t help it go on for another 15 verses. The power of the Holy Spirit overcomes him and he just keeps on writing.  Reminds me of those preachers who say they are closing and then go on for 20 more minutes!

One thing we have to remember is the preceding four verses that tell us to rejoice, to be gentle, to give thanks, and to have peace. I think Paul led up to this verse brilliantly because the attributes mentioned I verse 8 would be very difficult if we did not have the previous four verses active in our lives. We learn to rejoice in any situation, we learn to be gentle, we learn to give thanks when we pray and we learn about the peace of God.  If we have those disciplines down pretty good, then it makes it so much easier to do what Paul asked us to do here. If you’re not in that place you can try to do these things, and I would highly recommend that you try, but it will be more difficult. Imagine trying to think on only good things if you have not learned to rejoice in the Lord!  Or imaging thinking on things that are lovely if you haven’t learned to give thanks in everything!  Could you think only of things that are good report if you did not have peace?  You being to see why the verses go in this order.

I want to skip down to the end of the verse before I go through the middle.  Paul says “think on these things”. It’s not a matter of saying the right thing – Paul wants us to think on the right thing. To have our mind so in tune with God that all we can think about are things that are true, and honest, and just and pure and lovely and of good report and virtuous and praiseworthy. Those are the things that hold my mind everyday. There is no lust, no greed, no bad thoughts. We are thinking like God when we think like this.

The bible says whatsoever is in the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt 15:16). I need to think on these things so it will get it down into my heart.   James says the tongue is an unruly evil )James 3:8) and that we need to learn to tame it (James 3:2). The writer of Proverbs, the wisest man in the world, mentioned several times that our tongue can be trouble for us (Proverbs 12:18, 15:4,18:21). But the mouth will only say what is in the heart. We don’t have to look any farther than the last presidential election to know what can be in some hearts.

So the next few days, as we go over these things, keep in your mind Philippians 4:4-7 and then keep in your mind the fact it we are supposed to think on these things. Don’t worry. I’ll be reminding you! Perhaps if each one of us would concentrate enough we could see this thought process very active and alive on an everyday basis. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

He Did It Before.  He Can Do It Again 

Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

David talks about the  stories of victory from the past that have been told over and over again by the Jews. I can just see people sitting around a fire at night talking about the Exodus from Egypt and how the Red Sea parted. Or talking about the walls of Jericho falling down with a shout. Or maybe it’s Gideon, who beat the enemy with lamps and horns. Over and over again, victory after victory, it was God who delivered the Israelites.  We may  even tell  some of these stories to our kids today.  David reminds the Lord of this, anticipating that if He did it before He can do it again.

Are we passing down a testimony of deliverance in our own lives to our children? My children need to know that my strength does not come just from myself, it comes from God. They know that I was a drunk and a drug addict, and Jesus saved me and helped me overcome those things.  They know that He cleaned up my language and moved me from Massachusetts to Iowa. Without Him the battles I have faced in my life would have been impossible to win. When I had  fight off Pride because it was eating me up and tearing apart my family there was a spiritual battle that took place that I never want to repeat. And now that I’m fighting this cancer I have to continually give praise to God for giving me the strength to see it through. In Revelations it says that the people overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:11). We must make sure that we’re sharing the testimony of God’s victory in our lives with those around us.

Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

David reiterates the fact that right now you are my King, Lord, you will bring deliverance. He knows that through God and His name deliverance will come.  It’s not his  bow or his sword that will get it done. David’s going to boast in the Lord and praise His name forever.

I find myself boasting in the Lord a lot. Heaven forbid I should boast of myself because without God I’d be a wreck going through this cancer. I’d be worried.  I’d be complaining all the time about the things that are going wrong in my body. I’d be distraught. My wife would not be happy with me at all because of the complaints that I’d have.

But I’m not like that. Instead I rejoice in what God is going to accomplish through this, and the testimony that he will give me a healing and deliverance. I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to bring me out the other side whole. Just like David I will boast in God and I will praise His name forever.  Nothing can happen to me that will stop that. He has done it before, He can do it again!

Are you facing a difficult situation right now? Does it seem like the world is coming against you and you don’t know where to turn? Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Only He can give you the strength to endure through the temptations and trials you will face. Only He can give you peace in the midst of the storm. Only He can give you joy when you should be worried and downcast. Allow His love and His grace to permeate your body right now.

But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.

13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

15 My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

Now I have to David says He’ll trust in the Lord,  then all of a sudden He says Lord You cast us off, the enemy is not turning back and we are being overtaken. We are a reproach to out neighbors and a byword among the brethren. Lord I’m confused. I don’t know what’s going on now that all this has come upon us. We have not forgotten or forsaken you!  We haven’t dealt falsely with your covenant Lord. Why is this happening to us?

One of the great truths of Christianity is that even if we are doing everything right, trials and tests will come our way. When they  come, we may ask for immediate relief from the Lord, but it’s rare that he’ll give it. One of the beauties of God’s plan is that He uses every circumstance in our life to fulfill the plan He has for us. He did the same for David. Whenever the enemy came, David might have been at a loss for words in what to say to God, but he never lost his trust in God. He just had a close talking relationship with God and would tell god exactly how He felt.

Let’s make sure when we have trials and tests that we don’t try to get out of them before hey  have accomplished His purpose. God will bring victory when the time is right and we should just pray that His will will be done. Don’t get upset, don’t get discouraged.  Just allow God to work in your life the way he wants to.  And have an honest, open discussion with Him about how you feel.  Gd loves that!

18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

David reminds God that they have not turned their hearts away from Him and that their steps are still leading them in the right direction.  He actually asks God if he David has forgotten His name or stretch their hands out to restrict God.

It’s so important that when we get up in the morning we give God praise.  Then we should go through the day in prayer, just talking to God. It doesn’t have to be some lofty speech or some specially formatted prayer.  Just talk to God.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Ask Him to bless you in His own way.  He’ll always be right there to guard and protect you even in the midst of the trial when you don’t know He’s there

23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

David actually asks God to wake up!  Because he haven’t gotten an answer to his prayer he thinks God is sleeping . The enemy is coming and David thinks God has given them over to him. Then he tells God to rise again and redeem them for His Mercy sake.

I wish I would learn to just talk to God that David does.  He doesn’t hold back his feelings at all.  Sometimes we see David like a yo-yo, bouncing up and down up and down, one minute giving God credit for deliverance and the next minute saying where are you God and then a minute later wake up. Wake up.  Let’s build our communication skills so our conversation with God is as natural as it is with our fellow man.

Wonderful Peace

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

As a worship leader, I come across a lot of songs that just stick in my head.  During difficult times, this is a wonderful thing, because I can call upon them at any moment, and they encourage me over and over again.  I am reminded of one such song now – Wonderful Peace.  The chorus and second verse are most touching to me when I think about the peace of God:

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

 

This peace that God gives us is something that people can see on the outside if we truly walk in it. They won’t understand it, but they sure will observe it. It is a peace that surpasses anything this world can offer. Jesus said that He leaves His peace and then our heart should not be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). We can look at Jesus life and notice this peace while He was on this Earth.  He had peace about Him in every situation, even on the cross. And He said He was going to leave His peace with us. We can walk through life the same way He did. Nothing will bother us and we will live in harmony with God.

I know that I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it becomes so relative when I’m doing these studies. I was diagnosed with cancer March 10th 2016. And it wasn’t a simple cancer like prostrate. It was multiple myeloma, which has a long recovery cycle. I’ve been afflicted by several things that we are not sure whether they’re related or not. My right shoulder is not working and I’m right handed. And I have terrible neuropathy in both feet and both feet have succumbed to drop foot.  So I have to wear braces on both feet in order to get around. I need to use a walker even in the house.

Am I frustrated with all this? Of course I am. Do I question God and ask him why? Of course I do. Do I have peace about it? Absolutely. I know God is on my side and I know he does all things for my good (Rom 8:28) and I know if he has a plan and it includes His peace and an expected end (Jer 29:11). I’m not trying to brag but other people look at me and are amazed at the attitude that I have in the midst of this struggle. There’s a peace about me that only God can give, and the world does not understand it.

I pray that you’re experiencing his peace today. You will know if you have it because nothing will bother you. the enemy could send 1000 devils your way and you would know that God is on your side and you cannot be defeated. Relax and enjoy this wonderful peace that only God can give

What A Day That Wil Be

Philippians 3:21

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 In the end, we will gain the victory.  Paul finishes off chapter three before the glorious conclusion of the book in Chapter 4, with a wonderful promise of our future life in heaven, and Jesus all powerful nature.  It’s the perfect way to finish off this section which has discussed how we must give our lives, and all we have accomplished, for His service.

First, He will change this vile body so it will be fashioned like His glorious body.  Who alive can’t wait for that day?

No more sickness, no more pain. no more heartache over there. 

No more sniffles, no more coughs, no more sneezes will I bear. 

No more suffering will I face. 

No more sadness in that place. 

No more hurts that will bring my eyes to tears.

 

Full of joy, full of love, full of hope all of my days

Songs of praise, Lifting hands, worship all around the place

All is peace forevermore

On that happy, golden shore

I can’t wait to see my Saviors face

 

This is what awaits us if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and lived an overcoming life of repentance.  Remember, even Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter heaven (Matt 7:21-23), but those that do the Father’s will.  God wants us to live the life of an overcomer (see Rev chapters 2 and 3).  And repentance (read the Psalms).  It’s not enough to ask Him once at an alter and then never change.  It’s not enough to tither, or go to church, or do a lot of good deeds.  He must be Savior and Lord, Master and King.  You say it’s too much!  I have to give my life up?  It’s too demanding.  I’ll have no freedom!  I’ll tell you it’s quite the opposite. Free from sin. shame, guilt, fear, doubt, hopelessness.  Alive in Him.  It’s heaven on earth!  When the one who has all power to change your circumstances is Lord, you gain everything.  And that brings me to the next promise.

He works this in us by His power.  The power that can subdue all things, all troubles, all circumstances, all heartaches, all enemies.  There is nothing and no one He hasn’t already defeated.  God has put all things under Jesus feet (Eph 1:22).  He’s the one who will change our vile bodies into the likeness of His glorious body on the day we enter heaven.  What a day that will be!